Monday, November 28, 2016

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Fountains of Wayne, "Valley Winter Song" from Welcome Interstate Managers (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Covered by Grant-Lee Phillips, reprising his role as the town troubadour, near the end of "Winter," the first episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which I had the pleasure of watching last night. It is a pleasure once again to visit Stars Hollow, Connecticut.
"The snow is coming down
On our New England town
And it's been falling all day long.
What else is new?
What can I do
But sing this valley winter song
I wrote for you?…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the feast of Saint Gregory III, Pope (died 741), ninetieth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the feast of Saint James of the Marches, Priest, O.F.M. (circa 1391-1476): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the feast of Blessed James Thompson, Priest & Martyr (died 1582, A.K.A. James Hudson), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the feast of Saint Catherine Labouré, Religious, D.C. (1806-1876): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Medal.

Commentary: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." I wear the Miraculous Medal, a gift from Brother & Mrs. Brother Envy.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
The Book of Isaiah, chapter four, verses two thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-two, verses one thru nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eight, verses five thru eleven.

Lies, Damned Lies, & the (Fake) News
Two headlines from Eye of the Tiber (satirical fake news; think The Onion but with a specifically Catholic bent) that made me laugh out loud, literally:
"Vatican Offering Cyber Monday 50% Off Sale on All Indulgences" (Tiber-link '16)

"Report: Some 2nd Century Roman Christians Hated the Latin Mass Because It Was Said in the Vernacular" (Tiber-link '14)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Explorers' Club, № DXXV

The Four Freedoms, a 1943 series of paintings by the American artist Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), based on the 1941 State of the Union address by President Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945).




Project BLACK MAMBA: First Sunday of Advent

'Tis the First Sunday of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link.

Otherwise, 27 November would be the feast of Saint James Intercisus, Martyr (died 421, A.K.A. the Mutilated), martyred in the reign of the shahanshah Bahram V: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the feast of Saint Fergus, Bishop (died circa 730, A.K.A. Fergustian, Fergustus Pictus): Saint-link, Wikipedia-link Foxtrot, & Wikipedia-link Foxtrot Papa.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the feast of Saint Francesco Antonio Fasani, Priest, O.F.M. Conv. (1691-1742): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings
The Book of Isaiah, chapter two, verses one thru five;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-two, verses one thru nine;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter thirteen, verses eleven thru fourteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-four, verses thirty-seven thru forty-four.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the 1st Sunday of Advent


London Brass, "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" from Christmas with London Brass (The Last Angry Man)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bonus! Song of the Day

Reel Big Fish, "Everything Sucks!" from Turn the Radio Off (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: What a perfectly terrible day!
"Giving up because—

"I know everything sucks, yeah!
I know everything sucks, whoa!
I know everything sucks, yeah!…"

The Victors: The Losers

(№ 2) Ohio State 30-27 Michigan (№ 3) (2 O.T.)
10-2, B1G 7-2

I do not want any harm to come to Wilton Speight. I do not wish him ill-fortune in his future endeavors. I do not doubt his loyalty to the University of Michigan, the deathless loyalty of which Fielding Yost spoke. No one should direct threats of any kind at him, demean him, damage his property, or in any other way react abhorrently as too many supposed Michigan fans did to Blake O'Neill's role in the Michigan State punt disaster in 2015.

All that said, the fact remains that Wilton Speight is a loser. I do not mean in life. I hope he has a long & happy life full of success & fulfillment. But in football, he's a loser; he cannot take the pressure of big games. Fatally, that cannot be coached away. With Speight under center, we went 1-2 in November, the victory an easy home win over an outmatched Maryland club, the defeats both road games against Iowa & Ohio State. In both games, Speight played terribly. He choked phenomenally against the hated Buckeyes, personally accounting for three turnovers—two interceptions (that lead to 14 of Ohio State's 17 regulation-time points) & a goal line fumble that cost Michigan probable points, at least a field goal if not a touchdown. Lots of Michigan players did lots of things to lose today's game, but no player on either club did more to assure Ohio State's victory than Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight.

It is my sincere hope that Wilton Speight never plays another down in a Michigan uniform. He's a loser, & not even Coach Harbaugh's legendary quarterback-whispering ability can coach that essential fact out of Speight. Winners are not always the most physically gifted players—would anyone say Tom Brady is the most talented quarterback in the No Fun league? Of course not, but Brady is a winner. Whatever Speight's physical gifts, he's a loser. He is incapable of performing in high-pressure situations, in big games against consequential foes. I wish him well, but I want never again to see him in uniform as a valiant Wolverine.

Go Blue!

Project BLACK MAMBA

Today is the last day of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time, the last day of the liturgical year. A brand-new liturgical year begins tomorrow with the First Sunday of Advent, which makes today New Year's Eve. Happy New Year!

'Tis the feast of Saint Siricius, Pope (334-399), thirty-eighth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the feast of Saint Conrad of Constance, Bishop (circa 900-975): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the feast of Saint Sylvester Gozzolini, Abbot, O.S.B. Silv. (1177-1267), founder of the Sylvestrines, formally the Sylvestrine Congregation of the Benedictine Order: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.S.B. Silv.

'Tis also the feast of Saint John Berchmanns, Religious, S.J. (1599-1621): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the feast of Blessed Gaetana Sterni, Religious (1827-1889), foundress of the Daughters of the Divine Will: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
The Book of Revelation, chapter twenty-two, verses one thru seven;
Psalm Ninety-five, verses one thru seven(b);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses thirty-four, thirty-five, & thirty-six.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day: Go Blue!


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "The Yellow and Blue" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: For those who may not know, "The Yellow and Blue" is the alma mater of the University of Michigan, predating the university's ubiquitous fight song, "The Victors," by a decade.
"Here's to the college whose colors we wear,
Here's to the hearts that are true!
Here's to the maid of the golden hair,
And eyes that are brimming with blue!
Garlands of bluebells and maize intertwine,
And hearts that are true and voice combine;
Hail!
Hail to the college whose colors we wear;
Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue!"
Go Blue!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin & Martyr (circa 287-305), martyred in the reign of the emperor Diocletian, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XIV.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
She was both a princess & a noted scholar, who became a Christian around the age of fourteen. She converted hundreds of [persons] to Christianity. She was martyred around the age of eighteen. Over eleven hundred years following her martyrdom, St. Joan of Arc (30 May) identified Catherine as one of the saints who appeared to her & counseled her.
'Tis also the feast of Saint Peter of Alexandria, Bishop & Martyr (died 311, A.K.A. Pope Peter I of Alexandria), martyred in the reign of the emperor Galerius: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter twenty, verses one thru four & eleven thru chapter twenty-one, verse two;
Psalm Eighty-four, verses three thru six(a) & eight(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-three;

or, for St. Catherine:
The Book of Revelation, chapter twenty, verses five, six, & seven;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-four, verse seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-three.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


The Cardigans, "My Favourite Game" via iTunes (from Gran Turismo) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The two automobiles are, in the foreground, the Alpine A110-50, a concept car built to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of, in the background, the Alpine A110. This really has very little, if anything, to do with "My Favourite Game," but is not part of the point of having a blog, much less maintaining it for fourteen-plus years, to have a space in which one's flights of fancy might soar?

It should also be noted that this photo of the two Alpines is currently the wallpaper for my desktop Macintosh.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bonus! Song of Thanksgiving

Jim Gaffigan, "Holidays" from Beyond the Pale (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The Thanksgiving portion of "Holidays" was referenced in the homily at this morning's Mass at St. John Vianney. Catholicism WOW!
"Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving it's like we didn't even try to come up with a tradition. The tradition is we overeat! 'Hey, how about at Thanksgiving we just eat a lot?' We do that every day! 'Oh. What if we eat a lot with people who annoy the hell out of us?'

'Oh, he's anti-family'…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Andrew Dũng-Lạc, Priest, & Companions, Martyrs (died 1745-1862), martyred in the reigns of the Lê, Tây Sơn, & Nguyễn dynasties: Martyr-link Alpha, Martyrs-link ūnus, & Martyrs-link duo; Wikipedia-link Alpha & Wikipedia-link Companians.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Born 1795 in Vietnam, Andrew Dũng-Lạc was one of one hundred seventeen [persons] martyred for Christ in Vietnam between 1820-1862. All one hundred seventeen were part of the group beatified on four different occasions between 1900-1951 & canonized in 1988 by Pope St. John Paul II (22 October).
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Dũng-Lạc was one of one hundred seventeen [persons] martyred in Vietnam between 1820-1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900-1951. All were canonized by Pope (St.) John Paul II. Christianity came to Vietnam through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.
'Tis also the feast of Saint Chrysogonus, Martyr (died circa 304), martyred in the reign of the emperor Diocletian: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter eighteen, verses one, two, twenty-one, twenty-two, & twenty-three, & chapter nineteen, verses one, two, three, & nine(a);
Psalm One Hundred, verses one(b) thru two & five;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses twenty thru twenty-eight;

or, for the Martyrs of Vietnam:
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifty-one, verses one thru eight;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-three;

or, for Thanksgiving Day ("suggested from among the many options"):
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifty, verses twenty-two, twenty-three, & twenty-four;
or, the First Book of Kings, chapter eight, verses fifty-five thru sixty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses two thru eleven;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses three thru nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses eleven thru nineteen;
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses thirty-nine thru fifty-five.

Bonus! Song of Thanksgiving
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "America the Beautiful" from A Saturday Tradition (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The closing song at this morning's Mass at St. John Vianney in downtown Flint.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of Thanksgiving


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "A Reason to Toast" from Medium Rare (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: It's official: "A Reason to Toast" is now a R.B.D.S.O.T.D. Thanksgiving tradition (Wayback Machine).
"I'd like to open up by making a suggestion,
One that I suggest you're open to,
And then I'll open up the floor and take a question,
After that it's time to tilt a few (you and you and you).

"A reason to toast,
A reason to cheer,
A reason to celebrate:
It's nice being here!

"You might be wondering just why I called this meeting
And let another moment pass,
Before we move on, please, let's rearrange the seating,
After that it's time to raise a glass.

"I'll raise my glass up high to all the friendly faces,
Here and wherever they may be,
I don't know why I never thought 'til now to say this,
But you mean the world to me.

"A reason to toast,
A reason to cheer,
A reason to celebrate:
It's nice being here!

"Let's raise a glass up high because we're here together,
What better reason could exist?
Hey, lads, let's raise a glass, what could be better than this?
If you're without a glass, then let's see your fist!
(Get 'em up there, boys!)

"A reason to toast,
A reason to cheer,
A reason to celebrate:
It's nice being here!…"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Clement I, Pope & Martyr (died circa 101), fourth Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperor Trajan: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Clement asserted the authority of the presbyters as rulers of the Church on the ground that the Apostles had appointed such. His letter was read in church, along with other epistles, some of which later became part of the Christian canon.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Clement of Rome was the third successor of Saint Peter, reigning as pope during the last decade of the first century. He's known as one of the Church's five "Apostolic Fathers," those who provided a direct link between the Apostles & later generations of Church Fathers.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Columban, Abbot (543-615): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Columban was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries with Celtic monastic rule & Celtic penitential practices for those repenting of sins, which emphasized private confession to a priest, followed by penances levied by the priest in reparation for the sins.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit's life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monastery on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1891-1927), martyred in the reign of the president Plutarco Elías Calles: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

'Tis also the feast of Saint Felicity of Rome, Martyr (circa 101-165, A.K.A. Felicitas), martyred in the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter fifteen, verses one thru four;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two, three(a,b), seven, eight, & nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses twelve thru nineteen;

or, for St. Clement:
The First Letter of Peter, chapter five, verses one thru four;
Psalm Eighty-nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter sixteen, verses thirteen thru nineteen;

or, for St. Columban:
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-two, verses seven thru ten;
Psalm Ninety-six, verse three;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-two;

or, for Bl. Miguel:
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifty-one, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Thirty-one, verse six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-three.

Individual Reading
The Book of Job, chapter fifteen (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Job, chapter sixteen (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Job, chapter seventeen (verses one thru sixteen);
The Book of Job, chapter eighteen (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Book of Job, chapter nineteen (verses one thru twenty-nine).

Commentary: Thus begins II: Second Cycle of Speeches: Second Speech of Eliphaz (15, inclusive), Job's Fourth Reply (16 & 17, inclusive), Bildad's Second Speech (18, inclusive), & Job's Fifth Reply (19, inclusive).

I don't mind telling you, reading Job is a drag. I'm having a hard time motivating myself to carve out the time necessary to do so. After this, I'm really going to need to go back to the source, to the Good News, to the life & ministry Our Lord in the Gospels.

The Rebel Black Dot Drug Song of the Day

Less Than Jake, "Summon Monsters" from GNV FLA (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Some musicians like to portray drug abuse as glamorous; God help them & anyone who buys into their lies. A degree of social responsibility, social consciousness is one of the many things to like about ska music & ska musicians.
"Calling all mothers and fathers:
Come get your sons and daughters.
Right now they're on corners
Finding ways to cure their boredom,
I'm sitting right there with them,
Waiting on those prescriptions,
Like it's our only mission.

"Silver flasks and Ziploc bags,
Vacant eyes and sweaty hands,
Cut in thirds then cut in half,
Money to monsters, exchanging hands…

"Calling all mothers and fathers:
Come get your sons and daughters.
Right now they're feeling awkward,
Pills and powders in their lockers,
I'm standing right there with them,
Waiting on the voice of reason,
Glass pipes, and tunnel vision…

"Silver flasks and Ziploc bags,
Vacant eyes and sweaty hands,
Cut in thirds then cut in half,
Giving money to monsters, money to monsters,
Giving money to monsters, money to monsters,
Giving money to monsters, summoning monsters."

Just Say No.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Rebel Black Dot Drug Song of the Day

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Sad Silence" from Question the Answers (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"Both his eyes would twitch,
The left one it was always black,
His lips they never moved,
They stayed still with each attack,
His ears were always ringing,
In his head he'd hear a hum,
And all the kids on the corner
Knew what it was from.

"And then one day it happened:
He took his daily crack,
His eyes rolled up like yesterday,
He started falling back,
The kids that watched this everyday
Now watched him hit the ground.
No one spoke, no one moved,
No one made a sound…

"A sad, silent situation,
Now he's not around…"

Just Say No.

Project GLOWWORM | Urbi et Orbi

We are now two-thirds of the way through the Nazarite Challenge. How is it going, you ask? So far, so good, I would say. None of the hairs I have ceased shaving have thus far posed nearly as much of an itch risk as I feared. My beard has proceeded in stages, from me shaving most of my cheeks (where the hair coverage is more sparse than along the jawline) to intentionally less of my cheeks to now nothing at all of my cheeks, & I couldn't be more pleased with how it's going. The hair there is still more sparse than I'd like, but I love the additional fullness to my beard. Also, those new hairs have not posed the snare for the flying wings of my moustache that I'd feared. There are three rogue hairs that will have to go as soon as the Nazarite Challenge is over; the trio sit prominently above the rest of the hairline, a third of the way from the rest of the beard to my left eye socket. They're ridiculous & they simply have to go. So, I'll be shaving those come December, but nothing else from my cheeks. I've not yet decided if I'll resume shaving the hairs of my moustache directly beneath my nostrils, but I'm leaning toward leaving them be, as they are not itching as I'd feared. (Note the recurrent theme of fears being debunked.)

Most exciting is how much less time I spend on vanity. One of my motivations for participating in the Nazarite Challenge was an awareness of how much time I spend preening over my whiskers. I trimmed either my moustache of my beard—or both—almost every day. Every dratted day! Once a month is a little more hardcore a commitment than I'm willing to make on an ongoing basis, but I am completely rethinking how I groom & style my whiskers. There are some rogue elephant hairs in my beard that could stand a chop, but somewhere along the line I forgot that one of the reasons I grew a beard was ease of maintenance, to spend less time on grooming than I'd previously spent on shaving. This month as a soft quasi-Nazarite has been a most welcome wake-up call. I don't yet know if I'll let myself police the rogue hairs once a week or only once a fortnight, but I do know that on the vast majority of days taking sheers to any hair of my beard will be strictly verboten. The same or a substantively similar policy shall apply to my moustache. I've let grow hairs than in the days of yore would have been terminated with extreme prejudice & I'm loving the fuller appearance of my moustache.

Rest assured, dear reader, that I'm still well-short of blending in with the Robertson clan of Duck Dynasty fame. Yet it is right & fitting to let my whiskers grow a little more wildly, to spend less time on topiary, on making them conform to my often contradictory wishes for their appearance. I love the bewhiskered lifestyle. I often say, with a wink in my eye, that the natural shape of my moustache & the joy it imparts to all those who behold it is proof that God wants me be mustachioed; you know, I'm only half joking when I say that. In a very, very small way—absurdly small, even—not trimming my beard is a sign of trust in God, in Providence, an acknowledgement that His foolishness is infinitely superior to my wisdom. By none of this is it my purpose today to somehow impute as impious the cleanshaven man; I certainly wouldn't be a better disciple of the Lord if I allowed my whiskers to lead me into vainglory. These are just my experiences of trying to live the faith day in & day out while also enjoying the bewhiskered lifestyle, & wondering if there is some yet-unseen intersection betwixt those two facets, if they need not necessarily be regarded as discreet phenomena. Now that I've thoroughly muddied the waters, I'll leave you with the words of St. Augustine of Hippo:
The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr (second or third century), martyred in the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius or the emperor Alexander Severus: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
She is the patroness of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord." She is said to have been beheaded with a sword. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Although Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, the familiar stories about her are apparently not founded on authentic material. There is no trace of honor being paid her in early times. A fragmentary inscription of the late fourth century refers to a church named after her, & her feast was celebrated at least in 545. According to legend, Cecilia was a young Christian of high rank betrothed to a Roman named Valerian. Through her influence, Valerian was converted, & was martyred along with his brother. The legend about Cecilia's death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, & asked the pope to convert her home into a church. Since the time of the Renaissance, she has usually been portrayed with a viola or a small organ.
'Tis also the feast of Blessed Tommaso Reggio, Bishop (1818-1901), founder of the Sisters of Saint Martha: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter fourteen, verses fourteen thru nineteen;
Psalm Ninety-six, verses ten thru thirteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses five thru eleven;

or, for St. Cecilia:
The Book of Hosea, chapter two, verses sixteen(b,c), seventeen(c,d), twenty-one, & twenty-two;
Psalm Forty-five, verse eleven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses one thru thirteen.

The Queue: Orange Is the New Black
In chapter twenty-five of Matthew's Gospel, the Lord Jesus set out visiting the imprisoned as one of the criteria that at the Last Judgment shall separate the righteous (the sheep on His right) from the condemned (the goats on His left). Thus chastened by my own failure to obey the Lord's command, for the last several months I have been participating in ministry at the Genesee County Jail. Yesterday, it was my sad privilege to visit a fellow I know personally, a former Holy Redeemer parishioner with whom I had previously served on a retreat team. His falling away preceded his legal trouble. By no means am I saying that his legal troubles are any sort of punishment or chastisement for his having fallen away; rather, I would suggest that the legal troubles are consistent with, or even the logical result of, the patterns of thought & behavior that led him to fall away in the first place. Regardless, this does not lessen my pity for him & all that he is suffering.

What struck me again & again in our conversation was his utter self-loathing, how completely he had bought into the diabolical narrative of his own worthlessness & destiny to fail. I exhorted him to reject those voices & to cleave to the truth that he is a beloved son of God Most High. God values us so highly that He came to earth as a man & suffered an ignominious death on the Cross so that we might live; it is the Devil, the prince of lies, who whispers in our ears & our hearts that we're scum, that a man is nothing more than the sum of all his mistakes. I don't know how well I reached him, but I tired my very best in the limited time available to us. Ultimately, it is up to him to embrace the truth or to live by lies.

This morning's reading from Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Jesus (Seven, "The Third Question") addressed this selfsame subject. An excerpt:
Jesus says you are infinitely valuable

Jesus believes that you are infinitely valuable. Anytime you don't believe that, you are living in a state of deception, disconnected from the deepest, truest reality.

I often wonder how we would live our lives differently if we really understood our true value. Over & over, through the Scriptures, Jesus tries to affirm our value: "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). "You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). You are my brothers & sisters (Matthew 12:50). You are so valuable that God has counted & keeps track of every hair on your head (Luke 12:7).

So often the world wants to belittle us & put us down. The world can be so impersonal, reducing us to numbers or defining us by our functions. But Jesus offers a radically different view. He says you are infinitely valuable. In great contrast to the depersonalization of the world, Jesus affirms God's personal interest in you, even to the numbering of the hairs on your head. Jesus wants to raise you up. And more than anything else, he affirms that your value is not derived from what you do, but from who you are—a child of God.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Explorers' Club, № DXXIV

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of the Somme, Part VIII
13-18 November 1916: The Battle of the Ancre—The British attack was proceeded by a seven-day artillery barrage & the detonation of a second huge mine beneath the Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt; fog & mud slowed the infantry's advance & the fog limited air aupport; German casualties were heavy, including many prisoners; the British reckoned 18 November the formal last day of the Somme.





The Wayback Machine Tour of the Battle of the Somme
№ DIV: The Mines on the First Day of the Somme (Part I)
№ DV: The Battle of Albert—20,000 Dead on the First Day (Part II)
№ DVI: The Battle of Bazentin Ridge(Part III)
№ DXI: The Battle of Delville Wood (Part IV)
№ DXVI: The Battle of Fleurs-Courcelette—tanks debuted as weapons of war (Part V)
№ DXVII: The Battles of Thiepval Ridge, Le Transloy, & the Ancre Heights (Part VI)
№ DXXIII: Hector Hugh Munro, the writer Saki (Part VII)

Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Our Lady-link ūna, Our Lady-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Mary's parents, (Ss.) Joachim & Anne (26 July), who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they would have a child. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, they brought her, when still a child, to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Mary's presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the eleventh century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the sixteenth century it became a feast of the universal Church. As with Mary's birth, we read of Mary's presentation in the Temple only in apocryphal literature. What is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James, tells us that (Ss.) Anna & Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was the carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.
'Tis also the feast of Saint Gelasius I, Pope (died 496), forty-ninth Bishop of Rome, the first to be called the "Vicar of Christ:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter fourteen, verses one, two, three, & four(b) thru five;
Psalm Twenty-four, verses one(b) thru four(b), five, & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses one thru four;

or, for Our Lady's Presentation:
The Book of Zechariah, chapter two, verses fourteen thru seventeen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verse forty-nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twelve, verses forty-six thru fifty.

The Rebel Black Dot Drug Song of the Day

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Nevermind Me" from Let's Face It (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: The addicts aren't the only ones harmed by drug abuse.
"He didn't hit me for a home,
Or hit me up 'cause he was cold,
He was addicted to drugs
And I could see that in his eyes.
What about me?
Well, I was only rolled.

"He didn't rob me for food,
It wasn't hunger, but a jones.
He needed a fix;
Someone will fix my broken bones…

"He seemed to hate what he was doing;
He sure knew how to get it done.
Possessed by an addiction
I don't have to comprehend.
What about me?
Well, he whipped me with a gun…"

Just Say No.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA: Christ the King

'Tis the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: King-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year.

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking & living & organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking & effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, & nations.
Otherwise, 20 November would be the feast of Saints Edmund the Martyr & Humbert of Elmham, Bishop, Martyrs (died 869, A.K.A. King Edmund of East Anglia), martyred by the Great Heathen Army: Martyr-link Echo & Wikipedia-link Echo; Martyr-link Hotel & Wikipedia-link Hotel.

Commentary: Wayback Machine & The Explorers' Club, No. LXXXIX.

'Twould also be the feast of Saint Bernward of Hildesheim, Bishop (circa 960-1022): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Feast of Christ the King
Mass Readings
The Second Book of Samuel, chapter five, verses one, two, & three;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-two, verses one thru five;
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter one, verses twelve thru twenty;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-three, verses thirty-five thru forty-three.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Lord's Day


"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Amish Paradise" from Bad Hair Day (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"I'm a man of the land, I'm into discipline,
Got a Bible in my hand and a beard on my chin…

"We've been spending most our lives
Living in an Amish paradise,
'We're just plain and simple guys
Living in an Amish paradise,
There's no time for sin and vice
Living in an Amish paradise,
We don't fight, we all play nice
Living in an Amish paradise…

"Think you're really righteous?
Think you're pure of heart?
Well, I know I'm a million times as humble as thou art!
I'm the pious guy the little Amlettes want to be like,
On my knees days and night, scorin' points for the afterlife…"

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Daily Double

Friday, 18 November was the Optional Memorial of The Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter & Paul, Apostles: Basilicas-link ūnus, Basilicas-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This feast combines the standard celebration of the dedication of a church for Saint Peter's Basilica & the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, which were both built by the emperor Constantine the Great during the fourth century.
'Twas also the Optional Memorial of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin, R.S.C.J. (1769-1852): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the feast of Saint Odo of Cluny, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 878-942): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter ten, verses eight thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses fourteen, twenty-four, seventy-two, one hundred three, one hundred eleven, & one hundred thirty-one;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses forty-five thru forty-eight;

or, for the Basilicas:
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty-eight, verses eleven thru sixteen, thirty, & thirty-one;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one thru six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two thru thirty-three;

or, for St. Rose:
The Book of Hosea, chapter two, verses sixteen(b,c), seventeen(c,d), twenty-one, & twenty-two;
Psalm Forty-five, verse eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

* * * * *

Saturday, 19 November is the feast of Saint Mechtilde of Helfta, Nun, O.S.B. (circa 1241-1298, A.K.A. of Hackeborn): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: For the second year in a row, 18 & 19 November are covered in a single post, so they share a common Wayback Machine hyperlink (above). I shall endeavor to do better next year.

'Tis also the feast of Blessed Giacomo Benefatti, Bishop, O.P. (died 1332): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
The Book of Revelation, chapter eleven, verses four thru twelve;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-four, verses one, two, nine, & ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty, verses twenty-seven thru forty.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day: Go Blue!


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Porgy and Bess" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: I am sorry, dear readers, that I'm so behind on "The Victors" posts. It's been all I can do to stay current with the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. & Project BLACK MAMBA, & on some days even that is behind me. We played so poorly in last weekend's embarrassing loss to Iowa that I'm convinced the valiant Wolverines are more likely to lose today's game than to pull off what should be, on paper, an easy home victory. Indiana isn't a lock, by any means, but given the utter collapse of Michigan's offense & the recent struggles of the once-invincible defense, I put Indiana's odds of victory in the ballpark of 55:45. I want the valiant Wolverines to win. I hope they win. But last week's performance was so terrible that my confidence is utterly shattered. I'm convinced Michigan will lose the regular-season finale to the hated Buckeyes by at least thirty points, if not more. I don't want any of this to happen, but over the last decades lots of things have happened to Michigan football that I never wanted to happen.

Go Blue!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Rebel Black Dot Drug Song of the Day

Big D and the Kids Table, "My Girlfriend's on Drugs" from How It Goes (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"She swears the cat is stealing our money,
(I know it's him!) You gotta love her,
When she sees a cop she'll burst out laughing,
(Ha ha ha ha!) She's going crazy,
When I put her to bed she says 'Thank you, Superman,'
(Thank you, Superman) And I think I like it,
She showed up at my work on something,
She screamed, 'I'm a daisy!'

"Whoa, yeah!
Whoa, whoa, yeah!

"She takes pot to come down,
Yeah, coke for the confidence,
All kinds of pills, if she had the money she would get 'em,
Huffing for a challenge,
Acid for the love of it,
And, and, and, and, and drinking just for fun!

"My girlfriend's on drugs!
My girlfriend's on drugs!
My girlfriend's on drugs!
Her brain is going, going, going, going, gone!…"

Just Say No.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Queue | Urbi et Orbi

I try to read daily from a small book I was given when I was a participant at a Christ Renews His Parish retreat four years ago, relatively early in my ongoing conversion—Joyfully Living the Gospel Day by Day: Minute Meditations for Every Day Containing a Scripture Reading, a Reflection, and a Prayer. I feel moved to share today's reflection, from an undated pastoral letter from an otherwise unidentified Cardinal Duval (I suspect Léon-Étienne Cardinal Duval [1903-1996], longtime Archbishop of Algiers):
"Let a person come forward, a living person capable of speaking to the heart; let truth flow from this person's life & let the person's power be matched by an equal gift of love. Then people will listen to the Good News, & the dawn of better days will brighten our skies."
Consider that God might be calling you to be that living person to the persons in your own life.

Also, I resolved sometime last week to try, yet again, to make this year's advent a spiritually fruitful season. "Yet again" because that is always my vague intention & yet year after year, almost like clockwork, advent gets overridden by the stampede of secular Christmas, that horrifying orgy of unbridled consumerism that ends almost at the very moment the true Christmas is beginning. Christmas runs from 25 December through 6 January, not from 15 November through 24 December, drat it all! To aid this advent, I resolved to re-read Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation, using the books forty-day format, rather than reading it straight through. All find & good, except that I made a mental note to glance at the calendar & calculate how many days ahead of the First Sunday in Advent I'd need to start reading Rediscover Jesus to finish the forty days on Christmas Eve—& then promptly forgot to do that very glancing & calculating.

On Tuesday, under the cloudless blue skies & punishingly radiant sun of this November's Indian summer, I discovered work crews from the City of Burton installing Christmas decorations on the streetlights along Saginaw Street. I railed——with joyful chiding rather than fury—against the preposterous inappropriateness of this farcically unseasonal bit of seasonal decoration. "It's not even Thanksgiving! Advent doesn't begin for almost two weeks! It's sixty degrees out today!" Once I was no longer driving & could safely do so, I consulted the calendar on my mobile to see by how many days Burton's "Christmas" decorating was ridiculously early. I discovered that the proverbial halls were being decked forty-one days before the beginning of the Christmastide on 25 December. Forty-one? Eureka! If I wanted to read Rediscover Jesus as a forty-day preparation for Christmas, to conclude on Christmas Eve, I had to begin that very day!

So, even though I cannot approve of Burton's unseasonal seasonal decorating, I am big enough to acknowledge the debt I owe & extend my thanks to the faceless municipal bureaucrat whose crass misjudgment helped me to kick off my Advent preparations on time, very much despite my own efforts. Thanks, whoever you are, & when the time comes, weeks & weeks from now, have a merry Christmas!

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious, T.O.S.F. (1207-1231, A.K.A. of Thuringia): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Her husband was himself much inclined to religion & highly esteemed her virtue, encouraging her in her exemplary life. They had three children when tragedy struck—Louis was killed while fighting with the Crusaders. After his death, Elizabeth left the court, made arrangements for the care of her children, & in 1228 renounced the world, becoming a tertiary of St. Francis (4 October). She built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg & devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death at the age of twenty-four in 1231.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
While still a young girl she was married to Louis the Landgrave of Thuringia & gave birth to three children. She devoted herself to prayer & meditation. After her husband's death, she embraced a life of poverty, erecting a hospital in which she herself served the sick. She died at Marburg in 1231.
'Tis also the feast of Saint Gregory of Tours, Bishop (circa 538-594): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter five, verses one thru ten;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-nine, verses one(b) thru six(a) & nine(b);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses forty-one thru forty-four;

or, for St. Elizabeth:
The First Letter of John, chapter three, verses fourteen thru eighteen;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
or, Psalm Thirty-four, verse nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses twenty-seven thru thirty-eight.

Individual Reading
The Book of Job, chapter eleven (verses one thru twenty);
The Book of Job, chapter twelve (verses one thru twenty-five);
The Book of Job, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Job, chapter fourteen (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty (verses one thru eleven).

Commentary: Zophar's First Speech (Job, 11, inclusive), Job's Third Reply (12, 13, & 14, inclusive), & Salvation Only through the Lord's Servant (Isaiah, 50, inclusive).

Job continues to be challenging, not least of all because Job keeps contradicting himself, proving he is far from the blameless victim as which he presents himself. I dabbled into Isaiah because a parishioner & fellow Cursillista recently quoted Isaiah, 50:4 regarding yours truly, & I wished to see those words in context:
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
He is overly generous in his praise.

The Rebel Black Dot Drug Song of the Day

Ramones, "Chinese Rock" from Ramones Mania (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This next odd little theme, Drug Songs, grows directly out of the Thunder Songs theme, in two different ways. First, a search of my iTunes library for "thunder" produces seven results, the six Thunder Songs of the Day & "Chinese Rock." Why? One of the listed composers of "Chinese Rock" is Johnny Thunders, of the ur-punk band The Heartbreakers. For more on the not-terribly-interesting story of the composition of "Chinese Rock" (or "Rocks," plural), see the song's Wikipedia page: Chinese-link.

The second reason is that the first Thunder song, They Might Be Giants' "Thunderbird," sounds to my ears as if it is about substance abuse (whether drugs or alcohol is not made clear):
"I know, I know, I said that I would quit,
Alright, I promise no more after this,
You don't know how I tried
To forget what it was like,
I remember now,
I remember now,
Why they called it Thunderbird…"
The heroin junkie lifestyle as portrayed in "Chinese Rock":
"The plaster fallin' off the wall,
My girlfriend's cryin' in the shower stall,
It's hot as a bitch,
I should've been rich,
But I'm just diggin' a Chinese ditch.

"I'm living on a Chinese rock,
All my best things are in hock,
I'm living on a Chinese rock,
Everything is in the pawn shop…"
We here at
The Secret Base are of course in no way endorsing drug abuse. We grew up in the Nineteen Eighties & took to heart First Lady Nancy Reagan's tireless "Just Say No" campaign.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA


'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland (circa 1045-1093, A.K.A. of Wessex), Queen of Scots, "the Pearl of Scotland:" Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Margaret was a blessing for all the people of Scotland. Before she came, there was great ignorance & many bad habits among them. Margaret worked hard to obtain good teachers, to correct the evil practices, & to have new churches built.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Saint Margaret was born around the year 1046 in Hungary where her father was exiled. She was married to King Malcolm III of Scotland & gave birth to eight children. The ideal mother & queen, St. Margaret died at Edinburgh in 1093.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Gertrude, Virgin, O.S.B. (1256-1302, A.K.A. the Great, of Helfta): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Gertrude the Great eventually chose to follow the Lord by pursuing a vocation as a Benedictine nun. Her deep relationship with the Lord in prayer led to her being hailed as a mystic. She was also regarded as a great theologian.
The Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home, & within my family.
'Tis also the feast of Saint Othmar, Priest & Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 689-759, A.K.A. of Saint Gall): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of revelation, chapter four, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Fifty, verses one(b) thru six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses eleven thru twenty-eight;

or, for St. Margaret:
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-eight, verses six thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses nine thru seventeen;

or, for St. Gertrude:
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen thru nineteen;
Psalm Twenty-three, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses one thru eight.

The Rebel Black Dot Thunder Song of the Day


Michael Giacchino, "Thunderhead" from Speed Racer: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Last Angry Man)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, O.P. (circa 1206-1280, in Latin: Albertus Magnus): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was among the first & greatest of the natural scientists, gaining a reputation for expertise in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geography, metaphysics, & mathematics. He was also very learned in biblical studies & theology.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Saint Albert was born at Lauingen along the Danube about the year 1206. Having studied at Padua & Paris, he entered the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) & excelled as a teacher. One of his most famous students was St. Thomas Aquinas (28 January). Ordained bishop of Ratisbon (Regensburg), he strove earnestly to establish peace among people & between cities. He wrote brilliantly on a variety of subjects from the secular to the sacred. He died at Cologne in 1280.
'Tis also the feast of Saint Raphael of Saint Joseph Kalinowski, Priest, O.C.D. (1835-1907): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Book of Revelation, chapter three, verses one thru six & fourteen thru twenty-two;
Psalm Fifteen, verses two thru four(b) & five;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses one thru ten;

or, for St. Albert:
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifteen, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verse twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses forty-seven thru fifty-two.

Individual Reading
The Book of Job, chapter nine (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Job, chapter ten (verses one thru twenty-two).

Commentary: Job's Second Reply (9 & 10, inclusive).

The Rebel Black Dot Thunder Song of the Day


The Ninjas, "Thunderstorm" from Platypus (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: If I had it to do over again, I would not have begun the thunder theme last week. If I'd been paying attention, if I'd been thinking, I would have anticipated the interruptions of 10 & 11 November, both of which are special occasions here at The Secret Base. I would also have liked to have dedicated some musical time to the general election, A.K.A. Doomsday. Alas! But what's done is done; there's nothing for it now but to learn from the mistakes made & try to do better next time.

I do so love songs of love gone wrong.
"So we'll sit around and wait
For the lightning to strike the same place twice,
But it just doesn't equate,
I think the electricity's gone,
And it's too little much too late…

"So we'll sit around and wait
For the lightning to cook me inside out,
And I don't think I'm O.K."

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Rebel Black Dot Thunder Song of the Day


Slow Gherkin, "Operation Thunderballs" from Double Happiness (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: "Operation Thunderballs" is instrumental & the title is vague, allowing me to put my own spin on the song's meaning. In this case, I've returned to the theme of the 007 film Thunderball. Oh, Domino (played by Claudine Auger)…

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXXIII Sun. in Ordinary Time

Sunday, 13 November was the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Otherwise, 13 November would have been the feast of Saint Brice of Tours, Bishop (circa 370-444): Saint-link ūnus & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also have been the feast of Saint Didacus of Alcalá, Religious, O.F.M. (circa 1400-1463, A.K.A. Diego de San Nicolás): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also have been the feast of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin, M.S.C. (1850-1917): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings
The Book of Malachi, chapter three, verses nineteen & twenty(a);
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses five thru nine;
The Second Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter three, verses seven thru twelve;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses five thru nineteen.

* * * * *

Monday, 14 November is the feast of Saint Laurence O'Toole, Bishop (1128-1180, A.K.A. Lorcán Ua Tuathail): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine '14 & Wayback Machine '15.

'Tis also the feast of Saint Nicholas Tavelic & Companions (Déodat of Rodez, Peter of Narbonne, & Stephen of Cueno), Priests & Martyrs, O.F.M. (died 1391), martyred in the reign of the sultan Sayf ad-Din Barquq: Martyrs-link, Martyr-link November Tango, Martyr-link Delta, Martyr-link Papa, Martyr-link Sierra, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the feast of Blessed Maria Luiza Merkert, Religious, C.S.S.E. (1817-1872), co-foundress of the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.S.S.E.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
The Book of Revelation, chapter one, verses one thru four & chapter two, verses one thru five;
Psalm One, verses one thru four & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eighteen, verses thirty-five thru forty-three.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Explorers' Club, № DXXIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of the Somme, Part VII
Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916), better known by his pen name Saki, the short-story writer & novelist who volunteered for Kitchener's Army in 1914; he refused an officer's commission & served as an ordinary trooper, even though over the official age of enlistment; best known for "The Interlopers" (a personal favorite) & When William Came, he was killed by a German sniper on 14 November 1916.





Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Lord's Day

J. J. Heller, "Not Mine Anyway" from Painted Red (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The other day I was drinking a Red Bull & the thought occurred to me, "This isn't mine. This belongs to the Lord, the Creator of all—all that ever was, is today, & every will be. Thanks, Lord, for letting me drink Your Red Bull!"
"You make life worth living,
You make me want to start giving
More and more away to You,
It's not mine anyway…"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr, O.S.B.M. (circa 1580-1623), martyred by an Orthodox Christian mob: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
In 1054, a formal split called a schism took place between the Eastern Church centered in Constantinople & the Western Church centered in Rome. Josaphat, an Eastern Rite bishop, is held up as a martyr to church unity because he died trying to bring part of the Orthodox church into union with Rome.
'Tis also the feast of Saint Machar of Aberdeen, Bishop (died circa 540): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the feast of Saint Cunibert, Bishop (circa 600-663, A.K.A. Honoberht): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Third Letter of John, verses five thru eight;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verses one thru six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eighteen, verses one thru eight;

or, for St. Josaphat:
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter four, verses one thru seven, eleven, twelve, & thirteen;
Psalm Forty, verse five (a);
or, Psalm One, verse two(a);
or, Psalm Ninety-two, verses thirteen & fourteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter seventeen, verses twenty thru twenty-six.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day: Go Blue!


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "I Can't Turn You Loose" from A Saturday Tradition (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: On The Blues Brothers' first album, 1978's Briefcase Full of Blues, the date by which "the music known today as the blues will exist only in the classical records department of your local public library" is pegged at 2006. By the early 1990s, when A Saturday Tradition was recorded, the Michigan Marching Band's Blues Brothers shtick still pegged that dark day at 2006. Blessedly, in 2016 the Michgian Marching Band is still using the same shtick; that dark day has been held at bay for at least ten years longer than was believed possible. I do not recall the date for the blues's demise as given at last weekend's Maryland game, but as long as the Michigan faithful still dance in the stands to the strains of "I Can't Turn You Loose," that day may well never come. It is with joy that we keep the blues alive, providing yet one more reason to ask, Who's got it better than us? Nobody!

Go Blue!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (circa 316-397): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Martin of Tours is considered a spiritual bridge across Europe. When Sulpicius Severus first met Martin of Tours he was stunned. Not only did the bishop offer him hospitality at his residence—a monk's cell in the wilderness instead of a palace—but Martin washed Sulpicius's hands before dinner & his feet in the evening. But Sulpicius was just the kind of person Martin showed the greatest honor to—a humble man without any rank or privilege.
'Tis also the feast of Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska, Nun & Martyr, C.R. (1899-1939), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the feast of Blesseds Eugene Bossilkov, Bishop; Josaphat Chichkov, Pavel Djidjov, & Kamen Vitchev, Priests; Martyrs, C.P. & A.A. (died 1952), martyred in the reign of the Bulgarian Communists: Martyr-link Echo Bravo & Wikipedia-link Echo Bravo, Martyr-link Juliette Charlie & Wikipedia-link Juliette Charlie, Martyr-link Papa Delta & Wikipedia-link Papa Delta, & Martyr-link Kilo Victor & Wikipedia-link Kilo Victor.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Second Letter of John, verses four thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses one, two, ten, eleven, seventeen, & eighteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses twenty-six thru thirty-seven;

or, for St. Martin:
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-one, verses one, two, & three(a-d);
Psalm Eighty-nine, verse two(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses thirty-one thru forty.

Armistice Day

"Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not."
—Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Breakfast of Champions


Methinks by this point I need not belabor the point, the reason for my stubborn preference to commemorate the old Armistice Day (or even the contemporary Remembrance Day) instead of Veterans' Day. Ninety-eight years ago today, 11 November 1918, at "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" the guns fell silent on the Western Front. The war would not formally end for months, 'til the hideously unjust peaces signed 'twixt the vindictive victors & the defiant defeated all but assured the next war. Separate peaces were signed 'twixt all the many, tangled belligerents, & of course the fighting did not stop in November 1918. War continued to rage for years to replace the Russian Empire with the Soviet Union & to rescue any kind of non-occupied Turkey from the shattered ruins of the Ottoman Empire. But none of this should obscure the seminal import of the Armistice.

My perspective on Armistice Day has changed since "The Explorers' Club's" 1914-1919 project began. I do not in any claim to have experienced the horrors of any war, much less the War to End All Wars, but as I study what was happening in the war a century hence, the Armistice feels very far away. Not because of the ninety-eight 'twixt now & then, but because from the worm's eye view of November 1916, it is hard to imagine that the war will ever end. In some ways, I cannot accept that the war will end in the way I know it did, because that makes all the suffering , death, & anguish of the next two years all the more unbearable. I know that too much I have been seduced by the honeyed lies of the postmodern revisionism that says the whole war was fought in vain, that it was to no useful purpose. That was not the perception of the men who fought: They knew for what they fought; they knew for what their comrades died. We must remember this & value their hard-earned wisdom above the snarky smugness of the latter-day know-it-alls, nihilists who weren't there, who didn't chance all for a cause higher than oneself. All of it was tragic, but none of it was in vain.

That said, we also dare not sugarcoat what it was, dare not turn our heads away & refuse to gaze upon the horror. We will remember them.

"Anthem for Doomed Youth"
by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.


"Counter-Attack"
by Siegfriend Sassoon (1886-1967)

We'd gained our first objective hours before
While dawn broke like a face with blinking eyes,
Pallid, unshaved and thirsty, blind with smoke.
Things seemed all right at first. We held their line,
With bombers posted, Lewis guns well placed,
And clink of shovels deepening the shallow trench.
The place was rotten with dead; green clumsy legs
High-booted, sprawled and grovelled along the saps
And trunks, face downward, in the sucking mud,
Wallowed like trodden sand-bags loosely filled;
And naked sodden buttocks, mats of hair,
Bulged, clotted heads slept in the plastering slime.
And then the rain began,— the jolly old rain!

A yawning soldier knelt against the bank,
Staring across the morning blear with fog;
He wondered when the Allemands would get busy;
And then, of course, they started with five-nines
Traversing, sure as fate, and never a dud.
Mute in the clamour of shells he watched them burst
Spouting dark earth and wire with gusts from hell,
While posturing giants dissolved in drifts of smoke.
He crouched and flinched, dizzy with galloping fear,
Sick for escape,— loathing the strangled horror
And butchered, frantic gestures of the dead.

An officer came blundering down the trench:
"Stand-to and man the fire-step!" On he went…
Gasping and bawling, "Fire- step… counter-attack!"
Then the haze lifted. Bombing on the right
Down the old sap: machine- guns on the left;
And stumbling figures looming out in front.
"O Christ, they're coming at us!" Bullets spat,
And he remembered his rifle… rapid fire…
And started blazing wildly… then a bang
Crumpled and spun him sideways, knocked him out
To grunt and wriggle: none heeded him; he choked
And fought the flapping veils of smothering gloom,
Lost in a blurred confusion of yells and groans…
Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned,
Bleeding to death. The counter-attack had failed.


The Wayback Machine Tour of Armistice Day: Lest We Forget

Armistice Day '15 | Armistice Day '14

Armistice Day '13 | Armistice Day '12

Armistice Day '11 | Armistice Day '10

Armistice Day '09 | Armistice Day '08

Armistice Day '07 | Armistice Day '06

Armistice Day '05 | Armistice Day '04

Armistice Day '03 | Armistice Day '02

The Rebel Black Dot Song of Armistice Day
Eric Bogle, "The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'" courtesy The Watergirl (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"And the old men marching slowly,
Old bones stiff and sore,
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war,
And the young people ask, 'What are they marching for?'…"

God help us, lest we forget.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church (circa 400-461), forty-fifth Bishop of Rome: Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a pope & doctor, whose pontificate the Council of Chalcedon (451) defined that Christ is one divine person with two natures, divine & human. He vigorously defended the unity of the Church.
I attended Mass at Holy Family on Monday (no Mass is celebrated at Holy Redeemer on Monday), but there were no parish bulletins to be had.


'Tis also the feast of Saint Grellan, Missionary (fifth century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Our sources are unclear on whether St. Grellan was a priest or a bishop, but both seem likely.

'Tis also the feast of Saint Baudolino, Hermit (circa 700-740): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings
Weekday
The Letter to Philemon, verses seven thru twenty;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-six, verses seven thru ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses twenty thru twenty-five;

or, for St. Leo:
The Book of Sirach, chapter thirty-nine, verses six thru ten;
Psalm Thirty-seven, verse thirty(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter sixteen, verses thirteen thru nineteen.

Individual Reading
The Book of Job, chapter six (verses one thru thirty);
The Book of Job, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Book of Job, chapter eight (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Daniel, chapter two, verses thirty-one thru forty-nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses twenty-six thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Job's First Reply (Job, 6 & 7, inclusive) & Bildad's First Speech (8, inclusive), the King's Dream (Daniel, 2:31-49), & the Day of the Son of Man (Luke, 17:26-37).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" via iTunes (from Summertime Dream) (The Last Angry Man)


Operation AXIOM
Forty-one years ago to the day, 10 November 1975, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior, claiming twenty-nine souls. The Fitz was the largest "lake boat" ever constructed when launched in 1958 & set several seasonal haul records in her career. Songwriter Gordon Lightfoot says he was inspired to write & record "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" when an issue of Newsweek misspelt the ship's name as "Edmond Fitzgerald," dishonoring the memory of those who died. Twenty-nine men perished when the freighter S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank on 10 November 1975, forty-one years today.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Edmund Fitzgerald '10 | Edmund Fitzgerald '11 | Edmund Fitzgerald '14 | Edmund Fitzgerald '15