Random Conjectures

"Act locally; bitch globally."

Month: March, 2016

‘Rescue Kitten’, a short story

“…A little cat ghost, padding patiently around in limbo, trying to find that familiar, friendly lap…”

–Story idea given by Robert A. Heinlein to Theodore Sturgeon in a letter dated 11 Feb ’55

“More precisely, the person who performs a mitzvah, who prays or directs his mind toward the Divine, in so doing creates an angel, which is a sort of reaching out on the part of man to the higher worlds. Such an angel, however, connected in its essence to the man who created it, still lives, on the whole, in a different dimension of being, namely in the world of formation. And it is in this world of formation that the mitzvah acquires substance. This is the process by which the specific message or offering to God that is intrinsic to the mitzvah rises upward and introduces changes in the system of the higher worlds–foremost in the world of formation. From here, in turn, they influence the worlds above them. So we see that a supreme act is performed when what is done below becomes detached from particular physical place, time, and person and becomes an angel.”

–The Thirteen Petaled Rose, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

–In memory of Theodore Sturgeon.

Rescue Kitten

A Short Story by

Bernard Brandt


The kitten walked through the door, and then turned to sniff at the closed door that it had passed through. It was a very small creature, perhaps a few weeks old by its size, though it had remained at that size for ages. It was a gray, tiger striped tabby, a wisp of a thing, that could barely be seen at all, except perhaps in the full light of a noon sun. Read the rest of this entry »

Holy Saturday Homily of St. Epiphanius of Cyprus


Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. Read the rest of this entry »

Yet another silly rant…

You know, I REALLY should stop reading Aleteia. Yet again, I have found a well meaning article, by what appears to be a really good young woman by the name of Therese Anthony, which article is entitled “Dear Priests: Please Teach Us”. The essay may be found here, and I would invite my four or five readers to peruse it. Basically, she asks Roman Catholic priests to stop feeding us pabulum, and actually to teach us the Faith.

I was tempted to say that I hardly had the heart to disabuse her of her illusions, but that would not be quite true. Needless to say, I wrote the following comment. It seems that the comments I write to Alethea somehow so far aren’t approved for publication. I was also tempted to say that I really would want to know why they are not, but that would not be quite true either. So, here is my comment, God help me: Read the rest of this entry »

A Public Service Announcement, Part Duh

I just came from a website, which shall remain nameless, where hundreds of well meaning idiots were talking about offing, that is, killing or maiming, the Donald, otherwise known as Trumpus Maximus, or Donald Trump, but known around my weblog as The Blowhard. In the event that I am asked to divulge that website, I will plead the Fifth Amendment on behalf of the morons in question.

Uh, guyz, don’t you know that under 18 USC 879, threatening a major U.S. Presidential candidate with violence or death is a federal felony, that can get you up to five years in the slammer? Read the rest of this entry »

Food Porn


I am a food pornographer. I freely admit my manifold sins and wickedness in that department. I have long loved reading and writing about food, in a manner which not only approaches the lascivious, but far transcends that adjective. I love food: sourcing it, preparing it, cooking it, serving it to others, and eating it myself. This is my confession. Read the rest of this entry »

Apocalyptic for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed

four horsemen

Albrecht Durer, ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

For me, I suppose it started, not with The Late Great Planet Earth, but with an idle comment made by a guest of the late William F. Buckley’s television talk show, Firing Line, back in 1979 or so. Buckley asked his guest, a brilliant and consummately educated Jesuit priest, just what the priest thought of Hal Lindsey’s little potboiler.

The priest paused for a second, and then said, “Let me tell you this story. I was at a great Eucharistic Convention which took place in Philadelphia a few years ago. At that convention there was a European Cardinal who spoke warmly, articulately, and knowledgeably throughout that Convention. At its end, His Eminence said to the vast audience there: ‘It is good that we are here together now, my brothers and sisters in Christ. But it is perhaps good also to consider that these may in fact be the Last Days.’

The priest paused again, and then said, “And the following year, that Cardinal was re-named as Pope John Paul the Second.”  Buckley nodded, was silent for a few seconds, and then changed the subject. I was silent too, for a time. But I kept that memory in my heart.

That memory nagged at me, and a part of me for long afterwards has been putting together an occasional fact here and there ever since. Let me tell you what I found. Read the rest of this entry »

An Open Letter to His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan

11 March 2016

Your Eminence,

Please forgive the intrusion upon both your time and your webpage, but I wish to write in response to the excellent question you posed in your recent entry, which may be found here. That question was: “Where is the Catholic Sandy Koufax?” If I understand aright, you meant by this, ‘Where are those Catholics willing to show devotion to keeping the Sabbath, to worship on that day, and to express their worship by prayer, by fasting, and by almsgiving?”

Although I am an Eastern Catholic, please permit me to offer an answer to that question. In doing so, and with all due respect to Your Eminence, I am exercising both my right and my duty to answer your question under Canon 212, §§ 2 and 3, to make known my spiritual needs, to manifest my opinion on matters which concern the good of the Church, and to make that opinion known to the rest of Christ’s faithful. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Beauty will save the world’ NOT!


You know, I really should stop doing this. There I am, minding my own business, opening my morning e-mail, when I get another posting from Alethea. I open it, read it through, and then close it, thinking to myself, “How can they utter such rot with a straight face?” Most of the time, I just shake my head, close the laptop, and walk away.

But not this time. And especially, not when this rot is being talked by someone whom I very much respect, and who really, truly, ought to know better than that. Read the rest of this entry »

Against Slut, er, Liturgy Shaming

In the course of my going up and down through the Internet, and to and fro in it, I have found on occasion some items that have occasioned comment on my part. My most recent finding has been from the webpage, Alethea, and this recent article in it by a William Bornhoft, entitled, Against Liturgy Shaming.  

This worthy gentleman has ventured the opinion that it is wrong for those of us who are dismayed by the current liturgical and theological crisis in the Roman Catholic Church to express our opinion of it on the Internet. The thesis question of his piece may best be summed up in the article’s lede: “Is endangering your soul by promoting ridicule and viral hate campaigns really the best way to push liturgical reform?”

Now, this is a very reasonable question, and it would be well worth while to consider what a proper Catholic response might be to that question. It is a pity that most allegedly ‘Catholic’ responses, including the above one by Mr. Bornhoft, appear to be a trotting out of their own opinions, and then appending the term ‘Catholic’ to those opinions. Read the rest of this entry »