A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

A Face As Round & Dull As A Norfolk Dumpling
Saturday, January 31, 2015



Some years ago I found out that I could no longer read any tomes of my early 20th century collection of H.G. Wells novels and short stories. They seemed to me that if at one time Wells (1866- 1946) had been considered a good writer his style had somewhat not aged well. On the other hand when I re-read my The Penguin Complete Father Brown by G.K Chesterton (1874-1936) I found the stories fresh and exciting. While Chesterton was not alive when the atomic bombs exploded over Japan as Wells had, the former author seemed to be the more modern one.

My interest in Chesterton arose from the memory of going to see with my father in 1954 the film Father Brown (released in the US as The Detective) with Alec Guinness as Chesterton's sleuth priest. There were films before this 1954 version and a few after including TV series here and there and even one right now.  In recent years as I have read most of the output of Jorge Luís Borges I have been delighted to find out that Borges considered Chesterton to be his biggest influence. He particularly admired the fantastic stories of Father Brown.
Alas I lost my Penguin Edition. Just a few days ago it re-surfaced in a long forgotten closet bookcase.

I read the first story The Blue Cross (1910) today. This is the story that inspired the Alec Guinness movie. When I opened to the first page I was struck with curiosity as to whom the book was dedicated – Waldo and Mildred D’Avigdor. So I went in search of them in Google. This is what I found:

Waldo Percy Henry dÁvigdo (1877-1947) and his wife, the former Mildred Wain, were both friends of Chesterton before they met and married. G.K.’s older friendship with Waldo went back to his boyhood when they were students at St. Paul’s School, a school for boys in the Hammersmith borough of London. It had been founded in the early 1500s and attended by such notables as Milton and Pepys.
Gilbert and Waldo were among the dozen or so members of a small but energetic club that G.K. and his friends established. They called it the Junior Debating Society although, as Chesterton says in his Autobiography, if there was a Senior Debating Society none of them had heard of it. The club published a periodical called The Debater in which appeared some of Chesterton’s earliest prose and verse.

About a third of the members, including Waldo and his brother, were Jewish. Years later Chesterton described Waldo as a person who ‘masks with complete fashionable triviality a Hebraic immutability of passion tried in a more ironical and bitter service than his Father Jacob’ (Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, p, 103)

The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown – Edited by Martin Gardner

 
As for Chesterton’s writing consider:

 
The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen. A few clouds in heaven do come together into the staring shape of one human eye. A tree does stand up in the landscape of a doubtful journey in the exact and elaborate shape of a note of interrogation. I have seen both these things myself within the last few days. Nelson does die in the instant of victory; a man named Williams does quite accidentally murder a man named Williamson; it sounds like a sort of infanticide. In short, there is in life an element of elfin coincidence which people reckoning on the prosaic my perpetually miss. As It has been well expressed in the paradox of Poe, wisdom should reckon on the unforeseen.

Aristide Valentin in The Blue Cross

Books to die for

La Noche Boca Arriba

In a most recent early morning visit to my cardiologist I found myself in a waiting room with two friends. We three did not know we shared heart problems and yet there we were in a most unforeseen manner. One of my friends had recently returned from a bike trip in France. His face was all swollen and he had a black eye. "Did you fall there?" I asked him. "No," he answered, "I fell from my bike in Vancouver."

Jorge Luís Borges was a fan of G.K. Chesterton. Borges quoted him lots in poems and short stories. This version, below, of G.K. Chesterton’s poem Lepanto, was translated by Jorge Luís Borges and it appeared in the premier issue of the Argentine magazine Sol y Luna. Below the poem I have posted a link to a reading of Lepanto in English

Esta versión del poema se publicó en noviembre de 1938, en el primer número de la revista argentina «Sol y Luna»

 
Lepanto
G.K. Chesterton
(Traducción de Jorge Luis Borges.)

 
Blancos los surtidores en los patios del sol;

El Sultán de Estambul se ríe mientras juegan.

 Como las fuentes es la risa de esa cara que todos temen,

 Y agita la boscosa oscuridad, la oscuridad de su barba,

 Y enarca la media luna sangrienta, la media luna de sus labios,

 Porque al más íntimo de los mares del mundo lo sacuden sus barcos.

 Han desafiado las repúblicas blancas por los cabos de Italia,

 Han arrojado sobre el León del Mar el Adriático,

 Y la agonía y la perdición abrieron los brazos del Papa,

 Que pide espadas a los reyes cristianos para rodear la Cruz.

 La fría Reina de Inglaterra se mira en el espejo;

 La sombra de los Valois bosteza en la Misa;

 De las irreales islas del ocaso retumban los cañones de España,

 Y el Señor del Cuerno de Oro se está riendo en pleno sol.

 Laten vagos tambores, amortiguados por las montañas,

 Y sólo un príncipe sin corona, se ha movido en un trono sin nombre,

 Y abandonando su dudoso trono e infamado sitial,

 El último caballero de Europa toma las armas,

 El último rezagado trovador que oyó el canto del pájaro,

 Que otrora fue cantando hacia el sur, cuando el mundo entero era joven.

 En ese vasto silencio, diminuto y sin miedo

 Sube por la senda sinuosa el ruido de la Cruzada.

 Mugen los fuertes gongs y los cañones retumban,

 Don Juan de Austria se va a la guerra.

 Forcejean tiesas banderas en las frías ráfagas de la noche,

 Oscura púrpura en la sombra, oro viejo en la luz,

 Carmesí de las antorchas en los atabales de cobre.

 Las clarinadas, los clarines, los cañones y aquí está él.

 Ríe Don Juan en la gallarda barba rizada.

 Rechaza, estribando fuerte, todos los tronos del mundo,

 Yergue la cabeza como bandera de los libres.

 Luz de amor para España ¡hurrá!

 Luz de muerte para África ¡hurrá!

 Don Juan de Austria

 Cabalga hacia el mar.

 Mahoma está en su paraíso sobre la estrella de la tarde

 (Don Juan de Austria va a la guerra.)

 Mueve el enorme turbante en el regazo de la hurí inmortal,

 Su turbante que tejieron los mares y los ponientes.

 Sacude los jardines de pavos reales al despertar de la siesta,

 Y camina entre los árboles y es más alto que los árboles,

 Y a través de todo el jardín la voz es un trueno que llama

 A Azrael el Negro y a Ariel y al vuelo de Ammon:

 Genios y Gigantes,

 Múltiples de alas y de ojos,

 Cuya fuerte obediencia partió el cielo

 Cuando Salomón era rey.

 Desde las rojas nubes de la mañana, en rojo y en morado se precipitan,

 Desde los templos donde cierran los ojos los desdeñosos dioses amarillos;

 Ataviados de verde suben rugiendo de los infiernos verdes del mar

 Donde hay cielos caídos, y colores malvados y seres sin ojos;

 Sobre ellos se amontonan los moluscos y se encrespan los bosques grises del mar,

 Salpicados de una espléndida enfermedad, la enfermedad de la perla;

 Surgen en humaredas de zafiro por las azules grietas del suelo,-

 Se agolpan y se maravillan y rinden culto a Mahoma.

 Y él dice: Haced pedazos los montes donde los ermitaños se ocultan,

 Y cernid las arenas blancas y rojas para que no quede un hueso de santo

 Y no déis tregua a los rumíes de día ni de noche,

 Pues aquello que fue nuestra aflicción vuelve del Occidente.

 Hemos puesto el sello de Salomón en todas las cosas bajo el sol

 De sabiduría y de pena y de sufrimiento de lo consumado,

 Pero hay un ruido en las montañas, en las montañas y reconozco La voz que sacudió nuestros palacios -hace ya cuatro siglos:

 ¡Es el que no dice "Kismet"; es el que no conoce el Destino,

 Es Ricardo, es Raimundo, es Godofredo que llama!

 Es aquel que arriesga y que pierde y que se ríe cuando pierde;

 Ponedlo bajo vuestros pies, para que sea nuestra paz en la tierra.

 Porque oyó redoblar de tambores y trepidar de cañones.

 (Don Juan de Austria va a la guerra)

 Callado y brusco -¡hurrá!

 Rayo de Iberia

 Don Juan de Austria

 Sale de Alcalá.

 En los caminos marineros del norte, San Miguel está en su montaña.

 (Don Juan de Austria, pertrechado, ya parte)

 Donde los mares grises relumbran y las filosas marcas se cortan

 Y los hombres del mar trabajan y las rojas velas se van.

 Blande su lanza de hierro, bate sus alas de piedra;

 El fragor atraviesa la Normandía; el fragor está solo;

 Llenan el Norte cosas enredadas y textos y doloridos ojos

 Y ha muerto la inocencia de la ira y de la sorpresa,

 Y el cristiano mata al cristiano en un cuarto encerrado

 Y el cristiano teme a Jesús que lo mira con otra cara fatal

 Y el cristiano abomina de María que Dios besó en Galilea.

 Pero Don Juan de Austria va cabalgando hacia el mar,

 Don Juan que grita bajo la fulminación y el eclipse,

 Que grita con la trompeta, con la trompeta de sus labios,

 Trompeta que dice ¡ah!

 ¡Domino Gloria!

 Don Juan de Austria

 Les está gritando a las naves.

 El rey Felipe está en su celda con el Toisón al cuello

 (Don Juan de Austria está armado en la cubierta)

 Terciopelo negro y blando como el pecado tapiza los muros

 Y hay enanos que se asoman y hay enanos que se escurren.

 Tiene en la mano un pomo de cristal con los colores de la luna,

 Lo toca y vibra y se echa a temblar

 Y su cara es como un hongo de un blanco leproso y gris

 Como plantas de una casa donde no entra la luz del día,

 Y en ese filtro está la muerte y el fin de todo noble esfuerzo,

 Pero Don Juan de Austria ha disparado sobre el turco.

 Don Juan está de caza y han ladrado sus lebreles-

 El rumor de su asalto recorre la tierra de Italia.

 Cañón sobre cañón, ¡ah, ah!

 Cañón sobre cañón, ¡hurrá!

 Don Juan de Austria

 Ha desatado el cañoneo.

 En su capilla estaba el Papa antes que el día o la batalla rompieran.

 (Don Juan está invisible en el humo)

 En aquel oculto aposento donde Dios mora todo el año,

 Ante la ventana por donde el mundo parece pequeño y precioso.

 Ve como en un espejo en el monstruoso mar del crepúsculo

 La media luna de las crueles naves cuyo nombre es misterio.

 Sus vastas sombras caen sobre el enemigo y oscurecen la Cruz y el Castillo

 Y velan los altos leones alados en las galeras de San Marcos;

 Y sobre los navíos hay palacios de morenos emires de barba negra;

 Y bajo los navíos hay prisiones, donde con innumerables dolores,

 Gimen enfermos y sin sol los cautivos cristianos

 Como una raza de ciudades hundidas, como una nación en las ruinas,

 Son como los esclavos rendidos que en el cielo de la mañana

 Escalonaron pirámides para dioses cuando la opresión era joven;

 Son incontables, mudos, desesperados como los que han caído o los que huyen

 De los altos caballos de los Reyes en la piedra de Babilonia.

 Y más de uno se ha enloquecido en su tranquila pieza del infierno

 Donde por la ventana de su celda una amarilla cara lo espía,

 Y no se acuerda de su Dios, y no espera un signo-

 (¡Pero Don Juan de Austria ha roto la línea de batalla!)

 Cañonea Don Juan desde el puente pintado de matanza.

 Enrojece todo el océano como la ensangrentada chalupa de un pirata,

 El rojo corre sobre la plata y el oro.

 Rompen las escotillas y abren las bodegas,

 Surgen los miles que bajo el mar se afanaban

 Blancos de dicha y ciegos de sol y alelados de libertad.

 ¡Vivat Hispania!

 ¡Domino Gloria!

 ¡Don Juan de Austria

 Ha dado libertad a su pueblo!

 Cervantes en su galera envaina la espada

 (Don Juan de Austria regresa con un lauro)

 Y ve sobre una tierra fatigada un camino roto en España,

 Por el que eternamente cabalga en vano un insensato caballero flaco,

 Y sonríe (pero no como los Sultanes), y envaina el acero...

 (Pero Don Juan de Austria vuelve de la Cruzada.)

Lepanto Sound Video



A Watercolour Selfie
Friday, January 30, 2015


 
 
 
When you are living with an acutely disruptive teenager as we are inspiration comes because of desperate times. An assignment to paint selfies with watercolours (to date not completed or begun) led me to the idea of going into my bathroom and painting my face with watercolours (using my index finger) and then pressing a sheet of paper against my face. According to my friend Ian Bateson, tissue paper would produce better results. Another idea I had was to suggest placing one’s face on a scanner and since our printer is a b+w laser printer the result could be painted with water colours to satisfy the school assignment.



The Argyle Sweater Induced Me to Laugh So Hard I Cried
Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is laughter the best medicine?

Ryan Beil at the Stanley, January 28 2015

My wife Rosemary and I attended the opening performance of Richard Bean (story) and music and songs by Grant Olding, One Man, Two Guvnors last night. It was an Arts Club Theatre production directed by David Mackay at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.
Attempting to explain the plot of this play (which is not quite a musical) would be as difficult as defining that other terrific play Bullet Catch at the Granville Island Review Stage.

I must here confess that I made lots of money in the 90s flying all over for Reader’s Digest. As a young boy my grandmother gave me a Spanish edition subscription to Selecciones del Reader’s Digest.
So with my special inside connection to the magazine I can assert that in One Man, Two Guvnors, that indeed laughter is the best medicine. Rosemary and I laughed all night as did the audience.

I will after making some subjective assertions about the play (I am not a theatre critic nor would I ever want to be one) I will then explain the curious facts behind Andrew McNee’s (Francis) Argyle Sweater and tie (socks, too?) and Cailin Stadnyk’s skirt and sweater.
First to the very bad.

As far as I could tell this play would have annoyed and dismayed anybody expecting an accordion player or tap dancing. I was not in the least dismayed or annoyed.

While I have seen many musicals at the Arts Club (and have come to almost appreciate them) as a Latin American I have never understood when people are talking suddenly start thinking.

In Vancouver now by Arts Club Theatre standards, singers must know how to dance, dancers must know how to sing, actors must know how to dance and sing. While I have heard actors play musical saws in the Penelopiad  I had never seen an actor (Martin Happer as Stanley Stubbers) play an array of bicycle horns.

The Very Good

The bicycle horns as played by Martin Happer were really good. I am glad all those actors can sing, dance and play instruments. I am glad all those musicians can act and dance.
This play is strictly speaking not a musical. There are musical numbers by a most competent ensemble and by just about every other member of the cast, but when they sing they sing and when they talk they talk.  They never, thankfully, ever merge into a full-fledged musical.  That is very good!

Ryan Beil (Allan Dangle) is funny even if he recited the grocery list from Walter M. Miller Jr’s A Canticle for Leibovitz.

While I am not partial in the least to accordion players Spencer Schoening’s washboard playing was unusually good and with his glasses he reminded me of what Buddy Holly might have looked at when young. If I weren’t 72 and could relive a mid-life crisis I would leave Rosemary, buy a red Miata and propose to the young man.
It is amazing to see a wonderfully talented young actor, Anton Lipovetsky, listed in the program as Musical Director also kill us with his electric guitar. If I ever get married in another life I would first take my fiancée to a restaurant where Lipovetsky would be the maître d'.

Martin Happer who plays the Englishman of that certain upper class, Stanley Stubbers is my idea of the ideal cricket player.



Celine Stubel

Celine Stubel as the sometimes-for-a-while-man (and almost an identical twin to a dead man) Rachel Crabbe would perhaps make me dump Spencer Schoening, keep the red Miata, leave my wife and go for her in her fedora off for a picnic with her cute ladybug lunchbox.

Most might not know that the word and brand name Viagra is a combination of the words vigorous and Niagara Falls. Watching Cailin Stadnyk (that gold lame dress! congrats Costume Designer Nancy Bryant for that!) and in that sweater (a tad too small?) made my heart stir. If I saw this play, every day for its entire run I, too would not need a hat peg like Andrew McNee and I would save on pharmaceuticals.
Amir Ofek’s set design moved here and there to my delight and surprise. He even managed to whisk away drummer Spencer Schoening without a gong in sight.

Robert Sandergard’s lighting always revealed to me the details I was interested in seeing. There were many of those.
Andrew Cownden as the almost-dead (but not quite) Alfie and wonderful harmonica player induced ample use of my diaphragm. He is most funny.

If Lauren Bowler (Pauline Clench) were to show up at my door in that girl guide uniform of her and those glasses I would buy all the cookies, dump, my wife, dump Spencer Schoening, dump Celine Stubel, keep the Red Miata and run away with her. In what could be a sort of not to PC comment here, the former Globe Arts Critic Christopher Dafoe used to tell me that he had the desire to have a date with Evelyn Hart and then feed her hamburgers. My date with Bowler would be to read her War and Peace.
But the best part of this show is Andrew McNee. I am sure he must have some sort of real eating disorder. I watched him drink and eat. The Ancient Romans knew how to deal with this sort of problem. I would not want to know what the dry cleaning bill will be for the jacket he wears to which McNee smears his full-of-food hands. He would make a brilliant paring with the droll humour of Ryan Beil.

The most amazing discovery for me is how closely One Man, Two Guvnors follows the plot of Venetian playwright Claudio Goldoni’s play Il servitore di due padroni which he wrote in 1743. Perhaps the only changes are the presence for all those reasons why one would not want to immigrate to Australia. We might pause here to mention that we are lucky that Australian Peter Cathie White, Executive Director of the Arts Club Theatre Company did immigrate to our parts.

I discovered this amazing information from my useful Wikipedia. We are not guaranteed that it is correct but here it is:

Goldoni originally wrote the play at the request of actor Antonio Sacco, one of the great Truffaldinos in history. His earliest drafts had large sections that were reserved for improvisation, but he revised it in 1753 in the version that exists today.

Some of you like me might not know that Truffaldino is Italian for Harlequin.
So here goes my assertion (the last word would only come from Costume Designer Nancy Bryant) that Andrew McNee’s Argyle tie and sweater (socks?) and Cailin Stadnyk’s tight skirt with more demure Argyle decoration (also a sweater) are a homage to that original harlequin, Antonio Sacco.


Christopher Gaze, Bill Millerd, Stanley Theatre January 28 2015

For a while now I have discerned a similarity in how both Christopher Gaze and Ryan Beil deliver and talk. Beil is more nasal and yet when Gaze projects that Englishness of his and raises his nose up the sound reminds me of Beil's. I asked them individually last night. Gaze of course told me that he has had a long relationship with Beil. Gaze's children went to school with Beil and Beil did a few seasons at bard. I asked Gaze if he could imitate Beil. He said he could. When I asked he demurred.

Beil told me that inspiration for his actor-acting-as-an-actor role (Allan Dangle) in One Man, Two Guvnors he was inspired by Gaze's delivery in Bard on the Beach in order to project. I am sure that Beil declaming Shakespeare's Henry the V St. Crispin Day lines (so beautifully done of the cuff by Crhistopher Gaze even in a café as I have heard him deliver) would make me roar in laughter proving yet again the wisdom of Reader's Digest.
 



Going Home Again
Wednesday, January 28, 2015




On February 27 I could fly to Austin, Texas and be home again. Is that really possible?
Consider that in my former home we called the Mexican/Americans in our dorm or in our classes spicks. I was in a never-never land in being white who spoke English (sort of like the natives but not quite Texan) while being able to communicate in perfect Spanish. I was kind of shunned by both camps.
The first time I returned to my former home from my home in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico it was after the Christmas holidays of 1957. I was in the 9th grade. I arrived late at night and our main building looked like Dracula’s castle. I was homesick for my mother and Nueva Rosita. I cried. It passed. Our busy schedule made me forget and by the second year my melancholia for home was replaced by a happy eagerness to visit my mother during holiday breaks but nothing more.
I felt I fit in because the Brothers of Holy Cross while being firm disciplinarians did share their warmth, understanding and intelligence.
My four years at St. Ed’s while seeming like they only happened yesterday recede into a corner of my memory when I walk up and down the stairs of Old Main. I can imagine, like in those films about passing memories and events, our shouts as we ran on the stairs. This was prohibited and often we were stopped by the very serious (he was really a pussycat) Brother Francis Barrett. I can imagine the voices of Amos ‘n’ Andy, a program that was turned on the radio for us in the evening when we were in our bunk beds with Brother Rene who was our dorm prefect. Brother Rene, a fair and strong man was possibly the only brother any of us really feared.  I cannot listen to Ravel’s Bolero without remembering how this man educated us as we slept with music that he deemed important for our minds and souls.
I remember how in my 11th grade our room prefect (by then we had rooms for four with bunk beds) Brother Anton Mattingly and I would discuss in his room (he kept the door and mosquito screen wide open. I did not know why because I was innocently naïve about such things) the merits of our mutual cameras a Pentacon-F. He had the F-2 Zeiss Biotar (was I jealous!) while I had the inferior Zeiss Tessar. I took his Spanish class to avoid the complexities of reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars in Latin. But Brother Anton taught me the Spanish grammar I sorely needed.
I could go on with all the pleasantries that a look back into one’s past makes rosier than it surely was. But I am not sure. What do keep into account are the jarring differences of my world then and my world now. Then we could go up the elevator to the top of the University of Texas Library tower and drink beer. How could we have known that a gunman would, just a few years later unleash terror on students walking below? The terrorism of the time involved disgruntled men pointing guns at pilots in airplanes to force them to fly to Cuba. The idea of a belt full of bombs was years into the future.
In our dorms and rec rooms our TV sets were permanently tuned to the one channel available at the time. It was a CBS affiliate owned by LBJ. If there were other radio stations of the time I do not know. The one we listened to was also owned by LBJ and it featured the music of Elvis, Twitty and the Ventures. Those of us who were snobs had a preference for instrumental music like those Ventures but we may have at one time admitted liking the Everly Brothers.
Our campus had only one black man who was a day student. The problem of bunking with such a man never came up.  
The man we most admired was Walter Cronkite. I remember sitting under a tree reading when one of our Cuban classmates came up to me and said, “Your Catholic president has lets us down at the Bay of Pigs. I heard this in the news with Cronkite.” I was speechless.
If there was a war going on I was not aware of. There were rumours that one of the McDonnell F-101 had sent a rocket up the tailpipe of MiG somewhere by the Matsu Islands near Taiwan. The idea of Mainland China was nonexistent. The Chinese Communists were evil, very Chinese in my Blackhawk comic books of the time. I do believe we had a couple of test exercises for a possible atomic war. St. Ed’s was near the Strategic Air Command’s Bergstrom Air Force Base. Only a couple of wooden structures that I spied from the window of my plane as it landed on what is now Austin-Bergstrom International Airport when I returned in the late 2000s.There was not one single Boeing B-53 bomber in sight.
There was no sushi in our cafeteria faire. We had lots of okra and on special days parboiled steaks were served. For breakfast we had to smother our Korean War surplus powdered scrambled eggs with ketchup to make them palatable. When our table mates weren’t looking we would abscond their sausages or bacon with our forks.
In my 9th grade I would spit shine the seniors’ shoes for pocket money. I never thought the job was a demeaning one. My secret ingredient was a Mexican tin of “grasa” called El Oso.
At the end of our halls there were public telephones. We had long figured out how to bend a coat hanger so as not to use quarters (? or dimes?) Women, early practitioners of phone sex would call us on Friday nights. The most famous one called herself Marcia. These girls knew we were living in an all-male campus so they really liked to pull our strings. None ever committed to a face to face date.
It was in the 11th grade that I told my three other roommates that it was time we went to a dirty movie. The one I picked sounded dirty. It was called The Virgin Spring. How was I to know this was a highly rated art film directed by Ingmar Bergman? What I find astounding is that such a film was being screened in our neighbourhood movie house. the Austin Theatre on the corner of Congress Avenue and Live Oak St.
The first time I did return to St. Ed’s I found our main building bigger than imagined it. It felt strange to see women students walking to their classes. Few would have known that at one time it had housed a high school. The high school closed around 1968. The campus is now the campus of St. Edward’s University. It is difficult to find brother (Brother of Holy Cross) anywhere. For all intents and purposes the university is a lay university struggling to keep the word Christian in its every day communications.
That we sang Gregorian chant in our chapel on Sunday nights was something I had no idea. We simply sang.
In a world in which spirituality is going to a Tolkien film or practicing yoga, the only way I can return to my real home is to return to the idea of what our school was in those middle 50s.  It was a school of men who gave us a liberal Roman Catholic education. Time had yet to predict the death of God. All was well with the world and young women in roller skates and bobby socks served hamburgers to your car (I never did enjoy that experience) on The Drag by the University of Texas. And we all knew what hooking horns meant.
I can return to that home right here in Vancouver but I will miss all the outside barbecues, the Texan accents and the ghostly voices (some may even by my own) walking the stairs of Old Main.


Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C.

 
Most of all I will miss all those men, Brothers of Holy Cross who are, except for a few, all gone.

Raymond Fleck

The leper at Mass

Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C.

St. Edward's High School alumni & faculty web page

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Homecoming & Family Weekend 2015
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Homecoming & Family Weekend 2015

Ready or not, Homecoming and Family Weekend 2015 is only a month away. If you have not already done so, register online today! You can view the Who's Attending list to see who of your classmates has already registered. You can also check out the full schedule of events to see all the fun activities planned for the weekend!
We’ll relive the memories, make new ones, reconnect with classmates and faculty, and see how St. Edward’s has changed – and how it’s stayed the same. Come home to your Hilltop and remember all the reasons you love the blue and gold!
  • Friday Feb. 27: Alumni will celebrate together and kick-off Homecoming weekend at the All Alumni Welcome Back Party.
  • Saturday, Feb 28: We’ll start the day off with the President’s State of the University Address. Then we’ll head over to the Topper Tailgate & Festival for fun for all – BBQ, bar, kids area, and booths from all of your favorite campus organizations – including the Alumni Association. Men’s and Women’s basketball teams will take on the Newman University Jets for the Homecoming Basketball Games. We’ll have a chance to reconnect with our favorite faculty members at the Faculty Fête. The Reunion Classes (1965, 1970, 2005, and the St. Edward’s High School alumni) will gather that evening. We will finish the day with a Homecoming Concert!
  • Sunday morning, March 1: We’ll have Mass and a Farewell Brunch!
Need accommodations? We’ve put together a list of nearby hotels that make getting to and from campus easy.

If you have any questions, please contact the Alumni and Parent Programs Office at 512-448-8415 or 1-800-964-7833. We’ll see you in February on the Hilltop!

Sincerely,
Alumni & Parent Programs
St. Edward’s University
St. Edward’s University  |  Office of Alumni and Parent Programs
3001 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704



The Disinterested Assassin: Bill Harrigan
Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Meteor Crater - Arizona - 2011

In the summer of 2011 my wife Rosemary, our two granddaughters and I decided to drive our Chevrolet Malibu to south Texas. This meant that in the back seat we had an already difficult Rebecca, a 13 year-old full-fledged teenager and her sister Lauren who was 8. For the former, Rebecca, most of the canyons we visited, including the Grand Canyon were simply rocks upon rocks. For Lauren there was usually no comment but in Meteor Crater Arizona (it was 40 Celsius when we arrived around noon, she found much that interested her. I would say she was fascinated.

Throughout the whole expedition at the crater I felt a strange degree of unreality which I have never been able to explain to myself or to others. Particular to this was the loss of a sense of the size of the crater which looked smaller than it really was. When we visited Monument Valley the monuments were really a lot smaller than in the John Wayne/John Ford films.

As I survive these days of humid melancholy with that erstwhile teenager still a teenager in our home I discovered a little nagging explanation for my Meteor Crater unrest.



I never did see Jorge Luís Borges in my many trips to the Pigmalion Book Store on Avenida Corrientes in Buenos Aires. We simply never went on the same days to buy our books in English. Had I seen him I would not have been surprised. And I know he would have worn a tie and at the very least a sport coat and slacks.

In those years , 1965, 1966 when I went to Pigmalion I was much too ignorant to appreciate Borges as I do now. I would not have known that he had written a book in 1954 called Historia Universal de la Infamia and that one of the essays would be about the life of Billy the Kid. He begins his story, El Asesino Desinteresado – Bill Harrigan with a description of the area that we drove through in our Malibu. In some ways the four of us in our Silver Malibu now seem to be as strange as if I had spotted a blind poet in a tie, in spite of the sweltering heat scampering gingerly with his cane at Meteor Crater.
 
El asesino desinteresado Bill Harrigan
Jorge Luis Borges

 
La imagen de las tierras de Arizona, antes que ninguna otra imagen: la imagen de las tierras de Arizona y de Nuevo México, tierras con un ilustre fundamento de oro y de plata, tierras vertiginosas y aéreas, tierras de la meseta monumental y de los delicados colores, tierras con blanco resplandor de esqueleto pelado por los pájaros. En esas tierras, otra imagen, la de Billy the Kid: el jinete clavado sobre el caballo, el joven de los duros pistoletazos que aturden el desierto, el emisor de balas invisibles que matan a distancia, como una magia.

 
The image of the lands of Arizona before any other: the image of the lands of Arizona and New Mexico, lands with an illustrious base of gold and silver, of dizzying arid heights, lands of the monumental mesas and of delicate colours, lands with the white glare of skeletons picked clean by birds. In those lands, another image, that of Billy the Kid, the man on is horse, the young man of the hard pistol shots that deaden the desert, the source of invisible bullets that kill at a distance like magic.


El desierto veteado de metales, árido y reluciente. El casi niño que al morir a los veintiún años debía a la justicia de los hombres veintiuna muertes—"sin contar mejicanos".

 
The desert streaked of metals, arid and shining.  The almost-boy who upon dying at 21owed justice for 21 deaths – “not counting Mexicans”.

My translation



Brother Raymond Fleck, C.S.C. - Call Me Ray
Monday, January 26, 2015

This morning I received an email from Raymond Fleck.

Alex: I'll be in Austin the end of February for the St. Ed's Homecoming Weekend. Will you be there? Have you been in contact with Mike East? All the best to you and yours. --- Ray Fleck

I answered that with the death two years ago of my  religious mentor and friend Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. that it would be unlikely that I would attend. This plus diminishing funds while living in a big house my wife and I cannot afford to fix is the deciding factor.

Raymond Fleck replied:

It was fun to get together with you and Mike at that earlier reunion, but time marches on. Sometimes we do have to go through these rough patches. Yes, Brother Edwin was a wonderful guy. You know, he was a native of New Orleans, so when Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, he and I were in contact about it. The Brothers' old Holy Cross High School was wiped out, but after a couple of years, Edwin told me they were rebuilding at a different location in New Orleans, up near Lake Pontchartrain. I went over to see the new place, and what they accomplished was truly impressive. Hang in there, Alex. --- Ray

 
I have written twice here and here about what I call the Brother Edwin Friendship Quotient. This email from a man who is at least 11 or 12 years older than I am is another proof of Brother Edwin’s (I could never have gotten away with calling him Edwin nor would I have wanted to.) insight into friendship between disparate ages.


Mike East, Raymond Fleck, Lee Lytton III - 2011


 Brother Edwin Fleck, C.S.C. may have been just 26 when he had the high position of Religious Superior in my 1958 Edwardian annual. I had finished 9th Grade at St. Edward’s High School in Austin. He had an office next to the principal’s on the main floor of our New-Gothic building that housed our dorms, cafeteria, chapel and classrooms. I remember seeing what seemed to be a tall gaunt man who with his glasses reminded me of a scientist ( particle physics?) or philosopher. He never said a word for me as we had no connection except that his office was in the same building where I lived. After 1958 his photograph disappears from my Edwardians but I knew he was around for at least a couple more years. At some point he became the president of St. Edward’s University with whom we shared our campus.

In 2011 I attended a reunion at St. Ed’s and there was the tall and gaunt man in his glasses wearing seersucker sports shirts. Now, not as tall as I remembered him, he was simply Raymond Fleck and he introduced me to his wife. The remote man I thought he was, was warm and friendly . I even had his doctorate all wrong. It was in chemistry not in physics.

During some casual conversations over breakfast I found out that he had a connection with a former classmate of mine Mike East. From this connection I found out that the remote and gaunt scientist had the added talent of being able to get rich but thrifty people to donate money to the university. For years many at the university had thought that East Hall (the university’s first dormitory for women) was simply called that because of its location. Raymond Fleck set the story straight here.

As my friends move away or die I find it pleasant and rewarding to understand the making of new friends - in particular my friendship to Raymond Fleck. When he was Brother Raymond there was an unfathomable gulf between us. It has dissolved. Brother Edwin would simply say to me, “I told you so. It’s math.”

And here is a clarification of it all from Raymond Fleck:


I first went to St. Ed's in 1954, to teach Chemistry at the University. Three years later, at 30 years of age, I became President. The office of the President was across the hall from the High School Principal's office. In those days, the President was the Religious Superior of all the Brothers assigned to the High School and the University. In 1964, the office of Religious Superior was separated from the President position. I continued as President of the University, and Brother Romard Barthel (a long-time teacher of Physics at the University) became Religious Superior of the Brothers assigned to the University. In addition to continuing as Principal, Brother Peter Celestine Maranto became Religious Superior of the Brothers assigned to the High School.The 1960s were often times of chaos and personal trial. I left St. Ed's and its presidency in 1969, and left the Brothers of Holy Cross in 1970.

Here is my LinkedIn profile summary:
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Ray graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School. He enlisted in the Navy while he was 17, towards the end of WW II, and served for 18 months, ending up as an Aviation Electronics Technician. A life-long member of the Catholic Church, he served in the Brothers of Holy Cross for 22 years, including 12 years as President of St. Edward's University in Austin, TX. After leaving St. Edward's and the Brothers, Ray engaged in research in environmental chemistry at UC Davis, served as President of Marygrove College in Detroit, MI for seven years, and worked in research administration at UC Davis and at Cal Poly Pomona. He retired in 1995 after 41 years of service in higher education.

Lee Lytton III

Mike East

 



     

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The Order of Generals



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7/6/14 - 7/13/14

7/13/14 - 7/20/14

7/20/14 - 7/27/14

7/27/14 - 8/3/14

8/3/14 - 8/10/14

8/10/14 - 8/17/14

8/17/14 - 8/24/14

8/24/14 - 8/31/14

8/31/14 - 9/7/14

9/7/14 - 9/14/14

9/14/14 - 9/21/14

9/21/14 - 9/28/14

9/28/14 - 10/5/14

10/5/14 - 10/12/14

10/12/14 - 10/19/14

10/19/14 - 10/26/14

10/26/14 - 11/2/14

11/2/14 - 11/9/14

11/9/14 - 11/16/14

11/16/14 - 11/23/14

11/23/14 - 11/30/14

11/30/14 - 12/7/14

12/7/14 - 12/14/14

12/14/14 - 12/21/14

12/21/14 - 12/28/14

12/28/14 - 1/4/15

1/4/15 - 1/11/15

1/11/15 - 1/18/15

1/18/15 - 1/25/15

1/25/15 - 2/1/15

2/1/15 - 2/8/15

2/8/15 - 2/15/15

2/15/15 - 2/22/15

2/22/15 - 3/1/15

3/1/15 - 3/8/15

3/8/15 - 3/15/15

3/15/15 - 3/22/15

3/22/15 - 3/29/15

3/29/15 - 4/5/15

4/5/15 - 4/12/15

4/12/15 - 4/19/15

4/19/15 - 4/26/15

4/26/15 - 5/3/15

5/3/15 - 5/10/15

5/10/15 - 5/17/15

5/17/15 - 5/24/15

5/24/15 - 5/31/15

5/31/15 - 6/7/15

6/7/15 - 6/14/15

6/14/15 - 6/21/15

6/21/15 - 6/28/15

6/28/15 - 7/5/15

7/5/15 - 7/12/15

7/12/15 - 7/19/15

7/19/15 - 7/26/15

7/26/15 - 8/2/15

8/2/15 - 8/9/15

8/9/15 - 8/16/15

8/16/15 - 8/23/15

8/23/15 - 8/30/15

8/30/15 - 9/6/15

9/6/15 - 9/13/15

9/13/15 - 9/20/15

9/20/15 - 9/27/15

9/27/15 - 10/4/15

10/4/15 - 10/11/15

10/18/15 - 10/25/15

10/25/15 - 11/1/15

11/1/15 - 11/8/15

11/8/15 - 11/15/15

11/15/15 - 11/22/15

11/22/15 - 11/29/15

11/29/15 - 12/6/15

12/6/15 - 12/13/15

12/13/15 - 12/20/15

12/20/15 - 12/27/15

12/27/15 - 1/3/16

1/3/16 - 1/10/16

1/10/16 - 1/17/16

1/31/16 - 2/7/16

2/7/16 - 2/14/16

2/14/16 - 2/21/16

2/21/16 - 2/28/16

2/28/16 - 3/6/16

3/6/16 - 3/13/16

3/13/16 - 3/20/16

3/20/16 - 3/27/16

3/27/16 - 4/3/16

4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

4/17/16 - 4/24/16

4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17