Friday, October 31, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg† (circa 924-994): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: I cannot put my finger on precisely why, but I really like the cut of St. Wolfgang's jib.

Today is also All Hallows' Eve, the eve of the Solemnity of All Saints & the first day of the Allhallowtide triduum.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-eight (of twenty-eight).
The Rebel Black Dot Song of Hallowe'en
Michael Jackson, "Thriller" from Thriller (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: This is the R.D.B.S.O.T.D.'s fifth annual celebration of Hallowe'en. "Thriller," possibly the second greatest Hallowe'en song of all ("Monster Mash" is the king, clearly) had heretofore been held in reserve, but methinks now is the time to let the King of Pop & Vincent Price out to scare the daylights out of the unsuspecting.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez†, S.J., (1532-1617): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-seven. I allowed myself to be distracted & so did not finish chapter twenty-six yesterday, adding it to to-day's reading. To-morrow, I should conclude Matthew.
The Rebel Black Dot Hallowe'en Song of the Day
The Cast of The Simpsons, "Treehouse of Horror V" from Songs in the Key of Springfield (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "You are about to experience the terror and foul horror of…"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDXV

Operation AXIOM: The World War
16-31 October 1914: The Battle of the Yser—the salvation of a small corner of Belgium from German conquest, & the last, unrealized chance to bring the war to a decisive conclusion before settling into the long war of attrition.

Lest we forget.


Today is the memorial of Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem† (circa 99-216): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Heavenly Father, I do not ask to be blessed with as long a sojourn on Earth as Saint Narcissus (unless such is Thy will, of course), I ask only to be as indefatigable in my good works & pursuit of holiness. Thy will be done.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-six.
The Rebel Black Dot Hallowe'en Song of the Day
Jason Segel & Cast, "A Taste for Love" (from Dracula: A Taste for Love, the puppet play within the motion picture Forgetting Sarah Marshall) via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Peter Bretter, played by Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, deeply misunderstands the malevolent nature of Bram Stoker's character Count Dracula, but "A Taste for Love" is undeniably amusing all the same.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Today is the feast of the Apostles Saint Simon, "the Zealot," & Saint Jude, A.K.A. Thaddeus (1st century), two of the Twelve & martyrs: Apostle-link Simon & Wikipedia-link Simon, Apostle-link Jude & Wikipedia-link Jude, & Apostles-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five.
The Rebel Black Dot Hallowe'en Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Dig My Grave" from Apollo 18 (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Below we present the complete lyrics of "Dig My Grave."

"Dig my grave!
Dig my grave!

"Every time I look in your eyes
I see Saint Peter wave,
Dig my grave!
Dig my grave!

"Every time you call my name
I hear the angels say,
'Dig my grave!
Dig my grave!
Dig my grave!
Dig my grave!
Dig my grave!'"

Monday, October 27, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Abraham the Poor† (died circa 372): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Yesterday was/would have been the memorial of Saint Fulk of Pavia† (1164-1229): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-four. Yesterday's reading was Matthew, chapter twenty-three. These are the chapters that deal with the Second Coming, the "end of the age," so not exactly light reading.
The Rebel Black Dot Hallowe'en Song of the Day
The Blues Brothers, "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" from Blues Brothers 2000: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: At this stage in the film, the Blues Brothers consist of Elwood & Mighty Mack, Cab & Buster having not yet joined the band onstage.

"As the riders loped on by him, he heard one call his name,
'If you want to save your soul from Hell or ridin' on our range,
Then, Cowboy, change your ways today or with us you will ride,
Trying to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies'…"

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Hallowe'en Song of the Day
Frédéric Chopin, "Piano Sonata № 2 in B Flat, Minor Opus 35, Funeral March" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: You may well not know the title of the piece (I didn't), but you'll recognize it once you hear it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Today is the memorial of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales† (martyred 1535-1679): Martyrs-link & Wikipedia-link.

Today is also the memorial of Saint Crispin† & Saint Crispinian†, A.K.A. Crispian, (died 286), twin brothers martyred under the Emperor Diocletian, victims of the Great Persecution: Saint-link Crispin, Saint-link Crispinian, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: The "Saint Crispin's Day speech" from Shakespeare's Henry V: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers"-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-two.
The Rebel Black Dot Hallowe'en Song of the Day
Danny Elfman, "Beetlejuice (Main Titles/End Titles)" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, October 24, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870), founder of the Claretians, formally the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-one.

The Rebel Black Dot Hallowe'en Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Tarantula!" from The Return of the Aquabats! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Welcome to another spooky edition of the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. celebration of Hallowe'en!

"With giant fangs and eight hairy legs
The monster lives in an underground maze,
Beneath the carpet of the Amazon Jungle
It lies in wait for helpless prey!
Now Professor Jones, he knew the legend of the monster,
He found the mouth of the webby hole,
Armed to the teeth, he ventured forth,
If he'd live or die he did not know!

"Professor Jones! He did not know!
Professor Jones! He did not know!
Where was his daughter? Where did she go?
Fallen to the beast of the webby hole:
Tarantula! Tarantula! Tarantula!…"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDXIV

Old Sarum—by turns Iron Age settlement, Roman fortress, & Norman cathedral city, all but abandoned by 1220 in favor of a nearby site.


Today is the memorial of Saint John of Capistrano (1386-1456), the "Soldier Saint" who saved Belgrade from the Turk &, alas, also the "Scourge of the Jews:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Bright Future in Sales" from Welcome Interstate Managers (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Though I do not have the hard data to back up the following claim, I'd wager that "Bright Future in Sales" is the most oft repeated R.B.D.S.O.T.D. selection. Why? Because the lyrics always ring true.

"And if I make it home alive—

"I'm gonna get my shit together,
'Cause I can't live like this forever…"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Elvis Costello, "Spooky Girlfriend" from When I Was Cruel (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The spooky girlfriend of "Spooky Girlfriend" is spooky, but not spooky as in Hallowe'en spooky. Spooky.


Today is the first memorial of Pope Saint John Paul II (1920-2005): Saint-link Eins, Saint-link Zwei, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Many refer to the late pontiff as Saint John Paul the Great. While I do not dispute that he was great, I do not myself use the epithet mostly due to my discomfort with the ways the rules were bent to speed up his beatification & canonization. The whole point of the postmortem waiting period is to allow the passions of the moment to subside & cool reason to prevail; citing "extraordinary circumstances" in order to waive the waiting period is preposterous, as it appeals to the very passions a waiting period is meant to thwart. I protest neither that Saint John Paul II led a saintly life nor that he was great—He is yet great, in the heavenly choir!—, only the unseemly rush of those who call him "the Great."

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nineteen.

Earlier this afternoon, the Lumi, the Distaff Son of the Mousemobile was cut off by a motorcar sporting the bumper sticker, "Look Out for Motorcycles." Given the offending driver's seeming failure to look out for the Lumi, might I recommend another bumper sticker, & an accompanying modification in behavior, "Look Out for Motorcars"?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I've been on the look-out for & have subsequently spotted a number of Pontiac G8s lately. The G8 was a rebadged, left-hand drive Holden Commodore (VE), imported from Australia. (The current Chevrolet SS is a rebadged, left-hand drive Commodore [VF], the latest model.) The other day, while riding shotgun with my father, I beheld not a G8, not an SS, but a Holden Commodore. I double-checked, but there it was, unmistakable for either the Pontiac "dart" or the Chevrolet "bowtie," the Holden lion, just as I'd so often seen on television during V8 Supercars races. Whenever I spot an Alaska license plate the formulaic thought goes through my head, "You're a long way from home, fella." Alaska is next door compared to Down Under. That Holden, resplendent in red, was a long way from home.

I espied a vanity license plate yesterday, MRSWANN. Should this be read "Mrs. Wann" or "Mr. Swann"? The flow of traffic & a willingness to exceed slightly the posted speed limit afforded me the chance to position the Lumi, the Distaff Son of the Mousemobile alongside MRSWANN & glimpse the driver: a man. Certainly, Mr. Wann cold have been driving Mrs. Wann's motorcar, but had the driver been a woman would have have entertained the equivalent doubt, that Mrs. Swann could have been driving Mr. Swann's motorcar? Methinks this highly unlikely. Mr. Swann it is!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Chris de Burgh, "The Lady In Red" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I had occasion yesterday to reference "The Lady In Red," regarding a photograph posted to the FaceSpace of the Blonde at Mr. & Mrs. Red Patton's wedding reception. Of course, was the red a reference to her scarlet dress or the sunburn on her face from the outdoor wedding earlier in the day?

"I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight,
Never seen you shine so bright,
Never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance,
Looking for a little romance given half a chance,
I have never sen the dress you're wearing
On the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes,
I have been blind…"


Today is the memorial of Saint Ursula† (martyred circa 384), patroness—though not foundress—of the Ursulines, formally known as the Order of Saint Ursula, & the Angelines, formally known as the Company of Saint Ursula: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link, Order-link Ursulines & Order-link Angelines.

Commentary: Legendary & not historical, you say? Pish posh! Saint Ursula & her companions may have been removed from the General Roman Calendar, but they remain in the Roman Martyrology, & that's authoritative enough for me. Additionally, the good works done by the Ursulines & the Angelines in her name cannot be denied.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDXIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
17 September-19 October 1914: The "Race to the Sea," not a dash to the coast but a series of engagements & marches, attempts by the Allied (French, British, & Belgian) & German armies each to outflank the other—including the First Battle of the Aisne (13-28 September) & the Siege of Antwerp (28 September-10 October).

Lest we forget.

Commentary: I counteract the rising sense of panic ("We're missing so much! It's impossible to keep up!") regarding the Explorers' Club's remembrance of the Great War by reminding myself that even were I to devote myself & The Secret Base exclusively to commemorating 1914-1918, the years 2014-2018 would be insufficient to the task, as the thorough study of Western civilization's suicide attempt is the work of more than one lifetime. So, we do the best that we can so that our generation need not repeat the mistakes & relive the horrors of our forefathers.


Today is the memorial of Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), founder of the Passionists, formally the Congregation of Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Yesterday was/would have been the memorial of Saint Isaac Jogues (1607-1646), Saint Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649), & six Companions, collectively known as the North American Martyrs: Martyrs-link, Wikipedia-link Jogues, Wikipedia-link Brébeuf, & Wikipedia-link Martyrs.

Commentary: Don't ask me why Saints Issac Jogues & Jean de Brébeuf are singled out while the other six are grouped together as "& Companions," because I know nothing about & cannot begin to explain the complexities & vagaries of putting together & promulgating the calendar of saints. The God of Jacob knows the name of & loves each of His children.

Yesterday also saw the beatification of Pope Blessed Paul VI (1897-1978): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: I watched a portion of the beatification Mass on television. Interestingly, the Wikipedia entries on Blessed Paul VI & Saint John XXIII style their names & degrees of sainthood differently, as Blessed Pope Paul VI & Pope Saint John XXIII, respectively. I have decided to use one consistent style, though I acknowledge that "Pope Blessed" isn't as smooth a phrase as "Blessed Pope."

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seventeen. Yesterday's reading, which I did not finish but will today, was Matthew, chapter sixteen.
The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Robbie Williams & Jon Lovitz, "Well, Did You Evah!" from Swing When You're Winning (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The Cole Porter classic, from the Broadway musical DuBarry Was a Lady.

Programming note: Hallowe'en is coming.

Sonntag, 19 Oktober
Alien Ant Farm, "Smooth Criminal" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: On Saturday night I was with Red Patton, Super Mario, & others at a pub in Saginaw called Retro Rocks, which played pop music hits from the Nineteen Eighties, the Nineteen Nineties, & the Two Thousands ('tis a shame "the Aughts" never caught on as it ought to have done). Of the many fondly remembered or still despised songs played, the two that stuck out most were the Spice Girls' "Wannabe" (which was played at least twice) & one-hit wonders Alien Ant Farm's one hit, a brilliant cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." "Wannabe" is still vapid & annoying after all these years, while "Smooth Criminal" is still delightful, very much the model of what a cover should me. (Because if you're not going to do anything different, why are you even covering the song? Just encourage your audience to listen to the original.) Yes, "nu metal" was an unfortunate phenomenon in popular music, but Alien Ant Farm's "Smooth Criminal" still works.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Luke the Evangelist (1st century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fifteen. After I finish Matthew (twenty-eight chapters) & enjoy the interlude of one of the short prophetic books of the Old Testament, I shall read the Gospel according to Luke, followed by its companion work, the Acts of the Apostles.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Queen, "Don't Stop Me Now" from Greatest Hits (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Don't Stop Me Now" has been on my mind, to a greater or lesser degree, since last week's episode of Doctor Who, "Mummy on the Orient Express," in which the song is covered by the British singer Foxes (below). "Mummy on the Orient Express" is exactly what I want out of Doctor Who & is thus far the clear favorite for best episode of the current season.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch (circa 35-circa 107), A.K.A. Saint Ignatius Theophorus, martyred under the Emperor Trajan: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Coral, "Dreaming of You" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Dreaming of You" is a short song (two minutes, twenty-one seconds [2:21]) that your humble narrator can listen to almost endlessly on repeat.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDXII

Old Sarum, the rottenest of the "rotten boroughs" in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, justly consigned to the ashcan of history by the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Operation ÖSTERREICH | He's Dead, Jim
Last weigh-in: 339.8 lbs
This weigh-in: "Err"
Difference: +/- ? lbs.

The battery has been changed but the song remains the same. Though human error remains a variable that cannot be eliminated from the equation, I find it impossible to believe that I'd doing anything substantially different from what I'd always done. I strive to stand still, yet the digital readout continues to swing wildly from the three hundred twenties to the three hundred fifties. What undetectable movements could possibly account for such thirty-pound swings before the by-now inevitable "Err" code? I will change the battery once more, on the slim chance that the old battery was exhausted & the new battery is malfunctioning, but I am resigned to the fact that acquiring a new scale, or access to a new scale, will probably be necessary. Fie!

In the meanwhile, before a cold forced a week's sabbatical, I'd just begun a new exercise regime encompassing walking & the shooting of one hundred basketball free throws. The aim of the free throws is not so much direct physical fitness as the development of self-disciple & habits that will lend themselves to physical fitness, that is, responsible stewardship of this body I have been gifted. I shoot exactly nineteen per cent (19%), which is atrocious but not together unsurprising, given that it had been literally years since I'd shot a basketball. This percentage has been remarkably consistent over the four sessions conducted pre-cold (caught from my mother, who brought it back from her yearly girls' trip/wine weekend to the Sodom that is the Windy City): eighteen per cent (18%), nineteen per cent (19%), twenty-one percent (21%), & eighteen per cent (18%) for a precise average of the aforementioned nineteen per cent. I've thus far utilized two different baskets in the Rec. Center & two different balls, always the same basket & ball combination. With ball № 2 & what we'll call basket № 1, I've twice shot eighteen per cent; with ball № 9 & basket № 2, I've shot nineteen & twenty-one percent. I wonder if I should request ball № 9 or continue to use whichever ball fate & the clerk conspire to give me.

I enjoy shooting one hundred free throws. I like confronting directly frustration & discouragement & choosing consciously to reject their false relief, those wily tricks of old Beelzebub. My runny nose has cleared enough & my cough has subsided enough. It's time to get back to it.


Today is the memorial of Saint Hedwig (1174-1243): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Today is also the memorial of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), "Disciple of the Sacred Heart:" Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Sacred Heart-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen.

It occurs to me that I should remark that this is not the officially prescribed Scriptures of the day, which are read at daily Mass throughout the worldwide Church. Those readings consist of selections from a book of the Old Testament, a Psalm (technically, yes, the Book of Psalms is of the Old Testament), & the Gospels of the New Testament. I should like to attend daily Mass & to read the prescribed readings, but for the nonce I shall continue with the present front-to-back march through the Gospels as a recommended part of my vocational discernment.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Herman's Hermits, "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am" from Herman's Hermits Retrospective (T.L.A.M.)


"I'm Henry the Eighth, I am,
Henry the Eighth, I am, I am,
I got married to the widow next door,
She's been married seven times before,
And every one was an Henry, (Henry!)
She wouldn't have a Willie or a Sam (No Sam!)
I'm her eighth old man,
I'm Henry, Henry the Eighth, I Am!…"

And it goes on & on like that until you embrace the sweet release of madness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Project TROIKA is not dead but is dead in the water, due in part to the Ace's recent nuptials & Steeze's return to hectic motion pictures after those bastards at Disney put an end to his career in stable television when they fired everyone at Lucasfilm Animation. Drastic measures are certainly necessary, & it would be irresponsible & unrealistic to rule out desperate measures. In the meantime, needing to jump-start PARAFFIN & encouraged by Brother & Mrs. Brother Nacho, I've decided to take part in an annual rite of November, National Novel Writing Month, also known by the incredibly stupid abbreviation NaNoWriMo, or "NaNo." (My skin crawls.) I considered a new idea I've been developing in quasi collaboration with the Nachos, tales set in & around a fictional Catholic parish, but this idea is too nascent to put anything to paper. No, instead I'll use the opportunity to bang out a first draft of the epistolary PARAFFIN novel, Confessions of the World's Worst Vampire. The universe-building has already been done, the backstories already put in place, now all I have to do is the one thing I've always failed to do: write the blasted thing.

I've an entire universe of ideas spinning out of Confessions, touching on a variety of classic monsters. I've had the devil of a time cracking the titles for the mummy trilogy, but methinks I've finally got it:

The Ægyptus Club
The Pyramid Scheme
The Accursed Sun


Today is the memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582), A.K.A. Saint Teresa of Ávila, Doctor of the Church & foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, formally the Order of the Discalced Friars of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twelve.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Echosmith, "Cool Kids" via iTunes, (free) Single of the Week (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: If "Cool Kids" had been released in 1993 instead of 2013 (an impossibility, of course, since none of the siblings composing Echosmith had even been born in '93), it would have been one of the defining songs of my teens. 'Twas in middle school that I realized I'd never be one of the cool kids, no matter what I did, but it wasn't until college that I'd truly made peace with this. I've often been respected, sometimes admired, & occasionally I've even been popular, but never in my life have I been & nor shall I ever be cool.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Today is the memorial of Pope Saint Callistus I (died circa 223), also spelt Callixtus, martyred under the Emperor Severus Alexander: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven.

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


"The Stovepipe to the Furnace,
But we pulled off out at the Pass,
We felt the Valley start to burn us,
We had half a tank of gas.
Without cellular phone service,
When the battery just died,
Half drunk and now half nervous,
Busted down there by the side.
Target practice on the cactus,
Low on ammo, no supplies,
Where anything could just attack us,
Six or seven other guys.
A thirty-mile estimation—
That would be as the crow fly—
To the nearest filling station:
Dangerous, but worth a try…"

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDXI

Operation AXIOM: The World War
5-12 September 1914: The First Battle of the Marne—the Allies' "Miracle of the Marne"—, the Franco-British counteroffensive that halted the German march on Paris, thwarting the Schlieffen Plan & setting the stage for the horrors of trench warfare.

Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Last Rites to Sleepless Nights" from B Is for B-Sides (T.L.A.M.)


"Tonight, I'll dance on the graves
Of all my darkest days
And erase all the worries
Of all the time I've wasted…"


Today is the memorial of Saint Edward the Confessor† (circa 1003-1066), King Edward of pre-Conquest England: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Also, ninety-seven years ago today, 13 October 1917, appeared the Miracle of the Sun, the last apparition of Our Lady of Fátima†: Our Lady-link & Miracle-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Victors

Michigan 18-13 Penn State
3-4, B1G 1-2
Saturday, 11 October 2014

Two observations from Saturday's night game, which I finished watching only moments ago. One, I would classify the game as less a "defensive struggle" & more a contest of offensive ineptitude; in the end, the valiant Wolverines proved marginally less inept that the ferocious Nittany Lions. Two, as I have long said with pride concerning those same valiant Wolverines, also keeping in mind the tenacious Hawkeyes of Iowa & the Pittsburgh Steelers & Green Bay Packers of the No Fun League, "Real men wear yellow pants." The special uniforms worn Saturday night were an abomination.

Brady Hoke must be fired.

Go Blue!


Today is/would have been the memorial of Saint Seraphin of Montegranaro† (1540-1604): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Yesterday was the first memorial of Pope Saint John XXIII† (1881-1963), "Good Pope John:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Saint John's feast day was chosen because the Second Vatican Council was convened on 11 October 1962, fifty-two years ago yesterday: Vatican II-link

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine. Yesterday's reading was the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eight (five, six, & seven are the Sermon on the Mount).
The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Cake, "Long Line of Cars" from Comfort Eagle


"This long line of cars
Is all because of you…"

Samstag, 11 Oktober
Less Than Jake, "Last Hour of the Last Day of Work" from Borders & Boundaries (T.L.A.M.)


"So when ambition turns into competition
I'll never be the better man…"

Friday, October 10, 2014

I have a new mobile telephone, which will have cost the sales tax less five cents once a mail-in rebate for five cents more than the purchase price is honored by Verizon. "The Unicorn," as my old mobile was named on in its dying days, is not dead, but it have been shackled, caged. Unicorns are wild creatures, tamable only by a virtuous (read: virginal) maid, & once a unicorn has been chained one must ask the metaphysical question of whether or not 'tis then still a unicorn. I will no longer strut around as if I'm Captain Kirk, no longer equipped with a flip-open Communicator. My new mobile's screen is smaller than the Unicorn's, the QWERTY keyboard less user-friendly than the Unicorn's. By every ergonomic metric, my new mobile is worse than the Unicorn, though it does have the advantage of being in a less advanced stage of entropic malfunction. So, that's that. All good things must come to an end.

Bonus! Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "First World Problems" from Mandatory Fun (T.L.A.M.)


"Some idiot just called me up on the 'phone,
What? Don't they know how to text? O.M.G.!…"


Today is the memorial of Saint Daniel Comboni† (1831-1881), missionary, who bucked the prevailing paternalism of his day & said, "Save Africa through Africa:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven.
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide & the road broad that leads to destruction, & those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate & constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."

The Rebel Black Dot Wake Up Songs of the Day
Mu330, "Wide Awake" from Chumps on Parade (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The Fantabulous Misadventures of Skip Carmichael, anyone?

Donnerstag, 9 Oktober
Green Day, "Wake My Up When September Ends" from American Idiot (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CDX

The Battle of Lepanto, 7 October 1571: The pivotal victory of the Holy League—the Spanish Empire, the Republic of Venice, the Papal States, the Knights of Malta, et al.—over the Ottoman Empire that prevented the Mediterranean Sea from being reduced to an Ottoman lake.

Bonus: G. K. Chesterton's poem "Lepanto."


Today is the memorial of Saint Denis of Paris & Companions (3rd century), bishop & martyr, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Helpers-link.

Today is the memorial of Saint John Leonardi (1541-1609), founder of the Clerics Regular of the Mother of God, originally called the Congregation of Clerics secular of the Blessed Virgin: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six.

Urbi et Orbi
I catechize on Wednesday nights, with the seventh & eighth graders as my catechumens. The younger kids, first through sixth grades, are taught out of a kids' Bible called the "Hands-On Bible." I discovered last night that the Hands-On Bible is a Protestant Bible, excerpted down from seventy-three books to sixty-six. Sure, maybe the Book of Tobit & 1st & 2nd Maccabees aren't quoted as often as the Gospel according to John or the Book of Isaiah, but they are no less divinely inspired parts of Sacred Scripture! How are we supposed to teach these kids about the one, holy, catholic, & apostolic Church if we use a Bible edited, mutilated by persons who reject the magisterium of that Church? I am appalled, & shocked at this dereliction of duty by the parish's Director of Religious Education, a man of whom I am personally quite fond. This cannot go unchallenged.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Pelagia† (circa late 3rd century-early 4th century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five.

Commentary: Some of the most familiar, most substantial verses in the Gospels. In my quest for holiness I have so very, very far yet to go.


Yesterday, I espied a purple C4-generation Chevrolet Corvette sporting the vanity license plate LIVNXLG, which I read as "Living Extra Large." Living extra large indeed! There was a "For Sale" sign in the rear window, so for the low, low price of X, you too can be living extra large.

The Rebel Black Dot Wake Up Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Wake Up Call" from No! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: A suitably annoying pattern of repetitive noises to rouse anyone from slumber.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, A.K.A. the feast of Our Lady of Victory: Blessed Virgin-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Inaugurated to celebrate the victory of the Holy League (one of many incarnations) over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571, a victory attributed in part to the intercession of Our Lady, sought through prayer of the holy rosary.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter four.

Lies, Damned Lies, & the News

I've been listening to Christian radio for the last several months, part of my willingness to try anything as I strive after holiness (not for, never for my glory but for His). All three of the contemporary Christian music stations that come in clearly, i.e., without static are non-commercial & all three have conducted pledge drives over the last several months. Pledge drives are always annoying, but these were honestly less irksome that the National Public Radio pledge drives I've heard. The biggest difference? I cannot say that this is an N.P.R.-wide practice, but at least on Michigan Radio the pitch is often a scold, an obligation. "Pay for the service you use" is one common formulation. (It does not seem to bother them at Michigan Radio that they are supported by tax dollars of folks who do not listen to N.P.R. at all. Why is is O.K. for them to admonish their listeners to pay for a service those listeners use when they are perfectly comfortable accepting payment from persons who never use the service? Double-dealing knaves!) There is none of this appeal to guilt from the disc jockeys on Family Life Radio, K-Love, & Smile F.M. (I know, the names are regrettable.) We are told over & over again in the left-wing media narrative that Christianity stifles individuals' freedom to live the way they want to live, that it uses guilt & shame to compel individuals to conform to externally imposed standards, & yet here we see the very pushers of that narrative trying to shame individuals into conformity, while the Christians take the more permissive approach, literally saying, "Anything you can give helps. God bless." Pledge drives are annoying, but much less pervasively so than radio advertisements, which are the dregs of our culture, being even more loathsome than television advertisements. I still change the station during Christian radio pledge drives, just as I did during "public" radio pledge drives, but when I'm stuck & the pledge drive is the only option, it is so much less unpleasant to hear the non-N.P.R. pledge drives.

The Rebel Black Dot Wake Up Song of the Day
MxPx, "Yuri Wakes Up Screaming" from the Renaissance E.P. (T.L.A.M.)


"Yuri needs a lot of sleep!
Yuri needs a lot of sleep!
Yuri needs a lot of sleep,
Or he might die!
Or he might die!"

Monday, October 6, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Bruno of Cologne (circa 1030-1101), founder of the Carthusians, formally the Order of Saint Bruno: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Today is also the memorial of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher (1811-1849), foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Yesterday was/would have been the memorial of Saint Faustina† (1905-1938), A.K.A. Saint Maria Fauntina Kowalska: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: I doubt not Saint Fautina's holiness nor the divine truth of her Divine Mercy message, but at the same time there is an air of Polish chauvinism in her writings, around her beatification & canonization, & in the establishment of Divine Mercy Sunday on the octave of Easter—all under the pontificate of Saint John Paul II—that gives me pause. I pray that the Lord will purge my heart of suspicion or help me properly to articulate just what it is that gives me pause. If I am in error, Father, forgive me!

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter three. Yesterday, I read Matthew, chapter two.

The Explorers' Club, № CDIX

The Kelpies, showpiece of the broader Helix project.

Commentary: The Helix project concerns the reopening & revitalization of the same canals connected by the Falkirk Wheel, subject of the single most popular episode of "The Explorers' Club," № CXXX (Wayback Machine).

Also, 'twas never my intention for "The Explorers' Club" to be on hiatus throughout the month of September.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

The Rebel Black Dot Wake Up Song of the Day
The Ditty Bops, "Wake Up" from The Ditty Bops (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My mobile telephone is dying. Specifically, the screen is malfunctioning progressively, leading me to suspect inevitable total failure sooner rather than later. This is not unexpected, after all, I've had the device since 2010. The bugbear is that I own a unicorn & unicorns are rare & precious creatures. My mobile is a "dumbphone," & as soon as I walked into the Verizon store to see what they had on offer the too-cocksure-by-half clerk said, "It's 2014! Time for a smartphone!" No, it's not, it's really not. I'm no Luddite. I do not doubt the usefulness of smartphones, which I have seen demonstrated on many an occasion, but I also know me. A smartphone would be a source of endless distraction, an absolute impediment to my spiritual & social growth. For a habitual recluse like me, a smartphone would would signify a profound disengagement from the world & a retreat into myself. I'm not strong enough to do that & stay on the straight & narrow. But I digress. My "dumbphone" is a unicorn because it is a flip phone, precluding even the possibility of pocket dialing, & also possesses a QWERTY keyboard, perfectly suited to & necessary for text messaging. I adore my flip phone, both for the sensation of being Captain Kirk opening up his communicator on a strange, new world & for the aforementioned lack of inadvertent transmission. I need the QWERTY keyboard because I prefer texting to calling (see "Weird Al's" scathing critique "First World Problems") &, now that I've had a QWERTY keyboard I can never go back to hunting through the three-letters-per-number routine. My mobile is a unicorn, & unicorns are no longer on offer. I can replace my dying unicorn with a flip phone or a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, but not both. By Lucifer's beard! I would say that I'm on the horns of a dilemma, but I'm really not. The decision is simple, just unpleasant: I like the flip-open action, but I need QWERTY. I shall cherish these last few days of walking around with a unicorn in my pocket. (Is that a unicorn in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?)

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Proclaimers, "Scotland's Story" from Persevere (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Scotland's Story" has been in my head for days. 'Tis hoped this selection as the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. will exorcise it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Victors

Rutgers 26-24 Michigan
2-4, B1G 0-2

From this abyssal point, the valiant Wolverines must go 5-2 the rest of this season to equal last year's unacceptable 7-6 record. Honestly, the way we played tonight, I'm more afraid that the valiant Wolverines might not be able to muster the 1-5 (no bowl game) necessary to tie Rich Rodriguez's disastrous 2008 record of 3-9. If we cannot even put up a fight against the luckless Golden Gophers & fall short against the alien Scarlet Knights, what chance do we have of winning even a single conference game? O.K., yes, in my current despondent frame of mind I'm probably spouting a lot of malarkey, but I want you, skeptical reader, to look at Michigan's remaining record & tell me where Brady Hoke will find a single winnable game? Not the impossible five wins to go to a bowl game & finish above .500, but the one solitary win to equal Rich Rod's 3-9.

Brady Hoke (& a raft of others, including Athletic Director Dave Brandon) must be fired.

Go Blue!


Today is the memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), stigmatic & founder of the Franciscans, formally the Order of Friars Minor; the Poor Clares, formally the Order of Saint Clare; & the Third Order of Saint Francis: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Order-link Friars, Order-link Clares, & Order-link Thirds.

Commentary: There was an annual blessing of pets at Holy Redeemer today. I did not take Diva, because she seems quite content as a godless heathen & I thought it would be cruel to subject her to the trauma of being forced into her cat carrier in the service of beliefs she does not share. That, plus I didn't feel like dealing with the inevitable shower of cat pee that would have to been cleaned off both Diva & the cat carrier. O.K., you're right, 'twas mostly that last bit.

Scripture of the Day
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter one (of twenty-eight, in contrast to Mark's sixteen).
The Rebel Black Dot Sleepy Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Last Rites to Sleepless Nights" from B Is for B-Sides (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Less Than Jake's B-sides are better than most bands' A-sides.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Theodora† (1798-1856), A.K.A. Saint Théodore Guérin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods: Saint-link, Wikipedia-link, & Order-link.

Scripture of the Day
Today I shall read the Book of Jonah; 'tis short, so one day's reading will be more than enough to get through it all. Yesterday, I read the Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, the conclusion of Mark's Gospel. Tomorrow, after today's sojourn with Jonah into the fish's gullet all the way to its gut, I shall begin the Gospel according to Matthew, proceeding as I did with Mark through one chapter a day. After Matthew, the plan is to read the Gospel according to Luke, then the Acts of the Apostles, followed by the Gospel according to John. The Gospels might be interspersed, as is the case 'twixt Mark & Matthew, with shorter volumes from the Old Testament.


Yesterday I espied a Chevrolet Cruze with the vanity license plate OFWEGO. 'Twas a special United States Air Force Veteran plate, leaving me certain that OFWEGO is meant to be read "Off we go," as in the opening lines of "The U.S. Air Force," the anthem of the U.S. Air Force:

"Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the Sun!
Here they come, zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, give 'er the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame, hey!
Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!…"

The Rebel Black Dot Sleepy Song of the Day
Semisonic, "Singing in My Sleep" from Feeling Strangely Fine (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Today is the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels: Angels-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: On Tuesday I bumped into & had an impromptu lunch with a fellow I know from church. As we parted, I reminded him that the day before, Monday, had been the Feast of the Archangels & that Thursday, today, would be the Feast of the Guardian Angels, "So I'm having a pretty angelic week & I hope you are, too." I hope you are, too, dear reader.

Bonus! Songs of the Day
MxPx, "Angels" from Secret Weapon (T.L.A.M.)


"Where angels carry me along the way,
Where I can close my eyes at night and pray,
Where angels stand and watch me
While I look up to the sky,
Where angels carry me along the way…"


The Stanley Brothers, "Angel Band" from O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Soundtrack from the Motion Picture (T.L.A.M.)


"O come, angel band!
Come and around me stand,
O bear me away with snow-white wings
To my immortal home…"
The Rebel Black Dot Sleepy Song of the Day
Santo & Johnny, "Sleep Walk" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Don't know "Sleep Walk"? 'Tis an instrumental piece, so there are no lyrics to help, but I assure you that somewhere, sometime you've heard "Sleep Walk," even if you didn't know what it was.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Today is the memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897), A.K.A. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, "The Little Flower of Jesus:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Urbi et Orbi

Through the first three-quarters of the Year of Our Lord Twenty Fourteen I have attended seventy-four celebrations of the Mass. (A note to my captious sister-in-Christ Mrs. Nacho: This tally does not count the Good Friday veneration of the cross, since of course that it not a Mass, but it does include that Friday morning Mass when I showed up late, because though I missed most of the Liturgy of the Word I was present for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.) This annum's specific goal of not missing a Sunday remains on track. There is always the peril that I am counting for the wrong reasons, but I am trying to be mindful, to watch myself; when I am in Mass I know I am there in the proper spirit, in the proper disposition for the receipt of the sacraments to be efficacious. (Wayback Machine.)

This Sunday's count of three Masses was inflated by service: I was at the 9:00 A.M. at Saint Michael in downtown Flint as part of a Knights of Columbus honor guard, at the 11:00 A.M. at Holy Redeemer as part of the choir, & at the 5:00 P.M. at Holy Redeemer to proclaim the Word as a lector. Busy doesn't have to mean "Being Under Satan's Yoke" if you're busy spending time with Him in prayer, reflection, & worship.

The Rebel Black Dot Sleepy Song of the Day
Letters to Cleo, "I Could Sleep (The Wuss Song)" from Wholesale Meats and Fish (T.L.A.M.)