Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oh, Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Oh, love that will not let me go
I rest me weary soul in Thee
I give You back this life I owe
And in Your ocean depths its flow
May richer fuller be

Oh, light that follows all my way
I yield my flickering torch to Thee
And my heart restores its borrowed ray
And in Your sunshines blaze, its day
May brighter, fairer be

Rejoice my heart
Rejoice my soul
My Savior God has come to Thee
Rejoice my heart
You've been made whole
By a love that will not let me go

Oh, joy that seeks me through the pain
I cannot close my heart to Thee
I chase the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That more shall tearless be

Rejoice my heart ...

Oh, cross that lifts and holds my head
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust lifes glory dead
From the ground, their blossoms red
Life that shall endless be

Rejoice my heart ...

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The lyrics above are from a hymn written in 1882 by George Matheson (1842-1906), a Scottish minister and hymn writer. Years earlier, upon being informed that he was going blind, his fiancé broke off the engagement, saying that she could not go through life being married to a blind man. Matheson went on to study for the ministry, even as his sight was fading, and it was in the throes of a broken heart, that he was moved to compose this hymn for the occasion of his sister's wedding. He later wrote that it took him only five minutes to compose. The melody and performance is by the Robbie Seay Band.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Song Remains The Same: “Happy” Beyond Pharrell Williams

This month, we present a special interruption of “Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre” which is our usual midweek feature. This special sub-series is named for the 1973 concert film by Led Zeppelin. After showing two very different versions of an AC/DC hit last month, it was decided to delve into the world of pop music remixes.

This first one put an American singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, musician, and fashion designer by the name of Pharrell Williams on the map, and now everybody's doin' that happy dance, at a time when the world needs it most. There is even a 24-hour version at

You can either watch the "behind the scenes" video above, or you can check the one-hour segments of the 24-hour full monty, whether at 12 midnight, 12 noon, or any hours in between. Meanwhile, everybody is getting in on the act, provided with any excuse for a flash mob. Here's how they get it done in Malaysia.

We have featured Burlington, Ontario-based Walk Off The Earth at Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre before, bringing a unique and off-the-mainstream approach to mainstream pop music, as much fun to watch as they are to hear. And here they are with their friends from Parachute, along with the big brooding fellow, being big and brooding as always.

Our next feature is one you can expect given the fun we have here with á cappella ensembles; in this case, the Brigham Young University-based Vocal Point. Hey, didn't we feature these guys once before? Oh, yeah we did, son of a gun! They seem to have grown in numbers since then, not to mention varied in their wardrobe so they don't look so much like Mormons even though they are, well, you know ...

Of course, we cannot forget the ultimate imitation as a form of flattery, starring none other than Weird Al Yankovic and his rendition of “Tacky.” He features comedian Margaret Cho, actor Jack Black, and some other people we can't seem to name at the moment. (Maybe you can, and the combox is open.)

Now, it's understood that you, dear reader, cannot wait to do your happy dance, so we're calling on choreographer Andrea Wilson to show you the moves, as we move on to our intense research for the next highlight of this special feature of our usual midweek feature.

Maybe if everybody around the world would do their happy dance all at the same time (and a search on YouTube for “pharrell williams happy” will give you quite an idea), we just might all stop killing each other long enough to forget why we ever started, don't you think?

Or don't you?

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Monday, September 08, 2014

“I read the news today, oh boy …” (Mary’s Birthday Edition)

There are more exciting things than watching the grass grow. One of them is watching crayons being made, as we provide yet another excuse for a GIF animation.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

There is what people say, and what people mean when they say it. Here is a list of fourteen such veiled comments. [Thought Catalog]

Speaking of falling for something, there is a new phenomenon on the internet, and her name is “The Food Babe.” This attractive woman appears to know something about what goes into your food, and she can even make dihydrogen monoxide sound bad for you. [Forbes]

Once there was a psychologist whose science experiments on his own children were considered unethical. Nowadays some children don't wait for that to happen. [Reuters via MSN]

It sounds like an urban legend, but a Great Dane underwent surgery to have 43 1/2 socks removed from his stomach. Maybe he was saving that last half-sock for a nightcap. One thing's for sure, if you watch the video, you'll see the story had a happy ending. [The Oregonian]

In a related story, an Indiana judge has ordered an attorney not to appear again in court without wearing proper attire, which would appear to include -- you guessed it ... [AP]

In other potentially scary outcomes (depending on from which side of Hadrian's Wall you hail), the vote of Scotland to separate from the United Kingdom leaves vexillologists and vexillophiles the world over wondering the same thing. [Gizmodo]

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aforementioned wall, somebody may have found Jack the Ripper. [The Daily Mail]

Somewhere is a list of what purports to be the fifteen most loved or hated bands of the last thirty years, depending on where you went to college, what year you graduated, and to which college clique you belonged. [Salon]

Finally, today is the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is a pretty big deal in the Philippines, especially the exotic city of Cebu. Note the priest wearing blue vestments, and the altar servers wearing blue tunics, an indulgence that Mother Church has historically granted to the Spanish colonies (past and present). [Cebu Daily News]

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Timmy and the Pope

“When the faith is in imminent peril, prelates ought to be accused by their subjects, even in public.”
(St Thomas Aquinas)

Monsignor Charles Pope is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, and pastor of Holy Comforter - St Cyprian Parish in the District. He has long been one of the regular celebrants for the monthly Missa Solemnis at St Mary Mother of God Church (Old Saint Mary's) at the east end of Chinatown, where yours truly served for him for several years. He also writes a regular column for the archdiocesan weblog.

His most recent one concerned the decision of the organizers of the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York City, to include an ostensibly Irish LGBT group (or LGBTQ, or LGBTQI, or whatever the hell it's up to now; what's the latest, LGBTQIA?) that wants to march in the parade as a distinct group, as if on the premise that bringing it up from the rear is a perfectly Irish thing to do on "some enchanted evening."

A modest proposal, yes?

It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.

Apparently not. It used to be found at the domain, but alas …

In the 24 to 48 hours since the article appeared, it was removed without further comment, a tome which did not mention nor make reference to any ecclesiastical official of any jurisdiction, never mind call into question their prudential judgment, nor personally attack any particular member of the Church, whether cleric or laic. His commentary could have been interpreted in the most benign sense possible, that concessions of the faithful to the world are not met in kind by the world, thus proving that this IS not our world, that our Kingdom lay elsewhere. It was, at the end of the day, a response to the promotion of "an objective moral evil" with a call to prayer.

And we just can't have that, can we, Your Eminence?

So, every now and then, those clowns at Rorate Caeli do something besides embarrass themselves, and they copied the whole piece over and posted it themselves. And so we give a Tip of the Black Hat to them for doing the right thing without being jerks. We also give one to Msgr Pope himself, for taking what he had to know was a certain risk in publishing that over which a bunch of cowards in choir dress would invariably get their cinctures in a knot. We also give a Whack Across the Back of the Head with the Black Hat, to he who ultimately must bear responsibility for its removal.

But the ultimate WATBOTHWTBH goes to the one mere shadow of a man, who had a choice of whether to disassociate himself from that which can be no less than "an objective moral evil."

To wit, Timothy Cardinal Dolan responded thus ...

The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee continues to have my confidence and support. Neither my predecessors as Archbishop of New York nor I have ever determined who would or would not march in this parade (or any of the other parades that march along Fifth Avenue, for that matter), but have always appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage ...

After all, it wouldn't be the first time in the history of the Church, that a man of authority publicly washed his hands of that in which he took some part -- in this case, as Grand Marshal of one of next year's "any other parades." Status quo suprema lex, Your Immenseness, don't you think?

Or don't you?

UPDATE 1: Msgr Pope issues a clarification.

I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense.

It's okay, Father. Most of us were not offended. We all know who was.

UPDATE 2: The part where Cardinal Dolan says ...

Neither my predecessors as Archbishop of New York nor I have ever determined who would or would not march in this parade.

… isn't quite true, if you consider the following from the New York Times in 1993:

Declaring that political correctness is not worth "one comma in the Apostles' Creed," John Cardinal O'Connor triumphantly reviewed a St. Patrick's Day Parade …

And so, the plot thickens.

Monday, September 01, 2014

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Labor Day Edition)

There was a time when Chuck Todd was a decent reporter -- oh yes, there was a time -- but in this clip, he is less a reporter than he is a propagandist, and not a very good one at that. He would have us believe that what women voters really want, is free and unlimited access to abortion and birth control. After all, what else are women good for, if not the things for which they would demand free and unlimited … oh, wait, do tell us again about the "war on women."

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Speaking of entitlements for half the human race, get ready for your kids to inundated with more television coverage of female problems (that our fathers and grandfathers never had to so much as think about). [Chicks on the Right]

Last week, we reported on science kits that came with uranium. But wait, there's more flirting with danger from back in the day. [Gajitz]

In other science news, it would appear that all the blue-eyed people are part of a single master race after all, or at least have a common ancestor, which is kinda the same thing, right? [ScienceDaily]

Turning now to the business world, the former CEO of the nation's largest supermarket chain thinks his salary was "ludicrous." Ironically, if he were appointed by the President to a high government position, he would take a pay cut. [The Cincinnati Enquirer]

And speaking of ludicrous, Miley Cyrus is demonstrating her solidarity with the homeless by dating one of them. Too bad there were no reference checks, since it's definitely a move down in the world for him. [Independent Journal Review]

Be the above as it may, somebody's being more careful these days, especially if they ride a bike that no one can steal when it's locked without defeating the plan. [Gajitz]

Finally, Jon Stewart is really confused about the internet, so he gets schooled on it by some guy from MIT. [Gizmodo]

And that's all the news that fits. As the panama hat is put away, and the Black Hat once again taken out of mothballs, stay tuned, and stay in touch.


Friday, August 29, 2014

TGIF: Girl Dancing With Hula Hoops

Thank G-d it's Friday, and here it is, your moment of whimsy ...

With the Labor Day weekend coming, those of us in the States mark the official unofficial end of the summer. Coral Jade is a street performer who can take on thirty hula hoops at the same time. Some people have the moves for this, and some (like yours truly) don't. Whatever moves you decide to make, enjoy your weekend.

And stay in touch.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Loose Lips in the Loggia (Saint Augustine Edition)

Today the Church remembers the "restless heart" named Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, aka Augustine, a Roman citizen of north Africa, or what is now modern-day Algeria, who eventually was made Bishop of Hippo (the present-day city of Annaba) in the late fourth and early fifth century.

Meanwhile, here's what's bouncing around the bandwidth of believers lately:

Are we in the midst of the great Chastisement? My dad used to say, “Yes, and it’s called the ‘New Mass.’” Pat Archbold would probably agree, but offers a different explanation nonetheless. [Creative Minority Report]

Speaking of the "New Mass," Jeff Ostrowski attempts to shatter a few myths about the official liturgical reform, for the benefit of those devoted to liturgical studies (which is to say, not most of you). [Views from the Choir Loft]

In light of recent events, it has been made clear that the American bishops remain committed to dialogue with people in faraway lands who want to cut off our heads. Does anyone else see this ending well? [National Catholic Reporter]

A devoted Catholic husband and father says that a Holy Hour can be a "date." Not exactly a trip to the malt shop ... [Seton Magazine]

At some point, it is not enough to apply a bandage to a boil. The only remedy is to lance it. If anyone needed to make a case that the Legionnaires of Christ must be completely dissolved with nary a trace remaining, and its priests compelled to re-evaluate their ministry, they will find it here (as if the malevolence of its founder were not enough). [Pia de Solenni]

UPDATE: A message to the responsible parties in the aforementioned account: SORRY DON'T FEED THE BULLDOG! [National Catholic Reporter]

Finally, and on the other hand, a different and more moderate perspective is offered by canonist and Very Close Personal Friend Pete Vere, as well as how to tell when the same mistake might happen again. [Catholic Light]

Well, that's our story and we're stickin' to it. Remember to attend Holy Mass this Sunday. Until the next chattel of church chat, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Miranda Lambert “Only Prettier”

Time once again for our usual midweek feature.

Miranda Lambert made her Nashville recording debut in 2005, and when she's not performing with the Pistol Annies, she is making statements on the shifting of Southern culture since the 1960s. The narrator has “a mouth like a sailor and yours is more like a Hallmark card," but at the end of the day, if you're from Dixie, hurrah for Dixie, 'cuz she's from Dixie too.

And so it goes.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Philippine National Heroes Day Edition)

Last Wednesday, New Jersey governor and kinda-sorta-presidential hopeful Chris Christie took on a challenger in a townhall-style meeting, to discuss one of the burning issues of our time. You can agree or disagree with the man on one thing or another, but you can't deny that you know exactly where he stands on an issue, that right or wrong he'll tell you why, and that he could whoop anybody's @$$ in a presidential debate. Now, given that no president is ever able to keep every promise he makes, how bad could that be?

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Science marches on, as Google's experimental “autonomous car” is programmed to go over the speed limit to make it safer. Obviously it won't hit anybody ... or will it? [Gizmodo]

Moving our science news forward into the past, it was possible back in the 1950s for a kid to purchase an “Atomic Energy Kit” complete with four different types of uranium ore. Oh, and a geiger counter, just to be safe. [Gajitz]

And speaking of trends, here's some great news for all you fellas who miss the pop culture and haute couture of the 80s and 90s. “Mom jeans” are making a comeback. [Answers]

In the first of three (slightly) related stories, is the United States of America the most freedom-loving country in the world? It depends on what you mean by “freedom,” or whether you confuse that term with “license.” [Capitalism Is Freedom]

Second, in taking a closer look at America, what are the most corrupt among the several States? [Fortune]

Third, What is the value of, say, one hundred dollars, relative to each state? [The Huffington Post]

Finally, the renowned actor Patrick Stewart officially ends the Ice Bucket Challenge! We can all stop dumping ice water on our heads, as the star of Star Trek and X-Men wins the challenge. No more nominations, no more wet clothes, just one check for an undisclosed amount of money. (Aside from the support of the ALSA for embryonic stem cell research, it was getting a little annoying anyway.) [N/A]

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
— for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)