Monthly Archives: June 2012

If Nothing is Said, Nothing Will Change

So this is going to be a seven-point list to keep things on track, but I’m not going to link it to 7 Quick Takes because it’s really for people who know me in person… Total strangers in Sweden and Australia and Ireland don’t need to inadvertently read this dump of misery. Unless they know someone who’s in the same boat, I guess.

Anyway this is all about how I’ve been for the past few months.

1. Let’s start with a song.

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Didn’t Know Ecclesiastes Included a Time for Trolling, Did You?

One of my friends who, among other things, has suspected that he is completely tone deaf, posted this on Facebook:

[Friend’s name] is learning Gregorian Chant. We’re all gonna die in a gutter…

At first there was just some pleasant back and forth through which I happily found out that he was doing this through our local FSSP parish where one of my other friends is already in the schola. Anyway, the best part is when someone else commented, ” ‘We’re all gonna die in a gutter…’ I’ve never heard this particular Gregorian chant.”

I rubbed my hands together in glee. Well, I would have, if I were that stereotypical, and if my hands weren’t already busy pulling out my inestimably useful copy of 201 Latin Verbs Fully Conjugated in All the Tenses. (Yes, it’s a real book, and that really is its title.)

So together with William Whitaker’s Words and a heavy dose of Wikipedia, I put on my best troll hat (the one with all the bells) and replied thusly:

Oh [commenter], you’re missing out. “Cunctus in fossa moriemur”, composed in the late 1340s, supposedly by a novice monk known for his rather unstable emotional outlook. Somewhat of a Cassandra of his time, legend has it he fled the abbey just a few months prior to, in fact, all the other occupants dying and being flung into a gutter to be carted away.

After becoming rather obscure in later years, largely due to its complicated musical structure and general dreary theme (one of five extant copies is simply scribbled out with the word MAESISSIMUS inked over the title), it enjoyed a short-lived revival in the late 1500s under Queen Elizabeth’s repressive reign in England, but proved to be much more popular and long-lasting in Ireland during the Cromwellian invasion and conquest.

Thereafter, it cropped up in limited instances particularly in the United States, such as during the anti-Catholic policies of the early American colonies, the persecution of Catholics in the 1840s, and the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan. Some historians seek to explain this peculiar American Catholic affinity for this particular chant by pointing out the relatively dramatic whininess of the idealistic American culture as opposed to the grimmer nature of Old World Catholics who, by and large, were far more accustomed to and therefore fatalistically accepting of a hard life ended by a knife, a club, or a rope.

History lesson aside, I think it’s very interesting that [friend] is learning Cunctus in fossa moriemur at [FSSP parish]. I wonder if it’s going to regain popularity now that all this fussing in Washington, as well as murders and torchings of Catholics and their churches in the rest of the world, seems to be on the rise.


7 Quick Takes: Picking Up the Gauntlet

In the last 7 Quick Takes host post*, Jen expressed wonderment that so many other Quick Takes writers felt obligated to have some kind of theme tying together their points, whereas she usually defaulted to a random array. Well, today I have no theme unless it is the meta-theme of being random.

1. Assumption of validity in marriage between two baptized persons, specifically if they are both Catholics getting married in the Church after the full battery of marriage prep.

It seems to me like validity ought to be assumed because if anyone in charge knew something which is grounds for a marriage not being valid, they should have done something about it, investigated its veracity at least, and if it’s true, prevented the marriage ceremony from happening in the first place. Otherwise it’s simulating a sacrament, which is seriously bad news. However, if everyone who observed with authority thought it was valid, and the couple thought it was valid, why then should validity not be assumed? It’s like people are afraid of telling couples that maybe they shouldn’t be getting married until they fix something or other. When we were going through marriage prep, I even asked – because I was curious – whether a priest who knew that there existed something which would render a marriage invalid would refuse to witness the ceremony. After some hemming, hawing, and jargon, the answer was no. Well that seems pretty irresponsible and devil-may-care to me. No wonder the US has such a horrible number of marriages being declared null.

2. Watermelon cake batter, and the strangeness that Jello can produce.

I had a box of watermelon Jello hanging out in the pantry for… a long time. I wound up making the Taste of Home watermelon Jello cake (with milk instead of water, strawberry yogurt in place of canola oil, and homemade cream cheese frosting). I put off prepping the cake pans until I had already mixed the batter, though, so as the Jello sat, it did some interesting things to the texture. It started acting almost like really warm silly putty – pulling flat instead of separating like when you scoop a spoonful of normal batter, and stringing. It was like a very soft candy. Tripped me out a little bit. Fortunately it baked into a normal looking cake.

Sadly, no one wants to help me eat it, so it’s in the freezer (no room in the fridge) until I find where I put my darn self-control.

3. Parental overshare, particularly on social media.

I absolutely do not understand how parents these days reveal the most private, intimate, disgusting, who-wants-to-know-that information about their children to the world at large. I do not want to see your child’s circumcision marks or evidence of remaining intact. I do not want a blow by blow description of how much vomiting the flu can produce. I do not want to see photographs of your child’s diaper blowout. I do not want to hear about what shapes your child can produce in the potty. How is this acceptable conversation? Would any of these parents share the same information about themselves, their spouse, or their best friend? Why are children considered fair game, as though they are animals who will never be the wiser? And why on earth should anyone else be expected to find this fascinating?

4. Those dreadful car commercials.

I don’t remember what car they were for, but they’re the two where in one the guy asks the girl to marry him, and in the other the girl asks the guy if they can have a baby. In both, the ask-ees are taken aback and list off all these huge life goals they want to accomplish before getting married or having a baby. I don’t mean things which reasonable people can see as prudent, like “becoming employed” or “buying a house”, but things like “taking a road trip with my friends” or “building a fighting robot”. It contains in less than one minute a summation of one of the biggest problems in the 20-35 (or so) age demographic these days. People think that their lives with be over once they get married and have a kid. Nothing will be left but stodgy, lousy, boring, unremittingly difficult ennui. There will be no time or energy, or eventually inclination, to do anything fun or exciting. Certainly it will be impossible to do anything fun or exciting with one’s spouse or children. What a load of selfish crock.

5. Musical tastes of the next generation.

Baby squirms UP my uterus AWAY from the laptop quietly playing Air Supply. Seriously? You don’t like Air Supply?? You are no child of ours. How did you get here?

6.A lot of useless arguing is produced when people don’t define their terms up front.

The all-importance of defining one’s terms is especially brought to light in modesty debates, because most people never give a concrete definition to modesty. Also, I think that the guideline of modesty which is usually proffered – “that which does not attract attention to myself” is one of the the most ridiculous, impractical, self-righteous pseudo-definitions I have ever heard.

7.  We are well on our way towards killing another plant.

Someday we will have a house with a real garden and shade over it so the plants will not be sun-deprived, burn to death, or be over- or under-watered. Also, then those annoying tiny bugs will be outside instead of in here.


(7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jen Fulwiler of Conversion Diary.)



*Teehee! It rhymes.