Monday, October 31, 2005

From our bulging "everybody's gotta get into the act" files...

Kathy Shaidle of relapsed catholic reports on Bill Clinton's tribute to Rosa Parks.
"Aye, Sulu, ye canna change the laws o' physics!!!"

If James "Scotty" Doohan were alive today, he might say this to the helmsman of the Enterprise in the original Star Trek TV series. George Takei, who played Lt Sulu, has announced that he's... well, reversed his cosmic polarity. According to the Associated Press, "The current social and political climate helped motivate the disclosure" that he is gay. Takei, who is 68, has been with his partner Brad Altman for eighteen years.
Going "Bump" in the Night... Revisited

Since I'm too lazy to write anything about Halloween, and I wrote something before anyway, we link to this blast from the past in My Back Pages:

"As a Catholic, one accepts a belief in the forces beyond those of this world, both for good and for evil. Those tools which call upon the powers beyond nature, which do not make their true intentions known, shall be usurped by those entities who will respond as they will, usually to our peril. After all, nature abhors a vacuum -- as does supernature."
Viva la difference! (Long live the obvious!)

"In Taking Sex Differences Seriously, University of Virginia professor Steven Rhoads lays down the facts about men and women. He has the studies, the research, and even the anecdotes to support his evident conclusions... [and] builds an airtight case that the differences are real, vast, and have consequences -- major consequences."

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can't put it off another day
I don't care what others say
They say we don't listen anyway
Time has come today...

Did you remember to set your clocks all back an hour? I did.

Not that I got diddley out of it, though. This past weekend was not a good one for the local zydeco universe. If that wasn't enough, Sal was on a home care assignment. Some lame excuse about getting overpaid, and in advance. I failed to come up with a counter offer. So, after midnight, I fell asleep watching television.

But before that happened, I managed to spend the whole day getting a house in order -- still. I'm finding new uses for surplus furniture from the storage room, especially the means of holding my nearly one thousand audio and video recordings throughout the house, and ten years of back issues of both Acoustic Guitar and Catholic World Report magazines. Plus I've always wanted a piano in my sala,* so Paul is looking forward to when the Yamaha electronic keyboard is plugged in and wired to the PC.

The rules have changed today
I have no place to stay
I'm thinking about the subway
My love has flown away
My tears have come and gone
Oh my Lord, I have to roam
I have no home...

Speaking of changing the rules, Congress is extending the time of year for daylight saving time (that's "saving," not "savings," as the official parlance) beginning in 2007, and ending when the Department of Energy is done studying what they probably already know anyway. (Anyone remember when in the 1970s they made Daylight Time a year-round standard? The first person to answer gets a holy card. Don't all jump up at once...)

Now the time has come
There's no place to run
I might get burned up by the sun
But I had my fun
I've been loved and put aside
I've been crushed by the tumbling tide
And my soul has been psychedelicized...

But before your soul goes anywhere, check out the history of daylight time by clicking HERE, going back to (believe it or not!) Benjamin Franklin. Meanwhile, we're taking comments from Indiana residents who can tell us how they cope with the discrepancies in time zone practices in their state. And a tip of the Black Hat to The Chambers Brothers, for today's lyrics.

* The Spanish word for a "living room," and a term common to the Philippines. The French word would be "salon." ¿Comprendez?

Friday, October 28, 2005

In a nation where any boy can grow up to be President (not to mention every girl too, right, Condi?), this could be somebody's big chance.
"Are we going the way of Rome, or is the President just having a bad week?"

Rich Leonardi of Ten Reasons attributes this quotation to Peggy Noonan in her most recent column. I can't find the quote, but essentially that's what she's asking. Of particular interest is this provocative anecdote:
A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford's lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It's called "Symptoms of Withdrawal." At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.'"

Mr Lawford continued, "The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of 'maybe we shouldn't go there.' Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy silence, my uncle moved on."

Lawford thought his uncle might be referring to their family--that it might "fall apart." But reading, one gets the strong impression Teddy Kennedy was not talking about his family but about . . . the whole ball of wax, the impossible nature of everything, the realities so daunting it seems the very system is off the tracks.

And--forgive me--I thought:
If even Teddy knows...
After the last two general elections, and reviewing our military interventions in recent years (another subject for another day), I too am left wondering whether the Visigoths will appear over the hilltop any day now. Particularly telling was this Noonan quip: "You say we don't understand Africa? We don't even understand Canada!"

Good point... eh?
Three of Hearts: A love story...

...because if you try hard enough at kidding yourself, you can justify anything.
"Sam Cagnina meets Steven, a handsome 19-year old college student, and they fall in love. Soon Sam gets an idea. 'Hey, wouldn’t it be great to bring a woman into the relationship!?' Steven eventually agrees and they set out to find a woman who would agree to live in a 'trio' relationship. When they meet Samantha they know they have found that someone else special."
And "anything" is exactly what can happen. Usually at your own risk.
In Search of the Lost Imprimatur

Before a publication used for teaching catechetics or theology is released, it is submitted to a local Bishop, his Vicar General, or a Religious superior. He in turn delegates its review to a "Censor Deputatus." After finding it free of moral or doctrinal error (personal opinions within the work notwithstanding), the examiner declares "Nihil Obstat," which is Latin for "Nothing impedes it." The overseeing prelate then declares "Imprimatur," which means, "Let it be printed." Both declarations are inscribed near the front of the book, with the names and dates for the parties in question. Occasionally, Rome must direct a prelate to remove his Imprimatur from a particular work, as was the case with the Dutch Catechism-based Christ Among Us about twenty years ago. But Rome does not take this action herself, and the directive is rarely applied.

The link to the right of this page marked "St Blog's Parish" is a comprehensive listing of weblogs which identify themselves as Catholic. That being the case, one cannot necessarily assume that all of them are firm in their stated identity. That is to say, some are more orthodox than others. They run the gambit from "Bad Catholic," an lady who is admittedly troubled by her Faith, to a group known as "The League of Evil Traditionalists," which includes weblogs known for their Lefebvrist sympathies.

Amidst the lot of them, and in the face of nearly three-and-a-half years of recorded work, three things are consistent with this writer:

1) He is a practicing Catholic, and he'll keep on practicing till he gets it right, which could take a lifetime,

2) He doesn't always get it right, and

3) He knows damn well he doesn't always get it right.

Most important is that anyone reading this weblog, can be assured of what my brother likes to call "the straight skinny" when it comes to what a Catholic is pledged to believe. They would know the difference between an objective teaching, and the author's personal experience or "spin" thereof. This weblog will also occasionally pay tribute to someone who is not right all the time. Such tribute is not for their errors, but for those occasions when they "get it."

Even our Mother Church has done no less. The body of work that comprises any classical study of patristics (as well as The Office of Readings, I believe), includes the writings of Hippolytus of Rome (an antipope of the third century, who later reconciled and won the crown of martyrdom), Origen (a writer of the late second and early third century, some of whose works were considered suspect, or condemned outright), and Tertullian (a contemporary of Origen who eventually broke communion with Rome for the Montanist sect). She has even raised to the altar (that is, canonized) such mortals as Vincent Ferrer (who announced at the advent of the fifteenth century that he was chosen by The Almighty to herald the end of the world) and Frances of Rome (a contemporary of Vincent, and who was reported to have suffered from "a vivid imagination"). The calendar of saints also includes supporters of opposing contenders to the papal throne during the Great Schism. Vincent Ferrer, for example, supported the antipope Benedict XIII.

Obviously the conspiracy is much greater than we imagined. Hmmm...

The point of this essay is to address a few e-mails that have come to me since the writing of yesterday's piece "Ebony and Ivory Revisited." My stated reservations about the two gentlemen did not prevent me from noting whatever they had done that warranted merit. But it was enough for my correspondents to question my Catholicity. I have also been informed that a link to this weblog was dropped from a prominent Catholic news site. Perhaps the list is frequently updated to drop some and include others, or perhaps (as I have reason to believe my waywardness was brought to the editor's attention) I have been deemed unworthy. It is troublesome to speculate on the motives of others in this way. That is why the site in question remains on the short list of MWBH known as "The Usual Suspects," for the same reasons it has been there until now.

I can go a couple of weeks without writing about anything strictly "religious." Then there are weeks when it's damn near all I write about. Either way, I stand by my writings. My writings stand by Peter.

Anybody got a problem with that?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ebony and Ivory Revisited

"It's something these Yankees do not understand, will never understand. Rivers, hills, valleys, fields, even towns. To those people they're just markings on a map from the war office in Washington. To us, they're birthplaces and burial grounds, they're battlefields where our ancestors fought. They're places where we learned to walk, to talk, to pray. They're the incarnation of all our memories and all that we love." -- Robert Duvall portraying General Robert E Lee in the movie Gods and Generals

This week I read of the death of Rosa Parks. She was a reluctant catalyst of the civil rights movement, for refusing to give up her seat at the front of the bus to a white man (obviously not a gentleman in the Southern tradition, inasmuch as a lady of color is still a lady). The result of her arrest was a bus boycott that changed the policy of the city transit system, a boycott led by a young heretofore-unknown preacher named Martin Luther King Jr.

As if by coincidence, TCR News reports that two traditionalist Catholic luminaries, Thomas E Woods Jr and Robert Sungenis, are under investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the case of Dr Woods, his association with The League of the South could make him a racist. As for Mr Sungenis, his writings on the Jews may be cause to align him with "anti-Semitism."

I can't be accused of agreeing with Dr Woods on everything, including some of his more outspoken remarks on Vatican II and the traditional Latin liturgy, let alone any prospect that the late John Paul II was "a material heretic." On the other hand, his recent book How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization should be required reading for any practicing Catholic who ever took a Western history class in a public school, from pre-school to post-graduate. What's more, the notion that the Confederate Battle Flag could only be a symbol of racism, as opposed one of pride in the Southern regional and ancestral heritage, is ludicrous. In fact, the League of the South has made their position on racism quite clear. (Granted, their initiative to continue the secessionist cause may appear a little over the top, but to a strict Constitutionalist, hardly indefensible.) Their existence is easier to understand, when one is better acquainted with little-known aspects of the history of northern-southern tensions, which date back to colonial times, and have more to do with economic and social-political forces than with inter-ethnic relations.

Then there's Mr Sungenis. Several years ago, he penned one of the best commentaries on the clerical sexual scandals written up to that time. At some point after that, however, he made a sharp hairpin curve towards the black hole that is Catholic integrism, which in some corners (if his writings on the subject are any indication) is virulently anti-Semitic.

Hopefully, I won't be ratted on to the Southern Poverty Law Center for being a strict Constitutionalist at heart. It would certainly come as a surprise to my best friend Sal (who is a Filipina, a mestiza in fact), were I accused of being a racist.

In Search of Juvenile Justice

From the Los Angeles Times:

"At 16, Mario Rocha was convicted of murder as an adult. A nun has fought nine years to free him. To her, it's about more than one boy..."

Submitted by a correspondent associated with the aforementioned newspaper. Thanks.
Who could have seen this (yawn!) coming???
In a related story...

While we're on the subject of indigenous seasonal rituals today, Gillibrand of Catholic Church Conservation (who is right most of the time) reports on the proposed inculturation of HIndu customs in the Catholic worship of India.

It is sad to say, but the Church has committed these greivous errors throughout Her history. The term in the English language used to identify the day of Resurrection originated in the Germanic pre-Christian pagan feast celebrating the rites of spring. And come this Christmas (thankfully, a Christian term in its origins), churches throughout the world will erect pagan images in their sanctuaries, also originating in pre-Christian Europe, and will have the nerve to refer to them as "Christmas trees."

From our bulging "Wish I'd Said That" Files:

From the Mirror of Justice weblog, on Catholicism and suburbia:
"[T]here appears to be a certain incompatibility between Catholicism and the suburban lifestyle. With its emphasis on collective worship, public engagement, and the social dimension of justice, Catholicism has always seemed to me to be most at home in the dense urban neighborhood or perhaps the small town or village... Assuming some affinity between Catholic culture and particular patterns of development, perhaps the Church should begin to address questions of land use in its social teaching."
Amy Welborn facilitates a continuation of the subject here. Of course, if you really wanna think outside the box by seeing something come out of this, you might consider doing the same here instead.
The Feast of Fools

One of the traditions of the British Isles during the Yuletide season, symbolizes the legendary chaos of the universe upon the takeover of light by the darkness. The longest night of the year is marked by the role-reversal of a young boy in the town donning the bishop's robe and mitre, as he is paraded through both church and village. This annual enactment of the-world-turned-upside-down is known as "the feast of fools."

A similar ritual might be fitting to mark the upcoming bishops' conference in Washington next month. This is punctuated by a recent editorial in the National Catholic Reporter:
"With all respect for the power of prayer and the centrality of the Eucharist to the community, however, reparation for sins, the church itself teaches, does not occur magically. The sin must be named, and the sinned against, in this case the victims and the community at large, must be asked for forgiveness.

"In speaking of the 'disclosure of sins' in the sacrament of reconciliation, the
Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 'Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the church in order to make a new future possible.'"
Dom Bettinelli, editor of Catholic World Report, comments on his weblog of how "[T]he basic idea-- a systematic self-examination and public confession-- may be the only way for the bishops to regain any trust from the people and for them to be taken seriously in the future."

It has been said that as many as one-third of the bishops in the USA have participated in either committing, enabling, or conspiring to cover-up acts of clerical pedastery. It has long been this writer's contention that, as a matter of personal honor, every one of these "men" should immediately tender his resignation to the Holy See, and be prepared to accept an indefinite life of penitence, in either a contemplative or missionary setting. Whether those resignations are accepted, or even should be, is beside the point, as is the dishonest attempt to play the "spiritual father" as the pretext for refusing (as if that ever meant anything until now). There remains a critical need for these dysfunctional shepherds to show the same contrition they or their priests would demand of their penitents in the pews. To do anything less, is to lie in the face of those whose ears have been deafened, by the sounds of those sins which cry to heaven for vengeance.

There are not enough lawyers in this world to stem those cries. And in the next world, they'll be too busy fending for themselves.

As will we all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I remember when I looked forward to the fall of the year. The trees changing color, the start of school and the promise of new opportunity, the social whirlwind of Friday night football and holiday shopping -- all that stuff. Something about adulthood and the loss of innocence changes all that. Those with children are fortunate enough to live the wonder, if only vicariously, through their offspring. Others are content to simply to "remember when."

If you were to look at the first year of my weblog, the news of the day would be punctuated with my own personal sadness at one thing or another. But as Old Blue Eyes used to say: "Life is like the seasons; first comes winter, then the spring."

They say that the holiday season is the worst time of year for people with depressive conditions. When I was married, there was so much pressure to make everything perfect; for the child, for the wife, for the relatives, whoever was watching. I would be irritated at having to go through the motions for the sake of the camera -- here we are sitting down to dinner, here we are watching the little brats open each present, here's Uncle Dave sneaking downstairs to watch a movie, anything to get away from the charade. Where the hell's Uncle Dave; we need him to stand around and watch little Kevin open something and look surprised.

One of the few reliefs after my wife left, was not having to pretend anymore. I could be the man I was brought up to be, one who didn't take the holidays nearly as seriously. They were religious occasions, a time for reflection, for thanksgiving. Anything beyond that was gravy. It was one of several things my parents got right on the money. Even going back home last year, keeping things simple makes the little things more special. This includes Mom and Dad donning their "Santa's Elves" hats. (They may spend the whole day confined to matching La-zee-boys, but they're still a couple of madcaps at heart.)

One of the things I started doing with Paul some years ago, was giving one present for different occasions. Being raised Greek Catholic, the feast of Saint Nicholas on the sixth of December was a big deal for him, so he'd get a present then. He'd get a few more (including something from the grandparents) on Christmas Day itself, then something else on either New Year's Day (Saint Basil's Day on the Eastern calendar) or on Epiphany, the "little Christmas," which in my house is on January 6, as opposed to the nearest Sunday, which is what those lard-asses running the Church in this country decided years ago while attending to the important work of harboring perverts and child-porno collectors and oh let's not forget promoting social justice...

But, I digress.

I remember years when Christmas was just another holiday, like any other. When I was a sacristan at a parish in Georgetown in the early 90s, I'd work three Masses in the evening, go to sleep in the back room at 1:30 am, be up five hours later, and do three more Masses before being the last to lock up the place and go home, to a quiet dinner and a movie. If I didn't break down, it was a good year.

Paul's mother and I would take turns with him every other Christmas, with whoever went without him that year giving him their presents the evening before. In more recent years, Paul and I would actually have Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at IHOP; for the latter, we would exchange presents then. Now that he's an adult, the understanding is that the alternating arrangement will continue. Paul will go to Cleveland for Thanksgiving this year.

But come Christmas, we'll all gather in The House That Hope Built. We will have attended Midnight Mass the evening before, a privilege I used to envy on the part of some of my grade school classmates. The storage boxes will be unpacked, all will be in its place, the tree will be decorated, and the Christopher Hogwood recording of Handel's Messiah* will be playing on the stereo. We'll sit down to a lovely dinner prepared by Sal, to be inaugurated by my singing a special carol on the guitar. Then we'll watch movies like Going My Way and White Christmas with Bing Crosby.

And while we're at it, we'll open presents. I might force Paul to be photographed wearing one of those "Santa's Elves" hats in exchange for receiving his presents (inasmuch as every man has his price). Other than that, posturing with feigned surprise for photos... will be optional.


* One of the few recordings of this oratorio that is worthy of the name. After all, why wouldn't you listen to one that employs the original Baroque instrumentation and choral arrangements, conducted by the man who made musical history with the global revival of such? Case in point, the part in "He Shall Purify" where the boys and men all join in the fugue -- "...and he shall purify the sons of Levi" -- which sounds like a chorus of angels emerging from the clouds. Who could listen to such voices lighter than air, in state-of-the-art surround-sound Dolby stereo, and not be moved?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wow, all that intelligent discourse these last two days has left me pretty worn out. Better catch your breath, kids, 'cuz next week we're taking on the Latin Mass. Meanwhile, I'm gonna go see my boyz play zydeco at the Surf Club tonight. Look out for the Gator, babe, I'm outa here...
Note to Paul

This is the video I was telling you about the other night (with Windows Media Player required), the one entitled "Giovanni Paulo" and written by Father Stan Fortuna. He's a Capuchin friar stationed in the South Bronx, in a crib surrounded by razor wire.

Gotta keep up that "street cred," eh?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Hi, I'm from the bishops' conference in Washington, and I'm here to help."

I don't know where in the Catholic blogosphere I read it today, but somewhere, someone's talking about one of those Touchy-No-Touchy programs again -- you know, the ones they used to call "family life education programs," but now prefer to call "child protection programs." (We never run out of euphemisms when we're desparate, do we?) Sounds like a good time to trot out one of the perennial favorites from the MWBH Hit Parade, from January of last year, entitled: "Mommy, what does 'fornicating' mean?"

It helps not to get tired of repeating yourself.
Is the book half-open or half-closed?

From time to time, Amy Welborn of Open Book closes her posts to comments. There are times when I don't blame her; you get enough responses, and a few of them get a little over the top, and next thing you know, the whole shootin' match takes on a life of its own. (You wanna get people revved up, talk about the Latin Mass, and watch all hell break loose.)

But let's face it, boys and girls. With an established reputation as a Catholic author, and a familiar face to anyone who watched the 24/7 news channels when we were between popes (and she's probably still smarting from that encounter with Pat Buchanan, but I think she held up very well), what Ms Welborn must endure is what some of us dare to call "the price of fame." In fact, you can't read an article about "Catholic weblogs" without her name being dropped.

That's right, kiddo, you're a celebrity. It comes with the byline and the weekly royalty checks. Hopefully, you can still go to the supermarket without being stopped for autographs -- in which case, you're one of the lucky ones.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a modest cult following. Yesterday's Blogospheric Smack-Down was really kind of fun. So I'll tell you what I'm gonna do, and I don't do this for just anybody. Anytime you don't feel like beating them off with a stick, send them over to my neck of the woods. Especially if I'm dealing with one of the usual "hot button" issues.

Anything I can do to help.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"It's lonely at the top."

We've all heard that expression before at one time or another.

A correspondent asked me why I referred to a Catholic prelate as one who "probably hasn't had to open his own car door since getting the red hat." It's a fair question to ask, and deserves a treatment of its own here.

I remember when I first moved to the DC area, on the Virginia side. Bishop Welsh of Arlington was a friendly, approachable man. But you never mistook where he stood, and enough people disagreed with him. Still, it was quite a kick to see him tip his crimson zuchetto when introduced to an applauding crowd. This was a man who took his office seriously, but not himself.

His successor, the late Bishop Keating, was a very different sort. Distinguished, handsome, and one of the most brilliant canonists of his time, he was rarely seen by his subjects, thus earning such unfortunate titles as "Bishop Elsewhere" and "The Handsome Phantom." I only saw him in person once, at the funeral of a priest that I happened to attend. I saw him one other time, on EWTN. He was eloquent and polished in his presentation -- even as he was distant. Upon his untimely death, my pastor, who was very close to him, took it very hard. I wished I could have as well, but I never knew the man. That would be understandable, except by all accounts, I would have been unlikely to have had the chance. I considered myself a poorer man for that.

I first met my current bishop, Paul S Loverde, at a Catholic bookstore. I brushed past him and said, "Excuse me, Father." Upon asking his name, he said, "I'm the bishop." I replied, "Oh, you're that Father." It was right before Christmas. We seemed to hit it off. Imagine the looks on the faces of my parish priests when, as His Excellency was the chief celebrant at my church that Christmas morning, I greeted him at the back of the Church with, "Monsigeur! Buon natale!!!" while kissing his ring.

Now, I don't agree with my bishop on everything, and I use this medium to make those disagreements known. But I'll say this for him; I know my own bishop, in a diocese that isn't big enough for him not to.

Recently, publisher Deal Hudson arranged a meeting between various American bishops and those described as "conservative Catholic leaders." One of them was Peggy Noonan, former advisor to President Reagan. I wish I had her words in front of me, as I cannot do them justice. But she essentially took the prelates to task for being out of touch with everyday people.

When the Church was persecuted in the Ukraine, the people knew their bishops firsthand. They saw them on any given day, risking their own lives alongside those whom they served. After the fall of communism, clerics and chancery officials were sent by Western countries to help build up the infrastructure of the newly-liberated church. Those who suffered for their Faith alongside their own shepherds, now had to make an appointment to see him -- if they were lucky enough to be seen.

Closer to home, in the "land of the free," I've watched over the years, as errors against Church teaching and practice go unhindered, even under the watchful eyes of reputedly "orthodox" bishops. I watch today, as otherwise good men are overwhelmed to discover the extent of the conspiracy they apparently aided, as numerous errant priests succeeded in sexually violating children, most of them boys. Sodomy is a sin that "cries to heaven for vengeance." Sodomy against a minor is a crime in every state of the Union. If they knew little else, they surely knew the horror of these crimes.

What could possibly compel a man not to act on that knowledge?

The late Cardinal O'Connor once remarked that a bishop is often "morally bludgeoned" by his staff. I used to understand that excuse, but not anymore. I can only conclude that a man can excuse virtually anything in the name of expediency, when he is shielded from the faces of those who bear the weight of that which is excused. To put it another way, he does not have to explain himself to me, if he never has to look me in the eye.

I am absolutely convinced that a Catholic bishop should never have that luxury of avoidance. Its cost is currently estimated at one billion dollars, and rising.

The check awarded by the King of Jordan to the Archbishop of Washington will go to do much good elsewhere, but it wouldn't begin to cover the cost of being out of touch with the "man on the street." If you can't come face to face with that man without going through your attorney, the price is already too high.

And that's just in this world. With no "statute of limitations" in the next, don't even get me started!
St Blog's: A Comedy of Errors

The Catholic World News (CWN) commentator known as "Diogenes" reported on the recent meeting of Cardinal McCarrick with a Muslim leader, King Abjullah of Jordan, in his piece entitled "Thank Allah or thank God?" Mark Shea referred to this piece, calling to mind a quotation of CS Lewis in Mere Christianity, in his post entitled "CS Lewis on Diogenes." Then, Tom Krietzberg of Disputations used the Shea piece to accuse Diogenes of being "evil," in his post entitled "Deadly cynicism."

Now we're off to the races!

Dom Bettinelli, former editor of CWN, and current editor of Catholic World Report, draws the objectively understandable conclusion in his weblog that, by virtue of association, it is implied that he is "a formal cooperator in a grave evil." He does so in a post entitled "The Grand Inquisitor has spoken."

Nguoi Dang Chay sums it up for a lot of people in the latter's comments box when he says, "I don't get it."

I wouldn't either, except I know why.

I've read this entire melodrama from the source. In order for Diogenes to be accused of being "mean" or "uncharitable," his point would have had to be clear. But such clarity only comes from knowing about the controversial nature of McCarrick's meeting to begin with, which Diogenes safely assumes for his particular audience. Then Mr Kreitzberg compounds the problem (and if it wasn't a problem with somebody, I wouldn't have nearly as much to work with here) by calling something "evil" without assuming the proper burden of explaining the exact nature of the "evil" in question.

The real "evil" here, is what is known as "the spirit of confusion," which in the ancient languages is another name for The Evil One Himself. His Eminence relies on that which, by virtue of his office, can only be considered false worship (and this is aside from his intentions; I'm speaking only to the objective nature of the act, which is all that is available to anyone, really), presumedly in order to endear himself to a head of state with a different belief system. As a show of good faith, said head of state gives a huge donation for the prelate to give to the Hurricane relief effort.

I hope it was worth the money. Because now the Cardinal (who probably hasn't had to open his own car door since getting the red hat) has to explain to those who look to him, why he's praying to a false god. Only it's not a false god, is it, because the God of the Israelites (that would be the Jews, and Jesus was a Jew, remember?) and the God of the Ishmaelites (that is, the descendants of Ishmael, essentially the Arabs, most of whom are Muslim) is one and the same (inasmuch as "Allah" is simply the word "God" in Arabic).

Still, God has made it pretty clear over the last four thousand years how He expects to be worshipped.

After all, He is a Supreme Being. You have to assume He's not entirely dim.

One thing that escapes most Catholic integrists, is a lesson of the past century. If we are going to insist on killing each other because we don't agree on politics or religion, we risk blowing up the whole damn world and everybody in it, which ultimately makes the issue a moot point. So we are tempted to go to some lengths, to ingratiate ourselves to those with whom we would otherwise disagree. This is all well and good. The only problem is, that it should not be necessary to give up what we believe, in order to agree to disagree. It is not as if the King had a gun to the Cardinal's head at the time. (If he did, I suppose it would have been reported by now.)

Once you identify the real evil -- and, in all humility, I just did -- it doesn't help to blame everybody else. The best solution is usually based on the corresponding problem. Anything else just replaces one problem with another.

And once that happens, it doesn't matter who you are, how many books you've written, or the color of your hat -- red, or black.

Any questions?

[UPDATE: Mr Kreitzberg took it upon himself to explain his position further in a subsequent post. He is right about one thing; the devil is laughing his @$$ off.]

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"In my first account, Theophilus..."

Thus begins the Acts of the Apostles. The "first account" to which the writer refers is the Gospel according to Saint Luke, whose feast day is today on both the traditional and reformed Roman calendar.

Luke was a convert to the faith in (obviously) the early Church, and was a companion to St Paul, who refers to him as "the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). In addition, he was said to be an artist, and according to legend, painted the first portrait of the Blessed Mother. The manner of his death is not entirely clear, although tradition assigns him the crown of martyrdom, and he is remembered as such by the priest's wearing of red vestments for this day. He is traditionally symbolized by the ox, one of the four winged creatures in the Apocalypse, along with the man (Matthew), the lion (Mark), and the eagle (John).

Luke is also the patron saint of artists, physicians, and (I'm not sure about this but I wouldn't be surprised), oxen.
Critical Mass: The Longest Journey...

My colleague Shawn Tribe, over at The New Liturgical Movement, has a plan for restoring the sacred to the parish Mass:

"Move the chair of the priest from behind the altar, to the side of the altar..."

"Place a substantial crucifix back on the centre of your altar, facing toward the celebrant..."

"Begin to slowly re-introduce Gregorian chant into the Ordinary parts of the Mass..."

"After a time, you can then consider placing the tabernacle in the centre of the church again..."

These things should not be interpreted as mere piece-meal. Also suggested is a more substantive role for the acolyte (altar server), beyond the mere window-dressing that they have become in many parishes, even those which limit the role to males.
"Video killed the radio star..."

...and JibJab now takes on the giant retailers with their new hit "Big Box Mart." Let the mergers and acquisitions begin!
Stop the presses!

An abuse victim is calling for the resignation of (GASP!!!) Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles. "A woman says she was molested by a priest after officials promised he wouldn't work around kids." On the bright side, he's not into little boys.

The official response? Oh, this gets better: "Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg said there was nothing improper about letting Rucker retire without reprimand in 1987, two years after Mahony became cardinal... 'Many of the victims direct all their anger at Cardinal Mahony,' Tamberg said. 'It's unfair and somewhat misdirected, although understandable.'"

What a doofus!!!

[UPDATE: As of this date, our heroes at VOTF are still not calling for Cardinal Mahony's resignation. Stay tuned...]

Monday, October 17, 2005

Radio Daze Revisited

If the little parody from last Friday isn't enough, it can be said here outright.

Public radio today is a joke, or certainly at risk thereof.

In Washington, WETA recently converted to an all-news format (well, mostly; they still keep Prairie Home Companion on Saturday nights). This is in addition to WAMU being nearly all news and talk already. Given that, the situation in Cincinnati, where WVXU converted to a news station so that WGUC can devote itself to classical music, is relatively tame. But it came at a cost. The management of WVXU explained: "Audiosyncracies was one of the most polarizing programs for listeners. While there were listeners who included it in their list of favorites, there were just as many, if not more, who listed as their least favorite."

This is particularly sad, as Cincinnati has a proud history of being a great radio town, especially for the Midwest. Fortunately, 'VXU still has some jazz and variety-show programming. The weekend lineup appears the most promising. And the city still has WNKU across the river in northern Kentucky, which still does a fair amount of folk and singer-songwriter programming last time I checked. (Somebody there get back to me on this.) Then there's WMKV, a station devoted to music of the Big Band era. Listening to them is like stepping into a time machine. Based out of the Maple Knolls retirement village, they even have veteran radio show hosts as occasional volunteers.

(The area also once had a station devoted entirely to Elvis music, WCVG. But that was about two or three format changes ago. Needless to say, it was based out out my hometown of Milford.)

Meanwhile, the Nation's capital has no non-commercial classical music station. The closest one is WBJC in Baltimore, which is hard to get on my side of the Potomac. There is still a commerical classical station, and one has to risk having Chopin's Noctures interrupted by... you guessed it. Fortunately, some of WETA's expatriates such as Robert Aubry Davis and Michael Goldsmith can still be heard on XM Radio, one of two satellite radio services available in the USA. I have them in my car, and recently got a receiver for my home.

That's how much I hate commercials.
Ad Random

A postcard from Toledo, Ohio.

That does it, I'm gonna start wearing fur again!!!

• Oh, and this one's priceless: a Catholic high school cancels its prom. The principal is handing responsibility to the parents. The clueless remarks of some of them pretty much say it all.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I've gotten a couple of really good responses to my post of June 30 entitled "Radio Daze." I'm hoping to comment on this, and the current state of public radio, in the near future. Three things I can tell my respondents; 1) the issue is not confined to Cincinnati, 2) there are alternatives in Cincinnati, and 3) it could have been worse. Stay tuned...
The Outrage of "Faithful" Voices?

It's no secret to readers of this weblog that I'm no fan of a so-called Catholic "reform" group known as Voice of the Faithful. Its national leadership has been plagued by essentially dishonest people from its beginnings. (As a matter of fact, I can prove it, but hang on...) That is not to say that all who belong to it are dishonest; rather that one's allegiance does require one to go along with it at some point.

What would indeed surprise people, is that I participate occasionally on a listserv of a local VOTF affiliate. I spend most of the time explaining matters of Catholic belief and practice, to anyone who asks (and occasionally to those who don't). That does not take away from their sincerity. A few are sincere in their outrage, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to discuss matters of concern at length, as well as break bread, with some of them. Their numbers include victims of clerical sexual abuse, or family members or loved ones of victims. All are justifiably outraged at the dishonesty and incompetence of the American bishops in dealing with the problem.

Unfortunately, a few of them can be rather selective about it.

At every level of affiliation, VOTF has expressed outrage at Cardinal Law of Boston, and Cardinals Bevilacqua and Rigali (and the late Cardinal Krol) of Philadelphia. Their calls in the past for Law's resignation, their alarm over the findings of a grand jury in Philadelphia, are well covered in the secular press.

Now we have the findings that Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles has engaged in a similar pattern of conspiracy and harboring of child-molesting priests, continuing a legacy that reportedly goes back 75 years!

But where is the indignation?

Sure, the news clippings are on the local VOTF listserv. But what is curiously missing is the corresponding outrage that immediately accompanied the news out of Boston and Philadelphia.

I can't explain this. But I do know that the prelates in Boston and Philadelphia are usually identified as "conservative" or "traditional" in their theological and pastoral approach, while their confrere in Los Angeles is most certainly considered a "liberal" or a "progressive" in the same areas.

So I have to ask myself, is there some selective judgment among the ranks of the righteously indignant?

Before you answer that, there is more.

At their first national convention, VOTF invited as a keynote speaker, one Debra Haffner, a former president of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), and a former official of Planned Parenthood. That SIECUS has taken a position endorsing same-sex attraction, as well as sexual relations between adults and children, was a matter of record. This evidence was presented to the leadership of VOTF through the online discussion forum they were operating at the time.

VOTF went ahead with their plans for Haffner, after taking the time out to shut down the discussion forum -- permanently.

These are the same idiots who whine about the need for "dialogue" and "accountability." And to this day, they not only ignore the findings that a local priest of the Boston Archdiocese -- namely Father Walter Cuenin -- must make restitution for $75,000 in misappropriated parish funds. They are calling for his reinstatement as pastor of a parish where he has been in charge for nearly twelve years (making it time to move along anyway). They also manage to ignore the issue of "accountability" on the part of the parish finance council that went along with the whole scheme. (See recent reports, and their accompanying links, at Even if you manage to excuse the latter, you can remove lay governance of the Church from the bargaining table, as the panacea for accountability. Or remember what happened at Enron.

Now, to go along with this charade, you have to be either really stupid, or a really good liar. The founding president of VOTF won a Nobel Prize some years ago. We can probably rule out "stupid."

But what of those who would follow him?

(UPDATE: As of this date, the VOTF website has released a "Statement on Los Angeles Clergy Sex Abuse Files." It calls for complete accountablity on the part of the Archdiocese. It does not call for the resignation of Cardinal Mahony.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I don't get it.


The other day, I was reminded of the versicle and response from the "prayers at the foot of the altar," said by the priest and his attendants at the beginning of Mass in the classical Roman rite:

"Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam... Et salutare tuum da nobis."

"Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy... And grant us Thy salvation."

The word "misericordiam" has no exact English equivalent, and is translated variously as "mercy and love," "loving kindness," among others. It is a mercy which, while tempered by the severity of final judgement on the Last Day, is without end. At the final moment of life, the soul may cry out "my Jesus, mercy," and be received into His loving arms. That this final plea occurs unknown to those around the dying, does not diminish its power. It is not within the realm of human assurance that we can count on being redeemed at the final moment in this way. And so we have recourse to the Sacraments. And yet, as Thomas Aquinas wrote: "Deus non aligatur sacramentii." ("God is not bound by the sacraments.") Those seven outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace are our sure means of salvation. But God Himself is not limited to them.

For the past several months, Sal has been part of a team of home health care givers taking care of a man who was dying of a brain tumor. Following a distinguished career in military intelligence, this officer met his final battle. But he did so as an avowed athiest. He was cared for at home by his wife, who was also a physician, and who was assisted by a team of caregivers, including my dear friend, who would stay at his side during her appointed watch, praying the rosary, and whispering in his ear, inviting him to receive the Lord in his heart.

The man died yesterday afternoon, with his devoted wife and children at his side. One might imagine a choir of angels there as well, ready to escort him to the Holy City. But we will never know, as every man who crosses that bridge, whatever his station in life, does so alone.

"All is well, safely rest. God is nigh."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


"In the town where I was raised
the clock ticked and the cattle grazed
Time passed with amazing grace
back where I come from..."

In every neighborhood, there's at least one child who doesn't quite fit in. He doesn't get to play ball with the others, he is the object of ridicule. Sometimes it stays with him, sometimes it doesn't.

On Winnebago Drive in the early 60s, I was that boy.

Those who remember will tell you I brought it upon myself, as if anyone barely past the age of reason knows any better. I eventually outgrew it, for the most part. But the remnants stayed with me for years. To this day, unless I'm the focus of attention at a party, I'll fade into the woodwork, as I'm not much for the superficial "schmoozing" that normally accompanies those events.

"Matt" was one of the older neighborhood boys. Like half of them, he was a punk, to be honest. And not just because he made my life a living hell. Everyone seemed to be okay with it, too.

So when I learned one day that "Matt" was run down by a car while riding his bike along the road out of town, I wasn't too upset. In fact, I was elated; God had taken his revenge on my behalf. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of expressing this elation within earshot of a few of his comrades. I didn't exactly walk away from that encounter unscathed.

I remembered some months earlier, when one of the guys tried to cut me with a knife as I was escaping on my bike. What if he hadn't missed? I wonder who would have cared. Was I wrong? Certainly. I should have kept my mouth shut. I would have been the bigger man for it. But back then, there wasn't much in the way of a "bigger man" to emulate.

And all I ever wanted to be was "one of the guys."

I thought of this event lately, as my son learned the fate of his high-school friend, Taylor Behl. Her body was found in a wooded area outside of Richmond. I was reminded of my impatience with the judgement of God. We look for him in the flashing bolts and the thundering clouds, not in "the still small voice" where Elijah found him.

When I go back to Milford and visit my old neighborhood, the trees are overgrown, and the place is only now ringing with the sounds of children again, as new families move into the aging starter homes, which I still identify by the names of families that went before them. But I remember life there like it was yesterday, and wonder where it all went. In fact, it was just the other day, I remembered a kid from the next street over, one of my comrades from the old Boy Scout troop. I heard he went into the Army, and has been stationed here in DC these many years. As I walked into the Arlington post office the other week, I passed by the face of a man coming out, and I could have sworn...

"Back where I come from
Where I'll be when its said and done
I'm proud as anyone
That's where I come from..."
(Mac McAnally)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Hey, I just heard my house went up five thousand in value in the time since I bought it. Now all I gotta do is pay for it.
Our Sunday Visitor

I am pleased to announce that this weblog has received the closest thing to an imprimatur to date. One of the USA's leading Catholic publishing companies has included man with black hat on its list of Catholic weblogs. Simply go to the OSV website (, and under "Online Resources," click on "Catholic Web Links." From there, scroll down to "Catholic Blogs," and... there ya go.

I now rank on the short list with such media giants as my Close Personal Friends, Dom Bettinelli and Amy Welborn. Of course, I'll probably have to behave myself now. Hmmm....
The Doctor is... OUT?

I have long admired Dr Charles Rice, professor emeritus of law at Notre Dame, and visiting prof at Ave Maria School of Law -- as my old man would have said, he is "a gentleman and a scholar, and there aren't many of us left." I also had the privilege of working with him and the Naitonal Wanderer Forum for a few years. So I was disappointed to learn he was slated for removal from the Board of the AMSOL. No one's talking much (including the Doctor, and whoever is responsible), but it is known that Dr Rice objected openly to Tom Monaghan moving Ave Maria to Florida.

This news courtesy of group weblog Fumare. (Scroll down to entries dated Oct 3.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Peggy Noonan Explains It All For You

"On 9/11 the firemen took responsibility: I will go into the fire. So did the mayor: This is how we'll get through, this is how we'll triumph... In New Orleans, by contrast, the mayor seemed panicked, the governor seemed medicated, and the airborne wasn't there until it was there and peace was restored. Until then no one took responsibility. There was a vacuum. But nature abhors a vacuum, so rumors and chaos came in to fill it..."
"It was twenty years ago today..."

My son Paul celebrates his birthday today.

Paul was in the ninth grade when he joined the freshman football team. Being rather small of stature, and possessed with a sharp with that could get him into trouble, he quickly became the object of scorn by the dumb-ass jocks on the team. Early in the season, he left the team. The coach ended up lecturing his former teammates on their behavior.

And yet it was only recently that I learned, that it was the coach that could have used a good talking to.

Just last month, Paul described an incident on his weblog, in which, according to him, "I was f**ted on by the coach." Upon reading this, I was aghast at not having heard about it before (until I realized I was often left out of the loop by his mother, at least until the bill came). I informed Paul that he may have been the victim of assault on a minor, and referred him to an attorney. By now, a complaint has been filed. The statute of limitations runs out two years after reaching the age of majority. And today, Paul turns twenty.

The case probably won't go anywhere. Seems there's very little upon which to establish a pattern of "negligence," even though the counselors charged with evaluating his needs as an ED student admitted to mishandling his case -- a gaff that quickly fell by the wayside when things got so out of hand, and the incident occured which finally got Paul transferred to another school.

Still, it was for the best. Paul ended up in a place where the students were more important than the public relations image. And it wasn't run by a bunch of liars.

So, as is often the case, the public school system will end up beating the rap. There would be much more to tell, but I'll leave it to Paul to tell it. What matters now, is that he took responsibility for his mistakes, against a bunch of weenie grown-ups who couldn't do likewise.

Then again, when you have the power of the state on your side, you don't have to live up to the standards you expect of others. Ignore a cry for help until it's too late, and you are handed a scapegoat on a silver platter.

An approach which came at too high a price at Columbine.

Happy birthday, Paul.
"Droll" Revisited

The other day, I complained about certain comments left on my posts that were completely unrelated to my site or to my subject matter, essentially spamming. I got a reply from someone identified as "Mesotheliomata Attorney." It starts out: "I was just browsing through a few blogs... I know our sites are not exactly related, but I figured I'd leave a comment to express my appreciation for the great content you got on your blog, and I'd like to extent my personal invitation for you to visit my site..."

Uh-huh. Only thing is, he buried his comment in a post from at least a few weeks ago so I can't find it, which is one of the very things about which I complained. He could have also e-mailed me directly to explain himself, but he had to get in one more shot.

And with that, he thinks I'm going to appreciate his position.

I'm starting to get some good commentary from people on some of my posts, especially concerning the current state of Catholic worship, which is a subject dear to me. I intend to encourage more of that in the near future.

As to the yahoos who insist on taking advantage of this forum to sell something which you know damn well by now I don't want -- if you enjoy being humiliated, keep it up. You're pissing me off.
Taylor Revisited

Two weeks ago, I commented on the Richmond college student that has been missing for over a month by now. Yesterday, it was reported that a body believed to be that of Taylor Behl has been found in a wooded area fifty miles east of Richmond. My son Paul, an old friend of hers from high school, was already ahead of the story. Apparently they're absolutely certain it's her, and he's upset that the police took as long as they did.

I hope the family can get some closure, and that they can finally put Taylor to rest. I also hope Paul gets through this okay. Somebody out there pray for both of them, eh?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Maybe I'm not "droll" enough.

This month's issue of Washingtonian magazine features a page about Amy Storch, who does a weblog called Her claim to fame? She writes about her current experience at being pregnant. She has a reported three thousand readers each day: "Fans come for her droll takes on the minutiae of life, like getting the Burger King jingle stuck in her head. Or scouting daycare centers... She doesn't shy away from talking about her pregnancy, marriage..."

On the other hand, what's been MY fan base for the last few weeks?

"Hey I just love your blog. I also have a love dating blog/site. I mostly deals with love dating. Please come and check it out..."

"How Would You Like To Know How YOU Can Live In A Beautiful NEW House That Is Custom-Designed To YOUR Specifications..."

But most of them start out with "Your blog is awesome!" before going into some schtick they should know good and damn well I'm not the least bit interested in. I erase them every chance I get. I can tell these people go out of their way to be annoying, because they will often leave their crap in an entry from several weeks ago, thinking I won't go to the trouble of purging it.

It's as if they are convinced that being a jerk is the best way to sell their dumb-ass product.

Until I figure out how to block these idiots (and I'm in consultation with a fellow-St Blog's parishioner as we speak), my sidekick Jack has come to the rescue:

"Why don't we all go to the URLs listed and leave reams of inane, thoughtless, less-than-favorable comments on their sites & see how they appreciate our endeavors? Sure, that would be vindictive in nature, but imagine bein' able to giveth rather than receive-eth?

"I beleive the ol' Seinfeld series had at least two or three episodes that dealt with consumers (i.e., his fellow actors) lashing out at businesses that bothered them. Remember the one where Jerry asked the tele-marketer for his/her home phone number so he could return the annoying call at his leisure? Or, how about when Kramer decided to return 'junk mail' to a certain store that was flooding him with unwanted ads?"

Now, I never got into that TV series. Mostly because I found the characters as annoying as my recent visitors. So I'm calling on my legion of fans in the blogosphere to join me in a new initiative I call...

Revenge of the Black Hat

If all of us will simply heed Jack's timely advice, I can get back to engaging the people truly interested in intellectual engagement, which is only now starting to pick up a bit more. Even if you don't count the dim bulbs who want me to get into betting at the race track.

You know who you are.

(PS: Amy had her baby yesterday. Nice pictures. And some great advice from her cat: "Ceiba would like to tell you all that IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT. PEE ON THE CARPET AND THEN RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.")
Michelle Watch: Day Two

Mrs Malkin (or "Ms," whatever) has had time to reconsider her original report on yesterday's big story: "Upon sober reflection, President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court appears... even worse than it did 24 hours ago." She's not alone. On MSNBC's "Scarborough Country" last night, Pat Buchanan was aghast at what he considered such a lackluster choice in light of more distinguished candidates. He elaborates with his usual eloquence in a recent edition of Human Events.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Remember thy death."

The following is a commentary of the term "memento mori," which is also the stage name for son Paul David Alexander:
"To do this, a memento mori might represent death as a human skeleton... Its purpose is to remind the viewer that death is an unavoidable part of life, something to be prepared for at all times."
Could it be that we have a third-generation Latin enthusiast on our hands?
Critical Mass: Making Good out of "Evil"

The Evil Traditionalist has this to say (among other things) about Cardinal Medina's Remarks on the Latin Mass: "The process of restoration is going to require quite a bit of humility on all sides, something that is quite clearly deficient in both the traditionalist and the Novus Ordo camps."

Personally, I despise the use of the term "Novus Ordo" to describe the reformed Roman rite, as I find it to be perjorative. But our friend may be on to something.
Ah, for the days when "FOB" meant "Friend of Bill!"

Michelle Malkin writes: "What Julie Myers is to the Department of Homeland Security, Harriet Miers is to the Supreme Court. (Video of the announcement here via NYT).) It's not just that Miers has zero judicial experience. It's that she's so transparently a crony/'diversity' pick..." She should check with her pals at Fox News: "Bush noted Monday that neither the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist nor did 35 other Supreme Court nominees had judicial experience before being named to the country's highest court."

No prior experience -- as in, uh, no preconceived notions, ergo no agenda.

"I've got the victory..."

The Gospel is a movie that opens on Friday. "A young singer turns his back on God and his father's church when tragedy strikes... he is forced to deal with... issues that send him on a collision course with redemption or destruction." I haven't been to the cinema in awhile, and I should probably start here. It stars, among others, Keshia Knight Pullam, the youngest of the brood from the NBC Cosby Show series. Wouldn't you know, she's grown up now.