Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Caro Emerald, "Riviera Life" from Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Between vacation Bible school & a visit from my Xanadu kin, I was deprived of adequate sleep all week*. I awoke in plenty of time for my middle-o'-the-night adoration shift (3:00-4:30 A.M. Saturday, "Friday night"), but I slept in & missed Saturday morning men's Bible study & fellowship group (8:00-9:30 A.M.). I awoke at 8:30 instead of 7:30, but instead of rushing to arrive for the last half an hour, I rolled over & merrily went back to sleep, blissfully drifting in & out of slumber 'til 10:00 A.M. During that time, "Riviera Life" started running through my mind & I smiled at knowing that the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. had been selected before I was even fully awake.

*After this morning's desperately needed forty winks, things are going to get worse before they get better. Looking at everything on my schedule for tonight, tomorrow (Sunday), & then Monday & Tuesday, I shouldn't have a chance to get a full night's rest 'til Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Last week's V.B.S. theme was that God is with us even amidst life's "wild ride." 'Tis true. Whee!

Saints + Scripture

The Popish Plot
Vlog Post: "Faith Fest 2018"

'Tis the Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (died 64), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero: Martyrs-link ūnus, Martyrs-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome were Christians martyred in the city of Rome during Nero's persecution in 64.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Bertrand of Le Mans, Bishop (circa 553-623, A.K.A. Bertechramnus): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Ramon Llull, Martyr, T.O.S.F. (circa 1232-1315, the Doctor Illuminatus ["Enlightened Doctor"], Anglicized as Raymond Lull), martyred in the reign of the Marinid sultan Abu Sa'id Uthman II: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of This Day
Mass Readings—Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
The Book of Lamentations, chapter two, verses two, ten thru fourteen, eighteen, & nineteen;
Psalm Seventy-four, verses one(b) & two; three, four, & five; six & seven; & twenty & twenty-one;
The Gospel according to Mathew, chapter eight, verses five thru seventeen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel passage acclaims a centurion’s trust in the Lord Jesus. To trust is to have hope, to turn one’s heart to God. It means to root one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns, in God. And oppositely, to trust and to turn one’s heart to human beings means to root the whole of one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns, in the things of this world: in wealth, fame, power, honor, or pleasure.

What is the center of gravity of your life? What is your "ultimate concern"? The Bible consistently lays this out as an either/or. Think of the passage in the book of Joshua, when Joshua lays it on the line for the people of Israel: "Do you serve the Lord or some other gods?"

Jesus tells his followers, "Either you are with me or you are against me." Today’s Gospel reminds us that we each have to answer this question with great honesty and clarity
Video reflection by Deacon Bernard Nojadera: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses thirty-one(b) thru thirty-nine;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-four, verse seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-four, verses four thru thirteen.

Papal Quote o' This Day
"Remember how the first Christians, most of them simple & humble people, suffering the most cruel persecutions, were successful in spreading Christ's message to all parts of the empire. Their only weapons were prayer, the Gospel, & the Cross."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great, 1920-2005; feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' This Day
"I will always have to stay little to be worthy of His glances, but I'll grow in virtue under the brightness of this star of Heaven."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Catholic Quote o' This Day
"One must know man & human things in order to love them. One must love God & divine things in order to know them."
—Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Saints + Scripture — Saturday, 23 June

The Long Road Back, Part I of V | Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

Saturday, 23 June was the festival of Blessed Lanfranco Beccari, Bishop (circa 1124-1198): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link (Italian).

'Twas also the festival of Saint Peter of Juilly, Priest & Religious, O.S.B. (died 1136): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Thomas Garnet, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1574-1608), martyred in the reign of the Anglo-Scottish king James Vi & I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

Commentary: Nephew of fellow Jesuit priest & martyr Henry Garnet, who curiously has not been canonized nor even beatified, perhaps because of his implication in the Gunpowder Plot.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Giuseppe Cafasso, Priest (1811-1860, the "Priest of the Gallows;" Anglicized as Joseph Cafasso): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Uncle of Bl. Giuseppe Allamano [16 February].

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter twenty-four, verses seventeen thru twenty-five;
Psalm Eighty-nine, verses four & five, twenty-nine & thirty, thirty-one & thirty-two, & thirty-three & thirty-four;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses twenty-four thru thirty-four.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today calls us to entrust our lives completely to God. How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, and that they remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.

Paul Tillich said that "faith" is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary, and I’ve always felt that he’s right about that. What is faith? Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.

This is precisely what we see in the lives of the saints: in Mother Teresa moving into the worst slum in the world in an attitude of trust; in Francis of Assisi just abandoning everything and living for God; in Rose Hawthorne deciding to take cancer sufferers into her own home; in Antony leaving everything behind and going into the desert; in Maximilian Kolbe saying, "I’m a Catholic priest; take me in his place."

Do not worry, and depend on God for everything. Have faith!
Video reflection by Deacon Bernard Nojadera: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist: Vigil Mass
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter one, verses four thru ten;
Psalm Psalm Seventy-one, verses one & two, three & four(a), five & six(a/b), & fifteen(a/b) & seventeen;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter one, verses eight thru twelve;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses five thru seventeen.


Papal Quote o' That Day
"Nothing is so inconsistent with the Church of Jesus Christ as division; nothing is so opposed to her very life as for her members to take refuge in selfish solitude. There is nothing worse than for them to be too much devoted to themselves & to take an interest only in the private concerns of their own little group."
—Pope Venerable Pius XII (1876-1958, feast day: 9 October)
Little Flower Quote o' That Day
"My one thought, Jesus, is to love You."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' That Day
"We are born to love, we live to love, & we will die to love still more."
—St. Giuseppe Cafasso (1811-1860, feast day: 23 June)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Saints + Scripture: Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul

Better Late than Never | Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles (died circa 64; A.K.A. Simon, Cephas; A.K.A. Saul), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero: Apostles-link Peter & Paul, Apostles-link Peter, Apostle-link Paul, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
There is a lengthy tradition of celebrating the solemnities of both Saint Peter [also 22 February] & Saint Paul [also 25 January] on the same day. Together, the two saints are the founders of the See of Rome, through their preaching, ministry, & martyrdom there.
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of Ss. Peter & Paul: Vigil Mass
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter three, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Nineteen, verses two & three, four & five;
The Letter to the Galatians, chapter one, verses eleven thru twenty;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twenty-one, verses fifteen thru nineteen.

Mass Readings—Solemnity of Ss. Peter & Paul: Mass during the Day
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twelve, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm Thirty-four, verses two & three, four & five, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter four, verses six, seven, eight, seventeen, & eighteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter sixteen, verses thirteen thru nineteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel spells out the importance of Peter’s confession. For it is upon this inspired confession that the Church is built. Not, mind you, on popular opinion, which is shifting and indecisive, and not on personal holiness, which is all too rare. It is built upon the inspired authority of Peter—and I say, “thank God!”

We make this troubling and extraordinary claim that it is through a special charism of the Spirit that Peter and his successors govern the Church. Now, I realize that I have many Protestant readers and that this text has been, between Catholics and Protestants, a stumbling block. Let me clarify what is and is not at stake here.

What is the focus of Peter’s confession? It has to do with who Jesus is. This is the rock upon which the Church is built. We don’t say for a moment that all of Peter’s practical decisions are right, that everything he says is right. But we are saying that he is right about who Jesus is: a man who is also the Son of the living God. And this is the source and ground of the whole operation
Video reflection by Father Praveen Lakkisetti: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Cassius of Narni, Bishop (died 558): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Hemma of Gurk, Religious, O.S.B. (circa 980-1045, also spelt Emma, Gemma), foundress of Gurk Abbey: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

Commentary: Kinswoman of St. Henry (13 July) & wife of Bl. William of Sann [29 June].

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Neither success nor failure must ever cause you to forget your vocation as servant. Allow the Lord to grant growth when & how He chooses. At the same time, imitate the Apostle Paul who knew how to suffer want & to love in abundance, ready for anything."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great, 1920-2005; feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"After this earthly exile, reunite us in Heaven!"
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Be assured that he who shall always walk faithfully in God’s presence, always ready to give Him an account of all his actions, shall never be separated from Him by consenting to sin."
—St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (1225-1274, feast day: 28 January)

Religious Freedom Week '18 — Day 8

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day!


The Aquabats!, "Cat with 2 Heads!" from The Fury of The Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Skammentary: During their recent visit, Where's Teddy? & The Cupcake both asked me if I'd ever heard of a song called "Cat with 2 Heads!" The dream is coming to fruition—their introduction to The Aquabats! has begun & the next generation of Aqua-Cadets are being trained.

Bonus! Song o' Yesterday!

Donnerstag, 28. Juni


The Aquabats!, "Pizza Day!" from Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2 (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary!: Maybe next year vacation Bible school will be five days instead of the four it has been through my tenure (since 2015). Of course, the Lord God alone can say if I'll even be able to participate in V.B.S. next year.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Thursday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 338.8 lbs
This weigh-in: 335.0 lbs.
Difference: -3.8 lbs.

Progress.

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
Less Than Jake, "Channel 2 (Hungry Hungry Hippos Jingle)" from the T.V. E.P. (The Last Angry Hippo)

Religious Freedom Week '18 — Day 7

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Less Than Jake, "John the Baptist Bones" from See the Light (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Commentary: Day four of V.B.S. find Our Blessed Savior, Jesus, being baptized in the River Jordan by His cousin, Saint John the Baptist. "John the Baptist Bones" doesn't really apply, but it was either this or "Baptize Me" from The Book of Mormon &, just, no.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bonus! Song o' the Day | Operation AXIOM


Ich Bin Ein Berliner, "A Small Band" from In Ska We Trust (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Commentary: Fifty-five years ago today, 26 June 1963, President John F. Kennedy declared his heartfelt solidarity with the citizens of West Berlin by identifying himself as a pastry.

Religious Freedom Week '18 — Day 5

Saints + Scripture

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


John Williams, "Ark Trek" from Raiders of the Lost Ark: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Last Angry Raider)

Commentary: Day two of V.B.S. Our Ark of the Covenant prop is way cool, certainly not as grandiose as the prop from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but dollar-for-dollar I'd say ours gives more bang for the buck, given how much cheaper it must have been.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Yesterday

Montag, 25. Juni
Alison Krauss, "Down to the River to Pray" from O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Music from a Film by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Day one of vacation Bible school. This year's program is "Splash Canyon," our wild ride on the river of life. I'm playing a "river guide" at River Run Storytelling, narrating & directing the Kinder to act out Bible stories.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Saints + Scripture: XII Week in Ordinary Time

The Popish Plot
Summer Book Club: "School's Not Out for Summer"

'Tis the festival of Saint William of Montevergine, Abbot, O.S.B. (1085-1142, A.K.A. of Vercelli), founder of the Benedictine Williamites, formally the Order of Monte Vergine: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Order.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Dorothea of Montau, Religious (1347-1394, A.K.A. Dorothea Swarte): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
The Second Book of Kings, chapter seventeen, verses five thru eight, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen(a), & eighteen;
Psalm Sixty, verses three, four & five, & twelve & thirteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses one thru five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus commands us to stop judging others. He asks, "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?" We are exceptionally good at seeing the fault in others, but we are exceptionally adept at ignoring it in ourselves.

There was a very popular book that came out when I was a teenager. It was called, I’m Okay and You’re Okay. It represented the culture of exculpation and feel-good-about-yourself. Some years ago, Christina Aguilera crooned, "I am beautiful in every single way and words can’t bring me down." Look at so many of the debates today: the attitude that is winning is one of self-invention and self-assertion. Who are you to tell me how to behave?

In all of this, we are fundamentally looking away from our guilt, our fault, our darkness. We are effectively drugging ourselves, dulling the pain of real self-consciousness. In the process, we turn ourselves into God, pretending to be absolute, flawless, and impervious to criticism. So "remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye."
Video reflection by Msgr. James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Papal Quote o' the Day
"Essential to the attainment of these national goals is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice & respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor. It bids us to break the bonds of injustice & oppression which give rise to glaring, & indeed, scandalous social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty & the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind & heart."
—Pope Francis (born 1936, reigning since 2013)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"How sweet is the way of love!"
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Bonus! Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me. My God, I love You."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)


Commentary: This is the first 25 June "Saints + Scripture" post to be published on 25 June. Three cheers for an all-too-rare BLACK MAMBA victory! Hip hip! Hooray! Hip hip! Hooray! Hip hip! Hooray!

Religious Freedom Week '18 — Day 4

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Religious Freedom Week '18 — Day 3


Though today we celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, we dare not forget his death, that the Baptist was martyred for speaking truth to power. Jesus is, in addition to being the Way & the Life, the Truth. Be not afraid to bear witness to the Truth to the Herods of these latter days.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Lord's Day

Faith Fest '18
J. J. Heller, "Your Hands, from Painted Red (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"When my world is shaking,
Heaven stands,
When my heart is breaking,
I never lave Your hands…"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Yesterday

Faith Fest '18
Samstag, 23. Juni
Matt Maher, "Glory Bound" from Saints and Sinners (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"There is a train for the brokenhearted,
To carry you to the other side,
There is a train for the ones forgotten,
To carry you to a heavenly light…

"There is a train for the cheats and liars,
For all the hitchers looking for a ride,
There is a train for the lonely drifter
Tired of walking all alone in the night…"

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Religious Freedom Week '18 — Day 2


Governmental discrimination against Catholic social service agencies results in fewer children being placed in loving homes, in more children remaining wards of the state. This discrimination is plainly unconstitutional, as it prohibits the free exercise of religion. Contrary to F.D.R.'s "Four Freedoms," the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans' free exercise of religion, not "freedom of worship." Our religion compels us Catholics to go beyond the walls of our churches & to care for orphans.

Saints + Scripture


Commentary: Today, I'm at Faith Fest, an annual contemporary Christian music concert/family fun festival hosted by the diocese. I could have made more significant progress in preparing today's BLACK MAMBA post ahead of time, but there was plenty of other work that also needed my attention. Over the next week, the daily "Saints + Scripture" post is going to be highly disrupted, due to the triple effect of vacation Bible school, out-of-town house guests, & charity poker—the bane of my pampered existence. I was pleased with how the "Please Stand By" placeholder posts worked out during my recent sojourn to the Lone Star State; so, I way well again adopt a similar approach. I would rather not walk "The Long Road Back," but sometimes it can nae be avoided.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DCXXI

Operation AXIOM: The World War
15-23 June 1918: The Second Battle of the Piave River—The Austro-Hungarians, bolstered by forces transferred to the Italian Front after the victory on the Eastern Front, attacked, not at all applying the lessons of the stunning Central Powers victory at Caporetto (October 1917); the Italians, though, had completely reorganized after that debacle & their elastic defense broke the back of Austria-Hungary.






Lest we forget.

Saints + Scripture

Better Late than Never
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

The Popish Plot
Fermentation Friday: "Countdown to 'Made for Happiness,' Part Deux"

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


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Paulinus retained much of the style of the old classical poets, & composed most of the poems in honor of the feast of St. Felix [of Nola, 14 January]. He is the author of a body of extant works including fifty-one letters, thirty-two poems, & several prose pieces.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saints John Fisher, Bishop, & Thomas More, Martyrs (died 1535): Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot ūnus, Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot duo, YouTube-link The True Enlightenment!, & Wikipedia-link Juliett Foxtrot; Martyr-link Tango Mike ūnus, Martyr-link Tango Mike duo, & Wikipedia-link Tango Mike.


Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Ss. John Fisher & Thomas More—It is fitting that these two men have the same feast day, because they were both Englishmen martyred within [a fortnight] of each other, for the same cause, religious freedom; on the same occasion, defending the sanctity of marriage & Papal authority against state usurpation; & at the hands of the same man, King Henry VIII.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Alban, Martyr (died circa 303, of Verulamium), the protomartyr of Britain, martyred in the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian & Maximian, a victim of the Great Persecution: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Innocent V, Pope, O.P. (circa 1225-1276, A.K.A. Pierre of Tarentaise), one hundred eighty-fifth (CLXXXV) Bishop of Rome, who attended the Second Council of Lyon (1274): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff & Wikipedia-link Council.

Commentary: Not to be confused with St. Pierre of Tarentaise, O.Cist. [1102-1174, 14 September].

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The Second Book of Kings, chapter eleven, verses one thru four, nine thru eighteen, & twenty;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-two, verses eleven, twelve, thirteen & fourteen, & seventeen & eighteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses nineteen thru twenty-three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to store up treasures for themselves on earth, but to store up treasures in heaven, "where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal."

St. Augustine once said that since every creature is made
ex nihilo, it carries with it the heritage of non-being. There is a kind of penumbra or shadow of nothingness that haunts every finite thing.

This is a rather high philosophical way of stating what all of us know in our bones: no matter how good, beautiful, true, or exciting a thing or state of affairs is here below, it is destined to pass into non-being. Think of a gorgeous firework that bursts open like a giant flower and then, in the twinkling of an eye, is gone forever. Everything is haunted by non-being; everything, finally, is that firework.

But this is not meant to depress us; it is meant to redirect our attention precisely to the treasures of heaven, to the eternity of God. Once we see everything in light of God, we can learn to love the things of this world without clinging to them and without expecting too much of them. Think of how much disappointment and heartache could be avoided if we only learned this truth!
Video reflection by Barbara Forde: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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.

Mass Readings—Requiem for Juliett Victor November
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.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"In the present-day confusion of the notion of good & evil, licit & illicit, just & unjust, in the demoralizing spread of crime & immorality, we will do well to preserve & deepen the sense of natural law. This mans the sense of justice, of integrity, & of the good."
—Pope Bl. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 26 September)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"Jesus bore with me patiently, for He does not unfold everything at once to the soul. He gives His light little by little."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first."
—St. Thomas More (1478-1535, feast day: 22 June)

Religious Freedom Week '18 — Day 1


We blog so often about the many, many martyrs slaughtered under the Devil's dynasty—the Tudor monarchs Henry VIII, Edward VI, & Elizabeth I (& we lament the many Protestant martyred under the misguided & murderously Catholic Mary I)—& their diabolical successors, the Stuarts—James VI & I, Charles I, Charles II, & William III & Mary II—because they died not so long ago & not so far away. Those martyrs, including St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More, spoke modern English, as did their persecutors. We still read literature from their period, such as the works of William Shakespeare, Kit Marlowe, & John Dunne, & even listen to their music—"Greensleeves," anyone? The English colonies that eventually became these United States originated in this period—the Lost Colony of Roanoke in 1587, Jamestown in 1607, & the Plymouth Colony in 1620. If we are not watchful, & are not very careful, the grim specter of Tyburn could very well return to these shores.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Real Can of Yams, "A Cold Night in December" from CODENAME: Koala (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Yesterday was—in the Northern Hemisphere—the summer solstice, the longest day o' the year. Last night was the shortest night o' the year. From here 'til the winter solstice, each day will be just that little bit shorter, each night just that little bit longer. The cold & the dark are coming, inexorably winter is coming.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Saints + Scripture

The Popish Plot
Summer Book Club: "Parenting on Your Own"

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


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Cousin of the martyr Bl. Rudolph Acquaviva [25 July].

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was an Italian aristocrat who became a member of the Society of Jesus. While still a student at the Roman College, he died as a result of caring for the victims of a serious epidemic.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Alban of Mainz, Priest & Martyr (died circa 400), martyred by pagan Vandals; a cephalophore: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Cephalophore.

'Tis also the festival of Saint John Rigby, Martyr (circa 1570-1600), martyred in the reign of the English 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—Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The Book of Sirach, chapter forty-eight, verses one thru fourteen;
Psalm Ninety-seven, verses one & two, three & four, five & six, & seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses seven thru fifteen.

Commentary: 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 a 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, and 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 the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be the things we want.
Video reflection by Fr. Roger Lopez, O.F.M. (Franciscan Media): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga
The First Letter of John, chapter five, verses one thru five;
Confer Psalm Sixteen, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-two, verses thirty-four thru forty.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"To construct this world you have to undertake great tasks. If you want your legitimate ideals to be meaningful & not halfhearted, beginning now you must be daring, patient, & sincere with yourselves. You must also have an unshakable faith."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great, 1920-2005; feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"What mysteries we shall one day see unveiled!"
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa, 1910-1997; feast day: 5 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Robbie Williams, "Candy" from Take the Crown (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The muse started running "Candy" through my head not long after I woke up, which as long-time readers will recall is my favorite way of selecting the R.B.D.S.O.T.D.
"Hey! Ho! Here she go,
Either a little too high or a little too low,
Got no self-esteem and vertigo,
'Cause she thinks she's made of candy.

"Hey! Ho! Here she go,
Either a little too loud or a little too close,
Got a hurricane in the back of her throat,
'Cause she thinks she's made of candy…"

Bonus! Autobiographical Song o' the Day

The Secret Base has changed a great deal over a decade & a half of publication, reflecting, one hopes, maturation & personal growth on the author's part. I used to grouse & kvetch about every little thing that roused my ire (this tendency to fury was why my Moonbase Studios colleagues nicknamed me "The Last Angry Man," though this was back when we called ourselves Blue Tree Whacking), airing all of my dirty laundry in this very public forum. I still do, to a sometimes unhealthy extent, but as I've begun to take my faith more seriously, I've become much more willing to extend to others the same benefit of the doubt I'd ask them to extend to me in my less-than-finest moments. Persons deceive, betray, & undermine other persons all the time; sometimes this reflects outright malice, but more often it reflects ignorance or indifference. To my mind, that's actually worse: We don't mean to harm one another, we're just so self-absorbed that we don't consider whom our words or actions might hurt, nor do we try to anticipate such "collateral damage" & mitigate the chance of it occurring. Straight-up villainy is relatively rare. I minister to the inmates of the local county jail; so, I know there are hardcore villains in the world—not just "in the world" but in our local municipalities & neighborhoods—but more common is the base villainy of indifference. We hurt each other all the time because we simply don't stop to consider how our actions or words might affect others; or, if we do pause for such reflection, we conclude that causing pain to others is a fair price to be paid for the all-mighty ego's desire to "express itself" in some banal & petty way.

All this is prologue to the following song. Maybe the man who inspired this selection didn't intend to do what he did, though that of course doesn't excuse the damage he wrought. I won't describe the circumstances, because I don't wish him to be identified, yet I am still so vile a sinner that this petty act of revenge helps to salve the wounds his duplicitous words & actions caused.

Mono Puff, "Back-stabbing Liar" from It's Fun to Steal (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Mono Puff is (was?) a side project of John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.
"Hear the scream that the turning subway made,
Hear the screams of the people in your way,
They love you very much but they
Don't know that you're the one.

"Back-stabbing liar, and have been all along
Back-stabbing liar, has learned to write songs…

"Back-stabbing liar, and everyone's wrong,
Back-stabbing liar, has learned to write songs…

"Back-stabbing liar, says he's resigned,
Back-stabbing liar, will change your mind."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Saints + Scripture

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Margareta Ebner, Religious, O.P. (circa 1291-1351): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Dermot O'Hurley, Bishop, & Margaret Ball, Martyrs (died 1584, also spelt Diarmaid Ó Hiarlatha & Maighréad Ball), martyred in the reign of the English queen Elizabeth I, two of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link Delta Oscar & Wikipedia-link Delta Oscar, Martyr-link Mike Bravo & Wikipedia-link Mike Bravo; Martyrs-link Irish & Wikipedia-link Irish.


'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 Anglo-Scottish king Charles II, victims of the perjurer Titus Oates's "Popish Plot" hoax: 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; Perjurer-link & Wikipedia-link Popish Plot.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The Second Book of Kings, chapter two, verses one & six thru fourteen;
Psalm Thirty-one, verses twenty, twenty-one, & twenty-four;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses one thru six, sixteen, seventeen, & eighteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel asks us to do three things: pray, fast, and give alms. Let’s focus today on prayer. Studies show that prayer is a very common, very popular activity. Even those who profess no belief in God pray!

What is prayer, and how should we pray? Prayer is intimate communion and conversation with God. Judging from Jesus’ own life, prayer is something that we ought to do often, especially at key moments of our lives.

Well, how should we pray? What does it look like? You have to pray with faith, and according to Jesus’ model, you have to pray with forgiveness. The efficacy of prayer seems to depend on the reconciliation of differences.

You also have to pray with persistence. One reason that we don’t receive what we want through prayer is that we give up too easily. Augustine said that God sometimes delays in giving us what we want because he wants our hearts to expand.

Finally, we have to pray in Jesus’ name. In doing so we are relying on his influence with the Father, trusting that the Father will listen to him.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Papal Quote o' the Day
"Our world is suffering in the icy grip of selfishness & fever. It needs to feel the certainty that renews & confirms forever the great work of the Covenant: 'The Lord chooses you, the Lord loves you.'"
—Pope Bl. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 26 September)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"I understand now that charity consists in bearing with the faults of others, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"After all I die as a child of the Church. My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may Your will be done. O my Lord & my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time for us to meet one another."
—St. Teresa of Ávila, Doctor of the Church (1515-1582, feast day: 15 October)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 338.0 lbs
This weigh-in: 338.8 lbs.
Difference: +0.8 lbs.

As the man said, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." I know what to do to get what I want, the challenge is in choosing, in each moment, to do that instead of choosing habit, instead of choosing to do what I've always done.

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
Tally Hall, "Just Apathy" from Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (The Last Angry Elephant)

Commentary:
"I'm too much or not enough,
Maybe everyone else is messed up,
Well, anyway, I can't seem to stay
In just one state of mind…

"'Cause it's one thing or another,
I don't even know why I even bother,
Something I just can't get around…"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Taco Grande" from Off the Deep End (The Last Angry Man)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Leonard Nimoy, "Highly Illogical" from Spaced Out: The Very Best of Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner (The Last Angry Trekkie)

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Romuald, Abbot, O.S.B. Cam. (circa 950-1027, of Ravenna): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.S.B. Cam. & Er. Cam.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was very influential in reforming monastic life in the eleventh century. When, as a young man, Romuald witnessed his father kill a relative in a property dispute, he fled to a nearby monastery & adopted a life of penance & prayer.
'Tis also the festival of Blesseds William Exmew, Humphrey Middlemore, & Sebastian Newdigate, Priests & Martyrs, O.Cart. (died 1535), martyred in the reign of the English king Henry VIII, three of the Carthusian Martyrs of London: Martyr-link Whiskey Echo & Wikipedia-link Whiskey Echo, Martyr-link Hotel Mike & Wikipedia-link Hotel Mike, Martyr-link Sierra November & Wikipedia-link Sierra November; Martyrs-link Charterhouse & Wikipedia-link Charterhouse.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Woodhouse, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1535-1573), martyred in the reign of the English 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.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The First Book of Kings, chapter twenty-one, verses seventeen thru twenty-nine;
Psalm Fifty-one, verses Ythree & four, five & six(a/b), & eleven & sixteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses forty-three thru forty-eight.

Commentary: 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.
Video reflection by Father Andrew Lauricella: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"I ask that you have the grace to be very close to your children, letting them grow, but being by their side. They need you, your presence, to be there, your love!"
—Pope Francis (born 1936, reigning since 2013)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"I understand clearly that through love alone can we become pleasing to God, & my sole ambition is to acquire it."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."
—St. Stephen (5-34, feast day: 26 December)

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DCXX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Spring Offensive, Part V
9-12 June 1019: The Battle of Matz (Operation Gneisenau)—The Germans attacked across a broad front along the River Matz; the French were forewarned by German P.O.W.s, yet the stormtroopers advanced 'til a massive French counterattack (11 June) surprised them by proceeding without a preliminary artillery bombardment, spearheaded by Saint-Chamond & Schneider CA tanks.






Lest we forget.

Saints + Scripture: XI Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Long Road Back
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

Sunday, 17 June was the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of This Week
Mass Readings—Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter seventeen, verses twenty-two, twenty-three, & twenty-four;
Psalm Ninety-two, verses two & three, thirteen & fourteen, & fifteen & sixteen;
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter five, verses six thru ten;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter four, verses twenty-six thru thirty-four.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed that "when it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants." It seems to be a law of the spiritual life that God wants good things to start small and grow over time.

We’re tempted to say, "You’re God. Just get on with it. Do it!" But why would God work the way he does? We might attempt a few explanations. It is a commonplace of the Bible that God rejoices in our cooperation. He wants to involve us, through freedom, intelligence, and creativity, in what he is doing. And so he plants seeds, and he wants us to cultivate them.

Consider what God said to St. Francis: "Francis, rebuild my Church." God could have rebuilt his Church without Francis, but he wanted him to get involved.

When things start small, they can fly under the radar while they gain strength and heft and seriousness. Also, those involved can be tested and tried. Suppose you want to do something great in the life of the Church and you pray and God gives you massively what you want. You might not be ready, and your project will peter out. So be patient and embrace the small invitations.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Mister Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Audio reflection by Doctor Scott Hahn, Ph.D.: Breaking the Bread.


Mass Journal: Week Twenty-five
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 has always been 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 writing 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, 17 June would have been the festival of Saint Mo Ling, Bishop (614-697, of Ferns, of Wexford; also spelt Moling Luachra, Molling, Mullins), founder of the monastery around which arose the town of St. Mullin's: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery.

'Twould also have been the festival of Saint Rainerius of Pisa, Hermit (circa 1115-1161, A.K.A. Raineri Scacceri): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also have been the festival of Saint Theresa of Portugal, Religious, O.Cist. (1178-1250), Queen of León: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also have been the festival of Saint Albert Chmielowski, Religious, T.O.S.F. (1845-1916, A.K.A. Adam Chmielowski), founder of the Albertine Brothers, formally known as the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor; & the Albertine Sisters, formally known as 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.

Papal Quote o' That Day
"To be a good father, the first requirement is to be present in the family. To be close to his wife, to share in everything, joy & pain, burdens & hopes. And to be close to the children as they grow: when they play & when they make efforts, when they are carefree & when they are distressed, when they dare & when they are afraid, when they make missteps & when they return to the right path.

A father must always be present, but being present is not the same as controlling. Fathers who seek to control end up stifling their children; they do not let them grow."
—Pope Francis (born 1936, reigning since 2013)
Little Flower Quote o' That Day
"I would like to fly as the eagle does, but I can only flutter my wings—it is beyond my feeble strength to soar."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' That Day
"O Christ, only God, O Splendour, O Power of the Father, O Maker of heaven and earth & builder of this city’s walls! Thou has placed Rome’s scepter high over all; Thou hast willed to subject the world to it, in order to unite under one law the nations which differ in manners, customs, language, genius, & sacrifice. Behold the whole human race has submitted to its empire, & all discord & dissensions disappear in its unity. Remember Thy purpose: Thou didst will to bind the immense universe together into one Christian Kingdom. O Christ, for the sake of Thy Romans, make this city Christian; for to it Thou gavest the charge of leading all the rest to sacred unity. All its members in every place are united—a very type of Thy Kingdom; the conquered universe has bowed before it. Oh! may its royal head bowed in turn! Send Thy Gabriel & bid him heal the blindness of the sons of Iulus, that they may know the true God. I see a prince who is to come—an Emperor who is a servant of God. He will not suffer Rome to remain a slave; he will close the temples & fasten them with bolts forever."
—St. Lawrence (225-258, feast day: 10 August)

Saints + Scripture

The Popish Plot
Summer Book Club: "Special Circumstances"

'Tis the festival of Saints Marcus & Marcellianus, Martyrs (died circa 286), martyred in the reigns of the Roman emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Martyr-link Mike-Sierra, Martyr-link Mike-Lima, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Elisabeth of Schönau, Abbess, O.S.B. (circa 1126-1164): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

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

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The First Book of Kings, chapter twenty-one, verses one thru sixteen;
Psalm Five, verses two & three(a/b); four(b), five, & six(a); & six(b) & seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Commentary: 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.
Video reflection by Msgr. James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Papal Quote o' the Day
"Love alone makes Jesus the Savior. Only through the ways of love can we approach Him, imitate Him, & bring Him into our souls. Only through the ways of love can we bring Him into the ever dramatic vicissitudes of human history."
—Pope Bl. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 26 September)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"I remember His love for the prodigal son, I have heard His words to Mary Magdalene, to the woman taken in adultery, to the woman of Samaria. No—there is no one who could frighten me, for I know too well what to believe concerning His mercy and His love."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"To restore all things in Christ."
—Pope St. Pius X (1835-1914, feast day: 21 August)

The R.B.D. Song o' the Day: Requiescat In Pace


Matt "Guitar" Murphy, "The Blues Don't Bother Me" from Blues Brothers 2000: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: In memoriam Matt "Guitar" Murphy, 29 December 1929-15 June 2018.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Lord's Day

Matt Maher, "Land of My Father" from Saints and Sinners (The Last Angry Man)

24 HEURES DU MANS | +0:52:00

Congratulations to Toyota on their victories, both overall & in L.M. P.1! Congratulations to G-Drive* Signatech (Alpine [Oreca]-Gibson) for their victory in L.M. P.2! Congratulations to Porsche for their victory in G.T.E. Pro! Congratulations to Dempsey-Proton (Porsche) for their victory in G.T.E. Am!

I'm now off to church, to sing at Mass even though I haven't had a wink of sleep. Whee!

*The dirty, rotten scoundrels of G-Drive were disqualified after the race for cheating, thus promoting the second-place Signatech Alpine squad to class victors.

Bonus! Song o' the Last 24 Hours


Cake, "The Distance" from Fashion Nugget (The Last Angry Homme)

Commentary: Diane Kruger is already one of the most beautiful women in the world, but in a racing suit her allure reaches preposterous heights. The above photo is a promotional still for the 2003 film Michel Vaillant, in which Kruger played driver Julie Wood, based on the long-running & much beloved French comic book series. The film shot its racing scenes at the 2002 24 Heures du Mans.
"…The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can…
But he's driving and striving and hugging the turns,
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

"He's going the distance,
He's going for speed,
She's alone (all alone),
All alone in her time of need,
Because he's racing and pacing and plotting a course,
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
He's going the distance…"

24 HEURES DU MANS | 2:35:00

I will never understand Toyota's logic in (a) hiring triple World Touring Car Champion José María López (2014, '15, & '16) to drive their TS050 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype bug especially in (b) retaining López in 2018 while dumping 2014 World Endurance Champion Anthony Davidson. The № 7 Toyota entered the night leading the pole-sitting № 8, but throughout their stints in the № 8 both Fernando Alsonso & then Kaz Nakajima took chunks of time out of López in the № 7; as soon as Kamui Kobayashi took over the reigns of the № 7, he first stablized & then increased the lead over the № 8. Now, in the early afternoon at the Circuit de la Sarthe, López at the helm of the № 7 is dropping tires into the grass, spinning the car in the corners, & all the while falling further & further behind Alonso in the № 8. The are so many supremely talented former Audi & Porsche prototype drivers out there, guys who are now driving P.2s & G.T.E.s. Why, oh why is José María López in that coveted Toyota seat instead of almost anyone else?

24 HEURES DU MANS | 4:45:00

This is the toughest point of the race, from the at-home spectator's perspective. It's the dead of night, with no hints of the dawn yet on the horizon; I've been awake for nearly twenty-two hours; & safety cars & slow zones deprive the race of almost any amusement value. Let's hope for clear running the rest o' the way.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 6:32:00

First World Problems Revisited: This is the first, last, & only year I will ever endure the Eurosport commentators. I do not know how, but should the Good Lord permit me to live 'til next year's Le Mans, the finale of the 2018-2019 F.I.A. World Endurance Championship "Super Season," I will acquire & expend the resources necessary to watch the race (Eurosport's pictures are fine, because they are the world feed's, just like Speed & then Fox Sports used to air) while listening to the commentary from Radio Le Mans.


The № 63 Corvette is now running fifth in L.M. G.T.E. Pro, behind two of the factory Porche 911s (№ 92 & № 91) & two of the factory Ford GTs (№ 68 & № 67) & ahead of two of the factory Ford GTs (№ 69 & № 66), the three quasi-factory Ferrari 488s (№ 52, № 51, & № 71), & the № 95 Aston Martin Vantage. The № 64 Corvette, which has struggled all race but has never given up, runs eleventh in class, ahead of the № 97 Aston Martin Vantage, the № 93 Porsche 911, & the № B.M.W. M8.

I love the fact that there are still six hours of the race left to go. Most of the other races on the World Endurance Championship calendar are "only" six hours long, there's more than that duration remaining, & the competitors have already run almost three times that long. Hee hee, hee hee! Le Mans!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 8:23:00

The № 8 Toyota retook the overall (& P.1 class) lead from the sister № 7 just before an already troubled P.2 drove into the tire barrier at the Indianapolis corner, inspiring the first "slow zone" in quite a long time. Almost immediately thereafter, the № 82 B.M.W. smacked into multiple walls & limped back to the pits. Subsequently, the № 82 has officially retired.


To this point in the "Grand Prix of Endurance & Efficiency," eight of the sixty entrants have retired. Every finisher receives a medal, because win or lose completing the 24 Hours is an achievement of which one should be proud.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

24 HEURES DU MANS | 9:35:00

Dawn approaches in Le Mans, Sarthe, France. Meanwhile, here in Grand Blanc, Michigan, United States, midnight approaches. The 24 Heures is about to enter its gloriously surreal phase, in which the dead of night here contrasts with the bright of morning there, & the weary competitors experience a surge of optimism as the claustrophobic night gives way to the boundless dawn—only to realize that they have nine more hours of hard racing ahead of them, with equipment that has already been abused for fifteen or so hours.

The № 64 Corvette continues to run seventh in class, occasionally rising as high as fifth depending on the vagaries of the pit-stop cycle. Come on, boys! Let's go!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 11:59:00

It's genuinely hard to believe that there is less of the 86e 24 Heures du Mans ahead than there is behind. Tempus fugit! Truth be told, I haven't been watching the race from the start. The race starts at 3:00 P.M. local time (9:00 A.M. my time). I made the decision to attend my Saturday morning men's group—Bible & Catechism study & fellowship—& catch up on the race via the D.V.R. I also wished to finish & publish the daily BLACK MAMBA post before settling into devoting my full attention to Le Mans. It took 'til nearly 4:00 P.M. my time to catch up to the live television broadcast, which is part of why there weren't any blog posts during those early hours of the great race: I fast-forwarded through the commercials, which are now normally my cue to come upstairs & listen to Radio Le Mans while composing these posts. (I know, nothing's more exciting than naval gazing.)

Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 12:42:00


L.M. G.T.E. Pro
The European-based duo of Porche 911s (№ 92 & № 91, above, in heritage liveries) continue to lead in class, while the American-based duo both had trouble: the № 93 spent time in the pits with alternator troubles & the № 94 retired. The much-faster-than-in-qualifying B.M.W. M8s have come to (relative) grief, with first the № 82 & then the second-running № 81 losing several laps in the pits with damper issues (in American automotive parlance, we call those shocks), the latter also suffering on-track damage from contact. The № 64 Corvette ran into mechanical trouble early & continues to circulate near the bottom of the running order, while the sister № 63 is running a respectable seventh, one lap down from the class-leading Porches.

L.M. P.1
The petrol/electric hybrid Toyotas continue to run multiple laps ahead of the purely petrol-powered privateer P.1s, with the № 7 leading the № 8 by one & a half minutes, a little less than half a lap. The progress of the № 8 was slowed when it had to serve a one minute stop-&-go penalty for speeding in a slow zone.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 14:06:00

He's Dead, Jim
I've a strategy in mind to help me endure through "the Grand Prix of Endurance & Efficiency," though it might best be described as a harebrained scheme. First, a stipulation: I stay awake for the entire twenty-four hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. You might say that is stupid, but it's not going to change, so my strategy/harebrained scheme takes place in the context of a non-negotiable all-nighter; just accept it. In a past year, I experimented with emulating the live crown, campers who often spend the whole week in Le Mans, subsisting on seemingly nothing other than beer. Drinking beer all night was not a good idea. I was never drunk nor did I pass out, but being dehydrated did not make the experience any more fun. The following year, I experimented with drinking copious quantities of Red Bull. The excess of caffeine left me tired & twitchy, again not enhancing the racing experience. This year, I'm drinking lots & lots of water, so much so that I have to make a "pit stop" at least once an hour. I am also drinking one Red Bull every six hours, the idea being to use the caffeine to perk myself up without overdoing it so that I become twitchy & distracted. I'll let you know how it goes once it's gone.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 15:27:00


Night has fallen at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The views of the race are more limited at night, restricted to on-boards views from the race cars, a few lighted corners, & head-on shots were the cars are obscured by the glare of their own headlights. I so love this race!

The sun is still shining here in sacred Michigan, but the real head trip won't come 'til dawn in France, which is in the dead of night here. Fatigue combines with the darkness & a circadian rhythm not happy to be upset to create a genuinely surreal experience, but of course that won't be for several hours. No point in jumping head.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 16:28:00

Woo hoo, Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans! It has been several years since I've been able to sit down & watching the 24 Heures du Mans on television. (Curse ye, Fox Sports!) Velocity, a part of the Discovery, Inc. family of channels, is carrying Eurosport's (another part of Discovery, Inc.) coverage the whole race, including an hour-long pre-race show & a scheduled half-hour-long post-race show (podiums & whatnot). This is a joy, especially after having to cobble together online coverage.

That said, I have a First World Problem. (Actually, everything to do with Le Mans is a First World Problem, since it is a motor race run in France which I am able to watch here in America.) The pictures of the race are glorious, but the Eurosport commentators are, while better than Fox Sports' goonish crew, not as superb as the commentators on Radio Le Mans. I've watched Radio Le Man's "Studio Vision" on the YouTube the last couple years, which is a less-than-ideal way to experience the race, since the video feed is just that, just their crew commentating from studio—no video coverage of the race. But the Radio Le Mans boys & girls are second to none in covering "the Grand Prix of Endurance & Efficiency." Ideally, I could watch Europsort's pictures on Velocity while listening to Radio Le Mans, but this is not feasible in that I do not have a television in my bedroom, where my Macintosh is located, nor do I have a laptop to use down in the living room where the television & the comfy green armchair await my return. Like I said, a First World Problem.

L.M. P.1
The Toyota hybrids, the only factory hybrids in the field after the withdrawal of Audi (2016) & Porsche (2017), are far outpacing the non-hybrid privateer P.1s, but this is a surprise to no one. The petrol-only privateers are counting on the unreliability that knocked out four of the six hybrid P.1s in 2017, unreliability that could well rear its head with just under sixteen & a half hours of racing left to go. For their part, Toyota aren't just cruising around, they are setting faster lap times than they did in last year's duel against Porsche.

L.M. G.T.E. Pro.
There were "balance of performance" (B.O.P. or "bop") changes made the day before the race, between qualifying & the start, which may explain why the B.M.W. M8s are so much faster in the race than they were in practice & qualifying, but there are also dark suspicions of "sandbagging," B.M.W. having deliberating concealed the true pace of their car, in order to earn B.O.P. help from the organizers, the A.C.O. Of course, most of those dark suspicions come from Porsche & Ford, both of which have been known to play B.O.P. games themselves.

Corvette, Ferrari, & Aston Martin don't seem to have the pace to keep up with B.M.W., Porsche, & Ford, but Le Mans is a long race & there's much more to it than pure speed. Fortitudine vincimas ("By endurance we conquer").

Bonus! Song o' Le Mans
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "First World Problems" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Homme)