Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDVIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
26-30 August 1914—The Battle of Tannenburg, fought between the German 8th Army (8. Armee) & the Russian 2nd Army (2-я армия).

Lest we forget.

Commentary: The battle was fought a score of miles from Tannenburg, but was named such in a propaganda coup, which cast the battle as Germany's redemption of the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald (or Tannenburg) five hundred years earlier, in 1410.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Wombats, "My First Wedding" from The Wombats Proudly Present "A Guide to Love, Loss, and Desperation" (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: No offense to today's bride & bridegroom, this is just my dark sense of humor at play.

"This is my first wedding
And I hope that it's my last,
Things would be fantastic
If me and the bride didn't have a past…"

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Jeanne Jugan† (1792-1879), foundress of the more famous of the two orders known as the Little Sisters of the Poor, today the center of much ado about religious liberty in these United States: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

The Victors

Due to a variety of social & parochial commitments, including the weddings of two boon companions, the Ace & Red Patton, & a retreat weekend that is months in the planning, I will not be able to see any of the valiant Wolverines' first three games of the 2014 college football season. In the words of Sideshow Bob, "By Lucifer's beard!" The upshot for you, dear reader, is that I will be unusually slow in bemoaning the lamentable state of our once mighty football squad, in declaring all lost in panicked hyperbole, & calling for the firing of head coach Brady Hoke.

Go Blue!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Sports Song" from Mandatory Fun (T.L.A.M.)


"O.K., full disclosure: we're not that great,
But nevertheless, you suck!…"

Friday, August 29, 2014


Today we remember the Passion of John the Baptist (1st century), who prepared the way of the Lord in both ministry & martyrdom: Baptist-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: The portrayal of John the Baptist's "unbridled enthusiasm," to borrow the phrase from Seinfeld, is undoubtedly my favorite part of Christopher Moore's Lamb.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
James Darren, "Come Fly with Me" from This One's from the Heart (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I am familiar with Mr. Darren's fabulous voice almost solely as a result of his turn as self-aware holographic lounge singer Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Thanks, Ira Steven Behr!

Lies, Damned Lies, & the News

Forgive me my naïveté, but is not the purpose of the news to report & analyze current events as they are, not as we might wish them to be? A commentator with the Washington Post, in an analysis of the recent polling that purports to reveal one in six Frenchmen supporting the "Islamic State" is the al-Qaeda offshoot I.S.I.S./I.S.I.L., didn't like the results, so he asserts that they cannot possibly be true: rubbish argumentation-link. The commentator argues, citing less than no evidence, delivers such airtight logical assertions as "we can reasonably expect" (paragraph four), "seems unlikely" (five), "makes that very hard to imagine" (eight), "more reasonable, to be fair, though still high" (eight), "implausible" (ten), & "makes no sense" (paragraph thirteen). Oh, so the poll must have been shoddily conducted, to produce such "unreasonable" results, right? The poll itself is addressed thusly in paragraph eleven: "while the methodology isn't perfect… it wasn't terrible either." The commentator's argument is this: he dislikes the results of the poll, therefore those results cannot be true; the poll must be fatally flawed in some unspecified way, though he defends the polling methodology. Former secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once famously remarked, "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later date." The purpose of the newspaperman is to report & opine on the world we have, not the world we might want; this can certainly be done in the service of influencing the world, to encourage it to become the world we might want or wish to have at a later date, but first we must accurately assess the world as it is. Insisting that things we do not like simply cannot be is both infantile & unproductive.

Last night's party did not get rid of as much of the surplus H.R. beer as might have been hoped, in part because many of those in attendance did what I did & brought their own preferred beverage, in this case pretentious wine instead of yummy beer. One fellow brought beer, Yuengling Light, drank only one, & left the remainder behind. In a selfless act, at the host's request I carried away the remaining Yuengling, because I'm just that kind of guy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Spike Jones & His City Slickers, "Clink, Clink, Another Drink" from The Spike Jones Anthology (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Featuring the vocal talents of the peerless Mel Blanc!

Drink! | Project MERCATOR

As Saint Augustine is along the several saints whose patronage includes brewers, today seems an auspicious day for a long overdue reflection upon etiquette & this summer's gatherings. All throughout this summer I've been bringing Red Stripe with me to social gathers, & all summer it has been unwelcome. The first instance was Red Patton's bachelor party, held two months before his impending nuptials. I brought a half dozen chilled bottle of Red Stripe as a gesture of good will, but not long after my arrival Super Mario asked me in a plaintive tone, "Why did you bring Red Stripe?" It had completely slipped my mind that there was going to be a keg at the party. A keg is not just a privilege (plentiful beer!), it is also a responsibility (the blasted thing has to be emptied lest both beer & money be wasted). I had not meant to compound Super Mario's worries about drinking dry the keg, I'd only meant to be a courteous guest.

Not much later, there was a pool party for the men of the Christ Renews His Parish retreat groups from both Holy Redeemer (Burton) & Holy Family (Grand Blanc); the men of Holy Family helped to bring C.R.H.P. to Holy Redeemer, Holy Redeemer's pastoral vicar used to be stationed at Holy Family, & there are a great many other links between the parishes, given their close proximity. I brought the same half dozen chilled bottles of Red Stripe that hadn't been touched at Red Patton's bachelor party; after hearing Super Mario's pathetic (in the true sense of the word) plea, I'd consented to drink the keg swill. What I'd overlooked was that the pool party was designed not just for merriment & fellowship, but to help get rid of the surplus of beer from one or another social function at Holy Redeemer. I'd not meant to thwart my C.R.H.P. brothers' purpose in getting rid of their excess of beet, I'd only meant to be a courteous guest.

Several weeks ago, at the Ace's bachelor party at Cedar Point, I was asked ahead of time what manner of beer I'd like to have on hand. I replied that Red Stripe is my summer beer, & volunteered to bring some. In this case my mistake was in underestimating the kind of drinking we'd be doing. My fellows arrived on Thursday, though I could not join them 'til Friday. On Thursday night, they'd already gone through an entire case of beer & more. When we drank, we drank with abandon, requiring beer runs on both Friday & Saturday, even after Thursday's run. We played two aggressive drinking games with which I was not familiar, the tamer of the two called "Circle of Death." The Ace's brother, the Big Ace, could scarcely believe that we were playing Circle of Death, apparently a very fierce drinking game, as a way to slow down from the other game, "Red/Black-High/Low-Inside/Outside-Suits," for which we never devised a less cumbersome name. I have never had so much beer so quickly in all my life, not even back in Ann Arbor at 1213, where we threw several barn-burner parties. Red Stripe, being a beer I enjoy was entirely unsuited to the task. What this kind of drinking required was light, crummy beer & light-crummy beer we had by the gallon. One needed two beers at the ready just to start Red/Black-High/Low-Inside/Outside-Suits, & more would be needed before a round was finished. We drank at a punishing pace. We drank at a pace that would have been punishing on twenty-one-year-old undergrads, much less the thirty-something old men we'd become. We drank so much that we weren't even enjoying it anymore, & yet then we drank some more. We drank & we drank & we drank. I've hardly had a drink since.

This evening, there is another C.R.H.P. party, both for fellowship & because there is still surplus beer to be disposed of in the only satisfactory manner. No use in lollygagging, there's work to be done, lads. Down the hatch!


Today is the memorial of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Doctor of the Church & son of Saint Monica: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Being anything but erudite, I've read neither City of God nor the Confessions. I should remedy that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Cretins, "Onward, Christian Soldiers" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The far-famed hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers," as if performed by the Ramones. An unlikely rendition, perhaps, but 'tis as the old advertising slogan said, "Two great tastes that taste great together!"


Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 339.8 lbs
This weigh-in: "Err"
Difference: +/- ? lbs.

The weekly weigh-in has been suspended 'til I have replaced the battery in the electronic scale. I cannot say with confidence that this is the cause of the scale's temperamental readings, but I wish to eliminate that as a variable. This is intolerable! To the very best of my ability, I am striking the same stance I have always struck, holding as still as I have always held, so why has it become so difficult to get a reading? The scales swings wildly from the three hundred teens to the three hundred forties, all while I stand there in the same way I always have. If I was consistently gaining weight, I'd own up to that. If I was once again losing weight, I'd sing that news from the rooftops. I need accurate measurements, by Lucifer's beard! Intolerable!

Today is the memorial of Saint Monica (331-387), mother of Saint Augustine: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Addendum: Originally published without a functional hyperlink to the Wikipedia article on Saint Monica, despite the claimed "Wikipedia-link." The hyperlink has now been correctly installed. Mea culpa.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus Jornet† (1843-1897), foundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Age (also known as the Little Sisters of the Poor, not to be confused with the other, more famous Little Sisters of the Poor): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Yo-Yo Ninja Boy" from Goodbye Blue & White (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Less Than Jake apparently despise commas. Just as Hello Rockview should be titled Hello, Rockview, the title of this B-sides & rarities album should be Goodbye, Blue & White, since it is saying "goodbye" to a van named Blue & White after its blue & white paint scheme.

The yo-to wielding ninja boy of the title has mad skills, yo. I, being all thumbs, have never mastered the yo-yo. I've never made a concerted effort to master the toy-cum-weapon, because in those few instances I've tried to play with one I've been thwarted & quickly abandoned the task due to frustration.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Louis (1214-1270), King Louis IX of France, leader of the Seventh & Eighth Crusades: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link, Crusade-link VII & Crusade-link VIII.

Today is also the memorial of Saint Joseph Calasanz (1557-1648), founder of the Piarists, formally the Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Aloe Blacc, "Lift Your Spirit" via iTunes, (free) Single of the Week (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDVII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
23 August 1914—The Battle of Mons, fought betwixt the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) & the German 1st Army (1. Armee) as part of the month-long Battle of the Frontiers.

Lest we forget.

Today is the feast of the Apostle Saint Bartholomew† (1st century), possibly the same follower of Christ elsewhere identified as Nathaneal or Nathaniel: Apostle-link & Wikipedia-link.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Sunday Afternoons on Wisdom Ave" from The Magic of Youth (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: In "Sunday Afternoons on Wisdom Ave," "Ave," normally an abbreviation of avenue, is treated as a word in its own right, & rhymed with "have."

"A modest triple decker in a section that was working class,
Not a lot of company, but we would go there after Mass.
Lace curtains in the window that had been there since the last great war,
There were on the first one and the Mulligans lived on the second floor.

"Sunday driving in the big sedan,
Soup and sandwich on the T.V. stand,
Glad to be there, it was nice to have,
Sunday afternoons on Wisdom Ave.…"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Operation AXIOM

'Tis the first annual celebration of Black Ribbon Day, the American observation of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism & Nazism. Seventy-five years ago to the day, 23 August 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, crying "Havoc!" to seal the fate of independent Poland & letting slip the dogs of the Second World War. The Day of Remembrance of Victims of Stalinism & Nazism has been observed throughout the European Union, especially in those countries that were ground under the boot of Marxism-Leninism for decades after the end of "Stalinism." Stalinism & Nazism were not freak occurrences, they were the logical result of nihilism & Modernism. We must remember this sorry, blood-soaked chapter of history lest we doom ourselves to repeat it. Lest we forget.


Today is the memorial of Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Dropkick Murphys, "(F)lannigan's Ball" from The Meanest of Times (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Adapted loosely from the traditional song "Lanigan's Ball." There is a time when, or more accurately a humor during which, naught else satisfies but the Dropkick Murphys.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Queue

In the first half of The Reason for God, "The Leap of Doubt," Reverend Keller addresses the most common objections to/criticisms of Christianity he's encountered in his quarter century of leading Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Methinks him far too obsequious to the faith's critics, calling even the most grotesque caricatures "fair and understandable," but what do I know? Maybe sycophancy is exactly what is required to convert smug, city-dwelling heathens. The the second half, "The Reasons for Faith," he makes the positive case for Christianity, including a pleasingly strident defense of the faith's exclusive possession of theological truth, & here Keller seems much more on his game. The old saw seems apropos: the best defense is a good offense.

A fellow I know from church, whom I respect & admire a great deal (though less so since I learned he's a big fan of J. J. Abrams's Star Trek), asked when I began reading The Reason for God, "Have the attacks on Catholicism started yet?" I frowned at that most unfortunate question. I always keep a weather eye open for the ghost of Titus Oates, but found no particular instances of "anti-papism" in the Rev. Keller's treatise. In the "Intermission," under the subheading "Which Christianity?," Keller writes:
It is important for readers to understand this. I am making a case in this book for the truth of Christianity in general—not for one particular strand of it. Some sharp-eyed Presbyterian readers will notice that I am staying quiet about some of my particular theological beliefs in the interest of doing everything I can to represent all Christians. Yet when I come to describe the Christian gospel of sin and grace, I will necessarily be doing it as a Protestant Christian, and I won't be sounding notes that a Catholic author would sound.
The truly interesting part of this fellow's slapdash criticism of Keller is that even while suspicious of anti-Catholicism in The Reason for God he remains an ardent admirer of Joyce Meyer, a Charismatic preacher who seems more inclined to worship Mammon than the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Israel.

I recommend The Reason for God to one & all, especially those who may have been raised in the faith but fell away in their teens & twenties & now find themselves confronting the question, "Is this all there is?" I have designs on saving Red Patton, who was raised a Lutheran but is now an atheist (& about to wed a Catholic girl), but in this I follow the rule of the explorer Joseph Thomson, "He who goes gently, goes safely; he who goes safely, goes far."

Father Michael E. Gaitley, 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration
Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Swords of Mars

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Synthetic Men of Mars
Matthew Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Llana of Gathol
Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter of Mars
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Ted Morgan, Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led American into the Vietnam War
Norman Stone, The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A Personal History of the Cold War
Rice Broocks, God's Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty

Lately Neglected
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill
Edmund Burke, The Evils of Revolution
F. J. Sheed, Theology for Beginners

Yesterday, I espied a vanity license plate: 1LUKE35. I read that as meaning the Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verse thirty-five (usually denoted as Luke, 1:35):
And the angel said in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."


Today is the memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1st century B.C.-1st century A.D.): Queenship-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: This would seem a propitious day to pray the "Hail, Holy Queen" a time or two.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Creedance Clearwater Revival, "Who'll Stop the Rain" from Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Not to be confused with Dressy Bessy's "Who'd Stop the Rain."

"And I wonder, still I wonder,
Who'll stop the rain?…"

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Today is the memorial of Pope Saint Pius X (1835-1914), who rightly denounced the Modernism of his day as "the summation of all heresies": Saint-link Ein, Saint-link Zwei, & Wikipedia-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Dressy Bessy, "Who'd Stop the Rain" from Electrified (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Not to be confused with Creedance Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain."

"You don't mind if I'm dancing in the rain,
Oh, it's cold outside and I could use a drink…"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 335.2 lbs
This weigh-in: 339.8 lbs.
Difference: +4.6 lbs.

In the last three weeks, I've gained four point six pounds (4.6 lbs.), putting me back on the wrong side of the twenty-four stone boundary (335.2 lbs. is 23.9 stone). This is not what I wanted, but given all the beer (if you can call the swill we drank at the Ace's bachelor party beer) & pop I've imbibed in those three weeks, I'm surprised only that I did not gain more weight. Unsatisfactory, but what's done is done. ÖSTERREICH is ongoing, continual. It operates day by day, minute by minute, in every choice of what if anything to pull out of the refrigerator, in the choice to park at the far end of the lot to have to walk those few hundred extra feet to, & later from the entrance. What's done is done, but don't do it again, Fatty. Onward!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Creedance Clearwater Revival, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" from Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits (T.L.A.M.)

Project BLACK MAMBA (backlog edition)

Today is the memorial of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Doctor of the Church & founder of the Cistercian Order, also known as the Bernardines or the White Monks: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Yesterday, 19 August, was the memorial of Saint John Eudes (1601-1680), founder of the Eudists, formally the Congregation of Jesus & Mary, & the Order of Our Lady of Charity: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link, Order-link C.J.M. & Order-link Refuge.

Monday, 18 August, was the memorial of Saint Helena† (circa 250-330), mother of the Emperor Constantine: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: The mark † indicates silence by the parish bulletin & thus my choice from a list of saints to remember on a given day.

Sunday, 17 August, we remember Saint Joan of the Cross† (1666-1736), A.K.A. Saint Jeanne Delanoue, founder of the Congregation of Saint Anne of Providence: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Saturday, 16 August, was the memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary (975-1038), A.K.A. King Stephen I of Hungary: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The CADMUS Endeavour

For the first time in my life, I might know what I want to be when I grow up.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Toasters, "Pendulum" from Mailorder for the Masses (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Mailorder for the Masses is not a Toasters album, but the third compilation album from Mike Park's Asian Man Records.

"The pendulum swings,
A fresh start that changes everything,
Erasing the board,
The future's in store,
The pendulum swings…"

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDVI

Magen David Adom ("Red Shield of David"), the Israeli member organization of the international Red Cross & Red Crescent movement.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Warren Zevon, "Werewolves of London" courtesy The Watergirl (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Musically, I thrill at "Werewolves of London." Lyrically, my favorite aspect is the casual juxtaposition of the horrific violence of the werewolves & the werewolves' celebrated social status. Below, we present only the violence, not the Lon Cheney references.

"You hear 'em howling around your kitchen door,
You better not let 'em in!
Little old lady got mutilated late last night,
Werewolves of London again…

"You better stay away from him,
He'll rip your lungs out, Jim!…

"Draw blood!…"

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I'm not private. I've maintained this blog, The Secret Base, for a dozen years & I'll answer any personal question you care to pose. What I am is secretive—I volunteer one truth to disguise the omission of another. I am unused to sharing freely with so many persons, unused to their concern for the everyday happenstances of my life. I'm working to grow more comfortable with this new reality, this frankly better version of life.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "They Will Need Music" from The Magic of Youth (T.L.A.M.)


"They will need music to uplift,
It'll be a Godsend, it'll be a gift,
And hope and glory to coincide
They'll need the strength and warmth and comfort that the music will provide…"

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Sister Mary" from Pin Points and Gin Joints (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Sister Mary" was the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. three months ago, but I am not in the least rueful of today's selection. The song is just so damned right, so close to musical perfection as to make distinction from same a matter of tiresome semantics.

"Sure, you remember and you know which one,
You went to the one, my son, that's run by the nun.

"Hey, Sister Mary, can you teach me a song?…"

Friday, August 15, 2014

Urbi et Orbi

This morning I attended my fifty-ninth Mass of the year, surpassing Mrs. Brother Nacho's quota of "fifty-seven or fifty-eight." The number is not important, per se. Am I building the relationship with the Lord that I should be? Have I entrusted all I am, all I have, & all I could ever be to Him? Am I more likely to bless & less likely to curse my fellow man? Do I pray for my enemies? These are the my goals, the numbers are just a means to those ends.

I am invited to a shindig tomorrow afternoon. The host says that he'd like to invite many more persons, but there are rain storms in the forecast & if in case of a cloudburst the outdoor event needs to beat a fleet retreat indoors, space will be limited. I made the cut. This morning, after Mass, 'twas opined that I'm fairly popular. I am not the least bit comfortable with this, though that is a wholly indefensible position. I like these people & it is not me they like, but Christ shining forth from within me; why should I be uncomfortable with that? Yet, uncomfortable I remain.


Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when we remember Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.": Blessed Virgin-link & Wikipedia-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
For King & Country, "Fix My Eyes" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: For King & Country stylize their name as "for KING & COUNTRY," which is irksome.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Count me amongst those who look askance at Saint Maximilian Kolbe's classification as a martyr. Was he a saint? Absolutely. Did he live a life of heroic charity in the service of the Lord? Without a doubt. Was he murdered? Yes. Was he murdered for his devotion to Christ? Tortuous argumentation is needed to make that claim. If he's a martyr, an argument could be made that everyone who died in the Nazi death camps—Catholic, Jewish, or atheist—was a martyr. Pope Saint John Paul II was a great man, a saint, but fairly or not I see an unseemly Polish chauvinism in the flaunting of establish protocols to declare Saint Maximilian Kolbe not just a confessor, but a martyr.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Doors, "Hello, I Love You" from Platoon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I am not a saint, clearly.

"Her arms are wicked and her legs are long,
When she moves my brain screams out this song…"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Today is the memorial of Pope Saint Pontian (200-235) & Antipope Saint Hippolytus of Rome (170-235), jointly martyred under the Emperor Maximinus Thrax: Saints-link, Wikipedia-link Papa, & Wikipedia-link Hotel.

Project MERCATOR | Autobahn
The Back to the Bricks cruising has begun. Avoid South Saginaw Street if at all possible.

I simply do not understand the appeal of cruising. I've cruised with my father in his '79 Corvette during past Back to the Bricks cruises, & it is a miserable experience. Cruising is voluntarily sitting in the midst of a traffic jam, & not just any traffic jam, but a traffic jam composed of the motorcars of yesteryear, which spewed greater, dirtier pollutants than do the motorcars of today. The sound of those old muscle cars is thrilling, but you don't even hear the proper roar of an old, throaty V-8 engine when it is stuck in traffic doing no more than ten miles per hour. Seeing the old beasts run, throttles open? I see the appeal. Seeing the old beast standing still, so as to fully appreciate the details of their design & preservation or restoration? I see the appeal, which is why I plan to once again partake of the Saturday car show downtown. But see the old beasts crawl by at parade pace with their engines sputtering? I do not see the appeal.

So, 'til Saturday, avoid South Saginaw Street from south of Grand Blanc to as far north as the Flint River.


Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 335.2 lbs
This weigh-in: "Err"
Difference: +/- ? lbs.

I stood as still this morning as I had on any morning when a clear reading was given, but the electronic scale would not settle on any measurement. I am keenly aware that as I lean over to glimpse the digital display I might be slightly shifting my weight to produce a measurement more in line with my expectations, but such has been the case for every single weigh-in, including those (the vast majority) from which a clear result has been taken. I need to check the electronic scale's battery, either to fix the problem or at least account for that potential variable. This is infuriating.

Anecdotally, progress seems the order of the day, as I'm going to need to punch some new holes into my dress belts, & I successfully wore a dress shirt for which I was slightly too big not so long ago.

I need to write about Cedar Point from the perspective of ÖSTERREICH, especially after a discourse I had last week with Daddy Dylweed.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Five Iron Frenzy, "Far Far Away" from Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo (T.L.A.M.)


"And Peter was a liar,
A traitor just like me,
And Judas was a hypocrite,
And Paul a Pharisee.
When truth can be so distant,
And hope evades our reach,
Peter swam across the water
And foundered on the beach.

"Can you hear the bells are ringing
Far, far away?
Can you hear the voices singing
Far, far away?…"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDV

The cautionary tale of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle (1887-1933).

This evening, I found the Lumi, the Distaff Son of the Mousemobile behind a Chevrolet Volt with the vanity license plate BOBCATS. Grand Blanc's sports teams are nicknamed the Bobcats. (Or, as Bob Dole said during his 1996 campaign visit to Grand Blanc High School, the "Fightin' Bobcats.") Charmingly, there was a license plate frame that read "VOICE OF THE," rendering the whole thing as "Voice of the Bobcats." I felt, I still feel an urge to sing the Bobcats' fight song, "Onward to Victory."

I ate a Clif Bar this morning. The packaging was clearly labeled, "Made with organic rolled oats." Does that make me a damned, dirty hippie?


Today is the memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641), co-founder of the Visitation Sisters, formally the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Percy Sledge, "When a Man Loves a Woman" from Platoon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)


"If she is bad he can't see it,
She can do no wrong,
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down…"

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Savage Wars of Peace

A knowledge of history is fun, because one can chuckle at the parallels 'twixt events past & present. (Gallows humor, to be sure, but humor all the same.) More & more, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is looking like mid-20th century Chinese, later Taiwanese dictator Chiang Chi-Shek, a weak, corrupt leader propped up by the Americans as a bulwark against even more malign forces, but ultimately more concerned with clinging to power than governing for the benefit of his people—& thus ultimately the author of his own political demise. This analogy leaves open the question of whether I.S.I.S./I.S.I.L., the ultra-violent offshoot of al-Qaeda current posing an existential threat to Iraq, is the pre-1949 Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong or one of the myriad regional warlords that, like Chiang's K.M.T. Nationalists, were ground into oblivion or driven into insular exile by Mao's all-conquering People's Liberation Army. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, there was a vicious, recriminatory debate amongst the American political & chattering classes, "Who lost China?" I laugh at the parallels 'twixt al-Maliki & Chiang lest I weep for all the American, Western allied, & Iraqi blood & treasure lost in Iraq, blood spilt & treasure spent in vain if we must eventually have the vicious, recriminatory debate, "Who lost Iraq?" We cannot let the sacrifices of the last eleven years have been in vain.

The trick to gallows humor is to keep laughing. In the name of all that's holy, just keep laughing.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Joe Jackson, "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: 'Tis Mr. Jackson's birthday. Smoke if you got 'em.


Today is the memorial of Saint Clare (1194-1253), after whom Michigan's Lake Saint Clair & the Saint Clair River are named: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Sunday, 10 August, was/would have been the feast of Saint Lawrence (circa 225-258), martyred under the Emperor Valerian: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Saturday, 9 August, was the memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942), born Edith Stein, one of the patronesses of Europe: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Billy Preston, "Nothing from Nothing" from Elf: Music from the Major Motion Picture (T.L.A.M.)


"Don't you remember I told ya,
I'm a soldier in the War on Poverty…"

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Little Red Light" from Welcome Interstate Managers (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Heard moments ago on Car Talk, probably the first time that Click & Clack have inspired the R.B.D.S.O.T.D.

"It's not right, it's not fair,
I'm still a mess and you still don't care.
I go to work, I come back home,
But you're still gone and I'm still alone,
And the little red light's not blinking…

"It's not right, its not fair,
I'm still a mess and you still don't care.
I go to sleep, when I wake up
The pain sets in and it never stops,
And the little red light's not blinking…"

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Kenny Rogers featuring The Whites, "I'll Fly Away" from Amazing Grace (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I was gifted a copy of the album Amazing Grace by a pal & fellow Knight, Brother Juliett Golf. I value The Whites' contribution as the signature part of the recording.


Today is the memorial of Saint Dominic (1170-1221), priest, patron saint of astronomers, & founder of the Dominicans, formally the Order of Preachers (the "Blackfriars"): Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

The other day I espied what at first glance appeared to be a wholly white motorcar, white all the way to the road, including the tires! Upon closer inspection I beheld a white Volkswagen Golf with powder blue wheels & white-wall tires. I believe this was the first time I'd seen white-wall tires on a non-classic car. The effect was really quite striking. I've always liked white-wall tires, but outside of the fictional example of Lightning McQueen in Cars had never seen them on a contemporary chassis; I hope I will see more of this in the years to come. White walls!

I only saw the Golf from the left front quarter so I didn't see any of the badges, & I'm far from an expert on V.W. styling, but methinks 'twas a standard Golf, not a sport-tuned G.T.I.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Taco Grande" from Off the Deep End (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I had tacos for lunch Monday, tacos for dinner Tuesday, & tacos for lunch Wednesday. I'd have to say that "Taco Grande" is overdue as the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., with allowances made for getting both life & The Secret Base back on schedule after the exquisite joy of the Ace's multi-day bachelor party at Cedar Point.


Today is the memorial of Pope Saint Sixtus II & Companions (d. 258), martyred under the Emperor Valerian: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the memorial of Saint Cajetan (1480-1547), patron of job-seekers & the unemployed & founder of the Theatines, formally the Congregation of Clerks Regular of the Divine Provinces: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

This week's Wednesday weigh-in was cancelled due to the bachelor party weekend, during which, as the Ace's Goliath-sized younger brother, Big Ace, said, "None of us has put anything good into his body in three days." (More on this particular thread of the glorious B.T.Weekend to follow under "Drink!")

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Bachelor Party

Sonntag, 3 August
They Might be Giants, "Road Movie to Berlin" from Flood (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The bachelor party party scatters.

Samstag, 2 August
Fountains of Wayne, "A Road Song" from Sky Full of Holes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The bachelor party party lives in a pocket universe.

Freitag, 1 August
Smash Mouth, "Road Man" from Astro Lounge (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The bachelor party party imbibes copious libations.

Donnerstag, 31 Juli
Lindsey Buckingham, "Holiday Road" (live) via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The bachelor party party gathers.

Project BLACK MAMBA (backlog edition)

Today is the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord: Calendar-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: I've decided to continue BLACK MAMBA indefinitely. What shall we do next years when the calendar cycles back to July? Cover the same saints over again or deviate from the parish bulletin for the sake of variety? We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

Tuesday, 5 August, was the memorial of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore) in Rome: Wikipedia-link.

Monday, 4 August, was the memorial of Saint John Vianney (1786-1859), patron saint of priests: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: With no saint listed in the bulletin for Sunday, 3 August, but with two for 2 August, we've decided to let the eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time lie fallow.

Saturday, 2 August, was the memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli (283-371), foe of the Arian heresy: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Saturday was also the memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868), founder of the all-male Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament & the all-female Servants of the Blessed Sacrament: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, Order-link Men, & Order-link Women.

Commentary: It has been standard BLACK MAMBA practice to choose one saint (or group of connected saints) to commemorate each day; there is usually more than one saint whose feast falls on a given day, an overwhelming number. But both these saints were listed in the parish bulletin; I know not the criteria they use for listing or not listing a given saint's feast day, but I trust it has a reasonable basis, & shall thus follow their lead.

Friday, 1 August, was the memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguri (1696-1787), Doctor of the Church & founder of the Redemptorists, formally the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Commentary: I heard a latter-day Redemptorist seminarian speak about Saint Alphonsus Liguri on the radio Friday morning, on the way to Cedar Point.

Code Name: CHAOS
Along with the indefinite extension of BLACK MAMBA, it has also been rechristened as a "Project," July's "Objective" being by its nature definite. Why Project BLACK MAMBA instead of, say, Operation BLACK MAMBA? Personal preference, purely.

Liberty & Union

Primary Day 2014 saw your humble narrator vote in a non-competitive race for governor, a non-competitive race for federal senator, a non-competitive race for state senator, & for a ballot initiative against which there was no organized opposition. By "non-competitive" I do not mean that the races were landslides, but that there was only one candidate listed on the relevant partisan side of the ballot, & no organized write-in campaign. The fall's races for governor & federal senator look like they will go down to the wire. A close defeat would be an improvement in the senate race, where incumbents are routinely re-elected by wide margins; this race is for an open seat, betwixt a congressman on the Democratic ticket & a former secretary of state on the Republican ticket. 'Twas a sleepy, lazy election day, as I voted an hour before the polls closed & was Voter № 225; elsewhere in Grand Blanc, Mrs. Blinky reported on the FaceSpace that even later in the day she was № 79 at her polling place. Non-competitive primaries & low voter turnout, a snapshot of democracy in America.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
John Newman, "Love Me Again" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: An explanation, in light of my repeated statements, regarding "Weird Al's" Mandatory Fun, that I am disconnected from popular music: I know "Love Me Again" from television, adverts for Suits on the U.S.A. Network. It sticks in the head, regardless of whether one likes the tune.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Objective BLACK MAMBA (backlog edition)

Thursday, 31 July was the memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, formally the Society of Jesus: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Wednesday, 30 July was the memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus (circa 380-450), Doctor of the Church: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Tuesday, 29 July, was the memorial of Saint Martha of Bethany (1st Century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Monday, 28 June, was the memorial of Saint Samson of Dol (circa 485-565), also known as Saint Samson of York: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Sunday, 27 June, we remember the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus (d. circa 250): Saints-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Neither the parish bulletin nor the website listed the seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time as the particular feast of any saint. So, using my own discretion, I chose to honor the Seven Sleepers, chosen from a longer list of saints to memorialize on 27 July. I like my religion like I like my politics, just that little bit crazy. Thus, the Seven Sleepers.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from Nevermind (T.L.A.M.)


"I'm worst at what I do best,
And for this gift I feel blessed,
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end…"

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDIV

Operation AXIOM: The World War
Declarations of War, 1914:
28 July—Austria-Hungary v. Serbia;
1 August—Germany v. Russia, Italy declares neutrality;
2 August—Germany invades Luxembourg;
3 August—Germany v. France;
4 August—Germany invades Belgium, Great Britain v. Germany, United States declares neutrality;
6 August—Austria-Hungary v. Russia;
11 August—France v. Austria-Hungary;
12 August—Great Britain v. Austria-Hungary;
22 August—Austria-Hungary v. Belgium;
23 August—Japan v. Germany;
25 August—Japan v. Austria-Hungary.

Commentary: Thus did the world burn.

Project MERCATOR | Kith & Kin

Cedar Point: Four men. Three nights. Two different board games played as "Deadly Alliance." One bachelor party.

More to follow.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Now That's What I Call Polka!" from Mandatory Fun (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Prior to listening to "Now That's What I Call Polka!," I had never heard the majority of the songs comprising this medley. Using the track listing from the Wikipedia. & excluding the two polkas listed therein, I had heard (so far as I can recognize) five of the eleven popular songs in the medley. In a minor way, yes, I am celebrating that I am so out of touch.