Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pertinacious Papist Presents Palin

Doc Blosser, being the pertinacious fellow that he is, posted the following from his son today:

Yesterday, John McCain chose Sarah Palin... a Feminist-for-Life mother of five (one Downes Syndrome, whom she refused to abort); she's a 2-term mayor of Wasilia, AK and ran on a campaign of reform for governor, where she went head to head with corrupt Alaskan Republicans and "Big Oil" and has an 80-90% approval rating. She sold her predecessor's private jet (which he purchased using a state credit card) on E-Bay because it was "government waste." Her husband is part Eskimo; one of their sons joined the army on 9/11 and is currently serving in Iraq. She hunts and fishes and is a lifelong member of the NRA, and knows how to handle a machine gun.

Barack Obama picked Joe Biden.

If someone could write and tell me how she "went head to head with 'Big Oil,'" I'd love to read about it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Road Trip?

Earlier this month, we went to Berlin. No, not that one. The one in New Jersey.

There's a very famous parish there called Mater Ecclesiae. Well, it's famous if you're into the Traditional Latin Mass. Once an independent chapel, they were eventually reconciled with Rome, canonically established eight years ago, and the rest is history.

Sal and I went up there to see an old friend of mine, a former Carmelite novice whom I met back in the mid-90s, when I had the ill fortune of moonlighting for a magazine devoted to apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At least two of the "visionaries" we touted have since fallen under the scrutiny of the law (including a guy on the lam for real estate scams), but that's another story. Anyway, I hadn't seen "Sister Donna" in ten or twelve years. She got to meet Sal for the first time. Naturally she approved. It was a great reunion. Sister used her connections to get me a good seat in church; all I had to do was wear a cassock and surplice and carry the crucifix in. Then we all went over to IHOP afterwards for more yakkity-yak. Then we took this picture. I'm on the right.

It was my first Sunday away from St John the Beloved since we started the Traditional Mass last October. If I make a habit of it, they'll think they can get along without me. I simply won't stand for that. That's why Labor Day weekend was only going to be a day trip. Sal has been after me to take her to Colonial Williamsburg all year. This Saturday would have been her big chance to experience America as it was in the early Colonial era. Something came up, though, and now she's gotta stay in town. So I guess it's the old "dinner and a movie" standby, eh?

And I just know what movie it's gonna be. Wish me luck.
An advertising world first has been launched in London - pitvertising.

The innovative new concept uses digital TV screens built into the armpits of shirts.

It was developed by deodorant manufacturer Right Guard as the ideal way to market its products.

A hired team of 'Pitvertisers' was sent out into the streets of London to test the new medium.

Passers-by were reportedly amazed by the new marketing tactic - some were clearly impressed; but others thought it the pits...

[SOURCE: Ananova. Used without permission or shame for our Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.]

Pelosi Meets Palin

There's been some excitement in this news cycle. McCain stepped outside the box just long enough to exude an original thought, one that may give him the edge over Obama once and for all. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was picked to be the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate. This mother of five, the only one of the four major candidates with genuine executive experience in public office, was already a rising star in the GOP. She is known for her pro-life stand, fiscal conservatism, and determination to reduce foreign oil dependency through domestic sources, if only in her home state. Such a choice will FINALLY(!!!) win the confidence of the social conservative base of the party, and may even convince a few disaffected Hillary supporters to switch sides this year. What's more, with an avid interest in hunting and fishing, Palin may be just the gal to win over that ever-elusive "Bubba" demographic. (In other words, half the guys I grew up with.)

This is also the year of a sudden outbreak of testicular fortitude among the nation's Catholic bishops. Leading the charge is a man who already had a healthy does going for him. Yesterday, Fox News' own Neil Cavuto interviewed Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver about Pelosi's "confusion" over Church teaching on abortion, particularly her abysmal lack of understanding of Augustine's teaching on the subject. Let's hope this is not the last of it.

The result of all this has been a week of great importance to American Catholics, who now must examine their consciences carefully. Is the Faith about belonging, or about believing??? The answer determines the vote, and what it says about the voter.

Style. Substance. You decide.

[THIS JUST IN: The Associated Press provides analysis on the downside of Palin. As if...]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Benjamin Zander Explains It All For You

This corner of the blogosphere could use a bit of levity right about now, especially after that deeply moving account from my future memoirs that I just know you all read. (Yeah, both of you.) Danielle Bean brought my attention to this item, originating from a site that mwbh has highlighted before.

It was discovered at the blog for ChoralNet. According to Rebecca Teti of Faith & Family Magazine, this clip "starts out as an absolutely charming discussion of how to appreciate classical music, but it’s really about effective evangelization and how we treat people. The closing anecdote is killer."

Okay, I'll bite. How about you?

Thanks, Ted.

To Belong... or To Believe?

Have you ever been "dissed?"

Of course you have. Any of us who has kids gets disrespected, even in front of a crowd. But they're kids. The other adults in the room "get it." They think to themselves, "You too, huh?" You send the little brats to their room that evening without their video games, and life goes on.

It's worse when it comes from other adults. And when it happens in an ostensibly Catholic setting, and others let them get away with it, your faith is tested.

Oh, you can sit here and say, now, now, it doesn't matter if the others reject you, it's all about Jesus and the Cross, and he will never desert you, yada yada yada. Okay, fine. I was awake for that catechism class, by the way. But as the saying goes, "The heart has reasons, that reason knows not." How can I explain the unexplainable to you? I can't even explain it to myself. Besides, if life had such cut-and-dry answers to everything, would we even need the Cross?

The problem is, people don't always lose their faith as a result of careful and considerate reasoning. It's usually something more sudden, and less reasonable. And nine times out of ten, the person who instigates this misbehavior, is the person whose position is such that you don't see it coming.

I'll tell you of how it came to me....

Years ago, I attended a seminar at a small Catholic college known for its fidelity to orthodoxy in the Faith. At some point, I saw fit to visit the college chapel. It was a modest yet graceful structure, and I took a seat in the back to watch the choir practice. But before I did, I noticed a pile of sheet music on a counter, unattended. Without really thinking, I picked one up to look at it, without going anywhere. In a second, I was seized upon by the older priest who was directing the choir. He grabbed me roughly by the arm, and against my demands that he unhand me, literally dragged me about ten feet to a seat. (This guy was over six feet tall, and kinda mean looking. Old guys can pull that off easily.) I was a forty year old man, being treated like a teenaged ruffian in front of a bunch of college kids. Well, I got the hell outa there, and was visibly shaken for much of the day. If that had happened now, he'd be walking funny for a few days. But this was then, so...

I called the priest in question the following week, and demanded an apology. What's more, I demanded it in public. For reasons that today are somewhat beyond me, I returned to the college, and sat quietly in the chapel. There I listened to the prepared statement from the old geezer, that went something like this:

"On [the date in question], a gentleman visiting our chapel observed what he believed to be inappropriate behavior, during preparation for Holy Mass. An apology is rendered forthwith."

Now, you can call it what you want, but that was no apology, especially when the pompous ass responsible for the "inappropriate behavior" refused to name himself as the inappropriate behaving party. In the week that followed, I wrote the president of the college. The letter I got back was slightly more pathetic than the "apology." After reminding me twice in the letter of my promise not to pursue the matter further (as in, lawyers, guns, and money), he made up some "we're only human" excuse, and said he would talk to the priest himself. Oh yeah, I'll just bet he did.

Having failed to make much of an impression on the putz who was responsible for running such a nut farm president of the college, I began preparing a letter to each of the board of trustees of this institution. It was then that I spoke to a young man with a long and close association with this bastion of higher wisdom. He persuaded me not to pursue the matter further, as such an incident would only be used as a power play among the august body of academic luminaries, and no good would come of it. As ridiculous as this explanation sounds, I was convinced.

In the years since the incident, I have attended lectures of the college, and have even contributed financially. (If you have to ask why, I can't explain it to you.) The college has grown and prospered into a fine institution, with bishops and cardinals from all over God's green earth descending upon the place to give it their blessing. Some of the same people in charge then, are still in charge now. I'm sure they're insufferably pleased with themselves. They should be. They got away with being total jerks, at the expense of a nobody whose opinion and stature is of no consequence. We don't all get so lucky in this world, at throwing our weight, and our titles, around. Some of the students who witnessed the incident now have children old enough to be considering college. I wonder if they will direct their children to their dear alma mater. I wonder if it will be for the fine example of devotion to the Faith that they witnessed there. I wonder what kind of example they will associate with the aforementioned incident. It probably won't be the right one. How would have they learned otherwise?

What would I do if it happened today?

For one thing, I would avoid most of the drama, not to mention save myself an extra road trip. What's more, the priest would never get away with laying a hand on me. But, in lieu of any resolution on the spot, I would simply write letters afterwards to the offending priest, the president, the board of trustees, and the bishop, describing the incident in detail, telling them all they had thirty days to provide me with complete satisfaction, or the entire world wide web would be the forum of every excruciating detail of the incident, including the naming of names, and their correct spelling. (What would they sue me for, definition of character?) And maybe send an extra copy to the National Catholic Reporter. Yeah, they're always looking for a great story.

Then I really would forget about it.

You're just dying to know why I brought this up now, aren't you?

This is a week when bishops from around the country are taking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to task, for lying about the Church's teaching on abortion on nationwide television. At such a time as this, the leaders of such institutions of "higher" learning, will be quick to remind us of how they are forming the minds of the next generation of witnesses to the Faith. Others laud them for "sticking to their guns" in maintaining a Catholic identity, in the face of scorn from the Catholic academic establishment. But exactly what form of "witnesses" do they have in mind? Is being Catholic some sort of a members-only club, where you get to belong by paying your dues and talking a good game? Because that's the Catholicism of Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi, and all the other bozos who spout their Catholic values as though they actually mattered, until their backs are against the wall, whereupon it all rings hollow. The leaders of this college may vote differently, or be on separate mailing lists, but are they really that much different? Have they been any less willing to use their status to get away with something? Is it belonging, or believing, that makes us Catholic? And if it's the latter, why do the least among us matter less than the greater? And if they do, why is that worthy of our praise?

Somewhere, I still have that letter. I hope to find it among my papers someday, whereupon I will frame it. Call me crazy -- and get in line if you do -- but there is a certain amusement in being able to bring such a distinguished figure to his knees. I don't get that chance too often. I'm not important enough.

By the grace of God, may I never be so important, as to do anything that stupid.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Who’s wearing the pantsuit around here now???

Joe Navarro is the author of a new book entitled What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People.

Allahpundit of Hot Air downplays this sort of thing, but what the hell does he know? Especially when I don't downplay stuff like this. (Then again, where do we get off accusing Hilary Clinton of being insincere or without genuine passion?) Watch this clip from the CBS Early Show and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Spaces Are Everywhere

Lately I've been getting invitations from people in my network (which is what I suppose you call "friends" that you only know in cyberspace) to join Facebook, even... Plaxo? I've gotten a whole slew of them over the summer. I love communicating by e-mail, and I obviously enjoy this medium. But since I still work for a living, it's a bit of a challenge to handle so many different fora* at once.

Before this proliferation, though, I had a MySpace page, which I set up about two years ago. In light of the above, you might wonder why. Well, here's what I wrote in the profile:

This is written in light of recent news, about old guys trolling the internet looking for some action with underage girls, or even guys. I'm definitely not one of them. + + + My name is... really not important. I'm an almost-52-year-old graphic designer working for the Feds in what is politely called "the Nation's capital." There's only one reason I have a profile here, and that's to read my son's blog, and I need to be registered to do that. Anyway, he's almost 21, and I happen to think he's a pretty good writer, and I can say this with some assuredness, since he got it from me. I have no other reason to be here, so anyone snooping around here on behalf of Homeland Security or the CIA or the FBI or the PTA or any other acronyms I've missed, who has dedicated their lives to keeping the world safe from democracy... well, you're going to be very disappointed. + + + But as long as you're here, if you really want something worth reading, let me recommend you check out "memento_mori" sometime. That's what he calls himself. I get to call him anything I want. He gets to call me "Dad." + + + The rest of you have every right to feel safe here. Someone in the world loves you, whether you always notice it or not, and they want to keep you that way. So be careful. There's a lot of nut jobs in the world, and some of them have set up shop in + + + Like I said, I'm definitely not one of them. + + + Have a good life.

It seemed like the thing to do at the time.


* Plural of "forum." Hey, it's Latin. You expected an "s" on the end?

Monday, August 25, 2008


Thirty years ago tonight, I was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Design from the University of Cincinnati.

It was rather anticlimactic, really. My classmates had already graduated in June. I had to complete two courses that were dropped in my junior year, all because I was ambitious enough to take two film classes at the same time. So I spent the summer completing an ongoing project, and being a teaching assistant.

The keynote speaker for the June commencement had been the former mayor of Cincinnati, Jerry Springer. (My encounters with him are another story. Don't get me started...) I don't even remember who we had for the August commencement. Must have been equally unremarkable. But you know that moment when students are called up to the podium one by one and handed their "sheepskin" by a distinguished academician dressed in his regalia? Fat chance! Graduates of the College of Design Architecture and Art were directed to the back of the hall, where our Dean, dressed in a suit without regalia, walked up to a table carrying a cardboard box, and started handing them out, definitely without ceremony. My high school graduation had more pomp and circumstance. (Maybe our degrees were on back order.)

My sister Pat and my brother joined me from the cheap seats. We went to Aunt Margie's house for the after-grad party. Mom did something she had rarely if ever done up to that time; she gave me a big hug. She never was very sentimental, but maybe something finally got to her.

In the years since, I've learned that the wearing of the "bachelor's hood" is more common. I don't know if they do that at UC now, but I'm getting one for myself anyway. When I step up to receive my diploma in web design -- one of these days -- I'm going to look like I've "been there, done that" already.

They won't mind. I might even get applause.

For once.


There is an unfortunate assumption made by the general public, encouraged ever more so by the mainstream press; that just because a political or other public figure is Catholic, they are necessarily astutely trained, perhaps an expert, on matters of the Faith. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Unless a voice of sanity is provided for counterpoint, creatures of this ilk are free to run loose and unchallenged across the airwaves. Indeed, yesterday's edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" provided a case in point:

PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose. Roe v Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child–first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There’s very clear distinctions. This isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and–to–that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. And so I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who’ve decided...

BROKAW: The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it...

PELOSI: I understand that.

BROKAW: ...begins at the point of conception.

PELOSI: I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy. But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And we want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of abortions. That’s why we have this fight in Congress over contraception. My Republican colleagues do not support contraception. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we must–it would behoove you to support family planning and, and contraception, you would think. But that is not the case. So we have to take -- you know, we have to handle this as respectfully -- this is sacred ground. We have to handle it very respectfully and not politicize it, as it has been -- and I’m not saying Rick Warren did, because I don’t think he did, but others will try to.

Madame Speaker's gross misrepresentations of Church teaching, never mind the writings of St Augustine (which I doubt ever took up any space on her nightstand), have been brought to light throughout the Catholic blogosphere within the same day. The condemnation of abortion, regardless of any speculation over "ensoulment," is older than the Church Herself. In the Old Testament, God tells His people that "before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." The earliest apostolic writings confirmed this, including the first known catechism, the Didache, or The Teaching of the Apostles:

The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child. (2:1–2)

(Potions? Seduce boys?? Whatever could this mean???)

Tertillian, near the end of the second century, wrote in great detail in his Apology of the horrible procedures used by abortionists. (Read the gory details here.) In the early third century, Hippolytus was equally forceful in his Refutation of All Heresies. On and on the condemnations have been brought forward, until the present day. Obviously we're going back more than fifty years.

And by now, we've heard of how Obama thinks that any speculation of when life begins is "above my pay grade." Curiously, the highest office in the land is not. This election is becoming harder for the mass media to manipulate, so long as those whom they lionize insist on making fools of themselves. The conventions are coming up. It's time for the voter to get past the glitter and the soundbites, and examine closely the character of those who would lead this Republic.

[THIS JUST IN: Father Z brings us the straight talk from Archbishop Chaput of Denver (who looks like a Capuchin, but argues like a Dominican -- how does he do that???), as well as the ancient wisdom of the Roman poet Ovid.]

[THE PLOT THICKENS: Pelosi does Augustine... very badly!]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You’re not reading this... are you?

My weekly stats have been low this month. Generally I get 100 to 120 visitors a day, or nearly 200 when I am in rare form (which is, apparently, rare). These days I get about 60 or 70 visitors a day.

You're probably all out of town right about now. Or maybe you're over at Mark Shea's blog where all the cool kids hang out. He gets over a thousand visits a day when he's on a book tour all week. He's got it made, being able to post Onion News Network video clips with just the right amount of potty mouth, while I get grief for showing a daily cartoon strip with females that have cleavage, as if you-know-what were the real thing. I should reposition it at the bottom of this page, just to see how long it takes for anyone to notice.

Which wouldn't be a problem if I was as cool as Mark.

And speaking of vacations, mine is in September. Late September. That's when Paul and Sal ride with me in the Faithful Blue Wagon and head to Ohio. Then we'll see whether Mom still makes me come in through the back door, or if Dad still remembers who I am. He's gonna be 83 in a few weeks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Maybe we'll go "down home," as we used to say, to the farm in Brown County where Mom was born. I've still got some people out there, and Sal has never seen an American farm.

I'm behind in my writings, in my web design studies... damn near everything. Maybe I'm taking my vacation right now and don't realize it.


[IMAGES: (1) FullMetal Alchemist. Used without permission or shame. (2) Rosselot Family Archives. Don't need their d@#n permission.]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Demand Side

The second part of a bi-weekly series, on issues associated with restoring the Traditional Latin Mass, is now published at The Gregorian Rite. It is entitled Advocatus Diaboli: The Demand Side. The piece focuses on the demand for the Traditional Mass, and how that demand is reflected in the extent of implementation. I used one archdiocese with which I was familiar to illustrate my point, but there will be different stories everywhere.

Obviously, the next installment will be about... supply.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“It’s just that you’re an extremely esoteric dude.”

Sometimes he slips and calls me "dude." Considering that I've been called worse things, I've learned to live with it.

Paul was over at the house last night. It's a visit that's usually good for a meal, especially if it's those delicious leftovers that "Sal" leaves in the fridge. We talked for well over an hour. Paul is a creature of the night. I haven't been one lately, so it's a good thing he was the one who had to drive home. We talked about the usual father-and-son stuff, along with politics, religion, the meaning of life, and the meaning of family.

His work at the Art Institute is going well, and he's looking to starting his internship in the next year. He's checking out opportunities in Sweden, of all places. I haven't decided to talk him out of it. I figure he needs to see for himself if the grass is any greener there. (Or maybe one of you has some insights.) In return for taxing at least half your income, Sweden goes all out to promote the arts among their citizens. They want the world to know the gifts they bring to the world table. It's not a bad idea, once the USA stops spending money getting into everybody's business. That can't happen overnight, unfortunately.

Paul has a fascinating assortment of characters for friends. I meet them at clubs like the Jammin' Java in Vienna, where Sal and I once went to see Pierce Pettis. Paul only knows half the people there, but they've all heard one story or another about "Paul's dad." Apparently I have some sort of latent cult following. I'm not sure what to make of it, actually. I'm sure his accounts are sufficiently embellished at my expense, if only to lend credence to his own cult following. Most likely, is that I never could be a conventional type of Dad, the one that has "Dad" written all over him, while at the same time refusing to be his "buddy." But we're all his family, me and the kids.

(He tells me that some of them read this blog, even every day. What can I tell ya?)

When he finally left the house last night, he managed to walk off with a 1987 issue of Rolling Stone that turned up in a purge of my library. You remember, the issue with The Bangles on the cover? I bought it to read the interview with Los Lobos. (Never did learn why they have an image of Our Lady of Guadelupe on the bass drum head. Maybe they're just nice Catholic boys. Yo, Paul, whaddaya think?)

Once he found an audiobook of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" on my bookshelf. I learned at least part of what the fuss is all about concerning Rand, especially among political conservatives. (I still don't get it.) But he does have a penchant for serious literature, like the time he read Plato's Republic when he was a senior in high school, and they didn't even require it. Reading Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You probably inspired him to be an anarchist. I'm hoping that reading the work of an anarchist named Dorothy Day will influence him further.

It probably won't stop him from calling me "Dude," though.

(Photos stolen from Paul's MySpace page, without permission or shame. Last photo from the author's private collection, and the streets of Seattle.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scouting for Adventure

Outdoor Channel and Boy Scouts of America Team Up for Original Series Scouting for Adventure Presented by Boys' Life

Original Series Based on the BSA's Flagship Magazine Boys' Life Targeting Young Outdoorsmen Teaches Wilderness Skills with Emphasis on Safety and Team Building

TEMECULA, Calif., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Outdoor Channel, America's Leader in Outdoor TV, will partner with Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and Boys' Life Magazine to develop the network's original youth-oriented series, Scouting for Adventure Presented by Boys' Life. The six adventure-filled original episodes capture Scouts in action as they explore the wilderness and educate viewers on outdoor skills and BSA's core values of education, safety and team building.

"Outdoor Channel offers BSA the ideal platform to introduce millions of homes to the exciting world of Scouting, and I'm confident that we will successfully engage parents and youth alike," said Robert J. Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of BSA. "By bringing our Boys' Life to life, we aim to share the spirit of adventure that is the foundation of Scouting programs and encourage viewers to get out and experience the great outdoors."

Filmed at the National High Adventure Bases of Philmont Scout Ranch and The Florida Sea Base plus Scout camps across the country, cameras will follow Scouts as they take on intense outdoor obstacles and challenges, like coral reef sailing or mountain trekking. Each episode will also include safety tips and "how to" elements that complement the outdoor activity.

"Everyone on our production team was a Scout at one time. We all remember that thrill of adventure as a young boy discovering the great outdoors," said Lloyd Bryan Adams, executive producer at Outdoor Channel. "We hope the series will inspire viewers to get outdoors and explore, but I'm most proud that the shows will incorporate many of BSA's core values that transform young Scouts into grounded, hardworking men."

The series also incorporates "Eagle Scout Features", where celebrities and successful businessmen explain how the lessons learned in Scouting contributed to their careers and impacted their lives. Scouting for Adventure Presented by Boys' Life joins Outdoor Channel's unique programming lineup in Q3 of 2008.

Visit Outdoor Channel at The Cable Show -- Booth #2729

About Outdoor Channel

Outdoor Channel is America's Leader in Outdoor TV, offering programming that captures the excitement of hunting, fishing, shooting, off-road motorsports, adventure and the Western lifestyle. The network can be viewed on multiple platforms including high definition, video-on-demand, as well as on a dynamic new website. Outdoor Channel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: OUTD). For more information about Outdoor Channel, please visit

About Boys' Life Magazine

Award-winning Boys' Life is the official general-interest youth publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Reaching 8,690,000 readers each month, it is simultaneously entertaining, educational and informative. The magazine serves the active lifestyle of its audience while fulfilling the vision of the Boy Scouts of America.

About the Boy Scouts of America

The Scouting movement is composed of 1.2 million volunteers, whose dedication of time and resources has enabled the BSA to remain the nation's leading youth-service organization. Serving more than 4.6 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age, with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the BSA is the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the BSA, please visit

SOURCE Outdoor Channel

Angela Hein of Bob Gold & Associates, Inc., +1-310-784-1040,, for Outdoor Channel

Standing At The Gate

Beneath the laughter are the tears. Our heroine waits for her beloved...

"Today I just don't have anything good to say. I have given you little outskirts of my personal life... you know I am married, that I have children, that I am Catholic and that I drink, but you don't really know the inner works of my life... But today I am going to take that chance that you may want to know a little of my personal life. You may want to know what today was really like. You may really want to hear about Carl leaving and my heart feeling as if it is going to implode. So here goes..."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everybody’s Got The Fee-vah...

Oh, sure, over the years I've watched the Olympics. In recent years I've been more interested in the canoeing events -- whitewater or flatwater, doesn't matter -- probably because a kid down the street from where I grew up was on the team for years, and his dad was the one who taught me canoeing. (Also tried to teach me kayaking; I got it down later in life.) I also like to watch taekwando. Now, if the competitors for those events wore those little bikinis like the USA beach volleyball team wears, they'd get more airplay, but they don't. (Hey, my kid brother used to coach volleyball. I should ask him if there's a point to that. I mean, the women's swim team switched to those custom-made form-fitting body suits to improve performance, right? Oh well...) I suppose this year is different.

Everybody is making a big deal out of who is hosting the event. People who protest China's treatment of Tibet, whether here in Washington and elsewhere, wear clothes make in China, use megaphones made in China, carry signs made in China, and when it's over, will probably order take-out from... you get the idea.

We've had this happen before, where a country uses its role as host of the Olympics to make a point of how respectable they are. When Germany tried that back in 1936, it sorta backfired, didn't it? China's done a bang-up job so far -- literally. That fireworks display was absolutely awesome. Since the Chinese invented fireworks, it was the least they could do. Of course, had they known how much American tourists love Chinatowns from New York to San Francisco, they wouldn't have torn down the little ghetto areas that look like Chinatowns in the final weeks, only to replace them with Western-style hotels. Guys, we already have those in the West. We want the real deal. You'll never take over the world with that kind of intel, okay?

Well, thank goodness I've got high-end cable. I can watch the most arcane sporting events imaginable on any one of several channels, like USA, ESPN, MSNBC. I can see moments like when the Georgian and Russian athletes embraced one another, oblivious to the invasion of the former by the latter. We can see, even if it's just for a few days, that no matter what country you are from, no matter how governments try to make it look, people are pretty much the same, and they can move beyond their differences.

Even the Greeks in the ancient games stopped their wars for the same. Now, if we could just get Georgia and Russia to put a lid on it.

Even if it's just for a few days.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Homeschool Moms, Eat Your Hearts Out

The Daily Mail has found three "housewives" (no, I don't think they'd mind being called that) who have eschewed a 21st century lifestyle for living as if from another era.

"Most of us just grumble, but some women have taken radical action to escape what they see as the soulless grind of modern life. Meet the 'Time Warp Wives', who believe that life, especially marriage, was far more straightforward..."

...and, from here, each of them even has a favorite decade picked out -- one from the 1950s, one from the 1940s, and one from the 1930s. One is married to a graphics application designer. Another one "spends hours on the internet sourcing items for her 1930s lifestyle."

Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?

Meditation on Psalm 136(137)

A new feature has been added to the sidebar of mwbh.

"Rivers of Babylon" was a popular song written by the late Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of The Melodians, which was recorded by the German disco band Boney M in 1978. No, they don't look German, do they? That's because they hail from either Aruba, Jamaica, or Montserrat.

But, back to the tune already. It is based on Psalm 137, or Psalm 136 in the Greek Septuagint numerology, as used by traditional Catholics in the Latin Vulgate. The psalm expresses the longing of the exiled Jewish people, following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC. "The rivers of Babylon" refer the Euphrates River, its tributaries, and the Chebar (Khabour) River. The recording in question was released as a single and was #1 in the UK for 5 weeks in 1978. It was also the group's only significant USA chart entry, peaking at #30 in the Pop charts.

I remember another recording back then, by some German guy who was apparently from Germany, and who sang it in German. I believe this was an appeal to the polka market. Don't ask me why.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Over the last couple of years, this blog has taken a few jabs at the "actress" Paris Hilton -- Ooops, I did it again! -- for having little if any talent and no discernible job skills, and living well anyway. Events of the past week may give this writer cause for believing otherwise. For what is perhaps the first time in her career, Ms Hilton did something clever.

A recent campaign ad for John McCain pokes fun at the cult of celebrity around his opponent, Barack Obama, which includes a brief glimpse of Ms Hilton. It would appear that the young lady (or at least those whose job it is to keep her from ever getting bored) has found a way to get back at this, and she has taken to producing her own campaign ad. I have no idea whether it has been on TV or not, but it has certainly gotten attention. TMZ reports: "In the unkindest cut of all, McCain’s spokesperson Tucker Bounds tells TMZ that on the subject of energy, Paris is deeper than Barack. He says, 'Sounds like Paris is taking the "All of the Above" energy approach that John McCain has advocated — both alternatives and drilling. Perhaps the reality is that Paris has a more substantive energy plan than Barack Obama.'"

Hey, let's also give her credit for the ability to pronounce long multi-syllabic words off a teleprompter without skipping a beat. I'm almost tempted to vote for her myself. And so it goes for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy. (WARNING: Content advisory, as in when she says, "I'll see you at the debates, b****es." Other than that...)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Playing Devil’s Advocate

About two months ago, I was invited by Patrick Archbold, writer-editor of Creative Minority Report, to join him and others in a new collaboration. The Gregorian Rite reports on issues related to the restoration of the Traditional Roman Mass. Unlike The New Liturgical Movement, we do not extend to other areas of the liturgical movement, our focus is not quite as scholarly, and our works have more of an edge. (That's just my own spin on it; I can't say how my fellow contributors would describe it.) Unlike Rorate Caeli, all of us use our real names.

My first piece is up, the introductory segment of a series entitled "Advocatus Diaboli," or "devil's advocate." In the Church, this was traditionally the person who scrutinized petitions for causes of saints, for possible incriminating evidence. In secular English usage, the term "devil's advocate" describes one who poses a contrarian view for the sake of argument. The series is expected to run in four segments.

Some of the material has appeared in earlier works I have written here. This could not be helped, since a few of my readers didn't get it the first time.

So you see, it's really out of my hands.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


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

I saw the world
    kissing its own darkness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

If Mark Shea were here...

...he would call this an "Episcopal Spine Alert." Check it out:

Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, raise their concerns in the August 4 issue of the Jesuits' America magazine.

The bishops write that two previous America articles by John Hardt, assistant professor of bioethics at Loyola University of Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine, and Thomas Shannon, emeritus professor of religion and social ethics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, "appear to misunderstand and subsequently misrepresent the substance of Church teaching on these difficult but important ethical questions" about "our moral obligations to patients who exist in what has come to be called a 'persistent vegetative state.'"

Both professors argue for exceptions to Church teaching, thereby allowing the removal of a feeding tube and hydration...

Now, this is a big deal. Not just because two bishops stood up to dissenting professors at ostensibly Catholic institutions. Oh, no, that's too easy. What we have here, is a case of two bishops standing up to the Jesuits. More than that, it is a case of two EAST COAST bishops standing up to the Jesuits. And THAT is the really big deal, because as insiders will tell you, Catholic bishops on the East Coast are all scared $#!†less of the Jesuits.

So, this week's Tip of the Black Hat goes to Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, and Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, for reaching deep down and digging up a bigger dose of testicular fortitude.

And as if that news were not exciting enough, there's more...

The other big news (speak of the devil), is that today is Mark Shea's fiftieth birthday! If Amy is the queen, then Mark is the king, the Mac Daddy, the Grand Poobah of the Catholic blogosphere. He'd have to be, because all the really cool kids in the Catholic blogosphere travel from Austin and Boston and parts in between, to the celestial city of Seattle, just to have their picture taken with the Big Kahuna himself. (I know what you're thinking; I left my camera at the house that day. This shot I stole from Mark will have to do.)

So, go on over to his blog Catholic And Enjoying It! and show the man some love. Tell him I sent you. Really.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

"No, I am not afraid of death any more. When I was young the early death of my father cast a shadow over me -- he died at the age of 27 -- and I was afraid to die before all my literary plans came true. But between 30 and 40 years of age my attitude to death became quite calm and balanced. I feel it is a natural, but no means the final, milestone of one’s existence."

-- from a 2007 interview with Der Spiegel magazine

Saturday, August 02, 2008

How’s Tricks?

Recently, Creative Minority Report disclosed of a possible attempt by Blogger to censor blogs, specifically "conservative" Catholic blogs. The story goes that some blogs were being labeled as "spam" if they were critical of Presidential candidate Barack Obama. CMR has since reported notice from Blogger saying that it is a system-wide problem, and not limited to blogs of a particular ideological slant.

We haven't noticed anthing here. While Blogger has improved considerably in the last two years (otherwise man with black hat would have gone through with plans to move elsewhere), they are still not clever enough to pull off something as complex as ideologically-based censorship. Not like those folks at YouTube, who seem to have a habit of labeling politically conservative video clips as "hate speech" when radical Islam is criticized (as opposed to when Muslims talk about killing infidels -- oh, no, that's just free expression, duh!). Just ask Michelle Malkin and the gang over at Hot Air. These days, Blogger works reasonably well, and sometimes the technical staff actually responds to a problem within the same week, if not always with the answer to your question.

Maybe sometime before November of this year, anyone who has any control of any form of mass media will quit trying to manipulate this Presidential election, ignoring the feeling running up or down their leg, long enough to let us all make up our own minds, while our minds are still ours to make up. Meanwhile, "yes we can" enjoy the accompanying video clip.

God bless America. HOO-rah.