31 October 2011

The Vienna Zoo (again)

We decided to go into Vienna for Mass for the Feast of Christ the King. It was glorious, with orchestra playing Haydn, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with the Litany to the Sacred Heart and Benediction following Mass.

Of course, the children believe that no trip to Vienna is complete without a visit to the zoo. Fortunately, after a week of cold and rain we woke up to sunny skies, and it was warm enough to go without a coat for most of the day. The zoo is so large that we haven't seen all of it yet, and yesterday we found something very exciting! They seemed like large rats at first, until I saw one stand on his hind legs and start jumping. Wallabies! I had no idea they were so small.

We also made it for the Tiger feeding.

There is a new baby sea lion.

And the goats were playful! Usually it takes a lot of coaxing to get them out and pet them, but they were quiet happy to eat the leaves Thomas brought them.

We put Edmund on a statue of a panda bear for a picture, and then couldn't get him off. He loved it.

Welcome, Henry!

In honor of their new cousin, Maria and Thomas asked John to read to them "The Ballad of Henry" from a Thomas the Tank Engine poem book. We hope that this new Henry is not as vain (or as green) as the one in the book, but the kids were still excited that he has the same name.

30 October 2011

Feast of Christ the King

Gloria, laus, et honor
tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redemptor:
cui puerile decus prompsit
Hosanna pium.
Starting Rotation

1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
5. I don't think it's a good idea to count on Jacob Turner being ready for a full major league season, so I would like to see the Tigers add someone here, preferably a southpaw. C. J. Wilson is the big name on the free agent market, but another good option could be Mark Buehrle.

Starting Lineup

2B. I would really like to see a second baseman added who could bat leadoff, but there don't seem to be any good options like that on the free agent market, so this is where I would be looking to make a big trade. Otherwise just roll with Santiago. I like him in the leadoff spot better than Jackson.
LF. Brennen Boesch
RF. Delmon Young
1B. Miguel Cabrera
DH. Victor Martinez
SS. Jhonny Peralta
C. Alex Avila
3B. Brandon Inge
CF. Austin Jackson


C. This needs to be addressed in a desperate way to save Avila's knees. At this point it is Omir Santos, but it shouldn't be too difficult to pick up a veteran backstop for cheap somewhere. Even Pudge if you like.
IF. Ramon Santiago (or if he starts, then add Rhymes, Worth, Dirks, or whoever you want)
IF/OF. Don Kelly
OF. Ryan Raburn


9th. Jose Valverde
8th. Joaquin Benoit
7th L. Phil Coke
7th R.Al Alberquerque
Mid. L. Daniel Schlereth
Mid. R. Ryan Perry
Mid. R. David Pauley, or whoever impresses in Spring Training? Beyond Valverde and Benoit, I would say this is a major area of concern, and I don't want to hear anyone say anything about Joel Zumaya making a comeback this year. The team offense actually ranked third overall in runs scored. I would like to see any money the team wants to spend this off-season go mostly toward a fifth starter and/or bullpen help. If they can pick up a second or third baseman as well, then great, but I would rather leave Santiago at second than leave Penny in the rotation or Perry in the back end of the bullpen.

23 October 2011

Happy Birthday, Aunt Anna!

Here's a big birthday grin for you.

18 October 2011

Happy Anniversary!

With love from your children and grandchildren!

17 October 2011

Year of Faith

Here is something interesting from His Holiness Benedict XVI. An Apostolic Letter 'Motu Proprio Data' proclaiming a Year of Faith to be observed from October 2012 to November 2013.

His letter is here: Porta Fidei.

16 October 2011

A Night at the Heuriger

We had a rare night out without the children last night - some friends convinced us to join them for an evening at one of the local heurigen in Traiskirchen (the cluster of fir branches signifies an open heuriger).

07 October 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Victory

On October 7, 1571, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in answer to the rosaries offered up in prayer by all the faithful, and first of all by Pope St. Pius V, the Christian Holy League, led by Don John of Austria, won a decisive naval battle over the Ottoman Turks at Lepanto, off the Western coast of Greece.

And the Tigers won, too!

Lepanto, by G. K. Chesterton.

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain - hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground, -
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces -four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still - hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee, -
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed -
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plum├Ęd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign -
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

06 October 2011

Climbing Schneeberg

This past Sunday, after an early Divine Liturgy, a group of us set out to climb the highest mountain in Lower Austria, the Schneeberg (2076m). We left Maria and Thomas with their Aunt Katie for the day, but took Edmund with us in a backpack.

The first hour or so of the hike we had a pleasant stroll with a brilliant view of the mountain peak we would eventually reach. After that, it wasn't so much a hike as a long scramble over huge rocks (you can see in the first pic below how rocky it gets above the tree line). This, in my opinion, is way more fun and exciting than simply walking up, up, up. We did, however, join part of our group in taking the (VERY) long, less steep and rocky path down, to avoid dropping Edmund down the mountain.

Edit: Actually, Edmund wasn't IN the backpack. John carried the backpack, and I had Edmund in the baby carrier most of the way (he finally let us switch about an hour from the bottom).