Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Less Than Jake, "Johnny Quest (Thinks We're Sellouts)" from Losing Streak (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: L.T.J. spend a lot less time ruminating on fame & fortune than R.B.F., but I thought "Johnny Quest (Thinks We're Sellouts)" a nice thematic companion to this week's Why Do They Rock So Hard? quartet. "Johnny Quest (Thinks We're Sellouts)" was originally released on 1995's Pezcore, then re-recorded & re-released on 1996's Losing Streak, just in time for the Summer of Ska.
"Well, I really don't know
If it matters at all so,
But we try to keep our prices low
For our records and our shows,
But is that, is that enough?
Or is it that we're not punk enough?
Or is it that you think ska just sucks?
Johnny Quest, he thinks we're what?

Johnny Quest thinks we're sellouts, sellouts!
Johnny Quest thinks we're selling out, selling out, yeah!
Johnny Quest thinks we're sellouts, sellouts!
Johnny! Yeah hey hey!…"

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Reel Big Fish, "We Care" from Why Do They Rock So Hard? (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary:
"Thanks for the money,
Thanks for dancin' and singin' along,
And everything you do,
We just want you to know we care (we care).

"Thanks for callin' us sell outs
And not takin' a joke,
Talkin' shit and covering'us with spit,
We're so glad to know you care (we care).

"And we're sorry that so many people
Got to enjoy our music
By hearing us on the radio.

"We love you,
We love you,
Because you really understand,
We love you,
We love you a lot,
How could we not,
We'll say it again:
We love you,
We love you,
Because you really understand,
We love you,
We love you a lot,
We always thought
You liked our band.

"I'm not talkin' about everybody,
I'm sorry to waste
A song and your time like this,
We're so lucky to have you there (we care).

"And I know that some of you get it
And you're not ashamed to admit it,
That you're still with us after all.

"We love you,
We love you,
Because you really understand,
We love you,
We love you a lot,
How could we not,
We'll say it again:
We love you,
We love you,
Because you really understand,
We love you,
We love you a lot,
We always thought
You liked our band…"

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What's Eating The Last Angry Man?

As an update to last week's commentary on the new uniforms for the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus, photographs have belatedly been released of the new uniform with sword & baldric.



We shall never know how much of the tumult resulting from the botched announcement of the new uniforms—how much damage to the good works of the Order—might have been avoided that these photos been available at the Supreme Convention & had the F.A.Q. that came with them been properly anticipated, as it should have been.

The beret remains a horror show.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Reel Big Fish, "Down in Flames" from Why Do They Rock So Hard? (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary:
"You don't know me,
But here I am in your living room,
You don't own me,
But you paid and that means a lot to you,
Well, you never listen,
But I know that's what you think you do,
And everybody wants a change,
But this time it'll be the same,
Watch us go down in flames.

"It's alright, it's O.K.,
It was gonna happen anyway,
We had our chance,
We made our point,
But you're not gonna take that—

"Radio, commercials,
T.V. shows and front page ads,
Photos and interviews,
Well, they'll make sure it's the latest fad,
Well, pay attention,
'Cause you know you'll have to pay either way,
And they tell you that it's the new thing,
But we know it hasn't changed,
Watch us go down in flames.

"It's alright, it's O.K.,
It was gonna happen anyway,
We had our chance,
We made our point,
But you're not gonna take that away!
Away!
Away!
Away!

"When this blows over
And the mainstream coughs up another shell,
Will you let us back in your underground?
Well, I guess that's a no and it's just as well,
'Cause you never supported us,
All you wanted was to see us fail!
(See us fail!)
They tell me that it's the new thing,
So I better get out of the way,
Watch us go down in flames.

"It's alright, it's O.K.,
It was gonna happen anyway,
We had our chance,
We made our point,
But you're not gonna take that—
'Cause it's alright, it's O.K.,
It was gonna happen anyway,
We had our chance,
We made our point,
But you're not gonna take that away!
You're not gonna take that away!
You're not gonna take that away!
You're not gonna take that away!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Reel Big Fish, "The Kids Don't Like It" from Why Do They Rock So Hard? (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary:
"Got some words, I don't know,
Gonna sing 'em, here I go,
Wanna try not to be lame,
Wanna make you feel the same,
I just wanna be someone.

"Don't you know we tried to do something new?
And it may sound real good,
But I don't think we're getting through.

"Because the kids don't like it! No, no!
The kids don't like it! No, no, no!
The kids don't like it, no, they don't like it at all!
I said, the kids don't like it! No, no!
The kids don't like it! No, no, no!
The kids don't like it, no, they don't like it at all, anymore!

"Had a hit. Famous? No.
Easy come, easy go,
Should be happy with what I got,
Should be happy, but I'm not,
I just wanna be someone…

"Though they'd come a day
I'd run out of things to say,
But now I know it's true:
No one listens anyway.

"All we wanted was to do something new,
Doesn't sound so good,
And I know we're not getting through.

"Because the kids don't like it! No, no!
The kids don't like it! No, no, no!
The kids don't like it, no, they don't like it at all!
I said, the kids don't like it! No, no!
The kids don't like it! No, no, no!
The kids don't like it, no, they don't like it at all!
I said, the kids don't like it! No, no!
The kids don't like it! No, no, no!
The kids don't like it, no, they don't like it at all,
Not at all, not at all, not at all anymore!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Belief that Mary was bodily taken up into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Day
The Book of Revelation, chapter eleven, verse nineteen(a) & chapter twelve, verses one thru six(a) & ten(a,b);
Psalm Forty-five, verses ten, eleven, twelve, & sixteen;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter fifteen, verses twenty thru twenty-seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses thirty-nine thru fifty-six.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her great Magnificat, Mary is the new Isaiah and the new Jeremiah and the new Ezekiel, for she announces with greatest clarity and joy the coming of the Messiah.

What was only vaguely foreseen in those great prophetic figures is now in clear focus: "He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever." There is nothing stronger or more beautiful in any of the prophets.

Mary is the true Israel, she knows what to do and she does it with enthusiasm. No dawdling, back-pedaling, straying and complaining: she moves, she goes. And she goes upon the heights, which is exactly where God had always summoned Israel, so that it could be a light to the nations.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Tarcisius, Martyr (third century), martyred by a mob of pagans while defending the Blessed Sacrament: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Altfrid of Hildesheim, Bishop, O.S.B. (died 874, A.K.A. Alfred): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Bonus! Song o' the Assumption o' the B.V.M.


The Daughters of Mary, "Hail Holy Queen" from De Profundis (The Last Angry Man)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Reel Big Fish, "Big Star" from Why Do They Rock So Hard? (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: Released in the fall of '98, Why Do They Rock So Hard? is almost-but-not-quite a concept album, an extended meditation of the nature & phenomenon of pop-music success. The first two & a half minutes of "Big Star" are acoustic, & even after the intensity & sheer volume of noise pick up it never quite becomes a ska song, but nevertheless "Big Star" remains the crucial first chapter in a four-song story we'll be telling this week, or rather, Reel Big Fish's story that we'll be re-telling.
"Now that I'm a big star, what am I gonna do?
I'm so bored counting all my money,
I sit here and I think of you,
It's so easy, it's so easy to do.

"I don't even have to try,
I don't even want to try,
And why should I waste my precious time,
If I can't make you love me,
But I know you will.

"I'm such an asshole, how could you resist?
I never meant to let it go to my head,
I never thought it would come to this,
It's me, asshole of your dreams.

"I don't even have to try,
I don't even want to try,
And why should I waste my precious time,
If I can't make you love me,
But I know you will.

"I don't even have to try,
I don't even want to try,
And why should I waste my precious time,
If I can't make you love me—"
Here the volume & the intensity are both cranked up to eleven.
"—I can't make you love me,
But I know you do!

"But I'm so cool no one wants to look at me,
And I'm so cool no one wants to talk to me,
And I'm so fuckin' cool, nobody cares at all!

"I'm a big fuckin' star, oh yeah!
I'm a big fuckin' star, oh yeah!
I'm a big fuckin' star, oh yeah yeah yeah!

"I'm a big fuckin' star, oh yeah!
I'm a big fuckin' star, oh yeah!
I'm a big fuckin' star, oh yeah yeah yeah!

"I'm a big (big) fuckin' star, oh yeah!
I'm a big (big) fuckin' star, oh yeah!
I'm a big (big) fuckin' (big) star, oh yeah yeah yeah!"

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust!


The Aquabats!, "Ska Robot Army!" from The Return of The Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Skammentary!: The Return of The Aquabats! is The Aquabats!' debut album. Let that sink in for just a moment. If that doesn't make you smile, doesn't make the world seem a slightly brighter place, well, you have my pity, though not my sympathy. You might just be a shark, because I bet you have "cold, dead eyes, like a doll's eyes." The Aquabats! also have a song about that, "The Shark Fighter!," though you & your cold, dead eyes don't have to worry about that because it isn't a ska song.

Also, yes, in light of their later defection it's hard not to see "Ska Robot Army!" as an early protest against what The Aquabats! felt were the constraints of the genre, though a fun, winking protest.
"They're coming to take over,
Look out behind you
And beware of the Ska Robot Army!…

"They're coming to take over,
To terrorize the Earth,
They're skanking in their best suits,
So beware of the Ska Robot Army!"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog Edition

Saturday, 12 August was the Optional Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious, V.H.M. (1572-1641), foundress of the Visitation Sisters, formally the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link V.H.M.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
She established the Congregation of the Visitation. The order accepted women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age. During its first eight years, the new order also was unusual in its public outreach.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
When she was thirty-two, she met St. Francis de Sales [24 January] who vecame her spiritual director, softening some of the severities imposed by her former diretor. She wanted to become a nun but he persuaded her to defer this decision. She took a vow to remain unmarried & to obey her director. After three years, Francis told her of his plan to found an institute of women which would be a haven for those whose health, age, or other considerations barred them from entering the already-established communities.
'Twas also the festival of Blessed Innocent XI, Pope (1611-1689), two hundred fortieth Bishop of Rome, the "Savior of Hungary:" Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Karl Leisner, Priest & Martyr (1915-1945), martyred by the regime of the Führer Adolf Hitler, the demise of which he lived to see: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of that Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter six, verses four thru thirteen;
Psalm Eighteen, verses two & three(a), three(b,c) & four, & forty-seven & fifty-one;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seventeen, verses fourteen thru twenty.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in our Gospel we meet a boy driven mad by a demon and the disciples could not heal him. They asked Jesus why they had failed, and he said, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

In all circumstances, you have to pray with faith. Have you noticed how Jesus, time and again, says to people before working a miracle, "Do you believe I can do this?" Once, Matthew tells us, Jesus was unable to perform many miracles because he was met with so little faith among the people.

Lots of people today, especially in the healing ministry, seem able to reproduce what Jesus did, precisely because of the purity of their faith. Is part of our problem simply a lack of faith? We allow our skepticism to get the better of us; we're just a little embarrassed by asking God for things, or we're convinced that he is a distant power only vaguely connected to our lives. But God is far greater than that.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one, verses ten thru thirteen, nineteen, twenty, thirty, & thirty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-one;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses thirty-one thru fifty-five.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. Conv. (1894-1941), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Saint Maxilimian Maria Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv., was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German death camp of Auschwitz.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Maximilian Kolbe entered the minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscans in Lviv (then Poland, now Ukraine), neat his birthplace, & at sixteen became a novice later earning doctorate in philosophy & theology. He dreamed of & then founded Knight of the Immaculata, a religious magazine under Mary's protection to preach the Good News to all nations. For the work of publication he established a "City of the Immaculata"—Niepokalanow. In 1939, Nazi forces overran Poland & arrested St. Maximilian & his friars, but they were released only to be arrested again in 1941.

"Courage, my sons. Don't you see that we are leaving on a mission? They pay our fare in the bargain. What a piece of good luck! The thing to do now is to pray well in order to win over as many souls as possible. Let us, then, tell the Blessed Virgin that we are content, & that she can do with us anything she wishes." —Maximilian Mary Kolbe, when first arrested

Saint quote of the week: "That night, I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me, a Child of Faith. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, & the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both." —St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian died at the Auschwitz camp in Poland during World War II. When one prisoner escaped, the commander decided to retaliate by killing ten other prisoners through starvation. St. Maximilian volunteered to take the place of a married man.
Quoth the daily reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the memorial of Maximilian Kolbe, the great saint of Auschwitz. A prisoner from Fr. Kolbe's barracks escaped, and in retaliation, the Nazi guards picked out ten other prisoners at random for execution. When one of those chosen broke down in tears, protesting that he was the father of a family, Kolbe stepped forward and said "I am a Catholic priest; take me and spare this man."

Priests are called "father," because they are life-givers in the spiritual order. Spiritual fathers protect their children; they teach them; they are there for them. At the limit, they even give their lives for them, and that's what we see in today's great saint.

Jesus gathered around himself a band of apostles whom he shaped according to his own mind and heart and whom he subsequently sent on mission. Priests, down through the centuries—from Augustine and Aquinas, to Francis Xavier and John Henry Newman, to John Paul II and your own pastor—are the descendants of those first friends and apprentices of the Lord. They have been needed in every age, and they are needed today, for the Kingdom of Heaven must be proclaimed, the poor must be served, God must be worshipped, and the sacraments must be administered.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Eusebius of Rome, Priest & Martyr (died circa 357), martyred in the reign of the emperor Constantius II: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Aimone Taparelli, Priest, O.P. (circa 1395-1495): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter ten, verses twelve thru twenty-two;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-seven, verses twelve & thirteen, fourteen & fifteen, & nineteen & twenty;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seventeen, verses twenty-two thru twenty-seven.

Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe
The Book of Wisdom, chapter three, verses one thru nine;
or, the First Letter of John, chapter three, verses fourteen thru eighteen;
Psalm One Hundred Sixteen, verse fifteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses twelve thru sixteen.

Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Vigil
The First Book of Chronicles, chapter fifteen, verses three, four, fifteen, & sixteen; & chapter sixteen, verses one & two;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-two, verses six & seveb, nine & ten, & thirteen & fourteen;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter fifteen, verses fifty-four(b) thru fifty-seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses twenty-seven & twenty-eight.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXII

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres), Part II
16-18 August 1917: The Battle of Langemarck—British & French forces attacked behind carefully coordinated creeping artillery barrages, consolidating their gains on the northern flank but being pushed back to their start lines by determined German counterattacks on the southern flank, on the Gheluvelt Plateau; operations continued to be hampered by heavy, unseasonable rains & mud.





Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XIX Sunday in Ordinary Time

'Tis the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The First Book of Kings, chapter nineteen, verses nine(a), eleven, twelve, & thirteen(a);
Psalm Eighty-five, verses nine & ten, eleven & twelve, thirteen & fourteen;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter nine, verses one thru five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two thru thirty-three.

Commentary: Video Gospel reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus comes to his disciples walking on the sea. And he came at the darkest time of the night when they found themselves isolated and in danger.

God's mastery of the sea is a Biblical commonplace. The spirit of the Lord hovered over the surface of the waters in Genesis; in Exodus, God splits the Red Sea in two. In the book of the prophet Isaiah, God is described as having conquered the monsters of the deep.

The water—especially the stormy water—represents all of the cosmic powers that oppose themselves to God, all those spiritual and physical forces that threaten the Church, most especially death itself. In walking on the water, Jesus shows that he is the master of all of these forces, that his power and authority are greater.

Paul says, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." John says concerning Christ, "I have conquered the world."

And so Jesus comes to his Church precisely when it is threatened. "Behold, I am with you always, even until the close of the age." The Lord accompanies his Church, coming to it and subduing the evil forces that surround it.
Mass Journal: Week 33
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
I believe there is a direct relationship between happiness & holiness. This was my first serious observation of the Christian life as a teenager. I must also confess it was the reason I first began to explore Catholicism seriously. As simple as it may sound, I was aware of my uearning for happiness. I had tried to satisfy this yearning in other ways & had been left wanting. I had witnessed a peace & purpose in the lives of a handful of people I knew who were striving to live their faith, & I knew they had something I was yearning for. God calls each of us to holiness. He invites us to be truly ourselves. This call to holiness is in response to our deep desire for happiness. We cry out to God, saying, Show us how to find the happiness our hearts are hungry for, & God replies, Walk with me, be all I created you to be, become the best-version-of-yourself. It is a natural & logical conclusion that we will never find happiness if we are not ourselves.

Otherwise, 13 August would be the festival of Saints Pontian, Pope, & Hippolytus, Priest, Martyrs (died 235), eighteenth Bishop & Rome & first antipope, martyred in the reign of the emperor Maximinus Thrax: Martyr-link Papa & Wikipedia-link Papa, Martyr-link Hotel & Wikipedia-link Hotel, & Martyrs-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Maximus the Confessor, Abbot (circa 580-662): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Jakob Gapp, Priest & Martyr (1897-1943), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Lord's Day

Sandi Patty, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" from Everlasting (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I echo Miss Patty in re-contextualizing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" into a Christian milieu. In today's Gospel reading, St. Peter walks on water due to his trust in Our Blessed Savior, then begins to sink beneath the waves as doubt creeps in, but has faith enough to cry out for Jesus to save him, which He does immediately. Lord, help us ever to recall that You are our refuge & sure rescue in time of trouble; You never promised this life would be without trouble, only that You would be there to see us safely to shore if only we trust in You.

Bonus! Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Mustard Plug, "Skank by Numbers" (live) from Skapocalypse Now! (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: This live recording of "Skank by Numbers," a studio version of which appeared on 1993's Big Daddy Multitude, was not featured on the original '92 release of Skapocalypse Now!, but on the post-Summer of Ska '98 re-release. In '92, I had no idea that such a thing as ska existed; my world was rapidly expanding in those halcyon days of the late '90s, when ska-punk was in full bloom.
"One: Get off your seat,
Two: Stomp your boots to the beat,
Three: With your knees in the air,
Four: You better beware!…"

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Count von Count & The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Zig Zag Dance" from Sesame Street: Elmopalooza! (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: We here at the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. have already weighed in with the opinion that for all the Bosstones' ironclad ska bona fides, "Zig Zag Dance" is more of a swing revival song that a ska song. Yet, "Zig Zag Dance" fits in perfectly with SKAugust's purpose of looking back on the score of years since the Summer of Ska. Such was the pop-cultural penetration of ska in those halycon years, alongside the swing revival, that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones—never the hardest of the hardcore, but not exactly a show to which I'd take my nieces & nephews, as I would to The Aquabats! or "Weird Al" Yankovic—appeared in a television special celebrating Sesame Street's thirtieth anniversary, & the subsequent album, recording a song with Count von Count. Ska was mainstream for a brief, shining moment—deeply, if ephemerally entrenched in the late '90s Zeitgeist.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin, O.S.C. (1194-1253, of Assisi), foundress of the Poor Clares, formally the Order of Saint Clare: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.S.C.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Saint Clare was an Italian saint & one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi [4 October]. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, & wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
At eighteen, she escaped one night from her father's home, was met on the road by friars bearing torches, & in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, & sacrificed the long tresses to Francis's scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father & uncles immediately stormed in rage. She clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair & remained adamant. On her deathbed, Clare was heard to say to herself: "Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for He Who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, & loves you as a mother. Blessed be You, my God, for having created me."
'Tis also the festival of Saint Alexander of Comana, Bishop & Martyr (died circa 251, A.K.A. "the Charcoal Burner"), martyred in the reign of the emperor Decius: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed John Sandys, Priest & Martyr (circa 1552-1586), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter four, verses thirty-two thru forty;
Psalm Seventy-seven, verses twelve & thirteen, fourteen & fifteen, & sixteen & twenty-one;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter sixteen, verses twenty-four thru twenty-eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel for today Jesus outlines the cost of becoming his disciple: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." We have a very antiseptic view of the cross, for we have seen it for so long as a religious symbol.

But for the first nine centuries or so of the Christian dispensation, artists didn't depict the cross, for it was just too brutal. Say what you want about the violence in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, it probably came as close as any work of art to showing the reality of a Roman crucifixion.

But here's the point: we are meant to see on that cross, not simply a violent display, but rather our own ugliness. What brought Jesus to the cross? Stupidity, anger, mistrust, institutional injustice, betrayal of a friend, denial, unspeakable cruelty, scapegoating, and fear. In other words, all of our dysfunction is revealed on that cross. In the light of the cross, no one can say the popular philosophy of our times, "I'm okay and you're okay." This is why we speak of the cross as God's judgment on the world.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Clare
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter three, verse eight thru fourteen;
Psalm Sixteen, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-seven, twenty-eight, & twenty-nine.

Mass Readings—Requiem for Mike Mike
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one, verses ten thru thirty-one;
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter four, verses thirteen thru eighteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses twenty-four thru twenty-eight.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Reel Big Fish, "Take on Me" from BASEketball: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: Such was the rapacious desire of the moguls who run Hollywood to profit from the Summer of Ska (see: Reel Big Fish's "Sell Out") that not only did R.B.F. provide music for the BASEketball soundtrack (1998), but the band also appeared onscreen as live entertainment in the Milwaukee Beers' stadium.

"Take on Me" is the quintessential & most prominent example of a ska cover of a 1980s pop song.


Project MERCATOR
Not coincidentally, tonight I am going to a minor-league baseball game.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon & Martyr (circa 225-258), martyred in the reign of the emperor Valerian: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome, Italy under Pope [St.] Sixtus II [7 August] who were martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
He was a Roman deacon under Pope St. Sixtus II. Four days after this pope was put to death, Lawrence & four clerics suffered martyrdom, probably during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian. The church built over his tomb became one of the seven principle churches in Rome & a favorite place for Roman pilgrimages.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Amadeus of Portugal, Priest, O.F.M. (1420-1482): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Franciszek Drzewiecki (F.D.P.) & Edward Grzymała, Priests & Martyrs (died 1942), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, two of the One Hundred Eight Martyrs of World War II: Martyr-link Foxtrot Delta & Wikipedia-link Foxtrot Delta (№ 21), Martyr-link Echo Golf & Wikipedia-link Echo Golf; Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of St. Lawrence
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter nine, verses six thru ten;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verses one & two, five & six, seven & eight, & nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses twenty-four, twenty-five, & twenty-six.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, Our Gospel for today contains one of the most beautiful and terrible summations of the Christian message: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit."

And now this one upon whom the crowds had pinned their hopes is speaking of falling to the earth and dying. And then it gets stranger. "The man who loves his life loses it, while the man who hates his life in this world, preserves it to life eternal." Come again?!

Just when we are raising you up, you're talking about falling down; just when we are showing you that your life has come to its fulfillment, you're talking about hating this life.

To understand what all this means, we should go back to the grain of wheat that falls to the earth. A seed's life is inside, yes, but it's a life that grows by being given away and mixing with the soil around it. It has to crack open, be destroyed.

Jesus' sign is the sign of the cross. The death that leads to transfiguration.

What's Eating The Last Angry Man?

Last week (Tuesday thru Thursday, 1-3 August 2017), the 135th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus was held in St. Louis, Missouri. This is an annual event, a chance for the hierarchy & leadership of the Order to celebrate the previous year's achievements in charity, unity, fraternity, & patriotism & to set the agenda for the coming year. (The Order's "fraternal years" are like fiscal years, beginning on 1 July & ending on the following 30 June.) This year's Supreme Convention generated substantially more controversy than in years past, due to the announcement of a new uniform for the Fourth Degree Color Corps: Knights Gear-link.

Heretofore, for the past four score years (that's eight decades for those keep score at home, a good, long lifetime), the "full regalia" uniform of the Fourth Degree has consisted of a tuxedo, a cape, a sword & a baldric, & a plumed bicorne, called a chapeau (which I've never thought was a good name, since chapeau is simply the French word for "hat;" bicorne is a more specific, technical term). Below is a photograph of the Color Corps from Monsignor Patrick R. Dunigan Assembly 510 (including your humble narrator, second from the left) escorting the Most Reverend Earl Boyea, fifth Bishop of Lansing, at St. John Vianney Church in Flint, from February of this year.


The new uniform of blue blazer with hand-embroidered crest, gray slacks, blue necktie adorned with golden Fourth Degree emblems, & black beret with metal badge is intended explicitly to appeal to a younger generation. Wrote Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in an e-mail:
"The new uniform is part of a comprehensive and necessary effort to keep our Order relevant and attractive to men, particularly younger men."
The tuxedo, cape, & chapeau are definitively out, but the ceremonial sword shall remain, as further wrote the Supreme Knight:
"Ceremonial swords will continue to be part of the Fourth Degree."
The statement about ceremonial swords remaining as part of the new uniform was not made until three days after the initial announcement of the retirement of the old regalia. Sure, one could argue that three days is not an egregiously long interval, except that this is the twenty-first century, when social media is a churning cesspool of man's basest instincts. As the late, doomed Douglas Adams reminded us, nothing travels faster than bad news. Within the Knights community, a firestorm erupted on social media about the new uniform; some of that controversy could surely have been avoided if the announcement of ceremonial swords remaining had been part of the initial announcement of the new uniform—which was vigorously promoted through social media—instead of three days later as an afterthought in an e-mail that was far less broadly circulated. Below is a photograph of the new uniform in action at the Supreme Convention. To date, no photographs of the new uniform with either a sword or a baldric have been made available.


Charity & Patriotism
So, what's eating The Last Angry Man? Two things. The first is the new uniform itself. The blazer, necktie, & slacks, while less than ideal & inferior to the existing tuxedo, are not so bad. Some have mocked the size of the crest on the blazer as excessive, even enormous, but I think it perfectly reasonable. After all, the purpose of the uniform is to be obvious in & identifiable as who we are. No, the deal breaker is the beret. The beret is unacceptable. The beret is a horror show. The beret fails the fundamental tests of a hat, to protect the wearer's head from the elements. That beret is not going to keep the sun out of anyone's eyes on a sunny day, such as Memorial Day, which yours truly habitually spends out of doors, in the blazing late-May sunshine, standing post in my cape, chapeau, & sword, honoring the glorious dead at Flint's Old Calvary Cemetery. Plain & simple, I will never wear that beret. But beyond my personal distaste for the beret, look at the photograph above, a photograph taken at the Supreme Convention & furnished by the Supreme Council itself. Look at those men, chosen specifically to showcase the new uniform. No two of them are wearing the beret in the same way, the exact opposite of a uniform appearance. Some have the beret folded crisply to the side, others have it floating vaguely to the back. If Supreme's chosen exemplars cannot evince a uniform appearance to their uniforms, what hope have we poor yokels out here in the provinces?

Opposing change simply for the sake of opposing change is a bad old vice of mine, one I've endeavored mightily to give up, & I hope that's not what I'm doing here. Is there validity in the assertion that the now-retired cape & chapeau are dated, possibly even outdated? I believe there is. But the counter argument is the long history of the cape & chapeau; the very longevity that makes the regalia outdated in the eyes of some makes it cherished tradition in the eyes of others. Look back at photographs of Sir Knights from the 1950s, the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, the '90s, & even into this present third millennium, & you will see generation after generation of Knights standing publicly for Our Blessed Savior & His One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic Church. The true Faith they stood for then is the true Faith I stand for now; the uniform they wore then is the uniform I wear now, & I am proud to be part of such a lineage. I did not purchase my cape, chapeau, & sword, they were donated to me by a Color Corps veteran who after many years of dedicated service to Holy Mother Church & the Order is too old & too sick to stand post. It is an honor to stand in his stead, to give him peace of mind that he can rest, that another will stand in the line for all those who cannot stand for themselves, just as he did faithfully for so many years. The new uniform is more up-to-date, but it does not have—it has not earned—the cache of the cape & chapeau. We ought not cling to past practice simply because it is past practice, but nor should we presume that past practice ought be discarded simply because it is past practice. What was the intended virtue of the past practice? What value does it still retain in itself?

The new uniform is more up-to-date, but I also fear it is too much of-the-moment. The beret especially invokes the wars of the past two decades, especially the years 2001-2011 when the United States Army mandated berets for all soldiers, not just elite units like the Rangers & the Special Forces, the latter more commonly known as the "Green Berets." (The Special Forces, as a distinct unit, ought not be confused with the many different units of special operations forces, as too commonly happens in the popular press.) The Army later reverted back to other forms of headgear, like the patrol cap & the boonie hat, once the inadequacies of the beret for everyday field use, such as those I groused about above, became overwhelmingly clear. Yes, the Army still retains the beret for many forms of dress uniform & the Fourth Degree uniform is intended for dress occasions, but the Order is still associating itself with a very specific martial era. How many decades will it be before the new uniform appears outdated? Rather fewer than more, I suspect. My intuition tells me that the new look will not stand the test of time as well as the cape & chapeau, & certainly not endure for four score years.

Unity & Fraternity
But more than the deficiencies of the new uniform, what's eating me has been the reaction among my brother Knights. The tenor of the online discussion has been hysterical, suspicious, accusatory, & in some cases even obscene. More than a few Sir Knights have thrown around loose talk of giving up their membership in the Fourth Degree, some of quitting the Order entirely. Nothing I've seen has been outside of the norm for the degraded tone of most social media discourse, & that's the problem. If Christians behave exactly the same as pagans, are we even Christians?
"This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
— The Christ (John, 13:35)
I understand that the cape & chapeau a cherished tradition. I called them so above because I subscribe to that very position myself, but the acrimony & scorn that have been directed at the Board of Directors since the announcement of the new uniform has been beyond the pale, the motives ascribed simply scandalous. It has been a bad week for the Knights of Columbus, less so due to the possibly misguided decisions of the Supreme Knight & the rest of the Supreme Council than to the intemperate, ungentlemanly reactions of so many rank-&-file Knights. I am proud to be a Knight of Columbus. I am proud of the many charitable works that we do, proud of our consistent stance to defend & aid the most vulnerable, most marginalized members of society—the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the hungry, the unborn. But this last week, confronted with the irrefutable evidence of how superficially so many of us have learned the lessons of charity (First Degree), unity (Second Degree), & fraternity (Third Degree), I have also been ashamed to be a Knight of Columbus. I'm not condemning any of my brother Knights & it is certainly not my place nor my intention to sit in judgment of anyone. We have all fallen short of the glory of God (cf. Romans, 3:23), & always shall this side o' the grave. But that said, admonishing sinners is a spiritual work of mercy, alongside forgiving offenses & bearing patiently with those who wrong us. This past week, too many of us have been far too quick to point out the splinter in a brother's eye, ignoring the plank in our own eye (cf. Matthew, 7:3).

The introduction of the new uniform means, practically speaking, the end of the road for the Color Corps of Assembly 510, the end of the Color Corps in the greater Flint metropolitan area, because my brother Sir Knights of the Color Corps & I are agreed, unanimously, that we do not like the new uniform & will not shell out $510.00 per man (plus tailoring expenses once the individual pieces arrive from Italy) to own it. The introduction of the new new uniform also occasioned deplorably uncharitable behavior in men who have publicly dedicated themselves to the imitation of Christ, & that above all else is what's eating The Last Angry Man!

God's Comic
Eye of the Tiber parodied the controversy with the headline "Swiss Guard to Modernize Uniforms to Hipster Jeans & Beanies:" Tiber-link. This seems an auspicious time to recall the Hipster Jesus:

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust!


The Aquabats!, "Super Rad!" from The Fury of The Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Skammentary!: I like The Aquabats!' newer music, which remains as witty & whimsical as ever, but I also miss their original ska sound. I am gratified that even as a quintet they continue to play some of the old songs in their live shows.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin & Martyr, O.C.D. (1891-1942, born Edith Stein), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Edith Stein, religious name: Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism & became a Discalced Carmelite nun.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
A brilliant philosopher who stopped believing in God when she was fourteen, Edith Stein was so captivated by reading the autobiography of [St.] Teresa of Ávila (15 October) that she began a spiritual journey that led her to Baptism in 1922. Twelve years later, she imitated Teresa by becoming a Carmelite, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), Edith abandoned Judaism in her teens. After living in the Cologne Carmel (1934-1938), she moved to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands. The Nazis occupied that country in 1940. In retaliation for being denounced by the Dutch bishops, the Nazis arrested all Dutch Jews who had become Christians. Teresa Benedicta & her sister Rosa, also a Catholic, died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz on 9 August 1942.
'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Thomas Palasor, Priest, & John Talbot, Martyrs (died 1600), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, two of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Tango Papa & Wikipedia-link Tango Papa, Martyr-link Juliett Tango & Wikipedia-link Juliett Tango; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Michał Tomaszek & Zbigniew Adam Strzałkowski, Priests & Martyrs, O.F.M. Conv. (died 1991), martyred by the Shining Path Communists, two of the Three Martyrs of Chimbote: Martyr-link Mike Tango, Martyr-link Zulu Alpha Sierra, & Wikipedia-link III.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Numbers, chapter thirteen, verses one, two, & twenty-five; & chapter fourteen, verses one, twenty-six thru twenty-nine(a), thirty-four, & thirty-five;
Psalm One Hundred Six, verses six & seven(a,b), thirteen & fourteen, twenty-one & twenty-two, & twenty-three;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fifteen, verses twenty-one thru twenty-eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we witness the strange exchange between Jesus and a feisty woman. It is one of the only scenes in the Gospels where someone seems to get the better of Jesus. First Jesus refuses even to acknowledge her. Then his disciples tell her to back off. Finally, Jesus hits her with a devastating one-liner: "I have come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel; it is not right to throw food to dogs."

This woman—probably a widow and certainly a foreigner—is given a triple brush-off. In this she stands for all those who stand outside, on the margins, alone. Then we hear the woman's snappy come-back: "Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the master's table." She will not be put off by this brusque behavior.

Now, what do we make of this story? A long tradition stresses the perseverance of the woman in the face of the "test" that Jesus sets for her. And there is something right about it. Augustine says that we pray in order to expand our will to accept what God is going to give us.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
The Book of Hosea, chapter two, verses sixteen(b,c), seventeen(c,d), twenty-one, & twenty-two;
Psalm Forty-five, verse eleven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses one thru thirteen.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


The Hippos, "Irie" from Forget the World (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary:
"The superficial life is wrong,
I won't look cool if I hit the bong,
Maybe I should be different from everybody,
Or maybe I should be, or maybe I should be me…"

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest, O.P. (1170-1221; of Osma, of Caleruega), founder of the Dominicans, formally the Order of Preachers: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.P.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a Castilian priest & founder of the Dominican order. Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Born in old Castile, Spain, he was trained for the priesthood by a priest-uncle, studied the arts & theology, & became a canon of the cathedral at Osma, where there was an attempt to revive the apostolic common life described in the Acts of the Apostles. On the journey through France with his bishop, he came face to face with the then virulent Albigensian heresy at Languedoc. The Albigensians (Cathari, "the pure") held that all matter was evil—hence they denied the Incarnation & sacraments. On the same principle, they abstained from procreation & took a minimum of food & drink. Dominic sensed the need for the Church to combat this heresy, & was commissioned to be part of the preaching crusade against it. He & his fellow preachers gradually became a community, & in 1215 he founded a religious house at Toulouse, the beginning of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).
'Tis also the festival of Saint Altmann of Passau, Bishop (circa 1015-1091): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed John Felton, Martyr (died 1570), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Father of Bl. Thomas Felton, O.F.M. [28 August], also martyred in the tyrannical persecutions of the queen Elizabeth I.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Religious, R.S.J. (1842-1909), foundress of the Josephites, formally the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link R.S.J.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Born in Melbourne in 1842 to parents who had emigrated from Scotland, Mary grew up in a family that faced constant financial struggles. As a young woman she was drawn to religious life but could not find an existing order of sisters that met her needs. In 1860, she met Father Julian Woods, who became her spiritual director. Together they founded a new community of women—the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, also known as the Josephite Sisters. Its members were to staff schools especially for poor children, as well as orphanages, & do other works of charity.

"Have courage no matter what your crosses are."—Mary Mother of the Cross (St. Mary MacKillop)
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Numbers, chapter twelve, verses one thru thirteen;
Psalm Fifty-one, verses three & four, five & six(a,b), six(c,d) & seven, & twelve & thirteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two thru thirty-six;
or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fifteen, verses one, two, & ten thru fourteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today is the story of Jesus walking on the water. Water is, throughout the Scriptures, a symbol of danger. At the very beginning, the spirit of the Lord hovered over the surface of the waters. This signals God's lordship over all of the powers of disorder.

In all four Gospels there is a version of this story of Jesus mastering the waves. The boat, with Peter and the other disciples, is evocative of the Church. It moves through the waters, and the Church will move through time. Storms—chaos, corruption, stupidity, danger, persecution—will inevitably arise.

Now during the fourth watch of the night, which is to say the darkest time of the night, Jesus comes walking on the sea. This is meant to be an affirmation of his divinity: just as the spirit of God hovered over the waters at the beginning, so Jesus hovers over them now. So he says to his terrified disciples: "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." But even more than that: you can participate in my power. "Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus." This is the story of all the saints.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Dominic
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter two, verses one thru ten(a);
Psalm Ninety-six, verse three;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-two.

Mass Readings—Requiem for Papa Echo Delta
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter twelve, verse thirty-one thru chapter thirteen, verse eight(a);
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter four, verses six, seven, & eight;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses one thru twelve(a).

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Mustard Plug, "Mendoza" from Evildoers Beware! (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: See? Love only usually, not always, ends in heartbreak in third-wave ska.
"'Cause you're too much woman for a man like me,
And my love grows faster than a growing weed,
Mendoza, Mendoza, why can't you see
That you're the only girl, you're the girl for me?…"
Being a Mustard Plug fan has always been a somewhat lovely pursuit. All the Blue Tree Whackers loved Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, & Mu330, but less so The Mighty Mighty Bosstones & most especially Mustard Plug. Sergeant Ska has apparently played on the same bill as Mustard Plug & reports unfavorably on their treatment of local bands. So, nobody loves Mustard Plug except me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Mu330, "Wide Awake" from Chumps on Parade (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: I would not be introduced to the "psycho ska" sound of Mu330 'til well after the Summer of Ska. They were the final opening band before Reel Big Fish at my first ska show, at Clutch Cargo's on a bitterly cold night in February 1999. That night remains a cherished memory, a highlight amidst halcyon years that even as we lived them we knew were a Golden Age. Mu330 remain the greatest opening-band find of all time, setting the bar impossibly high & thus setting up for failure every other opening band. I have had the privilege of seeing Mu330 live on stage in their hometown of St. Louis, the "mighty city by the mighty Mississippi."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Sixtus II, Pope, & Companions, Martyrs (died 258, also spelt Xystus), twenty-fourth Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperor Valerian: Martyr-link Sierra ūnus, Martyr-link Sierra duo, & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link VI & Wikipedia-link Foxtrot & Alpha.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Sixtus was martyred along with seven deacons, during the persecution of the Church by Emperor Valerian.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Cajetan, Priest, C.R. (1480-1547, born Gaetano dei Conti di Thiene), founder of the Theatines, formally the Congregation of Clerics Regular of the Divine Providence: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.R.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Cajetan was an Italian Catholic priest & religious reformer, who helped found the Theatines.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Cajetan joined the Oratory of Divine Love in Rome, a group devoted to piety & charity, shortly after his ordination at thirty-six. When he was forty-two, he founded a hospital for incurables at Venice. At Vicenza, he joined a "disreputable" religious community that consisted only of men of the lowest stations of life—& was roundly censured by his friends, who thought his action was a reflection on his family. He sought out the sick & poor of the town & served them.
'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Edward Bamber, Thomas Whittaker, & John Woodcock (O.F.M.), Priests & Martyrs (died 1646), martyred in the reign of the Long Parliament, three of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Echo Bravo & Wikipedia-link Echo Bravo, Martyr-link Tango Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Tango Whiskey, & Martyr-link Juliett Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Juliett Whiskey; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Numbers, chapter eleven, verses four(b) thru fifteen;
Psalm Eighty-one, verses twelve & thirteen, fourteen & fifteen, & sixteen & seventeen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses thirteen thru twenty-one.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today tells about the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus instructs the crowd to recline, and they do so on the grass. Taking the loaves and dried fish, Jesus makes a meal that satisfies the enormous crowd. They are hungry, tired, worn out from their exertions, and Jesus gives them sustenance for the day.

For Thomas Aquinas, the great metaphor for the Eucharist is sustenance, food for the journey. The Eucharist is daily food, sustenance for the journey, nourishment to get us through the day to day. How effective would we be if we never ate, or ate only on special occasions and in a festive environment? Not very. So, in the spiritual life, we must eat and drink or we will not have strength.

Is this just meant in some vague symbolic way? No, rather in a vividly analogical way. For just as the body needs physical nourishment, the spirit needs spiritual nourishment and there is no getting around this law.

Now think of how many Catholics are absent from the Mass and the Eucharist and Confession or even daily prayer. This spiritual malnourishment is the number one problem facing our Church.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Sixtus II & Companions
The Book of Wisdom, chapter three, verses one thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-three.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Cajetan
The Book of Sirach, chapter two, verses seven thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verse one;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twelve, verses thirty-two, thirty-three, & thirty-four.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXI

Operation AXIOM: The World War
August 1917: Dazzle camouflage, promoted by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill early in the war ('til May 1915, taking the fall for the Gallipoli fiasco), was reintroduced as a countermeasure against rising Entente shipping loses due to German unrestricted submarine warfare; the purpose was not to conceal, but to confuse & confound enemy ranging & targeting systems—to dazzle.






Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Transfiguration of the Lord

Late Edition
Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord: Transfiguration-link ūnus, Transfiguration-link duo, Wikipedia-link Transfiguration, & Wikipedia-link Feast.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. The Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated on 6 August no matter the day of the week, this year superseding what would otherwise be the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Jesus is transfigured (or metamorphosed) & becomes radiant in glory upon a mountain.
Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
The Book of Daniel, chapter seven, verses nine, ten, thirteen, & fourteen;
Psalm Ninety-seven, verses one & two, five & six, & nine;
The Second Letter of Peter, chapter one, verses sixteen thru nineteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seventeen, verses one thru nine.

Commentary: Video Gospel reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the Transfiguration of Lord. I would like to place this event and story within their clearly Jewish and Biblical framework. The transfiguration takes place on a mountain, and this immediately places it in relation to the Old Testament. The law is given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and Elijah challenges the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. Mountains are places of encounter with God.

So, in the New Testament, Jesus gives his law on a mountain: the Sermon on the Mount; he dies on Mt. Calvary, and, in a climactic moment in his public life, he brings three of his disciples to the top of a mountain—and there he is transfigured before them.

What is especially being stressed here is the manner in which Jesus represents the fulfillment of the Old Testament revelation, economically symbolized by the two figures with whom he converses: Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets. When a Jew of Jesus' time would speak of the Scriptures, he would use a shorthand: the law and the prophets. So in speaking to Moses and Elijah, in the glory of the transfiguration, Jesus signals that he brings them to their proper fulfillment.

Mass Journal: Week 32
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
In any moment when you surrender to the will of God & choose to be the-best-version-of-yourself (sic), you are holy. Any moment that you grasp as an opportunity to exercise virtue is a holy moment. But as quickly as this holiness can be found, it can be lost, because in any moment that you choose to be less than the-best-version-of-yourself (sic), you have become distracted from living a holy life. There is nothing more attractive than holiness. This attractiveness has not only been demonstrated in Jesus, but is constantly demonstrated here & now in our own place & time: whenever someone goes out of his or her way to ease the burden of a stranger; whenever someone is honest; whenever someone lays down his or her life by working hard to support his or her family; whenever someone rejects the premise of modern culture. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul writes, "This is the will of God: that you be saints" (1 Thessalonians, 4:3). God wants you to be holy. Your holiness is the desire of God, the delight of God, & the source of your happiness. To embrace who you were created to be & to become the-best-version-of-yourself (sic) is God's dream for you. Therefore, holiness is for everyone, not just for a select few, for monks in monasteries & nuns in convents; it is for you & me.

If not a Sunday, 6 August would also be the festival of Saints Justus & Pastor, Martyrs (died circa 304, of Alcalá), martyred in the reign of the emperor Diocletian: Martyr-link Juliett, Martyr-link Papa, & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Hormisdas, Pope (450-523), fifty-second Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Bonus! Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Save Ferris, "Come On Eileen" from It Means Everything (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary: I have ever lamented the fact that "Come on Eileen," a cover of the Dexy's Midnight Runners' hit, was Save Ferris's biggest hit, bigger than any of their original songs, but that's just the way things were back in the Summer of Ska. "Come on Eileen" is another outstanding example to the venerable ska-punk tradition of ska covers of 1980s pop songs.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Lord's Transfiguration

Sufjan Stevens, "The Transfiguration (Home Demo Version)" from Illinois (The Last Angry Man)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog Edition

Friday, 4 August was the Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest, T.O.S.F. (1786-1859; in the original French, Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Patron saint of parish priests. He is often referred to as the "Curé d'Ars" (i.e., Parish Priest of Ars), internationally known for his priestly & pastoral work in his parish in Ars, France, because of the radical spiritual transformation of the community & its surroundings. Catholics attribute this to his saintly life, mortification, his persevering ministry in the sacrament of confession, & his ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
After overcoming many difficulties (St. John Vianney was not a gifted student), he was ordained a priest in 1815. He was entrusted with a parish in the town of Ars in the diocese of Belley. Since he was renowned for his great skill in helping penitents, people came to him from many regions & devoutly accepted his counsels. Recommending liturgical prayer, John Vianney would say, "Private prayer is like straw scattered here & there: If you set it on fire, it makes a lot of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle & light them, & you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that."
'Twas also the festival of Saint Sithney, Religious (died circa 529): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Lua, Priest & Abbot (circa 554-609, A.K.A. Molua, Lughaidh, etc.; of Limerick, of Killaloe): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of that Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Leviticus, chapter twenty-three, verses one, four thru eleven, fifteen, sixteen, twenty-seven, & thirty-four(b) thru thirty-seven;
Psalm Eighty-one, verses three & four, five & six, & ten & eleven(a,b);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses forty-four thru fifty-eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we honor St. John Vianney, the model and patron for diocesan priests. We need priests, for without priests there is no Eucharist, and without the Eucharist, there is no Church. St. John Paul II [22 October], in his final encyclical stated this as clearly and boldly as possible: ecclesia de eucharistia (the Church comes from the Eucharist).

Priests are the descendants of those first disciples who sat in intimacy with Jesus himself, watching him at close quarters, learning his mind and heart, summoned to work for the coming of the kingdom. Priests participate in Christ, precisely in his capacity as head and shepherd of his people.

Priests are called "father," for that is what they are. They give life in the spiritual order. Look to the example of St. John Vianney, who spent hours in the confessional and in the pulpit; to St. Maximilian Kolbe [14 August], who offered his life with the words, "I am a Catholic priest;" to Fr. Gary Graf, a Chicago priest who gave part of his own liver so that one of his parishioners might live. They do all of these things because they are spiritual fathers, life-givers in the spiritual order.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. John Vianney
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter three, verses seventeen thru twenty-one;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, verse fifteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verse thirty-five thru chapter ten, verse one.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, Wikipedia-link Dedication, & Wikipedia-link Basilica.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
It is Papal major basilica & the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy, from which size it receives the appellation "major." The basilica enshrines the venerated image of Salus Populi Romani depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary as the health & protectress of the Roman people.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Oswald of Northumbria, Martyr (circa 604-642, A.K.A. King Oswald), martyred in battle against the pagan king Penda of Mercia: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Abel of Reims, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 751): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Leviticus, chapter twenty-five, verses one & eight thru seventeen;
Psalm Sixty-seven, verses two & three, five, & seven & eight;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses one thru twelve.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel tells of the death of John the Baptist. Herod had arrested John, from whom Jesus had sought baptism, and put him to death. The arrest and death of John the Baptist were signals for Jesus.

Jesus immediately after the arrest withdraws to Galilee and then commences his own ministry of preaching and healing. Are these two events just coincidentally related? Hardly. Jesus read the arrest of John as a kind of signal that he was to begin.

We must remember that Jesus, like any Jew of his time, would have read the world through the lens of the Sacred Scriptures. They were the interpretive framework for everything. It was a commonplace of the prophets and the psalms and parts of the Torah that the era of the Messiah would be preceded by a time of tribulation, when the opponents of God would rise up to counter God's purposes.

Jesus saw this in the arrest of John. This great national figure, this prophet to Israel, was arrested and eventually killed by the enemies of God—and he took it as a signal that his own Messianic work should begin.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The Book of Revelation, chapter twenty-one, verses one thru five(a);
The Book of Judith, chapter fifteen, verse nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses twenty-seven & twenty-eight.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: SKAugust


Less Than Jake, "Al's War" from Hello Rockview (The Last Angry Rude Boy)

Skammentary:
"He was the one who always did the right things,
He was the one who would always listen
To everything they'd say,
But today, he's never going back…"
Hello Rockview (which, it must be noted, should be written with a comma, as "Hello, Rockview") was not released 'til the fall of '98, over a year after the Summer of Ska, but it was one of seminal albums of third-wave ska & was greeted as an instant classic. Amidst the enthusiastic ska kids of Blue Tree Whacking, it was quickly & universally agreed that Hello Rockview was Less Than Jake's best work, an assertion that was not open to debate 'til the release of Anthem in 2003 or GNV FLA in '08.