Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cuckholds in Austin

Ah the wonderful things I am reminded of when watching JAG. I just finished watching three episodes from season 1, and I must admit that I do find the character of Lt. JG. Meg Austin to be much better than than the early seasons of Mac. Anyway, I was reminded about what the hook'em horns hand sign means in Europe. How I had let this slip my mind is beyond me? It means that one is a cuckhold.

"Cuckold" is derived from the Old French for the Cuckoo bird, "Cocu" with the pejorative suffix -ald. The earliest written use of the Middle English derivation, “cokewold” occurs in 1250. The females of certain varieties of Cuckoo lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, freeing themselves from the need to nurture the eggs to hatching. In middle age Europe, the law, custom, and the church all defined married women as a category of property held by her husband. Although Christian marriage vows strictly enjoined sexual exclusivity in a marriage for both partners, custom and doctrine rarely enforced it on the husband. A married woman who was unfaithful to her vows made a “cuckoo” of the husband who unknowingly provided her, and potentially her illegitimate offspring, with shelter and protection as a tricked bird does to the cuckoo’s eggs.
A nuance of the word often overlooked in contemporary usage is that it refers to a man who, like the bird warming the cuckoo’s eggs, is unaware of his victimization. A man who knows and acquiesced, in his wife’s taking of another lover is called a “wittol,” itself a derivation from the Middle English for “willing (as in knowing) cuckold.” In recent years the word “cuckold,” and its 1589 verb form “cuckolding” have been used to describe various forms of “open” or non-monogamous marriage arrangements that include an element of sado-masochism. “Wittol,” which more exactly describes the males in these situations, has become increasingly rare, although it appears in American and English literature as recently as 1950s.

A currently popular slang extension of the definition of cuckold expands it from married men to any male in a dating or domestic relationship with a woman in which he remains exclusive and she does not. This is the result of the jocular extension of the word "married" to describe paired-up couples in general rather than just those who have official legal sanction. This new usage may also reflect the paucity of established words that describe the variety of alternative sexual and romantic arrangements that have proliferated in recent years.

Cuckolds are sometimes written of as "wearing the horns of a cuckold" or just "wearing the horns". This refers to a tradition claiming that in villages of unknown European location, the community would gather to collectively humiliate a man whose wife gives birth to a child recognizably not his own. According to this legend, a parade is held in which the hapless husband is forced to wear antlers on his head as a symbol of his wife’s infidelity. Whether this actually happened or not is irrelevant to the phrase, which survived.

Ca. 1815 French satire on cuckoldry, which shows both men and women wearing horns
The French equivalent of "wearing horns" is "porter des cornes" and is used by Molière to describe someone whose husband has been unfaithful. Moliere's L'École des Femmes (1662) is the story of a man who mocks cuckolds and becomes one at the end. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (c.1372-77), the Miller's Tale is a story that humorously examines the life of a cuckold. (It is a personal favorite of mine in that collection of short stories).

In Russia, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Brazil and Spanish-speaking countries, "horns" are a metaphor for suffering the infidelity of a partner, not limited to husbands in modern usage. However, the use of the term dates from the Roman empire, since legionaries returning from the war were given horns as a triumph or prize. So, the use of the term is a mockery of the husband, victorious in the battlefield, but defeated in his own bed. The gesture of the horned hand can be used to insult the cuckold; the Italian translation, cornuto literally means horned (This sometimes causes confusion in Italians who are learning English and encounter the word horny). The Spanish word for a consenting cuckold, cabrón, has such an offensive nuance that it is a taboo word rarely used with its original meaning, "he-goat". However, according to the tone and the relation to the addressed, it can be even laudatory.

So keep throwing up horns oh you folks in Austin and I'll keep this in mind and laughing my ass off at you bunch of cuckholds.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006


also...please join me in my protest against commercials that use the sound of an alarm clock at higher than normal volume to try to get my attention to go out shopping early tomorrow. I have a long weekend ahead of me, I DO NOT want to hear the sound of an alarm clock until Monday morning. It's uncouth to subject me to such things. Those companies using them are making my list and NOT getting my money.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Call the men with the straight jackets, I think I've gone off the deep end. I have been lead to a decision that will shock those who know me best. I've gone an done the unthinkable action that will change my life immediately in the near future. I have no regrets, I know something better will come of this, I just hope you will all understand and help me get through the difficult times that lie ahead. I will be moody, emotional, and saddened, but extrememly joyful. I must move on to the next stage of my life. It's been great, it's been fun, and I will miss what I am leaving behind with a strong desire to return to it. Maybe someday I will, but now I must say goodbye.

Yes it's very true. I am moving on. I have decided to give up my Aggie baseball season tickets this spring. This will allow me to focus on more important things that need my attention. You see, there are more important things than baseball. Come now men with the straght jackets, I await you.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lot's of football today and there are still games being played. I could talk about the drama, I could talk about the BCS, I could talk about a lot of things in big games. However, it is something from a not so big game that I want to write about tonight. Notre Dame, national pwerhouse, played Army today. As expected the Fighting Irish prevailed as they tuned up for the game next week against USC.

The game itself is an afterthought tonight as I witnessed a great moment after the game. At the game's conclusions the Army football team went over to their student section (the game was at Notre Dame) and assembled for the singing of the West Point alma mater as they do after every game win or lose. Following the Army team over to that corned or the stadium was the entire Notre Dame football team. In a sign of great respect the Notre Dame team stood at attention behind the West Point team as the West Point alma mater was played. Notre Dame stadium was quiet as this happened. After the West Point band had finished the Irish went over to their student section for the Notre Dame fight song and the alma mater. The Black Knights of Army, followed them, repaying the sign of respect the Irish had shown.

It is in these moments that all the glitz and glamour are lost. It is in these moments that the big time bussiness that is Division I college football is forgotten. It is in these moments that the game becomes just that, a game. Young men who just moments earlier where competing in one of the most physicial sports their schools offer were showing their mutual respect for each other. As I understand it, Notre Dame did the same last year against Navy and Coach Weiss wishes to continue this tradition as long as he is coaching there. You see, the military academies are true teams of student athletes, none of them are on scholarship for athletics. All of them must go through the required training for their service academy and also balance football (or whatever sport they play) in addition to their studies.

What I saw tonight, were young men playing a game they love on both sides of the field. However, with Army it is special. I could not help but think that come May the seniors on the West Point squad will be joining the officer corps of the US Army as 2nd. Lts. Some of these kids will probably be sent to combat zones and some of those may not comeback alive. So for on a cool, crisp autumn night they played a game against the might Irish of Notre Dame and were soundly thumped yet were shown ultimate respect by their opponent and the Irish fans.

On a personal note, many of you may not know that West Point was one of a small list of schools that had mentioned giving me a shot to play football for them while I was doing the whole collge search thing back in high school (also on the list were Brown, Springfield, RPI, WPI, Cornell, and Richmond). I never played ball after high school and graduated with a B.S. in 2000. I somtimes in the years in between have wondered "what if I had gone to the Point?" I don't regret things, given the changes in the world, had I gone there I might not be writing this now, but I also know many of my peers have paid the ultimate price and I doubt they had regrets either. I respect the men and women from the Poin, all out services academies, and all who are in the military. Tonight, on a national stage, on live tv across the country and around the world, I was bursting with joy to see that respect, shared by others, shown to a special group of athletes. If only it were done more often at every venue the men and women of our service academies partake in sport.

Tonight on a crisp, fall night in South Bend, Indiana. The game took a back seat to something more important, and that my friends was a moment that was truly the best of the evening in all of college football.

By the way, if you all are wondering how close I was to going to the Point. My decision came down to Boston U and RPI, but the career test I took earlier in my college search for possible ways to go at the Point and in the Army, well the top 2 were Special Forces-Combat Engineer and Intelligence Analyst and for giggles I recently retook that test and added my educational info...same two topped the list. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Famous for popular songs like "Margaritaville," Jimmy Buffett, responded to the suggestion that he might be the world's greatest party person. "I was! I had a great time! Then people start dying, you know. And having nervous breakdowns. And then you go, 'Wait a minute here'" (Rolling Stone, 1996). His comments, of course, are familiar: death, disease and tragedy bring us all up short. But the timing is interesting. Suddenly, at this late date, we say to ourselves: "People are dying and having nervous breakdowns." "People" here seems to mean people I know, those close to me. People I went to school with or who were in my wedding or with whom I worked or played basketball. Death, disease and tragedy only really get to us when they hit close. Ultimately even these have a tough time competing with the impact of "my" death, "my" illness, "my" personal tragedy. These really get to us. They tell us as they told Buffett, "Wait a minute here." The lesson is obvious and old but here in mid-November is as good time as any to pause. After a summer that brought some relaxation, we're back rushing about, up to our ears in deadlines. Am I shortchanging these people around me who are or will be dying, getting sick, having breakdowns? Can I put aside my work, my worries, my ambitions enough to be with husband or wife, children, friends? "Be Here Now" was the title a sixties guru gave to his book celebrating an insight he derived from Buddhism. However we come to it, we need to "be here now."
-- Don Talafous OSB

To often I find myself wondering about things in the future. When will the Sox open the season and where (April, in Arlington), what can I anticpate to happen in the office tomorrow regarding my projects and how will I handle these situations (I actually do this almost every night and it is helpful), if I make this decision what will other think of me, what are the consequences of my actions, who are the Patriots playing this week...why is the defensive scheme not working, why do the Bruins suck, what time is the RPI hockey game scheduled for internet broadcast. So many thoughts, so many examples in my life of not being here now.

How can we refocus ourselves to shed off all these distractions and be here now? It is different for everyone and I can only speak for myself. I find prayer to be one of the simplest ways to acheive this goal. Whether it is praying the rosary and reflecting on it's mysteries of Christ's life, praying before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration of our Lord, or going to Mass on a regular basis and just reading Scripture and contemplating about what it is teaching and praying to the Holy Spirit for wisdom to incoporate more perfectly into my daily life. As a Catholic, I feel so blessed to be able to go Mass daily should I feel drawn to do so, being able to enter in heaven on earth is truly the center of the Catholic faith and to be able to that daily is simply awesome. One of the other great things about the Catholic faith is that(save for local feast days and priestly ordination anniversaries) I can know fully what readings from Scripture will be read and preached about and I know with confidence that even the leas educated, the illiterate, will here the whole of the Bible read in the Church over a three year cycle if they go everyday. I can't express the sadness I feel knowing that the same can not always be found in the church's of my nonCatholic brothers and sisters. Some of them my attend one church their entire life and never hear the whole of Scripture read (in that statement I do not include the books removed by the early "reformers" that are included in the "Catholic Bible"). Alas, though, I am off track.

Another way to be here now comes no further than looking at everyone I encounter. We are all made in God's image and because Christ is God we are all created in the image of Christ. In everyone we encounter, we must remember that in them we encounter a bit of Christ regardless of race, sex, or creed. Think about that. I know I struggle with remembering that and must constantly remind myself of such. Love thy neighbor as thyself, but we must remember that the answer to the question "Who is our neighbor?" is simply "Everyone."

So what do we do then? We go forth and we serve one another. If someone is an unbeliever, we serve them. If someone if gay, we serve them. If someone if a murderer, we serve them, if someone if a rapist, we serve them. We may not be able to serve them all the same way, but we serve them none the less. Not to convert them, not to do anything else other than serve the image of Christ within them. No one on this planet can convert anyone, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. As St. Francis of Assisi is quoted to have said "Let us preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." So let us be here now, and leave the rest to God's hands and His plans.

Father, in your goodness grant me the intellect to comprehend you, the perception to discern you, and the reason to appreciate you. In your kindness endow me with the diligence to look for you, the wisdom to discover you, and the spirit to apprehend you. In your graciousness bestow on me a heart to contemplate you, ears to hear you, eyes to see you, and a tongue to speak of you. In your mercy confer on me a conversation pleasing to you, the patience to wait for you, and the perseverance to long for you. Grant me a perfect end - your holy presence. Amen.
Saint Benedict of Nursia

St. Benedict of Nursia and St. Francis of Assisi pray for us.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God"

Friday, November 10, 2006

For What It's Worth

You know Bunky, the world has gone upside down when Rutgers is undefeated in football and just knocked off the number 3 team in the country.

So, is an undefeated football team from a so called "weaker" conference less deserving of a shot at the MNC than a one loss team from "strong" conference.

Five turnovers and only lose by 7. Don't tell me the Colts aren't worried about seeing New England again, even if it is in the dome.

Foulke you? We hardly knew ya. Enjoy working at Burger King Keith.

Dale Jr. has worked his way up to third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. With 2 races to go he needs to make a move and be within 20 or 30 going to Miami.

Memo to RCR, now is not the time to be trying to get some extra hp out of your engines.

Note to RCR 2: retiring the colors or waiting for the son to come over and run them? The 29 will look funny in yellow.

I caught an old Star Trek episode the other night because I could not sleep, funny how much we've passed by even a 1960s version of the future in about 50 years.

The Dem's have Congress, the Republicans still have the White House. Stalemate and good government at it's best. Nothing can get done which means no one get's screwed.

Except the middle class of course.

Bunky, a certain hockey player had another goal last Monday and great looks at a few other shots. Should he send his game tapes to Mt. St. Charles or Catholic Memorial yet, or just BC High?

RPI Men's Hockey, 18th in the Nation. Haven't seen that in a long time.

So did you hear the one about the Halloween Mass in a certain Orange County Church, one of the ministers of communion was in costume as.....the Devil. Bishop Mahoney retires when?

Dr. Gates, we know where you'll work. Gig'em Gates!

Naked Gun 2 1/2, a classic movie I haven't seen in a long time. I don't speak French, but I do kiss that way.

Senator Chafee, Godspeed my friend. Run for governor in 2010.

He ain't Kinky and he's not our Governor!

"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."- St. Justin Martyr, 2nd Century

St. Francis de Sales pray for us.