Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress

The personal collection of Maria Theresa, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, is now on display at the Singapore National Museum until the end of this month, that is, tomorrow. Regardless, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Among assorted treasures, the Spear of Destiny, the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire and a 1st class relic of Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier are to be found at this remarkable exhibition. There are no 16th century arms, reflecting her reign as one of justice and mercy - iustitia et clementia - as inscribed around the rim of the famous Maria Theresa thaler.

Maria Theresa at 11
Edward says Mariuca, my godsister, bears a striking resemblance to the Empress.

Photography was not exactly allowed, but I managed to snap two photographs before the guard found out:

Do not be fooled by its delicate appearance - the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire is bigger and heavier than it seems. Dating back to the 10th century, the crown consists of eight plates of pure gold, trimmed with jewels and pearls. The replica was constructed with the same materials as the original, now kept at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna.

While there have been many objects purporting to be the spear that pierced the side of Our Lord at the Crucifixion (this blogger believes the actual spear is to be found in Armenia), this one is undoubtedly the most famous. Passing through a multitude of hands, including Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, Charles Martel, Frederick Barbarossa, Napoleon and Hitler, it was believed that whoever claimed the Spear "holds the destiny of the world in his hands for good or evil".

Amazing then, that security for such a renowned relic (and the exhibition) was extremely lax. In fact, security was nonexistent to the point that we could hit a key on a harpsichord, clearly marked with a sign warning visitors not to touch, and get away with it.

For a moment, some of us wondered if such an exhibition would ever be attacked for its priceless relics by assorted lunatics - occultists, fanatical Roman Catholics, deluded power-hungry types, etc - but all was laid to rest after realising that this is Singapore. Michael says that Singaporeans do not put stock in mediaeval myths and legends - we'd rather get a job at Shenton Way rather than rule the world.

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Good News from Moscow

Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has said he will never allow a gay rights parade in the Russian capital.

"Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which cannot be called anything other than satanic," Mr Luzhkov said.

"We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future," he said.

- BBC News, Monday, 29 January 2007, 18:27 GMT

Moscow is many things, the most important of which may not be instantly apparent. Renowned for her onion domes and high cost of living for expatriates, Moscow has once again shown herself to be among the last sensible capitals of Europe.

No doubt, homosexual activists will protest and complain about their "fundamental rights" being denied, in their attempt to make the Russian authorities look like vicious, right-wing homophobic bigots.

I really cannot understand why a pride parade would be a "right" so many are willing to fight for - to quote a gay, but Catholic friend years ago, "no normal, dignified adult would wear a rainbow-coloured sash to tell strangers how he likes to reach orgasm".

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Food for Thought

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Today's Placebo

According to a Central Russian folk uh, remedy, ointment made from the following...

3 spoons of breast milk
1 spoon of honey
1 spoon of oil
1 cup of peppermint water

...is said to help breasts grow when applied.

Celebrating the Freedom of Choice

Lately, the blogdom has been abuzz with the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark judicial opinion in the United States regarding privacy and abortion. The infamous Supreme Court decision made it legal for a woman to have her unborn child murdered for any reason during pregnancy.

While I am no American, the event had far-reaching consequences, some of which affect me. For America, and much of the civilised world, is now sharply divided into pro-life and pro-choice camps. As a student, I have had several run-ins with my similarly dogmatic peers over this subject - the most recent being some four months ago, when a biomedical science student attempted to force me to see things his way (so what else is new about these "liberals"?), deploying his entire knowledge of the human anatomy and his brattish temperament. I do not even see why this topic should be subject to debate - the subject of life and death are not to be trivialized in such manner. Henceforth, I make known my decision to refuse to engage anyone with malicious intent in debate over this topic.

The Church Fathers have always been clear on the matter:

And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God s for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God's care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it.
Athenagoras of Athens, Apology for the Christians

For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?
St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans

Robbers kill for greed, and to avoid conviction. Soldiers who inflict death in war do so with the obvious purpose not of fighting, nor chastising, but of killing their opponents. And if any one has concocted some magic philtre for some other reason, and then causes death, I count this as intentional. Women frequently endeavour to draw men to love them by incantations and magic knots, and give them drugs which dull their intelligence. Such women, when they cause death, though the result of their action may not be what they intended, are nevertheless, on account of their proceedings being magical and prohibited, to be reckoned among intentional homicides.
St Basil the Great, Letter CLXXXVIII

Karen has a very good post on this matter, comparing the deaths caused by abortion alone with several American wars.

Statistics can be very useful. The can illuminate starkly some feature of our complex world, which otherwise may be hard to discern. They serve as forewarnings of the silent threat creeping up on us, giving us the luxury of time to think up and implement counter-measures. Let the unbelieving among us look, that they may be persuaded to have a change of mind.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Earl Constantine the Fiendish of Tempting St Mary
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

[via Mimi]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Modesty: Not Just For Yourself

My good friend, Francis, who runs Filipino Flavour, has long wrote on the topic of female modesty.

In the not so distant past, the topic of modesty was seemingly common sense, but in the wake of society's secularization, has now become a highly charged and emotional issue.

It is a topic that is not always well-received. Many young women, emboldened by the changing attitudes in modern society, take offense at his reiterations of cherished traditional values.

For reasons which are often too easy to understand, they have chosen to intentionally ignore their duty to their honour, their dignity, and that of their families by presenting oneself in a modest manner at all times.

No, they disagree, we do not care about your silly, outdated notions of virtue.

No, they clamour, you have no right to tell us how to dress.

Indeed, if a woman has made up her mind on how she wants to be viewed, there is only so much we can say on the appropriateness of female attire. However, there is something still to be said.

Modesty, however one chooses to see it, is not merely for oneself. Should a woman choose to ignore time-honoured notions of virtue and dignity, that is her business and none of ours. However, if a woman lacks the bearing, self-assurance and figure to carry off racy outfits, it then becomes an offense not only to us, but to the general public.

I have had my appetite put off too many times by the sight of gluteal clefts ('butt crack', as some of us call it) during lunch. If a woman wants to display a certain area of her body, then please, for the love of all things good, let is be worth displaying! Surely one displays such areas, it is for the sole purpose of inciting erotic thought and desire, or at the very least, admiration for the human form - why should anyone want to exhibit flawed, unsightly, pockmarked regions of the body, only to draw feelings of repulsion and disgust?

For example, if a garment is made to emphasise a woman's ample bosom, women who lack such an attribute should avoid them as much as possible. It is truly painful and sad to see people happily deluded about their appearance. For if one lacks the necessary qualities, one should be tactful to keep the offending organ (or lack thereof) out of sight.

I speak of social responsibility - one does usually not display gangrened scars or tumours with pride, and likewise, one should be prudent enough. It does not bother me as much if one lacks virtue, but one who is selfish and thinks nothing of the masses who have to look upon one's appearance.

Truly, as the popular saying goes, "If you have it, flaunt it." To that, may I add, "If you don't, please have pity on our eyes."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Misinterpreting Results of the Sexual Revolution

As soon as humans found out that women also need to experience satisfaction in sex, the history of human civilization took a serious turn.


A lot of women usually try to praise sex skills of their new lover saying typical phrases like "you are the best lover I have ever had". The whole world of sex now belongs to woman. Men have changed their roles with women. Women can finally enjoy the absolute freedom in sex after hundreds of years of sexual hunger. Unfortunately, women do not know how to use the so-called girl power which they won in the battle of sexes.

Many females believe nowadays that their sexual satisfaction has become the prime goal of living. They forgot about their obligations, many became greedy, senseless and selfish individuals. Most importantly, a lot of women forgot the key rule of any type of relationship: one should learn to give to have a right to take. A real woman knows that sex is an action taken by two human beings (group sex doesn't count) in which a woman can please, excite and satisfy her man and enjoy this role. Men are made to play the same role, albeit vice versa.

- Pravda.Ru, "Women Misinterpret Results of Sexual Revolution to Their Own Detriment", 19.01.2007

С Днём Рождения!

От всей души поздравляем Ольгу Корягину с Днём Рождения! Желаем исполнения всех желаний, счастья, любви и творческих успехов!

From all of us here at Memoirs, we wish Ukrainian singer Olga Koryagina, a very happy 21st birthday!

(Image: VIA Group Fan Club)

Radio Yerevan on Communism

Q: What is a one word joke?
A: Communism.

Q: What is the difference between socialism and capitalism?
A: Capitalism makes social mistakes; socialism makes capital mistakes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Desert Delicacy

"We simply deep-fry them in vegetable oil. Then they are ready to be eaten as a snack," Esther Daniel, who sells fried locusts in Maiduguri town, explains.

"We make a powder of salted hot chilli which we call yaji. You eat the locust by dipping it in the yaji."


"We eat them because they taste good and they are nutritious. In fact, they taste like shrimps," says Judith Passo, a self-confessed locust eater.

"The hind legs are the tastiest part. They are the ones that actually make people call the locusts 'desert shrimps'."

BBC News | In Pictures: Desert Shrimp

Why do I have a sudden craving for fried locusts?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Atheists: Unqualified for Intellectual Discourse

Many people assert that there is no God. I ask you first to check the qualification of these people. Are they qualified to make such claims? Are those who assert that there is no God moral or immoral? Do not just listen to their arguments. Even robbers and swindlers have their arguments. Of course, the arguments support them as robbers and swindlers.

The subject of their arguments may be very noble; they may talk about the state of the nations and the welfare of society, but their opinions cannot be seriously considered. They are not worthy of passing such judgments. If a man is upright in his conduct and moral judgment, we can give credibility to his words, but if not, his words lose their credibility.

This is especially true when it relates to the question of deity. It is interesting to note that the moral standards of men are directly related to their concept about God. Those who admit their own ignorance have a passable standard, while insistent atheists invariably have a low level of moral responsibility.

I do not claim to know all atheists, but of the several thousand that I know, none of them possess a notably commendable morality. You may tell me that there was once a moral atheist, but if there was one, he is dead. Or you may tell me that there will be a moral atheist, but whoever he may be, he is not here yet. At least we can say that for now, we do not know a moral atheist.

Watchman Nee, Is there God? You Be the Judge!

From Holopupenko of Reasoning Repaired, who also mentioned that:

1) An atheist may have a moral code, but he can provide no objective basis for it and hence he should not be trusted.
2) An atheist who claims there is no God based on alleged "scientific evidence" is not speaking as a scientist nor is his claim scientific.


Formerly secret documents unearthed from the National Archives have showed Britain and France considered a "union" in the 1950s.

- BBC News, Monday, 15 January 2007, 02:40 GMT

Monday, January 15, 2007


A church in a Kosovo village of Gornja Brnjica near Pristina was robbed and looted by unidentified men who broke into the church on the eve of Christian Orthodox Christmas and stole church money, icons and then damaged the church.


This is the second time the church has been broken into in the past two months. Last time the looters stole a part of the church bell.

"Since the end of the war this is the fourth time the church was been desecrated," said Djordjevic.

The church of the St Peter and Paul is built on an ancient foundation near the tombstones of legendary Serbian defenders of Christendom, brothers Jugovic, who were murdered by the Muslim army set to invade Europe in the 14th century through Kosovo.

Serbs in Gornja Brnjica, who are Christian, are surrounded by hostile Muslim Albanians that are openly harassing and threatening Kosovo Christians with violence and organized pogroms.


Since 1999, over 200,000 Christians have been expelled by the dominant Albanian Muslims who seek to create an ethnically and religiously pure state out of the Kosovo province currently administered by the UN.

- Serbianna.com, Monday, January 15, 2007

In their rabid push to force a takeover of Kosovo, Moslem Albanians have once again resorted to violence and intimidation. Yet, the native Serbs have again weathered one more display of Mohammedan megalomania. I wonder for how much longer.

It is difficult to imagine that in a continent as civilised as Europe, such acts of barbarism are common, happening almost daily, and with even less media coverage than the plight of Darfur refugees. For in the eyes of the liberal media and most of the world, the Serbs are villains, and their suffering is justified.

It is difficult to imagine that the UN, currently administering the province, would stand by and watch as one Moslem atrocity after another happen. They have done nothing. The plundering, looting and vandalism go unpunished. Even if they care nothing of Orthodox Christianity and her people, the numerous monasteries and churches that have been targeted by Mohammedan rabbles are outstanding works of art and architecture, masterpieces of human creative genius. Yet, despite meeting the criterion for a World Heritage Site many times over, UNESCO has yet to deem any one of them as such. The UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) has done nothing whatsoever to prevent these priceless buildings from being lost forever.

It is difficult to imagine that, for all his rhetoric on terror, President Bush forgot about Kosovo - a land which, under his predecessor, has suffered greatly. The Americans, in all their misguided zeal, have instead chosen to tackle Islamic terrorism in all the wrong places of the world.

There has been much talk on Kosovo seceding from Serbia - and I cannot help but wonder if the UN has made some secret pact with Moslem insurgents to turn Kosovo into a modern-day Turkey: an ethnically and religious pure "secular" state dominated by Moslems.

Lord have mercy.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Simply Absurd!

Oh, you've got to be kidding me!

The “Year You Turned 18 Music Meme”

Go to popculturemadness.com and select the year you turned 18. Paste the list of the top 75 songs. Bold the ones you liked; strike the ones you disliked; and italicize the ones you know but don’t exactly like or dislike. The ones you don’t know will stay plain text.

I found this rather curious meme at Mimi's blog. I don't usually discuss popular music, namely because I uh, hardly listen to anything sung in English, save for Anglican evensong and assorted English Renaissance fare. There are an awful lot of songs I have never even heard about, but there the number of songs I have listened to and actually like comes off as a bit of surprise.

2005's Greatest Hits
1. Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani
2. My Humps - The Black Eyed Peas
3. 1, 2 Step - Ciara Featuring Missy Elliott
4. Holiday - Green Day
5. Pon De Replay - Rihanna
6. Collide - Howie Day
7. Don't Cha - The Pussycat Dolls Featuring Busta Rhymes
8. Dirty Little Secret - The All -American Rejects
9. Gold Digger - Kayne West Featuring Jamie Foxx
10. Dragostea din tei - O-Zone
11. Lose Control - Missy Elliott Featuring Ciara & Fat Man Scoop
12. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams - Green Day
13. We Be Burnin' - Sean Paul
14. Run It - Chris Brown
15. Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani Featuring Eve
16. Don't Forget About Us - Mariah Carey
17. Mr. Brightside - The Killers
18. Listen To Your Heart - D.H.T.
19. Don't Mess With My Heart - The Black Eyed Peas
20. Sugar, We're Goin' Down - Fall Out Boy
21. Switch - Will Smith
22. You And Me - Lifehouse
23. True - Ryan Cabrera
24. Vertigo - U2
25. Photograph - Nickelback
26. Beverly Hills - Weezer
27. Feel Good Inc - Gorillaz
28. Numb/Encore - Jay-Z/Linkin Park
29. Untitled - Simple Plan
30. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
31. La Tortura - Shakira Featuring Alejandro Sanz
32. Karma - Alicia Keyes
33. Obsession (No Es Amor) - Frankie J. Featuring Baby Bash
34. Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
35. Daughters - John Mayer
36. Girlfight - Brooke Valentine Featuring Lil Jon Big Boi
37. Get Right - Jennifer Lopez
38. Have A Nice Day - Bon Jovi
39. More Than Words - Frankie J
40. Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw
41. Boyfriend - Ashlee Simpson
42. Stickwitu - The Pussycat Dolls
43. We Belong Together - Mariah Carey
44. Hung Up - Madonna
45. Scars - Papa Roach
46. Just The Girl - The Click Five
47. Because of You - Kelly Clarkson
48. Over And Over - Nelly Featuring Tim McGraw
49. Candy Shop - 50 Cent Featuring Olivia
50. Speed Of Light - Coldplay
51. Let Me Love You - Mario
52. It's Like That - Mariah Carey
53. Diamonds From Sierra Leone - Kanye West
54. Incomplete - Backstreet Boys
55. Best Of You - Foo Fighters
56. Lonely No More - Rob Thomas
57. Disco Inferno - 50 Cent
58. Caught Up - Usher
59. Oh - Ciara Featuring Ludacris
60. 1 Thing - Amerie

I'm tagging Norman, Karen, Kenny, Paul and Lolita - just to see what sort of answers they will have!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

С Новым Годом!

Just want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year, according to the Julian Calendar. God bless!

Friday, January 12, 2007

44% of the time? That explains it...

You Have Low Self Esteem 44% of the Time

While you sometimes feel good about yourself, you tend to struggle a little with self esteem issues.
It's not about changing who you are, it's about accepting your faults. You just need to be less critical and demanding of yourself!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Христос Рождается - Славите!

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
hath shined the light of knowledge upon the world;
for thereby they that worshipped the stars
were instructed by a star to worship Thee,
the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee,
the Dayspring from on high.
O Lord, glory be to Thee!

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!
Angels with shepherds glorify Him!
The wise men journey with a star!
Since for our sake the ETERNAL GOD was born as a Little Child!

Christ is born, glorify Him.
Christ is from heaven, go to meet Him.
Christ is on earth, be ye lifted up.
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing out with gladness, all ye people.
For He is glorified!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What Christmas Tree Are You?

You Are a Cranberry and Popcorn Strung Tree

Christmas is all about showcasing your creative talents.
From cookies to nicely wrapped presents, your unique creations impress everyone.
Well, I'm not sure about cookies, but I do make my own cards...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Καλή χρονιά!

Children, brothers and sisters, may we see this very hope for things to come realized in our life through the prayers of great Saint John Chrysostom, who intercedes before us to the Lord in heaven together with all the Saints. This coming year will mark the sixteen hundredth anniversary of the falling asleep in the Lord of this Saint, and thus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate proclaims this to be the year of Saint John Chrysostom, so that we may give the urge to the faithful to study his work and more closely examine his life.

At the Phanar, Christmas 2006
Patriarch of Constantinople
your fervent supplicant before God