Friday, April 26, 2013

Some News about the REAL Weaver's bookstore

So many readers of this blogg and of the Saga are wondering how to get to Quayment. Unfortunately I can't seem to coax the Map thing into giving me driving directions, though I know darn well you just go south on 100 from North Belloc until you hit Route 801 near Blueville, and then head east!

Note: do NOT try to get off at Route 505. That's not a public road. It leads to Mortimer and the Dark Valley...

Anyway, there is another bookstore which in many ways is the true predecessor of Weaver's - the exceedingly famous Loome Theological Booksellers. It's no longer in an old church, but it's still in Stillwater, Minnesota. They are having their grand opening sale today (Friday) and tomorrow - but perhaps like me that's too far to drive. But my friend Chris has posted two interesting stories about their new place, here and here, which will be of interest.

And if you stop by tell them the Doctor in Pennsylvania says "hello"...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Feast of St. George

Today is the feast day of St. George...

The Cross of St. George:
Argent, a cross gules.

Anyone who is interested in knighthood will be celebrating this day, lifting a toast to that great martyr who fought and defeated the dragon:

The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it - because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give a child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.
[GKC "The Red Angel" in Tremendous Trifles]
Hence it seems fitting to ponder how even Modern knights can be fighting Dragons, even in our Real World - and what better way to ponder this than by means of the Saga...
"Many of you will be wondering about all these men in robes, with swords at their sides – older men, mostly. Or about these four young men with swords... those four you may have already encountered here in Stirling, and you knew they were bold young men, ready and willing to do the hard jobs, to defend the defenseless and protect the innocent, to help in unusual circumstances. It may sound like some sort of exaggeration to call them modern Knights, especially since knights get some bad press in these decadent ages – but they really are Knights. Don't go by the fantasy stories and movies – don't expect to see them jousting on horseback.... but when dragons come to destroy, they will be in the forefront of battle. Dragons! You scoff. Maybe not the fire-breathing lizards of mythology, but these dragons are worse, for they are the kind which lurk in human disguise. Yes: they are Knights, not because they ride horses, wear armor, or have swords, but because they are men sworn to virtue."
[PJF Et In Luna Pax]
Let us be perfectly clear about this, my friends. We are sworn to virtue, by the vows we took at Baptism, and by our Confirmation. This is the sort of knighthood which does not make the particular demands made by formal knighthood: it is open to all, male or female, young or old, physically agile or disabled... It is about Virtue:
"The world has such need of exemplars like them: young men sworn to virtue. Not merely to 'law', or to 'might'... we've had enough of that in the last century. Virtue is not popular, but it is necessary."
There are dragons out there, and they are attacking the innocent. What will you do about it?

Ahem! Oh yes, Et In Luna Pax is the 13th installment of the Saga, and it is even now being readied for printing. Please be patient a little longer.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Never leave such things go unchecked..."

You know we are at war... I don't mean simple human skirmishes. I mean the War, the Great Battle between Good and Evil, which will continue until the End of Time. One of the important tasks we have is to remind each other that (as Bernie remarks somewhere) "we have allies who are more than a match for our adversaries."

And so I thought I would give you another glimpse of the ressuring actions which can occur when this consoling truth is remembered – a fragment from part 13 of the Saga, presently being prepared for publication. Just before this excerpt some of our enemies had invaded the Smith Metal Works, a small father&son business in Stirling, in order to use the furnace to work an infernal ritual to suspend the functionality of all radio and cell-phone activity in the town. But our guys in the Chivalry Club found out, and they informed the proper Authorities, so let us see what occurs...
At the Smith metal shop, Father Parkman had completed three circuits around the building. He was now standing by its front door, nervously trying to pray the rosary – then another car drove up. He smiled with relief when he saw it was Father Psittacus.

The diocesan exorcist got out and smiled as he approached. "Len... God bless you for your fortitude!"

"I... I'm glad you're here, Bob. I just went around, sprinkling holy water, and saying psalms... but I couldn't go inside, Bob. Sorry."

"That may be just as well, Len," he said reassuringly. "I'm here now. Remember what Chesterton said: Two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.  [GKC The Man Who Was Thursday, CW6:548] So... first, let's just make some fresh holy water, then we'll see what we're up against."

"You're sure something's going on here?"

Father Psittacus was putting on his stole. "My radio cut off when I got near town. Does your cellphone work?"


"There's your answer. I mean, a Macbeth-like potion with fresh human blood? We've got to assume there's something rotten in Denmark, Len!" He chuckled at his mixed allusions.

Father Parkman tried to laugh. "But Bob – was it... was it worth my doing – what I did?"

The exorcist handed him a vial of salt, and set a canister of water on the hood of the car. "Oh certainly, Len. Just by being here, you already put up a strong front. Maybe kept it hedged in, prevented it from spreading malevolence wider. Never leave such things go unchecked... But we can talk later, Len. Let's proceed." Then, in a surprisingly gentle voice he began: Exorcizo te, creatura salis, per Deum vivum..."

In minutes the blessing of holy water was completed. Then he took out a fat stub of a candle, lighted it and gave it to Father Parkman to hold. "From now on, Father, I shall speak with the authority of his Excellency the bishop. For our safety, I order you to remain silent, until I give you permission to speak."

The pastor bowed in submission. Then they went inside.

Time passed... and when they came out of the shop, Father Psittacus smirked as they heard a bouncing tune on an accordion. "You are released from your silence, Len. You hear that?"

Father Parkman cocked an ear. "Yes – what is it, Bob? Er... you like polka music?"

"Not particularly... but the car radio is working again. I left it on when I parked."

Father Parkman nodded solemnly.

Then Father Psittacus extinguished the candle and gave it to him. "Keep this, just in case you need it again. And first chance you get, say a Mass of thanksgiving."

"Certainly, Bob... thanks... God bless you!"

"Thanks, Len." The exorcist lifted his hand in blessing. "Call anytime."

After Father Psittacus had gone, Father Parkman got into his own car. Then he looked at the candle he was holding – to his surprise, it had not decreased in size though it had been burning the whole time they had been inside the shop. Then he took out his cellphone – it had a connection again – and called the Chivalry Club.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Ensis Corporate Logo

At several places in the Saga you will hear about a certain logo, the Ensis Corporate logo, appearing on various vehicles, jets, and uniforms. With some chagrin, I find it necessary to admit that it is never described... of course there is plenty throughout the Saga that is never described, or very poorly described, and perhaps someday those omissions will be remedied. (I especially lament the lack of maps - I have made sketches and most things are topologically sound and hopefully consistent throughout the narrative, but my draftsmanship is rudimentary at best... Another time, perhaps.) In this simpler case, however, I have managed to coax the machinery into helping me out, and so I am now able to show you this very interesting logo.

However, unless you have read sufficiently far into the Saga, you will not know what Ensis is. For those who haven't yet dared, I will tell you just a little. It is a huge conglomerate of businesses, mostly of the Engineering sort, which have a heritage dating back into the 1800s. In the subcreated world of the Saga, it is very well-known, and generally admired - surprisingly, the admiration is not that of sycophants or some grudging kind of obeisance to vast wealth-and-power, but an honest kind of feeling - a company that does care (generally, anyway) and is very serious about Getting Things Done. That is because the founder of its predecessor company (which was Fisher Engineering) was the very famous John Fisher, an engineer of the mid-1800s, about whom you will eventually learn more. Fisher and his father-in-law, Gregory Mortimer, and their financial backer, associate, and close friend Joseph Chandler, formed this company in the late 1840s, and invested significant sums including a large fraction of the profits from the Chandler railroad linking Quayment to Stirling.

There, that ought to do for a start - except for one more detail. Unlike these intelligent gentlemen, you may not have studied Latin, and so I shall tell you that the word ensis is Latin for "sword".

Now, the corporate logo of Ensis, which their President has kindly given permission to reproduce here:

Description: On a blue background: a regular heptagon, pointing vertically, with seven gold stars at the vertices. Gold lines link every star with every other (this is the graph known to mathematicians as K7). Upon it is placed a sword proper with three gemstones (red, white, green) on its hilt, here omitted for technical reasons.
In heraldry the sword, unless blazoned as inverted, is erect and has its point in chief; it is generally proper which is quite correctly argent, but in painting may be given the metallic-blue sheen of tempered steel.
[Franklyn, Heraldry, 73]
It may be noted that this blue (sometimes called Ensis blue) is actually a background color: hence the logo on Ensis uniforms (which are of that blue) is simply the seven netted stars and the sword. When it is used on something which is some other color (e.g. a vehicle) the logo appears on the stellated heptagon as shown here (That is the closed figure formed by visiting every second vertex in a regular heptagon somewhat larger than the one on which the stars are placed, and filling the entire enclosed space with Ensis blue.)

Oh yes... just in case you are curious about the symbolism underlying this logo, you will have to wait for future revelations.