The Thirsty Gargoyle


…is the story apparently told by Martin Bell of reporting on an event in Belfast in the early 1970s at which Dr Paisley was speaking, shortly after Bell had broadcast BBC reports critical of Ulster Loyalists.

Dr Paisley spotted Bell at the back of the hall, and declared (in his inimitably…


Classic childhood books from yesteryear

Confess: it’s my profession
that alarms you.
This is why few people ask me to dinner,
though Lord knows I don’t go out of my way to be scary.
I wear dresses of sensible cut
and unalarming shades of beige,
I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser’s:
no prophetess mane of mine,
complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters.
If I roll my eyes and mutter,
if I clutch at my heart and scream in horror
like a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene,
I do it in private and nobody sees
but the bathroom mirror.

In general I might agree with you:
women should not contemplate war,
should not weigh tactics impartially,
or evade the word enemy,
or view both sides and denounce nothing.
Women should march for peace,
or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery,
spit themselves on bayonets
to protect their babies,
whose skulls will be split anyway,
or, having been raped repeatedly,
hang themselves with their own hair.
These are the functions that inspire general comfort.
That, and the knitting of socks for the troops
and a sort of moral cheerleading.
Also: mourning the dead.
Sons, lovers, and so forth.
All the killed children.

Instead of this, I tell
what I hope will pass as truth.
A blunt thing, not lovely.
The truth is seldom welcome,
especially at dinner,
though I am good at what I do.
My trade is courage and atrocities.
I look at them and do not condemn.
I write things down the way they happened,
as near as can be remembered.
I don’t ask why, because it is mostly the same.
Wars happen because the ones who start them
think they can win.

In my dreams there is glamour.
The Vikings leave their fields
each year for a few months of killing and plunder,
much as the boys go hunting.
In real life they were farmers.
They come back loaded with splendour.
The Arabs ride against Crusaders
with scimitars that could sever
silk in the air.
A swift cut to the horse’s neck
and a hunk of armour crashes down
like a tower. Fire against metal.
A poet might say: romance against banality.
When awake, I know better.

Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,
or none that can be finally buried.
Finish one off, and circumstances
and the radio create another.
Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently
to God all night and meant it,
and been slaughtered anyway.
Brutality wins frequently,
and large outcomes have turned on the invention
of a mechanical device, viz. radar.
True, valour sometimes counts for something,
as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right—
though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition,
is decided by the winner.
Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades
and burst like paper bags of guts
to save their comrades.
I can admire that.
But rats and cholera have won many wars.
Those, and potatoes,
or the absence of them.
It’s no use pinning all those medals
across the chests of the dead.
Impressive, but I know too much.
Grand exploits merely depress me.

In the interests of research
I have walked on many battlefields
that once were liquid with pulped
men’s bodies and spangled with exploded
shells and splayed bone.
All of them have been green again
by the time I got there.
Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day.
Sad marble angels brood like hens
over the grassy nests where nothing hatches.
(The angels could just as well be described as vulgar
or pitiless, depending on camera angle.)
The word glory figures a lot on gateways.
Of course I pick a flower or two
from each, and press it in the hotel Bible
for a souvenir.
I’m just as human as you.

But it’s no use asking me for a final statement.
As I say, I deal in tactics.
Also statistics:
for every year of peace there have been four hundred
years of war.

Margaret Atwood, ‘The Loneliness of the Military Historian’
The baby doesn’t understand English and the devil knows Latin.
Ronald Knox when asked to perform a baptism in the vernacular. (via exsules-filii-evae)

pronunciation | tsUn-dO-kU (tsoon-doh-koo) submitted by | chrysalismm submit words | hereJapanese script | 積ん読 kanji, つんどく hiragana

I couldn’t possibly comment. 


pronunciation | tsUn-dO-kU (tsoon-doh-koo) 
submitted by | chrysalismm
submit words | here
Japanese script | 積ん読 kanji, つんどく hiragana

I couldn’t possibly comment. 

Zenith, by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, 2000ad prog 806, anticipating John Smith's death two years later, twenty years ago today.

Garth Ennis and John McCrea, Troubled Souls, 50.

Garth Ennis and John McCrea, Troubled Souls, 50.

Given the militant atheism promoted by the regime and the ideological climate inside the university, it was essential to engage students intellectually.

Wojtyla, who had begun visiting student dormitories and boardinghouses as soon as he arrived at St. Florian’s, making contacts and drumming up trade, started a series of Thursday evening conferences on two basic issues: the existence of God and the spiritual character of the human person. These conferences involved a systematic, step-by-step exploration of Christian doctrine.

The point was not the rote memorization of catechism answers as ripostes to communist propaganda; it was to demonstrate that the Church, in the Gospel, had a more compelling answer to the perennial questions of human life than the purveyors of the official state ideology. Christian humanism, in other words, was quietly but unmistakably counterposed to Marxism.

George Weigel, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, 95. 
In his dissertation, Wojtyla emphasized the personal nature of the human encounter with God, in which believers transcend the boundaries of their creaturely existence in such a way that they become more truly and completely themselves. This encounter with the living God is not for mystics only. It is the centre of every Christian life.
George Weigel, Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II, 85.