Monday, September 25, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Star Trek Song o' the Day


The Firm, "Star Trekkin'" from Dr. Demento's Hits from Outer Space (The Last Angry Trekkie)

Captain's Log: Last night's premiere of Star Trek: Discovery confirmed my worst fears. There was zero evidence that the show is set in the Prime Timeline, as has been promised, with the culture, history, & appearance of the so-called Klingons being completely changed, so that the "Klingons" are unrecognizable, utterly incompatible with their Prime appearances in the twenty-second (Star Trek: Enterprise), twenty-third (Star Trek the original series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, & Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country), or twenty-fourth centuries (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, & Star Trek Generations); & with the production design & series aesthetic nakedly aping that of the Kelvin Timeline (J.J. Abrams's Star Trek, Star Trek into Darkness, & Star Trek Beyond).

My brother & I only saw the first episode, "The Vulcan Hello," on C.B.S. broadcast T.V. We were unable to watch the second episode, "Battle of the Binary Stars," on the risibly named C.B.S. All Access, as despite his paid subscription to the proprietary streaming service we were four times kicked out of the episode after only two or three minutes of playback. In the same period, we were able to successfully watch an episode of
Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix, confirming that the problem was with C.B.S. All Access, which really should be named C.B.S. No Access At All, not with his internet connection or Roku. I'll be a monkey's uncle before I ever again watch an episode of Discovery, which isn't even remotely Star Trek, no, not at all.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Cleopas, Apostle (floruit first century, also spelt Cleophas, Clopas): Saint-link, Wikipedia-link C-L-E-O, & Wikipedia-link C-L-O.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Finbarr, Bishop & Abbot (circa 550-623, of Cork; also spelt Fionnbharra, whence Barra), founder of Gougane Barra & Cork: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; & Wikipedia-link Monastery & Wikipedia-link City.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Hermann of Reichenau, Religious, O.S.B. (1013-1054, A.K.A. the Cripple): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, Priest & Abbot (1314-1392, A.K.A. of Moscow), founder of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Lavra.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Vincenzo Strambi, Bishop, C.P. (1745-1824, Anglicized as Vincent Strambi): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Ezra, chapter one, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verses one(b) & two(a,b), two(c,d) & three, four & five, & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eight, verses sixteen, seventeen, & eighteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel is the parable of the lamp, which placed on a lampstand gives light to all. Light obviously isn't for itself. Rather, we see things by it. It illuminates things upon which it shines.

We are light by which people around us come to see what is worth seeing. By the very quality and integrity of our lives, we shed light, illumining what is beautiful and revealing what is ugly. The clear implication is that without vibrant Christians the world is a much worse place. Let me illustrate this principle with an example. One of the most painful truths of the last century is that the weakness of Christian witness allows some of the worst elements in society to flourish.

Think of the rise of the evil powers that created WWII. Christianity had become so weak, so uncompelling, so attenuated that great evil was allowed to flourish. Yes indeed there were a handful of powerful Christian resisters, but let's face it: the overwhelmingly vast majority of Christians either supported Hitler or remained in silence, either out of fear or indifference.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXVIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres), Part III
26-27 September 1917: The Battle of Polygon Wood—British & Australian troops attacked using "bite & hold" tactics designed to capture limited objectives that could be held against counterattack; the weather favored the attackers, with morning mists covering their advance & later clearing to expose German counterattacks to devastating artillery fire; planes from both sides strafed enemy infantry.






Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXV Sunday in Ordinary Time

Simplex Edition
'Tis the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-five, verses six thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses two & three, eight & nine, & seventeen & eighteen;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter one, verses twenty(c) thru twenty-four & twenty-seven(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty, verses one thru sixteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, the parable that Jesus tells in today's Gospel is one of the most unnerving, disturbing and confounding of all. We know the outline of the story well: a landowner goes out to hire workers for his field, hiring some first thing in the morning and then others at different times during the day. Then, at the close of work, he pays each the same wage.

I would like to offer two reflections on this puzzling story. First, we should remember that God's ways are not our ways. Does this story represent an undermining of justice? No, rather, a showing forth of the justice that flows from God's vision of things.

Here's a second perspective: We sinners are very susceptible to a reward-centered understanding of our relationship to God. Tit for tat. I do this; then you better do that. But this is very juvenile, very primitive.

We've been invited to work in the vineyard of the Lord. That is the greatest privilege imaginable, to participate in the Lord's work. Why are we fussing about rewards? And how liberating this is! I don't have to spend my life worrying and comparing. I can live.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Journal: Week 39
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
My favorite passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church appears as the first line of the first chapter, & it reads, "The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God & for God; & God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth & happiness he never stops searching for."

Otherwise, 24 September would be the festival of Saint Anathalon, Bishop (floruit second century, of Milan): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Our Lady of Walsingham (apparitions 1061): Madonna-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Our Lady of Ransom (apparition 1218, A.K.A. Our Lady of Mercy): Madonna-link, Wikipedia-link Ransom, & Wikipedia-link Mercy.

'Twould also be the festival of Blesseds William Spenser, Priest, & Robert Hardesty, Martyrs (died 1589), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, two of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Whiskey Sierra & Wikipedia-link Whiskey Sierra, & Martyr-link Romeo Hotel; Martyrs-link LXXXV & Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Pacificus of San Severino, Priest, O.F.M. (1653-1721): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

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

Matt Maher, "Sons and Daughters" from Saints and Sinners (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "Sons and Daughters" begins & ends with quotations from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking about the anthem "We Shall Overcome" & his belief that "we shall overcome" because "behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadows, keeping watch above His own."
"How free is anyone, when some are still in chains,
Slaves to brokenness, all this blindness?
How free is anyone, when all these doubts remain
In the dead of night, no sign of the light?

"Child, don't grow weary, soon we will see the sun.

"All my brothers help each other,
All my sisters walk together,
No one is a stranger,
We're all sons and daughters…"

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest, O.F.M. Cap. (1887-1968, A.K.A. Padre Pio): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a friar, stigmatist, & mystic. In his early years, his mother said that Francesco was able to see & speak with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, & his guardian angel, & that as a child he assumed all people could do so.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
In 1903 sixteen-year-old Francesco Forgione entered the Capuchin monastery at Morcone, Italy, where he received the name Brother Pio. After celebrating Mass on September 18, while sitting in the monastery choir before an ancient crucifix, Padre Pio received the stigmata. He says he fell into a deep, peaceful respose, & an angel with blood oozing from his hands, feet, & side appeared to him. "I felt like I was dying," he said, "& I would have died if the Lord had not intervened to strengthen my heart, which was ready to burst out of my chest. When the mysterious creature left, I found that my hands, feet, & side had been pierced & were bleeding…."
'Tis also the festival of Saint Linus, Pope (died circa 76), second Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed William Way, Priest & Martyr (circa 1560-1588, A.K.A. William Flower), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Today also marks the beatification of Blessed Stanley Rother, Priest & Martyr (1935-1981), the first U.S.-born beatified martyr, martyred by unknown assailants during the Guatemalan Civil War: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter six, verses thirteen thru sixteen;
Psalm One Hundred, verses One(b) & two, three, four, & five;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eight, verses four thru fifteen.

Commentary: Video reflection by Angela Gaughan: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter ten, verses eight & nine;
Psalm Sixteen, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verses thirty-five thru thirty-eight.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: Go Blue!


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" from A Saturday Tradition (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: The sun of knowledge never sets on those who pursue her earnestly & diligently.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Maurice & the Theban Legion, Martyrs (died circa 287, A.K.A. the Martyrs of Agaunum), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link & Wikipedia-link Legion.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Today is a textbook example of how BLACK MAMBA is supposed to work: We started off with St. Thomas of Villanova in 2014, then added St. Maurice in '15, St. Emmeram in '16, & St. Ignatius of Santhià this year; slowly but steadily growing in our knowledge & admiration for the great cloud of witnesses which surrounds us: the Christian all-stars, the Catholic hall of fame, those who by the grace of God competed well for the faith—our brothers & sisters in heaven.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Emmeram of Regenbergs, Bishop & Martyr (died circa 652), martyred by Lantpert of Bavaria while shielding another from Lantpert's wrath: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Thomas of Villanova, Bishop, O.S.A. (1488-1555): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Ignatius of Santhià, Priest, O.F.M. Cap (1686-1770): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter six, verses two(c) thru twelve;
Psalm Forty-nine, verses six & seven; eight, nine, & ten; seventeen & eighteen; & nineteen & twenty;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eight, verses one, two, & three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today celebrates the female disciples of Jesus. One of the principal marks of Jesus' teaching is the overturning of social conventions. In service of what he calls the Kingdom of God, God's way of ordering the world, he says and does all sorts of outrageous things.

And one of the most striking and surprising of Jesus' moves is a radical inclusion of women. He allows women into his inner circle (practically unheard of for a rabbi). He speaks publicly to the woman at the well. He engages the Syro-Phoenician woman. He forgives the woman caught in adultery. Also, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women.

Luke, who told this story, was a companion of Paul, and his Gospel reflects many of Paul's themes. Paul famously says, "in Christ, there is no slave or free, no Jew or Greek, no male or female". This was very radical stuff in those times, for these were some of the most basic social divisions of the ancient world. Free men were a lot better off than slaves, Jews had huge advantages over Greeks, and males were seen as superior to females. But not anymore, not in light of the Kingdom of God that Jesus announces.
Video reflection by Paula Trigo-Galan: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter twenty-two (verses one thru twenty-nine).

Commentary: III. Sayings of the Wise (Proverbs, 22:17-29). Apparently (unbeknownst 'til now because we started in the middle of the month), to this point we've been in II. First Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon, which lasts from 10:1-22:16. Who knew?

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

They Mighty Be Giants, "Out of Jail" from John Henry (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: It is truly a privilege to be permitted to visit the inmates of the Genesee County Jail & to share with them the Good News & the reality that we are all sick, all of us in need of a physician.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

They Might Be Giants, "Lazyhead and Sleepybones" from No! (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: To battle my cold, I've been sleeping more, retiring earlier than normal & sleeping in as late as possible. The theory is solid, that rest does the body good, though I do wonder if perhaps this week I took things too far, sacrificed too much salubrious productivity in the pursuit of a recumbent restorative. No need to trouble myself about that anymore, though; there will be no rest for the wicked this weekend.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist (floruit first century, A.K.A. Levi): Apostle-link ūnus, Apostle-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Gospel.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
One of the twelve apostles of Jesus &, according to Christian tradition, one of the four Evangelists credited with writing a book of the Bible. He was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection & the Ascension of Jesus.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Matthew, also known as Levi, was a tax collector in the town of Capernaum. Most tax collectors were hated by the Jews because they worked for the Romans, who had conquered the land. A tax collector could use his position honestly or dishonestly. The temptation to use the position to become rich was great.

He invited Jesus to a dinner where other tax collectors (publicans) & sinners were gathered. The Pharisees were upset when they saw this, & they said to the disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors & sinners?"

Jesus heard them & replied, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go & learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew, 9:10-13).
'Tis also the festival of Saint Iphigenia of Ethiopia, Virgin (floruit first century, A.K.A. of Abyssinia): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Laurent-Joseph-Marius Imbert, Bishop & Martyr, M.E.P. (1796-1839), martyred in the reign of the king Heonjong, one of the Korean Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of St. Matthew
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter four, verses one thru seven, eleven, twelve, & thirteen;
Psalm Nineteen, verses two & three, four & five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verses nine thru thirteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew and our Gospel tells of his conversion. Matthew's laconic account details what the transition from spiritual death to spiritual life is like. First, we notice the look of Jesus. If there is one theme clearly stated in the New Testament is that of the primacy of grace.

Why? We don't know. We just know that we will not lift ourselves to spiritual wholeness. A gaze has to come upon us from the outside. Not so much finding God as allowing oneself to be found.

Jesus says to him "Follow me." There is nothing simpler or more basic in the Christian life than this. This is what we disciples do: we follow, we walk after him, we apprentice to him. "He got up and followed him." The symbolism here is marvelous. Getting up, rising up,
anastasis, the same word used to designate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Conversion (turning around) is also elevation, rising up.

To come to Christ is to come to a higher, richer, broader form of life. Now life is not simply the pleasures and goods of the body; now life is lived in and through God.
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Exile
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter thirty-one (verses one thru forty);
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter thirty-three (verses one thru twenty-six);
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter thirty-four (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter thirty-four (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses twenty-one thru thirty-five;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter fourteen, verses sixty thru sixty-five.

Commentary: Good News of the Return (Jeremiah, 31:1-6), the Road to Return (31:7-14), End of Rachel's Mourning (31:15-20), Summons to Return Home (31:21-30), the New Covenant (31:31-34), Certainty of God's Promise (31:35-37), Rebuilding Jerusalem (31:38-40), Restoration of Jerusalem (33:1-26), IV. Fall of Jerusalem: Fate of Zedekiah (34:1-7), & the Pact Broken (34:8-22); Parable of the Shepherds (Ezekiel, 34:1-16) & Separation of the Sheep (34:17-31); the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew, 18:21-35); & Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Mark, 14:60-65).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter twenty-one (verses one thru thirty-one).

The Victors: Team 138, Game 3

Saturday, 16 September @ Michigan Stadium
(№ 7) Michigan 29-13 Air Force
3-0, B1G 0-0

We have real problems on the offensive side of the football. Sophomore kicker Quinn Nordin tied a school record for most field goals made in a game, with five (improving to eleven of thirteen for the season). While it's great that we have as able & reliable a kicker as Nordin—reliable especially for the first-year player—it's troubling that so many Michigan drives stalled, requiring field-goal attempts. Fifth-year running back Ty Isaac had two long touchdown runs called back, one because he stepped out of bounds at the thirty yard line & the other due to a holding penalty; it wasn't until there was only a minute left in the game that the offense scored a touchdown, a thirty-six-yard run by junior Karan Higdon. Senior quarterback Wilton Speight was consistently inaccurate, overthrowing his receivers more often than not. Adding to our woes, on several occasions received dropped accurate Speight passes. Air Force's first score, a field goal, came as a result of a Michigan fumble in the first quarter, by sophomore running back Chris Evans, who wasn't seen again until the fourth quarter.

The valiant Wolverines held a three-point lead at halftime & the game remained uncomfortably close until early in the third quarter when freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones returned a punt seventy-nine yards for a touchdown. Just two minutes later, Uncle Don's Murder Machine allowed the epithetless Falcons' only completed pass of the day, a sixty-four yard touchdown. All in all, the Murder Machine did a solid job of containing Air Force's weird triple option offense, banding but not breaking, & the touchdown pass was the service academy's last points of the day. It's hard to judge the progress of this 2017 edition of the Murder Machine given the oddity of Air Force's offense & that no other opponent on the remaining schedule runs anything like it. The long touchdown pass was the result of a blown assignment & the offending defenseman, who shall remain nameless, was chastised on the sidelines by "Uncle Don," defensive coordinator Don Brown.

I'm naturally inclined to be pessimistic about the valiant Wolverines' chances as long as Speight remains our best option at quarterback. (Such is my confidence in the coaching staff that despite my many misgivings about Speight I have no doubt he is on fact the best option at quarterback.) So, what does that mean for the rest of the 2017 campaign as Team 138 heads into B1G play? I'm worried about what more talented quarterbacks & received can do to the Murder Machine's young & inexperienced cornerbacks & safeties. I'm worried about the valiant Wolverine's tendency to bog down in the "red zone" (inside the opponent's twenty yard line). I'm worried, essentially, that the offense's impotence will render for naught the defense's ferociousness. We must not forget that Speight is a Hoke recruit, & after Team 137's last-season collapse I am convinced that all Hoke recruits, however talented, are simply losers; on paper they may have all the skills & talents necessary for success, but when it comes to game day they can't cut the mustard. (See: Jourdan Lewis's career-worst game in last year's Orange Bowl against Florida State.)

Pay me no mind, I'm just a critic; it is the man in the arena who counts.


The A.P. poll has shown a hint of rationality in that after the less-than-impressive victory over Air Force Team 138 dropped from № 7 to № 8 in the Top 25 poll. The valiant Wolverines are still indefensibly overrated, but marginally less so. Four B1G clubs are ranked among the ten-best in the nation (№ 4 Penn State, № 8 Michigan, № 9 Wisconsin, & № 10 Ohio State), but they are the only B1G clubs in the Top 25.

Go Blue!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

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

Commentary: When I'm sick, I eat even worse than normal. To me, Hot Pockets are comfort food.

The Victors: Team 138, Game 2

Saturday, 9 September @ Michigan Stadium
(№ 8) Michigan 36-14 Cincinnati
2-0, B1G 0-0

I posted the following to my FaceSpace "wall" in reaction to the valiant Wolverines' victory in the home opener against the epithetless Bearcats:
It is a tribute to how quickly Coach Harbaugh & co. have righted the ship that we, the Wolverine Nation, are vaguely dissatisfied by Saturday's victory, even though just a few short years ago any win over any opponent was cause for raucous celebration. It's good to be spoiled again. It's good to be Michigan again. #GoBlue!
Uncle Don's Murder Machine didn't look quite as murderous against Cincinnati as it had against Florida, surrendering fourteen points instead of a paltry three, but it more than compensated by scoring fourteen* points on its own with a pair of "pick sixes," interceptions returned for touchdowns. Also, we must remind ourselves that Florida is massively offensively challenged; so, even at its murderizing best the Murder Machine will rarely look as suffocating as it did in the season opener.

The offense had a better day in that quarterback Wilton Speight (senior) did not throw any interceptions, which very rare for him. The attacked was well-balanced between runs & passes, & running back Ty Isaac (senior) has his second consecutive one-hundred-plus yard game.

The special teams were a mixed bags, with freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones stubbornly refusing the signal for fair catches on punts, & mishandling several before he was pulled in favor of junior Grant Perry. Cincinnati's first touchdown game as a result of great field position resulting from a punt bouncing off the leg of a valiant Wolverine—who should have been warned away from the area by Peoples-Jones, but wasn't—& recovered by the epithetless Bearcats. On the other hand, a botched Cincinnati punt resulted in a Michigan safety, with the panicked punter pushed the football out the back of the endzone. Sophomore kicker Quinn Nordin made both his field-goal attempts.

In all this, I suppose Team 138 is a victim of a high expectations created during the Harbaugh era. By any rational standard, the rebuilding project under Coach Harbaugh has vastly exceeded expectations, with the valiant Wolverines winning ten games in each of Harbaugh's first two seasons (Teams 136 & 137 each finished 10-3), a feat that hadn't occurred in over a decade, since Lloyd Carr lead Teams 123 & 124 to back-to-back 10-3 records in 2002 & 2003. We, the Michigan faithful, have become spoiled, as I mentioned in my FaceSpace posting. In those later years under Coach Carr, the valiant Wolverines occasionally lost games to "lesser opposition" such as Cincinnati. Under Coaches Rodriquez (2008-2010; Teams 129, 130, & 131) & Hoke (2011-2014; Teams 132, 133, 134, & 135), victories were so rare & so hard to come by that none was taken for granted, none was greeted with a vaguely dissatisfied shrug because the valiant Wolverines hadn't won in more convincing fashion or by a wider margin. Yet, that is precisely the reaction to the Cincinnati game; not joy at the victory, but vague yet definite dissatisfaction with the victory, as if it somehow isn't good enough for us. Michigan fans are often accused of arrogance by our opponents & it is a fair charge. We are all too often arrogant; we expect Michigan to win. We often expect it to look easy. The decade since "the Horror" should have humbled us, & it often did, but it also made us yearn for the good old days, when we stuttered about like peacocks, secure in our place as natural kings of all we survey. We all want something we cannot have—to go back to a time before the valiant Wolverines' bowl-invitation streak was snapped, before the valiant Wolverines posted three losing seasons in seven years, before Michigan lost to Appalachian State. I think we react with borderline panic to every less-than-impressive victory because our swagger is now just a veneer, no more substantial than an eggshell. We desperately want Harbaugh's Wolverines to be the valaint Wolverines of old, with their aura of invincibility, but in our heart of hearts we fear they are merely Rich Rod's Wolverines or Hoke the Joke's Wolverines. We are scarred & we are scared.

Go Blue!

*O.K., strictly speaking the defense only scored twelve points on the two touchdowns, with the two points-after being scored by the special teams, but that's overly nitpicky even for a captious soul like your humble narrator.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, & Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, & Companions, Martyrs (died 1839-1867), martyred in the reign of the Joseon kings Jeongjo, Sunjo, Heonjong, Cheoljong, & Gojong: Martyr-link Alpha Kilo Tango & Wikipedia-link Alpha Kilo Tango; Martyr-link Papa Charlie Hotel & Wikipedia-link Papa Charlie Hotel; & Martyrs-link CIII ūnus, Martyrs-link CIII duo, & Wikipedia-link CIII.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Kim was the first Korean-born Catholic priest & is the patron saint of Korea. At the age of twenty-five, he was tortured & beheaded near Seoul on the Han River. Pope [St.] John Paul II [22 October] canonized Kim along with one hundred two other Korean Martyrs, including Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, during this trip to Korea.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Andrew Kim Taegon was the first native Korean priest. He was the son of converts. His father, a farmer, was also martyred. Andrew was baptized when he was fifteen. He then attended the seminary in Macao, China, one thousand three hundred miles away from home. After six years Andrew returned to Korea & assumed the job of bringing missionaries into the country secretly. Almost immediately he was arrested, tortured, & beheaded. In a letter written to fellow Christians, Andrews started, "We have received baptism, entrance in the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christian in name only & not in fact?"
'Tis also the festival of Saints Fausta & Evilasius, Martyrs (died 311, of Cyzicus), martyred in the reign of the emperors Maxentius & Galerius: Martyr-link Foxtrot & Wikipedia-link Foxtrot; Martyr-link Echo & Wikipedia-link Echo.

Commentary: Evilasius martyred Fausta, but was so impressed with her courage that he himself converted to Christianity & was subsequently martyred. CatholicSaints.info still has the names Fausta & Evilasius backwards. I've matched each entry up with the right life, the name Evilasius with the life of Fausta & the name of Fausta with the life of Evilasius.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Johnson, Priest & Martyr, O.Cart. (died 1537), martyred in the reign of the king Henry VIII, one of the Carthusian Martyrs of London: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link London.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter three, verses fourteen, fifteen, & sixteen;
Psalm One Hundred Eleven, verses one & two, three & four, five & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seven, verses thirty-one thru thirty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel the Pharisees compare the eating habits of John the Baptist, who fasted, and Jesus, who dined with sinners. In the carefully stratified society of Jesus' time, a righteous person would never associate with the unrighteous for fear of becoming unclean.

But here is Jesus, scandalizing everyone because he does indeed break down these barriers. How would you feel if you saw me socializing with prostitutes and drug-dealers, eating and drinking with terrorists? Would it shock you, dismay you, disappoint you? But this is what Jesus did, precisely because he is the Incarnation of the God who aggressively seeks out the lost.

God looks for us, comes running after us, never lets go, never relents, never gives up. The more we run, the more he runs after; the more we hide, the more he looks; the more we resist, the more he persists. God loves sinners and associates with them.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of Ss. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, & Companions
The Book of Wisdom, chapter three, verses one thru nine;
or, the Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses thirty-one(b) thru thirty-nine;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses twenty-three thru twenty-six.

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter twenty (verses one thru thirty).

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 351.0 lbs
This weigh-in: 343.8 lbs.
Difference: -7.2 lbs.

Yeah, that's basically a pound a day. I have no idea how I lost a pound a day. I was already preparing my excuses for why I'd gained weight this past week, including a theory that since I'd resumed weighing myself I'd experienced a lot of anxiety about the Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in, & that I'm an anxious eater. I guess I should drink more Faygo Redpop, not less.


Bonus! Song o' the Day
The Atomic Fireballs, "Starve a Fever" from Torch This Place (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I'm recovering from a short, sharp cold I caught from my mother, who caught it from her new job as a reading tutor. I credit the brevity of this affliction to a regular regimen of vitamin C in the form of Airborne tablets. Of course, I'm neither a physician nor do I play on on T.V., & I have no empirical data to support this claim.
"Starve a fever, feed a cold,
Can't forget the ills that I've been sold…"

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

The Spinners, "The Rubberband Man" via iTunes (from Happiness Is Being with the Spinners) (The Last Angry Man)

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Januarius, Bishop & Martyr (died circa 305), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Great Persecution.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
While no contemporary sources on his life are preserved, later sources & legends claim that he died during the Great Persecution, which ended with Diocletian's retirement in 305. Januarius is the patron saint of Naples, where the faithful gather three times a year in Naples cathedral to witness the liquefaction of what is claimed to be a sample of his blood kept in a sealed glass ampoule.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Little is known about Januarius except that he was a bishop of Benevento (near Naples, Italy) & was probably martyred during the persecutions under Emperor Diocletian around 305. According to legends about Januarius, he went to visit Christians who had been imprisoned. He was then arrested & condemned to death for being a Christian. Januarius & his companions were thrown to wild beasts in an amphitheater, but the wild animals refused to harm them. The Christians were beheaded instead, & the blood & body of Januarius were brought back to Naples. Januarius is regarded as the patron saint of Naples, & his protection is sought when there is the danger of volcanic eruption.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Theodore of Canterbury, Bishop (circa 602-690, A.K.A. of Tarsus), who convened the Council of Hereford in 673: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Council.

'Tis also the festival of Our Lady of La Salette (apparition 1846): Madonna-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter three, verses one thru thirteen;
Psalm One Hundred One, verses one(b) & two(a,b), two(c,d) & three (a,b), five, & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seven, verses eleven thru seventeen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today gives us Jesus’ raising of the son of the widow of Nain. This is a prime exemplification of the key Gospel truth that everything Jesus said and did, in one way or another, is an anticipation of his resurrection. The God of Israel, the God of Jesus Christ, is a God of life, a God of the living. He hates death and the ways of death.

The death in today’s Gospel goes beyond the tragic loss of a loved one, as awful as that is. In the context of Jesus’ time and place this is a disaster for the widow. There is no social safety-net, no insurance, no guaranteed income. Unless she finds kindly neighbors who can support her, she is lost without her husband and, importantly, her “only son”. This is why the heart of Jesus is especially moved with pity.

Notice please that the reaction of the bystanders is fear. This is the fear that comes from the turning upside down of a world. This is the reaction of the women at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. An evangelization that isn’t a little scary is an inadequate evangelization.
Video reflection by Father David Baker: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Januarius
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter ten, verses thirty-two thru thirty-six;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses twenty-four, twenty-five, & twenty-six.

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter nineteen (verses one thru twenty-nine).

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXVII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
8 July-29 September 1917: The First (8-13 July) & Second (28-29 September) Battles of Ramadi—The first British & Imperial assault on the Ottoman garrison suffered more casualties from the extreme heat (123° F in the shade, 160° in direct sunlight) than from Turkish gunfire; the second used elaborate misdirection by local Arab allies to disguise Entente intentions, & took the Turks by storm.





Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

The Proclaimers, "Heaven Right Now" from Persevere (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I'm not now nor would I ever endorse the immoral ethic expounded in "Heaven Right Now," but however charmingly distasteful the lyrics are on this particular day the rhythm & the cadence are just to my taste.
"She's everything a married man should look for in a girl,
She's married, too, but not to you, and that's part of a the thrill,
She's the one who makes you feel alright,
Her alibi's your alibi; it's watertight.

"She's old enough to know of love and know that this is not,
But young enough to not be willin' to settle for what she's got,
She's the one who makes you feel alright,
Her alibi's your alibi; it's watertight.

"And if you get caught,
You're going to hell,
But it's heaven right now…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Hygbald, Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 690, also spelt Hibald, etc.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Richardis, Religious, O.S.B. (circa 840-895, of Andlau, of Swabia, of Sousabe; A.K.A. Richgard), Holy Roman Empress, foundress of the Abbey of Andlau: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Priest, O.F.M. Conv. (1603-1663), the "Flying Friar:" Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: I've had an unfortunate habit of conflating St. Joseph of Cupertino, O.F.M. Conv. with St. John of Capistrano, O.F.M. [23 October], but I think I've got a handle on it now.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Józef Kut, Priest & Martyr (1905-1942), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Martyrs of World War II: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter two, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Twenty-eight, verses two, seven, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seven, verses one thru ten.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus is amazed at a Roman centurion's faith: "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of 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.

One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You're not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God's great design. To believe this in your bones and act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to "a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter eighteen (verses one thru twenty-four).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXIV Sunday in Ordinary Time

'Tis the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Sirach, chapter twenty-seven, verse thirty thru chapter twenty-eight, verse seven;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one & two, three & four, nine & ten, & eleven & twelve;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter fourteen, verses seven, eight, & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses twenty-one thru thirty-five.

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

Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel gives us the parable of the unforgiving servant. I want to say something about the reason for our inability to forgive.

In the deepest sense, we don't belong to ourselves. Everything we have and all that we are comes from God. We are meant, with all of our gifts, to serve God's purposes. Our very existence comes from God, but so does the forgiveness of our sins. If there is one thing that we can each claim of ourselves, it is that we are sinners.

How do we go on? We know that we have been forgiven. That through no merit of ours, Christ has died for our sins and offered us the divine mercy. The upshot is this: there is nothing particularly stable about the self, nothing that it can claim for its own. All that it is has been received as a gift.

Well, what is at the root of the inability to forgive but this false sense of the substantial self? I have things coming to me; Do you know who I am? Well, you have nothing coming to you. You exist because of God and in order to serve the purposes of God.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter seventeen (verses one thru twenty-eight).

Mass Journal: Week 38
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Yesterday, I was visiting a friend in Atlanta. He lives in a beautiful neighborhood & as we drove past these magnificent homes, one after another, I began to ask myself, "If your spiritual life were a house, what would it be like?" I would like to place the questions before you now. If your spiritual life were a house, what would it be like? What street would it be on? What part of town would it be in? What would it look like? Would it be a house or a home? Is it in need of renovations? It is peaceful, noisy, distracting, well organized, messy?

Otherwise, 17 September would be the festival of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Abbess & Doctor of the Church, O.S.B. (1098-1179): Doctor-link ūna, Doctor-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Pedro de Arbués, Priest & Martyr, C.R.S.A. (circa 1441-1485), martyred by Marranos whilst praying in the cathedral of Zaragosa: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, S.J. (1542-1621): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
His most famous work is his three-volume Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope & the roleof the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England & France be showing that divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he was incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning."

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

Student Rick, "Please Forgive Me" from Soundtrack for a Generation (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: A secular song, yes, but apropos methinks given the central place forgiveness occupies in today's Gospel reading. We have all hurt each other in so many ways that we are all in desperate need of forgiveness, both of receiving forgiveness from others we've wronged & extending that forgiveness to those who've wronged us. Unforgiveness is a prison of one's own device, a hell of one's own making.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

Sufjan Stevens, "Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)" from Michigan (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Happy one hundred fifteenth anniversary to Monsignor Patrick R. Dunigan Council 695, the mother council of all Genesee County Knights, chartered 14 September 1902, one hundred fifteen years ago Thursday.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, & Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs (died 253 & 258, respectively), twenty-first Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperors Gallus & Volusianus, & Bishop of Carthage, martyred in the reign of the emperors Valerian & Gallienus: Martyr-link Charlie Oscar ūnus, Martyr-link Charlie Oscar duo, & Wikipedia-link Charlie Oscar; Martyr-link Charlie Yankee ūnus, Martyr-link Charlie Yankee duo, & Wikipedia-link Charlie Yankee.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The greatest problem of Cornelius's two-year term as pope had to do with the Sacrament of Penance & centered on the readmission of Christians who had denied their faith during the time of persecution. Two extremes were finally both condemned. Cyprian, primate of North Africa, appealed to the pope to confirm his stand that the relapsed could be reconciled only by the decision of the bishop.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Ninian, Bishop (circa 360-432, A.K.A. Ringan, Trynnian), founder of the Candida Casa ("White House"): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Casa.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Victor III, Pope, O.S.B. (circa 1026-1087), one hundred fifty-eighth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses fifteen, sixteen, & seventeen;
Psalm One Hundred Thirteen, verses one(b) & two; three & four; & five(a), six, & seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses forty-three thru forty-nine.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus speaks about laying the right foundation for your life. Someone who comes to me, Jesus says, who "listens to my words and acts on them is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well-built."

This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power that is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at that deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus' words to heart, "is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river bursts against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed."

When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way. So the question is a simple one: Where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?

Video reflection by Father Nicholas Vaskov: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of Ss. Cornelius & Cyprian
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses seven thru fifteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verses five;
The Gospel according to John, chapter seventeen, verses eleven(b) thru nineteen.

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter sixteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: Go Blue!


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

Commentary: I'm not entirely comfortable rooting against any of the service academies (Army, Navy, & Air Force), but since they take the field like all the other clubs, competing like all the other clubs, then for the purposes of the game I suppose I should regard them as I do all the other clubs.

Beat Air Force! Go Blue!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Sorrowful Song o' the Day

John Hartford, "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental)" from O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Music from a Film by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I wept this morning whilst praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. 'Tis by no means a bad day—an unfortunate or regrettable day—just a sorrowful day. Sorrow is a natural, even healthy part of this earthly exile. My sorrow is tinged with awe & wonder, & with gratitude.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Madonna-link Seven Sorrows.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. In common religious Catholic imagery, the Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful & lacrimating* affect, with seven long knives or daggers piercing her heart, often bleeding. Devotional prayers that consist of meditation began to elaborate on her Seven Sorrows based on the prophecy of Simeon.

*Lacrimation, n: secretion of tears


'Tis also the festival of Blessed Anton Maria Schwartz, Priest (1852-1929), founder of the Congregation of the Christian Workers of St. Joseph Calasanz: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Workers.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Paolo Manna, Priest, P.I.M.E. (1872-1952), founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link P.M.U.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses one, two, twelve, thirteen, & fourteen;
Psalm Sixteen, verses one(b), two(a), & five; seven & eight; & eleven;
The Gospel according to John, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-five, twenty-six, & twenty-seven
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter two, verses thirty-three, thirty-four, & thirty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. In our Gospel Jesus entrusts care of his mother to St. John. We can see some background for this profound action in The Passion of the Christ, the most provocative and popular religious movie in decades. What I would like to do is simply highlight a theme from the movie that especially struck me when I saw it.

The theme that I would like to emphasize is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We are compelled to see the scenes through her eyes. Early in Luke's Gospel, we are told that Mary "contemplated these things, reflecting on them in her heart." She is the theologian par excellence, the one who understands. When she sees Jesus being led away, she weeps and then she says "Amen."

In scene after scene, we watch her spiritual comprehension. The wonderful scene where she is marked with the Blood of her Son is especially evocative. And then the
Pietà depiction at the very end, where we see Mary's role: to present the sacrifice of her Son to us and for us.
Video reflection by Matthew DeLeon: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter five, verses seven, eight, & nine;
Psalm Thirty-one, verse seventeen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-five, twenty-six, & twenty-seven
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter two, verses thirty-three, thirty-four, & thirty-five.

Commentary: I enjoy the phrasing, "The Gospel for this memorial is proper."

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fifteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

"Weird Al" Yankovic, "First World Problems" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Today, during the lunchtime Mass at St. Matthew, Father James spoke eloquently on the "First World crosses" many of us bear, blind to the fantastical riches by which we are surrounded, & not just by Christian standards, but by any objective historical or even demographic measure. Anyone able to read these words on a desktop, a laptop, &/or a smartphone is the beneficiary of a material wealth unknown at any other time in human history, & in our own age unknown to the great teeming mass of mankind. We are abundantly blessed, every one of us, & yet we live like spiritual beggars, slaves to mammon & vanity just like the narrator of "First World Problems."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross: Holy Cross-link ūnus, Holy Cross-link duo, Wikipedia-link Cross, & Wikipedia-link Feast.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, celebrated every year on September 14, recalls three historical events: the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena [18 August], the mother of the emperor Constantine; the dedication of churches built by Constantine on the site of the Holy Sepulchre & Mount Calvary; & the resurrection of the True Cross to Jerusalem by the emperor Heraclius II. But in a deeper sense, the feast also celebrates the Holy Cross as the instrument of our salvation.
Quoth St. John Chrysostom, Bishop & Doctor of the Church [13 September]:
"Kings removing their diadems take up the cross, the symbol of their Savior's death; on the purple, the cross; in their prayers, the cross; on their armor, the cross; on the holy table, the cross; throughout the universe, the cross. The cross shines brighter than the sun."
'Tis also the festival of Saint Notburga (circa 1265-1313, of Rattenberg, of Eben, of Tyrol): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Louis Gabriel Taurin Dufresse, Bishop & Martyr, M.E.P. (1750-1815), martyred in the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor, one of the One Hundred Twenty Martyr Saints of China: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CXX.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-one, verses four(b) thru nine;
Psalm Seventy-eight, verses one(b,c) & two, thirty-four & thirty-five, thirty-six & thirty-seven, & thirty-eight;
The Letter to Philippians, chapter two, verses six thru eleven;
The Gospel according to John, chapter three, verses thirteen thru seventeen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. How strange this feast would have sounded to someone in the ancient world! The triumph of the cross! It would have been analogous to someone speaking today of the triumph of the electric chair or the exaltation of the noose.

The cross terrified people in Greco-Roman times, and that was the point. The cross was state-sponsored terrorism, a form of capital punishment reserved for those who had in the most egregious ways undermined the authority of the Roman state.

So why in the heck are we celebrating the cross's triumph? There is only one possible explanation, and that is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. All the attempts to soft-pedal and explain away the resurrection are ruled out by this feast. If Jesus was a victim of that terrible cross
tout court, then we should all go home.

Once they had taken in the experience of the resurrection, the first Christians turned with rapt attention to the cross, convinced that in it they would find something decisive. Somehow, in the strange providence of God, that cross was ingredient in the very process by which God would save the world.
Tout court means, "with no addition or qualification; simply," elsewhere, "quite short; & nothing else; simply; period." I mention this because I did not know; I had to look it up.

Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fourteen (verses one thru thirty-five).

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, "Paradise Has No Border" from Paradise Has No Border (The Last Angry Man)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Perilous Song o' the Day!


The Aquabats!, "Attacked by Snakes!" from The Fury of the Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Skammentary: Perilous peril! After mowing & weed-whacking this evening, I also pulled up weeds from around the oak tree in the front yard & along the interior (house) side of the new privacy fence behind the garage. In doing so, I disturbed an angry swarm of insects, whether wasps or bees I'm just not sure, though due to the lack of buzzing I'd lean toward wasps. Wait, aren't I confusing my animals here? The R.B.D.S.O.T.D. is "Attacked by Snakes!" & the accompanying image is from the "Killer Bees" sketch from the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live; snakes & bees, not wasps. Don't miss the forest for the trees, what we're after here is the perilous, swarming nature of my assailants. The only "wasp" song in my library, Sufjan Stevens's "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!," despite the title, doesn't capture that sentiment nearly so well as "Attacked by Snakes!" & the predatory predilections of the Killer Bees.
"…The Devil must have opened Hell's gate
And called up millions of snakes
To take me from this place.

"Big ones, little ones,
Fat one, skinny ones,
Protect me from their venomous drug
That springs from needles of fangs,
Attacked by snakes!
By snakes!

"So many snakes you could fill the Great Lakes with snakes,
Ha ha ha! Run! I try to hide,
But snakebites on my faces testify
I've been attacked by snakes!
By snakes!

"So many snakes it would take thousand crates
To contain the snakes after me,
I'd rather be burned at the stake
Than be attacked by snakes!…"
Bonus! Perilous Song o' the Day
Sufjan Stevens, "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!" from Illinois (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: It's predatory! It's a wasp! It's out to get us! Perilous peril!

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (circa 347-407): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. The annual reminder: "Chrysostom" is an epithet, neither St. John's given nor family name. Meaning "golden-mouthed" to describe the eloquence & authority of his preaching, it also explains why St. John Chrysostom is the patron saint of preachers.

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Archbishop of Constantinople, & was an important early Church Father. He is known for his preaching & public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by ecclesiastical & political leaders.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Venerius the Hermit, Abbot (circa 560-630, of Tino): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Gertrude Prosperi, Virgin & Abbess (1799-1847, A.K.A. Maria Luisa Angelica): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter three, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses two & three, ten & eleven, & twelve & thirteen(a,b);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses twenty thru twenty-six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today is St. Luke's version of the beatitudes, less well-known than Matthew's but actually punchier, more to the point. It all hinges on detachment, that decisively important spiritual attitude. Apatheia in the Greek fathers; indifferencia in Ignatius of Loyola. Spiritual detachment means that I am unattached to worldly values that become a substitute for the ultimate good of God.

How bluntly Luke's account puts things! Look at Luke's first beatitude, a model for the rest: "Blessed are you poor; the reign of God is yours." What if we translated this as "how lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things." When we place material things in the center of our concerns, we find ourselves caught in an addictive pattern.

Because material goods don't satisfy the hunger in my soul, I convince myself that I need more of them to gain contentment. So I strive and work to get more nice things—cars, homes, T.V's., clothes—and then I find that those don't satisfy me. So I strive and strive, and the rhythm continues.

Therefore, how lucky I would be if I were poor, unattached to material goods, finally indifferent to them.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Memorial of St. John Chrysostom
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter four, verses one thru seven, eleven, twelve, & thirteen;
Psalm Forty, verses eight(a) & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter four, verses one thru ten & thirteen thru twenty
(or, the Gospel according to Mark, chapter four, verses one thru nine).

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-five).

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Divided Kingdom, Part 2 of 2
The Book of Isaiah, chapter five (verses one thru thirty);
The Book of Isaiah, chapter six (verses one thru thirteen);
The Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty-two, verses fifteen thru twenty-five;
The Book of Micah, chapter six (verses one thru sixteen).

Commentary: The Vinyard Song (Isaiah, 5:1-7), Doom of the Unjust (5:8-25), Invasion (5:26-30), II. Immanuel Prophecies: Call of Isaiah (6:1-13), & Shebna & Eliakim (22:15-25); & III. Admonition: Accusation & Answer (Micah, 6:1-16).

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 349.8 lbs
This weigh-in: 351.0 lbs.
Difference: +1.2 lbs.

So far, so bad. Since the resumption of the Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in, I've gained an average of one point three pounds per week (1.3 lbs./week). What's done is done, I cannot "un-eat" what I've eaten. There's naught to do but to remember this failure each & every time I'm tempted to open the fridge looking for something to eat out of boredom rather than a need for sustenance. In the words of Luke Cage, "Never backward, always forward. Forward, always."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Yesterday

Montag, 11. September
Mustard Plug, "Live Is Too Short" from In Black and White (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"Take a step, a small step back,
A small step back before you step to me,
Don't get too hot, too hot to see,
Too hot to see it's time to cool down…"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Today

The Daughters of Mary, "Mother Dearest, Mother Fairest" from De Profundis (The Last Angry Man)

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3). Its object is to commemorate all the privileges bestowed upon Mary by God & all the graces received through her intercession & mediation. The entry in the Roman Martyrology about the feast speaks of it in the follow terms: "The Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a day on which the inexpressible love of the Mother of God for her Holy Child is recalled, & the eyes of the faithful are directed to the figure of the Mother of the Redeemer, for them to invoke with devotion."
'Tis also the festival of Saint Ailbe, Bishop (died circa 528, of Emly; A.K.A. Elvis): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Guy of Anderlecht, Confessor (circa 950-1012, also spelt Guido, A.K.A. Wye of Láken), the "Poor Man of Anderlecht:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter two, verses six thru fifteen;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses one(b) & two, eight & nine, & ten & eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses twelve thru nineteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, after Jesus names his twelve apostles in today’s Gospel, he heals a multitude of people. And that multitude represents us, for we all stand in need of the Savior’s healing touch.

We are made for love and connection and justice and nonviolence, but at every turn and in every way we are twisted in the direction of hatred, separation, injustice, and violence. We are, as St. Augustine put it, wandering in the land of dissimilitude and in the grip of the
libido dominandi. The contemporary philosopher Rene Girard has reminded us that all of our social arrangements are marked by scapegoating and oppression.

The human race is best characterized as a dysfunctional spiritual family, all of us having been marked from birth by the effects of sin. Sin has found its way into every aspect of human life, personally and institutionally. We would be hopelessly naïve to think otherwise.

And so we need, not just a philosopher or social theorist or political activist or military hero, but a Savior, someone who can break into our dysfunction from the outside and heal us.
Video reflection by Sister Johnice Rzadkiewicz, C.S.S.F.: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary
The Letter to the Galatians, chapter four, verses four thru seven;
or, the Letter to the Ephesians, chapter one, verses three thru six, eleven, & twelve;
R/. "O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the Eternal Father;"
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses thirty-nine thru forty-seven.

Bible Study—Parish Mission
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight (verses one thru thirty-nine).

Commentary: The Flesh & the Spirit (Romans, 8:1-13), Children of God through Adoption (8:14-17), Destiny of Glory (8:18-27), & God's Indomitable Love in Christ (8:28-39).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saints Protus & Hyacinth, Martyrs (died circa 257): Martyr-link Papa, Martyr-link Hotel, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Paphnutius of Thebes, Bishop (floruit third century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds John Bathe, S.J. & Thomas Bathe, Priests & Martyrs (died 1649), martyred by "Roundheads" (Parliamentarians) during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, two of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link Juliett Bravo, Martyr-link Tango Bravo, & Wikipedia-link; Martyr-links & Wikipedia-link Irish.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, Priest & Martyr, C.M. (1802-1840), martyred in the reign of the Daoguang Emperor: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: The Prayer of St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre (Wikipedia-link Prayer):
O my Divine Saviour,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.

Above all,
Transform my soul and all its powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.

I pray You
To destroy in me
All that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
But in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say,
With St. Paul,
"I live - now not I -
But Christ lives in me".

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter one, verse twenty-four thru chapter two, verse three;
Psalm Sixty-two, verses six & seven, & nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses six thru eleven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. As I've said many times before, we tend to domesticate Christ, reducing him to a guru or a teacher, one spiritual guide among many. But this is to do violence to the Gospel, which presents him not simply as teacher but as savior.

I realize that the culture militates against Christianity at this point, for it steadily teaches the ideology of self-esteem and self-assertion. "I'm okay and you're okay. Who are you to tell me how to behave?"

But this sort of thing—whatever value it might have politically or psychologically—is simply inimical to a Biblical Christianity. The Biblical view is that we have, through the abuse of our freedom, gotten ourselves into an impossible bind. Sin has wrecked us in such a fundamental way that we have become dysfunctional. Until we truly feel what it means to be lost and helpless, we will not appreciate who Jesus is and what he means.

Jesus is someone who has rescued us, saved us, done something that we could never, even in principle, do for ourselves.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Operation AXIOM: 9/11

Sixteen years ago to the day, 11 September 2001, the greatest mass-casualty act of terrorism in American history was perpetrated by nineteen agents of the Salafi jihadist terrorist organization al-Qaeda ("the Base"). Four civilian airliners were hijacked & deliberately crashed into three civilian & military buildings, one into each of the "Twin Towers" of the World Trade Center in New York, New York & a third into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the armed forces of the United States in Arlington, Virginia; the fourth hijacked airliner—the intended target of which has never been positively identified but which is suspected to have been the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.—crashed in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania amidst a revolt of the passengers against their hijackers. Nearly three thousand persons died in the four pincers of the attack, including all nineteen terrorists; thousands of others were wounded or psychologically traumatized.


The "War on Terror," the war against non-state Salafi jihadist organizations, started before 9/11, but took on an entirely different character in the aftermath, with the United States engaging in the largest-scale sustained military operations since the Vietnam War over a quarter-century earlier. The war against the Taliban (the "Students") stills rages in Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda had been based 'til 2001 from where it launched the 9/11 attack. The Iraq War raged from 2003-2011, when the United States unilaterally withdrew, leaving a power vacuum into which stepped the Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant (I.S.I.L., A.K.A. I.S.I.S.; or just the Islamic State, A.K.A. Daesh, the Arabic pronunciation of the initials I.S.), which exploited the Syrian Civil War that sprung from the Arab Spring to seize significant portions of both Iraq & Syria & itself declare a caliphate. The United States has recommitted blood & treasure to reclaim the Daesh-ruled territories in Iraq, territories the United States had unilaterally abandoned in 2011. Around the world, the fight continues against al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist cells & Daesh-inspired "lone wolf" terrorists, with no end in sight. But never forget that this is not a war of choice; whatever mistakes the United States has made in conducting the War on Terror, the necessity of conducting this war was forced upon our great republic by that "day of fire."


9/11 occurred sixteen years ago. For scale, 2017 is as distant from 2001 (though it doesn't seem very distant at all) as 2001 was from 1985, an interval that encompassed much of my childhood & thus seemed like a far greater span of time. Three thousand persons died & untold mental anguish & economic loss was inflicted in the worst act of terrorism in our nation's history, a day we dare never to forget, 11 September 2001, sixteen years ago today.

The Wayback Machine Tour of 9/11 (partial)
I have been dreadfully negligent in observing the National Day of Service & Remembrance, Patriot Day, seemingly only doing so approximately every other year. This is an odd numbered year, which fits the pattern of commemoration.

Patriot Day '15
Patriot Day '13
Patriot Day '11

Bonus! Song o' Patriot Day
Aaron Tippin, "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" from Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly (The Last Angry Man)