Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Football Condolences

Saw the end of the Raiders-Chargers game. Ouch. My sympathies, Michelle!

Saturday, February 08, 2003

This Blog Is Officially Inactive

Try this one instead.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

On Labels and Catholics

Much discussion the past week or two about labelling Catholics. I've tried to classify myself -- "conservative with traditionalist leanings" is about as close as I can get to describing my positions, and still it isn't accurate enough.

I want to be merely Catholic.

I want to be faithful to the entire Deposit of Faith handed down from Our Lord through the ages.

I want to be faithful to my Pope, my Ordinary, my priests, and my brothers and sisters in the Faith.

I want the Liturgy to accurately reflect that Faith, to be Heaven come down to Earth and not be used as a political tool by one group or another, or as an ever-changing vaudeville show. I want it to be celebrated by the book, reverently and rubrically.

I want to practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy without ideological jargon attached to them.

I want priests and religious to be living signs of their calling, both in their conduct and in their garb.

I want to be simply Catholic.

Prayer Request

Please remember Kitty Klein and her family in your prayers. Two of her nephews were killed in a car accident this morning.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003


A long time ago, I prayed that I could be just like G. K. Chesterton. So now I've got a bit of girth and a terminal case of absentmindedness. Today I bought a copy of Orwell's essays at a used bookstore -- and left it there.

Reading List

Just finished the Silmarillion. I'll never think of elves the same way again.

Also just went through a Tolkien anthology. Farmer Giles of Ham is a fun story. And Leaf by Niggle -- wow! I wonder if that story influenced the writings of fellow Inkling C. S. Lewis -- I see some parallels with The Great Divorce.

Speaking of Lewis -- I think it's time I reread some of his work.

Monday, February 03, 2003

I Think I'll Go Into Denial About This One...

Gee whiz, tell Mommy to stop babying you so much
and get out of the house once in a while. You
are the typical nerd. Congradulations, the
other kids walk all over you and make fun of
you, but you'll show them someday when you
develop the latest line of anti-depressants
that they will need when they are 35.

What kind of typical high school character from a movie are you?
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Also Accurate.....

You are Bavarian
You are a Bavarian.

What's your Inner European?
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Accurate, I Guess...


Where do you fall on the liberal - conservative political spectrum? (United States)
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How Did They Know?!?

eating people

what's YOUR deepest secret?
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Considering That I Work for IBM.....

...this is positively spooky.

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border="0" alt="Which OS are You?">
Which OS are You?

Thanks to Gordon Zaft!

The Last Two Weeks

The weekend before last, I ballet parked all three shows at CSz. Ever try to pirouette in several layers of clothing? I didn't think so...

Did it again this weekend. Saturday morning's disaster didn't affect CSz's business. Worked till 11:30 pm that night. The weather was positively tropical compared to the previous.

Went to the indult Mass. Very nice Candlemas procession.

On Blogging Frequency

Several stalwarts have stopped blogging the past few days, citing time constraints. Others are cutting back on blogtime, or considering the possibility.

As for myself, I gave up on daily blogging quite some time ago. I work two jobs now, and one of them involves staring at a screen all day. After work, I don't feel like being on a computer for long. And even when I do go on the computer, I want to check my email or play a computer game. Blogging is forgotten in those instances.

So why am I keeping this site in operation? Sometimes I'm not so sure if I should continue. I spend more time reading other blogs and leaving comments on them when there is something worthy of discussion, or I don't have anything to say at all. Or when I do, someone has said it much better than I ever could.

OTOH...sometimes I do want to say something. Sometimes I want to share my day, the things I love to do, my opinions (and I've got a lot of those!), or do something off-the-wall. I've met one blogger face-to-face, and hope to meet a few more. So I'll keep on blogging...

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Today's Tragedy

I found out about Columbia at breakfast this morning. An Israeli astronaut was aboard. I have a sickening feeling that there will be demonstrations celebrating his death...........I hope I'm wrong.

Update 2/3: I was right. The Jerusalem Post reports that some are rejoicing over this loss.....

Wednesday, January 29, 2003


Seems my blog template is messed up...

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Busy, busy, busy...

Ballet parked Thursday and Friday nights. Will be doing it again tonight. Lovely weather for it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Tomorrow's Infamy

I won't be home till late tomorrow, so I'll comment on it now.

Thirty years ago came the horror of the Roe vs. Wade decision, in which six men used judicial fiat to wipe out legal protection of the unborn. God have mercy on us for what has happened since then......

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Haven't Felt Like Blogging......

Been otherwise busy, or haven't felt like staring at a screen any longer than necessary....been working on the post below for days.

On Work

Jeff Culbreath, who who will be busy training for a new line of work, wrote a wonderful essay about the nature of work, and how the contemporary consumerist society thinks in terms of "usefulness" (that is, utilitarianism), profit (abused into Mammon), and "efficiency" (slavedriving); instead of sanctification or the common good.

I work two jobs -- one to pay for food, shelter, and clothing; the other for a little extra money and a lot of fun.

My primary job is data processing for a major computer corporation. I am not an actual employee, being contracted out from another major company, a major temporary agency. I've been a "temp" for over eight years now, longer than many people spend at a "regular" job. In some ways, it's not a bad deal for me. Since I'm a bachelor with no dependents, and I'm not concerned about "career advancement" and other artificial concepts, the wage is more than adequate. I've also made some lifelong friends there, and I've been able to use my research abilities and writing skills.

But there are quite a few frustrating things at this job. We have a manager who must constantly tinker with things to justify his existence (he'd make a great liturgist, alas). He's concerned about productivity which is very important, but it seems to trump all; and other important things such as accuracy and thoroughness have suffered. And productivity is measured by standards which, if they conflict with reality (time-consuming projects, discrepencies, etc.), must be believed over reality.

And then there are the rules. Many of them make sense, of course. Others are very nitpicky, and seemingly arbitrary and unnecessary. For example, I was talked to because I clocked in at 7:27. Before this, one could clock in as early as 7:23 and it was OK. No-one knew they were breaking any rules until it was brought up.

My secondary job is at ComedySportz. I work just a few hours a week for low pay doing menial tasks, like stocking the bar, fetching ice, taking out garbage, setting up the theatre, leading people to their seats, and putting on a tutu and leading cars to their parking spaces with a comical quasi-ballet. Yet this job has come to mean a lot to me.

First of all, Dick Chudnow is a joy to work for. He may be the Founder and Grand Poobah, but he's very hands-on, and still shares in routine tasks like hosting and manning the ticket office,as well as taking his turn at playing and refereeing shows.

Coming up a close second is the joy of making people laugh. When I ballet park, I'm the first person a showgoer sees. I welcome them to CSz, tell them where they're going to park, and lead them there in a most ridiculous fashion. It's great to see them cracking up in their cars as I pirouette and plie all over the place.

Next is the menial and basic nature of the work. It can be hard work -- standing out in a parking lot in single-digit weather, ballet parking several cars at once, taking out large, smelly bags of garbage and bottles, hauling heavy buckets of ice. But I find myself liking it and looking forward to it. If I could make a living at it, I think I would.

After that is the chance to watch shows for free. When I clock out, the show is still going on. I can sneak in and watch some of the finest improv in the world, and learn from it.

Last of all are the money and the perks. The supplemental income has helped, the half-fee for workshop is a great benefit, and 50% off food is a good thing. But what I started out doing for the money has turned into a fulfilling job in all ways. .....

Joined a Parish

I haven't been that active at St. Anthony's in quite some time, since I stopped teaching Religious Education there. In fact, I seldom went to Mass there anymore, going instead to parishes within my neighborhood. And every time I endured the OCP Latest Hit, every time I had to sit through some extraneous presentation of some sort, every time I endured some sort of liturgical abuse or other things which interfered with prayer, I thought, "I gotta register somewhere, or get back to St. Anthony's."

Then, after picking up my second job, I attended the Saturday anticipation Mass at Old St. Mary's downtown, usually after working the matinee. Several things attracted me:

1) The church, built in the late 1840's, is a gem. It's very small, holding only about 350 people at most, with lovely art and woodwork.

2) The liturgy is "merely Catholic" in approach. No gimmickry of any sort.

3) It's handy to the buses -- one block away from the stop.

4) The music, while not as excellent as St. Anthony's, is OK.

So I'll be attending the Saturday 4:30 or Sunday 9 am there, and probably attend the Indult Mass at least once a month and throughout Lent and Passiontide. Also, I should pay a visit to St. George's -- it's been a long time since I've been there.

More Quizzes

This Explains a Lot...

According to the Alien Abduction Test There is a 76% chance that I've been abducted by Aliens!

Saturday, January 11, 2003


Just had a busy housecleaning morning, so I'm in the mood for something mindless......


You're wind! You are a very kind and sympathetic person. Whoever DOESN'T like you has a mental disorder, because you are a loving and caring gentle soul.

What element are you?

This fits....

Tolkienology 101: What is Your Tolkien Belief System?

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I think I've taken this one already.....

I'm completely down-to-earth!

Find your soul type


What Orlando Bloom are You?

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How Emotional Are You?

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What's YOUR Writing Style?

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Thursday, January 09, 2003

Some Things Are Just Beyond Words.....

Well, maybe not......evil would be one fit word, abomination another. And others which I'll leave unpublished.....

Thanks to Donna Marie Lewis for pointing out the article on her blog.

Last Night's Improv Workshop

My Wedensday evenings are finally complete again, as workshops started again. Big group this time -- 18 people. But we all got some stage time.

My favorite part was our practice of Pile-On Replay. Three of the best women in our class played a "neutral" scene set in a Taco Bell -- a funny enough sketch by itself (clerk takes customer's order, clerk gives unemployed person her job and leaves, customer gets sauce all over her shirt and wants more). They were then endowed with an emotion -- anger, in this case. The scene got funnier. Then as angry Italians , and their fellow workshoppers had to keep from falling off their chairs. Lastly, the scene was replayed with the ladies as angry Italians in a kabuki. ROTFLMAO.

I went out afterwards, and didn't get home till late. So much fun................

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Been Busy on the Other Blog....

.....trying to fix up stuff on it. Any idea on why I keep "shouting" (published in big bold letters), and how I can remedy the situation? Thanks.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

The Glory Has Departed......

Old news now, but the Packers lost a playoff game at Lambeau field, in freezing weather. It wasn't even close. Nothing will be the same there again.........


"Get out of my way!"

"What about my needs?"

How many times have you heard these things nowadays? Radical autonomy, it's called. The Self is so important that no one -- not parents, not other authority figures, not even God -- can tell them what they can or cannot do, even if their behavior is harmful to themselves or others.

I had a run-in with someone like that today. I got off the bus at the corner (went downtown for Mass and breakfast), and saw someone pumping gas with his motor running. After letting the clerk know, I yelled at him to shut his engine. The clerk repeated the instructions. The man then came storming in, saying "First of all, you're more likely to do that with a cigarette. Second, nobody tells me what to do! "

I replied, "Nobody tells you not to blow up half the neighborhood? If a cop was here, he'd have ticketed you!"

"Well, let him! I have a broken starter, and if I shut off the engine, it won't start again." (I asked my engineer roomie about this, and he said while that was probably true, the man still was acting foolishly.)

"That's still endangering people."

"Listen, I make the choice. That's why you ride the bus and I drive a truck. I choose, and no one tells me what to do."

"Like breaking the law?"

"No One Tells Me What To Do. Is that clear?"

I glared at him, and turned away. No use continuing an argument like that. I had noted his license plate, in case he tried anything even more stupid, and thought about calling the police on him. But what would have been the point of that?

It was bad enough that he was pumping gas into a running vehicle. But what made it worse was that he didn't care about the consequences, because it was his choice, and anyone else be damned, no matter what risk he posed. I do wonder whar would have happened if a police officer had come along. Would he have suddenly become more conciliatory? Or would he have said the same thing he said to me?

Some people......

Saturday, January 04, 2003

What I've been up to.....

Since last year.....

December 31

--Left for the Amtrak station to greet the Rev. Michael Carter, an LCMS pastor and good frind. Mike was stopping in from St. Louis (he's a jail chaplain there) to preach at his old church, then he was going to Chicago to celebrate New Year's there. Spent about half an hour with him before I had to go find a place to grab a bite to eat.

--Went to Mass at Old St. Mary's. Surprisingly, the liturgy lasted only 35 minutes. Decent music, concise preaching, no liturgical abuses --a "merely Catholic" church.

--Ballet parked both New Year's Eve shows at ComedySportz. Clocked in at 5:30, took out cardboard to the recycling bin, got into my gear, and worked the lot for two hours. Took a 30-minute break, and was out there again, this time directing people into a second lot. So there I was, walking up and down Jefferson Street in a tutu and orange vest....made $50 in tips, though.....

--Clocked out at 11 pm after helping to restock the bar. Toasted in the New Year and went home on the bus. Lots of drunk people taking advantage of the free rides. Called my mother (a night owl), collapsed onto bed, slept soundly.

January 1

Woke up around 9 am. Took laundry over to parents' house, spent day quietly. Played several cribbage games with my father. Went home. Didn't feel like blogging.

January 2

Back to the saltmines

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

New Blog.....

For those of "traditional", "conservative", or "just plain Catholic" persuasions to discuss, debate, and find common ground. Please email me if you wish to contribute.

....but I won't be working on it today!

I'm ballet parking at the ComedySportz New Year's Eve shows. Will be going to Mass beforehand, of course, since I'll be dead to the world tomorrow morning.

A Happy and Blessed New Year to all of you.

Monday, December 30, 2002

On Latin Masses, Circling the Wagons, and Local Support

An interesting post by Jeff Culbreath about whether or not it's a sin to go to the current usage of the Mass, as well as the duty of a faithful Catholic to find a good parish. Michelle of And Then?responds.

My thoughts on the matter, from years of experience. They are in no particular order, and are likely self-contradictory:

1) The most important thing is a valid and licit Mass. If you have that, you can receive grace upon grace, no matter how much dreck is piled up around it. And most importantly, you can receive Him.

2) That being said, it is near impossible for many people to be well-disposed to receiving those graces if the parish commits liturgical abuses with impunity. Best to stay away from those parishes if their liturgy becomes an occasion of sin against charity for you. I know. I avoid certain churches because their hijinks drive me to distraction.

3) That being said, it does no good to nitpick over every tiny variation on the liturgy. You will be driven to madness if you do. Besides which, some priests have been trained to do some things, or have been intimidated and coerced into them, but they are otherwise good men. One example: one particular priest I know of (ordained in the early 70's) took a rather casual approach to the way he celebrated Mass. Nothing that would render an invalid Eucharist, of course, but enough to make me shake my head at times. However, his preaching on abortion and morality was the best I ever heard. He minced no words about those matters, and backed up his words with participation in the archdiocesan Project Rachel program. He is now a team member in a consolidated parish in which liturgical abuse is probably routine, as it has been all over this archdiocese. A bad priest? Not necessarily.

4) In most places, the parish leadership won't care about what you think of their abuses. Either the Ordinary (bishop, that is) supports them, or they've intimidated the Ordinary into letting them do their own thing, or they are quite willing to defy the Ordinary if it had to come to that. Best to leave such places to their own devices.

5) On the other hand, glimmers of hope do occur, and parishes can be changed for the better. I know of one church which has been revitalized by a young, faithful pastor. Fr. Don started another daily Mass, restored weekly confession (people take advantage of it!), built a Perpetual Adoration Chapel, hired a great youth minister, teaches catechism in the school, and preaches orthodoxy in the pulpit. He may not have everything 100% perfect, but what is in this world?

6) There is no such thing as a perfect parish. No matter how good things are, someone will find a reason to complain.

7) People who come to an orthodox parish tend to be from all over the place. They're usually not missed in their old parishes.

8) Also, extremely liberal parishes tend to be magnets for people who like that sort of thing. St. Joan of Arc gets as many people from great distances as St. Agnes.

9) Oddly enough, it is often a liberal bishop who lends more support to an Indult Mass. Bishop Sullivan of Richmond, VA not only gave a church to the Tridentine Community there, but has offered Mass for them as well. Bishop Howze of Biloxi used to personally offer the Latin Mass for the community there. Bishop Hubbard in Albany established a personal parish for the Indult Community. And here in Milwaukee, Archbishop Weakland had let them worship in the Cousins Center (the Chancery complex). Go figure.....

10) Some bastions of orthodoxy are urban churches in poor neighborhoods. The suburban refugees not only provide numbers, but needed money and other resources. Also, many "outsiders" will do more than simply go to Mass and participate in a few parish activities. They get involved in the surrounding community. For example, several people who go to St. Anthony's volunteer at a nearby pregnancy-crisis center (learning Spanish to do so), help out at the local St. Vincent de Paul, and participate in the annual festivities in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

11) Sometimes, fighting it out can be worth it. My mother has stayed at her parish, even though the pastor is a liberal. She and a few others make sure he doesn't do anything outrageous. Granted, the parish is staffed by a a small group of Franciscans, which means that my mother or someone else can go to the Custos if their pastor acts up, but the situation ther allows for some sort of orthodox presence to remain there.

12) Worth Fighting Out Part II: This parish was staffed for nearly 50 years by Slovenian Franciscans, a solid group of priests. Unfortunately, their numbers grew so small that they were no longer able to take care of this growing suburban parish (see the History section for why the parish moved). The parishoners actually negotiated with the Archbishop for their choice of diocesan priests -- and won. To this day, the parish has Perpetual Adoration, solid catechesis, and a reverent liturgy (OK, the music could be better, but....).

13) Worth Fighting Out Part III: Sometimes a "mole" will come into a typical parish and start subverting things for the better. Maybe it will be a young, orthodox priest who's willing to change things outright as a pastor (like Fr. Don) or quietly do his own thing as an associate pastor. Or you'll get a youth minister or DRE who actually believes and practices the Faith, and teaches it well. Or a music director who starts playing more standard hymns, and may even slip in some chant and polyphany. You never know.....

14) OTOH, these people also have the tendency to be chewed up and spit out, once discovered. The new pastor may encounter massive resistance from the "pastoral team" he's inherited -- all of whom are signed to long-term, air-tight contracts. The new associate pastor may find his stay to be very brief. Youth Ministers and DREs will find themselves under the glaring, lidless eye of other team members, and find it better to leave. As far as what can happen to a music director who actually practices what the Vatican II documents actually say, I invite you to pick up a copy of Thomas Day's Why Catholics Can't Sing.

I don't know if I've exactly addressed Jeff and Michelle; indeed, I don't know if I've stuck to the point at all. But your thoughts and opinions are always welcome.....

Sunday, December 29, 2002

The one day I root for them.....

The Bears are losing to the Bucs. So much for a bye.........

Better than Football (especially today!)

Lord of the Rings -- the Two Towers was excellent! I especially liked the way they handled Gollum/Smeagol, and how they worked in the Aragorn/Arwen story.

That being said, I do have reservations about how books are adapted for the silver screen. I know that some extraneous things must be cut (Bombadil,. the songs, etc.), and that the timeframe needs to be compressed some, but I think that I would have kept Theoden and Eomer closer to the book (Eowyn was just fine). And in both installments, I would have developed Galadriel more (especially since Gandalf is taken to Lorien to recuperate).

But it was still three hours well-spent. And much better than, say, yelling at the TV while the Packers are getting creamed.

2002 Tributes

As with every year, lots of well-known people died. A few I'll miss:

Chuck Jones. He is one of the great film geniuses of the 20th Century, working his magic with animated figures rather than "real" live actors. Duck Amuck, What's Opera, Doc?, One Froggy Evening, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and many other great works..........

Dave Berg. Loved reading his Lighter Side in Mad Magazine.

Dudley Moore. He was a good actor and an excellent pianist.

Waylon Jennings. Like most kids my age, I watched Dukes of Hazzard when I got the chance (talk about guilty pleasures.....). Waylon sang the theme song and narrated.

Ted Williams. His playing days were long over when I was growing up, but I saw old films of him, and no-one before or since had a sweeter swing.

Dave Thomas. He's known best as founder of Wendy's, but more important was his work for adopted children.

Lionel Hampton. Great musician. Benny Goodman did the right thing to bring him into the band, musically and otherwise.


--Went to Barnes & Noble Friday evening. Used my gift card to get Jame Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food. Online version is found here. WARNING: not for the weak of stomach.

--Worked as ballet parker for all three shows at ComedySportz. Talked with the mounted police. One of the horses tried to eat my tutu. Made good tip money.

--Went to Mass at Old St. Mary's in-between the matinee and the evening shows. Beautiful old church. Wish the parish had a website so I could show you.

--Listening to The Best of Richard & Linda Thompson -- the Island Years as I blog. Great guitar work; intelligent, heartfelt lyrics; and some beautiful singing by Linda.

--Going to see Two Towers this afternoon. Alas, I forgot that the Packers play this afternoon. Oh, well.

--The roomie got me a mini of 12 yr old Chivas Regal. Mmmmm......

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Tempis Fugit

Went to Gary Spiering's wake last night. It was a closed coffin funeral, since the body was not embalmed due to Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease. I saw my childhood friend Darryl for the first time in years. He looks pretty much the same, and has settled down with a wife and three children.

A few things which gave me thought:

--- There were photo galleries of Gary in the visitation room. He hadn't changed much from high school until his illness. I also hadn't realized how "young" he was --- only 58 years old. He had always seemed older to me, perhaps because he was my friend's father, and I was only just a kid.

--- Memories poured back for me. Gary was as blue-collar as you can get -- a rough-and-ready guy who was a tough but fair dad. I remember one time I ran into him, years ago. I called him Mr. Spiering, and he immediately corrected me, saying that I was an adult now. Out of all my friends' parents, the transition to a first-name basis was easiest with him.

--- The family seemed relaxed now. Gary's death was sudden, but not unexpected. You could hear laughter in the visitation room.

--- I also met Darryl's wife and children for the first time. I'd rather have met them at another time and at another place; still, it was good to see that my old friend has done well for himself.

--- Darryl's oldest is six years old, and is the spitting image of his father. I felt like I was glimpsing into 1975 again, when I first met Darryl at St. Augustine's School in West Allis.

May Gary rest in peace, and may I meet him again merrily in Heaven.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Christmas in Review

Been a busy two days.....

Christmas Eve. I forgot to set my alarm! Woke up at 6:35 and had just enough time to brush my teeth, slap on deodorant, pull on my clothes and make a bus. Got to work on time, though.

Work went by quickly -- only half a day (with a full day's pay!). After I punched out at 11:30, I went to the athletic club to shower, grabbed some lunch, and went home.

Didn't do much when I got home. The roomie was too shy to come over to my parents' place, so I gave him his gift right away -- a bag of whole-beanAlterra Coffee . Then I had to go pick up beer for that night and the following day. Decided to go all-out and purchased Pilsner Urquell and Anchor Steam. Blogged a bit.

It came time to head on over to the folks'. It was me, Mom, Dad, my two sisters, my three nephews, my grandmother, my aunt, our friend Kevin, and Kevin's dog Henry. The boys got lots of electronic stuff -- DVD players, games, computer stuff. My sister Diane got a new grill. My grandmother got a gift certificate to Outpost Natural Foods. My parents got a variety of things. My aunt got lots of tea. And Henry got treats.

Everyone liked their gifts from me, fortunately. I did forget to bring over my aunt's gift, but I remedied the situation the following day.

As for me, I got a couple of checks (Thanks, Mom & Dad and Grandma!), gift cards to Barnes & Noble and Walmart, some tea, a new microwave (thanks again, Mom & Dad!), a C. S. Lewis compendium, a slow-cooker cookbook, and a Natalie MacMaster CD (I'm listening to it right now).

It's very strange......aside from cash (always appreciated), a few gift cards, and the occasional needed item, I find myself at a loss to ask for specific things for Christmas. I prefer giving small but useful gifts, and watching the youngsters' delight in their presents to getting things.....

Midnight Mass. I decided to go to Milwaukee's Indult Mass this year. To my delight, the roomie also wanted to go. So we got to St. Mary Help of Christians around 11 pm, and proceeded to give him a tour of the church as it was set up for the Latin Mass. At 11:10, a Rosary was prayed; and at 11:30, a service in the vernacular presided over by Fr. Skeris. Gerard Saguto, a subdeacon with the FSSP, chanted the Christmas Proclamation, and read from Isaiah and St. Leo's Christmas sermon. The choir and congregation sang several carols, and the service concluded with the blessing of the creche. By this time, the church was comfortably full.

Then came Mass, offered by Fr. Skeris, with the Missa super Dixit Maria sung by the choir. Father preached a spot-on sermon about the "Reason for the Season", in which he spoke about the naked effort to completely banish Christianity from the public square. And the rest of the Mass was, of course, the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.

I was concerned that my Congregationalist (UCC, actually) roomie would feel totally out of place at this Mass. To my delight, he wasn't. He loved the music and the sermon, and said that the tone and atmosphere reminded him more of his childhood church than did the UCC congregation he tried in Milwaukee!

One sad note: Afterwards, about a block away from church, we saw a man lying in the street, with a police officer tending to him. Whether the man had been hit by a car or collapsed on his own, we don't know. We saw paramedics speed to the scene. Please remember that poor man in your prayers.

Christmas Day. Met a friend for brunch downtown. Originally, we were going to meet at the Hotel Metro, but their restaurant was closed (they had a continental spread for guests). So we went next door to the Pfister Hotel's cafe. Expensive, but good stuff!

Came back to my apartment and relaxed for a while. Then back to the parents' -- this time, the roomie came along. Diane's two boys were with their father, but we were joined by my dad's cousin Carl, a retired engineer. Carl and the roomie talked quite a bit.

Dinner! Home-cured ham from Rupena's, homemade kielbasa from another local butcher, and all sorts of other yummy stuff, accompanied by Spanish and Portuguese wines, as well as the aforementioned beers. Henry went under the table and accepted discreetly offered bits of ham.

Shortly after dinner was finished, my oldest sister's best friend from high school came in with her husband and four children. The two older boys are built like offensive lineman -- not fat, but big. The youngest boy shows signs of getting that big as well. The lone daughter, a young lady of 12, is absolutely beautiful, both inside and out. But under that genuinely sweet exterior lies the heart of a fighter -- she has to be, with three brothers (two of them older). And she knows how to win fights.

The roomie and I came back home around 8:30, stowed our CARE package in the fridge, set up the microwave, and got ready for the next day.......

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Verbum caro factus est......

I had always wondered as a child why the Christmas Mass during the Day didn't have one of the passages from Matthew or Luke. Then, one day, I understood......

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

A Merry and Blessed Christmas to you and yours.

But Also Remember.....

.....those whose Christmas won't be an occasion for cheer: the imprisoned, the homeless, the forgotten, the lonely, those whose loved ones are sick and dying, or have recently died. Please remember the Spiering family -- Gary died a few days ago after a long illness. In the long run, a mercy, but still......

Christmas is here!

Been extremely busy with work and other stuff the past week.......haven't been in the mood to stare at a screen.......anyways....

Did most of my Christmas shopping yesterday.....since most of my family don't have immediate Internet access, I can tell y'all what I got everybody:

Mom & Dad: Gift certificates to a good used bookstore downtown. Perfect for any bibliophile you know.

My nephews: Gift cards to Borders. They can get a CD, a DVD, or maybe even.....a book!

My sisters: Gift certificates to a spice store. Would have gotten them hand-picked samplers of spices, but the employees were too busy, and it was getting late....

My aunt: An assortment of teas. I get her that every year. Fortunately, she likes tea.

My grandma: A blue butterfly mobile and a card. She was the toughest one. What do you get for a 93-year-old who doesn't need much of anything anymore? I had gotten her gourmet food items in the past, which she enjoyed, but she didn't want those anymore. My parents had already bought for her a gift certificate to a natural foods store, so that idea was out. But she still does arts-and-crafts, and maybe she'll like this......

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Prayer Requests

Been busy, or not in a blogging mood. May have more Thursday.....

Got several prayer requests for y'all here:

--For Monica M. Miller and her family, as she undergoes chemotherapy to battle breast cancer.

-- For Pastor Steve Wiest and his family, as he battles a recurrence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

--For Ryan, the son of a family friend, who recently attempted suicide.

--For me, a sinner.


Wednesday, December 11, 2002


What store to loot when civilation crumbles?

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Thanks Brian!

Sunday, December 08, 2002


Gonna be a tough one tonight. The battered Pack, playoff-assured but not playing at 100% and minus several starters, faces the spoiler Vikings, with a good defensive end and potent offensive weapons. It may be cold up in the Land of the Frozen Tundra, but it'll be no easy ride. Updates forthcoming.......

Update I Packers went 3-and-out. Vikings are within striking range. Very early, but very nervous.....

Update II Vikings 10, Packers.....0. Argh.

Update III 44-yard run by Donald Driver nullified by penalty. Driver injured. Vikings intercept. St. Vincent of Green Bay, we need your help!

Update IV Packers on the board 13-3. Need more points! Must win! Oh, and Driver's OK.

Update V Halftime. 13-6. Need more than field goals.

Update VI 19-13 Pack. Gotta WIN!!!!!!!

Update VII PACKERS ARE AHEAD!!!!!! 26-22. Gotta win! GOTTA WIN!!!

Last Update PACKERS WIN!!!!! The end was a bit messy, though. Hovan got escorted off the field by the police WHOA!!!!

Gotta hit the sack.. Back to the salt mines tomorrow.

On Catechesis

Didn't realize I posted a header with nothing underneath.......this time I will actually post something......

Much talk on HMS Blog regarding what makes effective catechesis. As a former Confirmation/RCIA teacher, this subject is close to my heart. My thoughts on the matter:

1) Catechesis Starts at Home. It makes the teacher's job much, much easier if the child gets formation right at home -- as big as regular Sunday (and Holy Day!) Mass attendance, and as little as Grace before meals. Other things that help: regular family prayer, books on Catholic subjects, a money box for charities during Lent, an outing to a monastery or convent whose members take their calling seriously, crucifixes in the bedrooms, a shrine to Our Lady or an icon wall, Mom and Dad setting a good example with their own lives and conduct, regular opportunities to go to Confession with preparation beforehand, explanations as to why certain things are not good or even outright evil, explanations on why Catholicism is the "complete package", not doing the "Judas Shuffle" after Communion --- and many more things which time does not allow. Any other things for effective home formation are welcome in the comments box.

Conversely, it makes the teacher's job much more difficult if little to nothing is being done at home. If the parents don't go to church themselves, or if they're doing something totally against Church teaching (shacking up, supporting Planned Barrenhood), or if they're weak on the Faith themselves, or (in the attempt to get the child into class in the first place) they say, "I leave it up to him/her to decide" -- what will an hour's worth of instruction do if it's not going to be reinforced afterward? By the grace of God you hope a seed has been planted in the child, but by human measurements, it's spitting into the wind.

2) Catechesis continues and is reinforced in the Rites and Devotions of the Church. Long heading here, but there is more to it than just Sunday Mass.

Let's start with Sunday Mass, since that is the most important part. First important thing: not the preaching, but the way Mass is celebrated. I've posted extensively on this (alas, my archives are in Blogger Limbo right now!), but it bears repeating that the law of prayer is the law of belief. The way a church is decorated, the placement of the Blessed Sacrament, posture, the choice of hymns and music, silence before Mass, adherence to the GIRM and not the latest liturgical fad, the reverence of the priest and ministers, the way the Eucharist is treated, and much more (again, comments are welcome).

Close behind that is the preaching. There has been much discussion about what makes a good homily. All else being equal, it is extremely important that the Church's teachings are presented in a clear and unambiguous manner, and drawn from the readings of the day. The preacher (be he priest or deacon) should, whenever possible, find a way to tie the Eucharist or confession or the Church's teaching on sexuality or the Four Last Things.

Beyond Sunday Mass, any Religious Ed program should schedule regular opportunities for their students to go to Confession (the pastor willing). A Rosary and booklet of prayers should be included among the books and other study materials. Begin and end with prayer, both with your students and the teaching team thereafter. Teach the kids to pray the Rosary if they don't know it already. If you're in a parish that has a Perpetual Adoration chapel, talk about it and (circumstances allowing), take them there once in a while. Pray for each other. And always find a way to apply things to "real life".

More on Confession: a booklet on how to make a good Confession should be included with the books, other materials, and Rosary. If you take them for the opportunity to receive the sacrament, go through the procedure if a refresher is needed. Have people handy to individually help kids prepare. Lead the group in a Rosary while confessions are being heard (besides the Prayer Power generated, it's also a good way of reducing distractions).

3) Head and Heart -- both/and, not either/or. I always tried to keep a balance in my program, both in the course design and in my teaching team. I'm much better at the Head stuff; others excelled at reaching hearts. This was the three years course I designed:

1st year: Creed/Sacraments/Commandments (lots of Head stuff, but the Commandments got into the Heart).

2nd Year: Prayer (Head frame, Heart body)/The Mass (tried for both -- I taught it, so it was more Head stuff).

3rd Year: The Holy Spirit (more cerebral)/the Call to Holiness (hit close to the Heart).

This setup didn't last beyond my time there, but I daresay it's a decent one -- on paper. Application can be another thing.

4) Teachers must be willing to make spiritual sacrifices for their students. Always pray for your kids. You may do more for them with a Rosary or a mortification than you would in the classroom.

Gotta run now.....going to the folks', and then Packers game tonight......

Saturday, December 07, 2002

I didn't know I had it in me.....

What's your inner animal?

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Thanks again, Michelle!

Thursday, December 05, 2002

On Catechesis


Which 'Whose Line is it Anyway?' actor are you!?

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This quiz actually means something to me, since I do improv -- still as a student, however. I'll be returning to Level 104 workshop come January. But I don't mind. It's a lot of fun, and that's what counts.

More Prayer Requests

Sam Gale, the father of my dear friend Sue Gale, died yesterday morning from pancreatic cancer. Please remember Sam and his family in your prayers.

Please also remember Tim Schultz, a member of my parents' parish. His cancer has returned.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Prayer Request

Please remember my friend Pastor Steve Wiest and his family in your prayers. His lymphoma has returned.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

All Is Right With The World....

....Well, maybe not. But the Packers won, and that makes life just a bit better......

Regarding that snarky Bears fan who commented on last week's loss: this song is dedicated to you:

The Bears Still Suck
The Bears Still Suck
The Bears Still Suck
The Bears Still Suck
They Really, Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Suck
Yes The Bears Still Suck

(Song by The Happy Schnapps Combo)

Packers Vs. Bears

1 pm, and I'm not a happy camper. Bears are ahead 14-3. In Lambeau. In December. Something's not right here.

Update: Halftime. 14-6. Weird play to end the half. Packers had ball, went for Hail Mary Pass. Bears picked it off, fumbled, Pack recovered, tried lateral, Bears picked off ball, got run down to end the half.

Gotta get it into gear for the second half.....

Update II: Pack went ahead with a TD and a FG. 16-14. Hope the lead lasts......

Update III: 23-14 Packers. Not over yet.....but things are looking maybe just a teeny eeny bitsy bit better.......gotta ask St. Vincent's intercession (and I ain't talkin' De Paul or de Zaragoza)......

Today's Appropriate Hymn

Did anyone sing this today (or some version thereof)? Please let me know if your parish did.

Wake, awake, for night is flying;
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
Come forth, ye virgins, night is past;
The Bridegroom comes, awake;
Your lamps with gladness take;
Alleluia! And for His marriage feast prepare
For ye must go and meet Him there.

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her Star is risen, her Light is come.
Ah come, Thou blessèd One, God’s own belovèd Son:
Alleluia! We follow till the halls we see
Where Thou hast bid us sup with Thee.

Now let all the heavens adore Thee,
And saints and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where we are with the choir immortal
Of angels round Thy dazzling throne;
Nor eye hath seen, nor ear hath yet attained to hear
What there is ours, but we rejoice and sing to Thee
Our hymn of joy eternally.


After working two shows at ComedySportz, I didn't have the energy to travel for Mass this morning, so I went to the 8 am at the church nearest me.

Several things irked me while I was there:

Blue. My favorite color, in fact. But the proper color for Advent is violet, perhaps a bluish-violet for preference, with blue and silver trim. The decorations, candle, and vestments were all a cobalt blue. Not proper.

Hokey "themes". Someone came up with the cute idea of having a "word of the week": Love, peace, joy, and faith. All excellent works, but not deserving of having banners (blue, of course) hung up in the sanctuary each week. Accompanying this throwback to the '70s is the Cameroon Christmas song "He Came Down".

No old Advent hymns. The processional was "He Came Down"; the offertory was something by David Haas; the Communion was James Moore's "Taste and See" (the emasculated version); and the recessional was "Eye Has Not Seen". Except for Haas' song (an unmemorable effort), there was not a single song related to Advent or the Second Coming.

I have experienced worse in my time, but this sort of gimmickry gets tiring. Let the season speak for itself. No decoration (except for some flowers --no pointsettias yet! -- on Gaudete Sunday), simple violet vestments and paraments, a low-key Mass setting (like the Jubilate Deo), and hymns which reflect the season. Outside of Sunday Mass: more opportunities for Confession (and not just the requisite communal penance service, either), Sunday Vespers (possibly done in collaboration with other parishes), and a Parish Mission. The pageantry waits till Christmas -- then get creative! (Within the proper boundaries, of course.....)

Saturday, November 30, 2002

I Probably Shouldn't Be Doing This.....

....but I'm listening to the Christmas (and Advent) songs stored on my computer.....

If you must get a new Christmas CD, I'd highly recommend Paul Hiller's two Carols From the Old & New Worlds, which have a very unusual selection of music (including some odd Shaker carols). Absolutely lovely, too. Check them (and Mr. Hillier's other works) here.

Colder Than A Brass Monkey's Behind Out There....

.....I'll be outside tonight, doing the tutu thing forComedySportz. Got my longjohns, wool socks, and fleece pullover..........

New Links

Cleaned up my template a bit, and added Holy Transfiguration Skete and The New Gasparian blog. Check 'em out! (Although I would hope you've seen Fr. Keyes' wonderful site already).

One note to my fellow bloggers: If I haven't added your site to my links, that doesn't mean I don't read you. I try to get through Gerard's Master List and read as many as I can (good thing I can speed read)! And it'd frustrating, because a lot of great stuff if out there, and I don't have the time to read them all. That being said, I do list those blogs which have done me the wonderful courtesy of listing me on theirs. If you have me listed, but I haven't yet listed you, please email me, or drop a note in this post's Comments box. I'll remedy the situation ASAP.

Update: Found one. Check out Michael Inman's blog.

Friday, November 29, 2002

On My Morning Walk

I took a nice long walk through Holy Cross Cemetery. Brought some stale bread with me, and fed the gulls and the geese which have congregated there. Then I went to the cemetery office and looked up the locations of some people who are interred at Holy Cross:

Most Rev. Roman Atkielski, auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee 1948-1969. Never knew him, of course, but an interesting man.

Most Rev. Augustine Schinner, the first bishop of two dioceses: Superior, WI in 1905; and Spokane, WA in 1913. He returned to Milwaukee after resigning his see, and was buried in the family plot. More of his story may be found here.

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Frederick P. Arnold, pastor of St. Rita's in West Allis from 1947-1966. My parents both grew up in his parish.

Msgr. Sylvester Gass, one of the priests who helped out in Milwaukee's Tridentine Community. He died this past February.

Besides these four priests, I came across a few other people I have known, or know about:

The Huepper Brothers. Three brothers who were priests -- an almost unheard-of achievement today.

The Schaff Family. They own Schaff Funeral Home in West Allis. My mother grew up with Joe Schaff, who died three years ago.

Jane Beres, the sister of Olympic speedskater Dan Jansen, and member of my home parish. I was at her funeral Mass, and was responsible for keeping the media out of everybody's way (I crammed them into a corner of the choir loft).

Jessica Powers, known as Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit. Carmelite nun and poetess. Go here for more about her.

Others I have known are buried here, but I didn't get the chance to visit them today:

Dr. Bill Halloran, my old family doctor. He was a man who went into medical school in his early thirties, after serving in the military and earning a degree in engineering. A good man.

The Pallotine Fathers of Mother of God Province. A sadly typical story of declining religious communities. I've known quite a few of the men now resting at Holy Cross, and none have replaced them. The province is now down to 15 or so priests. A few are in formation now, so it's not completely hopeless.....

May they all rest in peace, and may I meet them all merrily in Heaven.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

On the Communion Songs

Aristotle Esguerra, Mark Sullivan, and Gordon Zaft have all commented on a recent article in the Adoremus Bulletin about modern Communion songs.

My thoughts about the matter?

Perhaps the flaw in many modern Communion songs (schmaltzy music) is that is emphazises the meal/banquet and community aspects of the Eucharist at the expense of the sacrificial and adorational aspects. Sometimes this is deliberate; other times it is done in a well-meaning but misguided way. And the language is weak and unexplained. Maybe there is a good explanation for why the Most Holy Sacrament is called "bread of peace" or "wine of compassion" -- a great saint may have been the source. But has anyone explained why to John and Jane Catholic in the pews?

You shouldn't have to choose between the Supper or the Sacrifice -- you need to sing about both aspects, since you can't have one without the other. Should you sing about coming to the Lord's Table and sharing in the Banquet? Yes, but remember that this is also the Pascal Sacrifice, the Passover of the New Covenant. Should you also sing about the Sacrament of Unity? Definitely, whether you quote St. Paul in "Gift of Finest Wheat" (I find Dr. Carroll's complaint unfounded for this hymn) or sing the refrain for that fine traditional hymn "At That First Eucharist" (Thus may we all one Bread, one Body be/In this blest Sacrament of Unity). And how "becoming what you have eaten" (to quote St. Augustine) aids you in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy? Sure, but not in a subtle-as-a-sledgehammer, self-important manner. And the "journeybread" (viaticum) aspect has not been lost....

Writing hymns with stronger language (and stronger music!) is one solution. Another is re-introducing "sacrifice" and "adoration". Balance is the key here -- Sacrifice and Supper, the Passover of the Lamb Who was slain.

RadTrads and Thanksgiving

Mind you, not every Trad or RadTrad holds this opinion, but I have noticed a tendency by some to disparage anything of Protestant origin, even if Catholics before the 1960's had no problems with the customs -- Thanksgiving, for example. What is with that, anyway?

Sunday, November 24, 2002

My Thanksgiving

Didn't set up my alarm clock today -- didn't make it to any services. But I did enjoy a nice walk, and brought beer and wine over to my parents' house. We grilled turkey breasts -- yum! And the dozen of us ate and ate. Now I'm home, thankful for all of God's countless gifts to me.


Packers lost another one on the road. And the Bears won. O Agony, agonyyyyyyyyyyy.

Saturday, November 23, 2002


Very Busy Week

What I've been doing..........

Monday Went to ComedySportz Level 103 Workshop Show (I'm in 104). Very nice. Didn't get home till late.

Tuesday Went home to eat, then to a fellow CSz workshopper's house for practice. Didn't get home till late.

Wedensday 104 Workshop Show. Wonderful! We started a bit late, since people were still coming in at 7:30 (120 in all). I was in the first half, on the red or "Sparkler" team.

The games played in my half, and the details of each described:

Head to head round: Sideline Debate "Playground Style" One person from each team leaves the arena. The referee gets polysylabbic adjectives, verbs, and nouns from the audience (we got "supercillious", "salivates", and "Transylvania". I forgot what the other team's words were). The players are called back, and begin a debate -- only they have no idea what they're debating about. Their teammates, in six 15-second rounds (12 total, alternating between the teams), must communicate those words to them using only mime. Playground style means that the debater is insulting his opponent's mother. "Your Mama (teammate mimes eating soup) likes soup -- eats it by the gallon! (teammate gets on hands and knees, imitates content cat by rubbing against debater's legs, move open hand away from mouth to indicate purring) She's a cat -- she purrs a lot -- she's super! (Referee yells SWITCH! , ending round)". At the end of the game, the debaters are asked for their subject matter. Whoever gets it correct, or is closest, wins -- in this case, the Dendrites (the blue team).

Team Choice: Foreign Movie This was played by the Dendrites. The referee gets a fictional movie title from the audience -- My Cow Went to School was the chosen suggestion. Two players act out the movie, but speak only in gibberish. The other two players run back and forth across stage, providing subtitles. Two shticks in this game: after an "actor" finishes a long speech, the "subtitle" will translate it as "OK", or some other short reply. Or, after a short piece, the "subtitle" will go on and on and on. These schticks should only be done once per round.

Team Choice -- Kubrick Played by my team. The referee gets a title from the audience -- in this case, Flash . Three of us played the "movie": one was a photographer; another was a child who was scared of the photographer; and yours truly played the mother. After about thirty seconds, our fourth player (the "director") interrupted the scene to endow us with different characteristics. The photographer had to act happier, and the kid had to play more like an eight-year-old. It was funny, and got funnier after the last two lines: "Your daddy must be proud of you, eh?" "My Daddy's dead!" The "director" interrupted the scene again, and said, "OK, your daddy's dead. You've got to feel it more. Do I have to shoot another puppy? Dave! Play it like you're in a Spanish soap opera!" So I stuffed a jacket down my shirt and played it tragic. Then I put my arm around the photographer and said, "But now you've got another daddy!" "Again?" asked the kid. The last endowment was to finish with a musical number. I took the lead on this, singing: He's got a new daddy/a photographer daddy/not the least bit tatty/this photographer daddy/and he's mine, mine, mine/until the end of time.

For some reason, the audience loved it. The alcohol may have helped.

Head to Head: Story (Instructional manual style) Both teams line up on stage. The referee gets either a story title or an item (depending on if it's a regular story or an instructional manual) from the audience. The referee then sits in front of the players and points a finger at one. That player tells the story or reads the instruction manual until the referee jerks his finger away. The plpayer must stop instantly. If he doesn't, he is eliminated. Likewise, the next player must start exactly where the previous player left off -- even if it's mid-word. If he doesn't, or hesitates, or makes no sense (or less sense than usual), he is eliminated.

Our suggestion was "Wok". Needless to say, the instructional manual was not exactly coherent, but that's the fun in this game. I was the penultimate player eliminated. The last two started on a screamingly funny chapter on using your wok for a murder party, a la Clue.

After that, halftime, the second half (with different players), and the finale for all, called "Last Action Line", in which players come up with "killer" punchlines for action movies, using audience suggestions, and done in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice. Example: For bras -- "Cross your heart and hope you die".

Great show. Our teacher was impressed, the audience (mostly our family and friends) loved it, and we all had fun. Didn't get home until very late.

Thursday Ballet parked at CSz. Was supposed to work two shows, but the 10 pm was cancelled due to lack of interest. Didn't get home till late.

Friday Left the day job at 12:45. Had lunch, ran errands, came home to do laundry. Went down the basement stairs, and thought that the floor looked odd. Discovered it to be ankle deep in water. Found out that the landlord was gone for the weekend. Violated Second Commandment. Worked two shows at CSz. No time for dinner. You know the last line.

Saturday Slept in till 9 am. Went to parents' house to do laundry. Worked matinee at CSz. Went to Mass at St. Stanislaus on Milwaukee's South Side.

A bit more about St. Stanislaus. Founded in 1866, it is one of the oldest Polish parishes in the US. It's only four blocks away from St. Anthony's (founded as a German parish), and is distinguished by its gold-covered bell towers. At one time, it had both a grade school and a high school, but the shifting population trends and a freeway helped finish off both. (Actually, the high school self-destructed, but that's another post.) Until about ten years ago, the parish had a fortress mentality which was killing it. The neighborhood was becoming Hispanic, but the pastors refused even to consider a Mass in Spanish, much less any kind of Hispanic Ministry. However, the overflowing crowds at St. Anthony's needed another place to go, and Archbishop Weakland made them add a Spanish Mass, which now fills the church.

I went to the 4:30, which is an English. Mostly elderly people -- about 100-150 in a church which holds 500. The administrator (fromSt. Hyacinth's) preached an excellent sermon on both Christ the King and St Miguel Pro, whose last words were "VIVA CHRISTO REY!".

Afterwards, I joined my parents at their parish, went out to a Chinese buffet for dinner, picked up some of my laundry, and came home at a reasonable time.

Now it's Sunday. I'm headed out for breakfast, work the matinee at CSz, listen to the Packer game, and get ready for the short work week.

Have a blessed Feast of Christ the King, everyone.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

So many blogs, so little time.....

Trying to catch up on my St. Blog's reading. The last few weeks have been busy, and I've not spent much time on the computer at home. As far as work goes, sneaking into non-work related sites is risky. So I'm going down the Master List, speed-reading.......

Show Tomorrow

My ComedySportz Workshop Show is at 7:30 pm tomorrow. $2 in advance, $3 at the door. Please call (414)272-8888 for information. Directions may be found at this site.

Gotta run. Going to a friend's for practice......


"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Some good news

The Bears lost. Again. Nice. Takes the sting off Sunday's debacle

Oh, No......NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!


lesser-known Simpsons character are you?

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Not Surprising

cartoon dog are you?

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Sunday, November 17, 2002

Argh. Argh. Argh.

The Metrodome Curse haunted the Packers yet again. My father only broke even at his craft show. And I left my check card in an ATM. Will have to report it in the AM.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

New Link

Just added Envoy Encore. Check 'em out!

I Am In Danger Of Growing Senile

Then again, I do drink wine as well.

Football Stuff

The Packers will have a real test the next few weeks. Next Sunday they will be playing at the Metrodome -- even with the VIkings in disarray, it will be tough. After that, to Tampa Bay. The Bucs are very, very good -- and if they get their offense going, they will be terrifying.

In the meantime, the Packers are cakewalking to the NFC North title. Gotta get that home-field advantage, though....and special teams still need work. bout da Bears? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Folk Song du Jour

Haven't done this feature in a while......

I'm most familiar with Fairport's rendition of this song.

The Flowers of the Forest

I've heard them liltin', at the ewe milkin,'
Lasses a-liltin' before dawn of day.
Now there's a moanin', on ilka green loanin'.
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

As boughts in the mornin', nae blithe lads are scornin',
Lasses are lonely and dowie and wae.
Nae daffin', nae gabbin', but sighin' and sobbin',
Ilk ane lifts her leglin, and hies her away.

At e'en in the gloamin', nae swankies are roamin',
'Mang stacks wi' the lasses at bogle to play.
But ilk maid sits drearie, lamentin' her dearie,
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

In har'st at the shearin' nae youths now are jeerin'
Bandsters are runkled, and lyart, or grey.
At fair or at preachin', nae wooin', nae fleecin',
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

Dool for the order sent our lads to the Border,
the English for ance by guile wan the day.
The flowers of the forest, that fought aye the foremost,
The prime of our land lie cauld in the clay.

We'll hae nae mair liltin', at the ewe milkin',
Women and bairns are dowie and wae.
Sighin' and moanin' on ilka green loanin',
The flowers of the forest are all wede away.

Back in Black

Tanned, rested, and blogging again. Missed ya, DLA.

I hope they pay really, really, really well for this job

I used to work for a market research firm which does product testing for disposable diapers. Every week, the parents would bring in bags of used diapers. You can well imagine the smell in the receiving room.....and now this will be done for an entire city.......phew.

Long Time Between Blogs

Been busy this week, working long hours at my regular job, working a night at ComedySportz, the CSz workshop, coming home late, and in no mood/condition to stare at a screen some more. Besides, the other blogs have been a lot more interesting.

Some thoughts from the past week's events:

Packers. Excellent Monday night win. Brett Favre may not be 100%, but Ahman Green picked up the slack nicely. And the defense is doing very, very nicely now.

Elections. Mixed bag in Wisconsin. A pro-abort, anti-school choice Governer elect, but also a GOP-dominated state legislature. See if they can frustrate him the next couple of years. On the national level, maybe the President can get things done now....

CSz. Workshop show's on 11/20, at 7:30 pm. $2 in advance, $3 at the door. If you're interested in seeing me perform, pleaseemail me for more details.

Roomie. We are now sharing DSL via a router. Very nice. Very speedy.

Movie. Saw The Ring with a couple of friends. For some reason, horror movies don't do much for me. Something like Auto Focus is more apt to creep me out, mostly because I find stories of self-destruction much scarier than your usual Steven King/Clive Barker movie. That being said, The Ring wasn't bad. Just not my cup of tea.

Food. Bought my first jar of kim chi in a long time. Yum!

Sunday, November 03, 2002

On A UCC Service

The new roomie grew up in the United Church of Christ, and so, after Mass and breakfast, I went with him to the nearest church.

The congregation, Immanuel Reformed, used to be located in the Sherman Park area of Milwaukee. Having become a smaller, older congregation, with no members living in that neighborhood, they relocated to a smaller building in Wauwatosa. There were only about 40 people attending, although I think some additional members would be coming in for the new pastor's installation in the afternoon. What was very interesting was that the choir made up 40% of the congregation -- and they had a musician and a director. Many Catholic parishes of 2000 members or more are lucky to have a choir that size.

The worship style was structured but informal. Lots of music, both choral and congregational, and full-throated singing from that small congregation. A decent homily from the new pastor -- same Gospel text as ours. I should mention that the pastor is a woman -- something which seemed almost natural for this setting (mind you, I'm not condoning women's ordination here). And lots of inclusive language.

While it was a pleasant experience, I don't think I could handle a regular diet of it. Here's why:

1) No Eucharist. I'd be starved. Literally. And a Protestant Lord's Supper would not take the place of the Real Thing.

2) No Liturgy. Contra locdog, "worship style" does make a difference. The particular style of this congregation (UCC varies widely in worship structure) was more of a "prayer service" mode. For a Catholic, this style is suitable for a prayer meeting or novena, but not for Sunday worship. As far as the benefits of liturgy go, that's enough material for another blog.

3) No Standout Doctrine. Granted, we don't get this in a lot of Catholic churches, in either the preaching or the hymnody. But in the text of the Mass itself, especially in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we have the central Mystery of Faith: the continuously renewed Sacrifice of Christ, and our sharing of its first-fruits; not to mention the intercession of the saints, the Petrine Office, prayers for the dead, and all those things which are necessary parts of our Faith.

In contrast, it seems that almost all of the mainstream Protestant denominations have run into one "Christian Lite", with no distinctions. Do the United Methodists and Presbyterians ever argue about predestination? Do Lutherans and Reformeds debate baptismal regeneration? And if a Methodist or Episcopalian or UCCer joins an American Baptist or Disciples of Christ congregation, are they required to be re-baptized? While co-operation and practical ecumenicism have been prevelant in American Protestantism for a long time, denominations seem to lose their spark when they give in on doctrines particular to them. And few Presbyterian USA pastors would last very long if they gave a sermon on the elect and reprobate; neither would an American Baptist retain his job if he preached on the folly of belonging to any denomination believing in the sprinkling of babies.

Now, then......what did I like about the service?

1) Good music. Like I said before, a Catholic congregation many times the size of Immanuel Reformed is lucky to have an elderly choir of 15, along with having everyone completely joining in the singing.

2) Fellowship. People came right up to us to welcome us and to introduce themselves. Granted, this shouldn't be done in the nave of a Catholic church. But any new faces should be welcomed in the narthex before Mass, and invited to come for coffee and donuts afterwards.

3) Intimacy. While I love being part of a congregation of 1000+ in a huge church (under the best of circumstances); there is something to be said for a small group, in a space to fit. I've noticed it in small-group Masses as well, whether a simple "low" celebration or "smells and bells". The same here. I didn't feel like just another face in the crowd.

Must sum up, since I'll be leaving for the folks soon.....

Protestantism: Nice place to visit, but I'll stick with the Full Package of the Mass. Am planning on taking the Roomie to a Melkite Liturgy one Sunday.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

On Tummy Bugs

Good thing I got to Mass on Thursday afternoon. Woke up at 3:30 am Friday morning with a stomach ache. Turned out to be the flu. I won't go into details, but I had to call in sick. Spent the day sleeping. Felt a bit better this morning, but missed the Requiem Mass at the Tridentine Community. Feeling close to 100% now, and should be well enough to go to church tomorrow morning.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

On Head and Heart

Catherine Doherty's Little Mandate has been in my thoughts for a long time:

Arise - go! Sell all you possess . . . give it directly, personally to the poor. Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me - going to the poor - being poor - being one with them - one with Me.

Little - be always little . . . simple - poor - childlike.

Preach the Gospel WITH YOUR LIFE - WITHOUT COMPROMISE - Listen to the Spirit - He will lead you.

Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.

Love - love - love, never counting the cost.

Go into the market place and stay with Me . . . pray . . . fast . . . pray always . . . fast.

Be hidden - be a light to your neighbour's feet. Go without fears into the depth of men's hearts . . . I shall be with you.

Pray always. I WILL BE YOUR REST.

This convicts me. I've always been more of the cerebral, "head" type, and that's what I'll always be. But all the things I know, all the exterior stuff I've done -- what does it matter, if I'm talking the talk, but not walking the walk? Not a bit of it will save me.

What do I want? I want my heart to catch up with my head. I'm tired of merely intellectualizing and rationalizing everything I take in, doing it only for knowledge, and not for love of God. I'm tired of being a know-it-all -- sure, I may know something, but what good is it if my relationship with God is broken through my sins? I'm tired of an erratic prayer life -- so I may know all about God, but I'm not getting to know Him better.

".....If I have not love, I am nothing." What do I want to do? I want to love, and not count the cost. I want to love God -- to do what He wills not for fear of hell, but for love of Him.

I want to pray better -- not to go through the Mass, or the Hours, or the Rosary, or even spontaneous prayer, mechanically and unfeelingly; but to speak and listen with my whole being.

I want that love of God to be carried to my neighbor --every human being-- and not count the cost, which means not being a good-deed bean-counter.

I want to win souls through love and prayer. If that entails using my intellect as well, so be it and God be praised. Otherwise, I will do better by storming Heaven than by polemics and dry reasoning.

I want to be a Nobody -- no status, no sought leadership, no esteem, no reputation, no accolades, no awards, no acknowledgment. All to the glory of God, and not me.

I want to love God, to serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever -- that simple.

Monday, October 28, 2002

On the Bye Week

Besides the move and Mass (8 am at the Cathedral, celebrated by His Excellency), I found amusement in watchingthe Vikings-Bears game.


Henry Burris was living the quarterback equivalent to the naked-in-the-classroom nightmare. I'm very glad he no longer wears green and gold.

New Roomie!

Got a new roommate. A computer engineer, originally from out West. Came in Saturday morning, liked what he saw, and moved in last night. Nice guy.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

On Horrible Liturgical Experiences

Mike, if you're reading this........

1) It's not the end of the world at St. Henry's. You haven't gotten this priest permanently.

2) Let Fr. Cash take care of matters. I'm sure he's as displeased as you are about this, and will let Fr. Fisher know in no uncertain terms what he thinks of his behavior (if Fr. Fisher isn't non compus mentus. Some of what he did makes me wonder).

3) What songs did the DRE's wife perform? Granted, the "Steubenville Style" may not be the same as the "Adoremus Style", but their songs have always seemed "vertical" to me, and no irreverence meant. In fact, if you've ever been on their campus, you'd know better. And doesn't St. Henry's use guitars on occasion as it is?

4) Unprepared, rambling homilies can be inflicted by orthodox priests as well. Trust me on this.

5) Don't go RadTrad on us because of this. Certain people we both know will want to have a word with you if you do.

6) Keep praying, and keep persevering! It ain't gonna get any easier.......

I Never Thought I'd Do This.....

...but last Tuesday, when I attended Mass at the cathedral, I noticed that the priest was also acting as cantor. So I went to the sacristy afterwards and offered to take that job off his hands. He accepted, and I made my debut yesterday, leading 20 or so people a capella. It's been a while since I've done this, and a few things came to mind:

1) If the songleader falters, so does everyone else.

2) I chant better than I sing -- the Kyrie and Alleluia were sung beautifully by the congregation.

3) The St. Louis Jesuits "Holy, Holy" is hard to pull off without instrumental accompaniment. I used Mass of Creation today. Much easier.

4) Not much "contemporary" hymnody lends itself to a capella singing. Chant (of course) and the old metrical tunes do.

Will be singing the Gloria in Monday's Mass. Has anyone here used the setting from John Lee's Congregational Mass? Looks simple........

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

New Links

Added The Inn at the End of the World (thanks, Mark!) and Mt. Carmel Hermitage Monastery (thanks, Keith!). Check 'em out.......

Another Case of Worshipping Mammon

Granted, I'd rather the facilities were still being used as a convent. Even so, municipalities no longer consider places of worship to be valuable resources for the community. What's more, they apparently violate federal law with impunity. I guess property tax dollars mean more to them than the intangibles provided by a church or synagogue.

Thanks to The Inn at the End of the World for the link. Cool name, BTW.

Prayer Requests

My sister Diane was admitted to the hospital last night with abdominal pains. They're not sure whether it's appendicitis or the resurgence of her ulcer, so they're keeping her in there for observation and tests. Please remember her, and also her two boys and my parents, in your prayers. Thanks.

Also, please continue to remember Sam Gale, the father of my friend Sue. He is in the last stages of pancreatic cancer. Thanks again.

Quiz results

My test on Liturgy (scroll down -- link not working properly) was taken by Michelle, who not only scored 100%, but wrote a boffo short essay on community prayer. Here it is, with gold stars pasted all round it:

We pray as a community because as Christians we are individual members of the Body of Christ that collectively comprise the Mystical Body of Christ. We, as the Body of Christ, offer our worship to and through the Head, Christ, to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we pray alone we offer personal worship, but not collective worship. Because we are God's family, the family gathers together to worship, something that cannot be done as single individuals. God wants us to pray alone, too, in order to build our relationship with him, but collective worship is also important because "the family that prays together, stays together."

Monday, October 21, 2002

That Sighing Sound You Heard.....

.....was again from Wisconsin......a sigh of relief. Brett Favre has a strain, which means ice, rest, and rehab. It looks like he'll be ready for the Monday Night game on 11/4.

Like I said.....thank God for the bye week.......

Sunday, October 20, 2002

That Screaming Sound You Heard....

Was from Wisconsin. Some time in the 3rd quarter of the Packers-Redskins game, Brett Favre was sacked, and sprained his knee in the process. Fortunately, Green Bay still won handily 30-9, with good defense, three TD's by Ahman Green, and lots of penalties from the 'Skins.

Thank God the Bye Week's come now.........