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February 12, 2005


Darn, screwed up the layout. Also, I forgot to mention: St. Joseph is the patron saint of aviators.

Seizure-of-some-sort inducing.

rilkefan: I'm working on that one, actually...

Gee, just as I was smiling over hilzoy's piece on St. Joseph of Cupertino (I didn't know California had produced any saints ;) ), rilkefan comes along with that marvelous link to the latest leftists-hate-America rant (seconded by Instapundit, so it MUST be real!) - Ahh, nice to know that vile political invective is still alive and well in the blogosphere.
Maybe this should become the subject of a post from one of the (eloquent and articulate) ObWi regulars: for me, the recent (or IIJM?) escalation in hate-rhetoric from the right (spurred, inanely, by the obscure Ward Churchill's idiotic blather, and its equally unimportant aftermath) is more than just mildly disturbing. Or IS it just me?

And for comparison there is St. Christina the Astonishing, admirably written about here: http://www.cynthialarge.com/christina/christinapage2.html

I can also recommend the marvelous French writer Blaise Cendrars memoir, Sky, in which he documents his researches in a number of Catholic archives concerning the verified witnessings of flying saints, in astounding and delightful numbers.

It's not just you, Jay.

Reynolds continues to sink lower than I imagined was possible. The post by Ascher that he endorses is as disgusting and idiotic as Churchill's remarks, yet he continues, apparently, to be respected by the right blogosphere.

Perhaps one of the conservatives here can provide an explanation other than the highly uncomplimentary one I am thinking of.

Mini-survey: does the phrase "Do you know the way to San Jose" mean anything to people here? I got an earful about my ignorance the other day.


You deserve an earful. It's a Burt Bachrach song, which was a hit for Dionne Warwick. Great song. Lyrics are the words of someone who went to LA to be a star, and now wants to go home to San Jose.

".. in a week or maybe two they'll make you a star.
But all the stars, who never were, are parking cars
Or pumping gas.."

Do you know the way to San Jose -- a song of some sort?

Barry: thanks for the link to St. Christina the Astonishing, who was new to me. Highlights:

"Christina was born in the town of Saint-Trond in 1150. She was orphaned at fifteen, along with her two sisters, and worked as a shepherd, growing closer to God over the years. In the process of this contemplation, she seems to have neglected her body's need for sustenance; as Cantimpré writes, "she grew sick in body by virtue of the exercise of inward contemplation and she died." Later hagiographers attribute her apparent death to a seizure. In any case, she was carried to the church for the funeral Mass, where her first marvel was to occur. Right after the Agnus Dei, she flew up out of her coffin like a bird and perched herself in the rafters of the church (it was said that she desired to escape the stench of human sin). The priest finished the Mass with remarkable equanimity, and then made her come down (this is the scene depicted in my painting). She reported that she had been to Hell, and had recognized many people there. She was then shown Purgatory, and recognized many more. After this she was taken to Heaven where she was offered the choice of remaining with God, in one-ness with Him, or returning to earth in order to suffer the torments of the damned on behalf of the souls she had seen in Purgatory, who would then be released. She chose the unselfish course, and so startled her mourners by returning to life in the little church.

   Thereafter her life is reported as one astonishing event after another; she climbed trees to perch on the tiniest branches with the birds, she prayed balanced on hurdles or curled up into a ball, she would roll in fire and cry out in agony, yet remain un-roasted, she climbed into ovens and threw herself under mill-wheels, where she would be carried around in the water yet suffer no apparent injury. One time a priest, who did not know her, was so frightened by her appearance that he refused to give her Communion; she raced wildly through the streets, leaped into the Meuse, and swam away. Many thought she was possessed by devils, and tried to capture her, but she always managed to escape. A man once broke her leg in the process of subduing her, and tied her to a pillar for safety, yet she slipped out into the night and lived in the tree tops for some time, nourished by milk dripping from her virginal breasts. She survived as a homeless woman, dressed in rags, and generally terrifying people."

About Instapundit et al: I am considering a post, but there's also work etc...

I sometimes wonder if season 6 of Buffy wasn't in some ways influenced by the life of St. Christina the Astonishing.

"she would roll in fire and cry out in agony, yet remain un-roasted"

I love "un-roasted".

That is the cutest post, ever!

(it's like I'm in back the LAUSD school bus with the Gomez Sisters.)

What, no one mentioned Sally Fields yet?

Barry, thanks for the link. You beat me to it, actually. St. Christina the Astonishing has long been my favorite.

Okay, here's a slightly more political (but Catholic-church approved!) version of our flying St. Joseph, hastily translated from La Fleur des Saints:

Born at Copertino (Pouilles) in 1603, died at Osimo (Ancone) the 18 Sept. 1663.

From a very poor family, he was empoverished, awkward, considered a little simple. He looked a long time for a convent that would take him. The Francisican of Grotello finally accepted him on a trial basis, "to take care of their mule" (1625). The phenomena that make him so famous started the 4 Oct 1630, two and a half years after his sacramental ordination (march 1628). The most extraordinary was levitation, which would happen many times until his death. It was said that he flew towards a meeting with God. He left the ground like a bird and stayed suspended at the church "voute" [ceiling arch-thingies in a cathedral], at the ceiling of the refectory, or outside in plain air. Thousands of people were witnesses of the fact: his fellow priests, sometimes huge crowds, cardinals, ambassadors, the King of Poland, the Duke Jean-Frederic of Saxony [or whatever his Germanic name might be], who, because of this prodigy, converted to Catholicism from Lutherianism. Joseph had a run-in with the Inquisition, which examined him for three years (1636-1639) and found nothing to reproach in him. He nonetheless still suffered during his life, always suspected, persecuted, bounced from one convent to another to escape public curiosity.

The index of Patronage in this volume says nothing about aviators, but mentions that St. Joseph "comes to the aid of those who must take exams." He's the patron saint of midterms and finals! Awesome!

He's the patron saint of midterms and finals!

Given the number of times I've crashed and burned on my finals, this seems appropriate.

Any a semi-related note, anyone ever play the old computer game Darklands?

Also, on an unrelated note, I swore to myself that I'd mention in the next open thread that I finally heard someone use "whoretastic" as a positive adjective yesterday. Even funnier, it was a girl describing herself and the guy she was inviting to her Valentine's Day party.


No. That's Icarus you're thinking of. Though I guess he burned and crashed, rather than the other way around.

Well, as for me, in my finals, I have generally prayed for the possibility of flight, and I don't think the Catholic church has a saint of time-travel. Praying to Icarus for help on my exams doesn't seem plausible.

At any rate, Icarus is the name of my hard drive, which makes more sense to me, but YMMV.

Man, 29, off to Iraq, saying goodbye to his wife and 11 children.

rilkefan: I hope Jonah Goldberg is feeling reeeeeaaaaallly lame right about now.

I don't give a fig about how Goldberg feels - I just hope those kids get their father back.

I don't give a fig about how Goldberg feels - I just hope those kids get their father back.

You're absolutely right. I assumed it went without saying which, in this day and age, is a dangerous assumption.

No snideness intended. Actually I think that this guy is being irresponsible. And that this war puts lots of people in difficult or questionable positions which I feel little moral standing to judge (yet another problem with the whole morality concept).

rilkefan: why is the fact that you can't answer all questions about morality a problem with morality? (Just asking...) (Especially since, in this case, part of the inability probably stems from insufficient familiarity with the particular case, and morality, for all its charms, never promised to make us omniscient.)

Because the schanzbets get fungus if you do?

Uhh, maybe I shouldn't make pronouncements about the nature of things I don't think exist, but I was referring to the inability to make moral judgments without moral standing (which sort of makes the whole thing pointless from a practical standpoint), not the can't-answer-all-questions feature, which I know from Goedel is a common failing of stuff I do believe in.

Perhaps the man feels that if he has 11 children he has even more reason than the rest of us to take steps to protect the country?

"Praying to Icarus for help on my exams doesn't seem plausible."

You could pray to Ikaros that it should function properly and without abnormal splice variants. Then your leukocytes would be in good working order and keep you healthy while you studied for your exams...Assuming, of course, that genes respond to prayer.

"Icarus is the name of my hard drive"

Talk about tempting fate. Why not "Black Monday" instead?

Actually I think that this guy is being irresponsible.

warning -- rant incoming:
I agree. I saw that story on Good Morning America. Couric interviewed the family. (But first, watch the whole family take their first airplane ride! How Cute!)
The story makes me sick. Turn it around -- what if the mother was a trained paramedic and decided that it was her duty to serve and she got called up. Would anyone support that decision? Half their kids are under the age of eight. Did those kids ask to be born? Is it too much of a commitment for BOTH PARENTS to stick around until they are, say, the mature age of twelve or something?

ObDisclosure: I was orphaned at a young age so I may be seeing this through the Lens of Abandonment Issues.

"Just knowing the story of Saint Joseph of Cupertino puts both Silicon Valley and petit mal epilepsy in a whole new light. Enjoy."

Petit Mal epilepsy? Why go halfways - go Grand Mal and scare the s**t out of your friends and family when you have a seizure. Cool visions too, if you're lucky.* Mind you, the depletion of neurotransmitters mean you'll come out of it with the close equivalent of a raging hangover and your body (because of the spasms) will feel like God crushed you in his fist, but in terms of theatrics, it's much more effective than some wimpy tempest-in-a-temporal lobe.

*So much so that when I had a relapse of epilepsy after 15-odd years, my primary reaction wasn't shock or fear, but primarily being bummed-out that I had to suffer through the post-ictalic state and all the damn checkups without getting a vivid vision-type experience out of it. Mind you, my wife still refers to the seizure as "demonic possession", so it still had some dramatic impact.

there will be a comic book about joseph of cupertino, drawn by me and hitting the north american market in december. i don't want to spam your blog with any commercial details, so if anyone is interested in purchasing it just mail me and i'll give you the previews order code.

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