Monthly Archives: March 2010
Especially for geeks like me. And since my NCAA brackets are complete crap this year I’ll be watching this set of brackets instead. Some of the first round matchup are brutal. Huxley or Orwell? Rand or Tolkien? Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? I’m getting nerdy tingles as I type! I’m bummed that my personal favorite Great Expectations didn’t get selected, but oh well. Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood made it in. Play begins on March 25!
From the Mere Comments blog:
If you want to make sure that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings survives a first-round matchup with Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, be sure to head over to First Thoughts and weigh in on “The Tournament of Novels,” put together by Joe Carter.
In addition to the Bracket 8 matchup of Tolkien and Rand, other contests to watch are between Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Card’s Ender’s Game (Bracket 6), Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 (Bracket 9), and Ellison’s Invisible Man and Wright’s Native Son (Bracket 22).
Let this one truly sink in for a moment. What has occurred in the Church is terrible, embarrassing and shocking to every Catholic, and is being addressed. Screaming headlines from the press were nothing compared to the diligence pursued internally by Catholics in demanding that their bishops take steps in cleaning house. Are the other perpetrators of these crimes against children being ostracized or identified with as much vigor? In a word…no. Edmund Burke’s words, said in 1790 (see article linked below), are true today. So to my friends, relatives or acquaintances who spout off with your flippant jokes and crude comments about priests and altar boys, spare me your hateful ignorance. Until you are intellectually honest enough to admit the problems OUTSIDE the Church and not just inside an institution you not only don’t understand but one that you despise, we have nothing to talk about.
“…there are an estimated 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse in the U.S. Between 40 and 60 percent of these were abused by a family member, five percent were molested by school teachers, and fewer than two percent were abused by Catholic priests.
Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and as I’ve no Irish blood in my person and usually do not get out for any of the revelry other than the occassional Bailey’s Irish Cream, I usually top off the day with a viewing of the classic film “The Quiet Man.” All I’m going to do this year is post two videos. One makes your toes tap, the other makes your face smile.
First…the toe tappin’:
And finally, some much needed laughter courtesy the Cleveland Irish Players. Embedding is disabled, so you’ll have to click on this link.
Today was one of those days where every bit of news I read seemed to be bad and sad. I read of the slaughter of hundreds of Christians in the Nigerian village of Jos by Muslim fanatics, who macheted and shot and burned people fleeing in the night, many of them aged 0 to teenagers. Of predictions that this will be an even bloodier century than the last was by way of martyrs whose only “crime” is being a follower of Christ. And then I read of Father Rick Machette.
I would offer excerpts of this article, or pull portions of it out in order to entice you to read it, but honestly it’s so overwhelming I don’t even know where to begin. This long and in depth article “Love Among The Ruins” about Fr. Machette and his life in Haiti, both before and after the earthquake that has devastated that land, is not for the faint of heart. It is horrible to read in places and if you click the link to view the photos even moreso. But if you look hard you will also find grace. It’s there, as it always is, amongst the cracks quietly shining it’s light in the darkness. As Fr. Rick writes, he strives to “repair the damage done…to make grace present, concretely, in our world.” He calls it the “countersign” to all the evil that seems to engulf this poorest of countries.
You have to look hard, and be willing to look past the evil and conditions so unspeakably foul that they are incomprehensible to us in America. But if you are willing to step outside yourself and do things you had thought yourself incapable of doing, you, too, will find grace in the cracks. It’s there. Don’t look away.
Fr. Rick had also just written a book Haiti: The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men that is available at Amazon.com.
This morning I read a quote by Viktor Frankl that was never more true for me than today.
“The last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Fr. Machette, and many like him, live that every day. So can I.
A huge part of who I am comes from the music I’ve listened to in this life. If I were to put together a soundtrack of my days on this earth there would be a heavy dose of The BoDeans included. From the time I first heard Sammy and Kurt play and sing they have been a staple on my record player, cassette deck, CD player, and finally my iPod. Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams debuted in 1986 and they have never looked back. Their new album, Mr. Sad Clown, hits stores on April 6. I’m posting an interview from Backstage Pass in which they both talk of their beginnings and of where they are in their careers. They’re both older now. More gray and heavier than they were. But so am I. And as I discussed recently with a close friend that is as it should be. We’ve earned those scars…those lines on the forehead and gray at the temples. It means we’ve lived.
My brush with greatness came one evening in Milwaukee during the autumn of 1990. Having had my heart broken by a girl I packed up my ’78 Chevy Malibu and drove 11 hours straight through to Milwaukee to stay with the friends I’d lived with during my freshman summer in college back in 1987. One night after supper we were sitting in the living room being introduced to scotch whiskey by my buddy’s father (I hated it then…I love it now) I happened to catch the following advertisement in the classifieds under “Live Shows.”
“He & He. Performing at the (name since forgotten). Show starts at 8.”
I happened to know that He & He was the name The BoDeans wrote and produced under. I’d seen it listed on every album. “We’re going,” I informed Robb. “We have to go.” He agreed, and we saw the two of them perform a rocking acoustic set for over three hours in a little crowded corner bar. Everyone knew the words. We all sang along. We put arms around total strangers and sang and swayed and cried during “True Devotion”, “Far, Far Away From My Heart” and others. Best damned time I’ve ever had.
What I’m finding I enjoy the most about their still being around and writing new material is that they not only wrote a large portion of my younger “wilder” days in music form, but they continue to age with me and now write not just of love and girls and youth, but also themes of decisions we made, of maturity, and of loneliness. I still dance to “Only Love”, and airdrum to “You Don’t Get Much” and “Naked” remains an all-time top ten favorite. I still listen to all their albums, especially Home and Live at The Pabst. I will definitely be adding “Mr. Sad Clown” to my collection. My soundtrack is still being written. Thank you boys.