Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Congratulations! Elanor is born!

Abecedarius Rex has welcomed the birth of his daughter Elanor! God bless you, Will! What a beautiful name:
When his eyes were in turn uncovered, Frodo looked up and caught his breath. They were standing in an open space. To the left stood a great mound, covered with a sward of grass as green as Spring-time in the Elder Days. Upon it, as a double crown, grew two circles of trees: the outer had bark of snowy white, and were leafless but beautiful in their shapely nakedness; the inner were mallorn-trees of great height, still arrayed in pale gold. High amid the branches of a towering tree that stood in the centre of all there gleamed a white flet. At the feet of the trees, and all about the green hillsides the grass was studded with small golden flowers shaped like stars. Among them, nodding in slender stalks, were other flowers, white and palest green: they glimmered as a mist amid the rich hue of the grass. Over all the sky was blue, and the sun of afternoon glowed upon the hill and cast long green shadoes beneath the trees.

"Behold! You are come to Cerin Amroth," said Haldir. "For this is the heart of the ancient realm as it was long ago, and here is the mound of Amroth, where in happier days his high house was built. Here ever bloom the winter flowers in the unfading grass: the yellow
elanor, and the pale niphredil. Here we will stay a while, and come to the city of the Galadhrim at dusk."
At the hill's foot Frodo found Aragorn, standing still and silent as a tree; but in his hand was a small golden bloom of elanor, and a light was in his eyes. He was wrapped in some fair memory: and as Frodo looked at him he knew that he beheld things as they once had been in this same place. For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see. Arwen vanimelda, namarië! he said, and then he drew a breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.

"Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth," he said, "and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come with me!" And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man.

These few pages, at a mere wayside for the Fellowship, evokes in me what C.S. Lewis called Joy, or the longing Sensucht. Lewis' Joy was an intense longing for the good, true and beautiful that could never be fully satisfied. But that longing was itself more wonderful than the fulfillment of any other lesser desire. It is a virtue of the high elves that they live at once in two states, Middle Earth and Aman, the Blessed Realm. The mere longing for the light of their true home across the sea provides the elves with all the refreshment they need in the twilight of Middle Earth. Hence even Legolas (who was not of the Noldor) can retreat into his mind and longing for lands far away, forgoing sleep. Cerin Amroth embodies that longing, as does Aragorn's day-dream of Arwen, even though we don't know exactly what he is remembering.
"Well, Fr. Frodo," he said. "I'm in a bit of a fix. Rose and me had settled to call him Frodo, with your leave; but it's not him, it's her. Though as pretty a maidchild as any one could hope for, taking after Rose more than me, luckily. So we don't know what to do."

"Well, Sam," said Frodo, "what's wrong with the old customs? Choose a flower name like Rose. Half the maidchildren in the Shire are called by such names, and what could be better?"

"I suppose you're right, Mr. Frodo," said Sam. "I've heard some beautiful names on my travels, but I suppose they're a bit too grand for daily wear and tear, as you might say. The Gaffer, he says: 'Make it short, and then you won't have to cut it short before you can use it.' But if it's to be a flower-name, then I don't trouble about the length: it must be a beautiful name, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still."

Frodo thought for a moment. "Well, Sam, what about
elanor, the sun-star, you remember the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlórien?"

"You're right again, Mr. Frodo!" said Sam delighted. "That's what I wanted."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Email from U of M President Robert Bruininks

I received today this brief email from President Bruininks:

Dear Mr. Fisher:

Thank you for sharing your concerns. It is important to understand that
the views expressed by biology Professor Paul Myers were expressed on
his personal blog and do not reflect those of the University of
Minnesota, Morris, or the University of Minnesota system. Initially,
there was a link to that personal blog from a University Web site. This
link was inconsistent with University Web policy, and per that policy,
the link was deactivated.

We pride ourselves on providing a nurturing environment for students of
diverse beliefs, backgrounds, and perspectives. We are firmly committed
to ensuring a respectful environment for discourse. I hope you will
continue to support the University of Minnesota.

Sincerely,


Robert H. Bruininks
President

Here was my counter-reply:

Dear President Bruininks:

Thank you for your reply. As I said in my first letter, it is not the views expressed on Prof. Myers blog that I find worthy of discipline. I believe professors should continue in their freedom to express personal opinions when not representing the University. However, Prof. Myers actions are what I find to be unacceptable. He encouraged people to sneak into a Catholic Church and steal the Holy Eucharist. When a Sacred Host was sent to him he publicly defaced the Sacrament and bragged about how stupid people were to be offended by what he did. This hateful action is what merits condemnation from your institution and the dismissal of Prof. Myers.

Students of the University of Minnesota deserve better teachers and mentors than Prof. Paul Myers.

Sincerely,
Mr. Dan Fisher
B.S. Physics, 2002
Univ. of MN, Institute of Technology

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Sin" is breaking whose law again?

Keith Pavlischek at First Things:
From the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Q. 14. What is sin? A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

From the Baltimore Catechism:
Q. 278. What is actual sin? A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God.

From Senator Obama:
Q. Do you believe in sin? OBAMA: Yes. Q. What is sin? OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.

Not that there is anything to the chatter about Senator Obama’s “Messiah complex,” mind you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Report on Mpls Closing of Dunkin Donuts FROM THE FUTURE!

HA! I love puns. Pun rule #1: Never apologize, never explain.

From Lileks:
Perhaps you've read rapturous stories about the return of Dunkin' Donuts to the Twin Cities. Wow! Donuts? And coffee? Where do we queue?

It's good news -- but on the other hand, our time-travel news-retrieval system has produced this dispatch from the future:

(Mpls) Aug. 10, 2013: The last Dunkin' Donuts closed today, quietly closing out an era that began with great fanfare in 2008 when the company returned to the Twin Cities market after five years.

"We see an opportunity," a company spokesman had said, citing the departure of Starbucks and Krispy Kreme, which "not only left a hole in the area's donut options but had sprinkled the area with empty stores. I'd give you some dry business reasons, but your eyes would glaze over," he said, adding "you understand those are donut puns, right? Because you're not smiling."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Vespers Update - Assumption of the BVM

You can now access the chanted Sunday Vespers booklets for Ordinary Time and Advent in the "Liturgy of the Hours" links list at the left. These booklets include all the prayers for II Vespers on Sundays except the proper Magnificat antiphons and concluding prayers (too much to type). I also include in each booklet at the end the traditional Marian anthem usually sung after Night Prayer - Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina Caelorum, Regina Caeli, or Salve Regina.

I'm still working on getting this prayer started in my parish, but that hasn't stopped me from putting together a booklet for the upcoming Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary! Feasts are missing from my other booklets, so I figured I'd arrange them individually as I go for future use. Here is my chanted Assumption booklet for II Vespers. Summer is great. :)

Happy praying!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

O God, come to my assistance - Sunday Vespers

Perhaps I mentioned at some point my ongoing project to set a simply chanted Sunday Vespers to sing weekly at my parish? I went about typing the texts and setting music in the hopes that the more I had done before pitching it to our pastor and choir director the more likely it'd be to get started. I stalled for a while, stuck on the strange canticle from Revelation. But thanks to a tip from this discussion on the Musica Sacra forums, I was able to move ahead and finish the main part of the project (minus readings and propers for Advent, Lent and Easter).

Here is the result presented for review: (See edited links at bottom).

If you are so inclined, could you offer feedback? Specifically regarding the pointing of the antiphons and psalms:

1) Are any of the chant tones really ugly or awkward?

2) I used the simple method employed by the editors of the Mundelein Psalter. The italic syllable is where you first change pitch. Each note after the change corresponds to one syllable with any extras falling on the last note. And also the final note should correspond to the final accented syllable in the phrase. I had some difficulties following this last rule with the antiphons for Psalm 110. Making the final syllable line up with the last note over-emphasized an insignificant word or awkward syllable.

3) I originally wanted to keep the "official" text for everything. For the Magnificat (Canticle of Mary) the traditional tone I used works poorly. I have a better arrangement from The Hymnal (1940) but it uses King James English. It's beautiful, but not "official." I'm leaning toward using the different translation unless someone can offer a way to fix my version.

As a beneficial aside, I also set the English translations of two traditional hymns from the Divine Office in square notes. They look nice and are wonderful to sing. Feel free to use and distribute these as you like (all text and music is common domain):

Lucis Creator optime - Sunday, II Vespers, odd weeks
O Lux, beata Trinitas - Sunday, II Vespers, even weeks

Head over to my friend Geometricus' blog Hymnos Debitos Canamus for helpful info about these and many other hymns of the Divine Office!



EDIT: Here are the updated booklets in PDF files, the first combined, one for Ordinary Time and one for Advent:
COMBINED - This booklet has multiple antiphons for each psalm depending upon the season. I moved away from this, thinking instead to have different booklets for different seasons.
ORDINARY TIME - Simplified layout with only the OT antiphons for each psalm.
ADVENT - Psalms have antiphons for advent only. Hymns are english translations of the the proper Advent hymns from Liturgiam Horarum, Conditor alme siderum and Verbum salutis omnium, set to a tune from the Liber Usualis. I also selected a different chant tone for the Advent Responsory and Magnificat.

They are set in half-sheet size (5.5"x8.5") for printing as a booklet on 8.5"x11" letter paper. I decided to just use the latin Magnificat. The booklets have everything you need to pray Sunday II Vespers for Ordinary Time and Advent except the Magnificat antiphons and final prayer. It seemed too much work to try and type and included these in a section that you'd have to flip to anyways. I plan to just look them up from another psalter when praying.