For such an important feast, Pentecost passed by, as it always has, seemingly unremembered, insouciantly, even. One more Sunday obligation to fulfill, with no discernible import. It’s only the Holy Ghost coming down to earth and the Church’s birthday— what’s the big deal, right? It doesn’t even have an Octave; well at least not anymore.
I can’t help but think of my own family whenever Pentecost comes. They’re not really enthusiastic about Sundays. It is always such a chore to wake them up, and to make catch Mass at whatever swanky shopping center with its own chapel they’re going to. In many ways, I am like that myself. I have never been very pious, but I have always been good at projecting that image. I can’t help but think, too, of the countless people who would rather stay in bed on Sundays, who would rather shop and eat and spend time with their families and loved ones before the daily grind returns on Monday. All noble sentiments, to be sure—after all, who wouldn’t relish the thought of a whole day in bed, the airconditioners at full blast, a nice, warm comforter covering your body, a steaming hot cup of coffee, and a nice, thoughtful, considerate boy with an amazing ass to snuggle with?
But then, these people need their own feast, too, and Pentecost is that feast. Pentecost is for the weak, the struggling, the bored, the restless, the mediocre; Pentecost is for the unsure, for those who have no idea what they are doing with their lives. Pentecost is the great feast of the Church— the People of God— in all the searing nakedness of their blandness.
If Earth Had Rings
First off, they would be really pretty to look at. They would also dominate the sky in both night and day at exactly the same place as they would never rise nor set. And at night you would see the Earth’s shadow swing across the rings, like in the 4th photo here.
However, life would be very different on Earth if this were the case. Nocturnal animals would have a hard time being nocturnal, as the light reflecting from the rings would illuminate the night.
Because we are closer to the Sun than Saturn is, the rings would be more rocky than ice, making them less bright but still pretty bright. In fact, you would see far less stars at night (living anywhere other than the equator or the arctic circle) because of the light pollution and not to mention ruin most meteor showers because of that.
During the day the rings would block sunlight in certain regions of the planet creating wild weather cycles and effecting plant life as well. So basically, they would be definitely pretty to look at but they would also make a whole lot of things screwy.
Illustrations by Ron Miller // io9
— Click the photos for captions
Franucci Innocenzo (Innocenzo da Imola) - Madonna col Bambino in Gloria e I Santi Michele Arcangelo, Pietro, e Benedetto (Madonna and Child in Glory with Saints Michael, Peter, and Benedict); High Altar of San Michele in Bosco, Bologne, Italy; 1517
Gerard David - “The Flaying of Sisamnes”, from the Judgment of Cambyses Dyptich; Groeningemuseum, Bruges, Belgium; 1499
Sisamnes accepted a bribe from a party in a lawsuit, and therefore rendered an unjust judgment. King Cambyses learned of the bribe, accused Sisamnes, and had him arrested and punished, but by no ordinary punishment. The punishment was as creative as it was cruel:
King Cambyses slit his throat and flayed off all his skin and he strung the chair, on which Sisamnes had used to sit to deliver his verdicts, with these thongs.
Cambyses’s creativity did not stop there. To replace Judge Sisamnes whom he had killed and flayed, Cambyses appointed Sisamnes’s son, Otanes, as the new judge. Cambyses warned Otanes to bear in mind the source of the leather of the bench upon which he would sit to hear evidence, deliberate, and deliver his decisions.
Giovanni Baglione - The Divine Eros Defeats the Earthly Eros; Gemaldegalerie der Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany; 1602
I decided to sleep earlier than usual on Sunday night (about 10.30pm) to get a decent amount of sleep for work. About 3am, I was awoken by a strange sound coming from outside. It was a very unpleasant sound, and pretty soon I deduced it was two stray cats tearing each other apart on the roof. The only window in my room overlooks the roof, and it was there that the two felines were having their unholy fight. I must admit, when I awoke in that ungodly hour, my groggy, half-dreaming self thought it was devils from hell coming to get me. OMG it was such an annoying sound!
Earlier that day, I had to visit the clinic to claim my X-Ray results. There was a man at the nurses’ station who looked very fidgety. “Nurse”, he says, “Pwede ko ba isunod yung tae ko mamaya? Naiwan ko kasi sa Taxi! (Can I bring my fecal sample later instead? I left mine in the Taxi”) Needless to say, the man’s faux pas earned him a few sniggers from amused patients.
P.S. The clinic was located at a rather swanky shopping center. We heard Mass at the Chapel there, and just when we were leaving, what do I see but a naked girl in her early teens taking a bath in the fountain?
Andrea Mantegna - Dormitio Virginis (Dormition of the Virgin); Museo del Prado, Madid, Spain; 1462
Albrecht Durer - The Vision of the Seven Candlesticks; Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, England; 15th century
Hans Memling - “Saint Sebastian” (Left Panel), from the Tryptich of the Resurrection; Musee du Louvre, Paris, France; 15th century