Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Barenaked Ladies, "Brian Wilson" from Gordon (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This is a very unexpected choice for the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., from where I'm sitting, but when the muses sing whom am I to do anything but listen & heed their decision?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bonus! Song of the Day

Fountains of Wayne, "Radio Bar" from Sky Full of Holes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"We got some big things brewin',
What does it look like we're doin'?
We'll get to it sooner or later,
Not tonight at the Radio Bar.
But if you're ready, willin', and able,
You can pass out here on a table,
Beats sitting home watching cable,
Get some rest at the Radio Bar…

"One night there was a girl there,
For some reason she pulled up her chair,
She said, 'Why don't we go somewhere?'
So I passed her her coat,
That was all that she wrote,
That was it for the Radio Bar.

"O-o-o-o,
O-o-o-o,
O-o-o-o,
That was it for the Radio Bar."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Paulinus of Nola, Bishop (circa 354-431): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Paulinus was born in Bordeaux in France in 355. He advanced in the service of the state, married, & had a son. Desirous of an austere life, he received baptism &, having disposed of all worldly goods, began to live the monastic life in 393, at Nola in Campagna. He later was made bishop of that city & promoted the cult of St. Felix (of Nola, 14 January), assisted pilgrims, & diligently alleviated the misfortunes of the day. He also composed poems remarkable for their fine language. St. Paulinus died in 431.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saints John Fisher, Bishop, & Thomas More, Martyrs (died 1535), martyred in the reign of the king Henry VIII: Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot ūnus, Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot duo, & Wikipedia-link Juliett Foxtrot; Martyr-link Tango Mike ūnus, Martyr-link Tango Mike duo, & Wikipedia-link Tango Mike.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. John Fisher was born in 1469. After completing his theological studies at Cambridge in England, he was ordained to the priesthood. Appointed bishop of Rochester, he led a most austere life & fulfilled his pastoral role by frequently visiting the faithful. He also composed works against the errors of the time. While detained in prison, Bishop Fisher was named a cardinal by Pope Paul III.

St. Thomas More was born in 1477 & was educated at Oxford. He married & had one son & three daughters. While (Lord) Chancellor in the King's Court, he wrote works on governance of the realm & in defense of the Faith. Both he & St. John Fisher were beheaded in 1535 by order of King Henry VIII, whom they had resisted in the matter of his divorce: John Fisher on 22 June & Thomas More on 6 July.
I have seen with my own eyes the famous picture,
Portrait of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger, at the Frick Collection in Old New Amsterdam: picture-link. A prayer of St. Thomas More's:
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, & also something to digest.

Grant me a healthy body, & the necessary good humor to maintain it.

Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good & that doesn't frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.

Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs, & laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called "I."

Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, & to be able to share it with others. Amen.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Innocent V, Pope, O.P. (circa 1225-1276), one hundred eighty-fifth Bishop of Rome: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter eleven, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Eleven, verses one(b) & two, three & four, & seven & eight;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses seven thru fifteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, the Gospel for today is of great significance, for in it the Son of God teaches us to pray. We hear from not just a guru, a spiritual teacher, or religious genius, but from the very Son of God. This is why the Our Father, the Lord’s prayer, is the model of all prayer.

The Lord’s prayer is the prayer for the Christian journey which has been offered up consistently for the past two thousand years. Think for a moment how this prayer links us to all of the great figures in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, right up to the present day.

Keep in mind that prayer is not designed so much to change God’s mind or to tell God something he doesn’t know. God isn’t like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. Rather, he is rather the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be the things we want.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Paulinus of Nola
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter eight, verses nine thru fifteen;
Psalm Forty, verses eight(a) & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twelve, verses thirty-two, thirty-three, & thirty-four.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of Ss. John Fisher & Thomas More
The First Letter of Peter, chapter four, verses twelve thru nineteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses thirty-four thru thirty-nine.

Penance
Psalm Ninety-three (verses one thru five).

Commentary: God Is a Mighty King (Ps. 93).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


Michael Caine, "If—" via iTunes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: A recitation of the poem by Rudyard Kipling.
"If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too…"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Autobahn


Yesterday, while piloting the Malibu Stacy, I passed a vintage A.M.C. Pacer, replete with an historical license plate from the Michigan Secretary of State. The driver had a vintage, era-appropriate haircut. I proffered a thumbs-up, to which the Pacer pilot responded not by waving his left hand, which rested on the window sill holding a lit cigarette, but by taking his right hand off the steering wheel & offering a little splayed-finger wave.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, S.J. (1568-1591): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Aloysius was born of the princely family of Castiglione in 1568 near Mantua inLombardy. Instructed in piety by his mother, he manifested an inclination to religious life. He legally delivered his share of the ancestral dominion to his brother & entered the Society of Jesus. While serving the sick during a plague, he himself contracted the disease & died in 1591.
'Tis also the festival of Saint John Rigby, Martyr (circa 1570-1600), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter nine, verses six thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verses one(b,c) & two, three & four, & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses one thru six, sixteen, seventeen, & eighteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, todays Gospel prescribes the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I want to speak about the Biblical principle behind almsgiving. I know I’ve quoted to you before some of the breathtaking remarks of saints and Popes. For example, Pope Leo XIII said, “once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of your money belongs to the poor.” St. John Chrysostom (13 September) said—and St. Ambrose (7 December) echoed him—“For the man who has two shirts in his closet, one belongs to him; the other belongs to the man who has no shirt.” These ideas are, of course, rooted in the Biblical prophets, who continually rail against those who are indifferent to the poor.

Compassion is key to Christian ethics, learning to suffer with and feel with the other. We’re not dealing with an abstract Aristotelian moral philosophy, but rather with something more visceral.

This is precisely why the two great commandments are so tightly linked: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself.” In loving God, you feel the feelings of God, and God is compassionate to the poor and oppressed. That’s all the argument that a Biblical person needs.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga
The First Letter of John, chapter five, verses one thru five;
cf. Psalm Sixteen, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-two, verses thirty-four thru forty.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Part 1
The Book of Exodus, chapter six, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty;
The Book of Exodus, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-nine);
The Book of Exodus, chapter eight (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Exodus, chapter nine (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Exodus, chapter ten (verses one thru twenty-nine);
The Book of Exodus, chapter eleven (verses one thru ten).

Commentary: Moses & Aaron before Pharaoh (6:28-7:7), the Staff Turns into a Snake (7:8-13), First Plague: Water Turned into Blood (7:14-24), Second Plague: the Frogs (7:25-8:11), Third Plague: the Gnats (8:12-15), Fourth Plague: the Flies (8:16-28), Fifth Plague: the Pestilence (9:1-7), Sixth Plague: the Boils (9:8-12), Seventh Plague: the Hail (9:13-35), Eight Plague: the Locusts (10:1-20), Ninth Plague: the Darkness (10:21-29), & Tenth Plague: the Death of the First-born (11:1-10).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the First Day of Summer


Fountains of Wayne, "A Dip In the Ocean" from Sky Full of Holes (The Last Angry Man)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Summer Solstice


They Might Be Giants, "Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)" from the Why Does the Sun Shine? E.P. (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The solstice will take place shortly after midnight, when sacred Michigan will already be plunged into dark of night. Just as well, since sacred Michigan being sacred Michigan, the sunset is tonight obscured by clouds, specifically storm clouds & thus the thunderstorm graphic.

Project BLACK MAMBA, Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 910-981), the "Apostle to the Slavs:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Dermot O'Hurley, Bishop & Martyr (circa 1530-1584), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link & Wikipedia-link Irish.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds John Fenwick, John Gavan, William Harcourt, Anthony Turner, & Thomas Whitbread; Priests & Martyrs, S.J. (died 1679); martyred in the reign of the king Charles II; victims of the perjurer Titus Oates's fabricated "Popish Plot:" Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot & Wikipedia-link Juliett Foxtrot, Martyr-link Juliett Golf & Wikipedia-link Juliett Golf, Martyr-link Whiskey Hotel & Wikipedia-link Whiskey Hotel, Martyr-link Alpha Tango & Wikipedia-link Alpha Tango, & Martyr-link Tango Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Tango Whiskey.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter eight, verses one thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-six, verses two, five & six(a,b), six(c) & seven, & eight & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses forty-three thru forty-eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel tells us to love our enemies so that we may be like the Father. What is the Father of Jesus Christ like? Well, listen: “He makes his sun to rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” The Father of Jesus Christ is love, right through. That’s all God is; that’s all he knows how to do. He is not like us: unstable, changing, moving from one attitude to another. No, God simply is love.

In every case, his grace comes first, and grace is all that he has to give. This is why the comparison to the sun and the rain is so apt. The sun doesn’t ask who deserves its warmth or its light before it shines. It just shines, and both good and bad people receive it. Neither does the rain inquire as to the moral rectitude of those upon whom it showers its life-giving goodness. It just pours—and both just and unjust people receive it.
Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Part 1
The Book of Exodus, chapter one (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Exodus, chapter two (verses one thru twenty-five);
The Book of Exodus, chapter three (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Exodus, chapter four (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Book of Exodus, chapter five (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Exodus, chapter six, verses one thru twenty-seven.

Commentary: Jacob's Descendants in Egypt (1:1-7), the Oppression (1:8-14), Command to the Midwives (1:15-22), Birth & Adoption of Moses (2:1-10), Moses's Flight to Midian (2:11-22), the Burning Bush (2:23-3:3), the Call to Moses (3:4-22), Confirmation of Moses's Mission (4:1-9), Aaron's Office as Assistant (4:10-17), Moses's Return to Egypt (4:18-31), Pharaoh's Obduracy (5:1-13), Complaint of the Foremen (5:14-21), Renewal of God's Promise (5:22-6:13), & Genealogy of Moses & Aaron (6:14-27).

Hollywoodland | This Week in Motorsport


The twenty-four hours of the 24 Heures du Mans was not enough. I stayed up way too late to watch Le Mans for the umpteenth time. Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

The downside is that this self-indulgence will probably delay publication of the eagerly-anticipated Le Mans recap post. C'est la vie!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


Carl Douglas, "Kung Fu Fighting" via iTunes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: My enduring fondness for the Immortal Iron Fist comic book prompted the image that accompanies today's R.B.D.S.O.T.D. However, I feel it necessary to reiterate that the Iron Fist Netflix series was really, really bad: tonally inconsistent, overlong, not at all compelling, & dull. Such is my disdain for Iron Fist that I will not watch the upcoming Inhumans television show, which is being run by the same talentless hack who ran Iron Fist into the ground.

The Queue

I'd read precious few Archie comics before picking up a Riverdale Digest at the grocery store, a six & a half inch by five inch (6 1/2" x 5") volume containing the first issues of ongoing series Archie, Jughead, Betty & Veronica, & Josie and the Pussycats, & the limited series Reggie and Me. Interest piqued, I searched the Genesee District Library electronic card catalogue. I will say that I found teenage comic soap opera far more edifying than the last several superhero volumes I've read. Superhero comics are just so hysterical & either insufferably self-important or too clever by half. It was nice to read some comics that were just plain fun.

Recently
Hilaire Belloc, How the Reformation Happened
Pope Francis, Amoris Lætitia (The Joy of Love)
Mark Waid & Fiona Staples, Veronica Fish, et al., Archie, Volumes One & Two

Currently
Fulton Sheen, Finding True Happiness

Presently
Mark Waid with Lori Matsumoto & Joe Eisma, Archie, Volume Three
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***interrupted***
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
William F. Buckley Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Edward Sri & Curtis Martin, The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Project BLACK MAMBA: 11th Week in Ordinary Time

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Romuald, Abbot, O.S.B.Cam. (circa 950-1027, of Ravenna), founder of the Camaldolese Order, a tradition that encompasses both eremitic & cenobitic monasticism: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.S.B.Cam. & Er.Cam.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Romuald was born in Ravenna in the middle of the tenth century. He embraced the hermit's life & for many years traveled through various lands seeking solitude & establishing small monasteries while directing himself to a life of perfection by the practice of the virtues. he fought strenuously against the depraved habits of the monks of his day. he died around the year 1027.
Nothing, again, in the Holy Redeemer bulletin. I shall write to the bulletin editor today, asking for the hagiographies to be made more of a priority.


'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Woodhouse, Priest & Martyr (1535-1573), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Venerable Matt Talbot, Confessor, T.O.S.F.* (1856-1925): Venerable-link ūnus, Venerable-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Ven. Matt Talbot was a Third Order Franciscan, those who do not take religious vows. Over fifty years after his death, the Third Order of Saint Francis was renamed the Secular Franciscan Order; so, today Ven. Matt's post-nominal letter would be O.F.S. instead of T.O.S.F.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter six, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two(b), 3(a,b), & three (c,d) & four;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ teaching about non-resistance to evil people. We are continually wanting God to behave as we would, that is to say, withdrawing his love from those who don’t deserve it and giving his love to those who do deserve it. But this is just not the way God operates. Why should you pray for someone who is persecuting you? Why shouldn’t you be allowed at least to answer him in kind—an eye for an eye? Because God doesn’t operate that way, and you are being drawn into the divine life.

Why should you turn the other cheek to someone who has struck you? Because it’s practical?! No, because that’s the way God operates, and you’re being called into the divine life. Why should you go beyond simply loving those who love you? Because that’s the way God operates: he loves the saints and he loves the worst of sinners.

Is any of this easy to do? Of course not. Are we able to get to this state through willing it, through earnest practice? Of course not! That’s why love is referred to as a theological virtue. It is the sheerest participation in the divine life, and it can only come from God.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Romuald
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter three, verses eight thru fourteen;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-one;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-five thru thirty-three.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLIV

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Gotha Raids, Part II
June-August 1917: Operation Türkenkreuz ("Turk's Cross")—The German daylight bombing campaign against London; the third raid (13 June) resulted in the highest number of casualties, one hundred sixty-two dead & four hundred thirty-two wounded, in part because due to the novelty of aeroplanes flying overhead civilians filed into the streets to see the show instead of seeking shelter.






Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Corpus Christi


'Tis the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi): Corpus Christi-link, Wikipedia-link Solemnity, Wikipedia-link Body of Christ, & Wikipedia-link Real Presence.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter eight, verses two, three, & fourteen(b) thru sixteen(a);
Psalm One Hundred Forty-seven, verses twelve & thirteen, fourteen & fifteen, & nineteen & twenty;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter ten, verses sixteen & seventeen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter six, verses fifty-one thru fifty-eight.

Commentary: Video Gospel reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel passage is one of the most shocking in the New Testament. Those who heard it were not only repulsed intellectually, they were disgusted, viscerally. For a Jewish man to be insinuating that you should eat his own flesh and drink his blood was about as nauseating and religiously objectionable as you could get.

So what does Jesus do? Does he soften his rhetoric when he hears these reactions? Does he offer a metaphorical or symbolic interpretation? Does he back off? On the contrary, he intensifies what he just said: “Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” As all the scholars point out to us, the verb used here in Greek is trogein, which indicates the way an animal eats.

So what do we do? How should we understand this? If we stand in the great Catholic tradition, we honor these mysterious and wonderful words of Jesus. We resist all attempts to soften them or explain them away or make them easier to swallow. We affirm, with all of our hearts, the doctrine of the real presence.

Mass Journal: Week 25
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Several years ago, my brother Nathan was living in Japan for a year as an exchange student. During that time, I received a letter from him with a photograph he had taken of what seemed to be the courtyard of an ancient Japanese garden. In the middle of the courtyard was an almond tree in full bloom. Nathan was always a talented photographer, but what really captured my attention was a quotation he had written on the back of the photograph. The quotation was from the writings of El Greco, the famed Greek-born Spanish painter. It read: "I said to the almond tree, 'Sister, speak to me about God,' & the almond tree blossomed."

Otherwise, 18 June would be the festival of Saints Mark & Marcellian, Martyrs (died circa 286), martyred in the reign of the emperor Maximian: Martyr-link Mike-Kilo, Martyr-link Mike-Charlie, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Gregorio Barbarigo, Bishop (1625-1697): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of Corpus Christi

Jim Cowan & Tony Melendez, "This Is Jesus" via iTunes (from The Cup of Life) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"This is Jesus, Emmanuel,
God is with us in this sacrament…"

24 HEURES DU MANS | +1:35:00

Wow! That was so much fun, let's do it again! I'm just going to catch forty winks first. Don't worry about me. Talk among yourselves. I'll be with you as soon as I'm once again steady on my feet.

Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 2:09:00

The № 2 Porsche has just passed the № 38 Jackie Chan D.C. Oreca, putting the № 2 back on the lead lap, approximately three & a half minutes behind the race-leading № 38. An L.M.P.1 might yet win Le Mans.

It's far too close to call in G.T.E. Pro, but Doug Fehan, the boss at Corvette Racing, is confident.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 2:49:00

Where we stand, with a shade under three hours remaining:

L.M.P.2!
1) № 38 Jackie Chan D.C. Racing Oreca 07-Gibson
2) № 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson (+1:13 minute)
3) № 35 Alpine A470-Gibson (+3 laps)

L.M.P.1?
1) № 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid (+1 lap)
2) № 8 Toyota Ts050 Hybrid (+11 laps)
3) n/a

G.T.E. Pro.
1) № 63 Corvette C7.R (+23 laps)
2) № 91 Porsche 911 RSR (+23 laps, 25 seconds)
3) № 67 Ford GT (+23 laps, 56 seconds)

G.T.E. Am.
1) № 84 J.M.W. Motorsport Ferrari 488 (+30 laps)
2) № 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 (+31 laps)
3) № 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 (+32 laps)

24 HEURES DU MANS | 3:04:00


The № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid has retired, having rolled to a stop along the Mulsanne Straight. The № 38 L.M.P.2 Oreca-Gibson from Jackie Chan D.C. racing is now the overall leader of the 85e 24 Heures du Mans, the № 13 Vaillante Rebellion (also an Oreca-Gibson) is second, & the № 2 Porsche 919, running first in the L.M.P.1 category, runs third overall. This is my ninth 25 Hours of Le Mans & in all those years I've never seen a P.2 lead the race overall; P.2s have beaten P.1s when the racing stars have aligned, but never at Le Mans. Of course, there are still more than three hours to run, & the № 2 might very well chase down the № 38, but of the six L.M.P.1s that started the race, all six have had significant mechanical problems, three of them retiring due to those gremlins (it can be argued the № 9 Toyota retired due to crash damage). Can the № 2 make it to the end? Can the № 38? Is the L.M.P.2 dream about to come true?

Le Mans is always unpredictable, but this is just ridiculous—wonderfully, wonderfully ridiculous.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 3:40:00

The race-leading № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid is in trouble! The car first ran into problems in the Ford Chicane, which is the end of the lap, immediately after the pit lane entrance, meaning the car has to complete the entire circuit, eighty & a half miles, in order to get back to the pit lane, to get to help. It is now trying to limp home on electrical power, stopping & starting in a manner eerily reminiscent of the demise of the № 7 Toyota back in the middle of the night. if the № 1 retires, an L.M.P.2 Oreca-Gibson will be the overall race leader.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 4:02:00

A hair shy of twenty hours into a twenty-four-hour race, a punishing, rewarding test of man & machine, & only nine cars have retired, across all four classes. Sixty cars started the "Grand Prix of Endurance" on Saturday afternoon; here on Sunday morning, late Sunday morning in France, & fifty-one of those cars are still running. Astonishing! Methinks the cars are holding up better than I am.

Of all the fictional motion pictures I've seen about racing, far & away the best is Steve McQueen's Le Mans, though of course Le Mans is as much a documentary as it is a fiction, having been filmed during the thirty-eight running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1970.


A film I've not seen, but which has been on my mind due to the presence of the two Vaillante Rebellions, is Michel Vaillant, based on the comics series of the same name. In the film, Diana Kruger plays Julie Wood, a distaff driver. Diana Kruger is one of the most beautiful women in the world. How to make her even more alluring? Put her in a garment normally considered unflattering. Put her in a fireproof racing suit.


My mind is wandering. Is that wandering a distraction, or a necessary respite to help keep my focus?

24 HEURES DU MANS | 4:57:00

With just under five hours to go, the contest in G.T.E. pro is fierce, a relentless cut & thrust across nineteen hours with five cars from five different marques still on the lead lap, covered by less than two minutes. The action is fast & furious 'twixt Aston Martin (№ 97), Corvette (№ 63), Porsche (№ 91), Ford (№ 67), & Ferrari (№ 71). Who will win? No one can say. 'Tis the very definition of thrilling & the very antithesis of L.M.P.1, which not so many years was the central attraction of the whole show.

How did the top-flight prototype category go so wrong? Hubris, I say, with the governing body & the big manufacturers more interested in advancing a political agency than in producing a spirited race. ("Green" technology that revolves around the toxic manufacture & polluting disposal of poisonous batteries is the height of environmental hypocrisy!) But I digress.

Let's go, Corvette!

Bonus! Song of the Next 6 Hours

Barenaked Ladies, "Who Needs Sleep?" from Stunt (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Who needs sleep?
(Well, you're never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep?
(Tell me what that's for)
Who needs sleep?
Be happy with what you're getting,
There's a guy who's been awake since the Second World War…"
He's Dead, Jim
This is the third consecutive day that finds me awake at 3:00 A.M.: Thursday night (Friday morning), I was on the phone with Miss Mozart. (I promise a Project PANDORA post. Patience, please.) Friday night (Saturday morning), I was adoring the LORD in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Redeemer's Perpetual Adoration Chapel, my weekly shift. Right now, Saturday night (Sunday morning), I'm watching the 24 Heures du Mans. The only one of the three incidences I regard as unfortunate was the first, for reasons that did not become fully clear until the cold light of day on Friday. I happily give up sleep in order to watch an hour (hours & a half) with the Lord Jesus, & I look forward to Le Mans, as punishing as it is, all year long.

I've read that a key to health & overall wellness is adequate sleep & consistent hours for sleeping. I look forward to partaking of adequate sleep & to maintaining consistent hours for sleeping starting tomorrow—not tomorrow, Monday, 19 June, but Tomorrow, the mystical land of human achievement.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 6:21:00

Every other race in the World Endurance Championship (W.E.C.) is six hours long. The teams still running have already done three W.E.C. races & have another whole race distance ahead of them. Anyone who thinks they have the race sealed up are not only fooling themselves but are actively flirting with disaster. THERE ARE STILL SIX HOURS OF RACING BEFORE THE CHECKERED FLAG WAVES! Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean to shout. Well, O.K., I did in fact mean to yell, but only to make a point. I'm sorry. I'm tired. That's no excuse. (Though it is true.) Sorry.

Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 7:32:00

I'm a sucker for British accents, always have been, I've never denied that. I freely admit that over the last twelve hours, in my jolly & fatigued state, I've developed a silly little aural crush on the voice of Gemma Hatton, a writer for Racecar Engineering & contributor to Radio Le Mans. Endurance motor racing is a sausage fest, a heavily male dominated field. A girl? Who likes racing? Who understands more about race cars than I do? With a high-pitched voice & a delightful accent? I am unembarrassed of my silly little crush. Girls are magical, plain & simple.


In G.T.E. Pro, the № 63 Corvette C7.R is leading the class, ahead of the № 91 Porsche G.T. Team 911 R.S.R. in second & the № 51 A.F. Corse Ferrari 488. Of course, it is uncertain where precisely they are in the pit stop rotation & what effect that has on the № 63's position. (There are a lot of moving pieces to this "Grand Prix of Endurance" & I've been awake for a long time; so, I'm not at my most mentally acute.) There are many & many laps left to run. Never say die!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 8:27:00

I've actually cobbled together a pretty great race experience here, a phoenix risen from the ashes of Fox Sports's perfidy. Fox doesn't broadcast the race themselves, they tap into the world feed & then overlay their own commentary. While watching the live stream of Radio Le Mans's Studio Vision, I found a live stream of the race itself, the same live feed into which Fox taps. I've muted the sound; so, now I'm watching the live feed—the same pictures that Fox would broadcast—but with Radio Le Mans's superior commentary. Sure, I'm not sitting in the comfortable green armchair in the living room, but methinks this a blessing in disguise, as it will be easier to stay awake sitting here at my desk than it would be (& has traditionally been) in that oh-so-comfy green easy chair. So, yes, this seems to be working out swimmingly.

I can scarcely believe that two-thirds of the great race is already behind us. Where does the time go? Such is but one the many splendors of the 24 Heures du Mans. Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

24 HEURES DU MANS | 9:17:00

"Happy hour." For those teams that have survived the night, there is a certain euphoria that arrives coincident with the dawn. Light! The circuit is visible again, the shadowy disorientation of the night passes away. Of course, Le Mans being the meat grinder it is, the hope that springs forth from the dawn proves fleeting & false. A new day has dawned, but the race is far from over. There are still nine hours of grueling racing ahead, hours that must be faced by crews with fifteen-plus hours of accumulated fatigue & cars weakened by fifteen-plus hours of pounding abuse. Nine hours is fifty per cent longer than any other race on the World Endurance Championship calendar, & none of those other races are preceded by two & a half full-length endurance races. It is hard to believe that fifteen hours have already passed, hard to believe that nine-plus hours remain ahead.

Fortitudine vincimus, "by endurance we conquer."

24 HEURES DU MANS | 9:46:00

This is a strange time amidst the already weird night. The old saw claims, "It's always darkest before the dawn." Dawn approaches in northern France, while here in sacred Michigan the night grows ever deeper. Exhaustion is widespread, fatigue is infectious. Those who slept are waking up to a race unrecognizable from the one they left behind; for them, the shock, the too-familiar heartbreak of Toyota's stunning collapse is fresh.

The № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid is running slowly, not because of any trouble, but because they are being ultraconservative; essentially, they are following quintuple Formula One World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio's (1951, '54, '55, '56, & '57) maxim of winning the race by going as slowly as possible. The № 2 Porsche is still eighteen laps down, but has carved its way throughout about half of the L.M.P.2 field. The chaps at Radio Le Mans are of the opinion that if the № 2 doesn't encounter any additional trouble its pace should still put it on the overall podium, ahead of the swarm of P.2s. The sole remaining Toyota TS050 Hybrid, № 8, is two laps behind the lead pack of G.T.E. Pro cars, clawing its way back up the running order, but too far back to do much of anything but salvage a moral victory (& World Endurance Championship points).

The № 13 Vaillante Rebellion is running second in class, third overall, fifty second behind the class-leading № 38 Jackie Chan DC Oreca-Gibson, two laps ahead of the sister № 31 Vaillante Rebellion.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 10:15:00

Here's another view, a daylight view of the Larbre Compétition "art car" Corvette, № 50, which is back on the road, though running last in class & second-to-last overall:


The № 63 Corvette is running eighth in class, the last car on the (class) lead lap, almost three minutes behind the class leader, the № 95 Aston Martin. The № 64 Corvette is running tenth, four laps down, but just set the fastest lap in G.T.E. Pro. Never say die!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 10:51:00


At this precisely moment, two G.T.E. cars are doing carted off the track by cranes: the № 92 Porsche G.T. Team 911 from G.T.E. Pro & the № 50 Larbre Compétition Corvette "art car" from G.T.E. Am.

Le Mans gets weird at night. The darkness closes in, constricting one's view. Fatigue sets in & the body rebels against wakefulness, further distorting one's already constricted perspective. On track, speeds actually increase, due to the cooler night air. Le Mans gets weird at night, though perhaps it is more accurate to say Le Mans gets weirder.

Bonus! Song of Sympathy for Toyota Gazoo Racing


Albert King, "Born Under a Bad Sign" via iTunes (from The Very Best of Albert King) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"You know, if it wasn't for bad luck,
I wouldn't have no kind of luck,
If it wasn't for real bad luck,
I wouldn't have no luck at all…"

24 HEURES DU MANS | 12:00:00

One of the things I love about Le Mans is the sense of community. No, I am not in France; no, I am not even watching the race alongside any friends here at home; but in many ways I am in sync with those at the Circuit de la Sarthe, so close in emotion even though so distant in miles. Up & down the pit lane, everyone the pit reporters interview is heartbroken for Toyota, again: déjà vu-link.

Here's where we stand, halfway through the twice-around-the-clock classic:

L.M.P.1
1) № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid
2) № 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid (+18 laps)
3) № 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid (+29 laps)

L.M.P.2
1) № 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson (+9 laps)
2) № 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07-Gibson (+9 laps, 24 seconds)
3) № 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson (+9 laps, 1:02 minute)

G.T.E. Pro
1) № 95 Aston Martin Vantage (+23 laps)
2) № 97 Aston Martin Vantage (+23 laps, 5 seconds)
3) № 71 A.F. Corse Ferrari 488 (+23 laps, 56 seconds)

G.T.E. Am
1) № 84 J.M.W. Motorsport Ferrari 488 (+25 laps)
2) № 90 T.F. Sport Aston Martin Vantage (+26 laps)
3) № 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR 991 (+26 laps, 13 seconds)

24 HEURES DU MANS | 13:00:00

Here at The Secret Base, we reserve the word triskaidekaphobia for posts about death in motorsport. However emotionally wrenching this 24 Hours of Le Mans has become, it's not as if a man has lost his life; this far, praise God, no one has even been seriously hurt. But with thirteen hours left to go, with fully half of the P.1 field retired & Toyota's hopes for redemption dashed almost as cruelly as in 2016 (Toyota-link), I regard what the next thirteen hours might hold with a certain dread.

The № 13 Vaillante Rebellion (Oreca-Gibson) is currently running second in class (P.2) & third overall. Such is the vague but widespread superstition about the number thirteen (triskaidekaphobia-link), that the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (F.I.A.), the world governing body for motorsport, only allows cars to sport the № 13 if a team specifically petitions to do so. This year, the № 13 alludes to ts frequent use in the Michel Vaillant comic books. (Life imitating art, thanks to clever marketing.)

24 HEURES DU MANS | 13:31:00

The № 9 Toyota TS050 Hybrid has retired, the second of Toyota Gazoo Racing's three cars to retire in the space of half an hour. The № 1 Porsche leads; the № 2 Porsche is now second in class, some eighteen laps down; the sole remaining Toyota, the № 8, is thirty laps down, running near the back of the whole field.

The two P.2 Vaillante Rebellions, № 31 & № 13, are now running second & third overall, in addition to first & second in class, nine laps down from the overall leader. Until this year, Rebellion campaigned as a non-hybrid privater P.1 team, & never quite finished on the podium, with a best finish of fourth in class & overall. Now, in the lower P.2 category, they are running second & third overall, ahead of two of the three still-running P.1s.

The racing gods don't exist, there is only one God. But if the racing gods did exist, they would be very, very cruel.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 13:39:00

The № 9 Toyota has come to a stop on the circuit. It suffered a punctured tire, possibly caused by a collision with a P.2 car; suffered massive chassis damage from being stuck in gear & running too far on the punctured tire, which flew apart, tearing up the car's bodywork; & has now come to a stop in the Porsche Curves, not far from where the № 7 retired. It is unknown if the № 9 will be able to get going again on hybrid power or will be the second Toyota to retire in the span of a very few minutes. The circuit in under the second full-course safety-cars period. Disaster upon disaster.

24 HERUES DU MANS | 13:52:00

The № 7 Toyota, which had led the race from the first hour, has retired. Kobayashi walked away from the TS050 after it stopped in the Porsche Curves, short of the pit lane. The № 9 Toyota is a lap down from the race-leading № 1 Porsche; so, unless the Porsche suffers problems similar to its № 2 sister car, Porsche will win a record-extending nineteenth 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Woe is us! Woe is us!

Especially given the heat of the day, there have been relatively few retirements to this point: only five cars. Of course, there is still far more race ahead than there is behind.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 14:14:00

The № 7 Toyota is in trouble! The car never properly accelerated after the end of the safety car-period & has lost the lead of the race to the № 1 Porsche. Driver Kamui Koyabashi is trying to get around the circuit, back to the pit lane, but right now the success of that effort is very much in doubt & anything but certain. Disaster!

The № 8 Toyota is finally out of the pits, after two hours of repair. The № 2 Porsche has now gotten in front of the G.T.E. Pro field, but is still behind most of the L.M.P.2s.

24 HEURES DU MANS |14:24:00


The field is running behind the safety cars for the first (& one hopes, only) time in this eighty-fifth running of the "Grand Prix of Endurance." The Circuit de la Sarthe is so long—eight & a half miles—that three safety cars are used, a choreographed ballet that is a necessary evil of this greatest of all days in motorsport. There had been lots of incidents earlier in the race, but those had been dealt with by the use of "slow zones" that neutralized only a portion of the circuit instead of the whole thing.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 15:13:00

The № 64 Corvette went backwards into the wall in the Porsche Curves, but driver Tommy Milner was able to limp the car back to the pits on three wheels. The Corvette Racing crew attacked the repair with their usual efficiency, but four laps—& any reasonable chance of a winning performance—were still lost. The sister car, the № 63 piloted by Jan Magnussen, is currently one lap down from the class leader, the № 97 Aston Martin Vantage. Corvette Racing has a never-say-die attitude, but lots of other cars in G.T.E. Pro will have to run into lots of trouble for the № 63 Corvette to have a shot at a podium finish, much less the team's ninth Le Mans win. Drat!

The № 8 Toyota, which was running second, is suffering mechanical/electrical gremlins with the hybrid drive on the front axle, seemingly a similar problem to that which beset the № 2 Porsche in the first four hours. As of this posting, the № 8 is still in the pits, having been overtaken by the № 2. The № 7 Toyota continues to lead from the № 1 Porsche, the partial-season № 9 Toyota running in third, two laps down. The L.M.P.1 field is small enough that with the early retirement of the sole privateer entry in the class, the non-hybrid № 4 ByKolles, & the lengthy repairs to the № 2 & the № 8, the lead car in L.M.P.2, the № 13 Vaillante Rebellion piloted by Bruno Senna, is currently running fourth overall.

Midnight looms in France.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 17:01:00

The № 8 Toyota has overtaken the № 1 Porsche to run second behind the № 7 Toyota, producing a Toyota one-two with the № 9 sister car running a lap down in fourth. I have no particular love for Toyota, & one of the world's largest automobile manufacturing firms is hardly a promising candidate for a scrappy underdog, but after last year's heartbreak only a stone-cold villain isn't rooting for the German-based Japanese outfit to earn their first overall win (after five second-place finishes).

The № 64 Corvette—piloted by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Miler, & Marcel Fässler—is running fourth in G.T.E. Pro, maybe third, because I think one of the Fords running ahead is out-of-sequence as far as pit stop strategy. To answer a question no one asked, yes, I am wearing my Corvette Racing "Take No Prisoners" T-shirt.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Rainerius of Pisa, Hermit (circa 1117-1161): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Theresa of Portugal, Religious, O.Cist. (1178-1250), Queen of Léon: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Albert Chmielowski, Religious, T.O.S.F. (1845-1916), founder of the Albertine Brothers, formally the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor; & the Albertine Sisters, formally the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis Serving the Poor: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.F.A.P.U. & Wikipedia-link C.S.A.P.U.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter five, verses fourteen thru twenty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one & two, three & four, nine & ten, & eleven & twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirty-three thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel speaks of vows and encourages us to “not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.” It calls to mind the story of Ann Russell Miller. Ann was a San Francisco socialite, fabulously wealthy, mother of ten children and nineteen grandchildren, in possession of a glorious mansion overlooking San Francisco bay, a denizen of the finest clubs, someone who liked to vacation on her yacht in the Mediterranean. But Ann was also a very devout Catholic, and she and her husband made a vow that whoever died first, the surviving partner would dedicate his or her life to God. So when Ann’s husband died relatively young of cancer, Ann resolved to give her life to God in the most dramatic way.

She threw one more huge party for her friends—and then gave everything away and joined the cloistered Carmelite sisters in Des Plaines, IL. She now wears the simple brown habit of a Carmelite religious and lives a life of utter devotion, in poverty, chastity, and obedience. She sleeps on wooden planks covered by a thin mattress; she eats the simplest, meatless dishes served in the convent refectory. She is no longer Ann Russell Miller; she is Sr. Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Sr. Mary fulfilled the vow she made to her husband by taking new vows as a religious. The new vows she now appreciates, not as burdens, but as a means to freedom. For now, in the most radical sense, she is free to give her life utterly to God. Now I realize that her path is a radical one, and that not everyone is called to this sort of total surrender. But everyone is indeed called to the spirit of the evangelical counsels, for we must all become detached from wealth, pleasure, power, and honor. They don’t matter at the end of the day. Only God matters.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 18:50:00

The 85e 24 Heures du Mans has already been underway for over five hours, longer than any of the races in the European Le Mans Series & most of the races in the I.M.S.A. SportsCar Championship, & yet is only in the early stages. This is so grandly ridiculous!

The № 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid is leading both the L.M.P.1 category & the race overall, over forty seconds in front of the № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, followed by the № 8 & № 9 Toyotas. The № 2 Porsche spent over forty-five minutes in the pits with a problem with the hybrid drive on the front axle; they are back on track, but are nineteen laps down.

In L.M.P.2, in the first year of a new specification that sees every car powered by identical Gibson engines, the Oreca 07 chassis dominates: the duo of Vallainte Rebellion Orecas (№ 13 & № 31) are running one-two with the third place № 35 Alpine A470 being simply a rebadged Oreca 07. One has to look down to ninth in the running order to see the first non-Oreca, a Ligier JS P217, the № 32 from United Autosports.


In G.T.E. Pro, the Corvette Racing C7.Rs are running third (№ 64) & eleventh (№ 63) in class. The balance of performance in 2017 has made for much closer racing than the rigged Ford parade that made last year such a scandalous bore. The № 82 Ferrari 488 from Risi Competizione, which finished on the podium last year, has been crashed out by an L.M.P.2 car, the № 28 from T.D.S. Racing, which carries on.

In G.T.E. Am, only two cars are on the lead lap (for the class). Seven cars are one lap down, with another six cars two laps or more down. The № 88 Porsche 911 RSR 991 from Proton Competition was crashed out by an L.M.P.2 car, the № 26 from G-Drive Racing, which was also destroyed.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 22:01:00

Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

The story so far, with just under two of the twenty-four hours raced, is the heat. Temperatures are higher for this 85e 24 Heures du Mans than they have been for the previous fortnight of preparation, from practice to scrutineering to qualifying. These higher temps will affect engine cooling (potentially leading to failure by overheating), tire degradation, refueling efficiency, & driver endurance. Based on the skies, there seems to be little chance of rain, mooting Jason Statham's gravelly intonations at the beginning & end of the brilliant Audi propaganda film Truth in 24: "It always rains at Le Mans."

Fox Sports is providing twenty-two hours of race coverage, twenty-one hours of the race by half-hour pre-race & post-race shows. Unfortunately, twelve of those twenty-one hours are on Fox Sports 2, a channel available to approximately zero households in America. We are now in that lull between the first hour of the race on Fox Sports 1 & the unseen resumption on Fox Sports 2; so, I've made the transition to "listening" to Radio Le Mans, watching their live Studio Vision video feed. This is less than ideal solution, since it means I cannot see the action on track, but it is a great blessing compared to wrestling in futility with the giant lie that is the Fox Sports GO app, which as previously mentioned is a giant lie. I eagerly await the resumption of live coverage on Fox Sports 1 tomorrow morning at 1:00 A.M.

Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Next 24 Hours


Michel Legrand, "Le Mans: The Race, First Laps" via iTunes (from Le Mans/The Hunter: Bandes originales de films) (The Last Angry Man)

Friday, June 16, 2017

This Weekend in Motorsport | He's Dead, Jim


The 24 Heures du Mans looms! I rue that I have been unable to devote as much time to building up "hype" & anticipation for that most magnificent of days here at The Secret Base as I would have liked, but I've got lots of balls in the air, including a hairy furball that I quite simply hadn't expected. (More on that later in a Project PANDORA [!] post.) The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a grueling test of man & machine, & not just for the competitors. The effort I put forth is nothing compared to theirs, but unlike most of the competing drivers, mechanics, & engineers, I don't actually get any sleep during the race. The need to, simply to be able to perform at anything approaching their best; I have slept in the past & found that I do not want to miss a single minute of the "Grand Prix of Endurance," no matter how taxing enduring might be.

Two years ago, in imitation of many of the fans who attend the race & camp on & the grounds of the Circuit de la Sarthe, I drank a lot of beer, never enough to be drunk, but too much for how sleep-deprived I was & how dehydrating all the beer was; I shan't be doing that again. Last year, I overindulged on Red Bull & found the over-stimulation to be itself a powerful source of fatigue & physical exhaustion; I also shan't be doing that again. This year, I'm focusing on hydration & solid fuel: I'll be drinking water as my principal beverage, supplemented at strictly limited intervals with Red Bull, & eating two frozen Newman's Own pizzas over the course of the twenty-four hours. Over the last couple months I've cut myself down from three meals a day (plus snacks) to two meals a day (plus snacks, though this is curiously helping me snack less), but the endurance required for Le Mans will require an increase in caloric intake. When burning more fuel, more fuel is required.

The race will run from 3:00 P.M. Saturday to 3:00 P.M. Sunday, local time in France, which is 9:00 A.M. Saturday to 9:00 A.M. Sunday in sacred Michigan. I'm scheduled to read at the nine o'clock Mass on Sunday morning. I would have found a sub, but this Sunday is Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ. I'm a Eucharistic fellow & wouldn't miss reading on Corpus Christi for love or money. I'm going to be out of my head with exhaustion! Woo hoo!

Bonus! Song of the Day
Fastball, "Out of My Head" from All the Pain Money Can Buy (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Was I out of my head? Was I out of my mind?
How could I have ever been so blind?
I was waiting for an indication,
It was hard to find…

"Was I out of my head? Was I out of my mind?
How could I have ever been so blind?
I was waiting for an invitation,
It was hard to find.

"Don't matter what I say, only what I do,
I never mean to do bad things to you,
So quiet, but I finally woke up,
If you're sad, then it's time you spoke up, too."

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day: SKAfter Party

Reel Big Fish, "Don't Let Me Down Gently" from Candy Coated Fury (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary:
"Don't let me down (gently),
If you have to let me down at all,
Don't let me down (gently),
If you have to let me down at all,
Don't let me down (gently),
If you have to let me down at all…"

Project BLACK MAMBA, Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Isfael, Bishop (sixth century, Anglicized—incorrectly—as Ishmael): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Lutgardis of Aywières, Abbess, O.Cist. (1182-1246, A.K.A. of the Sacred Heart): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses seven thru fifteen;
Psalm One Hundred Sixteen, verses ten & eleven, fifteen & sixteen, & seventeen & eighteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses twenty-seven thru thirty-two.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus exposes the root problems behind sexual sin. Jesus says, “You have heard it said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The act is certainly bad, of course. Its’ grounded in a dysfunctional attitude, a basic misperception, a compromise of the soul. In order to be aligned to the God who is nothing but love, these underlying problems need to be addressed.

Time and again, we hear that the church’s moral demands—especially in the sexual arena—are too stringent, that the church ought to conform itself with societal expectations, that huge pluralities of Catholics themselves want to lighten the load. What do these data prove? Well, nothing really, except that the Catholic moral teaching is difficult. But so what? To dial down our moral ideals is to compromise the Church’s whole purpose. Jesus didn’t dial down the demands of love, and neither does his Church.
Bible Study
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-five (verses one thru thirty-four);
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-seven, verse forty-six;
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-eight (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-nine (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Genesis, chapter thirty-two (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: Abraham's Sons by Keturah (25:1-6), Death of Abraham (25:7-11), Descendants of Ishmael (25:12-18), III. The Patriarchs Isaac & Jacob: Birth of Esau & Jacob (25:19-34), Jacob Sent to Laban (27:46-28:9), Arrival at Haran (29:1-14a), Marriage to Leah & Rachel (29:14b-30), Jacob's Children (29:31-35), Embassy to Esau (32:4-22), & Struggle with the Angel (32:23-33).

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Vitus, Martyr (died circa 303, A.K.A. Guy), martyred in the reign of the emperor Diocletian, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XIV.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Albertina Berkenbrock, Virgin & Martyr (1919-1931), martyred by her attempted rapist, Maneco Palhoça: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter three, verse fifteen thru chapter four, verses one & three thru six;
Psalm Eighty-five, verses nine(a,b) & ten, eleven thru fourteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses twenty thru twenty-six.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today is taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has established himself symbolically as the new Moses, giving a law upon a mountain. His “you have heard it said, but I say…” has revealed that he has authority even over the Torah. The law is not being abrogated; it is being intensified.

The law was always meant to bring humanity into line with divinity. In the beginning, this alignment was at a fairly basic level. But now that the definitive Moses has appeared, the alignment is becoming absolute, radical, complete.

And so, “You have heard it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Killing is an action, but that action is rooted in a more fundamental dysfunction: a hateful attitude, a disordered soul, a basic misperception of reality. To be like God utterly, we have to eliminate, obviously, cruel and hateful actions, but we have to go deeper, eliminating cruel and hateful thoughts and attitudes, for God is love, right through.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Queen, "Fat Bottomed Girls" from Greatest Hits I (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I'm not defending the sexual ethic, or lack of same, expounded in "Fat Bottomed Girls," but I did wake up this morning with "Fat Bottomed Girls" playing in my head. I've often acknowledged this muse-selection as my favorite method for choosing the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., so I could hardly disregard it now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Queue

This book, this is why the Holy Spirit led the College of Cardinals to elect Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, & Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, etc. in 2013! Quoting myself, from my Goodreads.com review:
Why on earth did I let so many months pass with Amoris Laetitia sitting neglected on my nightstand? Let us regard one another with greater charity, with greater fidelity to the Gospel, never compromising the truth but also never forgetting that each & every one of us is wounded by sin in this world so awash with deception & degradation. Let us spend our time & our energy, which are not our own but gifts from Him Who made us, building each other up, binding each other's wounds, rather than sitting in judgment of our fellow sinners.
Finding True Happiness is a tiny little thing, only eighty or so pages, a compilation of chapters excerpted from the books Walk with God, Way to Happiness, Way to Inner Peace, & You. I've greatly enjoyed re-runs of the Venerable Archbishop Sheen's (1985-1979) groundbreaking & award-winning television series, Life Is Worth Living, but this will be my first foray into his massive bibliography.

I've moved Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, also published as Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 & Its Attempt to End War & Peacemakers: Six Months That Changed the World, to the bottom of the queue for the time being. I shall begin reading the book, heaven permitting, in November 2018, after the centenary of the Armistice.

Recently
Daria Sockey, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours
Hilaire Belloc, How the Reformation Happened
Pope Francis, Amoris Lætitia (The Joy of Love)

Currently
Fulton Sheen, Finding True Happiness
Mark Waid & Fiona Staples, et al., Archie, Volume One
Mark Waid & Veronica Fish, et al., Archie, Volume Two

Presently
Mark Waid with Lori Matsumoto & Joe Eisma, Archie, Volume Three
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***interrupted***
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
William F. Buckley Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Edward Sri & Curtis Martin, The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Methodius I of Constantinople, Bishop (circa 788-847, also spelt Methodios): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Joseph the Hymnographer, Priest (circa 810-886, A.K.A. of the Studium), the "Sweet-voiced Nightingale of the Church:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Interestingly, both Ss. Methodius & Joseph hailed from Byzantine Sicily before embarking on ecclesiastical careers in the Byzantine Empire proper.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter three, verses four thru eleven;
Psalm Ninety-nine, verses five, six, seven, eight, & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses seventeen, eighteen, & nineteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today, Jesus declares that he would not undermine the Law and the Prophets, but fulfill them. Jesus himself was an observant Jew, and the themes and images of the Holy Scriptures were elemental for him.

But what is going to fulfill? Protestant theologian N.T. Wright has pointed out that the Old Testament is essentially an unfinished symphony, a drama without a climax. It is the articulation of a hope, a dream, a longing—but without a realization of that hope, without a satisfaction of that longing. Israel knew itself to be the people with the definite mission to become holy and thereby to render the world holy. But instead, Israel fell into greater and greater sins, and instead of being the catalyst for the conversion of the world, the world was continually overwhelming and enslaving Israel.

And then came Jesus, who turned out to be, in the most unexpected way, the fulfillment of the dream. From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus affected the gathering of the tribes of Israel through conversion and the forgiveness of sins.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of Flag Day


The New American Brass Band, "Hail, Columbia" from The Civil War: Original Soundtrack Recording (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa was the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. for the two previous Flag Days. "Hail, Columbia" might not be quite a flag-specific, but methinks it still a fine & fitting salute to the Star-Spangled Banner. Hail, Columbia!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest & Doctor of the Church, O.F.M. (1195-1231): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin (about danged time!):
Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching, expert knowledge of scripture, & undying love & devotion to the poor & the sick, he was one of the most-quickly canonized saints in church history. He is also the patron saint of lost things.
Quoth
Joyfully Living the Gospel Day by Day (noteworthy because the daily reflections rarely mention the saints' feast days):
St. Anthony of Padua (whom we celebrate today) was a lover of God's Will & a man of peace. He was a priest & a Doctor of the Church, as well as a miracle worker. He was also a man of deep prayer.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Marianna Biernacka, Martyr (1888-1943), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Martyrs of World War II: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses eighteen thru twenty-two;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses one hundred twenty-nine, one hundred thirty thru one hundred thirty-three, & one hundred thirty-five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirteen thru sixteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus compares his disciples to salt and light. Notice, please, that these exist not for themselves, but for something else. In Jesus’ time, salt was not valued for itself, but for the way it preserved meat and enhanced the flavor of other foods. Similarly, light isn’t meant for itself; rather, we see things by it.

In our rather privatized culture, we tend to think of religion as something for ourselves, but on the Biblical reading, religiosity is like salt and light: it is meant not for oneself, but for others. Perhaps we can bring these two images together by saying we find salvation for ourselves precisely in the measure that we bring God’s life to others. We followers of Jesus are meant to be salt, which effectively preserves what is best in the society around us.

We are also light by which people around us come to see what is worth seeing. By the very quality and integrity of our lives, we shed light, illumining what is beautiful and revealing what is ugly. The implication is that, without vibrant Christians, the world is a much worse place.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-one, verses one, two, & three(a,b,c,d);
Psalm Eighty-nine, verse two;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses one thru nine.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Francesca Battistelli, "This Is the Stuff" via iTunes (from Hundred More Years) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: An apropos song, I thought, on the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost articles. "This Is the Stuff" also meditates on trusting God in matters both great & small, day in & day out.
"I lost my keys
In the great unknown,
And call me, please,
'Cause I can't find my phone.

"This is the stuff that drives me crazy,
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately,
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed,
This is the stuff that gets under my skin,
But I've got to trust You know exactly what You're doin',
It might not be what I would choose,
But this is the stuff You use…"

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


MxPx, "Shut It Down" from Secret Weapon (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: There was a fascinating & frightening piece on 60 Minutes last night, about the techniques coders use to make online tools & smartphone apps more appealing, engaging, & ultimately addicting. I think I'll stick with my "dumbphone" for the time being, thank you very much.
"Throw away your cellphone, you can talk to yourself,
You need a real friend, not some digital image,
So, what's it gonna be? A chat room or your family?
Don't let the T.V. screen turn into your reality!
Whoa-o-o-o-o-o, turn into your reality!
Whoa-o-o-o-o-o!

"Shut it down before we're all out of time,
We've got to shut it down, this is the end of the line,
This is the end of the line,
This is the end of the line.

"I don't wanna die, I don't wanna die,
But I'm having trouble living,
I don't wanna die, no, I don't wanna die,
But I'm not taking what they're giving…"
Project PORCUPINE
Just for good measure, the PORCUPINE protocols are once again in effect (upgraded from a finite "objective" to an open-ended "project"), meaning I'll only log into the FaceSpace once a week, or less. Earlier today, in light of "Shut It Down" as the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., I posted the following to my FaceSpace "wall":
Project PORCUPINE is once again in effect. I won't be back on the Facebook 'til next Sunday, 18 June, at the earliest. Cheers!
I don't use the Twitter, the Tumblr, the Tinder, the Snapchat, the Instagram, the Periscope, the Pied Piper, or any other social media aside from this old-fashioned bloggy-blog. So, as social-media fasts go, PORCUPINE should prove pretty painless.

Project BLACK MAMBA, Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Leo III, Pope (died 816), Ninety-sixth Bishop of Rome, "Charlemagne's Pope:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Yolanda of Poland, Abbess, O.S.C. (circa 1235-1298, A.K.A. Helen, Jolenta): Blessed-link ūna, Blessed-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Lorenzo Maria of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest, C.P. (1782-1856, A.K.A. Lorenzo Salvi): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses one thru seven;
Psalm Thirty-four, verses two & three, four & five, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses one thru twelve.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in the Beatitudes we hear are a series of paradoxes, surprises, reversals. A topsy-turvy universe is being set aright. Let me propose a key for translating these beatitudes. The word found in all of them is makarios, rendered “blessed” or “happy” or perhaps even “lucky.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit...” How lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things. Here Jesus is telling us here how to realize our deepest desire, which is the desire for God.

“Blessed are they who mourn...” We might interpret it this way: “How lucky are you if you are not addicted to good feelings.” Doing the will of God sometimes involves the acceptance of enormous pain. “Blessed are the meek...” One of the greatest seductions the world holds out to us is power. But what I ought to do is eschew worldly power, so that the power of the will of God might reign in me.
Mass Readings—Requiem for Juliett Hotel
The Book of Sirach, chapter three, verses one thru six, eight, nine, fourteen, fifteen, eighteen, & nineteen;
Psalm Twenty-seven;
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter four, verses thirteen thru eighteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fourteen, verses one thru six.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Gotha Raids, Part I
May-June 1917: The German Luftstreitkräfte abandoned strategic bombing via airships due to the increasing effectiveness of Entente countermeasures resulting in an unsustainable rate of attrition, instead turning to heavier-than-air craft, Grossflugzeuge ("big aircraft") such as the Gotha G.IV & the gargantuan "R-planes" (Riesenflugzeuge, "giant aircraft").





Lest we forget.