Kiba and Cheza’s Love as Symbolic of Jesus and Mary’s

While watching Wolf’s Rain this time, the utter delight Kiba and Cheza had in each other’s company struck me.  Those of my dear readers familiar with Wolf’s Rain know that this show is essentially a Christian allegory.  Though, I must confess to being so obtuse that I actually missed on this obvious connection the first time; but, this only proves how well it works as an allegory: the symbolism works such that it falls short of being blatant, which marks a perfect allegory.

Of course, one of this pair of characters might be conceived of as the Church rather than Mary, as the love of Our Lord for the Church is unfathomable; but, traditionally, many places in Scripture which some say refers to the Church, others say refer to Mary–the Song of Songs being a perfect example.  This is due to Mary being the most perfect disciple of Our Lord.  (Feminists please note that this honor was not given to a man, nor the honor of being the most powerful intercessor among the saints, nor did any other saint have as important a role in the history of salvation, nor is anyone else’s heart so like the Sacred Heart.)

I wrote “one of this pair” above because I hesitate to name either Kiba or Cheza as definitely Jesus or Mary.  If we were to assign them by gender, Kiba would symbolize Jesus and Cheza Mary; yet, Cheza has healing powers, is the one being sought by the pack, and is depicted as if crucified.  On the other hand, Kiba needs to save Cheza, is gravely wounded especially toward the end, and is the obvious leader of the pack–despite his unwillingness to be recognized in that role.  But this similarity brings out a fine point: the better a believer becomes, the closer he approximates Our Lord.  We have the examples of those people who seem so sweet and filled with goodness that we never wish to leave them.  Some people approach Christ-likeness so perfectly that they become an image of Him, as in the Orthodox idea that icons of Christ point to the Father as icons of the saints point to Christ.  Once when someone saw Padre Pio at prayer, he believed he saw Jesus Christ praying.

Also, I remember Louis de Montfort’s claim that it is easier to separate Our Lord from all created beings and things than to separate Him from Mary.  This is similar to Kiba and Cheza’s love.  When Cheza is present, Kiba is always at her side.  When she is absent, she’s all Kiba thinks about.  When Cheza thinks about the pack or feels that the wolves are near, Kiba is the first name that comes to her mind.  At the end of the series, when everyone else has perished, Kiba and Cheza hold each other in a firm embrace.

But that last scene reminds me of a symbol of how Christ is united to his Church, which I cannot pass without remarking: the blood pouring from Kiba and Cheza’s wounds changes into water as it flows out into the sea.  At Mass, a little water is mingled with the wine before consecration.  The water symbolizes the Church, and the mingling with the wine means that Christ is always united with His Church.  And this perpetual union I wish for you all.

Seeing this show again also makes me wonder whether it would have been better to have ended the show at episode 26 rather than creating another four episodes.  After all, the person symbolizing the devil has been destroyed and good victorious.  Even though one may say that the show doesn’t seem complete since the wolves haven’t found paradise, do we not experience the same thing in our lives?  Christ has conquered sin and death, but we still struggle with living virtuously, and, though we possess the Kingdom (“The Kingdom of God is within you” Luke 17:21), we do not yet enjoy the Beatific Vision.

So, what do you think?  Would it have been better to have ended Wolf’s Rain at episode 26 or does the addition of four more episodes make for a superior ending?

Sharing the Faith and the Sacred Heart

Well, dear readers, a certain level of ignorance has been lifted from my mind this day.  You see, my spiritual life has been not only stagnant but even painful for the past while.  In my incredible ignorance, I could not perceive how I strayed from the right path; but, God has mercifully waited upon my understanding, which may be likened to an abyss of ignorance, to be opened.  Perhaps the greatness of our ignorance and misery move God to show more mercy than the human mind can conceive.  Here’s a little story given by a deacon in a homily which adequately illustrates my fault.

God gave a certain mystic a vision of heaven and hell.  God led the mystic to two doors.  Upon opening the first, he saw a round table which held a pot of stew whose aroma caused the mystic’s mouth to water.  Seated around the table were a bunch of miserable individuals having very long spoons strapped to their forearms.  While these spoons were capable of reaching the pot, they could in no wise bring the stew to their lips.  And so, they sat around the table starved and miserable.  God informed the mystic that this was hell.  Then, God brought the mystic into a second room, in which there was the same table and pot of stew.  Only, everyone was happy and well-fed and yet they all bore spoons in the same way that those in the first.  The mystic began to wonder how these people were so well-fed.  Upon asking God, God informed him that all the souls in heaven fed each other, a concept beyond those in hell.

This allegory is particularly apt for the point I wish to make.  What may the stew be likened to except God?  The greatest torment of hell is eternal separation from God, who is Love itself.  The damned lost God because they were unable to love their fellow men.  Is not every good work a kind of sharing of God’s love?  This makes it abundantly clear to me that the Christian must share the knowledge and love of God with his fellow men.  God wishes the Kingdom of God to grow and encompass the whole world, like the mustard seed which “grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches” (Luke 13:19).

One must be careful that one does not attempt to shrink the Kingdom of God by either providing a bad example or not speaking of it.  By acting in this way, a Christian seems to reduce the Kingdom of God, which is supposed to be a mustard tree, to a sad, twisted bonsai tree, which cannot grow because every effort of its roots to expand is cut off.

And this was my error: not sharing the faith enough.  I did not realize this until during a drive with my younger sister.  I tried to describe how important living a Christian life focused on serving God is, clearing up certain misconceptions, speaking about the mystery of the Cross in our lives, and explaining certain sayings of Padre Pio.  After which I felt much better.  At which point, it hit me that I had not been doing enough to serve God.  That I had been keeping whatever I had learned about God, all my riches, to myself rather than offering these riches to others.  In other words, I acted as the servant who buried the talent, and various sufferings quite rightly fell to my lot.  One must try to remember that God is always giving, and one of the ways to fulfill the command to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) is by giving of oneself–whether it be talent, time, or treasure.

St. Martin of Tours seeing Our Lord clothed in the part of the cloak which St. Martin had given a beggar earlier that day.

And so, I would like to share with you some thoughts about Our Lord’s sufferings, especially as he suffered in his Sacred Heart.  First, consider the immense love of God–a being who has perfect happiness and is free from all suffering–in taking on a human body in which He could suffer, and that these pains were rendered even more acute by the tenderness of His love.  Even now that His Passion has ended, He still suffers in His Sacred Heart over the loss of poor sinners–as he revealed to St. Faustina, in whose heart He would try to find relief from the mortal anguish caused by the loss of souls.

Imagine what this most perfectly tender heart suffered during the time before the Crucifixion.  The crowds constantly misunderstood His message.  How painful this must have especially been after the feeding of the five thousand.  He reveals His flesh to be true food and His blood true drink, but people only want some bread loaves.  He expresses His desire to give His very self to them for their sake, to be their best and greatest Friend, and they only want to use Him for meals.

Not only did this suffering extend to being misunderstood by the crowds, but He was often misunderstood by His Apostles.  How truly alone He must have felt to not have one friend to whom He could relate.  Remember a time when you found yourself in a crowd of people with whom you had nothing in common, and you will have only scratched the surface of the alienation felt in this Heart which is more tender than a mother’s.

I’ll try to think of more ways to meditate on the Love of God in the future, but may this provide good material for contemplating the Sacred Heart for you.

Here’s a great review of Evangelion 3.0 in order to whet our appetites for its release in America. (I’m done with online downloading, so I still have to wait.)

Ashita no Anime

Initial impression – never has there been a more appropriate subtitle

Autumn 2012 (alternate title – Rebuild of Evangelion: 3.0, Evangelion: 3.0 Q Quickening) (more info)

What a turning point for the Evangelion franchise.  A true revolution I must say.  As I sat awestruck in the theater after the movie finished, something crossed my mind that I knew I had to share with you.  “This was necessary.”  With the third movie, this revisit of the story first told back in 1995 has found its own identity and will not live in the shadow of its predecessor.

To avoid spoiling anything, but still giving you a taste of what to expect, I’m going to focus on the powerful transformations the characters have undergone that shape the story in new and exciting ways.

Asuka has given up the mantle of depression and tsundere indecisiveness and become a true…

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These are some nice reviews of certain manga by Angry Jellyfish. I recommend the light novel version of Spice and Wolf wholeheartedly, and the chapters of Psyren I read were quite fun.

Angryjellyfish's Blog

I spent the last weekend of August staying in Bristol with friends, and picked up a fair few manga titles while down there. I planned to write about some of them soon after getting back (allowing time to actually read them, of course)… but it was at that point my broadband issues started. I’ve bought tons more manga in the two and a half months since then, mostly online, but I’ll save them for a later post and focus purely on these summer purchases.

So once again, here’s what I’ve been reading! Click the title links if you want synopses. 🙂

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Here’s the blog of a published writer. He has some very astute observations on his craft, so his site is well worth perusing.

Cristian Mihai

A while ago, a good friend of mine, Bryan Edmonson, asked me for advice on character development. And I didn’t know what to tell him. How do you create characters? How do you make them feel like real people? To be honest, I’m not sure is as simple as following some strict conventions or rules. Or as complicated as that.

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Servus Fidelis ~ The Faithful Servant

Brother Joseph

The janitors, doormen, and apartment superintendents in my parish and I have a particular fraternal bond, for we are situated to observe the private lives of many. They are called upon at inconvenient hours, to do tasks and handle emergencies, uncongenial to those in some other lines of work. The term “janitor” is related to the Roman god Janus who guarded doorways, protecting the goings in and out of people as well as of years themselves and transitions in one’s life, which is how we get the month January. Ovid and Cicero were of the opinion that the name Januarius was derived from the Latin verb “ire” meaning “to go,” which makes sense, with relation to doors and years. The Vatican Museum has a statue of Janus Bifrons, so called because he has two faces, and that is an advantage if you have to keep an eye, or…

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A Nice Dinner

Having just finished a luxurious dinner, I find myself not in the mood to vent my spleen in regard to the present state of the James Bond franchise.  In addition to a couple of glasses of Chardonnay, I has a Negroni for the first time and a twenty year old Tawny Port from Graham’s.  The food at this Italian restaurant was superb, but my memory of these drinks holds first place.

As my little Mr. Bartender app informs me, the Negroni consists of 1 part Gin, 1 part Sweet Vermouth, and 1 part Campari garnished with an orange peel.  This drink works wonderfully well as an aperitif, as one might guess from the presence of gin and Campari.  The gin makes this a rather spicy drink, while the other two elements nicely balance out the spiciness with their sweetness and the orange peel adds some interesting complexity.

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Nothing like the old argument between Determinism and Libertarianism. I fall in with the latter camp, the camp of the Underground Man, of course. This is an interesting discussion, but the Libertarian argument seems a little weak.

Bond rant tomorrow, if I can be responsible and somehow work on my 12 page and 3 page papers which are both due on Friday at the same time as writing a halfway intelligent post.

Kritik der Animationskraft

First, a confession.  I’ve been terribly tempted to quit blogging.  It seems like centuries since I last engaged fruitfully with an anime season, and this being an anime blog, what’s the point if I can’t do that?  Aha, but 2013 is supposed to be the big Leiji year, and if I kill the blog now I know I’ll be forced to come up with a new one just to cover the new CG Harlock film and stuff, so I might as well keep this open.

But is this even my choice?  Am I not bound to keep my blog open, prodded as I am by a series of causes and effects stretching out back to the beginning of time?  Am I not a helpless, little lamb being taken to the slaughterhouse that is the end of all life? Ghostlightning will not accept this sitting down.  And so we talk…

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Here’s a site which I find rather inspirational. One usually doesn’t see how Christianity and anime can be linked, but TWWK and the other writers here do that regularly. This article is a perfect example of their general style.

I promise to come out with an article by tomorrow. At least, I now have the James Bond movie to rant about. 🙂

Well, here’s to another night with nothing original. At least I get to introduce Pirates of the Burley Griffin those who are unfamiliar with this blog. John Samuel has been an anime fan since the days when anime was relegated to the realm of subcultures, which makes his perspective on modern shows very unique. (I especially love how he knows all the terms for TV tropes.) Here’s some of his thoughts on a show which exemplifies the idea that one cannot judge a show by its title.

Pirates of the Burley Griffin

On Thursday night I was looking for some fresh anime, but wasn’t up to tackling something serious like Shin Sekai Yori [1]. So I picked Girls Und Panzer with the expectation that I would mercilessly mock it on twitter for about half an hour before dropping it.

That isn’t what happened.

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Good Tea

Here’s a short post on four superlative teas.

1.  Harney & Sons Holiday Tea – This is a wonderful offering.  It shows that great tea can come in tea bags!  The spices pair nicely with the orange peel and black tea, and is especially delicious with honey.

2.  Yin Hao Jasmine – This is the highest grade of jasmine tea I could find on the Upton Tea Imports website, and it doesn’t disappoint.  The jasmine flavor and scent make this a very refreshing tea.  The green tea which the jasmine flavored is of high quality, which gives it plenty of complexity.

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This is a really awesome anime blog. The only problem being that the blogger doesn’t write enough. (Sounds like someone else we know, right?) I intend to watch this series at some point, and this article provides an interesting sampling of the blogger’s writing.

Anime B&B

Personal note: let me take a moment before my thoughts on the anime to apologize for my break in blogging.  Life has been busy lately, as indicated in detail in the personal update box in the right-side column on my front page.  I have been keeping up with a good number of anime this season, but have not had the time to sit down and really share my thoughts on them.  For those of you who have stuck around, thank you for your continued support! Now on to my review!

Moyashimon Returns ended just recently and threw us hopes for another season in the making.  Another sequel is exactly what this franchise needs given the somewhat odd direction that this second series takes.  For those of you who have seen the live action version of Moyashimon (I have), or perhaps even read the manga (which I haven’t), this climax…

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Ashita no Anime

1. Psycho-Pass

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good cyberpunk series and this one comes with a great premise centered on a society managed by a grand computer system that keeps the peace in what is either a utopian or dystopian society depending on your point of view.

2. BTOOOM!

Survival thrillers have been prevalent as of late, but this anime shines brighter than most because of its gut-wrenching ferocity that feels real because of how it plunges into the nature of man on the edge.

 

3. Zetsuen no Tempest

When the two protagonists serve as each other’s foils so well, you’ve got a recipe for some terrific dialogue, which is complimented by fast-paced action.

 

 

4. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

It’s fun to escape from reality sometimes, but when your imagination takes over, all sorts of hilarity ensues—especially when someone is reminding you of…

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Here we have a perfect delineation of the usual response people who don’t watch anime when they learn you do. Black Strawberry has several great, well thought out articles on anime, and I highly recommend you to peruse her website.

THE LADY AND ANIME

Do you have that excited feeling in your gut yet for the Fall season? Have you been met when crickets when someone asks you, “What are you doing this weekend?” And you respond, “Oh, nothing much, going to a fashion show, out to dinner, watching anime, and playing COD.” The person is very much into your response until she/he hears anime and COD. Eyes get a glazed look, mouth slightly agape, and the awkward pause. Then they wake up and seem to have figured it out:

“Oh, so you’re into that Japanese stuff and you’re a gamer?” – The person who believes they’ve understood. I usually don’t explain, I’ve stopped explaining. It’s easier to show the person or recommend something for them to watch. They either do or they don’t. I always recommend Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro to someone who has children; I see it as the most…

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My Patron’s Feast Day

Any of my dear readers who have St. Leo the Great as your patron might be interested in this.  His feast day is coming up on November 10th.

Just prior to being confirmed, I learned a version of how Attila was prevented from sacking Rome.  St. Leo was pope at the time.  The day before Attila marched to Rome, he had nightmare in which a priest bearing a sword threatened to kill him unless he did everything St. Leo told him to do.  So, when Attila meet St. Leo, a very meek man, he conceded to the pope’s request not to sack Rome.  I thought that it was St. Leo himself who had appeared in the dream, but it turns out that St. Leo had a strong devotion to St. Peter (as a pope probably should) and that it was probably St. Peter who threatened Attila.  At any rate, this story influenced me to choose St. Leo as my patron.

Otherwise, St. Leo is famed for his beautiful sermons advocated prayer, fasting, and almsgiving–placing emphasis on the last.  People still admire them to this day. He also wrote a beautiful tome defining Christ as having both a human nature and a divine nature with neither nature overriding the other, which he delivered at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.  This prompted the Patriarch of Constantinople to cry out: “Peter has spoken through Leo!”

He has especially helped me when it comes to performing my duties, writing, and studying well.  So, I encourage you also to ask for his help in these areas and others.

I’m cheating today. Here’s an amusing oath Chibiotaku010 found. She runs a good site with very enjoyable, light articles. One of my favorite blogs.

ChibiOtaku010

THIS OATH [or wadever it is..] IS VERY TRUE INDEED. Basically what all Otakus over the universe would want to do…or already did……\(OAO)/

 

 

*Someday, I will travel all over Japan, visiting their streets, schools, shops, stores…experience everything there…..and I will buy whatever I can there….Someday..*

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Impressions of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, Fairy Tail, and Samurai Deeper Kyo

So, here are just some initial impression of a few manga.  I would be able to go deeper into Samurai Deeper Kyo, having read around 26 volumes of it, were it not for the fact that I read this manga on and off.  Whenever the volume of work increases or I get distracted by other series, this often gets pushed to the side.  I’m not precisely sure why, it’s an extraordinarily well done.  Perhaps my scruples about fanservice get in the way, which I’m happy to report has been greatly toned down at the point I’ve presently reached.  How well all the other elements work in the manga indicates that it doesn’t really need it, which the mangaka, Akimine Kamijyo, seems to have realized by now.

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First, let’s take Fairy Tail.  Most people consider this one of the best manga currently out, but I find it too lighthearted.  (I know, this is coming from a guy who enjoyed Slayers, Ruin Explorers, and Those Who Hunt Elves.)  The problem is probably in my mood rather than in the work itself.  Otherwise, the characters are very enjoyable–even if on the goofy side and not terribly complex.  It kind of felt like reading One Piece, even though I found the characters in Fairy Tail more enjoyable.  In any case, I’ve decided not to pursue this manga further.

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia (a.k.a. Tasogare Otome x Amunejia) has a rather interesting style of art, and one can tell that the mangaka desires to investigate the depths of the human psyche.  Both of these things work in its favor; however, the characters don’t interest me too much.  The boy with the capacity to see ghosts is rather bland.  The ghost whom he sees, a high school aged young girl, shows the quality of being deeply pained but outwardly bubbly, a kind of character type which I’m usually drawn to.  But, she’s not interesting enough to make me desire to read more.  For an alternate opinion concerning the anime version, please see Marlin-sama’s excellent article.

Some of you may have seen the animated version of Samurai Deeper Kyo, which is rather mediocre.  Conversely, the manga does not have annoying monsters called Kenyou and excels the anime in practically every level–except for the level of fanservice.  By its deficiency, the anime is better in this regard.

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The most striking feature of this manga is the terrible pride most of the characters possess.  The all desire to be the strongest and look down upon any weakness.  At the same time, many of them conceal a soft side which reveals itself when they show compassion to certain people–opponents even in some cases.  Kyo seems to be the most hard-bitten of them all, but even he has a profound respect for others’ pride and a great fondness for Yuya, the bounty hunter who initially tries to bring him in.  Then, one tosses in the original plot and spectacular, cerebral, and gut-wrenching duels in order to make this a true classic.

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Learned Something about Modern Atheism

Well, dear readers, here’s my first crisis: I have a mere 42 minutes to keep my promise to post everyday.  Fridays are the busiest days for me, so I have been effectively kept from writing until now.

In class today, I felt like I had my eyes opened at little concerning the roots of modern atheism.  The attitudes of modern atheists seem to have their philosophical roots in Feuerbach and Sartre.  Feuerbach was the son of a Lutheran minister who turned athiest.  (My professor joked that the reason Catholic priests don’t marry is because minister’s sons always–at least the famous ones–become atheist.)  He adopted Hegel’s theories of alienation into his own, but he added the nuance that man was most alienated by the religious ideas which he holds–which Feuerbach also posits are the result of human beings’ own thoughts.  For Feuerbach, religion limits man’s ability to be a free agent by the idea that things occur according to God’s will, which inclines man to use his freedom less in imposing his will on the outside world.  Instead of praying, man should roll up his sleeves and work.  Interestingly, this line of thought was also pivotal in changing attitudes of modern religious people: even though things still happen according to God’s will and prayer is of great necessity in the believer’s life, one ought to be more active in doing good works and trying to help people.

Sartre felt that the existence of God would prevent man from having freedom.  In order to be free, God must not exist.  You see, he had this idea that things were either “pour-soi” or “en-soi.”  (French phrases meaning “for itself” and “in itself” respectively)  Human beings, considered in themselves, are pour-soi or ends in themselves; though, people have a nasty habit of turning people into en-soi or objects.  (Think of Kant’s differentiation between viewing people as ends or means.)  If God exists, people become en-soi in regard to God: “just another object in God’s field of vision.” (courtesy of Father Robert Leavitt’s instructive summation of these philosophies)

While Feuerbach was right in pointing out that believers of his day were too passive, he is wrong in believing God to be of human invention.  God excels everything a human being can imagine, which one especially sees in God’s superabundant mercy.  Human beings always want justice to be done–except when they are the debtors, anyway.  I remember speaking to a lapsed Catholic about how God was so merciful that he would forgive a mass murderer or Hitler merely for that person experiencing true contrition on the point of death.  Of course, such sins would require a great deal of time in purgatory before such a soul was ready for heaven.  He did not like this idea of mercy at all.  In his mind, even if that person truly repented then, it would be to late for that person to ever enter paradise, even if he stayed in purgatory until the end of the world.  He said that he might see God forgiving such a person after they spent many years performing penance.  So, God’s mercy surpasses what finite man can imagine–at least, a finite man thinking reasonably.

In answer to Sartre’s problem about whether human beings can be free if there’s a God, I’m reminded of John 16:11: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”  Following our own will leads either to unhappiness or a false kind of happiness.  People will be stuck in a cycle of sin, which is slavery.  It needs God’s grace to be freed from this cycle and to possess virtue, without which no one can be said to be happy.  God gives us the greatest degree of freedom by uniting us to the freedom He has in Himself.

(Posted at midnight exactly!  I’d say that it counts as Nov. 2)

Happy All Saints Day & National Blog Posting Month

Happy All Saint’s Day!  I hope that all you Catholics went to church today.  The Feast of All Souls is celebrated tomorrow, so I encourage everyone to remember their departed friends and relatives or the holy souls in purgatory generally on that day.  Even if you believe your loved ones are in heaven by now, prayers for the dead are never wasted: if one prays for a soul already in heaven, the Church on earth benefits.  This is also a simple way to perform a work of mercy.

Anyway, I’ve been very neglectful in posting for the past while, but I recently got a message about it being National Blog Posting Month; so I’m going to turn over a new leaf.  Each and every day will have some sort of post for the entire month–no matter how short of an article.  There have been a few ideas for posts churning in my brain, though I have not found the time.  Here are some examples:

1.  The relationship of Kiba and Cheza as symbolic of the bond between Jesus and Mary

2.  A review of No. 6

3.  A post about St. Leo the Great before his feast day on November 10th

4.  A review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which I’m reading for the first time

5.  A review or more thoughts on Weighted and Wanting by George MacDonald

6.  A review of Humanity Has Declined (two episodes to go)

7.  Impressions of Fairy Tail, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, and Samurai Deeper Kyo manga

8.  Some information about Baltimore

9.  A Report of the Eucharist Congress held by the Diocese of Trenton at the Garden State Arts Center (where you may learn interesting facts about the blogger in addition to the Congress)

10.  Reviews of certain teas and beers

So, this ought to be an interesting month on this blog, provided that I can write the five substantial papers also due this month.