Saturday, May 31, 2008


This morning, a gentleman amongst the laity posted an offensive pornographic image to my "fun wall" application on Facebook unsolicited. The man has been on my friends list for about a month or so, and is a fellow musician.

Unfortunately, the post was to be deleted, but may have gotten forwarded to any and all people on my friends list that has the "fun wall" application. For those who have received the image in question, please accept my sincere apology and my assurances that this forwarding was in error. I'm hoping the sender's error was in the same sense (sending to me by accident, that is, and not simply realizing that the image was sent thinking that I have a "sense of humor"). I do have a sense of humor, but that sense of humor isn't one that would intentionally send a smutty cartoon to an entire friends list when most of said friends list will indeed be offended.

I ask all of my friends on Facebook to please be very careful as to what is posted to my wall, fun wall, or whatever wall. I know that many would not post such crap to begin with, but I feel the need to warn those who would. Any future postings of such WILL result in that poster's removal from my friends list. The warning has been posted on my wall, as well as the wall of the Fans of Christus Vincit Anywhere group site, also on Facebook. I don't need it. My wife and my son in his 20's are also Facebook members. They don't need it either. Both know that I like to keep the page "Catholic-oriented". I would like to keep it that way.

Again, I apologize if anyone has received the image in question (I don't think I need to describe it in the open - TMI). Please be assured that it WAS an error.



Girls softball action-packed crazy weekend edition

Well, last night Brittany pretty much "activated herself" off of the disabled list. She wanted to play (her team was two girls short, even with Brittany playing) and was determined to get on the field. So Ann and I talked to her manager and told him that if she starts complaining of pain, we want her off.

She did ok, though she was a bit timid. She went 0 for 3 plus a walk, striking out twice and grounding out. After the walk, she was out heading home on a triple by Junisha (who was on the all-star team last summer with Brittany). Britt's average is now .500 (8 for 16). Her team came from behind 5-3, scoring 10 runs in the top of the final inning to take a 13-5 lead. However, that lead was squandered in the bottom half of the inning, and we lost 14-13. Record now, 10-4 (.714 percentage).

This morning, Brittany was out on the field again for an early bird (9 AM) game. This time she was a bit more confident going back to her favorite spot - catcher (wearing the mask was her psychology in her new confidence). Two plate trips, but no at-bats. She walked in the first inning, and on her next trip hit a sacrifice grounder to first, driving in a run. Batting average remains .500 (8 for 16). Britt's team came from behind and won 9-8. Record now, 11-4 (.733 percentage).

After the game, Ann, Brittany, and Amanda (a family friend) went to get a facemask for Brittany so she can pitch again. This is a plastic protective mask that many fast-pitch softball pitchers wear to prevent accidents like the one we had last Sunday. The girls tried five different stores before successfully finding one that had the mask Britt needed.

And the action isn't over. Tonight: All Star Tryouts. Tomorrow: a make-up doubleheader (1:30 and 3 PM). And tomorrow morning I'll be attending Mass at one of the two churches I recently sent a resume to.


lex, legis: 3rd, f, law, rule, cafeteria

After my knitting post, let's have some Scriptural humor. A good friend of mine sends me interesting homorous emails from time to time. This one I particularly liked, immense fan of the ironic that I am. The piece is in the form of a letter to a popular call-in radio broadcast which addresses a very wide range of topics from marital relations to, as in this case, religious issues/concerns. We hear a load of talk about "cafeteria Catholicism" these days. But with this little missive, it seems it might be a good thing that the buffet is open...enjoy, but be sure to take a clean plate on your return trip, and if you're taking out, make sure the lid of the go-box is able to close. Otherwise, you'll pay double (or we'll just stone you and sell your daughter legally into slavery).

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law.
I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to
share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries
to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind
them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End
of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the
specific Bible laws and how to follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it
creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my
neighbours bitch to the zoning people. They claim the odour is
not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned
in Exodus 21:7. What do you think would be a fair price for her?
She's 18 and starting college. Will the slave buyer be required to
continue to pay for her education by law?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is
in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The
problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take
offence and threaten to call Human Resources.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male
and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A
friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not
Canadians. Why can't I own Canadians? Is there something wrong
with them due to the weather? Can you clarify?

e) I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath.
Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally
obligated to kill him myself, or should this be a neighbourhood
improvement project? What is a good day to start? Should we begin
with small stones? Kind of lead up to it?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than
homosexuality. I don't agree. I mean, a shrimp just isn't the
same as a you-know-what. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if
I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle
room here? Would contact lenses fall within some exception?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the
hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by
Lev.19:27. How should they die? The Mafia once took out Albert
Anastasia in a barbershop, but I'm not Catholic; is this
ecumenical thing a sign that it's ok?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig
makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two
different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing
garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester
blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really
necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town
together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them
to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep
with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am
confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word
eternal and unchanging. Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

Finding Emmaus at Knossos

My maternal grandmother was, by trade, a “Kloeppelerin”, a person who made what we call in English “Belgian lace”. The lace isn’t specifically Belgian, of course. That’s simply the name we use for it. My grandmother was Austrian, then Czech, then German, thanks to Versailles and later to Mr. Chamberlain’s “peace in our time”, but’s that’s another story. My grandmother’s work found its way onto the vestments and altar cloths of Roman churches throughout her area. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this sort of lace, it is made with strands of thread wound around wooden shuttles (in German a “Kloeppel”). Each piece of lace will use anywhere from about 10 or so shuttles to countless numbers, depending upon the width and complexity of the piece. Oma taught me the basics of this lace making, and I treasure her lace making pillow (the round bolster which holds the pattern and the lace as it is woven), antique shuttles, and secret pattern cards called “lace letters”, in German, “Kloeppelbriefe”. I can only imagine the spiritual exercise it must have been to work a length of lace destined for an ornate alb or fine altar linens. My mother once gifted a round piece of lace my grandmother made to the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock. They treasure the work to this day, and use it solely underneath the monstrance when the Sacrament is exposed in their chapel. What an immense honor.

As many know, I am a ferocious knitter. I generally have one project going and several others waiting in my knitting bag. Recently, I started attending regular knitting evenings at our local yarn shop here in Lafayette. I’ve met a wonderful group of knitters just as entranced by fiber art as I. The group are working on a community project afghan composed of 24 12-inch knitted blocks, each different. The blocks are designed by knitters from America and Canada. Together they form “The Great North American Afghan”. Ideally, each knitter has chosen 1 block for the project. Since some blocks still remained unclaimed, I have taken two. I completed my first one, a New Mexican design with taupe and brown pinstripes. Leafing through the pattern book yesterday, I chose my second block to be completed in taupe and purple. At first, I mistook the block for a Greek key pattern. When I got it home and read the interview with the designer, I learned that I had chosen the block of blocks, not realizing.

The block was designed by Anna Zilboorg, an Anglican solitary in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Contemplating the spiritual dimensions of the Chartres labyrinth, a walk through which was the culmination of medieval pilgrimage, Zilboorg pondered what it may be like to knit such a labyrinth. The center of the maze, Zilboorg points out, is the symbolic New Jerusalem. Upon completion, the designer suggests to walk spiritually through the just-knitted labyrinth, moving one’s finger across the bumpy knitted pathways into the center. What first caught my eye as an homage to Greek design, has turned out in fact to be a complex spiritual exercise.

The designer is very clever, mapping out the pattern of the labyrinth pathways. The instructions themselves are a labyrinth. The entire project is puzzle. Understanding the procedure to the knitting took quiet and meditation, envisioning the knitting in order to wrap the mind around the plan. After quite a time of imagining, the enlightenment set in, and it all made sense. There are hidden concepts in the knitting not described in the pattern but which present themselves as necessary to complete the work. What a joy to unravel this first puzzle. As I embark on this knitting journey, I expect to find more hidden surprises within in the labyrinth. Our spiritual walk is not always an easy one. There are hidden turns and puzzling events we must navigate, but in the end, the reward is great.

As part of creation we ourselves are creators. Our human creativity is proof that we indeed share an image of our own Creator, and through such creation, whether it be the fabrication of objects, painting portraits, playing music, planting a garden, keeping house, etc., we are made to glorify God in our work. In knitting, we usually anticipate the completion of the project. In the case of the Zilboorg labyrinth block, I look forward just as much to the discoveries I will make along the paths during its creation. As the chorale text proclaims: Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan!

Friday, May 30, 2008


If you live on or near a state border, gas up at the cheaper state!

Currently, most Rhode Island gas stations are going $3.99-4.09 a gallon (give or take that stupid 9/10 of a cent you see on the signs). I gassed up in Massachusetts at $3.89 a gallon.

This serves to be even more effective if you're on the Connecticut-Massachusetts line, as Connecticut's gas prices are usually about 20 cents higher per gallon than Rhode Island.

Incidentally, Rich at Catholic Lite mentioned hypermiling in a combox of an earlier post of mine on this topic. It involves good use of your cruise control, if you have one.



Edward Peters points out the CDF's ruling to excommunicate not only those women who attempt to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, but those who confer it as well.

RSCT to Rich at Catholic Lite who sent me the story via e-mail.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Disabled List Edition

For the first time this year, Brittany had to sit out a game, due to her injuries from last Sunday. Her team lost 6-3, to the same team that handed them their first loss.

This makes her record 10-3 (still very respectable - that's a .769 win percentage!).

Next game is Friday at 6.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


May I have the envelope please...

St. Joan of Arc Church for their hideous productions of what passed for Mass on Palm Sunday and Easter Day.

For story and pictures (some of which I hope got shipped to Abp. Nienstedt), see Fratres. RSCT to Paula.


Monday, May 26, 2008

The Alphabet Soup

A is for age:
38 and holding.

B is for burger of choice:
Home-made hot off the grill, thankyou.

C is for what kind of car you drive:
BMW 325i. Got it for a song. It's a standard, and the dealer wanted to unload it. Had to sing through the Schumann Liederkreis twice, but got it for the price of a Jetta (or thereabouts), with about 8K left to pay on my P.O.S. VW. If you need to make a car deal, feel free to ask me to come along.

D is for your dog's name:
I don't have a dog, but if I did, it would be named Algernon Sydney.

E is for essential item you use everyday:
Glasses. Blind as a bat without 'em. I wear contacts if I plan to be wearing sunglasses during the day.

F is for favorite TV show at the moment:
It's still Qunicy. Waiting for Big Love to start up again. Nothing like a primetime soap about polygamist mormons. Second in line is the Tudors. Not always the most historically accurate, I know, but great costumes and scenery. Good Latin for the most part too, but then again, it does take part mostly in England and not Rome. My favorite episodes were when Fisher and More got shorted by a head. Made me jump to my feet and grab my BCP! (cue Parry: Vivat, Vivat Regina Elizabetha!)

G is for favorite game:
Foil fencing.

H is for Hometown:
By birth and culture: Landstuhl, FRG. Where I grew up: LR, AR.

I is for instruments you play:
Organ, piano, harpsichord, tenor recorder.

J is for favorite juice:

K is for whose butt you'd like to kick:
It's being kicked as we speak. Can't talk about it much, though. All I can say is "God don't like ugly."

L is for last restaurant you ate at?
Royal Panda (best buffet sushi in town)

M is for your favorite Muppet:
The crotchety crones in the balcony.

N is for Number of Piercing:
Don't have any of those.

O is for overnight hospital stays:
Never had one.

P is for people you were with today:
Mike and Robert, Mark and Jonathan.

Q is for what you do with your quiet time:
Knit, read, study.

R is for biggest regret:
I have no regrets, hon! I'm a scorpio and I do have a tail longer than most people think. So, I'm not the one doing the regretting.

S is for status:
Upper Middle Class.

T is for time you woke up today:
6:30 Central

U is for what you consider unique:
Other than a 100 year old human corpse that doesn't decompose, a nun with three tits. Which reminds me of a great joke a heard off the Vicar of Dibley. A nun was in her bath. There came a knock at the door. The nun sighed, "who is it?" "It's the blind man", came the reply from behind the door. The nun sighed again, charitable sister as she was, not wanting to turn away a poor sightless sot. "Well, ok, come in". The man entered and said, "Nice tits. Where would you like me to hang your blinds?"

V is for vegetable you love:
White Asperagus

W is for worst habit:
Being able to sum up someone's character after one glance. My mom can do the same. It usually freaks people out.

X is for x-rays you've had:

Y is for yummy food you ate today:
Royal Panda sushi

Z is for zodiac sign:
Scorpio, hon. And everything they say about scorpios is true for me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008



GIRLS SOFTBALL: Brittany has been placed on the disabled list. She was injured this afternoon in a family outing. She was pitching a family softball game when she was smacked in the cheek with a line drive, breaking a section of cheekbone. Thankfully it missed her nose and forehead - she would have REALLY been screwed! We'll keep you updated as stories arise.


CARDINAL O'MALLEY RED SOX: Red Sox pitcher John Lester, who found himself fighting cancer just short of two years ago, not only won that battle, but bounced back and managed to pitch his first no-hitter, blanking the Bishop Finn Royals 7-0 last Monday. Lester is the first inductee as a Christus Vincit Sports Hero.


Saturday, May 24, 2008


Corpus Christi / May 25, 2008

I will forego mentioning the church I'm filling in at basically because you're going to need a strong stomach to read this list. I got a call from this parish's music director earlier in the week and got the music yesterday (he got my phone# from the diocese, since I put my name in for any substitute work and possible music director job leads).

The church in question had a pipe organ until recently. They downgraded to a Rodgers Insignia 577 (the exact same organ I played at the ghosthouse - however, at the ghosthouse, that same organ was an upgrade from a Kurzweil 250 synthesizer). They downgraded from Worship III and Gather I (they had both at one time, and I remember it being primarily Worship at one point) to Breaking Bread.

Get your upset stomach meds ready folks, because here goes:

Table of Plenty...Schutte
Gloria...Kreutz (OCP)
Praise the Lord, Jerusalem...Alstott (the best pick of the day)
Celtic Alleluia
Song of the Body of Christ...Haas
Massive Cremation (including the "Agnus")...Creation
- (NOTE: I put "Agnus" in quotes because "Jesus, Lamb of God" is NOT the Agnus Dei.)
Notre Dame Lord's Prayer...Werner
The Supper of the Lord...Rosania
I Am the Bread of Life...Toolan (tolerable)

Before you ask why I'm cow-towing to this crap - 1) I didn't pick ANY of it, and 2) I need the money. I'm covering three Masses - 5:00 tonight, and 8:30 and 10:45 tomorrow morning. That's $225 I wouldn't have had.

I'm debating whether or not to take my Protonix to church with me tonight and tomorrow.


Tagged by Lyn, who got it from our good friend Nick.

A is for age:
as of the day I write this, 43 years, 10 months, 23 days

B is for burger of choice:
Bacon cheeseburger plain. Yup - just the beef, the cheese, and a big wad of bacon, on a bun.

C is for what kind of car you drive:
1995 Dodge Ram 2500 conversion van

D is for your dog's name:
My landlord doesn't allow dogs. However, there is a cat in the house.
ADDENDUM: As a teen, I once had this little daschund/chihuahua mix named "Brutus".

E is for essential item you use everyday:
My computer

F is for favorite TV show at the moment:
There aren't many shows that will actually break me from my regular activities. However, I still like the Flintstones, Big Brother, and I'm a big fan of classic game shows (Press Your Luck, Weakest Link, in addition to the classic 70's lineups of Match Game, the original Jeopardy, yeah, with Art Fleming, Celebrity Sweepstakes, Card Sharks, Hollywood Squares, with Peter Marshall, and the 70's version of Password and Password All-Stars).

G is for favorite game:
Cribbage. BMP and AMP (my wife) will smoke all comers!

H is for Hometown:
Providence area

I is for instruments you play:
Organ, piano, throat, kazoo, guitar, bass guitar, some drums, my desk, and on occasion, the radio. (Note: at church, I only play the organ and voice, the rest I play in the secular world.)

J is for favorite juice:

K is for whose butt you'd like to kick:
I could name some names, but right now I need a job and the names I have in mind probably read my blog. So, I'll forego that question at this time.

L is for last restaurant you ate at?

M is for your favorite Muppet:
Animal - hands down! (The Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and Beaker get honorable mention, however.)

N is for Number of Piercing:
Zero, and proud of it!

O is for overnight hospital stays:
Let's see: pancreatitis (8/07), near heart attack (10/06), gall bladder removal (4/05), tonsils removed (1969)

P is for people you were with today:
Wife Ann, son Brian, and daughter Brittany

Q is for what you do with your quiet time:
anything computer related, anything from podcasting to gaming to answering this here meme.

R is for biggest regret:
LEAVING HOLY NAME! Since then my luck with holding down a job I love doing has been pure frustrating!

S is for status:
Other than my marital status (which I'm sure everyone who normally reads this blog knows - I'm happily married), current time status would be sitting on my arse with two hours left to kill before I go fill in at the console for someone who programmed hideous music (hint: I'm only doing it because that's $225 I wouldn't have had. I'll list the songs in a later post.)

T is for time you woke up today:
7:45 am Eastern Daylight Time

U is for what you consider unique:
Try candlepin bowling in Ohio. Only one candlepin house in the state, in a Cincinnati suburb.
ADDENDUM: or an ordinary form Mass in these parts that uses the chanted propers from the Graduale Romanum.

V is for vegetable you love:
Corn (sweet and buttery)

W is for worst habit:
Until 2/1/06, it WAS smoking. Now it's eating (I gained almost 60 pounds since I quit smoking).

X is for x-rays you've had:
too many to count.

Y is for yummy food you ate today:
freeze pops

Z is for zodiac sign:

TAG YOU'RE IT - whoever is reading this!

Monday, May 19, 2008


Inspired by Freakies comes a new great cereal:

Coming soon to a blogosphere near you!



This snippet from The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (RSCT to Gerald Augustinus, snarky comments mine):

Father Terry Rassmussen, pastor of St. Joseph in New Hope, finished reading, closed the Book of the Gospels, and stepped away from the ambo. From the congregation, Ginny Untiedt stepped forward.

Clad in a white robe, Untiedt bowed as Father Rassmussen laid his hands on her head and blessed her. She looked up, walked to the ambo and began preaching for the last time. (There should have never been a first time!)

As many as 29 parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have used lay preachers at Mass during the past 25 years. In January, however, Archbishop Harry Flynn instructed pastors to discontinue the practice. He gave his retirement date - May 2 - as the time by which parishes should develop "a pastoral plan" to end lay preaching at Mass. (Someone better get word over to St. Joan's. Here's their "upcoming speaker" list up to June 8.)

In his January letter to pastors, Archbishop Flynn referenced the 2004 Vatican instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," which called eucharistic lay preaching - a non-ordained person reflecting on the Gospel reading at the place in Mass usually reserved for a homily by a priest or deacon - a liturgical abuse. (And action is just taken in 2008 - four years later!)

Only an ordained person should preach after the Gospel at Mass, Archbishop Flynn said.

Many lay preachers have expressed "enormous grief and anger" over the directive to stop the practice, said Patricia Hughes Baumer, who co-founded the lay preaching training organization Partners in Preaching with her husband, Fred, in 1997.

Proponents of lay preaching argue that canon law allows the practice and that both the congregation and pastors benefit from hearing Gospel reflections from diverse voices. (Balderdash! Nothing could be further from the truth! Read on.)


Archbishop Flynn said he has explained to Baumer on two occasions why lay preaching during the Mass cannot be promoted. He said canon law does not support the practice of lay preaching at the place of the homily during Mass. The education, formation and ordination of priests and deacons make them uniquely suited to preach during Mass, he said.

"There has to be that kind of training and theological background that even a person with a master's degree in theology would not have," he said. "The church does not want people just standing up there and giving opinions or even things they've read in books, but [rather]: What is the clear teaching about this mystery of our faith?"

Exactly. Too bad this problem wasn't addressed a long time ago. Or better still, the practice of lay preaching should have never started to begin with.


Sunday, May 18, 2008


Sunday Makeup Game Edition

Today's noon game was a makeup game from a previous rain-out. We kept it close for the first few innings. It was 5-3 before the final inning started. Then Brittany's team scored 9 runs to make it 14-3. That was the final score. Team's record now 10-2.

No hits for the Brittski today (she went 0 for 2, striking out twice, but also was, once again, walked and hit by a pitch - the hit-by-pitch forced in a run). This brings her average down to .615 (8 for 13).

Next game is Tuesday at 6.

Friday, May 16, 2008



I'm putting together a new survey here. You can post your answers in the combox.

The survey is in light of the forthcoming CVA episode "Christus Vincit ANYWHERE!" called "A Tale of Two Gather Comprehensives". The survey question is:

A. First Edition (1994 - Dark Green Cover)
B. Second Edition (2004 - Maroon Cover)

Since "A Tale of Two Gather Comprehensives" may be done as a series of two or more episodes, I will keep this survey open for at least two weeks, possibly more.


Of Candles, Corpses, and Queeny Clerics; Peat Bogs, Potlucks, and Polyglots

The mega Double-Meme. Lynn recently tagged us with memes. Here are two of them together. The first is the childhood meme, the second is the interview meme. You know, if Leona Helmsley had written these little questionnaires, she’d be known as the “Queen of Meme”. (cue laugh track)

What is your happiest childhood memory?
There are many many happy memories, in fact. The first one that came to mind was Christmas Day, 1980, when my mother, brother and I attended the Christmas morning service at the ancient Stiftskirche in Wünstdorf, Germany with our family friends Frau and Herr Hartmann. It was extremely cold that December, and we could see our breath in church. At the end of the service, we all sang O Du Froehliche and the organist opened up the instrument and the giant, vaulted space was filled with the congregation’s singing that wonderful Christmas tune to the sound of that glorious organ. After the service we all climbed up into the loft to take a closer look at the organ. The second happiest was during this same trip to Germany. This time in the nearby village of Idensen, where there is a church from the 10th century. It was known for its “phantom” wall paintings which had been covered up with plaster and recently re-discovered. The Romanesque paintings could best be seen at night by candlelight. The artist friend of ours taking us there showed up at the apartment wearing a full-length hooded cape. My cousin Klaus came along with us. We arrived at the church and trekked through the cemetery in the pitch darkness, the silhouette of the church visible in front of us. Frau Schwarte picked up the key from the parsonage and let us in. It was a feast of Medieval splendor, the church. We lit the candles affixed to the pew ends and the walls came alive with sparkling color as the stylized Romanesque figures of apostles and saints gazed down on us. We explored all around the church, even into the bell tower. The steps in the tower showed 1000 years of wear, as each one had a pronounced spot in the center where countless pairs of feet had ascended and descended. We climbed the ladder up to the clock, and we found an enormous brick of peat. The stuff was dug out of the earth in the nearby bogs. Of course, then, my mother told the story of the “Irrlichter” that my grandmother always talked about, how the earth gases will bubble up and ignite, producing a little flicker on the ground. Travelers would see the lights, and mistake it for a house or a village (if there is a splendid show of little lights), then fall into the bog and drown. “Irrlicht” means “deceptive light”, because it tricks you off the path and shows the wrong way. So, when our adventure was over, we extinguished the candles except for the ones we held in our hands. We went to the door, and found that Klaus had somehow succeeded in locking us into the church. After a couple minutes of carefully reaching through the inside grill and keying the door on the other side, the latch clicked and we were back outside crossing the cemetery to the car.

What is the worst?
On the evening of Advent I, our church would always have an Advent potluck for the entire parish. It was always loads of fun with the most excellent food, and always with some sort of musical program provided by the choir, ending with a hymn sing. I must have been in 2nd grade. My sister, husband and her niece were in town for Christmas. So I insisted that I should ride home with them in their car, since I was excited that they were with us. On the interstate as we drove home, we rolled over the corpse of a homeless person who had gotten drunk and wandered out onto the roadway. He had been hit initially by an 18-wheeler, and then every car in line hit him again and again and again, including my brother-in-law’s little yellow Mazda. It was like rolling over a pile of stones. The car leapt and jolted over the boney-fleshy mass. My sister screamed and became hysterical. At the time I didn’t realize what we had driven over. I thought it was a wild animal, since all I saw was what resembled the eviscerated and skinless carcass of a pig, according to what I knew from going to the butcher with my dad on slaughter day to pick up the blood for the blood sausage. All the cars pulled off the road to an Exxon gas station where we awaited the arrival of the police. We were there for hours. I got to skip school the next day, though, since I had gotten to bed so late. I had a really groovy story to tell, although it was quite grotesque. I was in Lutheran school then, and of course had seem all my classmates at the potluck, so they already had the frame story for my tale: “Guess what happened to my sister and me after the fellowship dinner….”
The second worst was when I had pneumonia in 3rd grade. I was out of school for 2 weeks. In the second week, I had to get a penicillin shot in the thigh. The shot was administered at the Air Force Base hospital with very little bedside manner. It hurt like all hell. The problem was that the nurse-guy had made the injection deep into my thigh muscle (this was the same hospital where, as a preschooler faced with the fact of having to have blood drawn, bolted out the lab chair and ran down the hall as fast as I could, my brother giving chase. Not only was my arm sore from the needle, but also my podex as soon as we got home, my having caused such profound embarrassment to my keepers). Having endured the penicillin, I walked out the hospital, and we drove home. By the time we got back to the house, I needed help getting out of the car. My muscle was in so much pain if any weight at all was placed on it. The worst part of this was that no one believed that I had any pain, since I had walked unimpeded immediately after having received the injection. To this day, I think my family still believes I was faking the electrical sting that would shoot up into my hip whenever I placed even the lightest weight on my leg. I received confirmation of the phenomenon just a few years ago when, having related my story to a friend, he told me the exact thing had happened to him as a child. After a few days, the muscle healed and so did my lungs. The up-side to the pneumonia was that I was able to overdose on Mork and Mindy and experience the premiere of the biggest TV flop of all time: Supertrain.

What’s your favourite food?
Hands down: Rouladen, Saurkraut (or Rotkohl), and Spätzle. No pickle, though, in the Rouladen. Old family story. This dish is a rolled bit of flank steak with onion, mustard and bacon inside. Traditionally, it comes with a pickle spear in the center. My grandmother never made it with the pickle, but my grandfather had been somewhere and eaten Rouladen where they put the pickle in. He ordered my grandmother to include a pickle. For some reason, the pickle thing didn’t work well, or she used some odd pickle sort. Opa’s comment about the pickle became a family saying of sorts: “Well, we’ve tried the pickle, and we won’t have it again.” As a result, the pickle was always left out of our Rouladen. I also do not include the pickle when I make it.

If you had unlimited time and money for cooking for me, what are you going to put on the table?
I would make the meal I described in the previous question. I would also probably make a Sachertorte if it’s fall or winter, or a fruit torte if its spring or summer.

If tomorrow were your perfect day and no matter what you did, it would turn out perfect, what you do?
I would perform an organ concert with the Dupre Preludes and Fugues on the first half and the Demesieux 6 Etudes on the second half. And this would be on the Sauerorgel in the Berlin Cathedral (THE Berlin Cathedral, not the Catholic roundhouse St. Hedwig’s).

You have complete editorial control over a new hymnal project. What kind of material will you include in it?
I would create a hymnal comprehensive between the Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Hymnal 1982 with complete service music from both hymnals, including a complete psalter with Anglican chants.

What would be your ideal gig?
The ideal position would be a place with a progressive social outlook, fine taste and esteem for tradition and an eclectic appreciation for sacred music where one could freely prepare the proper music for every event within an atmosphere of open dialogue and congenial cooperation with clergy, vestry, and liturgical committees who present general frameworks which are enlivened by appropriate musical selection. I’d be more than happy to play “How Beautiful” as long as I can direct some Thomas Tallis as well now and then.

You are commissioned by Pope Benedict XVI to compose a new Mass that would reflect the new English translation, that would be debuted in Rome. What would you present?
If I were a composer, I would create a choral Mass ordinary in the style of C.V. Stanford, with congregational sections of the canticles sung to Anglican Chant. If we are chanting in English, Anglican Chant is the way to go. Key word stem: “Angl”. It was made for English, so use it. If we need the Latin, then we use the Gregorian stuff, since it was made for that language. On a side note: I don’t think the liturgical texts have ever been better translated since the first issuance of the Book of Common Prayer. Those guys got it right. Whatever the Vatican is cranking out nowadays is the product of much navel-gazing and a fixation upon political correctness. Stop tip-toeing through the tulips and translate the Latin, fellas! (I told the diocesan committee as much in my preface to my commentary on a draft of the new translation a while back). Same thing goes for the King James translation of Holy Scripture, which is as clear as day and utterly beautiful in its eloquence, surpassed only by Luther’s translation into German. Both these translations leave the Vulgate in the dust (sorry, Jerome).

Say you decided on a career change and leave the church music business. If you had a choice, what career would you choose?
Two choices: open a yarn shop or buy an enormous Victorian house in Eureka Springs, AR and open a bed and breakfast.

You have access to any organ anywhere in the world. Which would you want to play on a regular basis, and why?
The Sauer-Orgel in the Berlin Cathedral. You ask me why??? Why did Tristan like the Venusberg?

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Brittany's Pitching Debut

Tonight Brittany's team came from behind for a 13-9 win. This improves their record to 9-2.

Hitting-wise, she broke out of her little mini-funk, hitting an RBI double in the fourth (though she was out trying to stretch it into a triple). She also walked twice. This makes her 8 for 11 - a .727 batting average.

Finally, Brittany got her fast-pitch pitching debut in the third inning, and I have to say she did quite good, considering I'm used to seeing walkfests from both our own pitching and our opponents' pitching. Our first two innings saw eight runs fly by us, mostly on walks. Brittany pitched the third and gave up only one run, two hits, walked only one, struck out one, and caught a high pop-up on her own. Our closer, Haley, pitched two shutout innings (Brittany was her catcher).

Next game is tomorrow night at 7:30.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Tagged by Lyn, the Organ-ic Chemist.

Here are the rules as I was given:
1. Leave me a comment saying anything random, like your favorite lyric to your current favorite song. Or your favorite kind of sandwich. Something random. Whatever you like.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.

Here are the questions Lyn asked me:
1. You have complete editorial control over a new hymnal project. What kind of material will you include in it?
2. What would be your ideal gig?
3. You are commissioned by Pope Benedict XVI to compose a new Mass that would reflect the new English translation, that would be debuted in Rome. What would you present?
4. Say you decided on a career change and leave the church music business. If you had a choice, what career would you choose?
5. You have access to any organ anywhere in the world. Which would you want to play on a regular basis, and why?

1. You have complete editorial control over a new hymnal project. What kind of material will you include in it?
It would have plenty of chant, traditional hymnody, propers, and music based on propers. This will be a combination of Adoremus, Worship II, and the Gregorian Missal all in one.

2. What would be your ideal gig?
Any parish that has an appreciation for a primarily traditional music program, with organ accompaniment, and/or a cappella. The organ should be one with pipes and a good three-manual console (two-manual consoles are too little for me, yet a four-manual console is too big LOL).

3. You are commissioned by Pope Benedict XVI to compose a new Mass that would reflect the new English translation, that would be debuted in Rome. What would you present?
Something in a traditional style that alternates between congregation (chant or metrical unison) and choir (in the style of a motet).

4. Say you decided on a career change and leave the church music business. If you had a choice, what career would you choose?
Trust me when I say I hope this won't be soon. I'm only a fortysomething. I think I have something left. I would probably try my hand at broadcasting if I really had to leave the church music scene.

5. You have access to any organ anywhere in the world. Which would you want to play on a regular basis, and why?
St. Anne's Church, Fall River, Massachusetts (80+ rank Casavant on three manuals) or the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence, Rhode Island (125-rank Casavant tracker on four manuals)

OK - so the idea is to ask a random question in the combox. I then respond by giving you YOUR questions to answer on your blog. Kapiche? Whoever reads this, TAG! YOU'RE IT!

BTW, Jason, you were tagged by Lyn as well.


That famous lean mean reproducing machine, the Duggars, are at it again! I watched this family on TV a few times a few months back. I just learned recently that Michelle Duggar is pregnant for their EIGHTEENTH child, due next January!

One side of me says "How the hell do you manage a family that large?" Of course, I can still remember the first choir I directed. We had a couple in the choir who were the parents of 15 kids.

The other side of me says "You can't say they ain't pro-life, that's fer sure!" (that's a good thing, BTW - I think we all know that).

RSCT to Diane at Te Deum Laudamus.


CATHOLIC CARNIVAL 172 up and runnin' at Organ-ic Chemist. And both Jason and I have a post here. We have my post on the "evolution" of Michael Joncas, as well as Jason's post about Ascension. So, come on down to the carnival, and ride the rides. :)

PS: Post number 2000 will be coming very soon. Let's see who gets it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Another win, and another plunk

Brittany's team was victorious once again, by a score of 11-4.

Today her two plate appearances were a plunk (hit by pitch) and a walk (four balls). For you baseball-challenged, both result in the batter being awarded a free trip to first base, and neither counts as a time at bat.

You would have had to see the hit-by-pitch to realize how funny it really was. Brittany got bonked on the top of her helmet. "Are you ok, Brittany?" we all ask. "I'm ok!" Britt replies, then proceeds to throw her fist up in the air as to say "Victory is mine!" and nonchelantly strut to first base - in a comical way that only Brittany could pull off. Thank God for helmets.

Our team also pulled off a RARE triple play in the first inning. The girl playing second base caught an infield pop fly (one out), tosses to second, which is covered by the shortstop to nail that runner (two out), who in turn tosses to third to nail the other runner (three out).

Brittany's batting average remains .700 (7 for 10), and her team's record is now 8-2.

Next game - Thursday at 6. Britt MAY try her hand at pitching.


Last Friday I sent resumes out to two nice looking churches in the city of Providence. Both of these parishes have pipe organs augmented by Rodgers (one is all new - Rodgers with Southfield pipes, the other is a Rodgers that augmented the already-existing Kilgen; both have three-manual consoles). Both have a history of good traditional music despite RitualSong in one church and the dark green Gather Comprehensive in the other.

The parish with RitualSong and the Southfield pipes is a parish that I worked at in the mid 1980's. I left there on good terms, on the day that the pastor who hired me retired (he died five years later). Back then the organ was a two-manual Allen and the pew books were Seasonal Missalette and the 1975 People's Mass Book.

The other parish (with Gather Comprehensive and the Kilgen pipes) is a former parish of my friend and longtime mentor Reuel, who had accompanied me in a couple of concerts in my ghosthouse days. Further, it was built in the mid 1800's by Patrick Keely, who also built the cathedrals in Providence and Fall River, as well as the famed historic St. Mary's in Newport RI, the first Catholic parish in Rhode Island, where John and Jackie Kennedy were hitched.

The ideal goal would be for Reuel and me to get our old jobs back or each other's jobs back. It is with a heavy heart that I report Reuel just got sacked from his church last week. The pastor of that church just came back to Providence a month ago (he was pastor at that same parish in the 80's and 90's) and decided to bring back the former music director, who specializes in happy-clappy crappy stuff. Two years of an actually good music program gone to waste!

Please pray for both Reuel and myself.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Low Mass in Extraordinary Form
Trinity Sunday - May 18, 2008
St. Leo the Great Church, Pawtucket, RI

O God, almighty Father..."Gott Vater, sei Gepriesen"
Profitentes Unitatem..."De Trinitate" (Pius X Hymnal, #251)
Veni, Creator Spiritus..."Mode VIII"
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty..."Nicaea"


TO ALL THE MOTHERS WHO READ THIS my wife, and my mother, and my mother-in-law...

Happy and blessed Mothers' Day

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Girls Softball Weekend Edition

Well, after getting smoked the other night, Brittany's team got back on track and won 13-4. This makes their record 7-2.

Hitting-wise, she's in a little mini-slump (if you even want to call it that). No hits, three walks (she scored after one of them), one whiff (the K was on a pitch low and outside that looked more like ball four than strike three). Her average is now .700 (7 for 10).

Next game, Tuesday at 6.


Fr. Dwight Longenecker has proven that yes, teens DO have an appreciation for the Mass (even in Ordinary Form) being celebrated ad orientem.

Read the conversation here.



Here are a couple of commercials for a couple more defunct cereals that I used to eat in my youth.

First, from Post, the cereal that finally got me into watching the Pink Panther (and got me to name my cub scouts Pinewood Derby car accordingly):

Now, this next one kind of threw me a curve. It's called "Freakies", and is the first human food I've ever seen by Purina. At first I saw the new cereal with the Purina classic checkerboard logo, I seriously thought it was cat food. But it turned out to be a short-lived, yet great-tasting, cereal.

I've been trying to find some of the first Pebbles commercials (I love Cocoa Pebbles), where Fred and Barney sing "If you put sweet Pebbles in your mouth, you'll never have rocks in your head!"


Friday, May 9, 2008


...when you click here and read the composer credit on this beautiful eight part Salve Regina.

We've been discussing this work and the composer's musical evolution here. Nick and Charles both mention his upper-level courses in harmony and theory, in addition to actually being an accomplished composer in high school. But yet, there is one overrated, overkilled love ballad from the late 1970's that he's most notorious for.

If he stays in this new and improved direction, all I can say is KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK and I hope pieces like this get better exposure from the publishers.


Thursday, May 8, 2008


Girls Softball Edition

Today we got to see our first softball game in over a week (last Friday's and Saturday's games were rained out).

Britt's team got smoked today by a score of 10-2, but not without the help of two mentally challenged umpires who screwed up call after call after call. Let's face it - I'm not a sore loser, but I know some bad umpiring when I see it. It was about as bad as going to Mass and enduring the usual "greatest hits" fare if not worse.

Brittany was hit by a pitch in the first and struck out in the third. It was her first strikeout, and the third strike was called on a pitch that was WAY outside.

Britt's team now has a still very respectable 6-2 record. Her batting average is now .778 (7 for 9).

Next game is this Saturday at noon.


Vigil of Pentecost - 4 PM - May 10, 2008
Holy Cross Church, Providence, RI

This Saturday I'm filling in for my good friend Ron. All these are picked by him except where noted.

Come Holy Ghost...Lambillotte
Gloria...Lee/"Congregational Mass"
Lord, send out your Spirit (w/Vigil verses)...Tone 8
- (Psalm tone is my choice. Text choice is that of Holy Mother Church.)
Celtic Alleluia...Walker/O'Carroll
O breathe on me, O breath of God..."St. Columba"
Sanctus, Memorial, Amen...Haugen/"Massive Cremation"
Agnus Dei...Isele/"Holy Cross Mass"
One Bread, One Body...Foley
- (If time permits, I get to pick a second hymn. Most likely the Mode VIII Veni, Creator Spiritus)
The Church's one foundation..."Aurelia"



I found these two commercials on YouTube. First, this one, in light of Jason's rediscovery of Quisp.

Now this one, for Quisp's "sister cereal" of the 1970's, Quake:


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Transcending Retro Grooviness!

A friend of mine was shopping at the Youngsville Dollar General on Monday and found a box of breakfast cereal that he knew would wrinkle the time-space continuum which surrounds my fondness for transcending retro grooviness. For a dollar (obviously) at D.G., one can purchase a modest little box of Quaker Quisp. The stuff is a magical flashback to 1972. Quisp aficionados will recall the cereal from the 1970's, and that it had vanished from store shelves some time either in the late 70's or early 1980's. The cereal is now available once again in limited distribution at D.G. stores since the beginning of 2008. As soon as I saw the box, I remembered the original cartoon commercials for the stuff with the little pink alien who was able to fly using the handy propeller built into his head. He's also pictured on the box. I hadn't thought about Quisp in decades. Actually, seeing the box (still the same retro styling, but of course with fresh, new cereal inside) was also a revelation to me too, since when I was a kid, I thought it was called "Crisp". Here's a pic of me in my kitchen transfixed by the sword of retro grooviness holding my newly purchased box of Quisp (my black and white adidas sambas didn't make it onto the picture, but if they had, they, besides the nifty cereal box, would have further proven my discipleship of all things retro and utterly groovy). Ok...time to catch up of tevoed episodes of Scooby Doo.

Himmelfahrt Christi -- Ascensio Domini -- Ascension Day

When I was in preschool, my mother ordered a Reader’s Digest history book for me through the mail entitled “Great People of the Bible and How They Lived.” I still have it. It sits with its torn dust cover on my study shelf next to my 1912 edition of the Luther Bible, the Biblia Vulgata, The Book of Concord, the Oxford Bible Dictionary, the Jerome Commentary, the Documents of Vatican II, and other works of Biblical and liturgical scholarship. Of course at that young age, I couldn’t read much at all, but I could look at the pictures and I welcomed when an adult would read the text to me. The entire book had been read to me at multiple sittings who knows how many times. My mother spent much time with me reading the text and discussing the photographs of the Holy Land that corresponded to the historical narratives. I knew the book so well, that I was eventually able to tell the story of the pictures without the text. It was one of my favorite books. This history book along with Bible readings and a book for children that contained re-tellings of Biblical stories was the beginning of a life-long fascination and study of Scripture, Church History, and naturally, music. World History, and especially Church history, were (and still are) vitally important: knowing this information revealed who exactly we were, where we had come from, and why we believe as we do.
I was thumbing through my copy of Great People the other day, and a little slip of paper floated out. The note had purple-inked, hand-written mimeograph letters of a hymn text. Number 657 in the Lutheran Hymnal, verse 1: Beautiful Savior. This slip of paper was about 31 years old. It was prepared by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Strothmann, at First Lutheran School in Little Rock. This had been a memory work assignment. Mrs. S. would prepare these sheets for us frequently. Christian prayers, countless hymn verses, Scripture verses, were all memory assignments. We took home the slips of paper, memorized them, then stood up in class and recited them. Beautiful Savior you may know as “Fairest Lord Jesus”. It’s sung to its own chorale tune, Schönster Herr Jesu. The hymn came up frequently at school, both in daily classroom devotion at the beginning of the day and in all-school Matins. Mrs. Strothmann had the same outlook on early religious education as did my parents: start the trend early to build an interest in the heritage and history. I remember Mrs. Strothmann telling the story of Martin Luther using a felt board with big fabric cut-outs of all the characters. It was spellbinding! These lessons were underscored with music by singing verses of the chorales we had memorized.
Last Sunday we celebrated Ascension Day. The choral anthem at the offertory was none other than a rapturous setting of the tune Schönster Herr Jesu with the appropriate “Beautiful Savior” text. I was so excited to sing the tune I had known since before I could even sound out letters to read the words. This hymn, a profound act of praise, evoked memories of many people whose collective invaluable actions had brought me to this very point, standing in these choir stalls on the Feast of the Ascension singing one of the loveliest hymns of praise ever written. Back home, from my family’s pew in the church, I had a perfect view of the right transept window which featured a depiction of the Good Shepherd. I included a photo of the window (note that the color surrounding the window is the color of the church cookbook from which I scanned the shot. The actual church walls are not fuchsia!) On either side of the shepherd, were panels with undulating vines, that reminded me of cuttings of ivy my mom had in little bottles on the kitchen window sill. The window was full of growth, burgeoning nature! Above these central panels, were symbols integral to our faith, integral to nature itself: the Chalice and the Host – The Sacrament of the Altar, the 10 Commandments – The Law of God, and the Dove of Peace – In the Old Testament, the messenger sent to Noah signaling the rebirth of vegetation after the flood symbolizing our trust in God and in the New Testament, the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the God’s Church. Above the Shepherd, the Word of God made flesh, in the uppermost circle of the window, is the eternal Word of God, Holy Scripture. What a splendid gift this hymn is! What a joy it was to be given these memories and to transform them into a musical gift to be returned to our Lord at the offertory as an act of thanksgiving! Here is the hymn text, if you are not familiar with it:

Beautiful Savior, King of Creation
Son of God, and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love Thee, Truly I’d serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown.

Fair are the meadows, Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flow’rs of blooming Spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorr’wing spirit sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparking stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels in the sky.

Beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations,
Son of God, and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine! Amen.

Above the high altar in the church of my childhood there is a 3 paneled window which shows in its center the ascending Christ, hands outstretched as if presenting the massive altar in the sanctuary below reminding us that from it by the eating and drinking his Body and Blood in Holy Communion, he is indeed always with us: Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forevermore be Thine!


Rich at Catholic Light sent me the link to a video from Paul at Alive and Young.

Still not appropriate for Mass, but a little more entertaining at least.


Red Sox Cap Tip to my buddy Joe S., who pointed this out on Amy Welborn's blog.

Check out this video.

Besides the usual abuses (liturgical dance), Sing a new church (I have a better idea - how about we sing of the ONE TRUE Church?), and any other typical Call to Action intelligence (it's one of CTA's Masses in the first place - we shouldn't be surprised thus far, right?), what the hell is up with the giant voodoo dolls?

I had mentioned to Joe about the idea that they probably took down the beautiful statues (at the very least, one of Mary, one of Joseph, for side altars), but realized after watching the video that they're not in a church to begin with. It looks to be a hotel banquet room of some sort.

But voodoo dolls? WTF?

Given the median age of the pewsitter in this Mass, one could think senility. (snark snark!)

Monday, May 5, 2008


Got this from the wife. Very fitting for the 2008 election.

There's your added nuts!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


St. John the Baptist Church - Pawtucket, RI
Anticipated Mass for the Seventh Sunday of Easter - May 3, 2008

I'm usually parital to attending Mass on Sunday, but since Brittany and I are going to Woburn, MA to watch a four-show taping for a cable show called Candlepin Challenge tomorrow I went this afternoon to the 4:00 "anticipated" Mass.

Creator Spirit, by whose aid / "Lasst uns erfreuen"
I believe that I shall see... / Alstott
Celtic Alleluia / Walker/O'Carroll
I have loved you / Joncas (Musically, I don't mind this too much. However, I'm not a big fan of singing the voice of Christ in the refrain.)
Massive Cremation (except the Agnus) / Haugen
Agnus Dei XVIII
The Lord is my light / Walker (First time I heard this one. Not too bad for a Chris Walker tune. It has a flavor similar to the Early American tune RESIGNATION.)
The Church's one foundation / "Aurelia"

Next week, I'll be filling in at the console for a friend. I'll have that list posted as soon as I get it.

While We're At It...

Let’s be silly and truthful at the same time. I was overdosing on Roman satire yesterday evening, and marveled at the wonderfully asymmetrical pieces. They do not all consider one particular topic, but may move from one tableau to another rather quickly and with little warning other than a slight indentation provided by the editor. People who know me well know well that I am can be rather catty when I need to be, rely highly upon metaphor and am never shy to borrow a literary or historical reference now and then to make a point. I love a good pun, and I enjoy a good literary device as much as I do a good dirty martini or picking apart the contrary motion passages in a Bach Trio Sonata or playing the triplets in the pedal solo of the Bach C major Toccata. I have only the Lutheran Master from Thüringen to thank for my shapely and slender ankles, although I have only my electric fork (and King Cakes) to think for my shapeless, yet very healthy (soon to be middle-aged) gut. That said, I offer this little bit of satire, my martini having been duly dosed by a clever Roman with a lethal quantity of poetic rohypnol. Our topic is one of our tastiest favorites: scandalous clerics/clueless neo-traditionalists. Had these poor sots been such a rampant plague then as they are now, without a doubt, Ko-Ko would have included them on his “little list”, and most assuredly they “never would be missed.”

Downtown Alive (our weekly Friday downtown Lafayette block party) was a no-go for me since rain threatened, Dallas and Falcon Crest had been cancelled decades ago, my friends were all engaged with their partners, spouses, or significant others in various activities, and the theaters were dark (very dark), although I did read on a local billboard that Carmen was romping across some fictive rampart somewhere – but I just wasn’t in the mood to go hear the warble of a Francophone Spanish tart.
Carmen was dead, and my friends were in bed (but not with Carmen). So, hardly living up to the juicy, sensual rumors lisped in oratories about this boring, bow-tied, Southern bachelor hyper-nerd, I opted for a bit of literary fun. I popped the Gustav Holst Planets into one cradle of the CD changer and set the Gustav Mahler Resurrection Symphony into the next. I opened the flanks of the Thomasville Bogart bar, hauled out my mother’s art deco crystal shaker, a matching martini glass, olive juice, vermouth, olives, and the Grey Goose. Magic. Next, I went to my study and pulled my copy of Juvenal off the shelf: The Satires. My edition of Iunius Juvenalis is plain and ordinary. A contemporary edition in which the letter V is always written as a letter U, giving the author’s name the curious double-U spelling: Iuuenalis. When I was 19, I was unfortunately an honest student, and always spoke the truth, as I do now at the doting age of 38. The thought had crossed my mind to keep the book and claim tearfully that it was lost, but, alas, I did return it after inwardly digesting its text: that stunning turn-of-the-century edition of Juvenal that lives in the Classics section of the Mullins Library at the University of Arkansas. Reading from that splendid tome would have surely transformed this already glorious evening of raucous, rabid, vicarious throat-slitting into an orgiastic banquet for the fin-de-siecle fetishist. It’s an old Leipzig edition with decorative side engraving and a simple cover identification. Preface in Latin. It weighs much and boasts a sturdy binding. The volume is as intoxicating as my grey goose. The beauty of cover and binding conceals hilarious, bawdy, biting and utterly accurate descriptions of Roman life…correction: human life, that make my own satirical relation of tacky velveteen poinsettias seem as toothless as a papal motu proprio. They say of Klimt’s “The Kiss” that the persons depicted in loving embrace are, beneath the colorful coverings, completely naked -- just like a neo-traditionalist cleric donning his lacey, see-through piety. So, prayerbook in hand, I prepared for a foretaste of heaven: Jupiter, Bringer of Mirth and Juvenal, Satire No. 1. I don’t remember much about my first communion, but I do remember my first martini. It was heavenly – and I was allowed to enjoy it while kneeling if I so desired, and the chorus sang THAXTED. With head bowed, I gazed down at my olives and mused, “Oh, merciful Redeemer!”
Roman politics. What’s old is new again. What’s new is so very old. I read the texts last night like a medieval monk, hoping to find proto-Christian references. We all know about Virgil’s Eclogue, the so-called “Messianic”, in which the poet glorified Augustus as the “golden boy” who would come to redeem us. Through a monk’s eye, Virgil was really talking about Christ and not his imperial patron: Look, even a pagan Roman is speaking like a prophet! Ok. Fine. So where do Virgil’s colored lambs fit in? Maybe a proto-Christian prophecy of the lavender priests? We’ll give Maro his golden boy, but we’ll just ignore those colorful sheepies. Isn’t that what they still do? I digress. It’s so hard keeping to the garden path while sipping, listening to Gustavs, and being entertained by a catty Roman. Juvenal outlines all sorts of possible topics for satire. He speaks of it as the battle field where he’ll take up where Lucilius left off – Lucilius is pretty much fragmentary. No purple sheep, I guess. The poor dear. Maybe he bored the monks, or maybe he just didn’t make it to the monastery in time. Speaking of colorful sheepies, I laughed out loud and choked on the contents of my calix angelorum when I read line 22: cum tener uxorem ducat spado. I couldn’t help but think about Benedict’s recent visit and his comments to “handle things the right way”. I had hit pay dirt. Juvenal indeed had a couple “golden boys”. That ancient line could just as well have been written last week. “Teneres spadones?” Is that what they’re calling themselves these days?
By the time I had had nursed my chalice to below the olive line, I had started into Satire 10, almost ready for the organ entrance in the Mahler. I had played that part once. It took me weeks to reverse the mummification on my rear end from sitting so long on the bench. As the other musicians entered the stage door rolling their scores on wheeled dollies, I bounded in, tuxedoed, organ pumps in one mitt, single-page symphony score in the other, hair gelled and set to the max (stop laughing: it was the 80’s, and I had hair back then: if you have it, flaunt it!). I entered the stage during the break after the first couple movements, and sat vigil until the final page of the work, when I boomed out my chords and magnificent pedal parts on 32’ reeds. A great reward for waiting almost two hours to play 20 measures of fireworks. I read on in my Juvenal. “Golden boys” were everywhere. Too numerous to point out, each a giggly joy. Here is an ancient Roman who is telling me things (again) that I already have seen in my own lifetime, things that he so keenly had observed during his. As it turns out, the same jackasses were around then, that are around today. Consider this scene: a description of the a procession at the Roman Games (Ludi Romani). I’ll keep it in Latin because the passage can describe a neo-trad cleric down to the final eyelet of his corset and to the cuffs of his pretty white bobby-socks. Those of you who want the full, active, conscious participatory vernacular can reference your Penguin editions. Meanwhile, let’s make the neo-trads smirk in oblivious ignorance, pretending to understand, but really not knowing much more Latin than the words of institution, the sign of the cross, and the Ite Missast while thinking that a Penguin is just a funny bird that lives in Hawaii. Anyway, here goes (Satire 10, 36-42):

quid si vidisset praetorem curribus altis
extantem et medii sublimen pulvere circi
in tunica Iovis et pictae Sarrana ferentem
ex umeris aulaea togae magnaeque coronae
tantum orbem, quanto cervix non sufficit ulla?
quippe tenet sudans hanc publicus et, sibi consul
ne placeat, curru servus portatur eodem.

Feel free to chant the text to a psalm tone, but don’t blame me if that makes you feel like a whore in church. My favorite image here is the slave carrying the crown so his master’s head doesn’t explode from its weight. And the magnificent “tunica Iovis”, the tunic of Jupiter. I once saw a cleric donning a decadent cope with the Russian double eagle crest on the back. I don’t know whether he fancied himself an Ivan or a Catherine, but I have my suspicions, baa, baa, baa. As for us mortals who revel in the juicy irony of life around us, we carry no cash with us as we journey along the path, continuing like the travelers at the start of Satire 10 who whistle at the thieves: cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.
The divine martini is out and the Mahler is done. The satires are read. The neo-trad clerics are raked over the coals as they should be one more time for good measure, burned to a crisp (confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus adiictis) huddling tenderly under their second-hand safron umbrellinos (replete with hand-sewn belly-dancer chingalings), descending the steps to dip in the sacred, yet polluted waters of the Ganges…or is it the Tiber…or maybe just a muddy bayou.
What a fun little exercise! Thanks to the Gustavs who provided the music, the French who supplied the martini bits, to Juvenal who provided the charcoal pit, coals, lighter fluid and matches, and to the neo-trads who provided the lamb chops. Damnation, would you look at the time! I suppose I had better book a sedan chair to Pontus. I hear it’s cold there….


Father Z presented his latest article to The Wanderer, which gives an excellent review of the Papal Masses in America (as well as commentary on Ascensiontide).

I can say one good thing about the DC festivities - the Vesper music was good. BTW, I compare the Mass at Nationals Stadium with MahonyFest, but without the dances.


Thursday, May 1, 2008


Can't you tell Ann's back home? Yes, I'm happy as a pig in doodoo! BTW, she sent me these.
Anyhoo, in an earlier post, we learned about the new gas prices and the stories of the old prices. In this new post, we're going to show you how you can beat those big oil companies

Europeans invented the first sailcar.

In Alaska, this car becomes the first non-sled to win the Iditarod.

The thought is right, but where the sam hell are you going to fit the freight?

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse Hummer?

Attention please! Pterydactyl Airlines Flight 69 now leaving for Bedrock.

I never thought I'd ever see a "crotch rocket" crawl. (Yes, "crotch rocket" is the name I usually hear around here for that style of motorcycle!)

If anyone knows any other ways on how to beat the money-hungry "big oil" SOB's (besides "walk" and REAL "flex-fuel" or "alternative fuel" vehicles, or cars that run on piss and vinegar), let me know.



EWTN and the FSSP have released a training video for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and it's free to priests in North America!

RSCT to Shawn Tribe/NLM.