Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog, Part II

Today we remember Saint Benjamin (d. c. 424), deacon, martyred under the Shah Bahram V: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses forty-four thru forty-six;
The First Letter of John, chapter three.

Mass Readings
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty-nine, verses one thru six;
Psalm Seventy-one, verses one thru four(A), five(A,B) thru six(A,B), fifteen, seventeen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter thirteen, verses twenty-one thru thirty-three, thirty-six thru thirty-eight.

* * * * *

29 March was Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, the first day of Holy Week.

The Knights of Columbus was founded on 29 March 1882, so on this one hundred thirty-third anniversary of the Order, we remember Venerable Michael J. McGivney (1852-1890), priest & founder of the K. of C.: Wikipedia-link Venerable & Wikipedia-link Knights.

Scripture of the Day (Sunday)
Mass Readings
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter eleven, verses one thru ten;
or, The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses twelve thru sixteen;
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty, verses four thru seven;
Psalm Twenty-two, verses eight & nine, seventeen thru twenty, twenty-three & twenty-four;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter two, verses six thru eleven;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter fourteen, verse one thru chapter fifteen, verse forty-seven;
or, The Gospel according to Mark, chapter fifteen, verses one thru thirty-nine.

* * * * *

Mass Journal: Week 8
Sunday, 15 February 2015
The human heart is on a quest for happiness. Every person years for happiness like the desert yearns for rain. You have a desire for happiness; I have a desire for happiness. This desire is universal, common to every member of the human family. We simply desire to be happy, & we act from this desire. We often do things that we think will make us happy, only to discover that they end up making us miserable. This is often because we confuse pleasure with happiness [,] & sometimes long-term misery comes disguised as short-term pleasure.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Matt Maher, "Because He Lives (Amen)" (unplugged) from Saints and Sinners (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary:

"Amen! Amen! I'm alive! I'm alive, because he lives!
Amen! Amen! Let my song join the one that never ends…"

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day

Sanctus Real, "On Fire" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "On Fire" resonated with me when I first heard it Sunday morning, because though I still think myself in the midst of a profound spiritual awakening, it feels as though this Lent has worn me down rather than built me up. I've been so busy, so bereft of sleep, pulled in so many different directions that I've sometimes felt I'm just going through the motions, try though I might to let my spirit soar to a higher plane rather than get stuck here in the world. I feel like, for the first time, I understand what it means to be burning the candle on both ends.

"Your heart was soft, you had radiant eyes,
But slowly the pressures and burdens of life
Pulled you into the dark of the night,
But when did you lose your sight?

"'Cause you were on fire,
And church was more than a place,
And people were more than faces,
And Jesus was more than a name…"

There's nothing wrong with me except that I'm weary, tired in my bones. As it has often these past months, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" springs to mind.


Sonntag, 29 März
Barenaked Ladies, "Upside Down" from Everything to Everyone (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "And I will not turn my whole life upside down…"

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of History Quiz Night

Project MERCATOR: The History of History Quiz Night '15, in Song
Freitag, 27 März
The Aquabats!, "Look at Me, I'm a Winner!" from Charge!! Special One Year Anniversary Edition (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary: With a mighty victor's roar & a few more raucous chants of "Four more years! Four more years!," the five official members of the Misty Beavers left behind our four hangers-on & marched to the Quiz Master's podium at the front of the hall. We beheld our bested foes, their eyes either dulled by defeat or burning with envy. We completed the short paperwork required by the U. for the distribution of our prizes & then claimed the secondary fruits of our victory: for each of us a $25 gift card to the Firkin & Fox, $10 in gift certificates to the Flint Farmers' Market, assorted candies, & a small plastic trophy marked with a sticker displaying the logo of their 12th Annual History Quiz Night. The first two times I won History Quiz Night, the winning team was presented with a single, larger plastic trophy; on both occasions my teammates insisted that I take home the hardware, as I'd done the lion's share of the work to secure our victory. Last year, for my third victory, I was thrilled to learn that each of the five members of the winning team received a smaller, individual trophy, because with the Misty Beavers I am finally the member of a team. I defer to the late, great Bo Schembechler's meditations of the magnificence of belonging to a team: "The team, the team, the team."

We posed for pictures for the secretary of the History Department. We beamed, our smiles as wide as our faces & our trophies left aloft in triumph. The Blonde jumped on my back for the "silly picture," while Red Patton lead the two boys in some odd gesture or funny face. I gave Red Patton a piggy back ride up & down the aisles; my ability to carry his weight surprised him, as all he needs to look like an old-fashioned sideshow strongman is my moustache; he is muscles piled upon muscles with an extra side of brawn. We Misty Beavers embraced & high-fived, & gradually gathered up our belongings, still heady from the rush of victory. Most our our vanquished competitors slunk out, precious few offering us sporting congratulations.

History is written by the victors, & the Misty Beavers remains the victors of History Quiz Night. Last year, chastened by coming so close & yet falling so short at History Quiz Night '13, our theme was: Misty Beavers Redemption, which we earned. This year, in remembrance of our triumph at History Quiz Night '14, our theme was: Misty Beavers Repeat, which we achieved. Next year, we aim to go for three in a row: Misty Beavers Dynasty. We are what victory looks like.

"Look at me, look at me, look at me, I'm a winner!
(You're a winner!)
It's just as simple as that!
Don't you agree, don't you agree, don't you agree that I'm a winner?
(You're a winner!)
You just can't argue with that!…"


Samstag, 28 März
Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off" from 1989 (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…"

Looking for a better pub than the Firkin & Fox, where it appeared karaoke was imminent, & certain that our local, The Torch, would be full past capacity & too noisy to permit any conversation, we retired to the Soggy Bottom, a public house north of the Flint River to which I have been many times, usually to see the Loose Ties perform. (Halcyon days now lost & gone forever.) We congratulated each other & reveled in the well-earned triumph. We drank shots out of our wee plastic trophies: the first, tequila, was terrible beyond reckoning, because it was tequila; the second, Red Stag (I think, because they didn't have Fireball), burned so good; the third, Johnny Vegas, was indescribably awful. I drank a Woodchuck hard cider because I wanted something sweeter than beer.

A bizarre, off-color lines of jokes was pursued, with the lone distaff Misty Beaver, the Blonde, being on the receiving end. Mercifully, Red Patton retained no memory of this when we spoke the next morning.

Red Patton was in quite a lather about the "salty bastards," the rogues gallery & their ilk to whom last Monday's R.D.B.S.O.T.D., "True Heart of Racing," was addressed. He was thrilled to have put them in their place, yet could not let them go. He seemed to want to defeat them again & again, to extract his pound of flesh for all the pains & indignities they'd heaped upon him. The lad's been through a tumultuous year & I think he just needed to let off some steam. To blazes with the salty bastards, the Misty Beavers rule the roost! Let the salty bastards be as salty as they want to be, because the wounds into which they rub their saltiness are their own. The Misty Beavers feel no pain, not on History Quiz Night. We won all three rounds on our way to our repeat victory. They can't touch us. Shake it off. The Misty Beavers are victorious! The Misty Beavers of triumphant! The Misty Beavers won the fun as well as the quiz!

"Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog, Part I

Today we remember Saint Peter de Regelado, O.F.M. (1390-1456): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Today we also remember Blessed Amadeus of Savoy (1435-1472), Duke Amadeus IX: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty three, verses forty thru forty-three;
The First Letter of John, chapter two;
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter seventeen.

Mass Readings
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty-two, verses one thru seven;
Psalm Twenty-seven, verses one thru three, thirteen & fourteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses one thru eleven.

* * * * *

27 March was the optional feast of Our Lady of Sorrows: Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
This feast of Mary of Sorrows was extended to the whole of the Latin Church in 1727 by Pope Benedict XIII, who assigned it the Friday in Passion Week, one week before Good Friday.
Scripture of the Day (Friday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty three, verse thirty-four.

Mass Readings
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter twenty, verse ten thru thirteen;
Psalm Eighteen, verses two thru seven;
The Gospel according to John, chapter ten, verses thirty-one thru forty-two.

* * * * *

On 28 March, we remembered Saint Hesychius of Jerusalem (d. c. 450): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Saturday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty three, verses thirty-five thru thirty-nine.

Mass Readings
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter thirty-seven, verses twenty-one thru twenty-eight;
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter thirty-one, verses ten thru thirteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter eleven, verses forty-five thru fifty-sex.

* * * * *

Mass Journal: Week 7
Sunday, 8 February 2015
Now is the time when we all need to rediscover Catholicism. I try to rediscover it every day, & when I seek in earnest to do so I am never disappointed. When I am able to set my ego & personal agenda aside, more often than not I am left in awe. Catholicism is old. But let me ask you a question. If you had an ancient treasure map, would you throw it away just because it was old? No. The age of the map doesn't matter. What matters is whether or not it leads to treasure. Catholicism is a treasure map: It may be old, but it still leads to treasure. Let's rediscover it together, & help others to do the same.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Urbi et Orbi

Moments ago, I posted the following to the FaceSpace.
On a day when I spent most of my waking hours volunteering at charitable fundraisers, I received the news that I have been barred from reading at the upcoming Easter Vigil. This news came as quite a blow. I am banned because I sing in the choir, & our pastor has forbidden reading & singing at the same Mass. I am at a loss to explain why, especially since I pulled off the feat at last year's Easter Vigil without incident. The severest part of the blow is that I was not offered a choice, for as much as I cherish singing in the choir, I would have chosen to read at that particular Mass.

It falls to me to let this disappointment lead me into closer communion with the Lord. I do not understand Father's attitude, but he is our pastor & he is responsible for shepherding our flock, not me. Perhaps I'm too egotistical about my talent for reading & need a lesson in humility. I shall sing as well as I can at the Easter Vigil, & offer up my praise for His greater glory. I must not let my heart be tainted by bitterness.
The last sentence is aspirational, especially since my sinful wrath does such a consistently convincing job of masquerading as righteous anger.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Last Year in Motorsport: Indy Rock

Unlike its more European cousin, Formula One, where the cars go by two by two (each team is required to field two cars in substantially identical livery), IndyCar is anarchic, with teams fielding between one & four cars (full season, many field extra cars for the Indy 500), almost always in individual sponsor livery. Additionally, while F1 circuits vary widely (Monaco & Spa-Francorchamps spring to mind), no racing series in the world races on as diverse a collection of circuits as does IndyCar, everything from the two & a half-mile "Cathedral of Speed" that is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to temporary street circuits that are little more than traffic cones set out in broken, uneven parking lots. IndyCar drivers have to have a diverse skill set.

Though, not always: Mike Conway is an English driver & like most Europeans, America's ovals are his Achilles heel. After several crashes, in 2011 he announced that he wouldn't race on ovals anymore. That would seem to sound the death-knell of his IndyCar career. Enter owner-driver Ed Carpenter. Carpenter, an Indiana native, is an oval specialist. He's markedly improved on proper racing circuits, road & street courses, but he's still at a decided disadvantage to many of the other drivers. In 2014, Carpenter & Conway split the duties in the № 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara-Chevrolet. (All the cars are Dallaras, using identical chassis.) Conway drove on the road & street courses, Carpenter handled the ovals. The time-share arrangement worked out like gangbusters, the duo earning three victories, more than either man would have managed alone.

IndyCar is an entirely more competitive series than F1, though the cream such as triple Series Champion & '08 Indianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon ('03, '08, '13) of Ganassi (Chevrolet), triple Indianapolis 500 champion Hélio Castroneves ('01, '02, '09) of Penske (Chevrolet), '12 Series Champion & '14 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti (Honda), & triple series runner-up Will Power of Penske (Chevrolet) rose to the top as the season progressed.

IndyCar Series
Round 1
Grand Prix of Saint Petersburg
Sunday, 30 March 2014
1st Place: Will Power, Penske (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti (Honda)
3rd Place: Hélio Castroneves, Penske (Chevrolet)

I knew the F1 cars didn't sound good, but I didn't realize quite how bad they sounded until the IndyCar season opener. Last year, IndyCar's turbocharged V-6s couldn't hold a candle to F1's naturally-aspirated V-8s, but this year IndyCar's wailing turbocharged V-6s knock the socks off of F1's rumbling turbocharged V-6s. This is to my recollection the very first time that America's indigenous open-wheeled series, which I have enjoyed but regarded as F1's yokel cousin, has compared favorably to the globetrotting international open-wheeled extravaganza.

Will Power of Team Penske (Chevrolet), who finished second in the championship in '10, '11, & '12 but had an uncharacteristically lackluster 2013, was back to his classic form, passing pole-sitter Takuma Sato of Foyt (Honda) in the early running & never looking back. The race was pretty clean for a street circuit, lined as they are with concrete walls that provide precious little margin for error, with only one extended yellow late in the day. Here's hoping that augurs well for the rest of the year's street races, though I won't be holding my breath. The next race, the venerable Grand Prix of Long Beach, is also on a temporary street circuit.

Round 2
40th Grand Prix of Long Beach
Sunday, 13 April 2014
1st Place: Mike Conway, Carpenter (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Will Power, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Carlos Muñoz, Andretti (Honda)

Mike Conway of Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevrolet) prevailed at the 40th race around the streets of Long Beach (a history split betwixt F1 & Indy cars), after a reckless passing attempt by '12 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti (Honda) crashed out both his own car & that of the talented but luckless youngster Josef Newgarten of S.F.H. (Chevrolet). Conway is a wicked fast racer who, after a pair of horrific accidents at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that in a bygone era would surely have killed him, decided that he wasn't going to drive on oval tracks anymore; this cast the viability of his future as an IndyCar Series driven into serious doubt, since the "500" is the marquee race. Ed Carpenter is an Indiana native & an oval-track specialist; for the last several seasons, he's been the only owner-driver in IndyCar; Carpenter has greatly improved his road course & street circuit performance, but he's nowhere near as good at turning both left & right as he is at just turning left. In a brilliant move, a move that showcases Carpenter's seriousness as a team owner, this year Conway & Carpenter are splitting the seat, each driving at the circuits that best suit his skills. Thus far, the Conway-Carpenter combo is paying dividends.

Round 3
Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Sunday, 27 April 2014
1st Place: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti (Honda)
2nd Place: Marco Andretti, Andretti (Honda)
3rd Place: Scott Dixon, Ganassi (Chevrolet)

Commentary: The report on the St. Pete race was published, whilst the Long Beach report was written but languished as a draft, awaiting first the completion of the Alabama report, then the G.P. of Indy, the the 500, & so on & so forth 'til we reached today's omnibus. Though some readers would surely say that no race needs a recap (my love for motorsport does appear to have alienated some of The Secret Base's long-standing fans), even I agree that after all this time not every race needs one.

Round 4
Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Saturday, 10 May 2014
1st Place: Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton (Honda)
2nd Place: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti (Honda)
3rd Place: Hélio Castroneves, Penske (Chevrolet)

Round 5
98th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race
Sunday, 25 May 2014
1st Place: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti (Honda)
2nd Place: Hélio Castroneves, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Marco Andretti, Andretti (Honda)

A $1,000,000 prize was offered to any driver who could win all three five-hundred-mile races, Indy, Pocono, & the season finale at Fontana.

Round 6
Indy Dual in Detroit, Race 1
Saturday, 31 May 2014
1st Place: Will Power, Penske (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (Honda)
3rd Place: Tony Kanaan, Ganassi (Chevrolet)

Round 7
Indy Dual in Detroit, Race 2
Sunday, 1 June 1014
1st Place: Hélio Castroneves, Penske (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Will Power, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Charlie Kimball, Ganassi (Chevrolet)

Round 8
(Texas Motor Speedway) 600
Saturday, 7 June 2014
1st Place: Ed Carpenter, Carpenter (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Will Power, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske (Chevrolet)

Round 9
Grand Prix of Houston, Race 1
Saturday, 28 June 1014
1st Place: Carlos Huertas, Coyne (Honda)
2nd Place: Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Carlos Muñoz, Andretti (Honda)

All three podium places were occupied by Colombian drivers.

Round 10
Grand Prix of Houston, Race 2
Sunday, 29 June 1014
1st Place: Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton (Honda)
2nd Place: Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton (Honda)
3rd Place: Jack Hawksworth, Herta (Honda)

Aleshin is the first Russian driver to complete in American open-wheeled racing. As a classically trained European driver, this country's stupid oval tracks are a new challenge for him. "Captain Jack" Hawksworth is a Brit with Indy Lights oval experience, be he is still by far most impressive on proper racing circuits.

Round 11
Pocono IndyCar 500
Sunday, 6 July 2014
1st Place: Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Hélio Castroneves, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Carlos Muñoz, Andretti (Honda)

With the $1,000,000 "Triple Crown" prize now off the table, Montoya & Hunter-Reay were still vying for the $250,000 prize for whomever won two of the three 500-milers.

Round 12
(Iowa Speedway) Indy 300
Saturday, 12 July 2014
1st Place: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti (Honda)
2nd Place: Josef Newgarden, Fisher Hartman (Honda)
3rd Place: Tony Kanaan, Ganassi (Chevrolet)

Round 13
Indy Toronto, Race 1
Sunday, 20 July 2014
1st Place: Sébastien Bourdais, KV (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Hélio Castroneves, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Tony Kanaan, Ganassi (Chevrolet)

Round 14
Indy Toronto, Race 2
Sunday, 20 July 2014
1st Place: Mike Conway, Carpenter (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Tony Kanaan, Ganassi (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Will Power, Penske (Chevrolet)

Round 15
Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Sunday, 3 August 2014
1st Place: Scott Dixon, Ganassi (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Sébastien Bourdais, KV (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: James Hinchcliffe, Andretti (Honda)

Round 16
Wisconsin 250
Sunday, 17 August 2014
1st Place: Will Power, Penske (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Tony Kanaan, Ganassi (Chevrolet)

Round 17
Grand Prix of Sonoma
Sunday, 24 August 2014
1st Place: Scott Dixon, Ganassi (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti (Honda)
3rd Place: Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton (Honda)

Round 18
(Fontana) 500 IndyCar World Championships
Sunday, 30 August 2014
1st Place: Tony Kanaan, Ganassi (Chevrolet)
2nd Place: Scott Dixon, Ganassi (Chevrolet)
3rd Place: Ed Carpenter, Carpenter (Chevrolet)

2014 IndyCar Series Champion: Will Power, Team Penske (Chevrolet).

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today we remember Saint Ludger (c. 742-809), abbot & bishop: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verse thirty-four;
The First Letter of John, chapter one (of five).

Mass Readings
The Book of Genesis, chapter seventeen, verses three thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses four thru nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter eight, verses fifty-one thru fifty-nine.

Mass Journal: Week 6
Sunday, 1 February 2015
God always wants our future to be bigger than our past.Not equal to our past, but bigger, better, brighter, & more significant. God wants your future & my future, & the future of the Church, to be bigger than the past. It is this bigger future that we need to envision. One of the most incredible abilities God has given the human person is the ability to dream. We are able to look into the future & imagine something better than today, & then return to the present & work to make that richly imagined future a reality. Who is doing this for the Church? For many years I have been reflecting on a single verse from proverbs. It never ceases to ignite my passion for the Church. "Where there is no vision, the people will perish" (Proverbs, 28:19). I have found this to be true in every area of life. In a country where there is no vision, the people will perish. In a marriage where there is no vision, people will perish. In a business, a school, or a family where there is no vision, the people will perish.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of History Quiz Night

Project MERCATOR: The History of History Quiz Night '15, in Song
Queen, "We Are the Champions" from Greatest Hits (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "We Will Rock You" & "We Are the Champions" aren't exactly "Temptation" & the "Hawaiian War Chant," but you almost can't have one without the other.

During Round 3, we spent our two remaining faculty-answer coupons (trade a coupon for an answer from a History Dept. professor) like there was no tomorrow. Thrice we summoned the same lecturer (no Ph.D. equals no titled professorship), because the first time he didn't take our coupon. The third time, Red Patton cried out, "Come on, Mr. Hotel, love us one more time!" "Love us one more time" became one of many memoriable phrases echoing throughout the rest of the night.

After each round of History Quiz Night, teams exchange answer sheets & score each other. One of the questions concerned Ypsilanti, Michigan, so when the answer was given a photo was displayed of Ypsi's infamous, iconic, preposterously phallic water tower located on or near the Eastern Michigan University campus. We Misty Beavers, being dedicated to winning the fun, spontaneously chanted "Penis! Penis! Penis!" Professor Echo, the M.C. & self-styled "Quizmaster," doubled over in chagrined laughter. When we'd stopped & he'd recovered himself, he told us the following legend from his undergrad days at E.M.U.: if ever anyone graduates from E.M.U. still a virgin, the penis tower will crack & collapse. We win the fun!

We received our Round 3 score: fifteen out of eighteen. We'd gone into Round 3 with a three-point lead, so even if the second-place team got a perfect score, they could only tie us! When the round's scores were announced, the pattern from Rounds 1 & 2 was repeated: the Misty Beavers had the highest score in Round 3. High score in Round 1! High score in Round 2! High score in Round 3! We won! We were the champions! Red Patton started to celebrate, but I prevailed upon him to simmer down. Our moment would come. For now, let everyone hear the announcement of the second- & third-place teams. The fun, young Multiple Score-gasms finished in third; the mysterious, middle-aged Bobs & Bobettes finished second. The 12th Annual History Quiz Night champions, for the second year in a row: the Misty Beavers!

I let fly a guttural roar, & then as we rose from the table we broke into our familiar war chant: "Four more years! Four more years! Four more beers!" Victory was ours!

"I taken my bows, my curtain calls,
You've brought me and fortune and everything that goes with it:
I thank you all.
But it's been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise,
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I'd never lose!

"We are the champions, my friend!
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions! We are the champions!
No time for losers, 'cause we are the champions
Of the world!…"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This Week in Motorsport

Formula Fun!
2015 Formula One World Championships
Round 1
Australian Grand Prix
Sunday, 15 March 2015

Most of the big changes ahead of the 2014 season were mechanical: the new chassis & engine "formula" that radically altered the balance of power within the sport. Most of the big changes ahead of this new 2015 season involved personnel. Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel ('10, '11, '12' & '13) left Red Bull (Renault) for the factory Ferrari stable. Toro Rosso (Renault), the Red Bull junior team, hired two rookies to pilot its cars, including Max Verstappen, the youngest driver in the history of F1 at just seventeen years-old. Double World Champion Fernando Alonso ('05 & '06) left Ferrari to return to McLaren, where he had a single, disastrous season in '07, which ended up with McLaren—then the "unofficial" factory Mercedes squad—facing a €100,000,000 fine (!) for industrial espionage. Drivers entered F1 & drivers exited F1. Jules Bianchi of the former Marussia (Ferrari) remains in a coma after his horrific crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in October '14.

Caterham (formerly Team Lotus, originally Lotus F1) went belly up, being placed in "administration (the British term for bankruptcy) & its assets auctioned off to repay its creditors. Manor (formerly Marussia, originally Virgin) was facing similar liquidation until angel investors swooped in at the eleventh hour to save the squad. Lotus (formerly the Renault factory team) switched to the dominant Mercedes engines & Caterham gave up the ghost, leaving Red Bull & Toro Rosso as the only teams continuing to suffer with the underpowered Renault power unit. Red Bull was designated the "official" Renault factory team, for whatever that's worth. McLaren ended its decades-long association with Mercedes to partner with Honda, returning to the pinnacle of motorsport as an engine supplier for the first time since it folded up its factory squad after the '08 season. The new American-based Haas F1 team remains on schedule to begin competing in 2016 as the Ferrari junior team.

Mercedes-powered
Mercedes
Williams
Force India
Lotus

Ferrari-powered
Ferrari
Sauber
(Manor)

Renault-powered
Red Bull
Toro Rosso ("Red Bull" in Italian)

Honda-powered
McLaren

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Reigning double World Champion Lewis Hamilton ('08 & '14) & Nico Rosberg, both of reigning Constructors' Champions Mercedes, qualified first & second & finished the grand prix in that order, with exactly as little dramatic appeal as that would suggest. Beyond that, the Australian Grand Prix was a shambles. There are twenty cars scheduled to be on the 2015 f1 grid, but Manor had been scrambling to design, build, & test their car after being resurrected at the last minute & their cars, to be piloted by rookies Will Stevens & Robert Merhi, were not "ready for primetime" at the season opener: eighteen cars. Valtteri Bottas of Williams (Mercedes) suffered an injury during qualified; he was physically able to drive, but physically unable exit the car unaided swiftly enough to satisfy the safety protocols, so he was banned from competing. As the injury took place after the completion of all pre-race sessions, Williams's reserve driver Alex Lynn was not eligible to replace Bottas: seventeen cars. On the formation lap, the single, gentle trip round the circuit from the end of the pit lane to the starting grid, both Kevin Magnussen of McLaren (Honda) & Daniil Kvyet or Red Bull (Renault) suffered catastrophic mechanical failures: fifteen cars. (Are you kidding me? On the bloody formation lap?!) When the race started, Romain Grosjean of Lotus (Mercedes) was very slow to get off the grid; he would slowly make his way around the track & retire before the end of Lap 1. Pastor Maldonado of Lotus was caught up in a kerfuffle in the first few corners & was spun into the wall, which mangled the front right & rear left corners of his car, knocking him out of the grand prix. By the end of the first lap, the field had been reduced to thirteen cars. ('Twas only a few years ago that there were twelve Formula One teams fielding twenty-four cars per grand prix. What the hell happened?) Over the course of the grand prix, '07 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari & rookie Verstappen of Toro Rosso retired: eleven cars. In fairness, four in-race retirements (Grosjean, Maldonado, Räikkönen, & Verstappen) is in no way outside the norm for a grand prix, especially the first race of the year, but in league with all the other D.N.F.s this created the almost farcical spectacle of eleven cars finishing, with the top-ten finishers scoring world championship points.

The only finishing driver who didn't score was '09 World Champion Jenson Button of McLaren, though given the woeful pre-season the brand-new Honda power unit suffered, simply finishing all fifty-eight laps was a moral victory. Both Saubers (Ferrari)—piloted by Marcus Ericsson & rookie Felipe Nasr—finished in the points, a considerable turnaround from '14, when Sauber failed to score all season-long for the first time in the team's three-decade history. The third-place finisher, quadruple World Champion Vettel, now of Ferrari, crossed the finish line thirty-plus seconds behind the pair of Mercedes "Silver Arrows." Unless something radically changes, this is going to be another dull season of the only real competition being for the third step on the podium.

1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

Next: the Malaysian Grand Prix, Sunday, 29 March 2015.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of History Quiz Night

Project MERCATOR: The History of History Quiz Night '15, in Song
Queen, "We Will Rock You" from Greatest Hits (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Round 2 ended as Round 1 had, with the Misty Beavers as the highest-scoring team, fourteen out of eighteen correct, compared to twelve for the next-highest team. We entered Round 3 with a three-point lead. In 2013, the year I joined the Misty Beavers, at the invitation of Red Patton, we finished tied for second, but we could have won, we should have won, had I but been on my game. (I owe Red Patton an irredeemable debt for my failure to rise to the occasion.) In 2014, my third victory & the Misty Beavers' first, we came from behind to seize the brass ring; we had a perfect score in Round 3 to claim victory. Never before had we so dominated the quiz, though Red Patton would be the first to point out that we've always won "the fun."

Last year, as we claimed victory, we broke into a boisterous if confusingly random chant of "Four more years! Four more years!" This year, as our momentum started to build, once again the cry arose, "Four more years! Four more years!" 'Tis a challenge to all who hear, a declaration that we're coming,we aim to win, & we might just be mad as hatters. "Four more years! Four more years!" 'Tis a chant of defiance, a chant of unbridled enthusiasm. We drink, we shout, we laugh—we crow! We are the Misty Beavers & when you hear us chanting like madmen, you know that we are having more fun than you. You could be having fun with us, you're more than welcome to join in, but you're scared to have as much fun as we are. We're having more fun than you & we're beating you at the quiz, too. "Four more years! Four more beers! Four more years"

We're going to win, we know it & you know it.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog, Part II

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord: Annunciation-link ūnus, Annunciation-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
The feast of the Annunciation of the Lord celebrates the angel Gabriel's appearance to the Virgin Mary, his announcement that the Blessed Virgin had been chosen to be the Mother of Our Lord, & Mary's fiat—her willing acceptable of God's holy plan.
Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verse thirty-three;
The Letter of Jude.

Commentary: The Letter of Jude is not divided into chapters. 'Tis a wee note of just twenty-four verses, but rich in theology. The introductions in my Bible point to Jude as a likely source for much of 2 Peter.

Mass Readings
The Book of Isaiah, chapter seven, verses ten thru fourteen & chapter eight, verse ten;
Psalm Forty, verses seven thru eleven;
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter ten, verses four thru ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight.

* * * * *

Had 22 March not been a Sunday, we would have remembered Saint Nicholas Owen, S.J. (c. 1562-1606), martyred under King James VI & I: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: St. Nicholas Owen was arrested, tortured, & martyred for building priest holes throughout Elizabethan & Jacobean England. He is also remembered as one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales.

Scripture of the Day (Sunday)
Mass Readings
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter thirty-one, verses thirty-one thru thirty-four;
Psalm Fifty-one, verses three & four, twelve thru fifteen;
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter five, verses seven thru nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses twenty thru thirty-three;
or,
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter thirty-seven, verses twelve thru fourteen;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty, verses one thru eight;
The Letter to the Roman, chapter eight, verses eight thru eleven;
The Gospel according to John, chapter eleven, verses one thru forty five;
(or, The Gospel according to John, chapter eleven, verses three thru seven, seventeen, twenty thru twenty-seven, thirty-three(B) thru forty-five).

Commentary: I was at St. Michael's, downtown, for the nine o'clock Mass with the Knight of Columbus' Fourth Degree Color Corps for Corporate Communion & then at Holy Redeemer in Burton to sing in the choir at the eleven o'clock. The first set of readings (the Year B readings) were read at St. Mike's while the second set (Year A) was read at Redeemer. 2015 (actually the first Sunday of Advent 2014 thru the Feast of Christ the King 2015, so not precisely the calender year) is Year B, meaning in Ordinary Time the Gospel is principally drawn from Mark, but there are a few Sundays on which the Year A readings, principally Matthew, are permitted; the choice of which to use seems to be at the celebrant's (presiding priest's) discretion.

* * * * *

23 March was the optional memorial of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo (1538-1606), bishop & inquisitor: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
When Turibius undertook the reform of the clergy as well as unjust officials, he naturally suffered opposition. Some tired, in human fashion, to explain God's law in such a way as to sanction their accustomed way of life. The answer from the words of Tertullian, "Christ said, 'I am the truth;' he did not say, 'I am the custom.'"
Scripture of the Day (Monday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verse twenty-six;
The Book of Daniel, chapter thirteen, verses ten thru fourteen, eighteen, thirty-one & thirty-two;
The Acts of the Apostles, chapters fifteen & sixteen.

Mass Readings
The Book of Daniel, chapter thirteen, verses one thru nine, fifteen thru seventeen, nineteen thru thirty, thirty-three thru sixty two;
or, The Book of Daniel, chapter thirteen, verses forty-one[C] thru sixty-two;
Psalm Twenty-three, verses one thru six;
The Gospel according to John, chapter eight, verses one thru eleven.

* * * * *

Mass Journal: Week 5
Sunday, 25 January 2015
The first Christians were not perfect; nor were the saints. They lived in communities that were torn by strife in ways remarkably similar to what we are experiencing today, & they struggled with the brokenness of their own humanity in the same way you & I do. But they were dedicated to the basics. The first Christians intrigued the people of their time. So did the saints, & so do the ordinary people who ambrace the Chrsitian life today. In the great majority of cases they don't do anything spectacular. For the most part they commit themselves to doing simple things spectacularly well & with great love, & that intrigues people. We need to intrigue the people of our time in the same ways. Whom does your life intrigue? Not with spectacular accomplishments, but simply the way you live, love, & work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of History Quiz Night

Project MERCATOR: The History of History Quiz Night '15, in Song
Fountains of Wayne, "All Kinds of Time" from Welcome Interstate Managers (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Fair's fair, given my persistent grousing about Hello Rockview; this album's title should read Welcome, Interstate Managers.

As soon as the quiz began, I knew that I'd brought my "A" game. My mind was sharp, my nerves were steady. Like the young quarterback who is the protagonist of "All Kinds of Time," I had all kinds of time. In all modesty, I'm the backbone of the Misty Beavers. I'm not enough to win History Quiz Night on my own, but I'd finish in the top five all by myself. It takes the whole team to put us over the top. This year, we all had all kinds of time. We were calm, we were buoyant. We finished Round 1 in first place, with fifteen questions (out of eighteen) right. Several teams scored eleven, one scored, twelve, one scored thirteen, & one scored fourteen, but the Misty Beavers alone scored fifteen. We had all kinds of time.

"When suddenly it all starts to make sense…

"He takes a step back, he's under attack,
But he knows that no one can touch him now,
He seems so at ease, a strange inner peace
Is all that he's feeling somehow…

"The whole world is his tonight…"


Montag, 23 März
Michael Giacchino, "True Heart of Racing" from Speed Racer: Original Motion Picture Score (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: As I entered the banquet hall in which History Quiz Night is always held, I beheld a rogues' gallery of foes, faux friends, frauds, & pretenders to the throne. That night, the Firkin & Fox was Mos Eisley, "a wretched hive of scum & villainy." I looked upon connivers & backstabbers, fiends who thought that having the correct political beliefs or the shadiest university connections would carry their ignorant hides to victory. Not so. History Quiz Night has many faults, but it is a meritocracy; it rewards those who know their history & know how to work a pub quiz. They were dismissed as soon as they were acknowledged, because I knew none posed a genuine threat to our championship aspirations.

Sonntag, 22 März
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "I Lost on Jeopardy" from "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: On the morning of the annual History Quiz Night, Red Patton text messaged me that he had a "bad feeling" about his ability to contribute to our team's, the Misty Beavers, bid to repeat as victors. I assured him that there would be at least one question that would play into his greatest strength, his encyclopedic knowledge of the Second World War's European Theater of Operations (E.T.O.). In due course, this happened. (O.K. the question was about D-Day, not Sicily as I prophesied, but I say that's close enough.) We didn't get credit for Red Patton's answer, even though he was right. It is a sad fact of History Quiz Night, & a damning indictment of the U. of M.-Flint's History Department that every year at least one question is factually wrong. We claimed the moral victory, & the injustice further strengthened out fighting spirit.

One of my bitterest complaints about
Jeopardy! is that there are never any questions about the Ottoman Empire; to my great satisfaction, this History Quiz Night featured a question about the Ottoman Empire. We got that one right, no ifs, ands, or butts.

"I was there to match my intellect
On national T.V.
Against a plumber and an architect
Both with a Ph.D.
I was tense, I was nervous,
I guess it just wasn't my night.
Art Fleming gave the answers,
But I couldn't get the questions right…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog, Part I

Today we remember Venerable Óscar Romero (1917-1980), bishop & martyr: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commmentary: Venerable Archbishop Romero is to be beatified later this year, in approximately two months' time.

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses twenty-seven thru thirty-two.

Mass Readings
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-one, verses four thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Two, verses two & three, sixteen thru twenty-one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter eight, verses twenty-one thru thirty.

Commentary: On another day, "Attacked by Snakes!" by The Aquabats! would be the perfect R.B.D.S.O.T.D. companion to Numbers, 21:4-9.

* * * * *

On 20 March, we remembered Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, O.S.B. (c. 634-687), bishop, abbot, & hermit: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Friday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses twenty thru twenty-three;
The Second Letter of Peter, chapter two.

Mass Readings
The Book of Wisdom, chapter two, verses one(A), twelve thru twenty-two;
Psalm Thirty-four, verses seventeen thru twenty-one, twenty-three;
The Gospel according to John, chapter seven, verses one & two, ten, twenty-five thru thirty.

* * * * *

On 21 March, we remembered Saint Nicholas of Flüe (1417-1487, A.K.A. Brother Klaus), hermit: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Saturday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses twenty-four & twenty-five;
The Second Letter of Peter, chapter three (of three).

Mass Readings
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter eleven, eighteen thru twenty;
Psalm Seven, verses two & three, nine(B,C) thru twelve;
The Gospel according to John, chapter seven, verses forty thru fifty-three.

* * * * *

Mass Journal: Week 4
Sunday, 11 January 2015
The story of Jesus Christ is the most powerful in history and has directly or indirectly influenced every noble aspect of modern civilization. But amid the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is easy to become distracted and distance ourselves from this story. From time to time, someone comes along who reminds us of the spellbinding power the Gospel has when it is actually lived.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Explorers' Club, № CDXXXVII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
24 September 1914-22 March 1915: The Siege of Przemyśl—the investment & eventual capture of a major Austro-Hungarian fortress by forces of the Russian Empire, a severe blow from which Austria-Hungary would never recover.

Austro-Hungarian casualties: approximately 86,000 dead; 117,000 captured.
Russian casualties: approximately 115,000.






Lest we forget.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

MxPx, "Emotional Anarchist" from Panic (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary:

"The trouble with trouble is you had a good time,
You knew what you were doing at the scene of the crime…"

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Less Than Jake, "All My Best friends Are Metalheads" from Hello Rockview (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The lines quoted below introduce "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads," but they are not by Less Than Jake. They are sampled from a spoken word piece by Victor Lundberg titled "An Open Letter to My Teenage Son" (Lundberg-link):
This is a fair request & I promise I will not judge any person only as a teenager if you will constantly remind yourself that some of my generation judge people by their race, their belief, or the color of their skin, & that this is no more right than saying all teenagers are drunken dope addicts or glue-sniffers.
My customary grouse remains in effect: Magnificent an album thought it is, the title
Hello Rockview is nonsensical. It should be Hello, Rockview. The comma is necessary, not optional.

The following words are L.T.J.'s.

"Do you know about his strength and conviction,
Or how she puts all her faith in religion?
Did you take the time to really discover
How little we know about each other?…"


Project MERCATOR
The purpose of Project MERCATOR is to expand my horizons by being more social. Such expansion necessitates reaching beyond one's "comfort zone." One such expansion that has dramatically backfired was an exploration of video games. A gal pal, who shall go unnamed (including code names) so as not to subject her to public shaming, invited me to play a video game, through the FaceSpace, called Trivia Crack. Despite my entirely negative lifelong history with video games, I decided to accept, due to my fondness for her & well-documented love of trivia. Though I have no experience with crack cocaine, I soon found the experience of Trivia Crack to match the popular idiom that anything that one finds compelling is "like crack."

I won some games, I lost others, I competed well in group competitions, & all was going well until she began to invite me to play games in other languages, languages I neither speak nor read. At first, I did not understand what was meant by icons including the flags of the Russian Federation, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, & the Italian Republic, but a single-question foray into the Russian game indicated questions & answers written in Cyrillic script (presumably in the Russian language). I clicked on a randomly selected answer, since all of the options as well as the question were mutually unintelligible, & was informed, in English letters, that this was the "Incorrect" choice. What the devil? I exited out of the Russian-language game & promptly declined her request to play games in French, Italian, & Spanish. I send her a brief but polite missive through the FaceSpace asking her not to invite me to any further games in languages I neither speak nor read. I thought this a fair request.

I was taken aback when she refused. She flatly refused, stating that competing in languages one neither speaks nor reads "makes it more challenging!!!" I do not believe in ultimata, in coercing consent. I thus did not offer her an ultimatum such as "Stop inviting me to play game in languages I neither speak nor read or I'll stop playing games against you in English." I simply informed her that in light of her refusal to stop inviting me to games in foreign tongues it would be impossible for me to continue playing Trivia Crack at all. She said that this was "Fine" & that she would continue to play "none English" games against other opponents. (I have to assume she meant "non-English," since "none English" is a grammatical nightmare too terrifying to contemplate as anything other than a typographical error.)

I continue to be at a loss to explain how my request could be viewed as anything other than fair &, if i might add, reasonable. I cannot read French. I cannot read Italian. I cannot read Spanish. Even if I could make guesses at questions & answers in those languages due to their alphabetical & etymological links to the English language, how on earth could I be reasonably expected to answer questions in Russian, a language with an altogether different alphabet? I cannot read Russian. Knowing this, it is unfair to then expect that I'll magically be able to answer questions posed in Russian, written in Cyrillic. That's not "more challenging," that's asinine.

I am at a loss to explain her refusal, except for the old standby, gleaned from a lifetime of watching kith & kin sit in front of their televisions & H.A.L.s for hours on end, whiling away the days engaged in endlessly repetitive gameplay: Playing video games transforms otherwise kind, sociable individuals into arseholes.

Pardon my French.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Cake, "Love You Madly" from Comfort Eagle (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary:

"I don't want to fake it,
I just want to make it,
The ornaments look pretty but they're pulling down the branches of the tree,
I don't want to think about it,
I don't want to talk about it,
When I kiss you lips I want to sink down to the bottom of the sea.

"I want to love you madly,
I want to love you now,
I want to love you madly,
I want to love you, love you madly…"


Bier!
Last night, I had a Guinness Blonde American Lager, which the bottle cap & neck label describe as "№ 1 in the Discovery Series" (brew-link). Important to the enjoyment of Guinness Blonde is an understanding & acceptance that this is not Guinness Draught, what most including your humble narrator habitually refer to as simply "Guinness." (That's how I ordered my lunchtime pint on St. Patrick's Day.) Appraise the Blonde American Lager on its own merits & you might well find it, as I did, an entirely pleasing libation. Cheers!

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1st century B.C.-1st century A.D.): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
(St.) Joseph is patron of (a) happy death, (the) universal Church, fathers, carpenters, & social justice.
Scripture of the Day
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses thirteen thru nineteen;
The Second Letter of Peter, chapter one (of three).

Mass Readings
The Second Book of Samuel, chapter seven, verses four thru five(A), twelve thru fourteen, sixteen;
Psalm Eighty-nine, verses two thru five, twenty-seven & twenty-nine;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter four, verses thirteen, sixteen thru eighteen, twenty-two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter one, verses sixteen, eighteen thru twenty-one, twenty-four(A);
or, The Gospel according to Luke, chapter two, verses forty-one thru fifty-one(A).

Mass Journal: Week 3
Sunday, 11 January 2015
Two thousand years ago, a small group of people captured the attention & intrigued the imagination of the entire Western world. At first, these people were thought to be of no consequence, the followers of a man most considered to be nothing more than an itinerant preacher. But when this man was put to death, a dozen of his followers rose up & began telling people about his life& teachings. They began telling the story of Jesus Christ. They were not the educated elite of their time, they had no political or social status, they were not wealthy, & they had no worldly authority, yet from the very beginning people were joining this quiet revolutionary group one hundred at a time. This small group of people were the first Christians. They were the original followers of Jesus of Nazareth & the first members of what we know today as the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Explorers' Club, № CDXXXVI

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Gallipoli Campaign, Part I
The Battle of 18 March 1915—an Ottoman victory that thwarted the Franco-British attempt to seize control of the Dardanelles by purely naval force, prompting the bloody Gallipoli Campaign; the British battleships H.M.S. Irresistible & H.M.S. Ocean & the French battleship Bouvet were sunk, with two further French battleships & a British battlecruiser severely damaged, all by mines.









French & British casualties: 700 killed.
Ottoman casualties: 40 killed, approximately 80 wounded.

Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today is the optional memorial of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (c. 315-386): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
Cyril (315-387) was born near Jerusalem & he became patriarch of the city from 350 until his death. Cyril's teachings on Christian doctrine & specifically those addresed to new Catholics & converts are treasures of theological literature, for which he was named a Doctor of the Church.
Scripture of the Day
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses eleven & twelve;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter five (of five).

Mass Readings
The Book of Isaiah, chapte forty-five, verses eight thru fifteen;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses eight & nine, thirteen(C,D) thru fourteen, seventeen & eighteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter five, verses seventeen thru thirty.

Mass Journal: Week 2
I was given my Mass Journal on Christmas Eve, so the first "week" covers the period from Wednesday, 24 December 2014 through Saturday, 3 January 2015. Week 2 began on Sunday, 4 January 2015.
There is genius in Catholicism, if we will just take the time & make the effort to humbly explore it, If you & I are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. If sixty-seven million Catholics in the United States stepped it up a notch, something incredible would happen. So let's decide, here & now, today, to begin to explore the genius of our faith, to be part of the solution, & step it up a notch.

Last Year in Motorsport: Formula Fun!

2014 featured the biggest technological changes to Formula One in many, many years, by far the biggest in the five years I've been a motorsport fan. Gone were the high-revving, naturally-aspired V8 engines whose screamed stirred something primal in the hearts of all those who heard. In their place were low-revving, smaller-displacement, turbocharged V6 engines equipped with so much hybrid battery technology that broadcasters weren't even allowed to talk about "engines" anymore, just "power units." Gone also was the high-pitched wail that was synonymous with F1; in its place was a sickly throb, a low-pitched gurgle that, if anything, sounded like a tugboat motor struggling under load. I never realized how crucial the aural component—that aforementioned stirring scream—was the the grand prix experience until it was gone. Early in the new are, there was talk of lawsuits by event promoters against Formula One Management (the S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-link company that owns the commercial rights to F1; honest-to-goodness, F1 "supremo" Bernie Ecclestone is the real-world analog of a Bond villain) for breach of contract, because race-attending fans were so disappointed by the power units' distinctly un-banshee-like sound.

There was also a distinct lack of competition throughout '14. Only two teams won any races: the Mercedes A.M.G. factory team & Red Bull Racing (Renault). The "Silver Arrows" of Mercedes won sixteen of the nineteen grands prix; Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull won the other three, all of which saw the Mercedes handicapped by mechanical woes. Mercedes won sixteen of nineteen & the season wasn't even as close as that; Mercedes's drivers recorded eleven one-two finishes. Williams, also using Mercedes-Benz engines, were the only other team to claim pole position in qualifying. This was far & away the least amusing year since I've been an F1 fan, dating back to the Monaco Grand Prix in '09. Unless something changes, this new era augurs ill for the future of the sport.

The only real competition was betwixt the Mercedes drivers, '08 World Champion Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg. Rosberg won five grands prix to Hamilton's eleven; the competition for the World Drivers' Championship went down to the final race only because of a gimmicky awarding of double points for that race, which kept Rosberg in with a mathematical chance long after he should have been eliminated, & because Hamilton suffered the worse of the technical faults. Lewis Hamilton, considered the finest driver of his generation until Sebastian Vettel rattled off four consecutive drivers' titles with Red Bull, thus became the winningest British driver in F1 history & a double World Champion: a picture is worth a thousand words-link.

Formula One World Championship
Round 1
Australian Grand Prix
Sunday, 16 March 2014
1st Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2nd Place: Kevin Magnussen, McLaren (Mercedes)
3rd Place: Jenson Button, McLaren (Mercedes)

Round 2
Malaysian Grand Prix
Sunday, 30 March 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (Renault)

Round 3
Bahrain Grand Prix
Sunday, 6 April 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Sergio Pérez, Force India (Mercedes)

The early notices here at The Secret Base were not favorable: Wayback Machine.

Round 4
Chinese Grand Prix
Sunday, 20 April 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Fernando Alonso, Ferrari

Round 5
Gran Premio de España
Sunday, 11 May 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)

Round 6
Grand Prix de Monaco
Sunday, 25 May 2014
1st Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2nd Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3rd Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)

Round 7
Grand Prix du Canada
Sunday, 8 June 2014
1st Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (Renault)

The first grand prix won by any team other than Mercedes & the first grand prix in which two out of the three drivers on the podium drove non-Mercedes-powered cars.

Round 8
Großer Preis von Österreich
Sunday, 22 June 2014
1st Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2nd Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3rd Place: Valtteri Bottas, Williams (Mercedes)

Round 9
British Grand Prix
Sunday, 6 July 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Valtteri Bottas, Williams (Mercedes)
3rd Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)

Round 10
Großer Preis von Deutschland
Sunday, 20 July 2014
1st Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2nd Place: Valtteri Bottas, Williams (Mercedes)
3rd Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Round 11
Magyar Nagydíj (Hungarian Grand Prix)
Sunday, 27 July 2014
1st Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)
2nd Place: Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
3rd Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

The first grand prix in which neither Mercedes driver, neither Hamilton nor Rosberg, finished at least second.

Round 12
Belgian Grand Prix
Sunday, 24 August 2014
1st Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Valtteri Bottas, Williams (Mercedes)

Round 13
Gran Premio d'Italia
Sunday, 7 September 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Felipe Massa, Williams (Mercedes)

Round 14
Singapore Grand Prix
Sunday, 21 September 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (Renault)
3rd Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)

Round 15
Japanese Grand Prix
Sunday, 5 October 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (Renault)

Round 16
Russian Grand Prix
Sunday, 12 October 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Valtteri Bottas, Williams (Mercedes)

Round 17
United States Grand Prix
Sunday, 2 November 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3rd Place: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (Renault)

Round 18
Grande Prêmio do Brasil
Sunday, 9 November 2014
1st Place: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2nd Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3rd Place: Felipe Massa, Williams (Mercedes)

Round 19
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Sunday, 23 November 2014
1st Place: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2nd Place: Felipe Massa, Williams (Mercedes)
3rd Place: Valtteri Bottas, Williams (Mercedes)

There was not a single podium all season long that did not feature at least one Mercedes driver, & the majority (twelve out of nineteen) featured both. Here's hoping Renault, Ferrari, & new engine-supplier Honda (to power McLaren) are able to close the gap to Mercedes, & that the other Mercedes-powered teams are able to close the gap to the factory squad, or 2015 could be even more stultifying than 2014.

The '15 season began last weekend with the Australian Grand Prix. "This Week in Motorsport" coming soon.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Less Than Jake, "Negative Sides of Optimistic Eyes" from the Absolution for Idiots and Addicts E.P. (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day

Dropkick Murphys, "(F)lannigan's Ball" from The Meanest of Times (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary; Like Nirvana's "Breed," "(F)lannigan's Ball" should only be played at high volume, what we old timers call "too loud."

Montag, 16 März
Matt Maher, "Because He Lives (Amen)" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: To my surprise & delight, I've learned that Mr. Maher is a Catholic.

Sonntag, 15 März
Elvis Costello, "God's Comic" from Spike (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary:

"Now I'm dead, now I'm dead, now I'm dead, now I'm dead,
And I'm going on to meet my reward,
I was scared, I was scared, I was scared, I was scared,
He might have never heard of God's Comic…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today is the optional memorial of Saint Patrick (5th century), bishop: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He & his disciples preached & converted thousands & began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, & entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, & [it] has been associated with him & the Irish since that time.
Quoth the program from the Flint St. Patrick's Day Irish Mass & Celebrations at Saint Michael Catholic Church, a lovely affair in the eyes of this namesake of Sts. Michael & Patrick:
St. Patrick (c. 389-461) is the patron Saint of Ireland. At age 16, he was captured by Irish raiders & taken to Ireland as a slave. He tended sheep for 6 years before he escaped & returned to Europe. Filled with love of God, he became a priest & tired to return to Ireland. He even wrote about his dreams in which he heard "the voice of the Irish" calling him. At last, he was made a Bishop & sent to preach the Gospel in Ireland.

Although he met with strong opposition from pagan priests who tried several times to have him killed, he finally converted some of the local kings. With their help & protection he was able to preach to the Irish people & baptized thousands of them for Christ. He feast is celebrated in Ireland—and throughout the world—on March17, the day he died.
Scripture of the Day
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses nine & ten;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter four.

Mass Readings
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter forty-seven, verses one thru nine, twelve;
Psalm Forty-six, verses two & three, five & six, eight & nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter five, verses one thru sixteen.

Mass Journal
At Christmas—just after the beginning of the new liturgical year & just before the beginning of the new civil year—Holy Redeemer passed our Mass Journals from Matthew Kelly's Dynamic Catholic organization. The notion is to bring the journal to Mass & jot down any insights gleaned, especially after making this prayer, printed on the back cover: "God, show me one way in this Mass I can become a better version of myself this week!" There is also a weekly reflection, which your humble narrator intends to start posting on Sundays, as soon as we've caught up with all the Sunday reflection missed since Christmas. Week 1:
There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. There are sixty-seven million Catholics in America—that's at least fifteen million more people than it takes to elect an American president. And every single day the Catholic Church feeds, houses, and clothes more people; takes care of more sick people; visits more prisoners; and educates more people than any other institution on the face of the earth could ever hope to.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Explorers' Club, № CDXXXV

Operation AXIOM: The World War
14 March 1915: The Battle of Más a Tierra—the final destruction of the German East Asia Squadron with the scuttling of the the S.M.S. Dresden whilst under attack by a British squadron, in brazen violation of Chile's neutrality.







German casualties: 4, interred by Chile: 315.
British casualties: 0.

Lest we forget.

Commentary: Más a Tierra constituted the last act of the drama enacted at the Battles of Coronel (№ CDXVI) & the Falkland Islands (№ CDXXII)

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today we remember Saint Jean de Brébeuf,* S.J. (1593-1649), missionary & martyr: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verse eight;
The Acts of the Apostles, chapters thirteen & fourteen.

Mass Readings
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-five, verses seventeen through tewnty-one;
Psalm Thirty, verses two, four thru six, eleven thru twelve(A), thirteen(B);
The Gospel according to John, chapter four, verses forty-three thru fifty-four.

* * * * *

Had 15 March not been a Sunday, we would have remembered Saint Clement Mary Hofbauer,* C.Ss.R. (1751-1820): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

We would also have remembered Saint Louise de Marillac, D.C. (1591-1660), co-foundress of the Daughters of Charity, formally the Company of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link Lima de Mike; Wikipedia-link Daughters.

Scripture of the Day (Sunday)
Personal Reading
The First Letter of Peter, chapter three.

Mass Readings
The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter thirty-six, verses fourteen thru sixteen, nineteen through twenty-three;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-seven, verses one thru six;
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter two, verses four thru ten;
The Gospel according to John, chapter three, verses fourteen thru twenty-one.

Commentary: *So I use the anglicized version of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer's name, St. Klemens Maria, but retain the French version of St. Jean de Brébeuf's. So sue me.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today we remember Saint Mathilda of Ringelheim (c. 895-968): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Another member of a holy family, St. Mathilda's grandmother was an abbess; her children included a Holy Roman Emperor (Otto the Great), an archbishop & saint (St. Bruno the Great), & a Queen of France (Gerbega of Saxony); her daughter-in-law was a saint (St. Adelaide of Italy); & her grandchildren included a King of France (Hugh Capet).

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses three thru seven;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter two.

Mass Readings
The Book of Hosea, chapter six, verses one thru six;
Psalm Fifty-one, verses three & four, eighteen thru twenty-one(A,B);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eighteen, verses nine thru fourteen.

* * * * *

Yesterday we remembered Saint Leander of Seville (c. 534-c. 600), bishop: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: According to the sources cited above, at least one & up to three of St. Leander's siblings are also canonized saints, including the far-famed St. Isidore of Seville. I choose not to resist: Talk about a holy family!

Scripture of the Day (Friday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses two & three;
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter six, verses four thru nine;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter one (of five).

Mass Readings
The Book of Hosea, chapter fourteen, verses two thru ten;
Psalm Eighty-one, verses six(C) thru eleven(A,B), fourteen, seventeen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter twelve, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-four.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Magic!, "Rude" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Such is my isolation from/obliviousness to modern popular music that though the interwebs inform me "Rude" was a hit last summer, I only became aware of it within the last fortnight. If I heard it prior to this, the song failed to register in my brain, which seems unlikely given its catchy nature.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Urbi et Orbi

Last weekend, I found myself listening to a discussion of baby names. A lady stated her fondness for the name Veronica. Upon hearing this, a fellow said to me, "Stay out of Riverdale!," a reference to The Simpsons & through the show to Archie Comics. I replied:

"Yeah, but then you need two girls, a Betty & a Veronica." The fellow & I both chuckled.

The lady, picking up on the Archie reference, said, "I meant Veronica from the Bible." Her tone was haughty, condescending.

She meant of course the Veronica who offered the Christ, on His way to Calvary, a veil with which to wipe His brow, a veil on which an image of His Face appeared; Saint Veronica in Catholicism, featured in the Sixth Station of the Cross, betwixt Simon of Cyrene helping carry the Cross & Jesus falling for the second time. The only problem, of course, is that this account of Saint Veronica is not Biblical. We Catholics have no problem accepting Sacred Tradition, of which this account is part; Sacred Scripture instructs us explicitly to honor the Sacred Tradition that has been handed down to us. The lady in question, however, whose tone chastised us as fools for not knowing Scripture as well as she, is a Protestant, whose denomination makes loud & hypocritical protestations of "Sola Scriptura!," the bizarre & counter-Scriptural claim that Scripture is the supreme authority on all doctrinal matters.

"I meant Veronica from the Bible," she said. I'd give her five dollars if she could point out to me where this Veronica appears in the Bible. In the meantime, "Stay out of Riverdale!"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog, Part II

Today, we remember Saint Maximilian of Tebessa (274-295), martyred under the Emperor Diocletian: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verse seventy-one thru chapter twenty-three, verse one;
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter nineteen, verses thirteen thru twenty;
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter seven, verse twenty-nine thru chapter eight, verse twelve.

Mass Readings
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter seven, verses twenty-three thru twenty-eight;
Psalm Ninety-five, verses one & two, six thru nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses fourteen thru twenty-three.

* * * * *

9 March was the optional memorial of Saint Frances of Rome, Religious, Obl.S.B. (1384-1440), foundress of the Oblates of Mary (today known as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link Foxtrot; Wikipedia-link Oblates.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
Frances started a lay order of women attached to the Benedictines called the Oblates of Mary. The women lived in the world but pledged to offer themselves to God & serve the poor.
Scripture of the Day (Monday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verses sixty thru sixty-two;
The Acts of the Apostles, chapters eleven & twelve.

Mass Readings
The Second Book of Kings, chapter five, verses one thru fifteen(B);
Psalm Forty-two, verses two & three & Psalm Forty-three, verses three & four;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter four, verses twenty-four thru thirty.

* * * * *

On 10 March, we remembered Saint John Ogilvie, S.J. (1579-1615), martyred under King James VI & I: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Martyred four hundred years ago to the day.

Scripture of the Day (Tuesday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verses sixty-three thru sixty-five;
The Book of Genesis, chapter thirty-eight.

Mass Readings
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses twenty-five, thirty-four thru forty-three;
Psalm Twenty-five, verses four thru five(A,B), six & seven(B,C), eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses twenty-one thru thirty-five.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

The Black Lips, "O Katrina!" from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "O Katrina!" has never been amongst my favorite songs from Scott Pilgrim, but this is how the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. works: some days, one wakes up with a song playing in one's head, sometimes not even a song of which one is especially fond. One had learned after all these years not to fight the muses.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

R.E.M., "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Like many persons, I can make neither heads nor tails of much of the lyrical content of "It's the End of the World ss We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" & like many persons, I've never given a tinker's damn that I can make neither heads nor tails of much of the lyrical content of "It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)," it's just a fun song. 'Twas chosen as a companion piece to yesterday's R.B.D.S.O.T.D., Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," both verbose portraits of a moment in time now a quarter of a century gone, the late 1980s, the fall of Communism & the end of the Cold War.

Also, prepare yourself, we are now only three weeks away from SKApril '15. "Ska, ska, ska…"


Autobahn
This afternoon I espied a Chevrolet Traverse sporting the vanity license plate IDWIFE. 'Twas a University of Michigan vanity plate & taking the block-M along with IDWIFE the license plate clearly spells out "midwife." The rear window sported a set of those obnoxious stickers describing the owner's family—for the life of me I've never understood why one would want to broadcast that information to every other motorist on the road—& the mother was depicted as wearing the "scrubs" of the contemporary medical professional. "Midwife" also sported a bumper sticker ichthys, A.K.A. a "Jesus fish."

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog, Part I

Today, we remember Saint Óengus the Culdee (d. 824, A.K.A. Aengus), hermit ("culdee") & bishop: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verses sixty-six thru seventy;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirty-three thru thirty-seven.

Mass Readings
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter four, verses one, five thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-seven, verses twelve & thirteen, fifteen & sixteen, nineteen & twenty;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses seventeen thru nineteen.

* * * * *

7 March was the optional memorial of Saints Perpetua & Felicity, Martyrs (d. c. 203), martyred under the Emperor Septimius Severus: Martyrs-link, Martyr-link Papa, Martyr-link Foxtrot, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the bulletin:
We are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua & Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself; her teacher, Saturus; & others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of Perpetua & Felicity," was so popular in the early centuries that it was read during liturgies.
Scripture of the Day (Saturday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verses fifty-six thru sixty.

Mass Readings
The Book of Micah, chapter seven, verses fourteen & fifteen, eighteen thru twenty;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one thru four, nine thru twelve;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter fifteen, verses one thru three, eleven thru thirty-two.

* * * * *

Had 8 March not been a Sunday, we would have remembered Saint John of God, O.H. (1495-1550): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Sunday)
Mass Readings
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty, verses one thru seventeen
(or short form: Exodus, twenty, verses one thru three, seven & eight, twelve thru seventeen);
Psalm Nineteen, verses eight thru eleven;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses twenty-two thru twenty-five;
The Gospel according to John, chapter two, verses thirteen thru twenty-five.

Urbi et Orbi
Today, I attended my fifty-third Mass of the year (12:15 P.M., at St. Matthew's in downtown Flint). My goal for the year is not to miss Mass on a single Sunday (so far, so good) & to attend at least two non-Sunday Masses a week (I think I failed one week, but have succeeded in every other). A goal for this Lent was to attend Mass every single day. The first day I missed was Friday, 6 March, because I had an appointment at the Diocesan Center at 10:00 A.M., meaning I left town at about the same time the 8:30 morning Mass began at Holy Redeemer. The distance to Lansing does not require an hour & a half to drive in normal conditions (Friday boasted exquisite driving weather), but I decided to give myself a margin for error, which turned out to be necessary when it took me several minutes of circling to figure out where to park the Lumi, the Distaff Son of the Mousemobile. The priest with whom I had the appointment did not appear 'til 10:15, apologizing for being late. I suspect he had been off celebrating morning Mass, as he said he normally does not schedule any appointments earlier than 10:30. Drat, drat, & double drat! Had our appointment been at 10:30, I would have had time for morning Mass. Our meeting lasted for over two hours, meaning I missed both noon Mass at the Lansing cathedral (St. Mary's) & the lunchtime Mass at St. Matt's back in Flint. So, on the first day of Lent on which I missed Mass, I did so due to a priest.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Explorers' Club, № CDXXXIV

Operation AXIOM: The World War
10-13 March 1915: The Battle of Neuve Chapelle—the first deliberately-planned British offensive of the new age of trench warfare, which achieved many of its initial objectives before bogging down due to poor communications & a lack of covering artillery fire, the early rumblings of the Shell Crisis.









British & Imperial casualties: approximately 11,000;
German casualties: approximately 10,000.

Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Billy Joel, "We Didn't Start the Fire" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I get most of the numerous cultural references in this song, which is why I can defeat you in Trivial Pursuit.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

The Chinkees, "She's My Friend" from The Chinkees… Are Coming! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I like the lyrics of "She's My Friend," even though they are half unintelligible.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Everybody's Better" from A Jackknife to a Swan (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary:

"Everybody's better than I am,
I think everybody's better than me,
And everybody's swell, I guess,
They're doing well, more or less,
And everybody's better than I am…"


Samstag, 7 März
Plumtree, "Fatherhood" from Predicts the Future (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Rilo Kiley, "A Better Son/Daughter" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I needed a fight song today, but a bitter, melancholy fight song. "A Better Son/Daughter" fit the bill to perfection. Pardon her French.

"Sometimes in the morning I am petrified & can't move,
Awake but cannot open my eyes,
And the weight is crushing down on my lungs,
I know I can't breathe
And hope someone will save me this time…

"Crawl back into bed to dream of a time
When your heart was open wide
And you loved things just because…

"And sometimes when you're on you're really fuckin' on,
And your friends they sing along and they love you,
But the lows are so extreme that the good seems fuckin' cheap
And it teases you for weeks in its absence.

"But you'll fight and you'll make it through,
You'll fake it if you have to,
And you'll show up for work with a smile!
You'll be better and you'll be smarter
And more grown up and a better daughter
Or son and a real good friend.

"You'll be awake, you'll be alert,
You'll be positive though it hurts,
And you'll laugh and embrace all your friends!
You'll be a real good listener,
You'll be honest, you'll be brave,
You'll be handsome and you'll be beautiful!

"You'll be happy!…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today we remember Saint Colette, P.C.C. (1381-1447), foundress of the Colettine Poor Clares: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link Charlie; Wikipedia-link Colettines.

Today we also remember Saint Cyril of Constantinople, O.Carm. (c. 1126-c. 1224/1235), priest & prior: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Yesterday we remembered Saint John Joseph of the Cross, O.F.M. (1654-1739): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day (Thursday)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verses fifty-two & fifty-three;
The Letter of James, chapter four.

Mass Readings
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter seventeen, verses five thru ten;
Psalm One, verses one thru four, six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter sixteen, verses nineteen through thirty-one.

Scripture of the Day (Today)
Personal Reading
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-two, verses fifty-four & fifty-five;
The Letter of James, chapter five (of five).

Mass Readings
The Book of Genesis, chapter thirty-seven, verses three & four, twelve thru thirteen(a), seventeen(b) through twenty-eight(a);
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses sixteen thru twenty-one;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-one, verses thirty-three thru forty-three, forty-five & forty-six.