Murphy Devitt Stained Glass from St Mary’s Church , Cahir

Murphy Devitt Stained Glass from St Mary’s Church , Cahir

One of the delights of blogging about stained glass in Tipperary (and beyond) has been the discovery of the work of Murphy Devitt studios. I was therefore delighted to discover Murphy Devitt work from 1969 in St Mary’s Church, Cahir.

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Ave Verum, Jean Cras

“As the Biblical proverb aptly professes, “None is prophet in his own land,” and in this respect, the esoteric impressionist composer, philosopher, scientist, inventor and Rear Admiral Jean Cras (1879-1932) has proven to be a shining example of the prophecy” This is another alluring opening biographical sentence – to add to that of Talbot Mundy and William Seabrook

I discovered Jean Cras a while ago while looking up Breton music. His career indeed spanned the interests above. His day job was with the French Navy, inventing a navigtaional protractor and sinking a submarine. As another online bio states:

As a composer, Cras’ greatest problem was a chronic lack of time to devote to his art as he became a fully commissioned officer in the French Navy. He loved the sea, but served in the navy only out of a sense of patriotism and family tradition. Unlike Rimsky-Korsakov and Albert Roussel, both of whom had begun careers in the navy but later resigned, Cras never left the navy and eventually rose to the rank of Rear-Admiral. His maritime experiences sowed the seeds of an imagination and introspection which enabled him to understand profoundly the alienation of the human condition. And it is this which truly provides the key to his music.

Of course, it is is something a presumption that if Cras – or any other artist who also worked in a more workaday job – could only have been full time, he would have achieved more. The “imagination and introspection” alluded to above may not have developed in other circumstances, and the distinctive musical voice of Cras may have been more formulaic.

Anyhow, here is the music!

10 random quotes from Wikiquote

An exercise in found juxtaposition – ten consecutive results of Wikiquote’s random quote feature.

On each page, I will select the quote that corresponds to which iteration I am on – ie the first on the first go, the second on the second go, the third on the third go, etc. If there aren’t enough quotes to pursue this I will use the final quote on the page:

1. Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

2. People who died could not come back to life, so guaranteeing the right to life should not be a thing of the future, but should be advancing right now.

3. To build matter itself from geometry — that in a sense is what string theory does. It can be thought of that way, especially in a theory like the heterotic string which is inherently a theory of gravity in which the particles of matter as well as the other forces of nature emerge in the same way that gravity emerges from geometry. Einstein would have been pleased with this, at least with the goal, if not the realization. … He would have liked the fact that there is an underlying geometrical principle — which, unfortunately, we don’t really yet understand.

4. Solomon Asch’s studies of independence and conformity are among the most significant in the history of psychology. They are models of rigorous analysis of a socially relevant question based on a well-controlled research design.

5. No pain, no gain.

6. Wow! I heard you were a bear. I just didn’t realize you’d look so much, uh, like a bear.

7. Somebody once said, ‘He’s never wrong about the future, but he does tend to be wrong about how long it takes.’

8. I believe that every erection is a miracle.

9. Crazy Shapiro: When I’m up on the roof, it’s like nothing can touch me. You know, it’s all so quiet and beautiful, with the whole city right out in front of my eyes. Some nights I just feel like painting a picture.
Vinnie: Hey, Norman Rockwell – paint me a picture.
Crazy Shapiro: I didn’t say I painted. I said I “felt like” like it.
Vinnie: Hey, there are over twenty million faggots in New York that “feel like it” — you wanna make it twenty million and one?

10. My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy. O son of Prtha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.

Cosmic Walk, Cabragh Wetlands Centre, Tipperary

Cosmic Walk, Cabragh Wetlands Centre, Tipperary

Near Thurles, on the road to Holycross, one finds Cabragh Wetlands Centre, which is the site of the transformation of the marshes around an old Irish Sugar factory into a wildlife sanctuary:

Like many heavy industries of its time, however, it had an unwelcome environmental footprint. Sugar beet was washed before processing, and the sludgy effluent was, at first, released directly into the River Suir.

Initially, this was considered of little consequence when so much wealth was being created locally. But the Suir was renowned for angling, and during the 1960s the almost inevitable happened, and the effluent wiped out many fish. The series of kills drew attention to the untreated discharges, and a local angler, Bob Stakelum, spearheaded a campaign to clean the effluent before it was released.

In response lagoons were built that allowed the sludge to settle before the waste water was discharged. These “settling ponds” stopped the fish kills – and brought an unintended but welcome consequence. Waterfowl took an immediate shine to the lagoons, and wigeons, plovers, lapwings, gulls and curlews began to overwinter there.

Cabragh is a wonderful site which I have visited many times. It has a great variety of fauna and flora and recently has added a new feature – a Cosmic Walk.

The Cosmic Walk concept is influenced by the thought of Brian Swimme, and indeed this approach to reconciling evolutionary, cosmological and religious mindsets features in Peter Reason’s“In Search of Grace”, much-cited on this blog.described here:

The Cosmic Walk is a ritual created by Dominican Sr. Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm in New Jersey. It has been modified and facilitated by many people around the world. The Cosmic Walk is a way of bringing our knowledge of the 14-billion-year Universe process from our heads to our hearts.

There is a leaflet on the Cabragh walk available here. One doesn’t necessarily have to embrace the concept overall to enjoy a walk around some striking sculptures … but the overall concept gives these works a deeper resonance.

T.S. Eliot: Ash Wednesday

Last year I posted an extract from Eliot’s Ash Wednesday, along with an extract from an article by Matt Walther on what the poem meant to him. From The Broken Tower blog, here is an analysis of the poem that draws on Eliot’s heavy debt to Dante.

The Broken Tower

01x/24/Dian/15120/007uToday is Ash Wednesday and although I did not want to provide a reading of a long poem for some time, I thought not posting on T.S. Eliot’s Ash Wednesday (1930) would be a lost opportunity. Below is a Dantean reading of Eliot’s poem. The wonder of Eliot’s poetry (like most great poetry) is that it can lead you anywhere. So read this post and take from it what you will but take a break before reading the poem. Grab a coffee, watch Downton Abbey, but try to read the poem without me in your head. I’d love to hear any interpretations. Enjoy.

For Eliot, Dante was more than a poetic master who had achieved the heights of poetry. As Eliot struggled through life literally searching for perfection, he rediscovered Dante, finding in his poetry not merely a poetics but also a way of life. Now, I don’t solely mean in…

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From “Forgiveness”, by Herbert McCabe

From the sermon Forgiveness by Herbert McCabe:

It is very odd that people should think that when we do good God will reward us and when we do evil he will punish us. I mean it is very odd that Christians should think this, that God deals out to us what we deserve.

It is not, I suppose, really odd that other people should; I suppose it is the commonest way of thinking of God, for God tends to be just a great projection into the sky of our moral feelings, especially our guilt feelings. But I don’t believe in God if that’s what he is, and it is very odd that any Christian should, since there is so much in the gospels to tell us differently. You could say that the main theme of the preaching of Jesus is that God isn’t like that at all.Take the famous parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). In this, the younger son goes to a distant country far from his father and squanders all his father’s gifts in debauchery and generally having a high old time. After a bit he sees himself for what he is, so as to say, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”What his sin has done is to alter his whole relationship with his father; instead of being a son he now should be treated as one who gets his wages, gets exactly what he deserves. But there are two things here; there is the fact that this is what his sin has done, and there is the fact that he recognises this. To make sure you see that this is the crucial point of the story, Luke has it repeated twice. The vital thing is that the son has recognised his sin for what it is: something that changes God into a paymaster, or a judge.Sin is something that changes God into a projection of our guilt, so that we don’t see the real God at all; all we see is some kind of judge. God (the whole meaning and purpose and point of our existence) has become a condemnation of us. God has been turned into Satan, the accuser of man, the paymaster, the one who weighs our deeds and condemns us.It is very odd that so much casual Christian thinking should be a worship of Satan that we should think of the punitive satanic God as the only God available to the sinner. It is very odd that the view of God as seen from the Church should ever be simply the view of God as seen from hell. For damnation must be just being fixed in this illusion, stuck forever with the God of the Law, stuck forever with the God provided by our sin.

Vic Damone RIP

Vic Damone has died aged 89.Surely one of the last of the post-war crooners (autocorrect just helpfully suggested “coroners”) He had the inevitable colourful life and the Personal Life section of his Wikipedia bio is one of the longest elative to other parts I have come across. Nevertheless, as with Sinatra, ultimately the music speaks for itself. Damone was much more typically a crooner in vocal style and repertoire than Sinatra.

Damone indeed has a classic crooner look as in the cover of The Street Where You Live album and images like this :

This 1981 cover image is somewhat more of its time :

Anyway, to the music

Here he is with “The Street Where You Live”

And here he is with ‘War And Peace”, a somewhat lighter piece than the title indicates:

Finally, for St Valentine’s Eve (not on YouTube but on Spotify) here is “I am in Love”:

RIP