{    Cnytr   }

{Sunday, August 29, 2004  }

.:{Bad Parenting}:.

posted by Lauren, 6:08 PM | link | 0 comments

{Saturday, August 28, 2004  }

.:{The last response to Anonymous... }:.

I really should not be responding to an irresponsible commenter who is afraid to attach his or her name or pseudoname to a comment, and this is one of the last comments I will address with a post on my blog. The latest comment goes completely out of the realm of the philosophical, since he has butted his head against logic on every turn, and skips to the political which has less of a clear answer than he assumes.

Getting preoccupied by the sex in Aristophanes' LYSISTRATA misses the whole point of the play...a profound essay on the futility and tragedy of war.

It's rather impossible to miss, being as subtle as a pink elephant in the middle of one's living room.

There is so much sex to ignore in the Lysistrata it's virtually impossible to dig out the point you mention.

If someone wants something to get flustered about, try American and other soldiers getting blown up in a war in Iraq where the commander in chief has this week admitted "miscalculation" and has no clear exit strategy. LYSISTRATA is pretty timely, in fact.

President Bush also said that if he knew what he knows and and that if he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq, he still would have sent the troops in. I think that everybody forgets that not only does President Bush have a lot more access to secret information to which others (civilians, the average voter) is not privy. Furthermore, the war in Iraq is not only about WMDs and the like, but about freeing the people of Iraq from the Ba'athist regime under which severe torture was an everyday occurance for the people there. Furthermore, we are bringing humanitarian aid to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Have people forgotten 9/11? Have people forgotten that there are people in the world who want to kill us? We don't want to kill them, we just want to stop them from killing us. Terrorists don't really respond to words ... it rather reminds me of a very clever political cartoon that was in our newspaper. The cartoon depicts a guy sitting in the middle of a shambled and looted hut, with people carrying away his possessions right and left. The sign in front of his house reads "Looters will be given a stern talking-to"; the speech bubble has the guy saying "I wish I weren't a Democrat."

Also a very relevant quote can be found on the outside of Eisenhower hall at West Point:

Compared to what could be happening, the amount of fatalities in Iraq is extremely few. We have lost fewer men in this conflict than in any other. This is not in any way to trivialize their deaths, and any death is tragic. But we do not have major battles, the foxhole warfare is a thing of the past... we are not losing as many men as we could be losing.

But, too many so-called conservatives get very bothered by sex, but have no problem with people getting blown apart by mortars or carpet bombing of Iraqi cities.

I have already addressed this. Anybody in their right mind is disturbed by evil, whether it be in the form of pornography or terrorism.

Aristophanes is still timely, it would seem, 26 centuries after he lived.

Then I find it offensive on a completely different level, as it again (against the nature of the Catholic church) a stance on the war in Iraq, a condmnatory stance. The Church does not come out and condemn wars until after they have happened, and I find it offensive that they're forcing their political views on me and will protest it probably even MORE vocally if it is used in that sense.

You have in no way addressed the apropriateness of this play for fine young ladies and for undergraduates. If you do not take responsibility for your comments, I shall no longer grace them with intelligent answers. It is not right that you will ignore the consequences of your actions.
posted by Lauren, 4:56 PM | link | 0 comments

{Friday, August 27, 2004  }

.:{Dun dun dunnnnn... }:.

The Bad Apple: Just One Spoils the Whole Bunch .... *dramatic music*
posted by Lauren, 3:31 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{News from abroad}:.

First posts in the Fall Romer blog... just a narrative with some picture links for now, maybe intelligent thoughts to come later.

Certainly some on this continuously anonymous poster.

First of all, what a Catholic could rightly call "obscene" or "pornographic" can be found in the pages of any number of classical Greco-Roman authors. There is pedophilia and homosexuality in Plato. Aristophanes' plays ALL contain some obscenity (some plays more than others). Aristophanes is even read in UD's curriculum.

However, as I recall, Plato doesn't go into the extreme details and nitty-gritties of such pedophilia and homosexuality (i.e. he doesn't describe the act of either in minutia). Furthermore, containing obscenities is different than being saturated with them which is further different than being entirely focused on said obscenities. The Lysistrata is one of the latter.

Praetera, reading a play privately and to oneself is very different from getting up on stage and reading and acting the play aloud to an audience. One can kind of "skip" some of the bad parts in reading and block non-verbal things from memory. However, to do a play one gets up on stage in front of others and recites the *memorized* obscene lines. Also, the Lysistrata is mostly full of women characters, and so since it is to be performed here, 19 and 20-year-old girls are going to stand up on stage and say this stuff. I find this 100% objectionable and inappropriate as opposed to if we were just reading the play. I would still object strongly, but gloss over it as one of those other foolish things classics majors do; not letting, as Mark Twain says, one's schooling get in the way of one's education.

That's because the study of classical antiquity should't be censored. Shall we ban Plato from our classes? Or how about Homer and Virgil, who talk about people's heads being split open in battle and their brains wetting the ground? Or is tremendous violence okay, and only sexual issues worthy of censorship? How about the Athenian orators, who sometimes lie and tell others to lie? Shall we ban those because lying is a sin?

I am not in any way saying that one should not read about sin at all per se (I am no Hippolytus), however I think there is a line between the necessary and the gratuitous. For example, one reads Thomas Aquinas on the virtues and the vices, and through the vices one gains an understanding of the virtues and of humanity and sin. Less directly, one reads something like Oedipus and learns that hubris is bad. Even less directly are such things that show vices and their consequences without actually overtly stating "x is bad". Then there are things that are just TMI-gratuitous: i.e. Eyes Wide Shut (I think I mentioned this before), Y Tu Mama Tambien. In the first example everything occurs within marriage and in the second everything supposedly has a point. However, the "point" is to be found within so much trash, the dig for it is not at all worth the corruption on the way.

Violence is a different thing; sexual issues are reserved for marriage. Sex happens and it should happen because (in proper context), it is a good thing. However, it is a private matter. Violence, on the other hand, is a public matter. Violence should not occur, but it does. Note: I am in no way adopting an anti-war or pacifistic stance, merely stating that in a perfect world, there would be no need of coercive force (even unto death) whereas in the same perfect world, husbands and wives procreate.

Update: I have officially seen what some students think of the text, and I am now even more certain that the play will not be handled as academically as the too-optemistic professors think. We're college students = we're stupid. College students are not academics yet. All we want to do on weekends is go out and have some kind of fun, which for most of us involves some kind of drinking. Give us a raunchy play and for the most part it'll be greeted with giggles and lascivious grins, not looking for a higher purpose in it. Yes, you never learn if you never stretch yourself... give us a different way to stretch. I still don't think we're mature enough or have a wide enough study background to really understand or appreciate such a work as graduates and professors would hope. We're undergraduates, we're sophomores -- wise fools. Such things are just not appropriate for us yet; it's like giving someone who's only had three months of Latin the Eclogues of Virgil to translate -- that's stupid. All that based off the assumpmtion there's anything worthy about the Lysistrata in the first place, which I still deny.

Yes there are some exceptional college students out there who see something in alcohol besides getting drunk, but they're *exceptional*. Making rules based on exceptions only works in Greek (and that makes no sense).
posted by Lauren, 12:12 PM | link | 4 comments

{Monday, August 23, 2004  }

.:{Yes, Anonymous, there is a Santa Claus}:.

I got the following comment in my box the other day...

It seems to me that since plays such as the Lysistrata only exist because monks--Catholic ones--thought they were worth preserving and copied them there must be no inherent conflict in the perpetuation of the play and Catholicism. Reading a play which contains immoral behavior, and even performing such a play, is not the espousal of such behavior, as you well know. This play must have in it some greater interpretations and meanings from which we could learn; otherwise, the centuries which preceded us would not have preserved it. So rather than condemning the play and the instutition asking you to learn from it, try to see in it what others may have seen. Certainly the university's point was not the propagation of sex or its innuendo.

This sounds a lot like what Dr. D emailed me ... I would appreciate it if anonymous commenters would sign their names and take responsibility for their arguments, but whatever.

To the first point, I would like to point out that monks -- Catholic ones -- also preserved the text of various heresies; the doctrine of heretics were even in the very documents of the Councils which condemned them. The Church did not think that these should be lost. Surely one cannot then suggest that the Church is then sanctioning heresy?

Furthermore, digging more into medieviality (*invented word*), many texts were read and preserved by clerics which were not permitted to be read by non-clerics, or even by clerics under supervision which were not permitted to be read by clerics not under supervision. "Whether or not a book is to permitted to be read depends in no way on the Church's preservation of it, nor on the accuracy of its contents, nor even necessarily on the excellence of its contents" (because I will grant you that Aristophanes is a skilled commedian).

Reading a play which contains immoral behavior, and even performing such a play, is not the espousal of such behavior, as you well know.

This is true. However, this does not give us sanction to go and fill our minds with all kind of filth... an excuse for viewing pornography is not "but I'm not the one doing it!"

As I said, one should not boil down an entire play (and I gave the example from Hamlet) to a few lines of "blue" dialogue and condemn it from that. Some things can be overlooked for the overall message of the play or movie or whatever and hence redeption plays/movies have a purpose. But the point of the Lysistrata is "the empowering of women". This in itself may not be a bad thing, but the treatment of such and the subject matter (going on a sex-strike) is not appropriate for young (undergraduate, non-thespian) women.

I could understand if this were in the hands of graduate students or professional actors or at least senior theatre majors under very, very good direction (but that is highly dubious); people who could handle it such those "greater interpretations" etc. But I do not have faith in sophomore and sophomoric undergraduates.

All this if we were to ignore the "wrappings" of that message; I have been told the script to be used in Rome is more PG-13 than R-rated. I still hold to my point about the subject matter being inappropriate.

However, I even wonder about the PG-13-ness. The edition I have of the Lysistrata is from Ten Greek Plays in Contemporary Translations edited by L.R. Lind; the play itself is translated by Charles T. Murphy. From his traslation, nearly all of the humor was sex-related, and not only sex-related but pornographic. I have not looked at the actual Greek, I confess, but I highly doubt a PG-13 translation.

Furthermore, someone had pointed out that the context of sex within the play is 100$ within the bounds of marriage. This nonetheless does not violate the definition of pornography which, as I understand it, is something reserved for the sanctity (and privacy) of marriage exposed to a third party. A movie is still pornographic if the couple observed is married (something like Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut"). It doesn't matter.

But back to the original comment...

This play must have in it some greater interpretations and meanings from which we could learn; otherwise, the centuries which preceded us would not have preserved it.

Non sequitur -- the "popular opinion of mankind" doesn't really apply... is something great just because everybody thinks it's great? I'm sure this opens up a huge philosophical can of worms which has been answered in minutia by some scholastic -- "what constitutes greatness/excellence?" -- and I'm sure he didn't say "because everyone said so." The Iliad and the Odyssey are great whether or not the majority of mankind hails them as such.

Furthermore, a friend pointed out to me that there are some very base Medieval fabliaux in existence, "some of which might make Trey Parker [think South Park] blush". Again there is no reason to think that absolutely every text that we have from antiquity or the middle ages has been preserved on account of goodness, accuracy, or excellence of its contents. We have excellent things as the Iliad etc and we have base Attic comedies and medieval wotsits.

As to the intent of the university ... I would rather not respond with the cliche about good intentions. One has higher expectations from a Catholic university ... but apparently not this one.
posted by Lauren, 2:28 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Hoorah and huzzah!}:.

It's pathetic how addicted I am to my computer, not only because of the instant communication via the internet, but also as a source of creativity -- I like to spend a lot of time messing with photos on Photoshop and writing either here or in my personal journal (which is an encrypted .doc file). This weekend was penance and mortification without my laptop (may it live forever).

I am leaving for The Eternal City to which All Roads Lead this Wednesday -- a day and a half, or "one and a butt days" as a plebe might say.

If you want me to write you a letter or a postcard or anything non-electronic, email me and I will definitely make some time during the next five months to do so. This applies to friends, fellow bloggers, UDers, and random people I've never met -- seriously.

And I have one impending post to write before I should probably turn this thing off...
posted by Lauren, 2:16 PM | link | 0 comments

{Sunday, August 22, 2004  }

.:{No one expects the ... er... crusades? }:.

My mother sleeps with her t.v. on. I happened to walk by and I heard about a new Ridley Scott movie due out in 2005 that's causing controversy for whatever reason. I looked it up online and found this article in The Telegraph. Of note are the following paragraphs:

The film, which began shooting last week in Spain, is set in the time of King Baldwin IV (1161-1185), leading up to the Battle of Hattin in 1187 when Saladin conquered Jerusalem for the Muslims.

The script depicts Baldwin's brother-in-law, Guy de Lusignan, who succeeds him as King of Jerusalem, as "the arch-villain". A further group, "the Brotherhood of Muslims, Jews and Christians", is introduced, promoting an image of cross-faith kinship.

"They were working together," the film's spokesman said. "It was a strong bond until the Knights Templar cause friction between them."

The Knights Templar, the warrior monks, are portrayed as "the baddies" while Saladin, the Muslim leader, is a "a hero of the piece", Sir Ridley's spokesman said.
"At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct."

Prof Riley-Smith, who is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, said the plot was "complete and utter nonsense". He said that it relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics.

"It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality."...

"The Templars as 'baddies' is only sustainable from the Muslim perspective, and 'baddies' is the wrong way to show it anyway. They are the biggest threat to the Muslims and many end up being killed because their sworn vocation is to defend the Holy Land."

Dr Philips said that by venerating Saladin, who was largely ignored by Arab history until he was reinvented by romantic historians in the 19th century, Sir Ridley was following both Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, the former Syrian dictator. Both leaders commissioned huge portraits and statues of Saladin, who was actually a Kurd, to bolster Arab Muslim pride.

Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists."

Whoa. Them's fightin' words.

I know only a little about the whole situation (something I intend to rectify at once), but that's pretty darn strong. Oooh, controversy!

I have no intelligent commentary on this article. I just find it fascinating. I shall be doing some research in the days to come.

Also, does anybody know anything about visiting Turkey? I'm dying to go to an Arab country (haha, hopefully not literally) whilst I'll be on the same general continent.

Oh, the Knights Templar were not evil.
posted by Lauren, 4:58 PM | link | 0 comments

{Friday, August 20, 2004  }

.:{The beginning of the rest of the Year}:.


to prepare my computer for Rome (where I will -- praise God the Almighty!!! -- have internet access), it is being wired for wireless (o the irony). Thus, I won't have it until Monday, and probably will not have time to post any kind of thoughtful thing on this blog (as I am on my mother's computer at the moment ... she is not always happy when I borrow it for too long).

I leave for Rome on Wednesday. Ugh, long plane ride. But yay, Rome.

posted by Lauren, 6:39 PM | link | 1 comments

{Thursday, August 19, 2004  }

.:{Fuzziness of the day }:.

Here is a random too-red picture of my birds Percy and Rita snuggled up together. This is your daily dose of fluffiness.
posted by Lauren, 4:45 PM | link | 0 comments

{Wednesday, August 18, 2004  }

.:{It's coming, it's coming!}:.

Wooooot! I spoke to my admissions officer up at West Point, and I do not need to take the DODMERB physical again. Furthermore, the applications are being mailed out TOMORROW!

Please please please pray that I get a good score on my Physical Aptitude Exam (PAE). Also, a major headache is going to be coordinating paperwork (as they may want college transcripts, highschool transcripts, and letters of recommendation all over again) from ROME as I'm leaving in exactly a week, and I have 60 days to do everything. No sweat, that's doable -- but please please pray! This is my dream, this is what I'm living for right now.

Thanks, God bless, and Beat Navy!

St. Michael the Archangel and St. Joan of Arc, pray for me.
posted by Lauren, 2:53 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Blah blah blah blah...}:.

Everybody in Blogdom is whining about the new, relatively insignificant navbar. I say: it could be worse. Also, it matches with the orange at the top of my page to make a nice UVA-themed navy wahoo blue and orange. Go 'Hoos. (<--- as a Charlottesvillain, I am required by law to say that. Furthermore, VA Tech can go stick its collective head in a pig)
posted by Lauren, 11:55 AM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, August 17, 2004  }

.:{From the Air Force Academy ... some Humor}:.

Though I miss CenterStall.com...

posted by Lauren, 11:59 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Acad3my N0mination 3ssay}:.

(that in half-l33t so that punk kids can't seach the web and plagiarize my essay)

The heavy clomp of boots on the hardwood floor one Sunday night a month meant that my dad had returned home from his Army weekend. At the age of five, it was a treat to wait up for him and eat leftover bits of MREs, listen to his stories about practicing first aid in the forest, and play with his boots.
For a long time, those Sunday nights were all that the Army meant to me. I could not understand the necessity of what my father did. All the wars I read about in books had ended, and there seemed to be no threat to our peace, security, and well-being.
Then one mid-September morning, my life, and the lives of all Americans, was changed forever. The terrorist attacks opened my eyes to the rest of the world and to my country. I spent that day in a whirlwind of confusion, anger, incredulity, and intense concern for friends near ground zero and the Pentagon. I felt completely helpless and too far away to act. I watched Reserve and National Guard units be activated to go serve in Afghanistan and Iraq, protecting our long-cherished freedoms. This, I realized, is what keeps America safe. This is what my dad did. This could have been my own father.
Since then, the desire to serve America and protect my family and friends seized hold of me. I fell in love with the military in high school, and planned to do Army ROTC during college. But it was on a visit to the United States Military Academy at West Point that I found where I truly belonged. I longed to march beside cadets on the Plain as a visible symbol of leadership and our nation’s future. More practically, the Academy could hone my linguistic talents already founded in years of Greek and Latin, re-directing and fine-tuning them specifically for the Arabic military intelligence work I hope to make a career.
In the days that followed, I began to talk with West Point cadets. The training they received impressed me greatly, especially the specific time a yearling devotes to training a plebe (freshman). I imagined myself in this role, and decided that I, having been home-schooled and during which time developed a strong work ethic, would learn well in this manner. I would also greatly appreciate the structure, the emphasis on academics and on physical training; such emphasis and structure would help me to overcome my own mental barriers and truly excel. I very firmly believe that I can do anything I choose if I work at it, and I believe this makes me a qualified candidate.
Being a cadet means standing for something greater than oneself; to be a cadet is to be a visible sign to people of someone who chooses to serve their country. I believe in living that in day-to-day life. I also believe that the best way of doing this is to live the military lifestyle. If I receive the necessary nomination and then an appointment to West Point as my father did, I will serve honorably and faithfully in the tradition of the Long Grey Line.
posted by Lauren, 9:04 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Why I Want To Join The Army}:.

Little known fact: my grandfather on my father's side drove Patton's tank. Yes, General George S. Patton. That, if you'll pardon me, is freaking awesome.

A lot of people look at me sideways when they discover not only that I have very seriously in the past -- and with renewed interest recently -- considered joining a convent and that I am highly attracted to the Army. Having done a semester of ROTC has spurred me to apply to West Point, a love-at-first-sight with whom I am still in love. I don't think anything can deter me from it.

I have decided to pull out two essays I've written: one essay I wrote for the ISLAS school newspaper in my senior year of highschool. The second is my Acad3my n0mination 3ssay.

Funny story -- I had written and re-written my nomination essay billions of times, I was really sick of re-hashing it. I tried to paint my desire in the cleverest and most compelling way possible. Finally, when my critics complained it just wasn't good, I scapped it one night and starte from scratch, thinking I'd just let what was in my heart come forth.

Now that I look at it, it looks remarkably similar, in some ways, to the essay I wrote in highschool. I haven't looked at that thing since I submitted it to the paper.

The truth will set you free!

Without much further ado, the newspaper article:

Personal Notes and Family Anecdotes on the Military or Why I Want To Join The Army

Over the years, the military has been no stranger to my family: I know that one William Brannon served in the Civil War. More recently, however, I’ve been asking my dad questions about himself and his father, both of whom served in the armed forces, to help in my decision-making process, as I, too, investigate a possible military career.

I am very proud of the way that both my father and his father have served our country. My granddaddy was in the Air Force for 23 years, during both World War II and the Korean War. He received two purple hearts, eventually retiring as the 6th enlisted rank (E-6), Tech Sergeant, in 1962. When my dad was born, his granddaddy named him Lawrence Sherrill after a close friend who had just been killed in Korea. Later in his life, my father also joined the armed forces, although not particularly with his father in mind. Drafted in ’72, he chose to enlist for surety of his MOS (Military Occupational Specialty – one’s job). Serving in active duty for 10 years and in the reserves for 13 years, he retired a Lieutenant Colonel (the 6th of 10 officer ranks) in 1993, when his unit was disbanded.

I remember my dad being in the reserves: I used to wonder about him during the weekends he was gone, and I would stay up Sunday nights to see him come home in his camouflage. I used to run up to hug him and, like all children enthusiastic about their parent’s return, ask if he had brought me any presents. Usually he would bring me an MRE – the MRE (Meal Ready To Eat) is something only an enthusiast or a child could love, and then only for the novelty of the thing. It consists of several small cardboard boxes filled with a freeze-dried something, vaguely akin to food, to which one need literally only add water. While eating these, I would listen to any stories he would care to tell of the things he had done or learned.

Growing up, I would hear various other Army stories occasionally, and always listened intently, even if I pretended I didn’t. Those stories, and a story about how he stopped the ice cream thieves in college, were always my favorites. I admired my father in them and, indirectly, the Army as well. I learned more about the great country my family had protected, and the ideals it was built upon. However, it was not until September 11th, 2001 that they really hit home. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, I along with many other Americans rode the wave of strong emotional patriotism that swept our country. I felt helpless due to my age and situation, and I hated that feeling more than anything I can remember.

My somewhat nebulous and dormant desire to possibly join the Army was inflamed by the emotion I felt then, but I eventually resolved to put it in the back of my mind and let time mellow me some. It did, but still the idea remained. Later I watched my friends go to West Point, enlist, or speak of enlisting, but it wasn’t until ISLAS senior and good friend of mine Alice P. told me she was doing Navy ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) that I was able to take heart. Here was Alice – basically the same age and situation as I – facing many of the same obstacles I had or would face, overcoming them with confidence and ease. Her strength gave me courage, and the next week I went to visit the local US Army recruiting office for information.

ISLASers, take note: before going to a recruiting office, do some research yourself, get things in writing, and do nothing decisive that day. I learned this the hard way. The recruiter, SSG Grimes, was excessively pushy, a recruiting machine. I have since met other Sergeants and Staff Sergeants who have proven to be more human, but be prepared. For all his pushiness, I was able to gather a lot of information, unsurprisingly un-biased though it was. Yet I knew that enlisting right then wasn’t for me: I was (and am) ready for college, and I have good scholarships, so I won’t require their financial support.

Researching farther, I found another attractive option: Army ROTC. Only a commitment of a few hours a week, I could live a normal college life with just an extra class and lab on the side. The only other time-commitment would be for a few weeks during the summer between my junior and senior years. I could also, without a scholarship, enroll in ROTC for two years before having to sign any commitment papers. When I graduate, I would receive an MOS, a location, and, best of all, an officer’s commission, without having to wade through the enlisted ranks. And I could be ANY major in college!

To balance my own research with the heavily self-interested information thrown at me by SSG Grimes, I also have been communicating with well-known fellow ISLASer Abraham A., who has been seriously considering a military career for a long time and who has dedicated months to research and reference in all areas of the Army's program. Also strongly drawn to the Military Intelligence branch, he has helped to guide me from the perspective of a student my own age with similar focuses and interests.

Since I have time yet in which to make my decision, I have decided not to decide rashly, and I will give myself needed time before making any commitments. I will continue to consider all my options, both military and civilian life. At this point, though, ROTC remains an extremely interesting, highly attractive, and quite doable prospect. I know that if I decide to take this route, I need never feel helpless again.

I am proud to say that, if we three go through with out military hopes and dreams, a full one-third of this year’s graduating class will be in the armed forces.
posted by Lauren, 8:39 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Pickup a picketing sign....}:.

If anyone else would like to help me protest, please send an email to Demarest Thompson and to the University of Dallas Rome office.
posted by Lauren, 10:44 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{UDallas Can Jump Off A Bridge}:.

It has come to my undertanding that this fall in Rome, UD will be sponsoring a production of the "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes for any student who would like to participate.

Knowing that Aristophanes writes comedy, I broke out my copy of "Ten Greek Plays in Contemporary Translation", and began to read it.

Holy cow.

The whole play is about the Athenian women going on a sex strike to keep their husbands from going away to war. In the first few hundred lines, they've already brought up such things as ... shoot, I can't even mention them in euphemisms here.

It is not something where one can go "oh, let's just remove the offensive passages and everything will be alright" -- the whole play is like that. It's awful! It's pornographic in nature. I am shocked that the University would sponsor or even allow something like this -- it's like letting "The V***** Monologues" on a Catholic campus, it's that bad.

I think I have officially lost all respect for my school. It would be one thing if this were not a Catholic institution. I would then be silently infuriated, have nothing to do with it, and possibly protest, but this is a *Catholic Institution* in line (for the most part) with Ex Corde Ecclesiae which states in Section II Article 2 ss 4:

§ 4. Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected(46). Any official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.

The Lysistrata is in *no way* in accord with the Catholic identity. There is just no good to come from this play, and for shame to think that such things should come out of the mouths of good Catholic girls! I can understand a bit of bawdiness here and there, especially in something like Shakespeare, but there is a greater purpose for that. The whole of Hamlet is not to be reduced to the remarks of Rosencrantz and Guildestern living about the waist of Fate, "in the middle of her favours". There are other things to be discovered in the play. Such is not the case of Aristophanes' Lysistrata. The entire thing is filth upon filth. It's horrible.

It is entirely offensive, not to mention divisive. Divisive -- that's the thing. Here is a scenario that has happened too much: something will come to my attention to which I object, but the majority (i.e. EVERY BODY ELSE) has no problem with. I.e. Porn. When I stand up and say "hey that's gross" or, more to the point, "hey that's just not right", I get weird looks and everybody's like "what planet are you from?" and I become known as Lauren the Prude, though I am like them in almost every other respect, I too tread upon the ground and do not pretend otherwise. Other people, having marked me as "prude", then begin to treat me as Less Than Cool, not Part Of The Group. And that's going to be *miserable* for a five month long stay in another country in very very close quarters. I don't know anybody going. Ooh misery.

I predict this will happen again, I will be known as the "protest girl", like I was the ONLY girl ever in the history of Catherine dorm first semester to vote against extending the open house hours. I will never, ever live that down. :P Oh well, I stood up for what I saw to be a wiser course of action. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, I just questioned its wisdom.

But anyway, I'll be the Protesting Puritannical Prude, and anybody who stands up with me (I predict at least one other will, if I know her) will be roped of in my little "clique".

AUUUUUUGH, this makes me SO MAD. I can't believe this. *furious*

Artemis' dignity is offended and she shall seek her revenge with the golden arrows of the sun.
posted by Lauren, 9:36 AM | link | 2 comments

{Monday, August 16, 2004  }

.:{Whapster Gets Published}:.

Furthermore, Becket of the Shrine of the Holy Whapping got a letter to the editor in the religion section published in the Dallas Morning news. When I was at UD, I read the thing as much as possible so I'm glad *someone* finally did get published, because I was too lazy to write ... (funny, I write books in this here blog but don't write many letters...)

And by the way, if anyone is considering emailing me, do it soon because right now I'm remarkably good at responding. When I leave for Rome on the 25th, I'm sure that will be a different story.
posted by Lauren, 10:01 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{Happy (belated) Feast of the Assumption}:.

I have returned from West Point, and it was an excellent visit. If anyone is interested in the Acceptance Day parade and how it works, I'm putting together a website of most of the pictures I took (which was comparatively few, this time; usually I'm a camera-snapping fool) with a small narration.

And in more importantness, happy feast of the Assuption (yesterday)!

From the office of readings for yesterday:

It was right that she who had kept her virginity unimpaired through the process of giving birth should have kept her body without decay through death. It was right that she who had given her Creator, as a child, a place at her breast should be given a place in the dwelling-place of her God. It was right that the bride espoused by the Father should dwell in the heavenly bridal chamber. It was right that she who had gazed on her Son on the cross, her heart pierced at that moment by the sword of sorrow that she had escaped at his birth, should now gaze on him seated with his Father. It was right that the Mother of God should possess what belongs to her on and to be honoured by every creature as the God’s Mother and handmaid.
~St. John Damascene (appx. 676-754)

All that the holy fathers say refers ultimately to Scripture as a foundation, which gives us the vivid image of the great Mother of God as being closely attached to her divine Son and always sharing his lot.
It is important to remember that from the second century onwards the holy fathers have been talking of the Virgin Mary as the new Eve for the new Adam: not equal to him, of course, but closely joined with him in the battle against the enemy, which ended in the triumph over sin and death that had been promised even in Paradise. The glorious resurrection of Christ is essential to this victory and its final prize, but the blessed Virgin’s share in that fight must also have ended in the glorification of her body. For as the Apostle says: When this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the scripture will be fulfilled that says “Death is swallowed up in victory”.

~From The Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Let us celebrate what the church has believed from all ages!
posted by Lauren, 9:49 AM | link | 0 comments

{Friday, August 13, 2004  }

.:{Leaving for the weekend}:.

I am leaving for West Point this weekend to visit my friend Abe who will be made a plebe this weekend during the Acceptance Day parade. Hoorah! Pray for us.

Furthermore, I read my MS I instructor's evaluation for my ROTC nomination for West Point (as I myself am applying), and it was good! Please pray for my acceptance there. (class of 2009, whoo, yeah!)

Go class of 2005 ... and 2008!
posted by Lauren, 12:18 PM | link | 2 comments

.:{The Forgotten Language of Flowers}:.

If anyone has ever seen the movie "Kate and Leopold", there's an amusing moment where Kate's brother tries to pick out flowers, while Leopold explains that the flowers he's chosen for a bouquet signifies suspicion, jealousy, and extreme hatred.

For more on the significance of various flowers, check out the forgotten language of flowers.

I knew I ought to have been on my guard when I received purple carnations from a gentleman I suspected of capricousness. According to the site, purple carnations *mean* capriciousness. They were right.
posted by Lauren, 10:53 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{Ahhh, West Point }:.

The perfect combination of coolness and nerddom:

posted by Lauren, 8:42 AM | link | 0 comments

{Thursday, August 12, 2004  }

.:{I pity the fool... }:.

U.S. Military Clears A-Team of Charges.
posted by Lauren, 5:38 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Forget the Boogeyman }:.

I'm buying this book: Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!

I got this off an uber-liberal website to which I will not link because there is not one drop of intelligence amongst the drivel. Liberals = anti-rational.
posted by Lauren, 5:32 PM | link | 0 comments



It's FINALLY HAPPENING! He's here, the Phantom of the Opera!!! (He is with us, it's the ghost!)

Beware -- the Phantom of the Opera!

Look, look look at the trailer!

My gosh my gosh my gosh ... please pardon my few moments of hyperventilation.

When I was 12 years old, I became ob*sessed* with The Phantom of the Opera -- both the Andrew Lloyed Weber musical and the Gaston Leroux book -- like nothing else. Not only is this the musical rapture that is Andrew Lloyed Webber, but it also looks like it goes back to the book a bit more.

However... to put my game face back on, let's fact it, they're definitely overly romanticizing ... well, everything. A sword-fight between the Phantom and Raoul? The whole idea I found so beautiful was the ultimate self-sacrificial love the Phantom had for Christine. I mean ... whoda thunk?

Eeeeeee!!! Finally finally finally! They'd BETTER do a good job with it! >:O

As my friend Eleanor says, if they're not casting Michael Crawford, our dear beloved who played *the* definitive Phantom, at least they're casting relative unknowns.


Life as normal may continue now.
posted by Lauren, 11:43 AM | link | 1 comments

.:{More ... }:.

Since I have nothing to do today, I'm blogging like crazy.

In reaction to this post (but mostly the comments), respondeo dicendum haec.
posted by Lauren, 9:35 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{The military...}:.

...is definitely not an easy life. I don't think one person will argue that it is, even people who have had the cushiest desk jobs still had to be moved around every few years and had to go through Basic Training or Boot Camp in one form or another.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the soldierization of the recruits, oftentimes seemingly pointless tactics are used. For example, it is almost inevitable that one will come out of BCT (Basic Combat Training -- Army) with a weird nickname or two. Such a nickname can be amusing, stupid, or even obscene. But it teaches the person who's boss. As a way of making soldiers pay attention to detail, anywhere from one individual to a squad to a whole platoon can be smoked (worked until muscle failure, usually in the form of a multitude of pushups or the front-leaning rest position) for improper use of the uniform which can be not wearing the patrol cap correctly or for having too many loose threads (i.e. 2). Or, on a lesser scale for screw-ups like me who have had the hardest time learning how to march, one could be made to mark time forever or execute "column left" commands repeadedly until one gets them right.

Either way, the military's way of teaching is a lot harsher (usually) than the civilian world. However I do not mean to justify cruel or unusual punishment in any way, as some NCOs might employ (if anybody's ever seen the Stanley Kubrick film dealing with Marine boot camp, this is an example; *disclaimer* I in no way advocate the film because it is a morally vacant film with no discernable good to it; I didn't finish watching it, it's a terrible movie, don't see it, blahblahblah).

All this leading up to a mom's perspeective of some stuff at boot camp.

Boot camp ain't pretty.

She writes:

Well, there goes about 80% of my respect for the Marine Corps. We've had another letter from Jonathan Lee, in which he says recruits are discouraged from writing letters. His DI in charge, one Sgt Wootten, said that they could write to their girlfriends if they want, but {and here follows an extraordinarily obscene description of the manner in which the girlfriend is supposedly amusing herself in the recruit's absence}. That's contemptible. I don't mind his calling the recruits names, who have signed up for this. I object strenuously to the reputations of virtuous girls being defamed by an evil-minded thug. There is a theory that boot camp develops boys' character. I'll tell you something you may not realize, Sgt. Couldn't-Make-It-Through-OCS Wootten. Jonathan Lee's character was finer than yours before ever he got to boot camp. In fact it was better than yours before he'd ever heard of the Marine Corps. And I'll tell you some thing else: you're no good at your job. I've been motivating boys for twenty years, and I have managed to do so without making a disgusting beast of myself. You are a pig, Sgt. Wootten. It is clearly impolitic to tell you so now, because, like a coward and a pig, you would retaliate on my son. I mean to tell you so at graduation, however, when you are milling around collecting plaudits from the other parents. You won't care - or will you? - but it will be the truth.

This is what I posted in her comments:

As an ROTC cadet, an Army-wannabe, West Point-applying girl, I do have to say that that is, unfortunately, what one bargains for when one enlists (especially enlists) in any branch of service. However... it's all a game, and that's what recruits (and parents) have to tell themselves. If you can roll with the punches, ignore obscene SGTs and just pull yourself and your buddy through miserable and depressing and stressful and horrible times in your life, then you've learned the lesson they're trying to teach.

Yes it's *depressing* to be around people like that -- I got really sick of a few of my ROTC collegues -- but there is almost always one or two gems-of-persons around whom one can be built up. I suggest that JL band together with those sorts of persons and just ignore the SGT. It's nothing personal against anybody's girlfriend, it's just another thing the NCOs say to break down a recruit. Unfortunately, it takes a lot nowadays, given the pornographic mindset of the culture in general. By the way do not ever watch "Full Metal Jacket" if you find this disturbing (as I do... I discovered the movie by mistake).

Many NCOs make themself as hateful to recruits as possible as a way of getting all the recruits to hate them, and thence building up unit cohesion through a common goal. Yes, it's a negative way of doing it, but it is more often than not effective, which is sometimes all people look at.

Yyyyyyeeeeeessss... I am nonetheless not worried that our country is in good hands... Via Digital Marine.
posted by Lauren, 9:12 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{And now for the military portion of our show...}:.

The Curt Jester posted this a few days ago, but I still think the idea is *awesome*:

The Ranger Rosary

August 10, 2004 / ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Machine guns, killer knives, grenades and combat boots. These are the tools of modern combat warriors.

“And rosary beads,” says Sgt. 1st Class Frank Ristaino, a former Marine and a recruiter for the Maryland National Guard.

“Rosaries are readily available to any soldier in the military,” Ristaino said. “Just about any military chaplain hands them out.”

Unfortunately, many of the standard rosaries distributed by chaplains don’t hold up so well in combat situations, because of weak strings or chains. They come in pastel pinks and blues, which clash against the tough exteriors of Navy SEALS, Army Rangers and trench-hardened Marines.

So Ristaino invented what a growing number of soldiers consider the mother of all rosaries—the Ranger Rosary, an ultra-tough model that comes in a variety of military colors. The beads are strung on what the military classifies as 550 cord: a tough, lightweight rope that connects soldiers to their parachutes.

The handmade rosaries are popular among soldiers, and military chaplains are requesting them faster than volunteers participating in the Ranger Rosary project can turn them out.

“While we have considerable numbers of other rosaries that have been very generously donated to us, I would like to assure a supply of the Ranger Rosaries here at Kirkuk, if possible, due to their advantages for the combat conditions in which our troops, especially our soldiers, find themselves,” wrote Father Pat Travers, a chaplain at Kirkuk Regional Air Base in northeastern Iraq, in a formal request for more Ranger Rosaries.

Ristaino, a father of 11, was inspired to invent the Ranger Rosary while attending the Marine Corps officer candidate school in 1985. He and other candidates were learning to “keep pace” as part of a land navigation course.

‘Catholics Ought To Be Good’

Each soldier was issued a pace-keeping contraption that was made out of heavy-duty plastic beads strung on parachute cord. After pacing 100 meters, each soldier would slide one of nine beads from the top of the string to the bottom.

“The instructor said, ‘You Catholics ought to be good at this,’ making a joke about rosary beads. Then it struck me,” Ristaino recalled. “Yes, heavy-duty beads and 550 cord would make good rosaries for combat zones.”

He sat on the idea until the late 1990s, when several of his children began learning to make mission rosaries under the instruction of volunteers from the Legion of Mary.

Ristaino got most of his children involved in making Ranger Rosaries, and many of their fellow students at St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis joined in. Catholic elementary-school students began making them, as did young adults who attended Theology on Tap. The Rosary Guild at St. Mary’s Parish in Annapolis began coordinating the rosary-making efforts of various groups, and soon several hundred rosaries were made and shipped to military chaplains for distribution in Bosnia.

Today, parish organizations, schoolchildren, rosary guilds and a variety of other Catholic organizations and individual volunteers throughout the United States are making hundreds of rosaries for distribution in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“These soldiers don’t just get a rosary, but a prayer partner as well,” said Kathy Feddor, 63, of Annapolis, who heads up the Ranger rosary ministry. She explained that people who make the rosaries also pray every day for the troops who receive them.

Feddor estimates that volunteers have raised money for and produced about 15,000 Ranger Rosaries by hand for American troops. Each heavy-duty rosary costs about $1 to produce, she said.

Forgotten Soldiers

Pat Evans, 70, was one Legion of Mary volunteer who taught Ristaino’s children to make rosaries.

“A lot of our soldiers in the Middle East say they almost feel forgotten, and it makes a huge difference when they get one of these rosaries,” Evans said. “If a soldier is fearful and has this rosary on his presence, he can ask Our Lady to ask the Lord for protection.”

Ristaino says the rosary is popular among soldiers for one reason.

“The strength you get from praying the rosary is remarkable,” Ristaino said. “People in the military learn that pretty quickly.”

That’s true, agreed Father Bill Devine, a military chaplain in Iraq.

“As I travel around, celebrating Mass or talking with Marines, I see the rosary hanging inside their vehicles, tanks and living quarters,” Father Devine wrote to Ranger Rosary volunteers. “They have it hung over their racks or on their flak jackets. Many wear them around their necks. They are an ever-constant reminder of the power of Our Lady’s intercession and protection on these young men.”

Wayne Laugesen writes from Boulder, Colorado.

You can learn how to make a purely corded rosary from Rosary Army.com (these are my favorite kinds of rosaries); you can request a rosary-making starter kit (at a grand rate of all of $2) from FNT Victory.net. I suggest after you've made the two or so that the kit enables you to make, you then attempt a rosary (with a knotted crucifix) out of 550 cord, as I'm not sure if 550 cord is rounded or not -- I forget. If it's not, it'll be more difficult.

What better way to help our soldiers in the field? Hooah Ranger Rosary!
posted by Lauren, 6:25 AM | link | 0 comments

{Wednesday, August 11, 2004  }


Reluctantly, I have given Cnytr a facelift (being a good Catholic, I am highly resistant to change. Thus, I don't do a lot of laundry...). I very much prefered my previous template of greens and tans and oversized brackets (still to be seen in the archives). However, for whatever reason it was entirely *not* working with Netscape and many other browsers. Hopefully I'll be able to fix the old template. In the meantime, this template may be viewed with either Netscape or Internet Explorer. I suggest Netscape and its popup blocker option. Rock on, Netscape.

P.s. Furthermore, I have added my favorite and most regularly-checked blogs to my "General Catholic blogs/links":
Zorak's e-pression (cracks me up sometimes)
Old Oligarch
Dappled Thinga (a priest in the Arlington diocese, and a classics major)
Mommentary (always good to have a mom's wise words)

These plus Fr. Bryce, Disputations, Shrine of the Holy Whapping, and Catholic Ragemonkey are the blogs I check on a daily basis. Hooah!
posted by Lauren, 2:11 AM | link | 2 comments

{Tuesday, August 10, 2004  }

Feast Days: St. Dominic and St. Lawrence

A detail from a Fra Angelico painting whose name I don't know

Should anyone be shocked that I posted nothing commemorating the feast of St. Dominic, I say mea culpa. I was actually scouring my webspace and my hard drive for two pictures I had drawn of St. Dominic. I like to imitate art, and I have one framed sketch I did of St. Dominic at prayer (I used to keep it on top of my liturgy of the hours so I would remember to at least do morning and night prayer) and one of St. Dominic adoring the feet of Christ as in the detail above, a piece of what is probably my favorite Fra Angelico painting.

However, since I was unable to find these, I did not post them. So here is what I ought to have posted on Sunday for the feast of St. Dominic. Truthfully, almost everything you'd never want to know about St. Dominic would be in that link, while a more detailed and less dry account may be found in The Life of St Dominic. Either way, I don't have anything I can add to the story of this great saint that one may not have heard before. I can, however, put forth a poke-in-the-ribs, the reason why I myself desire to be a Dominican:

As you may know, the Dominicans were formed by St. Dominic to combat the heresy of Albigensianism.
As you may also know, the Jesuits were formed by St. Ignatius to combat the heresy of Protestantism.
How many Albigensians have you met today?


And now ... for today's saint, my name-saint, St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr.

I feel fortunate to be named after such a saint whose story exhibits every virtue. When Pope Sixtus was being led away to his death, St. Lawrence approached him and said "where are you going without your servant?" The Pope responded that he would follow in three days.

A Fra Angelico [who incidentally was a Dominican] painting of the aforementioned, whose name I do not know

St. Lawrence is called "the keeper of the treasures of the Church", and indeed he was a great almsgiver and cared for the poor and the sick. When under Emperor Valerian he was commanded to show the treasures of the Church, he brought the Emperor the poor and the sick.

*pause for another unnamed Fra Angelico painting*

Enraged by this, Emperor Valerian ordered him to be burned upon a hot griddle. It is said that while he was being tortured, he responded "turn me over, I am quite well-done on this side!" (Or something to that effect)

From the Mass for the Octave (Apodosis) of Saint Laurence..., Old Sarum Rite Missal, 1998, Saint Hilarion Press:
O Laurence, thou David, thou great-martyr,
Thou mighty warrior and judgment-seat of the Emperor,
Thou didst set at nought the blood-stained hands
Of thy tormentors.
Thou wast a follower of Him Who is desirable and mighty,
Who with His hand alone can conquer the cruel despot’s strongholds,
And Whose love maketh His warriors holy,
And generous with their blood.
Insofar as thou sawest Him in the loss of this present life,
Thou didst scorn the emblems of the Cæsar, and laugh the judge’s threats to scorn.
In vain it is the headsman rendeth thy fingernails,
It is in vain the pyre’s burning thy gridiron doth enfold.
The impious man, the City’s prefect grieveth,
Conquered by a broiled fish—the food of Christ.
This honeycomb of the Lord rejoiceth, living with Him,
Rising again with Him, filled to the full with Christ.
O Laurence, wreathed with laurel amongst warriors,
O unconquerable David of the everlasting King:
Ever entreat with Him to pardon His lowest servants,
O martyr and mighty foot-soldier!

posted by Lauren, 11:17 PM | link | 1 comments

{Sunday, August 08, 2004  }

I should add...

I should add that I think "Let It Be" can be interpreted in thus a way because of the whole album of "Let It Be". The Beatles were getting away from their uber-synthesized sound of "Revolver" and "Magical Mystery Tour", and returning to their roots. Hence, a song they performed while they were The Quarry Men (before the Beatles) is included: "One After 909". It was kind of the beginning of the end for the Beatles, as Paul recognized in "The Long And Winding Road", and it was a "reflection" of their beginnings (i.e. "One After" etc), their current state ("Two Of Us", a sweet song about Paul and Linda... or wast it John and Yohko? Either way, it wasn't John and Paul), and their end. Part of their beginnings was their start in liverpool, and their family, hence Paul's Mother Mary. But hence also, Paul's Catholic roots.

I should say I like the Beatles because ... they're the Beatles. They have a little bit of everything, and they have so much *soul* (whatever that means). Not necessarily because their songs can be construed in a Catholic light, however that is a plus.

The end. (Love you love you love you love you love you love you ... and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.) <-- obscure reference to the song "The End"
posted by Lauren, 9:11 AM | link | 0 comments

{Saturday, August 07, 2004  }

A Catholic look at the Beatles

Yes, I confess. I'm biased. Just walk into my room and you'll already have passed a huge Beatles poster, a vintage Beatles button, and a hand-drawn picture of Ringo Starr, my favorite Beatle when I was 14 (Paul's my favorite now). Yes I know their birthdays and their deathdays, I have an inflatable electric guitar and a Beatle wig and all the movies and CDs and books except for "Magical Mystery Tour" and a few of the nontraditional CDs. I can sing "She Loves You" ("Sie Lieb Dich") and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in German ("Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand").

I'm a Beatle girl. I love them, yeah yeah yeah yeah.

In my, ahem, "maturity", I find other reasons to like the Beatles. As I was listening to my "1" CD (a CD I'm not entirely fond of because of it's nontraditionality), I remembered reading an article on Catholic Exchange a few years ago about the Catholicity of the Beatles. At the time, this seemed to me wishful thinking. As I remember it, it still seems to push the issue a bit. But, if one divorces the art from the author for a moment, I believe it is possible to come up with a perfectly legitimate Catholic argument for "Let it Be".

And as my dear friend JohnE was once wont to say, "unless images have meaning apart from some arbitrary signification created ex nihilo by the thinkers of the past, all the world’s “philosophers and schoolmen were mad together”, and the life’s work of all scholars is “no more than the comparison of different scribblings in the cells of a lunatic asylum.” (Charles Williams, The Place of the Lion, 118)." (I wonder if Lennon/McCartney qualify as "thinkers of the past"...)

When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom: let it be

The image of the blessed virgin Mary is obvious here, but I think something people may sometimes over look is the recurring phrase, the title, coupled with that image: let it be; or, as we say in Latin, "fiat". "Let it be (done unto me according to your will)", certainly one can say these words from Mary, sedes sapientiae, are wise words, "words of wisdom", or shall I say Wisdom.

Who cares whether or not McCartney/Lennon intended it, it's cool, isn't it? [G] I'm not advocating that they actually believed or knew what they wrote; sometimes art goes beyond the artist. In fact, I'm sure a truly great work of art does. I don't think Homer and Virgil could have had any idea of the impact of their works on modern civilization. (Note: I am not advocating that Paul Is Dead.)

*Ahem* I shall continue ...

From the aforementioned point of view, with "let it be" as the Fiat of Mary, the whole song becomes an example of Marian devotion. In our hour of darkness (in hora mortis nostrae), in our broken hearts, we acquiesce to the will of God and imitate Mary in her humble example, let it be, and do not fear.

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be

Now, my inclination here is to get weird and delve into the Marian and New Jerusalem images in Revelation for the cloudy night, the light that shines until tomorrow, and the recurring "let it be". But I won't.

It is true that Paul's mother's name was Mary. It is also true that she was Catholic. Furthermore, it is true that the McCartneys are Irish and Catholicism still runs strong in Irish blood (I believe a good deal of Paul's relatives are Catholic, and I know that some of John's were). In fact many residents of Liverpool were Irish Catholic immagrants, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo would have grown up around, if not steeped in, Catholicism. Now, by their actions later on in life I would say that it didn't reaaaaally take, or not overtly. I still think a strictly Catholic or Christian message can be found -- again, regardless of their intent -- in some of their songs. I think that one can take and run with The Word. How could it not be construed to apply to the Logos, the Word made flesh? Yesyesyes, it may be a kind of touchy-feely interpretation ("it's so fine, it's sunshine"?) but still... shutup. You're ruining my brilliance.

The beloved becoming like the lover ... we'll MAKE Beatles songs Christian!
posted by Lauren, 11:03 PM | link | 4 comments

{Thursday, August 05, 2004  }

Well, among all the trials and tribulations that keep flooding in, there is one ray of sunshine. I just got a letter from my good friend Abe who is now attending West Point (he's currently a New Cadet). That in itself is good news. The further goodness of the news includes the date for Acceptance day (when all the New Cadets are made Plebes... although that doesn't really mean anything if you're not familiar with West Point terminology etc). There is a very real possibility that I could *actually* go.

He's in "Easy-Deuce" (E2) for plebe year, one regiment off of where I know the most people (E3).

A highly of-interest paragraph:

"...I was also interested to hear my PL [Platoon Leader ~LB] talking about how one of his classmates, a former squadmate, had gotten discharged for back problems. Cadet Laird. [My ex boyfriend ~LB]
Also, I've been going every week to Mass at the Catholic Chapel, and singing with the choir, which is trying to recruit me. [I know lots of people in the choir... I "sang" with them a few times. ~LB] I've built a friendship with a priest, Fr. Costa, who's had many deep philosophical/theological discussions with me, both sides grilling. He also called the Bishop and got an okay for me to participate in the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, on a temporary basis. I'm still wrestling with these issues, and I don't know how it will fall. I am going to RCIA soon."

Yeeee! Abe's going to RCIA! *dances*

Abe has always rather been tottering on the edge of Catholicism, but wrestles with the typical issues, but only a few of them: the Pope, birth control, and predestination. That's all, really -- no Marian issues, no sacramental issues (which is probably why he's allowed to recieve them, though that's interesting; I've never heard of that "on a temporary basis", and I wonder what that means/implies. I trust the priests up at West Point, and the diocese in general seems to be trustworthy and therefore the bishop. I'll have to ask someone about that).


I hope that my father and I can go up for Acceptance day ... I think I'll spring it on him as a surprise. I'm sure he won't have any plans since New Cadets have no passes, and plebes have one pass for the whole semester if you bust your butt enough to get it. (pass = going off base) Just ... so he doesn't make plans to go, I don't know ... do something with his loser friends. ;) Just kidding, Abe forms awesome friendships.

Pray for Abe on his spiritual journey!
posted by Lauren, 1:59 PM | link | 0 comments


Bloggians --

Exactly four major crisises have arisen over the past week (three over the past two days), and it has come to the critical point where others may need every bit of my help possible, to the point of my physical absence from my house for extended periods of time (being days, weeks).

I say this so that my sudden disappearance (if indeed it comes down to that, as it very well may) will be no cause for alarm, and to *beg* your prayers. Right now, that will be the greatest aid that, from a distance, anyone can give.

God bless.
posted by Lauren, 1:27 AM | link | 0 comments

{Wednesday, August 04, 2004  }

posted by Lauren, 3:29 PM | link | 0 comments

Holy cow!

I dunno. I just wanted to use that image.
posted by Lauren, 12:35 PM | link | 0 comments

And now, some politics...

Quotes on John Kerry

Huzzah for people point out what "free speech" actually is

And ... have fun with bumper stickers (sometimes a little weird, but mostly good):

posted by Lauren, 12:19 PM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, August 03, 2004  }

It is often within the realm of girliness to shriek for joy/excitement at something.

This drew such a shriek from me.

Hello, my name is Lauren B, and I am a Catholic nerd.
posted by Lauren, 2:52 PM | link | 0 comments

Back in the world

I'm back from my short little stay at the monastery. It ... was beautiful! Having Mass every morning and the entire liturgy of the hours (and some of the little hours are my favorites) kept us in the chapel for 4-5 hours a day. That was amazing. In addition to the silence, solitude, short little presentations by the sisters on the Cistercian order, saints, spirituality, and monastic use of scripture, I have a much better idea about not only contemplative/monastic life but also the Cistercian order in general.

The retreat was both a retreat and an aid in discernment. As a reatreat it was perfect. As an aid in discernment, it's given me some small handle on what I think God may have in store for me: that is, probably not the cloistered life, and most likely not the Cistercian order (more probably in the Dominican order).

An ideal though possibly silly scenario would be as follows: a dorm (or two) at [insert perfect college here] for men and women in the third order (if one dorm; men on the bottom floor, women on the top; if two, men in one building and women in another). The dorms would be set up like a monastery with a chapel and cloisters (i.e: the halls; I considered a garden, but college students don't really have time for that sort of thing). Additionally, there would be silence in the cloister and a grand silence after compline and one or two communal meals a week where someone would read while the community ate. The three main hours would always be sung in the chapel (since third-order laypersons are bound to say the liturgy of the hours), and the little hours would be optional for whoever is around (some leeway must be given for class, but almost nobody has class at 7:30am, noon, and 9pm).

Obviously people in the dorm(s) wouldn't *really* be cloistered. The dorm(s) would be a place for serious prayer and study. That's not to say college students can't be college students -- go out and party (responsibly), the operational word being *out*. Play music, but not loudly after the grand silence. It shouldn't be a problem if one plays music with the doors closed or something. Stay up late, skip chapel, whatever, but since the student is also a third-order, they'd have to make up what they skip on their own. I just figured the community aspect of it would encourage more people to say the hours when the hours are supposed to be said.

This seems to me an ideal situation for those enamored with the monastic life though not called to it, and living as a lay third-order. It strikes me as something St. Rose of Lima or St. Catherine of Siena would do if they went to college (I mean, they wore the habit although they were tertiaries).

I wonder how possible, how practical this would be. It's almost such an odd thing that it would require a Catholic college with a large, diverse body of (Catholic) students.

I wonder if I could initiate something like this at Catholic U. I wonder if it would *last*. The housing would probably not be possible, or at least very difficult ... hm.

Furthermore... I wonder if something like this would survive in a non-college atmosphere, some boarding place/apartments/community/whatever for the third-order anybodys (i.e. Carmelites, Dominicans, etc; I realize they all have their own liturgy... we'll fight over whose would be the norm later) and their (immediate) family.

Who else thinks I'm nuts? Who thinks it's a good idea?

The other option, I suppose, would be to board at a convent, but not all convents have that kind of room, and it might be a violation of the cloister.

Just some thoughts.

This needs a HUGE practicality check.
posted by Lauren, 1:50 PM | link | 0 comments