Friday, March 24, 2017

As Confirmed by Guinness

The fellow whom you can barely see in the midst of the mist? He rode what is now recognized as a biggest wave ever surfed. It's in Nazare, Portugal.

Lenten Wave #24

"I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation."  - John Wesley

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sacred Heart Church in Wimbledon

Look at that rood screen.

Gloucester Cathedral

As a cleric, you know you've arrived when you're assigned one of those stalls with its own illumination.

Lenten Wave #20

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks. - Phillips Brooks

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Journey of Guitar Solo (THE INSTRUMENTALS - Episode 1)

Good News

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall 3 Percent 

Not to make Episcopal heads explode, but most of this is due to...fracking.

Lenten Wave #19

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Two Blocks from Where I Grew Up; a Block from Where My Sister Works

Man shot and killed by Euclid police did not have weapon

Four Blocks from the House in Which I Grew Up, in the Park Where I Would Throw a Ball with My Dad

Teen charged as adult in killing at Euclid anti-violence rally

In Science Fiction Stories, This is When the Horror Begins

Bots Are Learning to Chat in Their Own Language


March 17th is also the feast of St Gertrude of Nivelles, the patron saint of cats, who protects against rats & mental illness.

The Feast of the Great Scotsman

St. Patrick, of course. We prefer to spell it Padraic, just so you know.  I also understand he had something to do with Ireland.

[I know there are those who will tell you that he was English, but the border that existed in the area from which he was kidnapped was indistinct in Padraic's day and, let's face it, given his intelligence, fortitude, and canniness, he really seems much more Scots.] 

Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Outside of St Patrick's Cathedral in my fire department uniform during the St. Patrick's Day parade with one of the many people from Glasgow who wanted to get their picture taken with a Yank wearing a Glasgow Celtic FC scarf. He may have been slightly inebriated. "C'mon the Hoops!"

Lenten Wave #17

The Lorica of St. Patrick

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lenten Wave #16

You visit the earth, and water it. You greatly enrich it.
The river of God is full of water. You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows. You level its ridges.
You soften it with showers. You bless it with a crop. - Psalm 65:9-10

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

No Surprise, Really

Alcohol and caffeine created civilization

If They Were Musicians, It Would Be So They Could Get Better Gigs

Humpback Whales Are Forming Mysterious 'Super-Groups', and No One Can Explain 

Lenten Wave #15

"The desert is beautiful," the little prince added. And that was true. I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs and gleams.... "What makes the desert beautiful," said the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well...."

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944), The Little Prince

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Editorial Note

Sometime in the last few days, The Coracle passed the 300,000 mark in the number of individual views of the page.

It Was Only a Matter of Time

Massive Recall Issued for Ineffective “COEXIST” Bumper Stickers

[Older] Archaeological News

Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet

As I often note in the archaeology classes I teach, most of the discoveries of the late 20th/early 21st centuries have been due to happenstance, coincidence, or human foible.  Rarely are these discoveries the result of carefully planned expeditions.

Lenten Wave #12

"Nothing visible is eternal." —St. Ignatius of Antioch

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Yes, and I Work for One or Two of Them

Americans have lost faith in institutions: Everything about modern life works against community and trust.

Christian Students Often Tell Me of the Subterranean Practice of Their Faith. This Explains Much.

Selective private colleges have become religious schools. The religion in question is not Methodism or Catholicism but an extreme version of the belief system of the liberal elite: the liberal professional, managerial, and creative classes, which provide a large majority of students enrolled at such places and an even larger majority of faculty and administrators who work at them. To attend those institutions is to be socialized, and not infrequently, indoctrinated into that religion….

What does it mean to say that these institutions are religious schools? First, that they possess a dogma, unwritten but understood by all: a set of “correct” opinions and beliefs, or at best, a narrow range within which disagreement is permitted. There is a right way to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause. Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern. The presiding presence is Michel Foucault, with his theories of power, discourse, and the social construction of the self, who plays the same role on the left as Marx once did. The fundamental questions that a college education ought to raise—questions of individual and collective virtue, of what it means to be a good person and a good community—are understood to have been settled. The assumption, on elite college campuses, is that we are already in full possession of the moral truth. This is a religious attitude. It is certainly not a scholarly or intellectual attitude.

Lenten Wave #11

"Seek not to understand that you may believe, but to believe that you may understand." —St. Augustine


I mention from time to time the aggressive chickens that used to live at the family farm and how it was generally the youngest of the cousins, once he or she was five or so, who would be in charge of them.  The chickens were psychotic, of course.  I still have small scars on my forearms from their pecking.  I remember being thankful for younger cousins to whom I could surrender the duty.

Usually, the response to these memories from the Shemanese (Connecticut Caucasians) is to inform me that the chickens they had as children were never that way, that they always had good relations with them, etc.

(I miss the tribe and The Big Flat, sometimes.  Tribal people are rarely know-it-alls.  It's not considered a virtue.)

Of course, the chickens they're describing tend to be australopes or brahmas, who are docile fowl, and not RIR, leghorns, or, especially, NHR, that have a different and lower regard towards humans, cattle, and other chickens.  They're positively prehistoric.  One can never explain to a shemanese that Indian chickens on the frontier who live in flocks of hundreds have a different attitude than the handful of egg-layers that are kept basically as family pets.

Which is why I read this brief article with interest:

The Surprising Lessons My Family Learned from Raising Chickens

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Favorite Expression of the Month

Last month it was "sparks debate", which translates into, "What journalists are talking about to one another but no one else is really all that interested in".

This month's is "I can envision a scenario".  Well, we all can, of course.  My granddaughter is particularly good with "envisioning scenarios" when she's playing with her dolls.  It translates into, "I can make up stuff if there is nothing else to go on".  I've heard it from politicians, journalists, and fellow clergy during the last fortnight, in each case the "envisioned scenario", or made up stuff, neatly ratifies a point they're trying to make for which there is no empirical evidence.

Diamond Ring from Rome, circa 400 A.D.

Forgotten (Recent) History

Days of Rage is important, because this stuff is forgotten and it shouldn’t be. The 1970s underground wasn’t small. It was hundreds of people becoming urban guerrillas. Bombing buildings: the Pentagon, the Capitol, courthouses, restaurants, corporations. Robbing banks. Assassinating police. People really thought that revolution was imminent, and thought violence would bring it about. 

One thing that Burrough returns to in Days of Rage, over and over and over, is how forgotten so much of this stuff is. Puerto Rican separatists bombed NYC like 300 times, killed people, shot up Congress, tried to kill POTUS (Truman). Nobody remembers it.

Although, I would hasten to point out to the reviewer that not all of us have forgotten this.  In fact, if the reviewer 's teachers had been worthwhile, he would have known about it, too.

Archaeological News

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

This is Against the Law?

A Connecticut man’s distaste for the Kardashians has landed him in jail.Carl Puia, 74, was arrested on Monday for destroying several of Kim Kardashian’s “Selfish” books at a Barnes & Noble in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

 Connecticut is rapidly approaching Florida and Ohio in weird.

'Bout Time

Cursive Writing Is Making a Much-Needed Comeback in Schools

Other than its absence is favored by lazy teachers, why did it ever get dropped?

Lenten Wave #8

"A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water." - Proverbs 11:25

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lenten Wave #7

"Water is also one of the four elements, the most beautiful of God's creations. It is both wet and cold, heavy, and with a tendency to descend, and flows with great readiness. It is this the Holy Scripture has in view when it says, "And the darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Water, then, is the most beautiful element and rich in usefulness, and purifies from all filth, and not only from the filth of the body but from that of the soul, if it should have received the grace of the Spirit."  -John of Damascus

Monday, March 6, 2017

There's Something Kinda "Cleveland" about This

Cavaliers lose new centre Andrew Bogut 1 minute into debut

In Reference to an Earlier Post

Jeanne, a long-time reader of The Coracle, in response to our oft-stated desire for a flying car, forwards this link:  The Aerocar

It also features early flying car champion, Hollywood's Bob Cummings.  In addition to starring in the first Hitchcock movie I ever saw [The Saboteur], and employing a staunch Episcopalian in one of his TV shows [Ann B. Davis], he also starred in the first of the Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello surf/beach movies, 1963's Beach Party.

The New Philistines

Ahmari was raised in Iran while the “cultural revolution” busied itself purging the academy and cultural institutions of anyone who might “create the wrong kind of art, or hold the wrong opinion about [it].” The revolutionary vanguard spent its time in libraries blacking out images of nudes. “That a theocratic police state could be this afraid of Renaissance nudes in books taught me early on about the power of great art and its connection to human freedom,” writes Ahmari.

But what has that to do with the art of the West, where artists are free to create as they please, and critics to write what they want? For well over a hundred years the smashing of traditional forms has become business as usual in the world of high art and, as for subject matter, anything goes. Only of late has a retraction of freedoms been promulgated, and – setting aside reactionary religious forces such as Islamism – this urge to censor and restrict has come from inside the art community itself, which consistently seeks to impose a worldview that aligns with prevailing theories of social justice.

Lenten Wave #6

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." - Thomas Merton

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Things are Just Fine in Universities, I See

College Protestors Send Professor to the ER
If students (and especially professors, who really ought to know better) want to criticize an author, they should read what he’s written first. That so many clearly did not speaks to the deteriorating academic rigor of colleges today. If college students are not internalizing the need to engage primary sources, what exactly are they learning in their undergraduate years? The ideology that has taken hold of academia is intellectually lazy and thus leads to sloppy, emotion-driven conclusions. Murray may be deeply unsettling and even terrifying to some. We’ll take students at their word about such subjective matters. But, objectively, a Charles Murray lecture does not pose a literal threat to anyone’s existence. That is lunacy. It’s also genuinely scary; it’s this line of thought that led some hot-headed protestors to justify physically assaulting Murray and Stanger. This is why it won’t be enough for professors and administrators merely to defend open discourse in vague, principled terms. They need to engage students (and clueless, supportive faculty) in a debate about deeper substance.

I Knew a School Chaplain Who Lead a Funeral for a Kindergarten's Hamster, but It was Not Even Close to This

Schoolchildren in Scotland Gave Their Goldfish a Viking Funeral

Lenten Wave #4

"A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire." - Thomas Merton

Friday, March 3, 2017

Been There

Pastor Prays For Sweet Embrace Of Death As Leadership Meeting Nears Fifth Hour
“Take me now, Father God. I am ready,” Wesley whispered almost inaudibly as other church leaders debated about the overuse of the copy machine. “I listened intently to the discussion about the scheduling conflict between Sunday’s potluck and the church softball game. I endured the complaints about the temperature in the sanctuary. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Heck, I "Try" It Every Sunday Morning

Try spontaneous prose at workshop 

I know it looks like the sermons I preach are extemporaneous, but there's a lot of work necessary to make something look easy.  I prefer not to work from text or extensive, or any, notes as I like having eye contact with the people to whom I'm speaking.  It's more intimate that way and gives me the chance to make adjustments to the sermon based on the attentiveness of the congregation.

Folks, if you think you're anonymous while sitting in the pews, that's a misconception.  The preacher sees all of you.  Especially in smaller congregations, the preacher can see you as well as you can see the preacher.  When eyes wander or cloud over, it's time to either get on to the next point or bring the sermon to a conclusion.  When eyes are locked on you and there is a quietness to the congregation, the sermon is working.

Lenten Wave #3

"When sacrifice is present and respected, life redeems itself; it becomes an object of contemplation, something that 'bears looking at.'" - Roger Scruton.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Yep, Still Missing Australia

Australian man pleads guilty to driving motorized cooler while drunk

Lenten Wave #1

There is a venerable surfing expression: "You learn something from every wave".  Whether the wave is big or small, junky or sublime, there is always something that may be gleaned.  During the season of Lent, we again offer a quotation to serve as an aid in daily meditation.  We hope that one may learn something from every quote.  Each of the daily quotations is illustrated with a photo of waves in their rich variance.

Today's quotation is from Alan Watts, who was, before he become the premier apologist of Eastern religion in the United States, an Episcopal priest:

"Religion is not a department of life; it is something that enters into the whole of it."