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June 07, 2014


Since this is an open thread, I can't exactly be OT, but I'm about to go off on a real tangent here.

Lately I've been going through some of my notes from the Philippine National Archives of forty years ago. I've pieced together an incident from 1838 - "The Curious Case of the Musicians Who Played And Sang (Illegally) in the Night" - and written up a summary of it, just because. The research is solid, but its scholarly significance is moot, as is its tastefulness, since it includes the lyrics (in Spanish and English) of a bawdy anti-clerical song of the time. The paper runs 4300 words or so, i.e., too long to post directly here, I imagine.

So I have just posted this on academia.edu under the name Norman Owen and the title "Camarines Sur 1838." I'm not sure exactly how to access it, but I bet any of you who are interested can figure it out. Should this happen, I'll be happy to answer questions here.

Looking at the lyrics, it reminds of a drinking song I learned in Spain that consisted of similar verses and a chorus, and in singing it, a person would take the lead and come up with a witty verse (which everyone would echo the last two syllables of each line) followed by everyone singing the chorus. In fact, the verses seem to scan to the melody that I remember. Here's an example (not sure if I have the spelling right after more than 2 decades) with the translation

Las chica de mi urba [urba] The girls of my village
tiene braja de hojalata [lata] Have underwear made of tin
mais que no lo sabe [sabe] But what they don't know
jo tengo abrelata Is I have a tin-opener

And the chorus was this song (though I think the last line was replaced by something suitably scatological)
Carrascal Carrascal ¡qué bonita serenata!
Carrascal Carrascal que me estás dando la lata*

The paper also reminds me that Spaniards (and Portuguese) are or at least used to be in the habit of taking a walk after a meal, a habit that extends to when they are the majority on planes, something I learned taking a few Iberia flights. After the meal, everyone gets up and makes a circuit up and down the aisle. Habits of the home country die hard, it seems.

Also, I note this about Naga city from Wikipedia

The bishops of Cáceres occupied a unique place in the Philippine Catholic hierarchy during most of the Spanish regime. By virtue of the papal bull of Gregory XIII, ecclesiastical cases originating in the Spanish East Indies, which ordinarily were appealable to the Pope, were ordered to be terminated there and no longer elevated to Rome. Decisions of bishops were made appealable to the archbishop and those of the latter to the bishop of the nearest see. Thus, in the Philippines, the decisions of the Archbishop of Manila were subject to review by the Bishop of Cáceres whose jurisdiction then extended from the whole Bicol region, the island-province of Marinduque and the present-day Aurora, which was once part of the former Tayabas province, which is now the province of Quezon. In this sense, bishops of Bikol were delegates of the Pope and could be considered primates of the Church of the Philippines.

This was the reason why bishops of Cáceres and archbishops of Manila were sometimes engaged in interesting controversies in the sensational Naga case and in such issues as canonical visitation and the secularization of the parishes. As papal delegate, Bishop Francisco Gaínza, then concurrent bishop of Cáceres, sat in the special ecclesiastical tribunal which passed upon the civil authorities' petition to divest Fathers Burgos, Gómez, and Zamora of their priestly dignity. Gaínza did not only refuse the petition but also urged their pardon.

Perhaps some relation between the fact that Naga is the terminus for ecclesiastical cases that so much of the testimony concerns the blasphemous nature of the lyrics?

Thanks, LJ, I hadn't seen those stories. It's ludicrous, but entirely predictable, that politicians are vying for "most concerned about a secret muslim takeover of secondary schools".

Sadly, the winner of that award probably has a bright political future ahead.

As an aside, the title "The Curious Case of the Musicians Who Played And Sang (Illegally) in the Night" reminded me of a time I was stuck in a long (I think 3 hrs, all told) customs line to re-enter the states.

At some point, someone started playing a mournful prison tune on a harmonica. To which one of the CBP agents who was walking the line yelled: No music in customs!

The harmonica stopped, but people laughed for awhile.

Seems the Bundy Ranch armed desperadoes have been turning on each other with threats of deadly force:


Golly, I hope no one gets hurt.


It looks like Charles Pierce's buddy Lt. Col Robert C. Bateman is coming home from years of military service abroad to kick the NRA's anti-American, Republican vermin murderous butt.

He's taking appointments to kick asses one at a time.

Anyone here who thinks they are up to it should email him and set up a time for your own personal ass-kicking.

At the rate, the haters are lining up, you'll have time to gun up for your ten-minute ass kicking.

He says you can bring both First and Second Amendment protection with you, in case you need both.


everyone who is surprised that the NV cop killers were Bundy enthusiasts, raise your hand. and then slap yourself with it.

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