Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Great Big Sea, "The Mermaid" courtesy The Watergirl (T.L.A.M.)


"When I was a lad in a fishing town
The old man said to me,
'You can spend your life, your jolly life
Just sailing on the sea.
You can search the world for pretty girls
'Til your eyes are weak and dim,
But don't go searching for a mermaid, son,
If you don't know how to swim!'…"

Friday, May 30, 2014

My perception of the passage of time has been severely fouled up this week. I awoke on Monday at Xanadu, but was home again by the end of the day. All week preparations have been underway for the parish festival, disrupting my now-usual routine of church activities. Dinner was graciously delivered to us by distaff kith Tuesday, Thursday, & to-day; combine this with my travels & the only time I've cooked all week was on Wednesday. In no way was the sensation of to-day the typical sensation of a Friday.

Project TROIKA
K. Steeze & I are both experiencing difficulties getting in touch with the Ace. Discussion & consultations are needed urgently, as TROIKA has been stalled for too long. We must move forward. The project's very motto is "Grow or die." As things stand, we're dying. Of course, that is when a priceless nugget from Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination comes into play: "He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead." We're dying, but we're not yet dead.

Grow or die.
The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Flogging Molly, "Salty Dog" from Swagger (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Salty Dog" recounts the various misadventures of a salty dog, including drunken brawling, shipwreck, & a perilous encounter with the Spaniards.

"The ship went down, we all near drowned,
Ya stood there on the deck,
'Til the Spanish came and flogged yer arse,
And dragged ya from the wreck.

"They threw a rope around your neck
To watch you dance the jig of death…"

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hello, Kitty

I Hoovered the floors today, & now my mother has a few lady friends over for dinner & much-needed company. This has been a rough day for Diva. She used to sleep a good deal on the couch where my mom is now sleeping & spending the majority of her time recuperating. Admittedly, Diva is not just a cat but a particularly lazy cat, so she sleeps a good deal at a number of spots around the house, but still, that was one of her spots & it is now largely inaccessible to her. Poor kitty.

Poor fat kitty. Fat kitty! At long last, the dream has been achieved.

The Queue

Two words that describe Liberal Fascism: terrifying, irrefutable. The last chapter, titled "The New Age: We're All Fascists Now," & the afterward, "The Tempting of Conservatism," are sobering, making a compelling case that it is not just the American Left but also the American Right that is enthralled with "nice" fascism. I would urge you all, treasured readers, to read Liberal Fascism; don't dismiss out of hand a straw-man version of Goldberg's argument, but engage with his evidence & reasoning as presented.

Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni
Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith)
Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

Matthew Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Father Michael E. Gaitley, 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration

Christopher Moore, Practical Demonkeeping: A Comedy of Horrors
Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Swords of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Synthetic Men of Mars
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Llana of Gathol
Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter of Mars
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights

Lately Neglected
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill
Edmund Burke, The Evils of Revolution
F. J. Sheed, Theology for Beginners

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Great Big Sea, "Jolly Roving Tar" from Play (T.L.A.M.)


'Come along, come along, you jolly brave boys,
There's lots of grog in the jar,
We'll plow the briny ocean
With the jolly roving tar…"

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Fortnightly Weigh-in: I've lost a paltry one point eight pounds (1.8 lbs.), but unsatisfactory as that is it is better than having gained the same amount of weight. I am relieved, since I've felt unusually stressed in the last fortnight, an most unwelcome sensation in my deliberately stress-free life, & I have always known myself to turn to food (amongst other vices) for succor. I am seventeen point six pounds lighter than I was when regular record-keeping began in November. This is insufficient progress, but it is progress nonetheless. Onward!

The next nine days promise to be particularly stressful. This should be an excellent opportunity to master myself, to demonstrate that the moment's circumstances do not dictate my humor.

"But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
The Pogues, "The Irish Rover" from The Best of the Pogues (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Never let facts get in the way of a good yarn.

"'Twas a wonderful craft,
She was rigged fore and aft,
And o how the wild wind drove her!
She stood several blasts,
She had twenty-seven masts,
And they called her the
Irish Rover!…"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Great Big Sea, "Seagulls" from Play (T.L.A.M.)


"She made some decent money, yeah,
But nothing comes for free.
The busy streets just don't compete
With the sky, the rocks, and sea.

"You know that she wants to try,
Never let you see her cry,
You know that she wants to try,
She's got seagulls in her eyes…"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Operation AXIOM

To-day is not the day we as a body politic honor our veterans, though honors aplenty they deserve. To-day is not the day we as a body politic thank our active-duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, & Marines, though thanks aplenty they deserve. To-day is the day we as a body politic remember our glorious dead, those who gave the last full measure of devotion in defense of us as a free people. There is a Veterans' Day. There is an Armed Forces Day. Please, in the name of all that is holy, allow Memorial Day to be Memorial Day.

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of Memorial Day
Rob Carriker, "Give a Little Credit to the Navy" from Over There!: Songs from America's Wars (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CCCXCIV

Max Headroom (played by Matt Frewer).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Sixth Sunday of Easter
The Stanley Brothers, "Angel Band" from O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Music from the Motion Picture (T.L.A.M.)


"O bear my longin' heart to Him
Who bled and died for me,
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin,
And gives me victory.

"O come, angel band,
Come and around me stand,
O bear me away with snow-white wings
To my immortal home!
O bear me away with snow-white wings
To my immortal home!"

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Operation AXIOM

One day since the last Narwhal Day, three hundred sixty-four 'til the next Narwhal Day. I don't know about you, but I can still feel the sympathy.

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Haberdashery, "The Narwhal Suite" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "The Narwhal Suite" is an instrumental piece, not rock & roll but the product of what sounds like some kind of latter-day chamber orchestra. It is dark & foreboding in places, as should be all songs about the sea.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Narwhal Day

Sympathetic Narwhal Day to all & sundry! Yes, I know that "all & sundry" is redundant, since all encompasses sundry, but I still find it a pleasing turn of phrase. As it was in the beginning, there are three elements to the proper observance of Narwhal Day, each of which helps to engender the appropriate spirit of sympathy & celebration:

{1} Wear at least one article of clothing that is gray in color, as is the narwhal itself. This can range from as much as a gray suit to as little as a pair of gray unmentionables, both extremes being acceptable.
{2} Faithfully recite "The Oath of Narwhal Day." Woe to him who breaks his oath.
{3} Listen to "Sympathy for the Narwhal," by the Seaghost, an old ally of The Aquabats!

This is the sketch Red Patton drew last year, as he was caught up in the Narwhal Day spirit. He also helps to spread knowledge of both the narwhal & Narwhal Day to the youth, proving that the public schools are in fact good for something.

The Oath of Narwhal Day
The narwhal is a noble, pitiable creature,
A magnificent, monstrous visage.
An asymmetrical tooth for a horn,
Or sometimes two, or sometimes none,
Half again as long as the beast.

I swear my sympathy for the narwhal.
I will not lie and convince it all is well,
But I will be a friend to the narwhal.
The mocking dolphins and snobby manatees
Will get their well-earned comeuppance,
And the narwhal will frolic all day.

I dream this dream of the narwhal
And celebrate it in all its improbable, oddball glory,
On this the fourteenth Narwhal Day.

the narwhal (Monodon monoceros)—also narwal or narwhale

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of Narwhal Day!
D.J. Seaghost, "Sympathy for the Narwhal" from The Aquabats! and Horchata Records Presents Rice Capades Music Sampler, Vol. 1 (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary: "Sympathy for the Narwhal" is a largely instrumental piece, the only words seeming to be excerpts from old motion pictures. Then again, I often theatrically intone words & phrases of my own devise, only then to be asked, "What's that from?," so the words could well be the Seaghost's own.

"All I can get is static, variations on a central musical rhythm."

"Play something sad. Convince it all is not well."


Some months back, K. Steeze sent me a photograph (not the one above) of a bottle of Narwhal Imperial Stout. The increased pop cultural awareness of the narwhal pleases me to no end, & my hope is that one of these years Narwhal Day itself will register on the broader cultural "radar." This week, two of my FaceSpace friends, one a brother Knight & the other my confirmation sponsor, a friend of my mother's who has known me my whole life, asked me about Narwhal Day. He asked, "What is 'Unicorn Day'?" She asked, "O.K., Mike, what is Narwhal Day?" Narwhal Day's message of sympathy for the narwhal is spreading. The day draws nearer when, as the Oath predicts, "the narwhal will frolic all day." Thank you all for your sympathy for the narwhal; my great hope is that on this Narwhal Day you seize the chance to frolic in the narwhal's stead. The narwhal would want you to frolic. Frolic!

The Wayback Machine Tour of Narwhal Day
Narwhal Day '13 | Narwhal Day '12
Narwhal Day '11 | Narwhal Day '10
Narwhal Day '09 | Narwhal Day '08
Narwhal Day '07a & Narwhal Day '07b
Narwhal Day '06 | Narwhal Day '05
Narwhal Day '04 | Narwhal Day '03

Sympathetic Narwhal Day!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Operation AXIOM

Only one more day 'til Narwhal Day! Are ye ready to feel the sympathy?

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Aaron Burnett, "Narwhal" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)


"The narwhal has a long, thin tusk that grows out of his snout,
It's really just a big old tooth, but it gives him lots of clout.
He lives in the Arctic waters, just a happy little whale,
Very little is known of him, so I thought I'd share this tale…"

Urbi et Orbi
Last night, I attended the first sessions of an "at-home" retreat called 33 Days to Morning Glory (from a wee book of the same name). It is in preparation for Marian consecration (Wikipedia-link) in late June. I pray the "Hail Mary" almost every single day, placing my trust in the Blessed Virgin's intercessory prayers on my behalf, but some of the things said on the instructional D.V.D. by the priest leading the "retreat," Father Michael Gaitley, prompted me to raise an eyebrow. Early days yet, & this might yet prove a great boon, but right now my oft-repeated motto, "I like my religion like I like my politics, just that little bit crazy," is being put to the test. Have I meant that, or have I been a poseur?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


At this moment, I am particularly pleased with the length & shape of my moustache, which is of course the cue for a number of the whiskers in my moustache to become unruly & eventually go rogue, leaving me precious little recourse but to trim them back. Constant vigilance & inevitable heartbreak are the price to be paid for looking so dashing.

He's Dead Jim | Kith & Kin
We are so very blessed to have the kith & kin we do. Dinners have been donated by Mrs. Blinky, Danny Boy's mother (who has known me since Danny Boy & I were two years old), & the ladies of Mom's pinochle club. I am frequently asked, "How's your mother doing?" This has swiftly become slightly tedious for my misanthropic self, but I know that changes have been wrought in me, that I am a better disciple of Christ, because I immediately listen to the better angels of my nature & remind myself that these queries are expressions of kindness & love. Mom's doing well, insofar as she is in good spirits & her fractured bone is on the mend. She has taken this all in stride, which is a blessing. She is increasingly ambulatory as she masters the wheelchair, & is becoming more dextrous with the walker used to get her to & from my father's motorcar (the station wagon) for her sawbones appointments. I remain wary of the onset of cabin fever a few weeks down the road, but we'll burn that bridge when we come to it. Into every life a little rain must fall, & while if I had my druthers Mom would not have broken her leg, we are very blessed & things could easily be much worse.

Operation AXIOM

Only two days 'til Narwhal Day! Hip hip! Hooray!

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
David Polansky, "Narwhal" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: At last night's Knights of Columbus meeting, one of my brother Knights, with whom I am FaceSpace "friends," asked me, "What is 'Unicorn Day'?" He meant Narwhal Day. It was then my pleasure to explain to him this wondrous fête of sympathy & solidarity with the narwhal, one of the Lord's most delightfully odd creatures.

"Way up north in the Beaufort Sea,
Beyond the Arctic Circle,
Is a small white whale that comes adorned
With a spiral tusk like a unicorn.

"Hey-ho, the narwhal!
Hey-ho, the narwhal!
With a bit of luck we'll see one
And we'll shout, 'There she blows!'
Hey-ho, the narwhal!
So very far from shore,
We'll be at sea through the winter snows…"

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Three day's 'til Narwhal Day! Make ready!

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Real Can of Yams, "Shiver Me Timbers" from CODENAME: Koala (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: R.C.Y.'s pirate ditty's lyrics incorporate Robert Louis Stevenson's song fragment, "Dead Man's Chest," from Treasure Island. The choral show I saw on Saturday was called, "A Knight with Pirates."

"In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
We're trawling for booty and running you through,
Shiver me timbers!

"Yo ho!
A bottle of rum, a keg of ale,
Looks out, boys, we're setting sail!
Grab your sword and grab your gun,
A pirate's life is so much fun!

"Fifteen men on a dead man's chest,
Cannonballs, laser beams, full-court press,
We're out of limes and in distress,
Shiver me timbers!

"Yo ho!…

"Swab the deck and walk the plank,
Down in the brig it's really cold and dank,
Host the mainsail and give it a yank!
Shiver me timbers!

"Yo ho!…

"Yo ho, the dairy-o,
A pirate's life for me!"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Four days 'til Narwhal Day! Make ready!

The Rebel Black Dot Sea Shanty of the Day
Blaggards, "Drunken Sailor" via iTunes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I typed The Last Angry Man only as a reminder of what the initialism "T.L.A.M." means. I heard a choral rendition of "Drunken Sailor" on Saturday night, & wished to choose it as a the R.D.B.S.O.T.D. since then. My hand was stayed briefly by Saturday's R.B.D.S.O.T.D., the conclusion of "Robot Week," having already been posted, & Sunday's R.B.D.S.O.T.D. being the next in our string of sacred music on the Sundays of the Eastertide. Happy Easter, by the way! Easter isn't just Easter Sunday, Easter is a season of the year longer than either Lent or Advent.

"What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
Early in the morning?…"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CCCXCIII

The New Coke debacle.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Fifth Sunday of Easter
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, "Amazing Grace" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I admit that "Amazing Grace" is hardly "Amazing Grace" without John Newton's profoundly moving words (really, sans lyrics it is William Walker's "New Britain"), but "Amazing Grace" is the title by which the melody of "New Britain" is now almost universally known, so "Amazing Grace" is it! How many more times do you reckon I can type "Amazing Grace" before wearying of the gag? "Amazing Grace."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Robot Week!

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

Commentary: No! is the first children's album by They Might Be Giants; the title is sheer perfection.

"In a future time,
Children will work together
To build a giant cyborg.

"Robot parade! Robot parade!
Wave the flags that the robots made.
Robot parade! Robot parade!
Robots obey what the children say.

"There's electric cars,
There's electric trains,
Here comes a robot
With electric brains…"

Friday, May 16, 2014

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day!
The Aquabats!, "Giant Robot-Birdhead!" from The Aquabats! vs. the Floating Eye of Death! and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 1 (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary: I've long wished to see a fight between Floating Eye of Death!'s Giant Robot-Birdhead & Charge!!'s Mechanical Ape.

"Out of the sky, the Floating Eye
Will prophecy and pretend that this is the end.
The people run, run to the hills!
Run for their lives! Flee the horrible Eye!

"(This was the dream!)
I heard the screams!
(This was the dream!)
To build a giant robot,
We'll call him Birdhead.
(This was the dream!)
Don't cross the streams!
(Jumbo machine!)
Can launch a rocket punch into the Eye!…

"(Oh-ho, when it's in my hand!)
We're got missile command!…

"Jumbo machine, shiny and clean,
Who else can save the people with a megaton punch?
Invincible, the guardian
Of careless men who run the world like a cartoon show…"

Operation AXIOM
One week to Narwhal Day! One week to Narwhal Day! Make ready! Make ready! Can you feel the sympathy?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Ninjas, "Robot Pirates" from Platypus (T.L.A.M.)


"Well, have you ever been to where the robot pirates roam? (No!)
Where all but the bravest ninja never dare to go? (No!)
Well, if you haven't maybe then I'll take you there sometime (What?),
And if we're lucky we'll escape from there alive! (All right!)

"They sing a song and it goes like this:
'We are the robot pirates,
We sail across the sea,
And if we ever capture you
Then you will not go free…'"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Every Other Wednesday Weigh-in: In the last fortnight I lost only one pound, but this was enough to set a new low weight since systematic record keeping began in November, zero point six pounds (0.6 lbs.) less than 19 February's previous low. One pound per fortnight is insufficient, especially in light of the five-plus pounds lost in the previous fortnight, but any weight lost, however little, is better than weight gained. Onward & downward! Shrink, fat man, shrink!

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day!
The Aquabats!, "Robot Theme Song!" from Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2 (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary: Myth, Legends… is a B-sides album from the Floating Eye of Death! era; the two albums are volumes one & two of "and other Amazing Adventures. "Robot Theme Song!" is an instrumental piece, one without lyrics, & on some level it almost seems more like a song by They Might Be Giants rather than The Aquabats!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

He's Dead, Jim | Kith & Kin

My mother was at Xanadu yesterday, there for the week to look after Where's Teddy? & The Cupcake, when she took a fall & broke her leg. Zounds! This morning, my father & I dropped everything to motor down to Xanadu & bring her home. I drove his motorcar, a '95 Chevrolet Impala S.S., with her supine in the back; he drove her motorcar, an '06 Chevrolet Impala S.S. Calculating the times & distances involved, my father elected to let me take Mom home by myself, while he diverted to Lansing for an appointment with one of his quacks, who has sold him on the fairy tale of fixing his bum knees without surgery, "like Peyton Manning." (He repeats it like a mantra, "Like Peyton Manning.") So, I had to help Mom, who cannot put any weight on her right leg, up the front steps & into the house all by myself, in the pouring rain. This is the quintessential story about my father, of who he is & how he regards those around him, even his closest kin.

It is uncertain how long Mom will be immobile. Appointments with her general practitioner & an orthopedist are being arranged. We've managed to borrow a wheelchair, two walkers, a pair of crutches, & sundry home-care supplies from kith & kin, & the living room is being converted into her sick room for the duration, the stairs to her & my father's bedroom being impassable without Herculean effort & unnecessary risk.

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Phenomenauts, "Cyborg" from For All Mankind (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: As a lifelong science fiction fan, I've always been fascinated by stories of men who fall in love with women who aren't quite women, in that they aren't human—be they alien princesses, cyborgs, non-corporeal artificial intelligences, or what have you.

"Started with a perfect frame,
High-speed composite brain,
Made her smart, made her think I was funny,
Gave her independent style,
Super hot melting smile,
Made her kind, her disposition sunny,
Made her slender, curvy, and tall,
Made her not jealous at all,
Made her tough, but as cute as a bunny.

"But when I turned her on
She wasn't turned on by me,
I guess cyborgs can see who they want to see…

"Now I have a broken heart,
I guess I made her way too smart,
She realized, realized she's too good for me…"

Monday, May 12, 2014

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day!
The Aquabats!, "Mechanical Ape!" from Charge!! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary: As an internet search engine query, "robot gorilla" is much more fruitful than "mechanical ape," both qualitatively & quantitatively.

"Well, here I am underground,
Waiting in my metal fortress of sound,
Let's get it on!
And it's all ready now,
Robot gorilla's how,
A million pounds of steel,
Fuzzy dice, and steering wheel…

"One man stands as the lone magician,
Sending in plays through the ape transmission!

"Now, who can face, who can face,
Who can face the unbelievable Mechanical Ape?
Who can face, who can face,
Who can face the unbelievable Mechanical Ape?
Well, I said, whoa-oh-oh-oh!
(Mechanical Ape!)
(Mechanical Ape!)
(Mechanical Ape!)
You cannot deface the Mechanical Ape!…"

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Explorers' Club, № CCCXCII

The Northrop XB-35/YB-35 & YB-49 flying wings.

Commentary: This, this is what the future looks like!

Urbi et Orbi

This morning, I attended my thirty-third & thirty-fourth Masses of the year. That's more Masses than in all of 2008 & '10 (thirty-two) & '09 (thirty-three), & just three shy of '11's attendance (thirty-seven, then a record). Of course, I am indeed comparing apples to oranges, as both Masses I attended this morning had a service component—9:30 at Saint Pius X, presenting a memorial chalice in remembrance of a departed brother Sir Knight; 11:00 at Holy Redeemer, singing in the choir. Yes, that's right, preaching to me is now literally preaching to the choir. I attended three Masses last Sunday (4 May), all at Holy Redeemer—9:00 A.M., lector; 11:00, choir; 5:00 P.M., substitute lector. It looks increasingly likely that this year will see me exceed last year's record of sixty-three Masses, though that's still apples to oranges as I only started as lector late in that year & had not yet been dragooned into the choir. So, the more salient point is that I remain on track for this year's most importance mass-attendance goal: Not to miss a single Sunday, except possibly to travel.

I've got a crush on a girl at church, Charlie Romeo, in part because I see her all the time at church, & she's just as involved as I am, if not more so. To wit: we hugged (she initiated) & said "Good-bye" for the summer today, as she's soon leaving on a mission trip. I'm thrilled that she's been so called by the Lord, & that she has the fidelity to have answered His call, but, you know, for myself, drat!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Matt Maher, "All the People Said Amen" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Captiousness applies to music both secular & sacred; the title should be "All the People Said 'Amen.'"

"And all the people said 'Amen,' Whooooa,
And all the people said, 'Amen,'
Give thanks to the Lord, for His love never ends,
And all the people said, 'Amen'…

"Blessed are the poor in spirit who are torn apart,
Blessed are the persecuted and the pure of heart,
Blessed are the people hungry for another start,
For this is the Kingdom, the Kingdom of God!…"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Epoxies, "Robot Man" from Stop the Future (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Unsurprisingly, The Epoxies & The Phenomenauts have toured jointly, in support of The Aquabats! Members of the Epoxies had stage names such as Roxy Epoxy, F.M. Static, Viz Spectrum, & Ray Cathode, et al. "Robot Man" is apparently a cover, of the song originally by a band with which I am otherwise unfamiliar, called Scorpions.

"I lost my mind,
I lost my life,
I lost my soul!"

Friday, May 9, 2014

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Phenomenauts, "I Am Not Robot" from the Electric Sheep E.P. (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: In the mid-1970s, Leonard Nimoy published an autobiography titled I Am Not Spock. Twenty years & six Star Trek feature films later, he published a second autobiography, titled I Am Spock. The Phenomenauts have turned that script on its head, releasing "I Am Not Robot" several years after "I Am Robot."

"When I sleep, will I dream of electric sheep?
When I sleep, will I even dream at all?
Instead I wake up wishing I could take myself apart
And scatter all the pieces on the floor…

"When I bleed, do I bleed electricity?
On darkened streets I don't need to fear at all.
One day I'll trade this (unintelligible) for a brand-new, beating heart,
When I am not a robot anymore.

"My story's awfully trite,
It's one that everybody knows,
Everybody knows,
But I'll scream with all my might
So everybody knows,
Everybody knows,
The singularity of me…"

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Queue

The full title of Lumen Fidei, given on the title page, is Encyclical Letter Lumen Fidei of the Supreme Pontiff Francis to the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Consecrated Persons, and the Lay Faithful on Faith. 'Tis a thin little volume, but I read it with great care—translation: I read very slowly—trying to make sure I let it have the appropriate impact on my way of thinking. I found myself smiling throughout, recognizing much of my own life in what His Holiness was saying, & I hope that means I'm on the right path, that what I'm doing is pleasing to the Creator.

I am eager to resume Liberal Fascism, but I always want to make sure that I'm always studying the faith, always growing in my devotion. I don't know if I'll be able to juggle Liberal Fascism & Rediscover Catholicism or if the latter will have to be set aside 'til I've finished the former.

Christian Caryl, Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century
Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni
Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith)

Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
Matthew Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Swords of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Synthetic Men of Mars
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Llana of Gathol
Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter of Mars
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights

Lately Neglected
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill
Edmund Burke, The Evils of Revolution
F. J. Sheed, Theology for Beginners

At a stoplight this afternoon, the Lumi, the Distaff Son of the Mousemobile was behind a blacked out Chevrolet Volt with the vanity license plate GODGVEN, which I'm reading as "God given." Whether this means that discrete Volt is God given, the technology underpinning the Volt as a model is God given, or the driver is God given remains unknown to this author.

Operation AXIOM
The R.B.D.S.O.T.D.'s "Robot Week" is dedicated, with affection, to the California Dreamer, a science fiction maven who has never taken her eyes off the stars, & the future.

Robot Week!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Phenomenauts, "I Am Robot" from Re-Entry (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Welcome to Robot Week, a hastily devised (we've beginning on a Thursday, for Pete's sake!) celebration of robots, or at least songs about robots. Why? Because robots are super cool, that's why.

The Phenomenauts describe their particular brand of retro futurism as "rocket roll," & Isaac Asimov's ghost!, do they know how to stick to a theme!

"(He is a robot!)
I write your songs!
(He is a robot!)
My mother's

"(In return all he needs
Is protons, electrons,)
And oil for my gears!

"(He is a robot!)
I do your chores,
I am robot,
Hear me roar!…"

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Project MERCATOR | Urbi et Orbi

As a Knight of Columbus, I am privileged to count as friends men in the eighties, & even in their nineties. I know a fellow, an astonishingly spry fellow whose age rounds up to a century, who has been a 4th Degree Knight for over fifty years. I know another fellow who was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force who flew in the Berlin Airlift of 1948. A third fellow, in his late eighties, tells the tale of how easy it was to be hired into Buick in 1947. These men are my friends. Their friendship is a blessed reminder that no matter how old they seem, no matter how young I seem, we are the same—life is precious, thrilling, & above all else fleeting. In the blink of an eye it has passed, & based on our own choices we are either called home to glory or cast into the pit for destruction. I am proud & thankful to have such friends.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day!
The Aquabats!, "Hey Homies!" from Hi-Five Soup! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary: Just to get it out of the way, the title should be "Hey, Homies!," as it is clearly addressed to those selfsame homies. Incorrectly punctuated though it is, "Hey Homies!" seems to be serving as the unofficial theme song of The Aquabats! 20th Anniversary Tour. Sure, that rôle could have been ably filled by either the "Aquabats March!" from The Return of The Aquabats! or "Theme Song!" from The Fury of The Aquabats!, but those songs better reflect The Aquabats!' sound from twenty years ago, not how they sound now. Their old ska sound was better than their current New Wave sound, but they're still the most fun you can have with all-ages/family friendly rock & roll.

"Hey Homies!" features sexually bifurcated call-&-answer with the M.C. Bat Commander.

Commander: "Hey, ladies!"
Ladies: "What's up?"
Commander: "What was that?"
Ladies: "Say what?"

Commander: "Hey, homies!"
Homies: ""What's up?"
Commander: "What was that?"
Homies: "Clap! Clap!" *clap twice*

We homies were actually given the option of shouting "Clap! Clap!" instead of or in addition to clapping twice on cue. On the studio track of "Hey Homies!" there is a prominent clap, & behind it a quiet voice saying, "Clap! Clap!" I'd say, "It's crazy, man!" except that The Aquabats! have another song titled, "It's Crazy, Man!" Back in the day The Aquabats! cared about proper punctuation, as in the title of "It's Crazy, Man!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I recently saw "Suit Up" again (U1T UP preceded by a block "S" for the dastardly Spartans, forming SU1T UP), & I have to say that that guy drives like a complete douchebag. Do you have any idea how dangerous it is to try to merge into seventy-mile-an-hour freeway traffic whilst motoring along at only forty-five miles per hour? You murderously incompetent fiend, are you even remotely aware of the train of motorcars you are holding hostage behind you? The sheer number of persons whose lives you are imperiling? This is a cogent reminder that this nincompoop supports the dastardly Spartans of the Michigan Agricultural College (or whatever they are calling themselves this week), which in all likelihood means he can't read above a third-grade level, if at all; gets a headache when trying to perform long division; & is unnaturally fond of barnyard animals. Get off the road, you jerk!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "She Just Happened" from Pay Attention (T.L.A.M.)


"What just happened? She just happened,
She just happened to cross my mind,
Without warning she crossed my mind,
What just happened to me?…

"From there it went nowhere
And I'm glad it fell apart,
The next thing I remember, here we are.
Not to diminish what it was,
Well, there's no reason to because
Ago it was so long and away it seems so far…"

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lies, Damned Lies, & the News

If a group of students on the campus of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey were to protest against a commencement address by a black, female former Secretary of State & National Security Advisor who happened to be a Democrat, how long do you think it would have been before M.S.N.B.C. & The New York Times cried, "Racism! Sexism! Once again we see the racist, sexist ghosts in the right-wing machine!" So why is it, since the protests were against a black, female former Secretary of State & National Security Advisor who happened to be a Republican, that we aren't seeing M.S.N.B.C. & The New York Times cry, "Racism! Sexism! Once again, we see the racist, sexist ghosts in the left-wing machine!"? It would be libelous to besmirch even the filthy name of yellow journalism with this parade of double standards & naked partisanship. For shame!

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


"Can you remember the school in the slums?
Can you hear the trombone, the guitar, and the drums?
Sure you remember, and you know which one,
You went to the one, my son, that's run by the nun…"

The Explorers' Club, № CCCXCI

The Northrop N-1M & N-9M experimental flying wings.

Commentary: These ahead-of-their-time aeroplanes were flying at the same time that the general public became obsessed with U.F.O.s (not merely as unidentified flying objects, but as alien spacecraft) & started reported sightings of flying saucers. I cannot say there is in that direct causation, but my instinct says there is more here than mere correlation.

Also, we should not forget that the very first episode of "The Explorers' Club" concerned an aircraft, the Fairey Rotodyne: № 1. Should I ever lose my fascination with aviation, life would be less sweet, less sublime, & you would be right to suspect that something terrible had befallen me, something sinister had taken hold of me.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Third Sunday of Easter
Dropkick Murphys, "Amazing Grace" via iTunes (Mrs. Brother Envy)

Commentary: Mrs. Brother Envy describes "Amazing Grace" as a "theologically incorrect dirge," with the Dropkick Murphys' rendition being the only one she deems acceptable. Outwardly I smiled, but inwardly I scowled, narrowed my eyes, & marked her down as unreliable, despite my deep regard for Brother Envy.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Last night, The Aquabats! played Saint Andrew's Hall in Detroit, a stop on the coast-to-coast twentieth anniversary tour. Not only did Red Patton join me for the show, but despite not being an Aqua-Cadet he donned my spare rash guard & Anti-Negativity Helmet.

Despite the late night, I awoke early this morning for a Bible study & fellowship meeting at church. I am thus retiring early, especially so for a Saturday. More to follow.

Commentary: This is not a photograph of my wallet, alas.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Tarantula!" from The Return of The Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Freitag, 2 Mai
The Aquabats!, "Super Rad!" from The Fury of The Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cold pizza & a Red Bull, the breakfast of champions.

My initial thought was to post that quip to the FaceSpace, where it would probably find a larger audience. Rather, it would find an audience I might more easily count, as "Likes" are more prolific than blog comments. In '02, when I aped The Watergirl in founding this blog, the FaceSpace had not yet been invented. (The MyFace existed, I think, but I at least didn't use it to post mental flotsam to the interwebs.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

SKApril: Epilogue

One of my favorite aspects of SKApril is that a different band provides each day's R.B.D.S.O.T.D. This both allows us to survey more of the depth and breadth of ska & prevents the month from being utterly dominated by the "big three" of third-wave ska—The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, & Less Than Jake. Two new bands debuted this SKApril: The A-OKs & Streetlight Manifesto. "Ska is dead" is a constant & ironic refrain, but it is always nice to be reminded that it isn't also true, that there is new ska out there to be discovered. Five bands were featured who hadn't been heard from since the very first SKApril, in 2011: Potshot, The Skatalites, The Toasters, Unsteady, & Catch 22. About halfway through the month I made the conscious decision not to include Slow Gherkin in this SKApril. I like Slow Gherkin, they'd been a part of each & every SKApril since the festival's founding in '11, & that was the problem. They just didn't seem to cut the mustard alongside the rest of the SKApril "All -Stars," those bands that have contributed a song to every SKApril: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, The Aquabats!, Mu330, The Hippos, Mustard Plug, & local favorites The Loose Ties. No Desmond Dekker this year, as was the case in '12, the last time we emphasized inserting every benchwarmer into the last game of the year for at least one official play. Fear not, The Skatalites & Prince Buster burnished our old school bona fides.

That's another SKApril in the books. This year SKApril's influenced reached as far as Poland—or Polska as it is known in Polish. SKApril brought together far-flung ska kids (of all ages) from all across the country, & served as a rallying point for friends whose lives afford them little occasion to interact & share the music that binds them. April is nothing special, but SKApril is my favorite month of the musical year. We end with the words with which we began SKApril '14: "Don't stop skankin'!"

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

Commentary (no more "Skammentary"): Normally, after SKApril we try to place a short moratorium on ska songs as the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., but this year I am really ruing that April has only thirty days & not thirty-one, or forty. It seems the only thing I want to listen to is the Bosstones, specifically Pin Points and Gin Joints, their first all-new post-hiatus album. So, for now the traditional moratorium is kaput & all the normal rules of the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. apply—ska songs are fair game.

"I wrote it with a golf pencil I pulled out of my blazer,
The crest sewn on the chest read, 'Old Gold Rugby Club,'
Worn at one time by a man had at one time went to Yale,
Then he worked a while on Wall Street 'til the market collapsed.

"I was in a bar room that was somewhere on the southern shore of Boston,
The tender of the bar poured me a whiskey on the house,
I have a love for whiskey, I chased it with a beer,
I have a love for Boston and I loved writing it there.

"I wrote it in a notebook that somebody let me borrow.
'Don't use all the paper please and if you could bring it back to me tomorrow,'
It was a fair request and I was grateful for the loan;
I had to jot a thought down I came up with on my own.

"I wrote it in October and I mention that because
Out of all the months there are I've always liked that one the best.
I don't know why I bring this up, but there are times I wonder what
Had ever happened to that man, I wonder, after the collapse.

"I wrote it in a notebook that somebody let me borrow…

"I wrote, I wrote it for you!
I wrote, I wrote it for you!
I wrote, I wrote it for you!
I wrote, I wrote it for you!

"I wrote it in an hour or so, so really not much longer.
I put the pencil in the shot glass and I buttoned up my blazer,
I stepped out into the cold October sun,
I must return the notebook; it's not important what I wrote."