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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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.