Saturday, October 23, 2004
In November of 1793 Valenciennes fell to the Austrians, and the Ursulines returned in their baggage wagons to resume the job of teaching. At Valenciennes, they were joined by two Brigittines and a Poor Clare who had been deprived of their convents by the revolutionaries.
In August, 1794, the Austrians pulled out of Valenciennes, and the revolutionaries resumed control. The Ursulines were at first confined to the convent. Two-thirds were able to escape. But eleven, including Mother Marie Clothilde, remained, to face the guillotine. They were executed in two groups, on October 17, and 23rd. All died courageously for the Faith, happy they proclaimed, to teach the "Catholic, apostolic, and Roman religion."
Friday, October 22, 2004
Not exactly a big surprise. But it is nevertheless well done.
Another prelate I ardently wish had been appointed to the See of Boston instead of the current incumbent.
Nah nah nah nah nah nah.
The Cardinals have kept the Sox from world titles two times previously. Since Boston settled old scores with the Yankees this year, why not with the Cards, too?
Thursday, October 21, 2004
There are quite a few Republicans in the ranks of former athletes. The names Corey Everson, John Hanna, Charles Barkley, and Dave Cowens come to mind without much effort.
And I know more than a few pro-golfers have been on with Rush (and can be assumed to be ont he side of the angels in this election).
You won't get a Doug Flutie endorsement, as we at the old Observer of Boston College did for Reagan in 1984, because Flutie has turned left pretty relentlessly, but I noticed his old opponent of the "Hail Mary Pass Game", Bernie Kosar on the list. And Matt Hasselbeck, son of former patriot Don, and another former BC QB is making up for Flutie's absence.
Bonaparte's threat to invade England was smashed at Trafalgar. At the end of September 1805, Bonaparte marched off his army, which had been cantoned on the Channel ports waiting for a favorable wind and control of the seas to invade England, to fight the Austrians (this was the campaign when he beat them and the Russians at Austerlitz in December, which meant the end of the Holy Roman Empire).
Part of Bonaparte's reason for abruptly turning to deal with the Austrians was that he lacked confidence in the commander of the Combined Fleet, Admiral Pierre Charles Villeneuve's ability to ever get control of the Channel.
Currently blockaded in Cadiz by Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood's squadron after a fruitless chase across the Atlantic and back, Villeneuve knew he had to do something to regain the Emperor's confidence. On the morning of October 19th, after a storm, the Combined Fleet of 33 ships of the line, including the massive Spanish Santissima Trinidad of 130 guns, began to slip out of Cadiz.
Lord Nelson had joined Collingwood now with his squadron, his flag flying from HMS Victory a 102-gun first rate launched in the Year of Victory, 1759, but laid up until the crisis of the American Revolution.
Nelson had long planned for a general engagement with an enemy fleet. He planned to ignore the prevailing tactic of fighting in line-ahead, with ships of the line sailing one behind the other with their broadsides to the enemy, who would be doing the same thing. Such tactics produced only stalemates.
Nelson planned to sail his ships through the enemy line, raking the ships on either side with his own broadsides and creating a general melee. The enemy fleet strung out in a long line would find only two-thirds of its strength fighting the entire British fleet. By the time the rest of the enemy fleet could come up to aid its comrades, it would be too late. "It will surpise and confound the enemy."
Early on the 21st, the two fleets maneouvred for position and to gain the weather gauge, but the Combined Fleet was clumsy in its movements due to poor seamanship and training. Nelson's 27 ships had the advantage of the wind (the weather guage), better seamanship and training.
Nelson, ever the showman, paced the quarterdeck of Victory with all the medals he had won in his previous victories at Teneriffe, the Nile, and Copenhagen on his coat. He signaled the fleet, "England expects every man to do his duty." He followed it up with the signal to "Engage the Enemy More Closely," his favorite signal. The men of the fleet cheered loudly enough to be clearly heard aboard the ships of the Combined Fleet. Aboard the Spanish ships, many were busy receiving Extreme Unction.
Admiral Collingwood (whose first important action had been ferrying Howe's redcoats from Boston to Charlestown for the Battle of Bunker Hill) in the massive 100-gun HMS Royal Sovereign, took the lead, holding his fire until his broaside was between the Spaniard Santa Ana and the Frenchman Fougueux. As Royal Sovereign squared off with Santa Ana, Collingwood calmly munched on an apple while pacing the quarterdeck.
Nelson's flag captain, Hardy, asked if it might be better to wear undress rather than full dress, as the decorations would surely single Nelson out for attention from enemy sharpshooters in the rigging. Nelson, with an eye patch and missing an arm, as well as being a slight man in a service filled with large ones, stood out anyway. Nelson said it was too late to be shifting his coat.
Victory and the ships of Nelson's sqaudron did just as much damage as Collingwood's ships. Nelson broke the enemy line between the Redoutable, whose Captain Lucas had vigorously trained his men for sharphooting, and even equipped some with rifles for the purpose, and the flagship Bucentaure.
Just as Nelson had predicted, his ships were closing on their chosen adversaries, while the remainder of the Combined Fleet was having difficulty coming to their comrades' aid.
But Lucas brought his 74-gun Redoutable alongside Victory, and clawed her with everything at his disposal. His sharpshooters were firing at the upper deck of the Victory from a mere 50 feet. And every one of his sailors knew who the little one-armed man on the Victory's quarterdeck was. The medals on his chest made Nelson an excellent target.
A few minutes later, Nelson was brought down to the orlop deck, with a musket ball lodged in his spine. He could feel a gush of blood every time he took a breath. He had no feeling in the lower part of his body. He said that he had felt the ball break his back.
Lucas' men had managed to litter the upper deck of Victory with dead and wounded, and almost succeeded in boarding her. Then another British ship, HMS Temeraire(as the name implies, she had been captured from the French) came up, and gave Redoutable a heavy broadside. Then a French ship, Fougaux, joined the tangle. Victory was also still firing on Bucentaure and on Santissima Trinidad.
The battle as a whole was going according to Nelson's plan. Collingwood's 15 ships captured or sank 12 of the 16 enemy ships they engaged. Unaccountably the first seven French ships continued on a northly course away from the battle.
Nelson, meanwhile, below decks on Victory, was dying. Hardy came down to report that he could count 14 or 15 surrendered enemy ships. Nelson managed, "That is well, but I bargained for 20." A few minutes later, after kissing Hardy goodbye, he whispered, "Thank God I have done my duty." He breathed his last shortly afterwards.
Losses were lopsided in the British favor. They lost 1,600 killed or wounded. The Spanish had 1000 dead, and about 1,400 wounded. The French did not report their losses, but had about 3,000 dead and at least 1,100 wounded. Over 8,000 French and Spanish sailors were captured.
With Collingwood in command now, British crews worked frantically to rescue wounded adversaries from ships in danger of sinking. A powerful storm threatened the lives of all. The Santissima Trinidad, with a crew of more than 1,100, had been ganged-up on by a half dozen British ships. Half her crew were lost. A cat who had taken shelter in a gun barrel was the last rescued from that ship.
A dog lowered overboard had stayed on a ledge of HMS Conqueror throughout the battle, exposed to cannnon and musket fire throughout. Aside from being in understandable shock, the dog was fine.
In the week-long storm that battered the survivors, many damaged ships went down. Many men wounded in the battle died due to the rough handling of nature.
Nelson was placed in a barrel of spirits, and brought to England for burial (he did not wish to be buried at sea). It was December 22nd before the badly damaged Victory reached Portsmouth. He was given a magnificent state funeral.
Bonaparte reported to the French people only that "some ships were lost in a gale after an imprudent engagement." Villeneuve committed suicide the next year after being exchanged.
French naval power was broken (though the blockaded remnants of the fleet grew to an even larger size by the time Bonaparte abdicated in 1815). Never again could Bonaparte seriously contemplate an invasion of England. Britannia indeed ruled the waves, and would for more than a century to come.
Read more about the Battle of Trafalgar here.
Here you can take a virtual tour of HMS Victory, the world's oldest commisioned warship (she is in drydock at Portsmouth, thus USS Constitution's claim to be the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat).
A glass of wine tonight to the immortal memory, Lord Nelson, who was mourned almost as feelingly in Boston and Salem as he was in London and Portsmouth.
And I love one of his titles, "Hammer of Italian Freemasonry."
Incredible. For a team that dropped the first three games of the series to come back and win it in seven games when they did not enjoy home-field advantage is, I think, unprecedented.
And it is especially incredible when you consider that to do it, they beat the vaunted and much-hated New York Yankees, in Yankee Stadium, three straight.
Doesn't get any better than that!
This will be the fourth Red Sox' World Series appearance in my lifetime, the fifth since 1919. The lost the Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1946 (during my Father's lifetime), and again in 1967 (when I was 3). They lost to the Cincinnati Reds in 1975, and to the New York Mets in 1986.
They do not know yet whether their opponent in Saturday's Game One will be the St. Louis Cardinals, or the Houston Astros with old friend Roger Clemens.
A World Series win in 2004? It could happen, if they avoid the oddities and freak circumstances that have deprived them of ultimate victory so often in the past.
Go Red Sox!!!!!
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
(hyper-link thingee does not work here, either, because you can't right-click the mouse).
I guess TaRESah's real job, marrying millionaire senators counts, but putting up with 20 howling, bawling, blabbing kids and trying to pour some knowledge into skulls full of mush does not count.
Can anyone reasonably see this crass, , classless, foolish, indiscrete person as First Lady? I can't, and am baffled why the polls are so damn close, aside from the 45% built-in Democrat vote (which I find utterly scary and the best argument I've ever heard for taking away the vote from anyone who gets a paycheck or a dole check from government).
But you take October, now. School's been on a month and you're riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you'll dump on old man ett's porch, or the hairy ape costume you'll wear to the YMCA on the last night of the month. And if it's around October twentieth and everything smoky smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners. "
From the Prologue to Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, published in 1962.
I just happened to remember that it is October 20th. Who can't remember feeling the way Bradbury describes as childhood Halloweens approached?
Ray Bradbury is very much a modern. But his work is not imbued with modernism. You might call his style modernity without modernism. His Fahrenheit 451, which I read two years ago for the first time at the helpful instigation of my wife, is one of the most conservative statements in favor of classical learning and against the mainstream pseudo-culture of TV.
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, and the Illustrated Man show us a most welcome positive view of small town America (with a twist, of course, this is fiction, and imaginative fiction at that). Bradbury's normative themes are refreshing and real and far more authentic to the human experience (while being faithful to the cultural tradition of which they are a part) than the works of hundreds of authors whose books cram the local Barnes & Noble or Borders.
The difference is that, in 100 years, no one will recall who these authors were, or why what they had to say was read by people in 2004. But people will still read Bradbury for pleasure.
Others achieve the same plateau of excellence: Tolkien, Lewis, Frost, O'Brian, O'Connor, Kirk, Hawthorne, Pope, Wodehouse, Waugh, Faulkner, Wolfe, O'Conner, maybe Rowling. Their stuff will stand the test of time.
Bradbury has for me made October 20th a milestone, a day in which Halloween begins to be anticipated. Halloween, the eve of All Saints' and the build-up for the Catholic Day of the Dead, All Souls', has taken some hard knocks, mostly unjustified. Opportunistic modern wiccans and pagans, especially in Salem, have claimed as their own a holiday that has nothing to do with them, and never did.
The celebration of the day is Celtic and Christian. It is the dying time of the year, with the harvest almost all in now, and even the green leaves of summer suddenly blazing into brilliant color and then dropping to the ground. The days are growing notably colder (this fall more so than last year, I think). It is the appropriate time to recall our dead, to think about, and to pray for the all the dead. The merry season of Christmas lies ahead. But, as the liturgical year winds down over the next 4 weeks, let us pause to recall death. It is the first of the Four Last Things, after all.
If part of thinking about it is reading old gothic ghost stories over a mug of mulled cider by candlelight in the privacy of one's study, or watching movies about ghosts, witches, vampires, werewolves, and monsters, or impressing the imagination of children by decorating a "haunted house" and handing out enough candy to make them spit out teeth the next day, or carving pumpkins in imitation of the Irish custom of the carved turnip of Jack of the Lantern, or burning leaves at night, there is no harm in it.
But the experience is made richer by remembering the saints of the Church on All Hallows' Day itself, and by praying for the dead, our dead, and the forgotten, unknown poor souls in Purgatory throughout November. And if dressing up as ghosts in bedsheets (I used the Charlie Brown costume once or twice as a kid) and going door to door like the people who dressed up as those who had died during the year did seek propitiary offerings in Celtic village life, or those who, in Christian times, performed the luck-visit ritual of going a'souling, then it is a start. The important thing is to get people to start to remember the dead. Then build on that foundation. Just getting them to think of the dead as something other than inventory for a graveyard and an object of horror is a necessary start.
Our Red Sox, always striving, year after year, to find new and more exciting ways to tear our hearts out.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
"International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term," he said. "If they achieve that goal, then that will give international terrorism a new impulse and extra power."
Monday, October 18, 2004
Just added this morning.
When I get a chance, I'll go through the 65 or so images, and label them. But for now, I think it is cool just to look at the various receptacles Catholics have used to hold the Blessed Sacrament for the purpose of Adoration.
Meanwhile, the Patriots won their 20th consecutive game (including last year's playoffs).
Electoral College projections are all over the place. I have seen some, allegedly based on the latest polling data that say, if the election where held today, the President would be comfortably re-elected, and others that he would be ignominiously turned out of office.
The closest states are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Nevada.
Dusting off the old crystal ball, I would say that the President will prevail in Florida and Ohio, as well as Arkansas, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Nevada. Kerry will hold on to minnesota and Pennsylvania, and the two New England states that are being tempted to come into the light. And he'll hold Oregon and New Mexico.
That makes George W. Bush the next President (all things being equal as they are today).
I think the GOP will drop Senate seats in Alaska and Illinois (as much as I like Alan Keyes, he has zero appeal as a candidate for office to the people who would be voting for him), and pick up 2 seats in the Carolinas, the Georgia seat, and will unseat Tom Daschle. The House will see about a 5 seat GOP net gain.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
But BC plays Notre Dame next weekend, and it is just a shame the Shrine of the Holy Whapping crew has taken to the road this week, or they could be available to see firsthand the vicious beating their team will take from BC.
I suspect that, after next weekend, they will have to rename their wonderful blog Scene of the Heinie Whomping.
"For Boston, For Boston..."
So for those who can't see them, try a upgraded version of Internet Explorer.
The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those devoted to His Sacred Heart:
I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
I will establish peace in their families.
I will console them in all their troubles.
They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their .
I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
Tepid souls shall become fervent.
Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.