Saturday, June 30, 2012


As this is written (on my smartphone), the power came back on after 18 hours without it. Last night's weather was the culprit. CNN reports that Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia have declared states of emergency. The internet is still offline, and a bag of ice is the rarest commodity at the supermarket. We muddle through somehow, don't we? Our friends in Colorado have it worse rhan we do right now. They need your prayers. Ours are being answered -- one at a time. Stay tuned ...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Oremus (Fortnight: Day 09)

O God our Creator,
from your provident hand
    we have received
our right to life, liberty,
    and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as
    your people and given us
the right and the duty
    to worship you,
    the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


FAMW: Aaron Sorkin, Cliché Master

Last Sunday evening, HBO premiered its miniseries "The Newsroom," another work of television writer/director Aaron Sorkin, best known for such works as the long-running White House drama "The West Wing." This new venture was panned by most of the critics. And while this writer did not think it was quite as bad as they all said it was, it was the witty repartee that carried the story more than ... well, the story. And let's not forget the array of well-worn one-liners, as we view a sampling of the best of them, for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

(H/T to

Sometimes you feel like a nut ...

Today, the Christian world celebrates the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. In the reformed Roman calendar, it is recognized as a solemnity, and is a holyday of obligation in many countries (if not the USA). The traditional Roman calendar notes it as a double octave of the first class. Either way, it's up there on the food chain.

And speaking of food ...

The Catholic blogosphere has plenty of meditations on this day. This writer has decided on a different approach:

At the train station in Naugatuck, Connecticut, candy and ice-cream shop owner Peter Paul Halajian used to meet the commuter trains carrying baskets full of fresh hand-made chocolates. The most popular of his candies was a blend of coconut, fruits, nuts, and chocolate that he called Konabar ...

Eventually Peter Paul merged with Cadbury, which later merged with Hershey. Not only is there a recipe for the Mounds and Almond Joy confections on the internet, but you can also bake a cake out of them, with recipes to be found here and here.

Personally, I can't think of a better way to celebrate this feast than to bake a cake out of something that says "Peter Paul," unless the gang at Fisheaters has a better idea.

But hey, that's just me.

[The preceding was originally published on this date in 2006. -- DLA]

Thursday, June 28, 2012

When Things Ain’t Over Till They’re Over (Fortnight: Day 08)

“It's always darkest just before they turn the lights on.” (Do you know where that line is from?)

By now, most Americans are aware of the five-to-four decision of the United States Supreme Court, which declared that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was constitutional. But that wasn't the big surprise. It was, rather, that the tie-breaker was not the perennial swing-voter Justice Anthony Kennedy, but the presumedly-conservative Chief Justice John Roberts. From sea to shining sea, those who were against the health care bill are wringing their hands. "This is the end of America as we know it," was the declaration of one right-wing yahoo who sends e-mails to yours truly every day while saying the same damn thing as three or four other daily e-mails also sent every day.

Let's keep a few things in mind.

One and a half centuries ago, the Supreme Court declared, in the Dred Scott decision, that slaves were property, not persons. A century later, their right to vote was affirmed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Four decades ago, the Supreme Court said that a woman had a right to kill her unborn baby. That ruling may crumble under its own weight within the next decade. And now, we are told we have to buy something we may not want, or pay a penalty which the President says is not a tax, but which Chief Justice Roberts says ... is. At least he's honest.

That might be why Erick Erickson is taking the news rather well.

Roberts forces everyone to deal with the issue as a political, not a legal issue. In the past twenty years, Republicans have punted a number of issues to the Supreme Court asking the Court to save us from ourselves. They can’t do that with Roberts .. [I]n forcing us to deal with this politically, the Democrats are going to have a hard time running to November claiming the American people need to vote for them to preserve Obamacare. It remains deeply, deeply unpopular with the American people. If they want to make a vote for them a vote for keeping a massive tax increase, let them try.

Then my Close and Personal Friend Steve Skojec drew my attention to a piece writing in The Atlantic, of how Roberts may have had the early landmark case of Madison v Marbury in mind.

And then there's Sarah Palin, a regular Pollyanna about the whole thing.

Thank you, SCOTUS. This Obamacare ruling fires up the troops as America’s eyes are opened! Thank God ... We now see that this is the largest tax increase in history. It will slam every business owner and every one of the 50% of Americans who currently pay their taxes ...

The thing is, she's right. While the rest of you wait for what Justice Antonin Scalia calls "nine hot-shot lawyers" to save you, you don't bother to save yourselves. The House of Representatives (guys you can vote for, unlike judges) can already vote to repeal, or at least defund, Obamacare. And if Romney wins the election AND the Republicans get sixty seats in the Senate (for whom you can also vote in or out), both sides of the Hill will kill it, and Romney (hey, there's another guy you can actually elect) will sign the death warrant.

I know what you're thinking right now. Yes, Romney pushed socialized medicine while Governor of Massachusetts. There's a big difference, my dear minions. That was a state program; this is a Federal program. Under our Constitution, states have the power to do things that are not given to the Federal government. You'd know that if you cracked open a book on the subject every now and then.

So you see, all is not lost, but you can't just sit there and wait for a knight on a white horse to rescue you from yourself and your abysmal ignorance of the laws and governance that affects you.

So quit your damn bitching, America, and get to work.

ADDENDUM: Hey, I forgot to include what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said:

“Ironically, the Supreme Court has decided to be far more honest about Obamacare than Obama was. They rightly have called it a tax. Today’s decision is a blow to our freedoms. The Court should have protected our constitutional freedoms, but remember it was the President that forced this law on us.

“The American people did not want or approve of Obamacare then, and they do not now. Americans oppose it because it will decrease the quality of health care in America, raise taxes, cut Medicare, and break the bank. All of this is still true. Republicans must drive hard toward repeal, this is no time to go weak in the knees.”



For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. (1Cor 13:9-10)

I remember what it was like as a boy, starting right about the fifth or sixth grade. There were all the usual changes, to the body, to emotions, and so on. The metamorphosis known as puberty was underway. It was the height of the "Carnaby Street" look, the transition from mods and rockers of the "British invasion," to the Haight-Asbury look of "California Dreamin'" (a nefarious influence from which my family was safely insulated, but that's another story). But beyond the whims of fashion, our age group formed a subset of its own, one that was comfortable neither with children nor adults.

When did adulthood happen? When adolescence ended. In fact, by the time I was nineteen, my maternal cousins divided into two groups at family reunions. There were the ones my age who were already married or at least hooked up (and no, I wasn't), and the pre-teens who thought I was already over the hill and wanted nothing to do with me. That was when I heard a voice say, today you are a man, my son.

I responded, to hell with all this, and didn't return to family reunions for seven years.

But there was an upside. I discovered that, when it came to the company we keep, and the friends we make, age is irrelevant in real life. That has never changed. The generation that came after me is another story.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (1Cor 13:11)

There have been plenty of magazine and newspaper articles, to say nothing of their equivalents online, about the prolonging of adolescence. It is more than college graduates moving back in with their parents because they can't find a job. There is also an alleged trend of men playing video games well into their twenties instead of trying to meet women, or some such thing.

If you review the Catholic book market this year, you will find books coming out written by single women, on trying to find a man, on being content with the single life while not admitting you're trying to find a man, on what to do with a man once you find him, and so on. There are no such books for men. Maybe we're too busy playing video games to read books. (Actually, it's something else, another subject for another day.) In my parish work, I meet many young men and women well into their twenties. It seems the traditional form of the Roman Mass is very popular with them. (Who knew?) Sometimes when I approach them for conversation, especially if it's a mixed crowd, they will, and only for a moment, give me that look, the same look they would give were they still in junior high. They could be married. One of them could have a babe in arms. It wouldn't matter. Their first instinct is hardwired into their DNA: I'm one of ... THEM.

We of the "baby boomer" generation grew up not wanting to be like our parents. We were going to be so open and honest about sex. We raised a generation of children who don't want to be like us, whose parents would have rather the schools talk to them about sex. They want to grow up. They want to stay where they are. They want to be in their mid-twenties forever, when life is all about new discoveries, new transitions, and no parents telling them what to do, unless they have to move back in with them.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. (1Cor 13:12)

There is so much I want to tell them when they give me that look. Then again, maybe I should just ask them ...

“What the hell are you looking at?”

... and they might have an answer.

IMAGE ABOVE: At a farmhouse in Brown County, Ohio, in the summer of 1973. The author is at the bottom row, second from the right. From the Rosselot Family Archives.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spanish: The “Loving Tongue”? (Fortnight: Day 07)

In many parts of the country, the Latino population is growing. No big secret there. Even in Cincinnati, service labor once performed mostly by those of African descent is now done increasingly by people of Hispanic origin.

They're not all the same, of course. In fact, some have suggested that there is a sort of pecking order. The South Americans look down on the Central Americans, and the Central Americans look down on the Salvadorans, probably due to association with gang activity. Among all the above, there are fair-skinned, non-black-haired, Caucasian-looking Latinos whose ancestry is more Spanish than indigenous. Bottom line, they're not all one people, but many.

Needless to say, there are many of them in the DC area, including northern Virginia. In fact, it is possible for one of them, depending on their circumstances, to rent an apartment or house, go to their job, go to a restaurant or bar, go to a movie, and go to church on Sunday, and never, NEVER, have to learn one word of English. And if they ever do need help with it, there's always the children, who have to learn English in school from day one.

Personally, and for all that is said about them, I never met a Latino or Latina with whom I had a problem. Rarely at most. Most of the people who work the grounds in my development are Latino. Some of them do repair work on the side, or know someone who does. I usually let Sal take care of those things for me. She has a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish, is herself ethnically half-Spanish (not uncommon in the Philippines, especially among celebrities and the upper classes), and has great negotiating skills.

All you "gringos" out there may have them to thank for the survival of this country, and not just for doing the work we won't do. They say it takes 2.1 children per family to reproduce the human race. Most of Europe is at about 1.4 or lower. America would be as well, but the influx of Hispanics to "El Norte" keeps us at -- you guessed it, 2.1.

Many of them are Catholic, if they haven't already been taken over by evangelicals. And contrary to the propaganda churned out by "experts" in Hispanic devotional practices, not all of them were raised on listening to Mariachi music at Mass. That genre would be confined to Mexico, and in fact, their religious practices are anything but iconoclastic, let alone enslaved to popular culture as we are led to believe.

Will died-in-the-wool Midwesterners like yours truly have to learn Spanish just to fit in? Actually, I think it's more up to them to learn English, which serves more or less as an international language of business and popular culture at this point in history anyway. The advantage to all speaking a common language is that one is more likely to have an understanding, and less likely to NOT have an understanding. However you slice it, they need us, and we need them, don't you think?

Or don't you?

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre:
Steve Goodman “Talk Backwards”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

Steve Goodman (1948-1984) was an American folk music singer-songwriter from Chicago. His work entitled "City of New Orleans" was made popular by Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson. And although he won two Grammy Awards, he was little-known within the pop mainstream. Goodman died of leukemia at the age of 36. Although best known as a lyricist, his guitar prowess and gift for witticisms are both worthy of note, as seen here in this 1982 performance.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“Bring me your tired, your poor ...”
(Fortnight: Day 06)

So begins the poem by Emma Lazarus that reads on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The lady with the torch welcomes all those who would come to her shores.

That is to say, by the approved channels. There are millions of undocumented immigrants who do NOT got through those channels. Many are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violent crime. Many are a drain on the system because, while they do not pay taxes, they are able to avail themselves of public services, which includes sending their children to public schools. On the other hand, this writer has known of undocumented aliens who not only pay taxes -- it can be done if you have a taxpayer ID, like a business, and not a Social Security number -- but who hold down full time jobs to pay those taxes, and even have valid driver's licenses.

They're not here to cause trouble; they're here because the lady in the harbor (see above) beckoned them to our shores. Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin (née Maglalang), with whom this writer agrees on most things, suggests that if you believe your neighbor is undocumented, you should report them. She fails to mention that you have to be able to PROVE it, which is damn near impossible, otherwise you can get in more trouble than them.

Ever think of that, Michelle? Besides, nobody likes a snitch! Pahiya!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church upholds the right of a sovereign nation to protect and secure its own borders, so all this bleeding heart nonsense about giving illegals a pass is just that. But with between eleven and thirteen million of them, it's going to be difficult to get things under control anytime soon.

And you know what? We've missed the real problem here, which is not with too much illegal immigration, but with not enough legal immigration.

"Native" Americans have always complained about the onslaught of "foreigners" to our shores. The Irish, the Italians, the Poles, the Chinese, the Salvadorans -- the list goes on, from one generation to the next. We have to reopen Ellis Island, and/or create more of them. Sal will tell you (and I know this because she has told me) that it takes years for people in the Philippines just to get a visa here. And that's a country that we treated like crap, and they still love us. And immigrants will keep coming, over or under the wire, not only taking the jobs that "real" Americans don't want -- yes, Virginia, there are jobs in this economy that are beneath some Americans, including this one -- but creating new consumer demand, which in turn creates more jobs. (And more tax revenue, if only we could keep track of them, which you can only do ...)

If you knew what a bunch of Vietnamese businessmen did with an abandoned shopping center in Falls Church, Virginia -- I mean, they came here on overcrowded boats, you big dummies! -- you would know what is possible through a comprehensive immigration reform that comprehended opening doors instead of closing them. But it won't be if we don't let them in.

Make it easier for them, or they make it harder for you. What's it gonna be, America?

Plug This: Big Pulpit

Several years ago, some guy from Texas by the name of Tito Edwards had an idea. The Catholic blogosphere needed a "one-stop shopping" place for linking not only to the usual suspects, but the best and the brightest voices of "Saint Blog's" on any given day. We just can't place the name of this initial effort at the moment. But it doesn't matter, because November 18, 2010, he gave it a new look, and a new name.

The Pulpit scours the Internet for only the best in commentary, analysis, and opinion on the Catholic Church and the world. We hope to serve our readers in offering only those articles that inform our readers on the current events of the day as well highlights of the long, triumphant, and glorious past of Holy Mother Church. These twice daily updates during weekdays will offer quality articles that informs Catholic and non-Catholics alike ...

Recently The Pulpit became Big Pulpit. It's not just any pulpit, mind you, but the BIG one, which is to say “the best punditry, analysis, and news in the Catholic blogosphere.” How big is that? Well, an edition of this listing is included at the National Catholic Register website. But wait, there's more! When something from MWBH gets posted there -- yeah, it can happen! -- our readership that day more than doubles! Sometimes the excess spills over into the next day, and the entire staff is scurrying around, wondering what it is that we did right.

But most important, with the phenomenal proliferation of blogs, thousands of them in the English-speaking world alone, all competing for attention, it is critical to have one place to go, where one is not only treated to "the usual suspects" (that is, the ones everybody already knows about ad nauseum), but learns about the best of both well-established AND fresh new voices.

Now that's what we call ... BIG. And you can too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Misery Me! (Fortnight: Day 05)

One of the most common psalms prayed or chanted during Advent and Lent is Psalm 50(51), also known as one of the "penitential psalms." In the Western church, it is prayed during Lauds (Morning Prayer) and every Friday in the Divine Office. It is also sung during Mass on Ash Wednesday, and the First Sunday of Lent. If the Rite of Sprinkling is done before the principle Mass of a Sunday, the faithful chant the seventh verse.

Asperges me, Domine,
    Sprinkle me, O Lord,
hyssopo et mundabor,
    with hyssop and I shall be purified.
Lavabis me,
    Wash me,
et super nivem dealbabor.
    and I shall be whiter than snow.
Miserere mei, Deus,
    Have mercy on me, O God,
secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
    According to your loving kindness.

In yet another demonstration of our Catholic faith influencing the culture in various and sundry ways, the old English term, “Misery me,” is likely a corruption of the opening words of the psalm in Latin: “Miserere Dei.” The times we live in may be enough to evoke one or the other.

It is said that “Ecclesia semper reformanda” or “the Church is always in need of reform.” Whether the Church, or the social order, any reform must begin from within. If our cause be a just one, we look to the Just One for mercy, for ourselves, for our Nation, and for the world.

Now is as good a time as any.

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (End-Of-June Edition)

It's that time again. Please watch this Pajamas Media video all the way to the end. We promise you it will send you right over the edge.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Will Alec Baldwin's supposed "anti-gay" remarks on Twitter cost him the way similar remarks against Jews cost Mel Gibson? Only if he's a devout Catholic. Otherwise, hey, boys will be boys! (

Can six one-string guitars do what one six-string guitar can? Only one way to find out. (Mashable)

Just when you thought you weren't in Kansas anymore, a local teenager there has earned a spot as a finalist in a national design competition with a prom dress made entirely from duct tape. (AP)

Finally, a mother in Utah says she felt intimidated in court when a judge told her that he would reduce her 13-year-old daughter's sentence if she chopped off the girl's ponytail in court. (Intimidated?) (AP)

And so, that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

“Do” is NOT a Female Deer (Fortnight: Day 04)

Oh, if you ain't got the do re mi, folks,
You ain't got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas,
Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden,
A paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi...

The above is the chorus of a song by Woody Guthrie entitled "Do Re Mi" written during the Great Depression, about migrants from Oklahoma and neighboring states, who moved to California in search of a better life, and away from the dust bowl storms of the 1930s. It is also a Catholic invention. Jeffrey Tucker explains:

In his pedagogy, [an 11th century Benedictine monk named Guido d'Arezzo] adapted an existing song to illustrate the scale: Ut Queant Laxis, a hymn to St John the Baptist, who was then considered the patron saint of singers. On the first syllable of each ascending note, the words were Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol – the very foundation of music pedagogy to this day: do, re, mi, etc...

We're not putting you on, folks. From the Gregorian calendar to double-digit accounting,* the Catholic Church invented damn near everything worth admiring about Western civilization, including a rendition of the chant featured on our first video clip. On the other hand, She is probably not responsible for the second clip. In any case, the latter owes a lot to the former, which really DOES have the "do-re-mi."

Today, the Church in both the East and the West celebrates the Birth of John the Baptist. In the traditional form of the Roman Rite, this is a feast of the first class, which supersedes the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost.** It was John who condemned Herod for marrying Herodias, the former wife of his own brother, which was a violation of Mosaic law. Feeling threatened by a reminder of the common faith of the people, Herod had John arrested, and was later tricked into having him beheaded. The celebration of this feast during our Fortnight for Freedom could be a warning of days ahead, don't you think?

Or don't you?

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* "K.H." writes to inform me that the proper term is not double-digit accounting, but "double-entry bookkeeping." I don't know what either one is, I just write the stuff.

** Even so, the orations for the season are still included in the Mass, along with those of the feast.

(The above is adapted from an earlier entry in March of 2009. Some things never get old ...)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Did you ever attend Magdalen College?

At this time, man with black hat is looking for former students of Magdalen College of Warner, New Hampshire.

By 2010, the college had undergone a process of reform to shed its image of severity, and was renamed The College of Saint Mary Magdalen. We are interested in clarifying a number of rumors that emerged about the institution over the years, through the means of a personal account of academic and student life before the transformation.

Our narrator should be able to confirm their having attended the college and received a degree, and provide a story of 500 to 1000 words. We are particularly interested in what was at the time, a policy of standing in loco parentis, through close supervision of students' dress, manners, behavior, and (drumroll, please!) social interaction. Names would be changed to avoid detraction, except where one's association with the institution is prominent enough to render anonymity impossible. Needless to say, the identity of the narrator will be kept anonymous.

We have no interest in doing any harm to the College as it is presently constituted, nor to any of its administration, faculty, staff, and more important, students and alumni. Our only interest is in the truth, so as to distinguish it from falsehood. This should not be cause for objection, don't you think?

Or don't you?

The Return of “Fender Splendor”

Paul Alexander -- for you new readers, that would be my son -- retired from air guitar competition, after taking the Philadelphia title in 2009, and placing sixth in the nation. Now he returns as judge for tonight's regional finals in Washington, DC. He appeared with fellow-champion "The Shred" (aka "Shreddy Mercury") last Thursday on the local Fox affiliate. As Paul likes to tell it ...

We did it. We have infiltrated Fox News. Thanks @fender_splendor ‪#usairguitar‬

... or you can see for yourself. We couldn't get the video to embed properly -- don't let that make-believe button fool you -- but you can still see his stunning rapport with the Fox 5 Morning News people. Click here or here.

Rock on.

My Dinner With Gilbert (Fortnight: Day 03)

Sometimes, you have to travel a certain distance to find sufficient numbers of your intellectual equals in the same room, for the purposes of breaking bread. I got off work early, took three hours to drive fifty miles along the busiest highway east of the Mississippi, and had dinner in Fredericksburg with the local chapter of the American Chesterton Society. ACS president Dale Ahlquist sat at one end of the table, while English-American author and scholar Joseph Pearce sat at the other. We had a great time discussing the effects of contraception on the downfall of European civilization, why Muslim immigration would not necessarily result in their takeover of the continent (confirming the prediction of at least one prominent futurist), and why American college students, with the exception of those having been homeschooled, could barely construct a sentence.

I was very fortunate. Dad earned his degree in classical languages at Xavier University in 1948, and briefly taught English and Latin in public high schools east of Cincinnati. In kindergarten, I could already read books. In fact, I was actually taken to other classrooms at Milford South Elementary, and was invited to read in front of the other students, especially the kids in the back who required some sort of motivation, namely me. (To this day, I cannot imagine how that worked.)

Today I attend the annual IHM Catholic Homeschooling Conference, being held here in Fredericksburg. You would think that I would be a fish out of water attending a very family-oriented event. After all, I'm no Ozzie to anyone's Harriet, right? And you'd be right, but only to a point. This is one event where I can be at home with the like-minded, buy a few old books here and there, make kids of all ages laugh at my stupid jokes, and every now and then, have someone come up to me and say, “Hey, you’re that guy with the blog!”

It never gets old.

Friday, June 22, 2012

FAMW: Mister Rogers “Garden of Your Mind”

By now, half the blogosphere has seen this little ditty, and in more than one instance, starring the late Fred Rogers. They probably didn't tell you (and we're sure you're dying to know) that this video was remixed by Symphony of Science's John Boswell for PBS Digital Studios. Can you believe PBS actually did a number like this on their own guy? Well, we here at the Black Hat Corral truly believe Rogers would have approved, as do we, for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

A Prayer by John Fisher (Fortnight: Day 02)

Good Lord, set in thy Church strong and nightly pillars that may suffer and endure great labors, which also shall not fear persecution, neither death, but always suffer with a good will, slanders, shame and all kinds of torments, for the glory and praise of thy holy Name.

By this manner, good Lord, the truth of thy Gospel shall be preached throughout the world.

Therefore, merciful Lord, exercise thy mercy, show it indeed upon thy Church.


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John Fisher was a Catholic bishop in early 16th century England. He was executed on the order of King Henry VIII, for refusing to accept the king as Supreme Head of the Church of England, and for defending the Church's doctrine of papal primacy. He is commemorated in the reformed Roman calendar on this day, along with Sir Thomas More, who received the crown of martyrdom on the same grounds shortly thereafter. (Interestingly, the Church of England commemorates John Fisher, in their case on the 6th of July. Fact is stranger than truth ...)

POSTSCRIPT: The next installment for the Fortnight may be later in the day than usual, as yours truly will be in Fredericksburg, Virginia, visiting the IHM Catholic Homeschooling Conference. Till then ...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ten Years After (Fortnight: Day 01)

“A young man from a small town with a very large imagination ...”

Ten years ago today, the weblog known as MAN WITH BLACK HAT began publication.

In the year of Our Lord two thousand and two, there were many new voices among those who practiced the Catholic faith, who discovered an emerging medium known as the “weblog” (or “blog” for short). Many of them were inspired by the outrage, at the news of scandalous behavior on the part of the clergy that was originating in Boston. It was less that we were unaware of such indiscretions before, either there or elsewhere, as much as there being sufficient numbers of Bostonians who were convinced, that their city and its environs was the center of the known universe, to call our attention thereto. As ridiculous as it may seem, their plan (or lack thereof) worked.

But it brought something more.

At a time when the Faith was under attack by those who were using the Scandals to fulfill their own nefarious ends -- we will speak of them later, won't we? -- and at a time when the same Scandals were shaking that Faith on the part those who would otherwise remain steadfast, these new voices emerged with the medium, and became the message.

It was in consideration of the above, that this writer did not know where to begin. So many pressing issues of the day. So many matters for reflection from the past decade. So many church chat pundits competing for attention. So. Little. Time.

Fortunately, the American bishops have come through with an inspiration for us. Beginning today, and through the Fourth of July, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring a Fortnight For Freedom, to protest the government mandate that would force religious institutions to violate their sacred principles for the illusion of health care. (No, Virginia, birth control pills and the slaughter of unborn children is not health care, and even if it was, you can pay for it your damn self!)

The point (and we do have one) is that every day leading up to the Fourth, we will offer reflections on the blogospheric experience over the last ten years, the collective musings of faith and culture, of life and love, of fun and games, of a song and dance man who is keeping his day job.

That would be me. Stay tuned ...

UPDATE: Effective today, we are also introducing labels for every post, to facilitate searching by subject matter. You may also notice some tweaking of the page features now and then. Remain calm.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Willie Nelson “On The Road Again”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

As this is written, yours truly is driving across Ohio, on his way back to his self-imposed exile in what is politely referred to as "the Nation's capital." To wit, we're showing a performance of Willie Nelson and over a dozen close and personal friends, in what appears to be various stages of inebriation, singing his favorite encore number, at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, part of the 2008 “Outlaws and Angels” tour.

Saddle up!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Plug This: Unequally Yoked

One could rightly say that the angels and saints have cause for rejoicing, as another adamant atheist is preparing for her new journey of Faith.

Unequally Yoked

Starting [today], this blog is moving to the the Patheos Catholic channel (the url and RSS will remain unchanged). Meanwhile, I’m in RCIA classes at a DC parish, so you can look forward to more Parsing Catholicism tags (and after the discussion of universalism we had last week, I think it will be prudent to add a “Possibly Heretical” category).

We can only hope that Leah Libresco will not pretend to be an overnight expert on the subject of Catholicism, like so many other recent converts in the Catholic blogosphere (or must we explain the downside yet again?). We understand that, for some of you, such a cautious attitude runs the risk of cutting into Catholic book sales and cable television appearances. Perhaps we can all exercise the proper restraint, and wish her well with our prayers. Thankfully, and if only for her own sake, she does not pretend to have all the answers.

At least she knows Who does. Stay tuned ...

Monday, June 18, 2012

“I read the news today, oh boy ...”
(On-The-Road Edition)

To paraphrase an old folk song, we're still five hundred miles away from our home away from home. So if you missed the train we're on, it doesn't matter, because we're still here.

So, here's what's happening elsewhere on planet Earth.

The town of Middleborough, Massachusetts, has had all it can take. They've passed a law imposing a $20.00 fine for using profane language in public. Doggone it, that oughta show 'em! (AP)

Wanna see a REAL classic film? The world's oldest moving picture shows have been discovered in French caves dating back thirty thousand years. Who wants popcorn? (The Sideshow)

In Arizona, they've discovered a way to deal with dust storms that make for hazardous driving, by using poetry. You read it here first, people: #haboobhaiku is trending! (Reuters)

Remember David, the 7-year-old whose loopy backseat interview with his dad on the ride home from the dentist captivated the nation? Well, we don't, but apparently he has a brother. (The Sideshow)

A great American tradition, the Soapbox Derby, has come to Estonia. It's all downhill from here. (Reuters)

Finally, and in the other direction, in 2008, Kent Couch flew in a lawn chair hoisted by party balloons from Oregon to Idaho. He's going to try it again, this time with an equally gullible friend of his riding shotgun. (AP)

Well, that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, and until we get wherever we're going, wherever that is, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


You are a man who grew up Catholic, served Mass as a boy, and are now pushing sixty, if not older. You are walking down the street, and you recognize a fellow with whom you served those many years ago. He greets you with ...

“Introibo ad altare Dei.” (“I will go unto the altar of God.”)

... to which you immediately respond:

“Ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam.” (“To God, who giveth joy unto my youth.”)

And with that, a special bond is affirmed, as if with a mutual password or secret handshake. It is the silent fraternity of Catholic boyhood now virtually gone, in the face of liturgical renewal, and (as much as some hate to admit it, and whatever the motivation) the inclusion of women and girls in the ranks. At the parish of Saint John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia, the noble tradition of an all-male server corps (upheld in the 1994 decree from the Holy See permitting female acolytes) is maintained. They are "knighted" into their own confraternity, under the patronage of Saint Tarcisius. Whether they might be classified as nerds, jocks, geeks, bookworms, or anywhere in between, when they enter the sacristy, they are brothers, and they act accordingly. Their sense of teamwork is most apparent during the Paschal Triduum, but it also manifests itself throughout the year.

It is this sense of fraternity that binds them, as it does to all men of all ages, who attend to the priest in offering sacrifice. It extends beyond generations, and beyond the city limits.

When I return to Cincinnati, I present myself to serve at any one of two parishes in the city. I am (usually) never turned away. At the old Italian parish of Sacred Heart in Fort Washington, I assist with the 11:30 Mass, which is my usual temporary haunt on Sunday morning. But occasionally I join the Oratorians and others at the renowned German parish of Old Saint Mary's in Cincinnati's "Over The Rhine" district. This time round, I was invited to serve this past Friday, for a Solemn Mass of the Sacred Heart. I wish I had taken a photo of the exquisite and lavishly appointed gold vestments. But instead, I got this photo seen below, of a burse I found in the sacristy. The word rhymes with "purse," which is what it is, for keeping the white cloth known as the corporal, which in turn is placed at the center of the altar, and upon which the Sacred Host is laid, as would a body prepared on its burial shroud.

The schola and choir includes students from the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, one of the most prestigious schools of its kind in the Midwest. Among the works they performed was one of my favorites, Palestrina's "Sicut Cervus."

This morning found me serving for the High Mass at Sacred Heart, currently run by the Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo (aka Scalabrinian Missionaries). Once a German parish, it became Italian by mid-century, when a pre-existing parish of the same name further downtown was razed to make room for Procter and Gamble's expansion. For the afternoon, I participated in Solemn Vespers, again at Old Saint Mary's. I had never served traditional vespers before, and so this was my first time. At least now I know how it's done right.

"St Marienkirche" is also the seat of a "community-in-formation" of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. It consists of laymen as regular brothers, served by priests of the community who serve as chaplains. There was common prayer after vespers, followed by recreation and a light refreshment. Eventually, the Cincinnati Oratorians will have their own "pious house" for residency in the heart of the old neighborhood, and will gain full canonical status.

Between the above, and a text message greeting from Sal, as well as a phone message from Paul, such was how yours truly spent Father's Day. The gift that was given to me, was a reminder of fraternity. May it last through the years.

Dad Revisited

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

This being Father's Day today, the reader's attention is drawn to last year's tribute to this writer's father, Paul Andrew Alexander, who passed away on the 20th of February last.

Dad has been blessed with a long life. He will turn eighty-six come this September, which is better than average even for a much healthier man. In the summer of 2012, he and Mom will have been married for sixty years ...

And so it goes.

Ode to Canoeing

As a boy, I learned canoeing from the best. Ross Terrell lived around the corner, and taught me everything I know. His son Jim eventually made it on the Olympic team, competing in the C-2 (two-man canoe) 500 meter flatwater event. Last I heard, he was an Olympic trainer working in South America. I didn't keep up with it much, but my brother did. This morning he had a 15-foot fiberglass model strapped to his car, and was heading out. He has five other canoes in the shed, plus three kayaks. They're like guitars; one is never enough. You need one for flatwater, one for whitewater, one for racing, and so on, and so on ...

When I was in high school, I was still a Scout with Troop 120. I wanted to start an Explorer post* which specialized in canoeing and kayaking. I had at least two guys and two gals on board, and probably could have gotten my brother. Ross was to be our Advisor. But alas, and for reasons I cannot remember, the resurrection of Post 120 fell through. I stayed in the Troop, got my Eagle, and became a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. By senior year, I had a job, and moved on.

The last time I did any kayaking, it was the summer of 2003 in Seattle. I hadn't done it in twenty years. The trick is to steer by the seat of your pants, literally. Always had a problem with that. But that day, it was like riding a bike. Of course, Paul just had to try it himself, which he had never done before, ever. It was like riding a bike for him too. Oh well ...

I have two inflatable kayaks in storage; a one-man and a two-man. Never used them, not yet. Eventually I'll decide between one and the other. Or I'll clean out half the storage room to make way for a non-inflatable kayak, one of those short stubby variety that are popular these days. Maybe someday, I'll take on the class VI rapids on the Potomac at Great Falls. If you click on the image at right, rest assured that it is every bit as dangerous as it looks.

Obviously I'll have to get up the practice. Not to mention the nerve.

* The predecessor of Venturing crews until 1998, by which time Exploring was totally career-specialty oriented. Venturing is devoted to high school and college-aged youth, both male and female.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ode to Volleyball

I do not play volleyball, but nearly everyone in my extended family does. My brother was briefly a high school coach, and has organized regional league tournaments. His sisters-in-law played for the USA National team, and at least one was (probably) an Olympic contender. Their sons, as well my sister's boys, all play in leagues. None are professional, but if it ever got to that level, the sight of at least one of them taking it on would not surprise me.

Mind you, this is not the sissy game you played when you were a kid, but an aggressive form of the sport. I'd show you a video, but the camera's batteries ran out as I was taking stills. (What, me playing? Are you nuts?)

Mom finds it all quite entertaining, which appears to matter most to "Grandma's boys."

“May the Lord bless you out of Sion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you see your children's children, and peace upon Israel.” (from Psalm 127/128)

Friday, June 15, 2012

FAMW: Zooey Meets Siri

Right now, Sal and I are planning on getting new cellphones. She's already decided on an iPhone, but I'm still divided between that and a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx. I've gotten rather attached to the Android operating system, and some of my nephews swear by it. But among the advantages of the iOS (the iPhone's operating system) is that it can appear to carry on a coherent conversation with you.

Anyway, we've got a longer story about that sort of technology, but for now, let's see how Team Coco remixed a conversation between Zooey Deschanel and her personal Siri, ordering tomato soup to be delivered. When you get to this level of notoriety, you don't have to condescend to opening your own can of soup, but you can rate an appearance on this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

In Corde Jesu

Today, Catholics of the Western tradition celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Outside of devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is none more popular or more identified with the traditional piety of Catholic life, than this feast, occurring on Friday of the week following the Feast of Corpus Christi. It was on that earlier feast when a Novena to the Sacred Heart would begin, culminating in the Mass and Office of today.

“Christ’s open side and the mystery of blood and water were meditated upon, and the Church was beheld issuing from the side of Jesus, as Eve came forth from the side of Adam. It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that we find the first unmistakable indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Through the wound in the side, the wound Heart was gradually reached, and the wound in the Heart symbolized the wound of love.” (1917 Catholic Encyclopedia)

There were various monastic communities who took up the devotion, but the real tip of the biretta has always gone to St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-90), a Visitation nun who had a vision. While praying before the Blessed Sacrament, she saw Our Lord with his heart beating openly, and the sight of it all sent her into a spell of ecstasy. “He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart.” To say the least.

But perhaps the finest explanation of this vision can be found in an episode of The X-Files, a detective series that ran on The Fox Network for nine years, and to this day has a formidable cult following. It is from the series' sixth season, and is entitled "Milagro" (6X18). It originally aired on April 18, 1999. It seems there were people being murdered by their hearts being removed by hand. FBI Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) visited this Catholic church, and coming across the image of the Sacred Heart, she runs into this creepy guy who explains the story behind the image to her. A piece of the dialogue, from the mysterious writer named Philip Padgett (John Hawkes), describes a vision:

I often come here to look at this painting. It’s called “My Divine Heart” after the miracle of Saint Margaret Mary. Do you know the story ... The revelation of the Sacred Heart? Christ came to Margaret Mary, his heart so inflamed with love that it was no longer able to contain its burning flames of charity. Margaret Mary ... so filled with divine love herself, asked the Lord to take her heart ... and so he did, placing it alongside his until it burned with the flames of his passion. Then he restored it to Margaret Mary, sealing her wound with the touch of his blessed hand.

His account portrays an almost sensuous quality to the Saint's reaction to this vision, in a way I have read or heard no where else. And just when we thought the influence of Christendom had faded from the popular culture. Hope breeds eternal ...

A common practice in many Catholic homes until the mid-20th century (including mine), was the "Enthronement of the Sacred Heart," in which the family placed the appropriate image of Christ on the wall, and together recited the necessary prayers, pledging the consecration of the family and the home to Him, in return for special graces. Fisheaters has a good explanation of the whole she-bang, just in case it makes a comeback.

It could happen.

[The above was published for the same occasion in previous years, as some things need never be improved upon.]

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paying Respects

I made a two-day trip out of it, stopping at the usual half-way point of Washington, Pennsylvania, a city just 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. Interstates 70 and 71 in Ohio had a few surprises in the form of road work, but yours truly made it from Washington PA to Cin City in less than five hours.

One of the things you learn, is the ugly truth behind "free wi-fi" at hotels. They'll all but admit you get what you pay for. I couldn't very well do any serious production work, nor upload videos onto a server for review, with the wireless connection in most hotels. The place where I stayed even recommended one part of the building over another for a quality signal. I don't see this changing within the lodging industry much until mid-decade, by which time enough people traveling strictly on business complain that a presentation or a time-critical submission was squelched by a lost or weak signal.

When I arrived, one of my first stops was to see Dad at his current location, namely Gate of Heaven Cemetery, for my first visit since the marker was laid. It was not hard to find in relation to the entrance, and faces the rising sun from a gentle slope of the hill. With no one around to point at me or anything, I stood watch over the grave and sang all but the second of the verses to “Abide With Me” by Henry Francis Lyte.

For what it's worth, my parents were married sixty years ago today. Mom was already taken to the gravesite, her first visit since the marker was laid as well. For the next few days, I'm at my brother's place in Montgomery, a suburban enclave to the northeast of the city. It's time to kick off my feet and raid the liquor cabinet before I enjoy the synicated reruns on high-end cable.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Dee Snider “Mack the Knife”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

We've all seen the Stanley Steemer commercial featuring the artist behind We're Not Gonna Take It. It seems that Dee Snider is not finished surprising us, with this rendition of a song first heard in German for the 1928 musical The Threepenny Opera, and remixed with all that jazz in English by Louis Armstrong in 1956, and Bobby Darin in 1958.

You remember that one: “Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne, Und die trägt er im Gesicht ...”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Next Eight Days

IMAGE: The author's parents at Pike's Peak, Colorado, in August of 1961. She was (literally) 29 years old, with him going on 36.

Tonight I'm packing for a trip to (as usual) Ohio. I leave tomorrow morning, on a Wednesday. I return the following Wednesday, unless somebody pisses me off and I decide to return a day earlier.

On the 14th of this month, this coming Thursday, Mom and Dad would have been married for sixty years. On the 20th of February, God had other plans for Dad. (I couldn't find any digitized wedding pictures of both of them, so I had to make do.) Undaunted, the coming of Father's Day the following Sunday gave me an idea, and the siblings agreed. So we thought a little soiree around this time might be in order, and I can open a very special vintage of champagne that I have been saving for just this occasion -- vintage 2000, a good year. It was the last one in which the apocalypse didn't happen.

And speaking of anniversaries, our correspondent Justine, also of Ohio, brought to our kind attention, an event just twenty-five years ago today, the speech that may have tipped the balance to break down the Iron Curtain in Europe, and end the Cold War. Right place, right time, right man for the job.

It doesn't get any better than this. HOO-rah!

“Araw ng Kalayaan” featuring Mikey Bustos

Today is celebrated as the day of independence in the Republic of the Philippines, the day when Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed her sovereignty from Spain, as the latter was defeated by the United States in the Spanish-American War. At one time, their independence was dated to July 4, 1946, when the United States graciously decided to acknowledge, through the Treaty of Manila, what their territorial possession had already decided for themselves nearly fifty years earlier, sort of like what the United States did with Great Britain in 1776. (We didn't wait for the Treaty of Paris in 1783, did we, guys?)

Eventually, in May of 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal formally acknowledged the original 1898 declaration, and changed the date of celebration to the one they enjoy today. The fourth of July became "Philippine National Day," and the celebration of "Flag Day," previously on June 12, was moved to May 28.

Talk about playing "musical holidays!"

We obtained the above photo from our Very Close And Personal Friend Mikey Bustos. The initials "KKK" seen in the image has a different meaning in the United States than in the Philippines, where it stood for Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng̃ mg̃á Anak ng̃ Bayan, also known simply (and in one breath) as the Katipunan, the militant revolutionaries who began the fight for independence.

And speaking of our Pinoy Boy, we haven't seen him here in quite some time, but he makes his triumphant return today, with yet another tutorial on yet another unique Filipino delicacy: “Ang sarap on top, baby chick.”


So, to all our friends in the Land of Three Thousand Plus Islands, a happy and hearty Mabuhay!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ray Bradbury Revisited

In our tribute to the great science-fantasy writer, we mentioned his predictions about the future, not only in technology, but in its impact on the human condition. Our correspondent in Quezon City, Philippines, has brought our attention to a chart that explains everything. Click on the image to get the full-size treatment.

Pretty scary, huh?

(H/T to Carlos Antonio Palad.)

“I read the news today, oh boy ...”
(Getting-The-Hell-Outa-Dodge Edition)

Come this Wednesday, yours truly will be hitting the road to Ohio for the umpteenth time. But before we start packing as early as tonight, let's see what's happening elsewhere on Planet Earth:

Here's a good fish story. A man in Florida lost his prosthetic leg while swimming off the coast over Memorial Day weekend. Another man caught it while fishing this past week in the Gulf of Mexico. (WKYT-TV)

The crisis in Greece is escalating, as a fight broke out on a morning talk show, when the spokesman of the extreme-right party threw water at a woman from the left-wing party. Then it got weird. (The Sideshow)

If you live in Idaho, now is a good time to stock up on a brand of vodka known as Five Wives, before the Mormons supposedly take offense at the reference to polygamy and pressure the state liquor board to bar its sale -- again. (Reuters)

The identity of a UFO sighted over Israel and Lebanon has been confirmed, as the testing of a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile, The Russian Defense Ministry also confirmed the missile test. Just what we need, right? (Ynet News)

And finally, hell's broke loose in Georgia, as police in Athens report the theft of nearly 400,000 toothpicks from a local manufacturer. The good news is, you can still find toothpicks made in the USA (Athens Banner-Herald)

Well, that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

O Sacrum Convivium

... is a Latin hymn composed by Thomas Aquinas as an antiphon for the Feast of Corpus Christi, to express the great mystery of the Eucharist:

O sacrum convivium!
    O sacred banquet!
in quo Christus sumitur:
    in which Christ is received,
recolitur memoria passionis eius:
    the memory of his Passion is renewed,
mens impletur gratia:
    the mind is filled with grace,
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.
    and a pledge of future glory to us is given.

In the traditional form of the Roman Mass, this feast, which occurs on the previous Thursday (the weekday traditionally devoted to the Eucharist), may be celebrated as an "external solemnity" on the following Sunday. This indulgence was granted in the early 20th century to the Dioceses of the United States by the Holy See. In the reformed liturgy, many countries have this feast on a Sunday, and so this is the day that many Eucharistic processions occur, whether around the property of the parish church, or through the streets of town.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Geekness in Seattle

I haven't mentioned my son in awhile, have I? Well, now there's a reason.

Paul David Alexander is finishing his junior year with the undergraduate program for Interactive Design and Game Development, at the über-prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia. Shown here in action with his faithful sidekick, Lola the Wonder Dog, Paul has just announced his internship assignment for the summer with an equally über-prestigious design firm. (Okay, okay, I'm totally kvelling over this, alright? So sue me already.)

Camouflaj is a Seattle-based independent studio founded by Ryan Payton, formerly of 343 Industries, where he was creative director for Halo 4, and on the development team for Metal Gear Solid 4. Last September, Payton announced he was leaving the company to start his own firm. Their first major product release, République, unveiled this past spring, was designed specifically for mobile devices, more specifically the iOS platform. (It has since been adapted to both Windows and MacOS.) In this video dated May 10, Payton describes the inspiration for striking on his own, and the overall mission of his latest enterprise. We are also shown scenes from République, as a character named Hope enlists the viewer's aid in escaping her confinement.

Paul is scheduled to begin his internship at the end of this month. You go, boy!

FAMW: We Are All Cheeseheads!

Here in our corner of the blogosphere, we did give some thought to joining the National Day of Blogger Silence, to protest the supposed harassment of conservative bloggers by certain overly-zealous functionaries within the Federal government. As a Federal employee who has yet to be "caught" -- and who the hell reads this blog anyway, right? -- yours truly considered it more appropriate to proceed with business as usual. And so ...

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Today, we celebrate the great state of Wisconsin, "The Badger State." And speaking of badgering, all that out-of-state union money was spent for naught, as the people of this state had the unmitigated gall to decide for themselves, that Governor Walker was worth keeping in office to complete his term, in a recall vote where he won by a slightly wider margin than when first elected. It was the first time in American history that a sitting governor has survived a recall election -- there have been three altogether -- and for a Republican governor, in a state that traditionally leans Democratic.

The mainstream media, of course, made complete fools of themselves, as even Jon Stewart castigated MSNBC for their obviously skewed coverage of the event. “Yep, just like Obama drew it up on the chalk board. ‘Hey, guys, I got an idea. What if we could figure out a way to have the core of what we believe soundly rejected by voters in a swing state just five months before the national election? It might just be the boost we need.’”

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“Jump Around” is the first and most memorable hit, by the Irish-American hip-hop trio (huh???) known as House of Pain. It reached number three on the USA charts in 1992. A re-release the following year reached number eight in the UK. VH1's “100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop” clocked it in at number 66. We are not in a position to display the lyrics here. You can barely make them out in the recording. It's just as well, as the song appears to have taken on a life of its own beyond the lyrics.

The University of Wisconsin blasts this one over the speakers at every home football game at the end of the third quarter. Those cheeseheads know how to have a good time, yessiree Bob! Do you think they care one way or the other what the words say? Or course not. That's because the important message here is not the personal struggle of an angry young man from the suburbs who romanticizes living in urban poverty, while making more money than he knows what to do with. What matters here, is that there are times when everyone needs to "jump up, jump up and get down," know what I mean?

But wait, this gets better!

Such a phenomenon would not be complete without the Bollywood remix. Recent years have seen a number of movies come out of India's cinematic mecca, for the benefit of general audiences in America. Maybe it's because we all went ga-ga over Slumdog Millionaire, but it's more likely because Americans will buy anything if the price is right. And so, this third piece culminates our latest offering for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

After viewing all three clips, you probably won't be able to get this song out of your head for several hours.

I love it when a plan comes together.