Sunday, February 24, 2013

Transfiguration

He said, write down the vision
    that you had,
    and I wrote what I saw.

I saw the world
    kissing its own darkness.

It happened thus:
    I rose to meet the sunrise
    and suddenly over the hill
    a horde appeared
    dragging a huge tarpaulin.
They covered unwary land
    and hapless city
    and all sweet water and fields.
And there was no sunrise.

I strained my eyes for a path
    and there was no path.
I bumped into trees and the bushes hissed at me,
    and the long-armed brambles cried in a strident voice:
    never through here!
But I struggled on, fumbling my beads of no.

I came to a dark city where nobody knew
    that there was darkness.
And strange! though there was no light I still coud see
    what I did not want to see:
    people who moved to the loveless embrace of folly.
They ate her gourmet foods; they drank her wine,
    danced to her music that was crazed with rhythm,
    were themselves discord though they knew it not,
    or if they knew, cared less.

Outside the city wall I stood in thought,
    parried a moment with a frieghtening urge
    to court the darkness;
    but I held back, fearing the face of love.

Crossing a field I wandered through a desert
    when suddenly behind a rock I found
    a little sagebrush where a fire was burning,
    shining and dancing. After my first amazed
    worship of silence I was loud with praise.

I watched with fear the darkness circling it.
    lunging against it, swirling a black cloak
    to suffocate the light,
    until the shades broke loose and one by one
    in terror fled.

The flame burned on, innocent, unimperiled.
There was no darkness that could put it out.

-- Jessica Powers, aka Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, OCD
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

FAMW: The Big Bang Theory “Call Me Maybe” Flash Mob

It has been arguably the most overplayed pop song for the past year, which did not hurt its chances at the recent Grammy Awards. It should come as no surprise, then, that television's Kings (and Queens) of the Geeks would make the most of the trend by overdoing the recording by Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen (written by Jepsen and Tavish Crowe as a folk song ... say what???) even more, and involving the production crew. (Probably a union thing.) It's a little late getting published in this venue, as this is no ordinary week for yours truly (and we'll explain that later).

For now, enjoy that which is better late than never, and that which is this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.
 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Altare Privilegiatum

In January of 1844, the relics of Saint Martura, an unidentified first-century martyr (thus her name being Latin for "martyr") were taken from her tomb in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla in Rome. In March of that year, on the Feast of the Annunciation, the Most Reverend John Baptist Purcell, Bishop of Cincinnati, solemnly placed her bones and a vase of blood underneath the high altar at the Church of Saint Mary in Cincinnati's predominantly-German "Over-The-Rhine" district. They have remained undisturbed from that day forward.

In September of 1879, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII granted a special privilege to the altar at "Old Saint Mary's." What we call a “privileged altar” is one to which the Holy See attaches a plenary indulgence to the souls in Purgatory. Whenever a Requiem Mass is offered on such an altar in memory of one among the deceased, that soul is released from the realm of purification, and is able to enter into eternal glory.

This evening, a Solemn High Requiem Mass was offered on that altar in memory of the father of this writer, the late Paul Andrew Alexander, on the first anniversary of his passing. The sacred ministers were; Reverend Father Laurence Juarez as Celebrant, Reverend Mister Nathan Bockrath as Deacon, and Brother Adrian Hilton as Subdeacon. They were attended by Mister Ashley Paver as Master of Ceremonies, who was joined by his fellow-Knights of the Altar of Old Saint Mary’s, which for this occasion included yours truly.

The Latin Mass Community Schola of Cincinnati, under the direction of Mr John Schauble, sang the Propers of the Missa Defunctorum, including the Sequentia Dies Irae ("Day of wrath, O day of mourning, see fulfilled the prophets' warning, heaven and earth in ashes burning ...").

During the Offertory, the faithful contemplated the singing of William Byrd's famous anthem Justorum Animae ("The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them ...") As they received Communion, they could hear the gentle sound of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's glorious work Sicut Cervus ("As the deer longeth for running streams, so longeth my soul for Thee, my God ...").

The organist for the occasion was Mr Sean Connelly.

Near the front of the nave of the church sat the widow of the deceased, joined by her children. No one else was in attendance, save members of the schola and choir, and the company of angels and saints. Sadly, no photographer was available to record the event, but it appeared much as another such occasion shown in the image above, by (most of) the same functionaries, and in the same venue.

In the mid-1950s, Dad sang for the schola cantorum of Old Saint Mary's, having been pressed into service along with other fellow ex-seminarians, by the then-pastor and his one-time spiritual director, Father Charles Murphy. Nearly six decades later, this is the funeral Dad would have wanted. He got his wish, with a little extra.

NOTE: If you're visiting here for the first time, especially if directed here from Standing On My Head, my father's story can be found here.
 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Requiem In Anniversario Defunctorum

This is to request the honor of the presence of Christ's faithful, for a Solemn High Requiem Mass “In Anniversario Defunctorum” in the Traditional Roman Rite, to commemorate the passing into eternity of Paul Andrew Alexander, previously of Milford, Ohio, and the father of yours truly. The Mass is to be held on Wednesday, the 20th of February, at seven o’clock in the evening, at Old Saint Mary’s Church, 123 East Thirteenth Street, in the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati.

The sacred ministers will be of the Community-in-Formation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Cincinnati: Father Laurence Juarez, Celebrant; Father Jon-Paul Pevak, Deacon, and Brother Adrian Hilton, Subdeacon. They will be attended by Mister Ashley Paver as Master of Ceremonies, and the Inferior Ministers of Old Saint Mary’s.

The Propers of the Mass, including the rendition at Communion of Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus” will be provided by the Latin Mass Community Schola of Cincinnati, under the direction of Mr John Schauble, with Mr Sean Connolly as organist.
 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why Do I Remain In The Church?

Because it is the only chance to escape from oneself, from this curse of one's importance, of one's own gravity, from the role which is identified with my own person, so that if I lost my role I would end up falling in love with my person: to escape from all this without becoming estranged from man, because God has become man, not in a vacuum but in the community of the Church. I do not doubt for a moment that God's incarnation is intended for all men and that he is sufficiently God in order to reach all whom he will. But he has set up, in the middle of the history of humanity with all its terrors and hells, a marriage bed, splendid and untouchable -- it is portrayed in the Song of Songs -- and even the endless problems of the Church cannot create a fog so thick that it cannot from time to time be penetrated by the light of love which shines from the saints: a love which is naive, which cannot be taken over and built into any program.

There are vocations in which men are called into the sphere of the fire. They always demand the whole person. Those who have said "no" remain marked. They burn, but they become cynical and destructive, they smell each other out and hold together. It makes no matter whether they officially leave the Church or remain within her. Anyone with some facility for discerning spirits can recognize them.

It is up to me, up to us, to see that the Church comes closer to that which in reality she is.

(Hans Urs von Balthasar, from "Elucidations")
 

Friday, February 15, 2013

FAMW: “You smell great, though!”

We have a few of these in our backlog, so we pulled one out today. They say not to try this if someone steals your smartphone and tries to get ... well, smart with it. But if you do, bring a twenty-dollar bill and a hammer for the Moment of Truth -- or, in our case, this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For Saint Valentine’s Day ...

... it was decided to resurrect a classic from this day in 2010. Click here.
 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

“I’m (still) on a mission from God!” (or, Why I Am Once Again Not Giving Up Blogging For Lent)

“Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.”

By now, any number of participants in the Catholic blogosphere have announced, with some measure of fanfare, that they are giving up blogging and other forms of social media for Lent. We're supposed to admire them. You're welcome to if you'd like (and in reading some of them over the years, they'd be doing us all a favor), but as for me, what follows is why I'm not giving up blogging for Lent. In addition, while not a complete treatise on the subject, this piece will serve to clear up some heretofore little-known aspects of the season.

The Christian calendar has traditionally had numerous periods of fasting in anticipation of great feasts. In some parts of Europe, the "Saint Martin's Fast" would begin on the 11th of November ("Martinmas"), and continue until Christmas. Officially, however, the Roman (Latin) tradition would not begin the penitential season until the four Sundays before Christmas, the time of which is known as "Advent," or "the Coming." There were also the "Ember Days," three days of penance each occurring on a quarterly basis throughout the year. But it was the season of Lent which is known as "The Great Fast" of the Year of Grace.

People assume that Lent is the only time for giving up anything, when it isn't. People also assume that giving up anything involves making a big to-do about it, when it shouldn't. Attending daily Mass is a popular exercise, and in most major cities where there are urban parishes near a business district, there will be an extra scheduled weekday Mass -- and extra time for confessions -- during the season. These things don't always call attention to themselves. They shouldn't.

But don't take MY word for it.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” sees what is hidden will repay you.” (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18, the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday)

And speaking of the season, it doesn't necessarily start right away. The traditional Roman calendar precedes Lent with three Sundays collectively known as "Septuagesima" (literally "seventy days" but actually "within the octave of seventy days"). They were termed "Septuagesima Sunday," "Sexagesima Sunday," and "Quinquagesima Sunday," respectively. As with Lent, the priest wears violet vestments, the Gloria is not sung, and the Tract replaces the Alleluia before the Gospel. But unlike Lent, the musical accompaniment is not restricted, and flowers and other suitable decor can be placed on the reredos behind the altar, as normally done during the year.

Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the tracks, the Byzantine Rite has five special Sundays preceding their "Great Fast": "Zacchaeus Sunday" (if only in the Slavic churches), "The Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee," "The Sunday of the Prodigal Son," "Meatfare Sunday" (or "The Sunday of the Last Judgment," when the faithful begin abstaining from meat), and "Cheesefare Sunday" (when the faithful begin abstaining from dairy products, which for them would include eggs, don't ask me why). The following day is when the the Fast begins in the East, and is generally known as "Clean Monday."

In addition, there was a time when weddings were not permitted during Advent or Lent, unless there was a serious reason. And if one was allowed, the altar and sanctuary could not be decorated as it could otherwise be for the occasion. (Try that today, and see a young lady get in touch with her inner Bridezilla, eh?)

So right now you're saying, “Pray tell us, O Black Hatted One, as you are a veritable fountain of arcane and useless knowledge, how does it explain why you're not giving up blogging for Lent?”

Well, my little minions, there is much, much more to Lent than giving up things, never mind making a big-@$$ whoop-dee-do out of it. There is a significance in the marking of sacred time, something lost on a people whose solemnities all get moved to the nearest Sunday. But you wouldn't know all that if there was no one to tell you along the way, now, would you? Duh, guess not! Besides, I had to work in all that arcane and useless knowledge somehow.

To the extent that mwbh identifies itself as "Catholic," its author is engaged in what could be considered a propagation of the Faith. And in case it isn't obvious by now, you don't give up an apostolate for Lent, you big dummy!

And there is this other reason as well, one that will significantly alter the scope and mission of this little piece of the Catholic blogosphere. The deal has already been struck by the parties involved (of which this writer is obviously one), and it will be announced on or around the first of March.

But still, you must be wondering if yours truly is actually giving up anything for Lent. Well, yes, and it's something really important.

And I'm not tellin.'
 

This Just In: Benedict XVI Still Pope!

I can hear it now:

Panic hit the streets of Rome today, as thousands of Italians loitering in bistros for most of the afternoon, were shocked to learn that they have to wait more than two weeks, for the prospect of an Italian ever again becoming the next Successor of Saint Peter. Speculation continues as to whether this commotion was cause for the response by the Almighty Himself, that of a bolt of lightning striking the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica, as first reported by Agence France-Presse ...

If the above sounds incredible to you, it's nothing compared to most of what you've heard or read in the last 48 hours. Speculation as to who the next pope will be is a favorite pastime of newsmakers and bookmakers around the world. At last report, there are 300 to 1 odds on Bono. That's right, the former singer of the Irish pop band U2 is a papabile (a contender for the papacy). It's come to that.

Actually, and in theory, any baptized and confirmed Catholic male can be elected pope, although he would first have to be ordained a deacon, priest, and bishop, all at the same time. In the case of a married man, he would have to separate from his wife, and she would have to enter seclusion, or a convent. (No, I'm not making this up. If history is any indication, that's what would most likely happen.)

Yes siree, Bob, that sounds incredible too, but for reasons stated above, the folks here at man with black hat are still way ahead of the pack at dear old Saint Blog's Parish.

Don't believe me? This past Monday, our research assistant watched Fox News in utter disbelief, as they interviewed one of the newest fresh young faces in the Catholic blogosphere, who did not know that the skullcap worn by prelates is not a yarmulke, but a zucchetto. (I've been wondering for the longest time why that kid's always smiling in his pictures. Then I saw a photograph of his wife. That's gotta be it.) Others, from CMR to the Crescat, begin by appearing to be upset, that someone who is going to die eventually (which is not unusual, by the way) is one day not going to be the pope anymore. Maybe those of us who do this are just venting. Nothing wrong with that.

Or maybe we're just not reading between the lines.

Fortunately, the worst of times can bring out the best in a few of us. One example is Father Dwight Longenecker.

Now he surprises us again. Not for six hundred years has a pope stepped aside. He has done so quickly and unexpectedly. While his decision cannot have been sudden. The sudden effectiveness–he will be gone within a few weeks–is brilliant. There is scarcely time for the world’s cardinals to book their plane tickets–much less to be politicking and planning how to get the white soutane. The press has not had the chance to be picking papabile for months. The Vatican insiders have not had time to get “their man” in place.

Then there is a commentary by CNA reporter Louie Verrecchio, writing for RenewAmerica.com.

Mark my words: We will know what the immediate future holds for the Church based upon just one observation; namely, the liturgical mindset of Pope Benedict's successor.

This only makes sense, as “Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivandi.” (“The law of praying, the law of believing, the law of living.”) This has been on the forefront of Pope Benedict's agenda, and was among the many reasons for the restoration of the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite in the official worship of the Western church. But perhaps the most telling piece came from out of the wilderness, literally, in the form of a priest-hermit by the name of Father George David Byers.

Most of you Cardinals know what kind of hell went on during the last conclave. I was told by one who would know ...

... and you can believe him. This is not just about high drama for its own sake, but it is a big part of that to which Father Longenecker refers, which is about being “clever as snakes and meek as doves” (Matthew 10:16). When you've got "players" in any sort of palace intrigue, such as that which precedes a papal conclave, you basically have two kinds; you have poker players, and you have chess players. Most of the poseurs among the Sacred College of Cardinals are poker players. You can tell by the amount of face time they get on cable news channels. This is the least of many reasons why an American is extremely unlikely to ever be pope for the foreseeable future. (We'll get to the other one later.)

What you have, then, is a man who has spent nearly eight years, albeit with inexplicable moves (Levada, Müller, and so on), arranging his pieces, and waiting for the moment to call “checkmate!”

And that is NOT so inexplicable.

Something else we've noticed. Amidst the announcement that “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry ...” one high-priced know-it-all after another has been insisting that the Holy Father's health had nothing to do with his decision, which fails to explain his wearing a pacemaker. This was not something generally known, but which we here at mwbh have suspected for some time, just by watching him. (Yeah, we're that good.)

Once the call of "Extra omnes!" ("Everybody out!") is proclaimed, and the doors close behind the princes of Mother Church for them to choose amongst themselves, anything can happen, and already has. That said, the next Servant of the Servants of God will more likely than not fulfill at three criteria:

1. He will not be much over sixty years old. If you look at the list of popes over the last one hundred years, they more of less alternate between popes with short tenures and those with long ones. John XXIII reigned for only five years, while Paul VI was Vicar of Christ for fifteen years. John Paul I followed as pope for just over a month, while John Paul II was one of the longest reigning popes in history (26 1/2 years, second only to Pius IX, who reigned for 31 1/2 years in the mid- and late-19th century). The tenure of Benedict XVI will have been relatively short, at just under eight years. So the next one would most likely be expected to sit in the Chair of Peter for a long time. This is easier when you start out younger, which makes sense, don't you think? (Or don't you?)

2. He will come from a land near or below the equator. The era of European chauvinism (or specifically, Italian) is coming to an end, as the Sacred College becomes more representative of the planet as a whole, and the majority of the world Catholics now live in the Southern Hemisphere. We had already begun to explain the unlikelihood of an American pope. The other reason is that, to many in Rome, and to Catholics around the world, the perception is that Americans think everything is about them. For this reason alone, regardless of where you hear or read it, any pundit who suggests that an American is a contender is wasting your time, and if that isn't bad enough, probably getting paid for it.

3. He will be both theologically and liturgically in continuity with his predecessor. As Bob Dylan once wrote, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” A tired generation of aging adolescents who promoted "the spirit of Vatican II" while barely reading its documents is witnessing their last hurrah. No one with the sense that the good Lord gave a duck -- of course, as we all know, the good Lord didn't give a duck a whole lot of sense -- will attach their legacy to a falling star. Many of the "chess pieces" in the next conclave know how they got there, and will not view it lightly.

You will notice that we have failed to mention any names among the red hats. No, no, dear reader, we're way too smart to fall for that old trick. We would just as soon have fun and games with the Prophecies of Saint Malachy. Meanwhile, a Vatican spokesperson says Pope Benedict XVI will be moving to a monastery on the grounds of the Vatican when he resigns. He'll also get a new title once his resignation takes effect on the 28th of February -- the fifth anniversary of the death of his dear friend, Dom Gérard Calvet, OSB, founding abbot of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux Abbey in Le Barroux, France.

Or so we are told.
 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Obligatory “Pope Benedict Resigns” Video

“I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry ...”

So began the message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to his cardinals earlier this morning. In his brief speech, issued in Latin, the Pope explains that in today's fast-paced world, strength of mind and body are necessary to lead over one billion Catholics worldwide, and that his age has taken a toll on both.

Meanwhile, Father Dwight Longenecker provides an excellent analysis of the landscape unfolding.

The sudden effectiveness–he will be gone within a few weeks–is brilliant. There is scarcely time for the world’s cardinals to book their plane tickets–much less to be politicking and planning how to get the white soutane. The press has not had the chance to be picking papabile for months. The Vatican insiders have not had time to get “their man” in place.

Ah, you say, but the day is still young. Stay tuned ...
 

Friday, February 08, 2013

FAMW: OK Go “Here It Goes Again” (The Treadmill Video)

You loved these guys in the canine-filled fun house video of their 2010 single “White Knuckles” in both regular and 3-D. Here they are with an earlier work from 2006, in vivid two-dimensional color, as with the last one, choreographed by the lead singer's sister, and which won a Grammy Award for “Best Short-Form Music Video” the following year. You have to wonder how many times they fell down by accidentally going the wrong way, but there's no doubt that anyone with a Stairmaster collecting dust in the basement (and you know who you are, Pat) could find new uses for it, especially in groups of four, as they watch this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.
 

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Michael Schwartz (1950-2013)

Michael Schwartz, a leader in the pro-life movement, and a tireless advocate for pro-family issues in Washington, fell asleep in the Lord this past Sunday, after a two-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was 63.

Michael was one of a handful of faithful Catholics who brought the unique presence of the True Faith to the rise of the so-called "religious right" during the Reagan years. This writer met him when he was a leader of the "Carroll Group," a consortium of Catholic leaders who met monthly, under the auspices of the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, a conservative think tank founded by political strategist Paul Weyrich, to discuss matters of mutual concern. Over the years, Michael had been active with the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Concerned Women for America, Operation Rescue, among other endeavors. For the better part of over a decade, until the illness was in its final stages only recently, he was chief of staff to Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Mother Seton Church in Germantown, Maryland. He is survived by his wife, Rose Ann, and their children and grandchildren.

Requiescat in pace, Michael.
 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: “Paperman”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

We introduce a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques. First-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with this Oscar-nominated short. Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him. Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction.
 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Scouting’s Culture War

Recently, in both the national news, and among those active in Boy Scouting, the following announcement has fermented waves of discussion and dissention.

For more than 100 years, Scouting’s focus has been on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.

The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.

The BSA National Executive Board is meeting this week at the national headquarters in Irving, Texas (located between Dallas and Fort Worth). A decision regarding the aforementioned is expected by Wednesday or Thursday. This writer most certainly has an opinion on the subject, one that is borne not only out of an awareness of this aspect of the "culture wars," but based on years of experience in the Scouting program, both as a youth and as an adult. This includes extensive awareness of the issues at hand, their critical background, and recent history. Research is already in progress, and an opinion piece is coming very soon.

Stay tuned ...
 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Let The Ads Begin!

The most expensive television air time in the States, is that which is purchased during the broadcast of the Super Bowl. This year, as of halftime, with all the world watching, the Baltimore Ravens are humiliating the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 21 to 6.

Of course, everyone remotely interested in sports and watching sporting events is tuned into the game, but not here at Chez Alexandre. There's nothing remotely athletic about sitting your fat @$$ on a couch and arguing about what a guy who is NOT sitting on his fat @$$ on a couch should or should not be doing. Ever wonder if that guy wishes he could come to your house and get you off your fat @$$ with the business end of his $300 athletic shoes? Yeah, think about that one while you're scarfing down those buffalo wings.

Around here, we're in it (once again) for the commercials. The price of a 30-second spot hit a record high of four million dollars, which ended up being too rich for General Motors' blood. We can't show you all of them, of course, but here are five of our favorites.

Budweiser - This year's ad features, as usual, the famous Clydesdale horses, and introducing their newest foal, who was just 7 days old during the shoot. For more on the Clydesdales, visit budweiser.com, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Doritos - We could not do this without showing you one of the latest homegrown entries extolling the goodness of Frito-Lay's flagship product. This year's contestants include one entitled "Back To You." When a Doritos bag gets left behind, it does whatever it takes to make it back to her. Written and directed by Girard Tecson.

Audi - A slightly insecure teenager is unhappy about going to the Senior Prom without a date. But when Dad lets him borrow the new Audi S6 for the night, he gains more and more confidence with every mile, arriving at the Prom a changed young man. It appears to pay off, in a big picture sort of way.

Go Daddy - The popular internet domain registrar released its official ad for this year's Main Event starring Danica Patrick, about the importance of putting your idea online first before somebody else does.

Volkswagen - Finally, we conclude with the ad that has, according to an empty suit at ABC News, "stirred up so much controversy" because it's allegedly racist. We couldn't just show the commercial here, because it's more fun to see how stupid the white folks look while crying racism, when the black folks tell them it's not.

How are the boys in New Orleans doing? Well, the 49ers rallied in the third quarter with two goals, and then some, against the Ravens' one, closing the gap at 28 to 23. How will it end?

We'll find out when we wake up tomorrow, won't we?