Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mardi Gras

The campus ministry of Creighton University asks: "How can we give this day before Ash Wednesday some religious meaning for us?"

If being a Catholic is more than simply avoiding sin and practicing virtue, but is a way of life, a way of looking at the world... does the traditional "carnival" before the great fast require a blatantly religious meaning?

(Thanks to Happy Catholic for the link, and a collection of insights to honor the feast.)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Catcher of the Fly

Your mama always told you, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Personally, I've always found you can get the best results with a fresh road kill. To put it another way, if you raise a big enough stink, you can't be ignored.

It might explain the tactic of one alleged municipal road-kill collector by the name of Rich Lugari, author of the weblog De Civitate Dei. Clearly this man would have stopped at nothing to curry the favor of the exalted judges. Entries preceeding the final vote have exploited not only homeless men and puppy dogs, but also the Angel Gabriel, St Therese of Lisieux, and moderately-attired pin-up girls. This was enough to make him a finalist for "best presentation" and (no doubt due to his clever use of stick men) "best design."

Hmmm, pin-up girls. I shoulda thought of that.
Monday Ad Random

At least two stories are in preparation for this week. I won't jinx them by telling you the subjects, but they have been in the blogosphere for the past two weeks, and I wanted to wait until the surrounding buzz was behind us (or everyone got good and tired of hearing about it) before making my own contribution.

Meanwhile, Bill Cork, author of the weblog with the ever-changing name, has a reference to two articles about the "Catholic city" of Ave Maria, Florida. Of course, this weblog has already weighed in, both on the collegiate controversy in general ("Hail Mary, Incorporated") and the town itself ("Hail Mary Revisited").

In all humility, anyone with an interest in the town should really see what I've written about it, if only because you won't find this angle on the story anywhere else.

Seriously. For once I may have gotten there first.

Friday, February 24, 2006


...but not too late for Mardi Gras. That's right, cher! The "pre-Lenten religious observances" (as they are referred to on my official annual leave request) begin this weekend -- in big cities and little hamlets all over the state of Louisiana, as well as in various and sundry places outside her boundaries. It all culminates this coming Tuesday, after which we get our hairshirts out of mothballs, and spend forty days giving up something.

I just got me a big-@$$ mortgage to pay. What more can I give up? Oh well... laissez les bon temps roulez!
"Cash" Revisited

Paul left me a note this morning, recommending a piece from a 2005 issue of Vice magazine, an alt-pub definitely targeting the Gen-Y market. He thought it would be "an excellent supplement" to my recent piece "You know your plastic from your cash..."

I wouldn't say the magazine earns points for intellectual rigor, at least not on the surface. But looking past the narcissistic fashion ads and the crude depictions of alternative lifestyles, there are islands of substance. One example is from the series "Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!" which appears to be devoted to the hypocrisy of their baby-boomer parents still trying to live the drug-induced vision (and I'm glad I'm not one of them). The piece brought to my attention, penned by the Rev Chuck de Groat of Chicago's Reformed Theological Seminary, is entitled "Me-sus Christ." (WARNING: Obviously, it helps to ignore the other stuff.)
They've stripped churches of anything historical or traditional and replaced it... in favor of "personal experiences." It's all about how Jesus makes you feel.... I think the main problem is they trivialize real problems people are going through... I'm a counsellor and I see a lot of baby boomers coming out of these churches saying, "They're telling me everything is OK, but it doesn't feel OK..."
Well, that's the real trick, isn't it?

It was easy for mainstream Protestantism to make "the Lord's Supper" expendable, since it was peripheral to the cult of personality anyway, dating back to the Reformation. Catholics have the Sacraments, and that is our edge -- an edge that's hard to see past the "Welcoming Committee" and Father Feelgood's preoccupation with everything but What Really Matters.

My generation grew up promising ourselves, that we would be different than our parents. Now we're only different in all the wrong ways, and we wonder why our kids want to be different than us.

For what it's worth, Paul was raised as a Byzantine Catholic, his mother's rite. By now he should know why.
Cleveland (Still) Rocks!

I was thinking about Cleveland today.

While I consider Cincinnati and the surrounding area my home stomping grounds, I was actually born in the opposite corner of the state. When Dad got hired by Procter & Gamble in the early fifties, they sent him up there. When an opening appeared at the home office in Cincinnati, he jumped at the chance to move closer to family. But while he and Mom were waiting -- wouldn't you know? -- I just had to show up.

Closer to the present, last night my son told me that Nana (my former mother-in-law) was very close to passing from this world. She's had a weak heart valve for most of her life, so it was only a matter of time. She was born on a farm in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, on a hill overlooking a coal-mining town which is no longer there (except for the little Catholic mission church, which has a reunion every year). Her parents came from Slovakia, and paid cash for the place. When she turned fourteen, they could no longer afford to keep Nana in school, so she had to leave for nearby Johnstown, to join her older sister as a domestic worker. Eventually she worked her way to Cleveland, which is where she met Papa.

Papa was the son of Slovak immigrants himself. His father died when he was just out of grade school. As the oldest boy, he had no choice but to be "the man of the house." So he quit school as well and eventually got a job working in the steel mills. He rose to become general foreman, bumping an Irishman out of the running (which was no small feat for a Slav in those days). His job got him a deferment from the Big War, and his hard-driving leadership style ruled the swing shift in the industrial valley known as "The Flats," for many years until his retirement.

When Papa married Nana, they moved into a one-bedroom apartment. They lived there with at least three kids before moving up to a two-bedroom, and eventually getting a Cape Cod in "the burgs."

Nana was quite a character, and I enjoyed talking with her on the phone for years after the divorce. And despite a grade-school education, Papa could lecture a college engineering class with eloquence about the manufacturing of steel. She will no doubt be with him soon. I miss them both. Vechnaya Pamyat! (Eternal memory!)

On a lighter note...

Another favorite son of Cleveland, comedian Drew Carey appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" the other night. As Expose the Left informs us, he had some good points to make. He resents Hollywood's dabbling in politics, saying people should listen to the experts. Carey also entertains the troops for the USO. A video clip is included. (Windows Media Player required.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

And now, our moment of whimsy...

Now that this weblog is finished running the Catholic Blog Awards through the meat-grinder, I've decided to give "my evil twin" a break, and post this tribute to one of the winners, namely Happy Catholic, who recently posted "Things to do at Wal-Mart while your friend or parent is taking their sweet time."
The virtual envelope, revisited.

The results for the 2006 Catholic Blog Awards are in. Many of "the usual suspects" were nominated, some in multiple categories. But there were a few surprises coming out on top. Commenting on the official results was Jeff "The Curt Jester" Miller, who observed the awarding of "Best Blog by a Woman" to Julie D of Happy Catholic, edging out Amy Welborn, which may explain why I felt the earth move in the last 24 hours: "It is nice to see another amateur blogger who came into the blogosphere with no claim to fame..." (Wow, ya think?)

Another eyebrow-raiser was The Anchoress as "Best Political Blog." (An anchoress commenting on politics would warrant a nomination for "Most Ironic." But, hey, that's just me...) Finally, in what may be a major shift in the tectonic plates of the Catholic blogosphere, three awards each went, not only to "usual suspect" Jimmy Akin, but also relatively-new-kid-on-the-block-former-Anglican-just-crossed-the-Tiber Al Kimel of Pontifications.

For reasons beyond this designer (hey, I do this for a living, so I'd know a thing or two, okay?), Danielle Bean won "Best Design." Well presented, but a bit plain vanilla, really. Guys, I'd introduce an "Erma Bombeck Memorial Award" next year, if that would help.

No, it wasn't the predictable mutual-back-slapping I expected, but I get the feeling I wasn't alone in my perceptions. So, if I'm wrong, at least I'm in distinguished company. And in that department, I've done a lot worse.

In any case, congratulations to the winners. Same time next year, eh?

(For the record, I have absolutely nothing against Amy Welborn. I met her last summer at the National Shrine, and found her to be a most charming woman. That, and she's also a very good writer. Besides, she's got enough people picking on her anyway. My point -- and I do have one -- can best be found here.)
Raising the Colors

Taking the main highway from Arlington into the Nation's capital, one may pass by the statue daily with barely a notice. Yet it may be worth noticing today, inasmuch as it commemorates the event that took place exactly sixty-one years ago:

"During the bloody Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island's highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag. Marine photographer Louis Lowery was with them and recorded the event. American soldiers fighting for control of Suribachi's slopes cheered the raising of the flag, and several hours later more Marines headed up to the crest with a larger flag. Joe Rosenthal, a photographer with the Associated Press, met them along the way and recorded the raising of the second flag along with a motion-picture cameraman. Later that year, Rosenthal won The Pulitzer Prize for this historic photograph."

God bless America.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Note to self: Must write about Grandpa soon. Both of them.
Founder's Day

Today is the birthday of General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, Lord of Gilwell, born this day in 1857, who went on to found the worldwide Scouting movement. A website dedicated to his life and work can be found here.

(And while we're at it, today we remember two other founders; Americans remember George Washington, our nation's first President and "father of our country," while Catholics remember the Feast of the Chair of St Peter on the Roman calendar. Well, they weren't really founders in the strict sense, but they got there first, okay?)
"You know your plastic from your cash..."

A line from a song by a British artist named Peter Gabriel is a suitable opening to discuss my fellow Man In Black, namely an artist on this side of "the pond" named Johnny Cash.

I went to see the movie based on his autobiography, Walk The Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash, and Reese Witherspoon as the woman he loved, June Carter, one of the legendary Carter Family of early country music fame. It was a romance that happened at the expense of Cash's first wife, portrayed in the movie as an opportunistic shrew of a woman. According to a daughter from that union, this depiction was quite inaccurate. Yet it seems necessary if we are to see June as the catalyst of Cash's redemption. It makes one wonder if, in the sunset of his years, he had regrets over using a bad means to acquire a good end.

Be that as it may, a recent piece by Russell D Moore in the December 2005 issue of Touchstone magazine, sheds a light on what "the man in black" can teach us about authenticity:
Perhaps if Christian churches modeled themselves more after Johnny Cash, and less after perky Christian celebrities such as Kathy Lee Gifford, we might find ourselves resonating more with the MTV generation. Maybe if we stopped trying to be "cool," and stopped hiring youth ministers who are little more than goateed game-show hosts, we might find a way to connect with a generation that understands pain and death more than we think.... [and thus] might connect with men and women who know what it’s like to feel like fugitives from justice, even if they’ve never been to jail. We might offer them an authentic warning about what will happen when the Man comes around.
It is a matter worth considering for those engaged in preaching the Christian message.

We see the rise of "megachurches" among Evangelicals, and we think they're on to something. Well, in a sense, they are. They hire someone who can "reach" you, who can appeal to the mass marketing sense that draws in the crowds, and gives the illusion of success, and therefore "being saved." How ironic, that the school of Christianity that boils it down to "me and Jesus," is in the final analysis, merely about following the crowd.

That certain "look" that puts the channel-surfer at ease, has crept even into the Catholic mass media. Can you imagine this writer, a bearded man with a black hat and a few rapier wisecracks up his sleeve, doing a talk show on EWTN? No, they'd put him in a cardigan sweater, and trade in his boots for a pair of wing-tips. The hat would have to go, too, even if it meant powdering that balding pate to cut down the glare of studio lights. After luring him to the stage for what is unique to him, he'd end up looking more like the rest of the gilded lineup.

You see, it's all about the formula. The same mentality that has enslaved network television, that has reduced to monotony much of commercial radio (and is expanding the appeal of satellite channels like XM and Sirius), is being embraced whole-hog to sell the Gospel.

My twenty-year-old son Paul, who ignores country music in general, loves Johnny Cash. From what I can gather in our conversations, it is because the artist writes what he knows, and he knows life from having lived it. Not at the superficial level that comes with fame, but with an awareness of those who live with what Thoreau called "quiet desperation." Such is the true heart of the poet. It is not difficult for us to imagine Cash doing hard time, even though he did very little of it. Cash appealed to the masses with what he really had to offer -- being himself. In so doing, he understood what it was for others to do the same.

Whatever the transgressions of the man who wrote "Folsom Prison Blues," he surely never ceased to hear the voice of the Hounds of Heaven, forever calling, calling...

It is not hard to imagine the burden he carried, the yearning to lay it before the Cross.

"Being himself." Such is all we have left as we stand before our Maker.

(UPDATE: Another review of the Cash movie can be found in a recent edition of Crisis magazine, written by film critic William Baer.)
New cardinals, new wardrobe, oh boy!

Bettnet reports on the new cardinals appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Traditionally, they are "the princes of the Church," the honorary clergy of the Bishop of Rome. They are ranked as cardinal deacons, cardinal priests, and cardinal bishops. When their bishop dies, they administer the affairs of the Church, and elect his successor amongst themselves. That man is elected first and foremost as Bishop of Rome, who by virtue of that appointment becomes the Successor to St Peter, and thus the Supreme Pontiff, Vicar of Christ on Earth... in short, the Pope.

Most of the appointments were safe bets, but there were a few surprises. Levada, formerly Archbishop of San Francisco and now prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the current Pope's former position) has been controversial since he left the States -- after all, he's not universally hailed for clarity of Catholicity -- and this won't help. Vatican-watcher Rocco Palma provides the complete list.

What once was a predominantly Italian crowd has become more international in recent years, and this latest round of "red hats" reinforces that. In the years to come, most Catholics will live below, and not above, the Equator.

It could happen.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Revisiting My Inner Architect

By the time I entered high school, I had given up on becoming an astronaut. We had already been to the moon anyway, and Mars seemed a bit too far off. Besides, there's that thing that happens to a boy during the onset of puberty, I believe, that often shifts his focus to the core.

So I decided I wanted to be... an architect.

I could be creative, build stuff, and live in a big house on the hill in the middle of town, just like "Ron" my classmate, whose dad was an architect. Then there was "Sam" in my boy scout patrol. His dad had this great modern split-level set back in the woods on a hillside, that felt like living in a ski lodge. Yesiree, I could make a killing (which is Midwestern for "living large"), like an engineer, only more artistic. I even took a class in "mechanical drawing" during my junior year.

But one day, while talking to my Dad about my plans, he suggested that my lack of familiarity with building materials might prove a limitation, and suggested the related field of what was then known as "commercial art." At the time, I found it hard to argue with that kind of reasoning.

And so it was. In the fall of 1973, I began my freshman year at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Graphic Design. My home ground on campus was the College of Design, Architecture, and Art, tucked away on the northwest corner of the main campus. There I would remain for five years.

Even so, I envied the Architecture students. As in similar settings elsewhere, you learn soon enough that when someone is an architect, they think they can design anything, not just buildlings. A certain academic chauvinism prevailed at the College, that appeared to carry over into the professional realm.

Plus, in my heart, I was still an architect. I poured over books on experimental and alternative housing, an interest that graces my bookshelves to this very day. My doodlings during meetings over the years have consisted of housing floor plans, and village site plans.

I thought of this manner of muse lately, as a multimedia/web design student at the Art Institute of Washington. No, they don't have an architecture program there. But I am currently enrolled in a course entitled "information architecture." Its description reads thus: "This course introduces students to the concepts and processes of developing interactive projects that address and solve user needs. During the course, students will carry out research of users, goals, competition and content and develop the navigation structure, process flow, and labeling systems that best address these needs. Students presentations [sic] and defend their decisions."

It sounds a lot like what an architect must do as a prelude to laying out any building plans.

And you, the viewer surfing the Internet, can appreciate the need for this whenever you are confused by what you view on a web page. Some are better looking than others, yes. But it's more than that, isn't it? Sometimes you just need to find something right away, and when it's all hitting you at once, it becomes rather daunting. You tell yourself you never were much for this new technology. But you're not the problem; the technology is.

Ten years ago, a company would put up a website, if for no other reason, than that "everyone else is doing it." This wasn't always sufficient cause, and that same company was eventually left with a site that was outdated, dysfunctional, or just plain useless.

And so, in addition to web programmers, designers, developers, and managers, there is presently emerging a place for an architect.

Hopefully, one that can make a killing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

For that special Valentine...

...a site that asks: "Why should Cupid have all the fun?"

Share it with the wild child in your life. (Macromedia Flash Player 8 required.) In other news, a weblog called Post Secret is another place where romance never dies.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Let George do it -- eventually.

This past weekend, Francis Cardinal George had a statement read from all the pulpits in the Archdiocese of Chicago:

"There is so much I remain unaware of, yet I am, in the end, responsible for it all. I want to say now that if there is any priest that is leading a double life, he should for the sake of the Church come forward."

Say what you will about him, but at least he's original.

He's also taken his sweet-@$$ time about it. He knew when he was assigned to Chicago several years ago, that he was walking into a rat's nest. How hard would it have been to discontinue regular occurances of general absolution in his own Cathedral before he unpacked? But it went on, as other things went on.

In fairness, it's impossible for a bishop to investigate hearsay, and some cases have started out as little more than that. A priest unjustly accused can tie his bishop in paperwork all the way to Rome. Considering that priest-personnel cases are second only to marriage cases on a tribunal's docket, the prospect cannot be taken lightly.

In the meantime...

If a priest is engaged in wrongdoing, and people have seen it with their own eyes (which can and does happen), those around him can get their heads out of whichever orifice they are buried, knock his @$$ off the pedestal, and teach him a thing or two about behaving like a normal adult. This can be handled inside the rectory door, before anybody downtown gets a phone call.

If more people started using their own good sense, we wouldn't need a bunch of cake-eaters from suburban Boston calling press conferences and doing book-signing tours.

Unless, of course, you're into that sort of thing.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Does this remind anyone of something Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote?


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why does the Catholic Church traditionally forbid eulogies?

Anyone who watched the funeral service for Coretta Scott King the other day, does not have to ask this question. Whether or not you agree with the sentiments of those who harped about illegal wiretapping (which in recent history has been the practice of both parties, including the Kennedy and Johnson administrations -- that's right, Jesse, I said "Kennedy"), such posturing does not serve the memory of the dead, only the self-aggrandizing aspirations of the living.

Cartoonist Chris Muir makes sure Damon reminds us. Not to be outdone, Mark Shea brings it on home -- literally.

Meanwhile, I still have a dream...
Still Prepared

The fog was heavy in London that day in 1909 -- like "pea soup," as locals would describe it -- when a Chicago publisher named William D Boyce realized he was lost. A young boy dressed in a peculiar uniform noticed his plight, and offered to assist. Boyce gave him the address. Upon arrival at his destination, Boyce offered a shilling as a reward, but the lad refused. He was a "Boy Scout," and could not receive a tip for a good turn. This aroused Boyce's curiosity, and he wanted to know more about these Boy Scouts. The lad agreed to wait until Boyce was finished with his appointment, whereupon he would take him to the association's headquarters. Upon arriving at his unexpected destination, the boy disappeared into the fog. Boyce met with General Baden-Powell, a hero from the Boer Wars and founder of this youth movement (the beginnings of which are briefly mentioned in an earlier piece entitled "This is the part where..."). Boyce returned to America with a bag full of handbooks, pamphlets, and other accoutrement from this curious phenomenon.

His endeavor culminated on this day, the 8th of February, 1910, in Washington, DC, as Boyce and several other businessmen and outdoor enthusiasts incorporated the Boy Scouts of America. At the time, there were other organizations for boys, such as Ernest Thompson Seton's "Woodcraft Indians," and another British import known as "The Boys Brigade." But the BSA would come to dominate them all. Ninety-six years later, they boast over 4 million members.

The boy who came to the aid of William Boyce was never identified, despite all efforts to locate him. Years later, the BSA awarded the "Silver Buffalo," their highest honor award for service to Scouting, to the Prince of Wales, who accepted it on behalf of "the unknown scout," whose chivalrous act was the singular catalyst for bringing the world's largest youth movement to America. A statue of the buffalo stands today in Gilwell Park.

A short bio of Boyce can be found here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war..."

In case you haven't noticed, Christians in the USA have been kicking some serious booty lately. Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ must have stirred up passions elsewhere. I mean, just ask the folks at NBC. They took it on the chin with that sordid attempt at high church drama known as The Book of Daniel. I thought having a woman bishop was bad enough, but then it got REALLY weird. Then, the perennial gay-way-or-the-high-way Will and Grace had to nix one episode (if for no other reason than that Brittany Spears wouldn't be that convincing). Meanwhile, on the silver screen (if you don't count what they've done to westerns; sorry, Oscar, that ain't "the cowboy way"...), we've had The Gospel co-starring the youngest Cosby Show daughter Keshia Knight Pulliam (who has turned out very nicely, thank you very much).

And then, coming up later this month...

Save me the aisle seat. And somebody say "Amen!"

Friday, February 03, 2006


"B-B-B-Benny and the Jets..."
Critical Mass: The "Buzz-of-the-Week" Club

One of my favorite priests was featured in the Washington Times recently. The man who confided in me twenty years ago that "I'm not a parish priest" leaves Catholics a claim to their heritage wherever he goes:

"More and more Catholics are longing for Latin, the language of scholars, Gregorian chant and the Mass... Some say it's all part of the general trend back to the classics of Western civilization. All the Rev Franklyn McAfee knows is that when he announced earlier this month he was starting up free Latin classes on Saturday mornings at St John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, more than 70 parishioners packed the first session."

You da man, Faddah. You da man.

Meanwhile, the sacred patrimony of music and chant and language and -- well, attitude -- isn't enough for some of us. Oh, no, we have to use that other set of books, or it's all for naught. That's one reason why, in traditionalist circles, there's quite a buzz lately over negotiations between the Holy See and the schismatic Society of Saint Pius X. And so, once more, the "universal-indult-is-imminent" rumors are back! I've been hearing this "any day now" schtick off and on since 1988. It seems the SSPX is gonna stop running off about Masonic-Zionist conspiracies long enough to cut a deal with the alleged infidels.

I'm on the mailing list for their publishing house, Angelus Press. (Hey, they're a little nuts, but they've got some really good stuff, okay?) Anyhow, you got a bunch of guys who, over the years, have painted themselves into a corner, and some of their principals want to go marching into Rome and start making demands. Oh yeah, like that'll work!

I've written on this subject twice already in this occasional series; first with When is an indult not an indult?, and in response to my devoted fan base crying for more, with Indult Revisited.

Sooooo... the Italian-lace-and-ermine-mozetta crowd anxiously awaits. While they're waiting, they might want to consider what they're asking for -- all Tridentine, all the time -- and how that would actually happen in the USA. Fortunately for them, two American bishops already have, and Brian Mershon recently sat down with them:

"I haven't given 'blanket permission' for the celebration for the Tridentine Mass in the diocese, it is, however, a permission that I give very readily... The reason I require a request is that, first of all, the priest has to assure me he knows the rubrics and knows how to celebrate the Mass in the Tridentine rite. And secondly, that he has some familiarity with the Latin language that would be adequate for celebrating in the Tridentine rite. And third, that there would be some pastoral need for it, either the people calling for it, or the priest's own personal devotion would be in that direction."

A copy of Fortescue wouldn't hurt either. Discuss.

(FOOTNOTE: I should add that I've been covering and researching liturgical issues for over twenty years. Most of what's written in the blogosphere about bringing back "the Old Mass," comes from people who want what they want, without regard as to how that's gonna happen, from a practical point of view. From my vantage point, which has involved serving priests at Mass as an adult, as well as organizing those who do, it's not hard to imagine a priest walking into the sacristy one morning, flipping a coin and saying, okay, we're gonna use this set of books in the next hour, and everybody scrambling to adapt. Especially since I've seen it happen.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Me and my shadow...

...strolling down the avenue."

They were playing Phil's song today up there in Pennsylvania. (Well, metaphorically speaking.) And while it may yet turn out to be the mildest winter in several years, we've got six more years of it -- apparently. The Associated Press provides a video, accessible by clicking here. But for the story behind the story (and in case this link doesn't get you where it's supposed to go), click here.
This week's tip of the Black Hat goes to Chris Muir...

...author of the "Day by Day" cartoon, which usually appears at the bottom of this page every day, for those of you with the sophisticated taste (or intestinal fortitude, depending on who you ask) to read that far. In today's entry, Muir proves that one can be a class act and still rip off Disney. If it's today, scroll on down; if not, click here.