Thursday, June 01, 2006


Serendipity: good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries
I always run into interesting things here and there while I am in the course of my own business.I found this on a browser window that had been left open on the computer I was about to use in the library.I thought it was rather funny and sardonic too!

Judging the dubiousness of saintsPosted by Teresa at 08:21 AM * 112 comments
This is an improved version of a list I posted to a comments thread some while back.Subtract credibility points from any saint who:
-1 levitated
-2 flew
-3 performed significant actions after being dismembered
-4 performed significant actions after being beheaded
-2 is a Celtic saint associated with a body of water
-6 is a Celtic saint known only through being associated with a body of water
-1 is fun to draw
-1 has generated ex ossibus relics in excess of a single normal human skeleton
-1 is a popular statuary figure in the front windows of botanicas
-2 has an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Saints which mentions the word “Antioch”
-2 is credited with the spontaneous generation of roses or rose petals
-2 after death or martyrdom, exuded water, milk, oil, perfume, or some other benign substance
-3 was granted specific favors at the point of martyrdom; viz., that women who invoke the saint
during childbirth will bear healthy children, or that anyone who writes a Life of the saint will
receive an unfading crown in heaven
-3 was the recipient of three or more miracles involving a significant discharge of energy
-4 performed numerically improbable feats (traveling in company with 11,000 virgins;
simultaneously besting 50 philosophers in debate)
-5 had a run-in with a dragon
-5 is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (of whom there are nineteen)
-6 is first mentioned in martyrologies written several centuries after his or her supposed lifetime
-2 is mentioned in the Legenda Aurea
-7 is mentioned in the Legenda Aurea as a beautiful young virgin of noble birth who vows herself
to Christ, is desired by a highly-placed official, and dauntlessly undergoes a long series of
imaginative tortures interspersed with miracles before finally claiming the Palm of
-8 appears to derive his or her entire existence from a medieval rhetorical trope
-9 appears to derive his or her entire existence from a misunderstood word or etymology
-10 appears to derive his or her entire existence from a typo
-15 is a member of the current lineup of the X-Men

Subtract one additional point for each 10% of the saint's life that can be mapped directly onto the folklore motif index.
It would improve the accuracy of this method to have a second weighted list of characteristics pointing toward believability: being mentioned in scripture or other early writings, being mentioned by contemporaries (esp. sober and authoritative contemporaries), being the author of thoroughly respectable early writings, having a detailed Life which is marked by great piety but contains no colorful anecdotes at all, etc. etc. etc.
Bear in mind that even the best of saints can have a few dubious characteristics. St. Teresa of Avila occasionally levitated during prayer. All sorts of odd legends have gotten attached to St. Nicholas of Myra and St. George. Poor old St. Oswald died by being hacked to pieces by Mercians at the battle of Maserfield, and between that and the confusion of the times that followed, he somehow acquired an extra head. Really, it could happen to anyone; and there is a preferred head, the one that was kept with the relics of St. Cuthbert. Oswald's remains are positively staid compared to the five or six (or seven? I've lost count) heads that have been credited St. John the Baptist, every one of which is exceedingly dubious.

I thought that was interesting even though I know that the Catholics among us arent really pleased with that piece.Anyway I was walking in my new office building and I noticed that outside one of the offices they had put out 2 boxes full of text book.Most of them were for high school math, algebra and a few for Windows applications.I recall reading the KBW admin blog where they wanted to know how KBW can get active socially and I was thinking how it could be possible for some of us out here to get books being given away by goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and other places and send them to Kenya.I am sure these books would come in handy in schools in the rural areas or the impoverished parts of Nairobi where there are more students then books.The only problem I can foresee is a crushing customs charge being attached to the books.It has happened to other charitable contributions sent to Kenya before.Anyway that is my feeble attempt at charity, I am sure the rest of you have other ideas on how we can help out.Feel free to comment below...


Guessaurus said...

Hey dude - lol at that list, I am a catholic and while still laughing I did not read the whole thing

As for the charity thing, I am with you on it - the City Council libraries my way have loads of old books that they sell for like £0.20p (around 40cents or so) and also the Charity shops too - about everything and anything, and I could buy them in bucketloads, but the shipping/custom costs might be a bit of a challenge.

Any Ideas?

BTW happy Madaraka day to you

The Devious One said...



acolyte said...

@ Guess
Yes the list was funny.It seems there are just as many cheap educational books on your side of the Atlantic as there are on mine.I will do some research and see if there are any ways we can overcome the taxes that would be thrown at our donations.
@ Devious one
Good to have you here, seems Guess is a tad bit faster.Holla back once you finish reading.

Joseph Walking said...

The books idea is really a good idea especially since books are so expensive even in the not so impoverished part of nairobi.Doing whatever however little one can do goes a long way

acolyte said...

@ joe
Yes doing a little is better then nothing.Now I just have to get thinking so as to get this project off the ground.