Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Obligatory Davy Jones Tribute

By now you've heard of the death of Davy Jones, actor-musician and former lead singer of the marketing gimmick in the form of a rock and roll band known as "The Monkees," of a heart attack in Florida. He was 66. This would be an opportunity to present one of his better performances, namely the song “Daydream Believer.” But yours truly prefers how its done by its writer, John Stewart. But hey, it's a tribute, right?

Duc in Altum (Put Out into the Deep)

The following is an editorial by Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D., slated to appear in the upcoming issue of The Catholic Response, a bi-monthly periodical of which he is editor.

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This issue of The Catholic Response appears amidst many significant events in the Church and in society. The assault on the religious freedom rights of faith-based institutions and individual believers by the Obama Administration, of course, is the topic of the moment. Along with that comes the creation of twenty-two new cardinals (including two Americans) by Pope Benedict XVI, a poignant part of which ceremony is the instruction to the new members of the College of Cardinals that the red they wear is not a fashion statement but a reminder that they must be ready and willing to witness to the truth of Christ’s Gospel, usque ad effusionem sanguinis (even to the shedding of their blood). Until recently, no one would have imagined that such a reminder would have any serious resonance for an American; now, we’re not too sure.

The reader will note that the articles selected are heavily weighted in the direction of liturgical matters and religious liberty concerns, two of which are based on the thought of John Henry Cardinal Newman. Aside from the fact that Blessed John Henry was a cardinal, his insights are of perennial value, especially since he had the faculty of being able to prognosticate societal directions with uncanny accuracy. Why the convergence of liturgy and public policy? If we Catholics are going to have do battle to defend the freedom of the Church and our own personal freedom of conscience, we shall have to take seriously our Christian commitment made first at Baptism and then renewed in a powerfully dramatic manner at Confirmation. But that task will not be able to be completed on our own steam. We shall have to claim the grace of Christ, first given to us in the Sacraments of Initiation and reinforced through regular recourse to the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. Liturgy, then, must be seen as preparation for mission. Or, as two of the new dismissals at Mass put it, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”; and, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”

With all that in mind, I would like to reflect on the situation in which the Church in the United States currently finds herself – offered as “bullet points” which, I hope, can provide fodder for personal meditation and ongoing conversation, with a view to embarking on a plan of action.

    Let’s start with the state of affairs as they now are: The Obama Administration (with the complicity and even pressure of would-be Catholics like Kathleen Sebelius) proposed a supposed health measure which would have required religiously based institutions to provide contraceptives to their constituents. When the uproar from across the political and religious spectrum was so massive, Obama and Company retreated to re-group forces, returning with a “compromise,” which has failed to convince not only the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, but also leading legal scholars like Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard and Robby George of Princeton. Editorials in periodicals as diverse as USA Today, National Review, and the Wall Street Journal have variously dubbed the “compromise” a shell-game or a smoke-and-mirrors effort. As so many bishops made bold to say in their pastoral letters, “We cannot, we will not cooperate in this project.” The gauntlet has been thrown down. Who is going to blink?

    As veteran readers of TCR know, prior to the election of 2008, I wrote extensively about the dangers inherent in voting for candidates who do not share our world-view, highlighting the dangers to the Church and to her mission in society. On second thought, I may have been wrong. The election of Barack Obama may actually turn out to be one of the greatest blessings for the Catholic Church in American history because his extremism and recklessness have become a salutary “wake-up” call to those who thought they could have peaceful coexistence with his ilk. Now, many who supported his candidacy are asking how they could have been so deceived or how he could have been so deceitful. In other words, his brashness has had a galvanizing effect on the Catholic community – and on all faith communities that take religion seriously. Even Catholics not normally aligned with “conservatism” were appalled by the Administration’s action and felt as though they had been betrayed and treated like one of Lenin’s “useful idiots”; 2008 Obama supporter and former ambassador to Malta, Doug Kmiec, expressed just such a sentiment. Simply put, this might well be an example of how God can write straight with crooked lines, turning a potential disaster into what the late Father Richard Neuhaus dubbed “the Catholic moment.” Or, as Cardinal Newman put it in his famous biglietto address (found in full in this issue of TCR):

Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend; sometimes he is despoiled of that special virulence of evil which was so threatening; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial, and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties, in confidence and peace; to stand still and to see the salvation of God.

    None of the above, however, stopped Catholic Health Association president Carol Keehan from supporting the “compromise,” in spite of its rejection by the episcopal conference. Parting company with the bishops is not a new tack of this woman religious, for this is exactly what she did when the bishops ultimately came out against the health care plan of the President last year. Her support gave the White House a fig leaf behind which to hide, enabling spokesmen to pit the loving concern for the poor and marginalized of the CHA against the cold, unfeeling judgment of the out-of-touch male hierarchy. “Divide and conquer.” Which leads us to our next question: Who speaks for the Church here or anywhere else?

    It is a truism that the Catholic Church is not a democracy; positions are not decided on the basis of the latest public opinion poll. According to settled Catholic doctrine, the teachers – and the only divinely appointed teachers – in the Church are the bishops teaching in communion with the Bishop of Rome. If a Catholic finds that statement a stumbling block, he needs to do one of two things: either, pray about it and study all pertinent material on the topic; or, following his conscience, join one of thousands of Christian ecclesial communities that do not subscribe to that doctrine. In other words, there is no confusion about this matter as far as the Church is concerned, and anyone claiming confusion is either delusional or disingenuous. For the Administration to play that card is but another indication of the low regard they have for the Catholic Church.

    The Obama Administration must be shell-shocked by the massive opposition of the grass-roots populace, as distinct from the media elite who are disconnected from the attitudes of normal Americans, as that has been repeatedly documented over the past three decades. The United States of America is not Europe, where even most churchmen would have groused in silence before the unprecedented assault on religious liberty. Frankly, one would have thought that the Administration would have been chastened by the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court just days earlier in the Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Evangelical Church and School case, essentially slapping the Administration in the face for attempting to control the hiring and firing policy of a Lutheran school.

    Americans are, by and large, religious people, with a profound respect for “organized” religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular, due in large measure to the Church’s impressive record of offering quality schools, hospitals, and charitable outreach programs to society-at-large. What possessed the President to pursue what anyone could have told him was an untenable position and an unwinnable battle? First, a textbook example of classical hubris, that form of pride which always leads to a would-be invincible hero’s downfall. And, equally, nothing short of being out of touch with real people and, especially, real Catholics. His toadies did not serve him well in convincing him that his draconian decision would be met with little more than a sigh or a yawn. One of the most significant examples of interfaith and ecumenical action has been the response of Eastern Orthodox bishops, Missouri Synod Lutheran leadership, other Evangelicals, and the Orthodox Jewish community – all of whom have taken a stand in solidarity with the USCCB.

    While the Church does not form doctrine on the basis of the Gallup Poll, at times it is useful to have such data in forming a pastoral plan of action or in assessing a situation. But then we must ask, “Who is a Catholic?” Years ago, I prevailed on Dr. George Gallup, Jr., to divide his Catholic sample into active and inactive members; the results surprised him but did not surprise me, which is precisely why I made the suggestion. In the present context, it has come to light that 63% of Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday agreed with the position of the bishops, while 63% of Catholics who rarely or never attend Mass sided with the Obama Administration. Being a Catholic is more than having been born into a Catholic family or having had water poured on one’s forehead in infancy. Catholicism is a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ and a coherent way of life based on His teachings – or else it is nothing. While the secular media would have us believe that the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic, that is not the judgment of the ultimate Judge.

    Most commentators on the issue (including the Catholic bishops) have argued that the disagreement is not about contraception but about religious freedom rights. And they are correct. However, it is also about contraception – and here I would like to turn to internal Catholic affairs.

For more than forty years, the average priest and bishop has had a muzzle on his mouth in regard to the Church’s perennial teaching on artificial contraception, mostly motivated by fear of “alienating” contracepting Catholics in the pews. And wasn’t that the very embarrassing fact noted by those who wished to demonstrate how the hierarchy’s position and the (largely) unchallenged alternate practice of all too many Catholics were at odds with each other? That “great divide” has happened because of clerical malfeasance or nonfeasance, what the French refer to as la trahison des clercs (the treason of the clergy), who have the responsibility to teach the truth “in season and out of season.” A long time ago, many priests and bishops determined it was more important to be popular than to be faithful, essentially selling the People of God short. The laity will listen to the truth if it is intelligently and convincingly presented; the majority of young Catholics “in sync” with the Church’s teaching on abortion are the best indication of how we can teach unpopular truths and gain acceptance.

A second embarrassing fact brought forward is that dozens of Catholic colleges have been making contraception available through their health plans for years already, leading scoffers to ask why the bishops are making a big thing of it all of a sudden? If the bishops did not know about that reality, they should have known; and if they did know and did not act, it is to their shame.

In many ways, the priests and bishops of today are involved in a “mop-up” operation bequeathed to them by so many of their predecessors who just wanted to “go along to get along.” As the Prophet Ezekiel declared, “The fathers eat sour grapes, and the sons’ teeth stand on edge” (18:2).

We cannot wallow in useless lamenting over the past. God has given us the present, a veritable “Catholic moment,” if we but seize it. On January 19 of this year, Pope Benedict discussed this matter with a group of American bishops in Rome for their ad limina visit:

In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

That is a clarion call for action, if ever there was one.

And how does the Pope propose that these matters be addressed?

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would de-legitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.

While admitting that mistakes have been made, we need to thank God for a Constitution which guarantees religious freedom, for a united episcopal conference, for millions of lay faithful willing to do battle for the rights of the Church and of individual conscience, and for the millions more of Americans of goodwill who see what we see and have responded in kind. Once again, Cardinal Newman in a different time and place still has salutary counsel to offer us:

Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls; but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the Word of God, to Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and True, or to His Vicar on earth. Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril, that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain; on the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise, when it is witnessed, is the particular mode by which, in the event, Providence rescues and saves His elect inheritance.

What is demanded of us – as Catholics and as Americans – is the capacity to echo the bold retort of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Primate of Poland, as he faced down the tyrannical Communists of his day: “We teach that it is proper to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. But when Caesar sits himself on the altar, we respond curtly: He may not!”

Well-informed and courageous clergy and laity, calling on the grace of the sacraments, is what our Church and our nation need and deserve. In the midst of this, we must adopt the confidence of Cardinal Newman which is, at root, the confidence of Easter Sunday, as the ancient hymn proclaims: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat (Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules). If you adopt this mindset, which is putting on “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16), you will duc in altum.

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Father Stravinskas is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation. The above is reproduced here with his kind permission.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Obligatory American Idol Story

You know what Monty Python used to say, "And now for something completely different ..."

No, I don't pay much attention to shows like American Idol. In thirty-one years of civil service, I have occasionally had to work for arrogant people, where I had no choice (thus being the reason I could sleep well at night, in spite of being overpaid). Watching three of them judge young kids who attempt to do what they could barely do themselves, and being total jerks about it, is not my idea of entertainment. (Other than being the wife of a rock star, can someone tell me what Sharon Osbourne brings to the table? C'mon, anybody!)

That said, it would appear that my hometown of Milford, Ohio, may turn out to be the home of the next Justin Beiber -- just when we all thought one was enough.

American Idol contestant and Milford High School freshman Eben Christian Franckewitz is performing live Tuesday night.

Eben, 15, made it to the Top 24 on American Idol last week and will sing live for America's votes.

Eben auditioned for Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson in Pittsburgh, where he impressed the judges with his performance of "Ain't No Sunshine."

Three viewing parties are happening Tuesday evening in Milford ...

Okay, these three particular judges I could handle, but those who get up the nerve to face them aren't always so lucky.

"Eben" is short for "Ebenezer," in case you were wondering. But before you give a son that name, know that our young hometown hero may take a lesson from the Palins, and get it copyrighted as his own trademark. Honest, the tee-shirts are already out there. "Vote 4 Eben" and "Milford's Idol" to name two.

We've got two more nights of this claim to fame on national television. So, if this is what you're into, let's wish this kid the best and show him some love on Facebook. I just did. You know why? Because up to now, this town of just over six thousand has only been known for producing famous athletes. (Don't ask.) Any attempt to branch out has got to be a step up the food chain, don't you think?

Or don't you?

The Long and Reverent Farewell

We buried my father this past Saturday.

The night before was the visitation. The funeral home is down the street from the church, owned and operated by Mom's cousin. Jack and I met the night before, and talked for about an hour about how it was "back in the day." (Amazing how many "shirttail cousins" I have around here.)

There was a private hour before the public viewing, meant only for the family. The hardest part for Mom was to see Dad lying in state for the first time. On his lapels were the "Eagle Scout Dad" pin, the Proctor and Gamble service pin, and the Knights of Columbus Pin. But there was something else. In checking his Air Force service record (DD-214), we learned that he was awarded the German Occupation Medal. We never could find one, but thanks to eBay, we got one just in time to pin on his left chest. Mom took one look at it, and said she wanted it for her own safekeeping. In fact, she wanted everything pinned on him. Thus he was buried wearing the ribbon bar that came with the medal. And, at Sal's request, a concession to Filipino custom was made, and the rosary in his hands was broken, as a wish that none of us would follow too quickly.

The parish priest came for that hour, and the Vigil for the Deceased was held then held, just the family. Fourteen of us gathered around Mom as the good Father officiated. It was a wise move, as the two-hour visitation that followed was quite celebratory. A cousin from my Dad's side showed up. I hadn't seen him since I was a little boy. But perhaps the big highlight was the photo collage shown on the video screen, prepared by nephew Jacob with help from some of his cousins, scenes from Dad's early life, and raising of a family. His grandsons were astonished at moments of particular resemblance between themselves and their grandfather. After the visitation, the children and grandchildren went to a local restaurant to celebrate Dad's life, and remember all those clever witticisms that were his trademark. We offered a toast to his memory, one that he actually taught us.

“O quam bonum et jucundum, est habitare cum fratribus in unum.”

Did I mention he studied Latin for nine years through high school and college?

Then came the Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday. It was our intention for it to be, as much as possible, what Dad would have wanted for himself. The parish was very accommodating (okay, they drew the line at dark vestments, but other than that ...), and the result was a most reverent experience. What follows is the text of the program itself.

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Principal Celebrant:
Rev Robert Waller, Pastor

Concelebrant: Rev Jan Kevin Schmidt

Deacon of the Mass: Rev Mr Timothy S Schutte

Master of Ceremonies: Mr David L Alexander (son)

The family of the deceased requests that a respectful silence be maintained, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in the period before the Mass begins.


On the day Paul was brought to the Church for baptism, he was reborn in the waters of Life. He was also clothed in a white garment, and given a lighted candle, the Light of Christ whom he was to carry in his life. Today, Paul is brought full circle, returning to the house of God, where his remains are sprinkled with Holy Water. He is also covered with a white pall, and will rest beneath the Paschal candle, the symbol of the risen Christ, whose Light conquered Death, and granted Life.


Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

People: And with your spirit.

Sprinkling with Holy Water

Placing of the Pall

Entrance Procession

Hymn: O God Our Help In Ages Past (Worship 579)


Mark Alexander, Jacob Alexander, Paul David Alexander, Scott Alexander, Justin Drybala, Michael Ryan, Robert Ryan, Stephen Ryan (grandsons)



First Reading

Wisdom 3:1-9
Mark Alexander (grandson)

Reader: The word of the Lord.

People: Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 23 (Worship 32, Antiphon I)
Cantor: Deborah Sullivan

Response: "My shepherd is the Lord, nothing indeed shall I want."

Second Reading

Romans 6:3-9
Edward Drybala (son-in-law)

Reader: The word of the Lord.

People: Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation

Mass of the Angels and Saints (S Janco)


Rev Mr Timothy S Schutte

Deacon: The Lord be with you.

People: And with your spirit.

Deacon: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

People: Glory to you, O Lord.

John 11:17-27


Rev Robert Waller

Prayer of the Faithful

Jacob Alexander (grandson)

Response: Lord, hear our prayer.


Preparation Hymn

The King of Love My Shepherd Is (Worship 609)


Michael Ryan, Robert Ryan, Stephen Ryan (grandsons)

Priest: Pray, my brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.

People: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

Prayer over the Oblations

Eucharistic Prayer

The Roman Canon

Preface (Dialogue)

Priest and People

[illustration of preface chant here]


Cantor and People

[illustration of sanctus chant here]

Memorial Acclamation

Priest: The mystery of faith ...

[illustration of acclamation chant "b" here]

Great Amen

[illustration of amen chant here]

The Lord's Prayer

Priest and People

[illustration of 1964 robert snow chant here]


Priest: ... for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

[illustration of doxology chant here]

Sign of Peace

Priest: The peace of the Lord ...

[illustration of responsory chant here]

Agnus Dei

Cantor and People

[illustration of agnus dei chant here]

Invitation to Communion

Priest: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

[illustration of domine non sum dignus chant here]

Catholics who are in a state of grace are invited to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Those who are unable to receive, or those who are not Catholic, while not admitted to Communion, are asked to offer prayers for the blessed repose of the deceased, and for the peace and unity of the world.

Communion Hymn

At That First Eucharist (Worship 733)

Communion Meditation

Panis Angelicus (César Franck, 1872)

Panis angelicus
    The angelic bread
fit panis hominum;
    becomes the bread of men;
Dat panis coelicus
    The heavenly bread
figuris terminum:
    ends all prefigurations:
O res mirabilis!
    What wonder!
Manducat Dominum
    The Lord is eaten
Pauper, servus et humilis.
    by a poor and humble servant.

Te trina Deitas
    Triune God,
unaque poscimus:
    We beg of you:
Sic nos tu visita,
    visit us,
sicut te colimus;
    just as we worship you.
Per tuas semitas
    By your ways,
duc nos quo tendimus,
    lead us where we are heading,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.
    to the light in which you dwell.


Soloist: Deborah Sullivan

Prayer After Communion


Invitation to Prayer


In the Church, incense is a symbol of honor and respect that dates to the most ancient of times. As the sweet fragrance rises to the heavens, so we send Paul from this life, in the hope of forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Kingdom of God.

Song of Farewell

Saints of God (Worship 175)

Response: "Receive his soul and present him to God, to God the Most High." (2x)

Prayer of Commendation

Recessional Chant

Chant: In Paradisum (Worship 178)
Cantor: Deborah Sullivan

May choirs of angels
escort you into paradise:
and at your arrival
may the martyrs
receive and welcome you;
may they bring you home
into the holy city, Jerusalem.

May the holy angels welcome you,
and with Lazarus, who lived in poverty,
may you have everlasting rest.

Excerpts from the English translation and chant of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); excerpts from Order of Christian Funerals © 1985, ICEL. All rights reserved.

Following the Mass of Christian Burial, the funeral cottage will proceed to Gate of Heaven Cemetery (11000 Montgomery Road, north of Exit 50 off I-275). After the Rite of Burial, we will return to the church. There we invite you to the church basement for a light meal, in gratitude for sharing this occasion with us. Know that you remain in our thoughts and prayers, even as we remain in yours.

-- The Alexander Family

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In light of the cold weather, and Mom's infirmity, we had the last formalities in the cemetery chapel. There we were greeted by two Air Force honor guards from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. They engaged the ceremonial folding of the flag, and presented it to Mom: "On behalf of the Department of the Air Force, the President of the United States, and a grateful nation ..." The last item was completely unexpected by all except for yours truly, who played the harmonica and sang an Irish patriotic song, one of heroic virtue, and victory in the face of death.

The minstrel boy to the war is gone,
In the ranks of death ye will find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
"Land of Song!" said the warrior bard,
"Tho' all the world betray thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain
Could not bring his proud soul under;
The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!"

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Everyone appeared to agree. Besides, as we are not the least bit Irish, "Danny Boy" would have been a bit much.

The repast was in the church basement. Mom ended her time there at a table with a delegation from Dad's side of the family, including my Uncle Francis, the last surviving of six Alexander brothers. The evening was a relatively quiet one, with some of us joining Mom for Saturday evening Mass in the chapel at Cottingham, and Sal and I visiting my son Paul that evening, as he was staying at his uncle's house at the time. By the following morning, things were quieting down, as I took Sal and Paul to the airport.

The question that usually arises next is, now what?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Year Without Mardi Gras

PHOTO: The author with his mother and father at a parish Oktoberfest, October 2010.

The interregnum between the Christmas season (in the broader sense, one that lasts forty days until Candlemas, the second of February) and Ash Wednesday is known variously throughout the world as the great “Carnival.” It is the relief from drudgery of late winter, a last bit of revelry before the period of the Great Fast, known in the Western church as Lent. Anyone who has ever personally witnessed the death of a loved one -- their slow deterioration, their lapsing in and out of consciousness, transitioning from one plane of existence to the next, their final death agonies, the eerie changing of skin color that transforms what once was a living being -- they know that there is no carnival this year in the Alexander Family. We have given up our father for Lent. What more can the world ask of us?

I met with the parish deacon today, and went over the details of the funeral program, and the choreography of the Mass. Every parish is a little different, and as the "master of ceremonies," the idea here is to integrate into the entourage without changing how service at the altar is conducted. It's an odd feeling, being made to feel like a stranger in your own home, however unintentionally. Tonight, my siblings and some of their kids were at the house with a moving van, taking some of the furniture that made this house a home, to move it to a new apartment in the Assisted Living wing at Cottingham, so that Mom can feel at home there, and won't stop complaining about not being here.

I can't say I blame her.

When a loved one dies, the universe shifts here and there to adjust to the change. Sometimes we must leave one place for another, and yet there are times when we venture back to the places we knew. The landmarks, the points of reference, the street corners; we imagine they are the same as they always were. But around us are people who are going on about their business, living in the present moment while we are in a world of our own, fading in and out of that present moment. Someday, this house where I grew up will be empty of the possessions accumulated over fifty-five years, and it will be sold. It will then be someone else's home. Here in the town where I grew up, I will no longer have one, only a three-by-six-foot plot in a parish cemetery on the edge of town. There, a lifeless vessel will one day lie in wait, as the spirit journeys to what one may hope to be the heart's true home.

As C S Lewis once said: “We live in the shadowlands. Real life has not begun yet.”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Paul Andrew Alexander (1925-2012)

My father passed into eternity this evening, at 9:30 Eastern Standard USA Time, surrounded by his immediate family, from complications related to multiple sclerosis. He was eighty-six years of age. He is survived by his devoted wife of nearly sixty years, my mother, the former Dorothy Ann Rosselot. He also leaves behind his sons, David and Stephen, and his daughters, Mary and Patricia, as well as eight grandsons and one great-granddaughter.

A tribute to his life -- “Dad” -- was published here on Father's Day last year.

NOTICE OF ARRANGEMENTS: Visitation, including a Vigil for the Deceased, will be this coming Friday the 24th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, at the John H Evans Funeral Home, 741 Center Street, Milford, Ohio. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated the following morning, Saturday the 25th, at 10:00 am, at Saint Andrew Catholic Church, 555 Main Street, Milford, Ohio. Burial will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Montgomery, Ohio.

Tributes in memory of the deceased may be sent to Saint Andrew Catholic Church, or to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

... fast falls the eventide.

I served the Traditional High Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Cincinnati this morning, always a delight that does the heart good. And speaking of hearts, it was from my vantage point at the foot of the altar, that I witnessed this depiction of the mystical vision in 1673, of Marguerite Marie Alacoque.

They say that a healthy adult can survive for two weeks, maybe a bit more, without food, but only three or four days without water. My father is now having difficulty swallowing, and has not taken in any liquid nourishment since Friday evening. He is being fed his antibiotics and a morphine derivative orally with an eye dropper. That is all he can manage. Hospice care does not provide for an IV feeding tube, but it doesn't matter. His body is shutting down, unable to process any sustenance provided in any case.

When she is awake, Mom sits next to the bed and holds his hand. The siblings are taking shifts of six to eight hours. Pat was working on word puzzles, and between that and Mom, learned varieties of apples she never knew existed. I probably won't be nearly as exciting for conversation, but my shift starts at 11 tonight, and goes until 6 in the morning, so it hardly matters. I won't be able to sleep, checking on Dad periodically. I will pray the Penitential Psalms, and prayers from the Vespers of the Dead. Maybe a rosary somewhere in there. Not to mention watch TV on my phone.

We continue to receive good wishes and spiritual bouquets from our many friends and avid readers. For this we are truly grateful. The Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, is the setting for this rendition of “E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come” composed by Paul Manz and sung by the Kansas City Chorale. (H/T to Dad29.)

Peace be to you and grace from Him
Who freed us from our sin
Who loved us all, and shed his blood
That we might saved be.

Sing holy, holy to our Lord
The Lord almighty God
Who was and is, and is to come
Sing holy, holy Lord.

Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below
For Christ is coming, Is coming soon
For Christ is coming soon.

E'en so Lord Jesus quickly come
And night shall be no more
They need no light, no lamp, nor sun
For Christ will be their All!

It won't be long now.

POSTSCRIPT: Is it just me, or is a Mass at a retirement and/or nursing facility the last place you would want to serve Communion from a common Cup? Discuss.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I arrived in Cincinnati on Tuesday night about 9:45, after eight and a half hours of driving, a new record.

(No, I didn't drive any faster than I usually do; I simply took fewer and shorter breaks. Only three.)

Dad's fever is under control, as is a condition known as Clostridium difficile, or C diff, which was unexpected. His vitamin regimen has been discontinued, although the morphine has not, and he has difficulty with anything more than liquid nourishment. The latest concern is aspirating, and lacking the strength to cough. He is vulnerable to pneumonia, which is an impediment to our plan to keep him comfortable. On the plus side, he is monitored around the clock by hospice care, and someone is with him and Mom nearly always during daylight hours.

I want to thank everyone who has written to me, offering prayers for Dad and Mom. They are most appreciated.

And the vigil continues ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Obligatory Valentine’s Day Thingy

We were going to do something special for Valentine's Day this year. We thought of introducing one or two books that have come out in the past year, about how Catholic girls can find the right man to marry, written by women who haven't yet, but the irony was too much to bear. Then we thought of linking to some great stuff in the blogosphere on how men should "date" their wives, as if they needed to be told.

What is it about women anyway? Why do men still try to impress, if they're just going to end up being told how to by every other woman with a pulse? That's when we were reminded, what with turnabout being fair play, of Dom Bettinelli's wise counsel for the ladies (okay, with some of our own thrown in. It was also good to know that Mr and Mrs Darwin are on the same page, knowing that every day in marriage should be one more day to show what needs showing.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on this scene from the Philippines, the land were romance never dies, where men still sing outside the window of their heart's desire by moonlight, without being labeled a stalker. Or something.

And you gals wonder why we don't try hard enough.

+    +    +

I'll be on the road later today, again. In case yesterday's entry wasn't enough of a clue, Dad has taken a turn for the worse, and I've been called to Ohio. It's nine hours with a good tail wind. I'll be there before midnight. Wish me luck.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Abide with me ...

... fast falls
    the eventide;
The darkness
    deepens; Lord
    with me abide.
When other
    helpers fail
    and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless,
    O abide with me.

Swift to its close
    ebbs out life's
    little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

+    +    +

The above was composed by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte, most often sung to William Henry Monk's tune "Eventide." Lyte wrote the poem in 1847 and set it to music while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.

It is a prayer for God to remain present with the speaker throughout life, through trials, and through death.

(H/T to Wikipedia.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Grammys: Fewer Envelopes, Please

We note with some regret the reduced number of categories for the Grammy Awards this year. The Washington Post reports:

What, you didn’t notice? The annual awards — taking place on Sunday in Los Angeles — have eliminated 31 categories, scaling back from 109 to 78.

And it’s still way too big ...

For artists who might win in the categories that were trimmed, a Grammy nomination alone could help keep a musical career afloat until retirement. (R&B, classical and American roots lost four categories in the reduction. Pop, rock, country and Latin each lost three. And best Hawaiian album, best Native American album and best rock or rap gospel album categories were eliminated altogether.)

To wit, both "Best Traditional Folk Album" and "Best Contemporary Folk Album" have been combined into one "Best Folk Album," which hardly does justice to this genre. The recently added "Best Cajun/Zydeco Album" is gone, its contestants lumped in with other American ethnic styles as part of a "Best Regional Roots Music Album" category. Cajun artist C J Chenier shares the list of nominees with polka giant Jimmy Sturr and rocker-turned-ukulele-artist Eddie Vedder. (Say goodbye to Sturr's near-perfect polka winning streak.) On the other hand, "Best Americana Album" gives at least some recognition to the expanding range of genre in the recording industry over the years, which is why the number of categories expanded to begin with.

You can see the list of nominees, as well as the winners, at the website, without having to sit through the usual skank-fest tonight on CBS. The bio piece on Whitney Houston's tragic demise, showing on NBC tonight, is actually an improvement.

“The content of his character ...”

We usually observe Black History Month in some positive (if unorthodox) way here at mwbh, but were at a loss for just how to begin. Fortunately, an interview with actor Samuel L Jackson, in an upcoming March issue of Ebony magazine, gave us exactly what we wanted.

I voted for Barack because he was black. ’Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them ... That’s American politics, pure and simple. [Obama’s] message didn’t mean s*** to me. In the end, he’s a politician. I just hoped he would do some of what he said he was gonna do ... When it comes down to it, they wouldn’t have elected a [n*****], because, what’s a [n*****]? A [n*****] is scary. Obama ain’t scary at all. [N*****s] don’t have beers at the White House. [N*****s] don’t let some white dude, while you in the middle of a speech, call [him] a liar ... A [n*****] would have stopped the meeting right there and said, ‘Who the [****] said that?’ I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years, ’cuz he ain’t gotta worry about getting re-elected.

As I recall, he did not stop the meeting. The last point was a reference to Congressman Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst during the President’s health care address to a joint session of Congress in 2009.

I also had no idea this President was the first to have beer in the White House.

Had I lived in Maryland a few years ago, I would not have hesitated to vote for Michael Steele to the United States Senate, and he's black on both sides of his family, as opposed to a President who, were he anyone else, would be what is known as "high yellow." People will be interviewed on the television talk shows, and tell us we have a long way to go toward realizing "the dream" envisioned by the late (and pro-life) Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. They have a point, don't you think?

Or don't you?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

“Up against the wall, redneck fathers ...”

You knew it was coming, didn't you? The obligatory and mega-viral “dad shoots daughter’s laptop for writing naughty Facebook post” video. You can also read his stimulating commentary on his YouTube page, or we can break it down for you here.

Basically, a daughter was angry with her parents for having to do chores (although, in her defense, it might be quite a list for a school night). She airs her displeasure with her parents by posting an angry, potty-mouthed tirade on her Facebook wall. She also blocks her parents from seeing the posting. However, Big Daddy is way too clever to be stopped by that (as he explains how). He proceeds to read her sordid tale, to the entire world, in this clip. Then he shoots his daughter's laptop with his gun. After all, this is Texas.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about me.

For three of his teenaged years -- from halfway through eighth grade until about halfway through his junior year of high school -- my son Paul and I had a falling out. Aside from the occasional holiday visit, he refused to come every other weekend per the custody agreement. His mother considered it a matter between the two of us, and didn't involve her, if you don't count the aforementioned custody agreement we signed. Any father who ever lost his family to divorce knows that recourse to family court is generally a lost cause.

What continued to amaze Paul was that, for all the trouble he ever got into in those years -- drugs, alcohol, stealing his mom's car because she deliberately left the keys out against my advice in the hope of baiting him, that sort of stuff -- he couldn't figure out how I always knew what was going on. The truth is, I was in his life in ways he didn't know. Every new school year, I met with the assistant principal, and his teachers. I looked at textbooks, I went to parent nights with or without his mother. And I gave them my number and my e-mail address, inviting them to contact me if there ever was a problem. And when there was, he'd get torn a new one via e-mail.

And there were consequences. I never bailed him out of anything, leaving that to his mother, who had to pay for the empty suit passing as a lawyer herself. Seems his old man wasn't nearly as stupid as he thought or his mother had told him. The result? In 2002, Paul was a juvenile delinquent whose mother would have been happy if he just dropped out of school, got a job that let him sleep late, and eventually schlepped his way to a GED. Ten years later, in 2012, he is on an academic scholarship at one of the finest design schools in the known universe, and moonlighting practically full-time as a bartender.

The father in the video doesn't have much more class than his daughter, and he's fortunate enough to live in a state where you can shoot someone just for stepping on your property. But the one other thing he has going for him, is an attention span. Most parents really don't have a clue what goes on in their children's lives. They are shocked -- SHOCKED, I tell you -- when they discover their little twelve-year-old Suzy was found by the police puking her guts out at a keg party, hosted by a friend whose parents were in the Poconos "just for the weekend."

Me, I give the credit to good Saint Joseph, who was my intercessor in all the years that my little Party Dog was pursuing his wayward path.

Friday, February 10, 2012

C, E-flat, and G go into a bar ...

... and the bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished, and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me; I'll just be a second." Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, "Get out! You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight." E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, "You're looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development." Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural. Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of D.S. without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.

(H/T to TheInfamousMsC.)

FAMW: The “Lost” Super Bowl Ad

We've been hearing a lot about the Chrysler ad that ran during the Super Bowl which featured actor Clint Eastwood, and the claims that it amounted to an endorsement of the President and his industry policies. Eastwood has denied these claims, and anyone who knows anything about him would have to agree (if they thought about it, and most of them haven't).

We got to thinking about that when we found this, the ad that could well have been expected to run this past Sunday. We'll get to some of our other favorites tomorrow (probably), but for now, here's what will suffice for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

By the way, who the hell is Ben Roethlisberger?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Cynthia Ostrowski Explains It All For You

Recently, Jeffrey Tucker at The Chant Cafe brought our attention to a book published in 1977, that went almost unnoticed at a time when everything in the Church that wasn't nailed down was changing, entitled Church Music Transgressed.

Cathedral musicians with positions lasting back decades were sent packing. Choirs were disbanded. Children’s music programs were defunded. University posts were shut down. Old organizations went bankrupt. Music books were trashed. Whole libraries were hurled into the dumpster. This happened all over ... New publishers, organizations, singing stars, and events emerged to take their place. The ethos was entirely different. Instead of professionalism, amateurism was strangely exalted ...

In the early 1980s, when I first moved to Washington, I sang for a traditional choir at a Jesuit parish in Georgetown. For six years, it was a singular opportunity to be exposed to the great classical works of sacred polyphony that are a genuine treasure of our Catholic heritage. And yet, there were complaints from the pseudo-intellectuals amidst the parish at the time, that our music was "elitist." There had to be guitars at Holy Week, flattop floggers banging on thousand-dollar Martins that they could barely play -- remember, this was when a thousand dollars was a lot of money -- and would waste the first forty-five minutes of a rehearsal trying to tune. But they made the whole thing look like it was ... feelin' groovy.

Over time, they have been proven wrong. Indeed, I wonder if they even remember how foolish they were back then. After all, you don't need a lot of brains to look up a word like "elitist."

Meanwhile, what was ignored forty-five years ago, now sells for nearly forty-five bucks at Amazon.

Fact is stranger than truth.

POSTSCRIPT: At 00:29 to 00:33, we hear Cynthia's sister say, “If you want to tell the difference between me and my twin, you’ll have to spend some time with us.” I should think husband Jeff would have been reluctant to sign off on this proposal, don't you think ... or don't you?

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre:
Psalm of the Wilderness

O God,
    Thou art
    my God,
    early will I
    seek Thee.
My soul
    for Thee.
My flesh
    for Thee
    in a dry
    and thirsty land.

So as I have seen in the sanctuary.

My soul followeth hard after Thee.

But those that seek my soul, to destroy it,
    shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

They shall fall by the sword,
    they shall be a portion for foxes.

But the king shall rejoice in God.
Everyone that sweareth by Him shall glory.
But the mouth of them that speak lies
    shall be stopped.

-- Psalm 62(63): 1-2, 8-11. Music video by Jones Unleashed. Directed, shot, and edited by Frank Ladner.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

They call it “the witching hour,” right?

My father is dying, and I don't have enough to worry about.

There are good days at the office, and there are bad days. And then there are the days when you wonder if having no excuse to call in sick that day (or a certain other day that comes back to haunt you) was a bad career move. This is the part of the job I hate the most. Nothing makes any sense, the lunatics are running the asylum, and I wish I could have retired after thirty years along with half the people I've known where I've worked all those years.

So I start waking up again with panic attacks at 2:30 in the morning, and can't go back to sleep. Right now, falling asleep on the couch watching a movie is looking like a good idea. Someone once said that, if 3:00 pm was the hour of mercy, then 3:00 am was the hour of darkness, "the devil's hour, as opposed to ... when Jesus was said to have been crucified."

Pray for me, if you have nothing better to do.

Monday, February 06, 2012

They call it “social” media ...

The inevitable has come to Facebook, and I don't mean IPO status. Starting on the 16th of this month, the so-called "Timeline" format will be mandatory. Some of the features with the new interface are advantageous, but the lack of a single column, replaced by alternating rows of entries around a skinny-little "timeline," will take getting used to. (They could make the line more visible, couldn't they?) In addition, the user is able to add a photograph to their profile page. Mine is the official photo of a family reunion in Sidney, Ohio, in August of 1997, when my paternal grandmother, Viola (née Barga) Alexander, celebrated her one hundredth birthday. I'm in the center of the back row, looking quite dashing with the straw hat and shades.

Meanwhile, this other image showed up today. It got me to thinking ...

In the past year, we replace our interoffice e-mail with Google. It beats the dickens out of Lotus Notes, but it also comes with an array of features for scheduling, job tracking, and so on. Alas, some tools are more useful than others. While I was out last week, they introduced something called "Chatter." I don't know why we need it, but sometime this month, it'll be mandatory, which means that people who didn't return my messages before (usually a client, or someone of a higher rank with an ego to match), will have yet another means by which to avoid returning messages.

They can introduce a new gimmick every week until the cows come home, but the most effective tool for communicating is the desire to do so, don't you think?

Or don't you?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

“Dude, turn up the commercials!”

It's that time again, the biggest sporting event of the universe. This year, it's The Battle of the Inflated Egos, featuring the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, two teams from cities, each of which believe they are the center of the aforementioned universe.

So, does it really matter who wins? Besides, Sal wants to go dancing tonight. Who am I to refuse?

Still, it doesn't matter. We'll be watching the commercials. And for those of you for whom the thought of seeing You-Know-Who at half-time is more than you can bear, you can check out Facebook or YouTube, to see all the commercials, without game interruption or the usual pre-game nonsense which actually lasts longer than the game itself. And, this being the year of the Apocalypse, we thought we'd start you out on the right track.

We'll show more of our favorites later. Really.

UPDATE: Wow, they sure made those E-Trade Baby commericals difficult to find. But ... not impossible.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Polyphony, anyone?

This writer is packing to leave Ohio tomorrow morning, for the trip back east. But while that's going on, we want to leave you with a little something. It occurred to us while in Dayton last night, becoming reacquainted with Palestrina and Vittoria.

Occasionally, we here at man with black hat introduce works of sacred polyphony, from the great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The truth is, many Catholic parishes have seen their choirs decimated over the last half century. But now, after two generations wandering the artistic desert, some Catholics actually notice the deprivation, and are in a position to do something about it. In this video, we are introduced to the possibility of doing so much, and with so little.

A project known as Corpus Christi Watershed has produced a collection of polyphonic works, especially designed for three voices, whether male, female, or mixed. This collection includes online resources for practice aids. And, if your congregation is needlessly paranoid about the slightest use of Latin amounting to "turning the clock back" (Oh, the humanity ...), this series is designed to be used with English verses, giving them more time to make the adjustment from their semi-literate condition.

Watch to learn more. Go to the website. Be impressed. Tell them that Black Hat Guy sent you.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

“Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.”

Tonight, a colleague and I drove up to Dayton, to Holy Family Church, administered by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), and which is dedicated to celebration of the Traditional Roman Rite and Sacraments. It was there that I joined an enthusiastic schola and choir of about sixteen men and women -- the Schola Cantorum Daytonensis and Polyphonic Choir, with a few visitors from Cincinnati thrown in -- who raised their voices in a joyful noise to the Lord.

In addition to the chanted propers of the Procession and Mass, we sang Vittoria's Ave Maria and Sub tuum praesidium by ... was it Palestrina? (Another senior moment sets in.) The former I already knew, the latter was easier to follow than I would have imagined.

The parish church is nearly a hundred years old, and has been immaculately restored, such that any image from a camera phone hardly does it justice.

Candlemas Day (or, why Punxatawney Phil is a Catholic)

“When the days
were completed
for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus
up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written
in the law of the Lord,
Every male that
opens the womb
shall be consecrated
to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice
of a pair of turtledoves
or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.”

(Luke 2:22-24)

Today, both the Eastern and Western churches observe the Feast of the Purification of Mary (known as "Candlemas" in the West), exactly forty days after Christmas. In some traditions, the Christmas season officially ends with this day, and preparation for Lent can begin, which includes the "Carnival" season in much of South America. But today, throughout the Catholic world, the faithful will process in and around their churches bearing lighted candles, which are blessed for the coming year.

The origin of this feast is described in detail, in this excerpt from the classic work of Dom Prosper Guéranger, OSB, entitled The Liturgical Year.

The mystery of today's ceremony has frequently been explained by liturgists, dating from the 7th century. According to Ivo of Chartres, the wax, which is formed from the juice of flowers by the bee, always considered as the emblem of virginity, signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant, who diminished not, either by His conception or His birth, the spotless purity of His Blessed Mother. The same holy bishop would have us see, in the flame of our Candle, a symbol of Jesus who came to enlighten our darkness. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on the same mystery, bids us consider three things in the blessed Candle: the wax, the wick, and the flame. The wax, he says, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity.

In addition, Duncan Maxwell Anderson of HMS Blog provides guidance on customs of the season, as well as suggestions for family celebrations. Included are some fun facts about the real origins of Groundhog Day:

In Catholic Europe, they say that if Candlemas is clear and bright, there will be six more weeks of winter. In Germany, this idea became, "If the bear comes out and sees his shadow, he will grumpily go back into his cave, and winter will last another six weeks."

Then this feat of prediction was ascribed to German badgers.

And since badgers are not found in the eastern U.S., German immigrants to this country were obliged to depend for meteorological guidance on a species of marmot called by the Indians 'weejak' or woodchuck, also called ... the groundhog.

Today, if Punxatawney Phil sticks his nose out, you tell me if he isn't carrying a candle-holder. He's Catholic, you know.

You just can't argue with reasoning like that, don't you think?

Or don't you?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Trace Bundy “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

Time once again for our usual (if a bit late in the) midday Wednesday feature.

Last year at about this time, we featured fiddler-singer Teresa Andersson using a foot-pedal operated "live looping" device in concert. The same is done here, to the benefit of Trace Bundy playing one ofthe greatest hits of glam-medal band Guns N' Roses. Bundy appears live at the Boulder Theater in November of 2007, playing a custom Breedlove Guitar. His looping technique is accomplished with a Line6 DL4.

You might say he is “putting his pedal to the metal.”

(Directed by Brian Malone.)