Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


Fountains of Wayne, "Firelight Waltz" from Sky Full of Holes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "Firelight Waltz" has that light touch of melancholy that I always find appropriate to a beautiful summer's day.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XII Sunday in Ordinary Time

Backlog Edition, Part III
Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!

Sunday, 25 June was the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter twenty, verses ten thru thirteen;
Psalm Sixty-nine, verses eight, nine, & ten; fourteen; seventeen; & thirty-three, thirty-four, & thirty-five;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter five, verses twelve thru fifteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-six 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 gives us the biblical antidote for fear. What are you afraid of? What do you have to lose? Does it terrify you to think that you might lose your wealth? Your social status? The affection of others? Your health? Your power and influence? Your reputation and good name? Your life? I’ve spoken often of my favorite movie, A Man For All Seasons. What frustrated Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII about Thomas More is that they couldn’t manipulate him. And why couldn’t they do that? He wasn’t afraid. There was nothing they could threaten him with.

In time, Henry took away More’s job, status, money, reputation, friends, family, freedom—each time hoping that he would give in—until finally the King took away his life. Everyone else he could intimidate, but not More.

And Thomas More’s last words are instructive here: “I die the King’s good servant; but God’s first.” Thomas More did fear someone. He had that holy fear that the Bible speaks of often: the fear of the Lord. There was something he feared losing—and that was intimacy and friendship with God. Compared to that, everything else was straw.
Mass Journal: Week 26
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Only one thing is necessary for Catholicism to flourish—authentic lives. Throughout history, wherever you find men & women genuinely striving to live the Christian life, the Church has always blossomed. If we wish to speak effectively to the modern world about God, the Christian life, & Catholicism, we must be thriving, blossoming, & flourishing in that life. The best way to speak about God is to thrive in the life He calls us to live. The authentic life begins with the simple desire to be who God created us to be & cooperate with God by playing the part He has designed for us in human history. The adventure of salvation begins when we stop asking, "What's in it for me?" & turn humbly to God in our hearts & ask, How may I serve? What work do you wish for me to do with my life? What is Your will for my life?
Otherwise, 25 June would have been the festival of Saint William of Montevergine, Abbot, O.S.B. (1085-1142, A.K.A. of Vercelli), founder of the Williamites, formally the Congregation of Monte Vergine: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monte Vergine.

Commentary: Last year, amidst a seasonal flurry of activity, I neglected Project BLACK MAMBA for three weeks. I put in extra time over the following weeks to make up the lost ground, but it appears that I simply overlooked 25 June. In 2015, late June/early July was also saw the nadir of BLACK MAMBA activity, with a conspicuous absence of posts. So, even as we approach the third anniversary of what was originally Objective BLACK MAMBA, this albeit belated post is the first honoring 25 June's saints. "Better late than never" is cold comfort, but it shall have to suffice. Next year, BLACK MAMBA or bust!

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop & Martyr (circa 130-202, of Lyons), martyred in the reign of the emperor Septimius Severus: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Paul I, Pope (700-767), ninety-third Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter fifteen, verses one thru twelve, seventeen, & eighteen;
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses one & two, three & four, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses fifteen thru twenty.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Irenaeus, a Father of the Church. He expressed the heart of Christian spirituality when he said, “Gloria Dei homo vivens”—the glory of God is a human being fully alive.

So many of the gods worshipped by ancient peoples were imagined as rivals to humanity, competitors standing over and against us and resentful of our excellence. For instance, in the Greek myth of Prometheus, the human hero steals precious fire from the gods and spreads it on the earth to the benefit of all, but when the gods learn of this theft, they are outraged. They track down Prometheus, tie him to a rock, and send an eagle every day to tear out his liver. In the desperate zero-sum game of human/divine competition, Prometheus had to pay a price for his presumption.

But there is none of this in Christianity. God is not our rival; rather he is the one who rejoices in our being fully alive. God pours out the whole of creation in an effervescent act of generosity, and then, even more surprisingly, he draws his human creatures, through Christ, into the intimacy of friendship with him.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Irenaeus
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter two, verses twenty-two(b) thru twenty-six;
Psalm Thirty-seven, verse thirty(a);
The Gospel according to John, chapter seventeen, verses twenty thru twenty-six.

Mass Readings—Vigil of Ss. Peter & Paul
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter three, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Nineteen, verses two & three, four & five;
The Letter to the Galatians, chapter one, verses eleven thru twenty;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twenty-one, verses fifteen thru nineteen.

Bible Study—Vacation Bible School
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty-two (verses one thru twenty);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty-three, verses one thru thirty;
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty, verse five.

Commentary: Reign of Josiah (2 Kings, 22:1-7) & the Book of the Law (22:8-23:30); excerpt from VI. The Words of Agur (Proverbs, 30:5).

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog Edition, Part II

Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!

Saturday, 24 June was the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (six months B.C.): Baptist-link ūnus, Baptist-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
On this Solemnity, we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist, the herald of the Messiah. The account of his birth is recounted in the first chapter of the Gospel according to (St.) Luke (18 October).
The Baptist's martyrdom is also commemorated, on 29 August.


Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty-nine, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-nine, verses one(b), two, & three; thirteen & fourteen(a,b); & fourteen(c) & fifteen;
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter thirteen, verses twenty-two thru twenty-six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-six & eighty.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel celebrates the birth of John the Baptist. I think it’s fair to say that you cannot really understand Jesus without understanding John, which is precisely why all four evangelists tell the story of the Baptist as a kind of overture to the story of Jesus. John did not draw attention to himself. Rather, he presented himself as a preparation, as a forerunner, a prophet preparing the way of the Lord. He was summing up much of Israelite history, but stressing that this history was open-ended, unfinished.

And therefore, how powerful it was when, upon spying Jesus coming to be baptized, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” No first century Israelite would have missed the meaning of that: behold the one who has come to be sacrificed. Behold the sacrifice, which will sum up, complete, and perfect the temple. Moreover, behold the Passover lamb, who sums up the whole meaning of that event and brings it to fulfillment.

And this is why John says, “He must increase and I must decrease.” In other words, the overture is complete; and now the great opera begins. The preparatory work of Israel is over, and now the Messiah will reign.
Otherwise, 24 June would have been the festival of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Our Lady-link ūna, Our Lady-link duae & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the Saturday following the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a moveable feast observed on the third Friday following Pentecost, & so a moveable feast as well. Solemnities outweigh all other festivals; the timing of the Solemnities of the Sacred Heart & the Nativity of the Baptist being on back-to-back days squeezed out the memorial of the Immaculate Heart. Our Lady's heart, being immaculate, is supremely patient, understanding, & forgiving.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog Edition, Part I

Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!

Friday, 23 June was the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Sacred Heart-link, Wikipedia-link Sacred Heart, & Wikipedia-link Solemnity.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.


Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter seven, verses six thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one & two, three & four, six & seven, eight, & ten;
The First Letter of John, chapter four, verses seven thru sixteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five thru thirty.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel has been described as a Johannine bolt from the Matthean blue, meaning that Jesus speaks here in a manner much more characteristic of John’s Gospel than Matthew’s. We are being invited into very deep mysteries by this passage. Jesus addresses his Father and thereby reveals his own deepest identity within the Holy Trinity. He says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the little ones.”

It is important we keep in mind that this is not simply a good and holy man addressing God, but rather the very Son of God addressing his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.
Mass Readings—Vigil of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter one, verses four thru ten;
Psalm Seventy-one, verses one & two, three & four(a), five & six(a,b), & fifteen(a,b) & seventeen;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter one, verses eight thru twelve;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses five thru seventeen.

Otherwise, 23 June would have been the festival of Saint Peter of Juilly, Priest & Religious, O.S.B. (died 1136): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also have been the festival of Saint Thomas Garnet, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (circa 1575-1608), martyred in the reign of the king James VI & I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XL.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also have been the festival of Saint Giuseppe Cafasso, Priest (1811-1860, Anglicized as Joseph Cafasso): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (circa 376-444): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. St. Cyril is especially noted for his conflict with the heretical bishop Nestorius, who denied that the Blessed Virgin Mary was the Theotokos ("God-bearer"), the Mother of God. Methinks it very fitting then that 27 June is also a Marian feast day.

'Tis also the festival of Our Lady of Perpetual Help: Our Lady-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter thirteen, verses two & five thru eighteen;
Psalm Fifteen, verses two & three(a), three(b,c) & four(a,b), & five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses six, twelve, thirteen, & fourteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel calls us to expect that God will answer our prayers. Faith is power, for it is a link to the reality of God, the power that made and sustains the cosmos. When we remain in the narrow confines of our perceptions, our thoughts, our hopes, we live in a very cramped way.

To have faith is, to use the current jargon, to live outside of the box, risking, venturing, believing the impossible. Sometimes, the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. There is a long tradition, stretching back to Jesus himself and including many of the saints, of faith healing. When someone consciously and confidently opens himself to God, acting as a kind of conduit, the divine energy can flow.

There is also the power of prayer. When some people ask in a spirit of trust, really believing that what they are asking for will happen, it happens.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter four, verses one thru five;
Psalm Eighty-nine, verse two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirteen thru nineteen.

Bible Study—Vacation Bible School
The Second Book of Kings, chapter eighteen (verses one thru thirty-seven);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter nineteen (verses one thru thirty-seven);
Psalm Forty-six, verse two.

Commentary: V. The Kingdom of Judah after 721 B.C.: Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:1-12), Invasion of Sennacherib (18:13-37), Hezekiah & Isaiah (19:1-19), & Punishment of Sennacherib (19:20-37); excerpt from God, the Protector of Zion (Psalm 46:2).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day!

The Aquabats!, "Attacked by Snakes!" from The Fury of the Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary:
"So many snakes it would take a thousand crates
To contain the snakes after me,
I'd rather be burned at the stake than be
Attacked by snakes…"

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


Paul Simon, "You Can Call Me Al" from Graceland (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Apparently, "You Can Call Me Al" is a summer thing: Wayback Machine. Also, because it is one of the all-time-classic music videos: YouTube-link.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Blessed Khalīl al-Haddād, Priest, O.F.M. Cap. (1875-1954, A.K.A. Ya'Qūb of Ghazīr), founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Priest (1902-1975), founder of Opus Dei, formally the Prelature of the Holy Cross & Opus Dei: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Opus Dei.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter twelve, verses one thru nine;
Psalm Thirty-three, verses twelve & thirteen, eighteen & nineteen, & twenty & twenty-two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses one thru five.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus commands us to stop judging others. He asks, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” We are exceptionally good at seeing the fault in others, but we are exceptionally adept at ignoring it in ourselves.

There was a very popular book that came out when I was a teenager. It was called, I’m Okay and You’re Okay. It represented the culture of exculpation and feel-good-about-yourself. Not many years ago, Christina Aguilera crooned, “I am beautiful in every single way and your words can’t get me down.” Look at so many of the debates today: the attitude that is winning is one of self-invention and self-assertion. Who are you to tell me how to behave?

In all of this, we are fundamentally looking away from our guilt, our fault, our darkness. We are effectively drugging ourselves, dulling the pain of real self-consciousness. In the process, we turn ourselves into God, pretending to be absolute, flawless, and impervious to criticism. So “remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye..”
Bible Study—Vacation Bible School
The Book of Joshua, chapter five, verses thirteen, fourteen, & fifteen;
The Book of Joshua, chapter six (verses one thru twenty-seven);
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter fifteen, verse fifty-seven.

Commentary: Siege at Jericho (Joshua, 5:13-6:19) & the Fall of Jericho (6:20-27); excerpt from the Resurrection Event (1 Corinthians, 15:57).

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Part 1
The Book of Exodus, chapter twelve (verses one thru fifty-one);
The Book of Exodus, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Exodus, chapter fourteen (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Book of Exodus, chapter fifteen (verses one thru twenty-seven).

Commentary: The Passover Ritual Prescribed (12:1-29), Promulgation of the Passover (12:20-28), Death of the First-born (12:28-30), Permission to Depart (12:31-36), II. The Exodus from Egypt & the Journey to Sinai: Departure from Egypt (12:37-42), Passover Regulations (12:43-51), Consecration of First-born (13:1-16), Toward the Red Sea (13:17-14:9), Crossing the Red Sea (14:10-22), Destruction of the Egyptians (14:23-15:21), & At Marah & Elim (15:22-27).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLV

Operation AXIOM: The World War
24 June 1917: "The Red Baron," Manfred von Richthofen, was given command of Jagdgeschwader 1 (J.G. 1), a new formation nicknamed "the Flying Circus" not only for its gaily colored aeroplanes but also because it traveled by train all along the Western Front, providing mission-specific, on-the-spot air superiority for the Germans, who were broadly outnumbered by the combined Entente air forces.





Lest we forget.

Commentary: We here at "The Explorers' Club" strive for accuracy. The images that accompany the real-time centenary of the World War are fraught with opportunities for anachronism, the example par excellence being a photo that popped up during a search for images of the Christmas truce of 1914 showing a British or Imperial soldier wearing a Brodie helmet & a German soldier wearing a Stahlhelm, even though neither helmet would be in front-line service 'til 1916, over a year after the Christmas truce (Wayback Machine). This is germane to today's episode in that Richthofen's Flying Circus is chiefly & most famously depicted flying the Fokker Dr.I triplane, yet at this point that would be anachronistic, since the Dreidecker was not introduced 'til August 1917, two months from "now," when Richthofen himself was away from the front recovering from a head wound. So, finding period-appropriate imagery of the Flying Circus is not quite so easy as one might otherwise suppose.

Bonus! Song of the Lord's Day


The Byrds, "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" via iTunes (from Turn! Turn! Turn!) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Another song inspired by the closure of All Saints. There is a time to open new parishes & a time to close old parishes. Parishes prosper, parishes perish. To everything there is a season.
"To everything—Turn! Turn! Turn!
There is a season—Turn! Turn! Turn!
And a time to every purpose under heaven.

"A time to gain, a time to lose,
A rime to rend, a time to sow,
A time for love, a time for hate,
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late!"

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Lord's Day


The Dixieland All Stars, "When the Saints Go Marching In" via iTunes (from The Dixieland All Stars: The Greatest Band In the World) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I am newly returned home after serving in the K. of C. honor guard escorting His Excellency the Most Reverend Earl Boyea, fifth Bishop of Lansing, at the closing Mass for All Saints Catholic Church in Flint. Though the current building only dates from circa 1960, the parish of All Saints had been erected in 1910, carved out from the mostly Irish parish of Saint Michael, to better serve the Eastern European parishioners. Yet another reminder that the only constant is change.

Bonus! Song of Last Night


Cake, "Long Line of Cars" from Comfort Eagle (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"There's a long line of cars
And they're trying to get through,
There's no single explanation,
There's no central destination,
But this long line of cars,
Is trying to get through,
And this long line of cars
Is all because of you.

"We don't wonder where we're going
Or remember where we've been,
We've got to keep this traffic flowing
And accept a little sin,
So this long line of cars
Will never have an end,
And this long line of cars
Keeps coming round again…"

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day

Barenaked Ladies, "Brian Wilson" from Gordon (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This is a very unexpected choice for the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., from where I'm sitting, but when the muses sing whom am I to do anything but listen & heed their decision?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bonus! Song of the Day

Fountains of Wayne, "Radio Bar" from Sky Full of Holes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"We got some big things brewin',
What does it look like we're doin'?
We'll get to it sooner or later,
Not tonight at the Radio Bar.
But if you're ready, willin', and able,
You can pass out here on a table,
Beats sitting home watching cable,
Get some rest at the Radio Bar…

"One night there was a girl there,
For some reason she pulled up her chair,
She said, 'Why don't we go somewhere?'
So I passed her her coat,
That was all that she wrote,
That was it for the Radio Bar.

"O-o-o-o,
O-o-o-o,
O-o-o-o,
That was it for the Radio Bar."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Paulinus of Nola, Bishop (circa 354-431): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Paulinus was born in Bordeaux in France in 355. He advanced in the service of the state, married, & had a son. Desirous of an austere life, he received baptism &, having disposed of all worldly goods, began to live the monastic life in 393, at Nola in Campagna. He later was made bishop of that city & promoted the cult of St. Felix (of Nola, 14 January), assisted pilgrims, & diligently alleviated the misfortunes of the day. He also composed poems remarkable for their fine language. St. Paulinus died in 431.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saints John Fisher, Bishop, & Thomas More, Martyrs (died 1535), martyred in the reign of the king Henry VIII: Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot ūnus, Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot duo, & Wikipedia-link Juliett Foxtrot; Martyr-link Tango Mike ūnus, Martyr-link Tango Mike duo, & Wikipedia-link Tango Mike.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. John Fisher was born in 1469. After completing his theological studies at Cambridge in England, he was ordained to the priesthood. Appointed bishop of Rochester, he led a most austere life & fulfilled his pastoral role by frequently visiting the faithful. He also composed works against the errors of the time. While detained in prison, Bishop Fisher was named a cardinal by Pope Paul III.

St. Thomas More was born in 1477 & was educated at Oxford. He married & had one son & three daughters. While (Lord) Chancellor in the King's Court, he wrote works on governance of the realm & in defense of the Faith. Both he & St. John Fisher were beheaded in 1535 by order of King Henry VIII, whom they had resisted in the matter of his divorce: John Fisher on 22 June & Thomas More on 6 July.
I have seen with my own eyes the famous picture,
Portrait of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger, at the Frick Collection in Old New Amsterdam: picture-link. A prayer of St. Thomas More's:
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, & also something to digest.

Grant me a healthy body, & the necessary good humor to maintain it.

Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good & that doesn't frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.

Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs, & laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called "I."

Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, & to be able to share it with others. Amen.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Innocent V, Pope, O.P. (circa 1225-1276), one hundred eighty-fifth Bishop of Rome: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter eleven, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Eleven, verses one(b) & two, three & four, & seven & eight;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses seven thru fifteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, the Gospel for today is of great significance, for in it the Son of God teaches us to pray. We hear from not just a guru, a spiritual teacher, or religious genius, but from the very Son of God. This is why the Our Father, the Lord’s prayer, is the model of all prayer.

The Lord’s prayer is the prayer for the Christian journey which has been offered up consistently for the past two thousand years. Think for a moment how this prayer links us to all of the great figures in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, right up to the present day.

Keep in mind that prayer is not designed so much to change God’s mind or to tell God something he doesn’t know. God isn’t like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. Rather, he is rather the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be the things we want.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Paulinus of Nola
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter eight, verses nine thru fifteen;
Psalm Forty, verses eight(a) & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twelve, verses thirty-two, thirty-three, & thirty-four.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of Ss. John Fisher & Thomas More
The First Letter of Peter, chapter four, verses twelve thru nineteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses thirty-four thru thirty-nine.

Penance
Psalm Ninety-three (verses one thru five).

Commentary: God Is a Mighty King (Ps. 93).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


Michael Caine, "If—" via iTunes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: A recitation of the poem by Rudyard Kipling.
"If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too…"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Autobahn


Yesterday, while piloting the Malibu Stacy, I passed a vintage A.M.C. Pacer, replete with an historical license plate from the Michigan Secretary of State. The driver had a vintage, era-appropriate haircut. I proffered a thumbs-up, to which the Pacer pilot responded not by waving his left hand, which rested on the window sill holding a lit cigarette, but by taking his right hand off the steering wheel & offering a little splayed-finger wave.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, S.J. (1568-1591): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Aloysius was born of the princely family of Castiglione in 1568 near Mantua inLombardy. Instructed in piety by his mother, he manifested an inclination to religious life. He legally delivered his share of the ancestral dominion to his brother & entered the Society of Jesus. While serving the sick during a plague, he himself contracted the disease & died in 1591.
'Tis also the festival of Saint John Rigby, Martyr (circa 1570-1600), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter nine, verses six thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verses one(b,c) & two, three & four, & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses one thru six, sixteen, seventeen, & eighteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, todays Gospel prescribes the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I want to speak about the Biblical principle behind almsgiving. I know I’ve quoted to you before some of the breathtaking remarks of saints and Popes. For example, Pope Leo XIII said, “once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of your money belongs to the poor.” St. John Chrysostom (13 September) said—and St. Ambrose (7 December) echoed him—“For the man who has two shirts in his closet, one belongs to him; the other belongs to the man who has no shirt.” These ideas are, of course, rooted in the Biblical prophets, who continually rail against those who are indifferent to the poor.

Compassion is key to Christian ethics, learning to suffer with and feel with the other. We’re not dealing with an abstract Aristotelian moral philosophy, but rather with something more visceral.

This is precisely why the two great commandments are so tightly linked: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself.” In loving God, you feel the feelings of God, and God is compassionate to the poor and oppressed. That’s all the argument that a Biblical person needs.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga
The First Letter of John, chapter five, verses one thru five;
cf. Psalm Sixteen, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-two, verses thirty-four thru forty.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Part 1
The Book of Exodus, chapter six, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty;
The Book of Exodus, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-nine);
The Book of Exodus, chapter eight (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Exodus, chapter nine (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Exodus, chapter ten (verses one thru twenty-nine);
The Book of Exodus, chapter eleven (verses one thru ten).

Commentary: Moses & Aaron before Pharaoh (6:28-7:7), the Staff Turns into a Snake (7:8-13), First Plague: Water Turned into Blood (7:14-24), Second Plague: the Frogs (7:25-8:11), Third Plague: the Gnats (8:12-15), Fourth Plague: the Flies (8:16-28), Fifth Plague: the Pestilence (9:1-7), Sixth Plague: the Boils (9:8-12), Seventh Plague: the Hail (9:13-35), Eight Plague: the Locusts (10:1-20), Ninth Plague: the Darkness (10:21-29), & Tenth Plague: the Death of the First-born (11:1-10).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the First Day of Summer


Fountains of Wayne, "A Dip In the Ocean" from Sky Full of Holes (The Last Angry Man)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Summer Solstice


They Might Be Giants, "Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)" from the Why Does the Sun Shine? E.P. (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The solstice will take place shortly after midnight, when sacred Michigan will already be plunged into dark of night. Just as well, since sacred Michigan being sacred Michigan, the sunset is tonight obscured by clouds, specifically storm clouds & thus the thunderstorm graphic.

Project BLACK MAMBA, Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 910-981), the "Apostle to the Slavs:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Dermot O'Hurley, Bishop & Martyr (circa 1530-1584), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link & Wikipedia-link Irish.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds John Fenwick, John Gavan, William Harcourt, Anthony Turner, & Thomas Whitbread; Priests & Martyrs, S.J. (died 1679); martyred in the reign of the king Charles II; victims of the perjurer Titus Oates's fabricated "Popish Plot:" Martyr-link Juliett Foxtrot & Wikipedia-link Juliett Foxtrot, Martyr-link Juliett Golf & Wikipedia-link Juliett Golf, Martyr-link Whiskey Hotel & Wikipedia-link Whiskey Hotel, Martyr-link Alpha Tango & Wikipedia-link Alpha Tango, & Martyr-link Tango Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Tango Whiskey.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter eight, verses one thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-six, verses two, five & six(a,b), six(c) & seven, & eight & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses forty-three thru forty-eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel tells us to love our enemies so that we may be like the Father. What is the Father of Jesus Christ like? Well, listen: “He makes his sun to rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” The Father of Jesus Christ is love, right through. That’s all God is; that’s all he knows how to do. He is not like us: unstable, changing, moving from one attitude to another. No, God simply is love.

In every case, his grace comes first, and grace is all that he has to give. This is why the comparison to the sun and the rain is so apt. The sun doesn’t ask who deserves its warmth or its light before it shines. It just shines, and both good and bad people receive it. Neither does the rain inquire as to the moral rectitude of those upon whom it showers its life-giving goodness. It just pours—and both just and unjust people receive it.
Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Part 1
The Book of Exodus, chapter one (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Exodus, chapter two (verses one thru twenty-five);
The Book of Exodus, chapter three (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Exodus, chapter four (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Book of Exodus, chapter five (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Exodus, chapter six, verses one thru twenty-seven.

Commentary: Jacob's Descendants in Egypt (1:1-7), the Oppression (1:8-14), Command to the Midwives (1:15-22), Birth & Adoption of Moses (2:1-10), Moses's Flight to Midian (2:11-22), the Burning Bush (2:23-3:3), the Call to Moses (3:4-22), Confirmation of Moses's Mission (4:1-9), Aaron's Office as Assistant (4:10-17), Moses's Return to Egypt (4:18-31), Pharaoh's Obduracy (5:1-13), Complaint of the Foremen (5:14-21), Renewal of God's Promise (5:22-6:13), & Genealogy of Moses & Aaron (6:14-27).

Hollywoodland | This Week in Motorsport


The twenty-four hours of the 24 Heures du Mans was not enough. I stayed up way too late to watch Le Mans for the umpteenth time. Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

The downside is that this self-indulgence will probably delay publication of the eagerly-anticipated Le Mans recap post. C'est la vie!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day


Carl Douglas, "Kung Fu Fighting" via iTunes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: My enduring fondness for the Immortal Iron Fist comic book prompted the image that accompanies today's R.B.D.S.O.T.D. However, I feel it necessary to reiterate that the Iron Fist Netflix series was really, really bad: tonally inconsistent, overlong, not at all compelling, & dull. Such is my disdain for Iron Fist that I will not watch the upcoming Inhumans television show, which is being run by the same talentless hack who ran Iron Fist into the ground.

The Queue

I'd read precious few Archie comics before picking up a Riverdale Digest at the grocery store, a six & a half inch by five inch (6 1/2" x 5") volume containing the first issues of ongoing series Archie, Jughead, Betty & Veronica, & Josie and the Pussycats, & the limited series Reggie and Me. Interest piqued, I searched the Genesee District Library electronic card catalogue. I will say that I found teenage comic soap opera far more edifying than the last several superhero volumes I've read. Superhero comics are just so hysterical & either insufferably self-important or too clever by half. It was nice to read some comics that were just plain fun.

Recently
Hilaire Belloc, How the Reformation Happened
Pope Francis, Amoris Lætitia (The Joy of Love)
Mark Waid & Fiona Staples, Veronica Fish, et al., Archie, Volumes One & Two

Currently
Fulton Sheen, Finding True Happiness

Presently
Mark Waid with Lori Matsumoto & Joe Eisma, Archie, Volume Three
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***interrupted***
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
William F. Buckley Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Edward Sri & Curtis Martin, The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Project BLACK MAMBA: 11th Week in Ordinary Time

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Romuald, Abbot, O.S.B.Cam. (circa 950-1027, of Ravenna), founder of the Camaldolese Order, a tradition that encompasses both eremitic & cenobitic monasticism: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.S.B.Cam. & Er.Cam.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Romuald was born in Ravenna in the middle of the tenth century. He embraced the hermit's life & for many years traveled through various lands seeking solitude & establishing small monasteries while directing himself to a life of perfection by the practice of the virtues. he fought strenuously against the depraved habits of the monks of his day. he died around the year 1027.
Nothing, again, in the Holy Redeemer bulletin. I shall write to the bulletin editor today, asking for the hagiographies to be made more of a priority.


'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Woodhouse, Priest & Martyr (1535-1573), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Venerable Matt Talbot, Confessor, T.O.S.F.* (1856-1925): Venerable-link ūnus, Venerable-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Ven. Matt Talbot was a Third Order Franciscan, those who do not take religious vows. Over fifty years after his death, the Third Order of Saint Francis was renamed the Secular Franciscan Order; so, today Ven. Matt's post-nominal letter would be O.F.S. instead of T.O.S.F.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter six, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two(b), 3(a,b), & three (c,d) & four;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ teaching about non-resistance to evil people. We are continually wanting God to behave as we would, that is to say, withdrawing his love from those who don’t deserve it and giving his love to those who do deserve it. But this is just not the way God operates. Why should you pray for someone who is persecuting you? Why shouldn’t you be allowed at least to answer him in kind—an eye for an eye? Because God doesn’t operate that way, and you are being drawn into the divine life.

Why should you turn the other cheek to someone who has struck you? Because it’s practical?! No, because that’s the way God operates, and you’re being called into the divine life. Why should you go beyond simply loving those who love you? Because that’s the way God operates: he loves the saints and he loves the worst of sinners.

Is any of this easy to do? Of course not. Are we able to get to this state through willing it, through earnest practice? Of course not! That’s why love is referred to as a theological virtue. It is the sheerest participation in the divine life, and it can only come from God.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Romuald
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter three, verses eight thru fourteen;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-one;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-five thru thirty-three.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLIV

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Gotha Raids, Part II
June-August 1917: Operation Türkenkreuz ("Turk's Cross")—The German daylight bombing campaign against London; the third raid (13 June) resulted in the highest number of casualties, one hundred sixty-two dead & four hundred thirty-two wounded, in part because due to the novelty of aeroplanes flying overhead civilians filed into the streets to see the show instead of seeking shelter.






Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Corpus Christi


'Tis the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi): Corpus Christi-link, Wikipedia-link Solemnity, Wikipedia-link Body of Christ, & Wikipedia-link Real Presence.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter eight, verses two, three, & fourteen(b) thru sixteen(a);
Psalm One Hundred Forty-seven, verses twelve & thirteen, fourteen & fifteen, & nineteen & twenty;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter ten, verses sixteen & seventeen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter six, verses fifty-one thru fifty-eight.

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

Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel passage is one of the most shocking in the New Testament. Those who heard it were not only repulsed intellectually, they were disgusted, viscerally. For a Jewish man to be insinuating that you should eat his own flesh and drink his blood was about as nauseating and religiously objectionable as you could get.

So what does Jesus do? Does he soften his rhetoric when he hears these reactions? Does he offer a metaphorical or symbolic interpretation? Does he back off? On the contrary, he intensifies what he just said: “Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” As all the scholars point out to us, the verb used here in Greek is trogein, which indicates the way an animal eats.

So what do we do? How should we understand this? If we stand in the great Catholic tradition, we honor these mysterious and wonderful words of Jesus. We resist all attempts to soften them or explain them away or make them easier to swallow. We affirm, with all of our hearts, the doctrine of the real presence.

Mass Journal: Week 25
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Several years ago, my brother Nathan was living in Japan for a year as an exchange student. During that time, I received a letter from him with a photograph he had taken of what seemed to be the courtyard of an ancient Japanese garden. In the middle of the courtyard was an almond tree in full bloom. Nathan was always a talented photographer, but what really captured my attention was a quotation he had written on the back of the photograph. The quotation was from the writings of El Greco, the famed Greek-born Spanish painter. It read: "I said to the almond tree, 'Sister, speak to me about God,' & the almond tree blossomed."

Otherwise, 18 June would be the festival of Saints Mark & Marcellian, Martyrs (died circa 286), martyred in the reign of the emperor Maximian: Martyr-link Mike-Kilo, Martyr-link Mike-Charlie, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Gregorio Barbarigo, Bishop (1625-1697): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of Corpus Christi

Jim Cowan & Tony Melendez, "This Is Jesus" via iTunes (from The Cup of Life) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"This is Jesus, Emmanuel,
God is with us in this sacrament…"

24 HEURES DU MANS | +1:35:00

Wow! That was so much fun, let's do it again! I'm just going to catch forty winks first. Don't worry about me. Talk among yourselves. I'll be with you as soon as I'm once again steady on my feet.

Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 2:09:00

The № 2 Porsche has just passed the № 38 Jackie Chan D.C. Oreca, putting the № 2 back on the lead lap, approximately three & a half minutes behind the race-leading № 38. An L.M.P.1 might yet win Le Mans.

It's far too close to call in G.T.E. Pro, but Doug Fehan, the boss at Corvette Racing, is confident.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 2:49:00

Where we stand, with a shade under three hours remaining:

L.M.P.2!
1) № 38 Jackie Chan D.C. Racing Oreca 07-Gibson
2) № 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson (+1:13 minute)
3) № 35 Alpine A470-Gibson (+3 laps)

L.M.P.1?
1) № 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid (+1 lap)
2) № 8 Toyota Ts050 Hybrid (+11 laps)
3) n/a

G.T.E. Pro.
1) № 63 Corvette C7.R (+23 laps)
2) № 91 Porsche 911 RSR (+23 laps, 25 seconds)
3) № 67 Ford GT (+23 laps, 56 seconds)

G.T.E. Am.
1) № 84 J.M.W. Motorsport Ferrari 488 (+30 laps)
2) № 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 (+31 laps)
3) № 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 (+32 laps)

24 HEURES DU MANS | 3:04:00


The № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid has retired, having rolled to a stop along the Mulsanne Straight. The № 38 L.M.P.2 Oreca-Gibson from Jackie Chan D.C. racing is now the overall leader of the 85e 24 Heures du Mans, the № 13 Vaillante Rebellion (also an Oreca-Gibson) is second, & the № 2 Porsche 919, running first in the L.M.P.1 category, runs third overall. This is my ninth 25 Hours of Le Mans & in all those years I've never seen a P.2 lead the race overall; P.2s have beaten P.1s when the racing stars have aligned, but never at Le Mans. Of course, there are still more than three hours to run, & the № 2 might very well chase down the № 38, but of the six L.M.P.1s that started the race, all six have had significant mechanical problems, three of them retiring due to those gremlins (it can be argued the № 9 Toyota retired due to crash damage). Can the № 2 make it to the end? Can the № 38? Is the L.M.P.2 dream about to come true?

Le Mans is always unpredictable, but this is just ridiculous—wonderfully, wonderfully ridiculous.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 3:40:00

The race-leading № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid is in trouble! The car first ran into problems in the Ford Chicane, which is the end of the lap, immediately after the pit lane entrance, meaning the car has to complete the entire circuit, eighty & a half miles, in order to get back to the pit lane, to get to help. It is now trying to limp home on electrical power, stopping & starting in a manner eerily reminiscent of the demise of the № 7 Toyota back in the middle of the night. if the № 1 retires, an L.M.P.2 Oreca-Gibson will be the overall race leader.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 4:02:00

A hair shy of twenty hours into a twenty-four-hour race, a punishing, rewarding test of man & machine, & only nine cars have retired, across all four classes. Sixty cars started the "Grand Prix of Endurance" on Saturday afternoon; here on Sunday morning, late Sunday morning in France, & fifty-one of those cars are still running. Astonishing! Methinks the cars are holding up better than I am.

Of all the fictional motion pictures I've seen about racing, far & away the best is Steve McQueen's Le Mans, though of course Le Mans is as much a documentary as it is a fiction, having been filmed during the thirty-eight running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1970.


A film I've not seen, but which has been on my mind due to the presence of the two Vaillante Rebellions, is Michel Vaillant, based on the comics series of the same name. In the film, Diana Kruger plays Julie Wood, a distaff driver. Diana Kruger is one of the most beautiful women in the world. How to make her even more alluring? Put her in a garment normally considered unflattering. Put her in a fireproof racing suit.


My mind is wandering. Is that wandering a distraction, or a necessary respite to help keep my focus?

24 HEURES DU MANS | 4:57:00

With just under five hours to go, the contest in G.T.E. pro is fierce, a relentless cut & thrust across nineteen hours with five cars from five different marques still on the lead lap, covered by less than two minutes. The action is fast & furious 'twixt Aston Martin (№ 97), Corvette (№ 63), Porsche (№ 91), Ford (№ 67), & Ferrari (№ 71). Who will win? No one can say. 'Tis the very definition of thrilling & the very antithesis of L.M.P.1, which not so many years was the central attraction of the whole show.

How did the top-flight prototype category go so wrong? Hubris, I say, with the governing body & the big manufacturers more interested in advancing a political agency than in producing a spirited race. ("Green" technology that revolves around the toxic manufacture & polluting disposal of poisonous batteries is the height of environmental hypocrisy!) But I digress.

Let's go, Corvette!

Bonus! Song of the Next 6 Hours

Barenaked Ladies, "Who Needs Sleep?" from Stunt (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Who needs sleep?
(Well, you're never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep?
(Tell me what that's for)
Who needs sleep?
Be happy with what you're getting,
There's a guy who's been awake since the Second World War…"
He's Dead, Jim
This is the third consecutive day that finds me awake at 3:00 A.M.: Thursday night (Friday morning), I was on the phone with Miss Mozart. (I promise a Project PANDORA post. Patience, please.) Friday night (Saturday morning), I was adoring the LORD in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Redeemer's Perpetual Adoration Chapel, my weekly shift. Right now, Saturday night (Sunday morning), I'm watching the 24 Heures du Mans. The only one of the three incidences I regard as unfortunate was the first, for reasons that did not become fully clear until the cold light of day on Friday. I happily give up sleep in order to watch an hour (hours & a half) with the Lord Jesus, & I look forward to Le Mans, as punishing as it is, all year long.

I've read that a key to health & overall wellness is adequate sleep & consistent hours for sleeping. I look forward to partaking of adequate sleep & to maintaining consistent hours for sleeping starting tomorrow—not tomorrow, Monday, 19 June, but Tomorrow, the mystical land of human achievement.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 6:21:00

Every other race in the World Endurance Championship (W.E.C.) is six hours long. The teams still running have already done three W.E.C. races & have another whole race distance ahead of them. Anyone who thinks they have the race sealed up are not only fooling themselves but are actively flirting with disaster. THERE ARE STILL SIX HOURS OF RACING BEFORE THE CHECKERED FLAG WAVES! Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean to shout. Well, O.K., I did in fact mean to yell, but only to make a point. I'm sorry. I'm tired. That's no excuse. (Though it is true.) Sorry.

Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 7:32:00

I'm a sucker for British accents, always have been, I've never denied that. I freely admit that over the last twelve hours, in my jolly & fatigued state, I've developed a silly little aural crush on the voice of Gemma Hatton, a writer for Racecar Engineering & contributor to Radio Le Mans. Endurance motor racing is a sausage fest, a heavily male dominated field. A girl? Who likes racing? Who understands more about race cars than I do? With a high-pitched voice & a delightful accent? I am unembarrassed of my silly little crush. Girls are magical, plain & simple.


In G.T.E. Pro, the № 63 Corvette C7.R is leading the class, ahead of the № 91 Porsche G.T. Team 911 R.S.R. in second & the № 51 A.F. Corse Ferrari 488. Of course, it is uncertain where precisely they are in the pit stop rotation & what effect that has on the № 63's position. (There are a lot of moving pieces to this "Grand Prix of Endurance" & I've been awake for a long time; so, I'm not at my most mentally acute.) There are many & many laps left to run. Never say die!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 8:27:00

I've actually cobbled together a pretty great race experience here, a phoenix risen from the ashes of Fox Sports's perfidy. Fox doesn't broadcast the race themselves, they tap into the world feed & then overlay their own commentary. While watching the live stream of Radio Le Mans's Studio Vision, I found a live stream of the race itself, the same live feed into which Fox taps. I've muted the sound; so, now I'm watching the live feed—the same pictures that Fox would broadcast—but with Radio Le Mans's superior commentary. Sure, I'm not sitting in the comfortable green armchair in the living room, but methinks this a blessing in disguise, as it will be easier to stay awake sitting here at my desk than it would be (& has traditionally been) in that oh-so-comfy green easy chair. So, yes, this seems to be working out swimmingly.

I can scarcely believe that two-thirds of the great race is already behind us. Where does the time go? Such is but one the many splendors of the 24 Heures du Mans. Le Mans! Le Mans! Le Mans!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

24 HEURES DU MANS | 9:17:00

"Happy hour." For those teams that have survived the night, there is a certain euphoria that arrives coincident with the dawn. Light! The circuit is visible again, the shadowy disorientation of the night passes away. Of course, Le Mans being the meat grinder it is, the hope that springs forth from the dawn proves fleeting & false. A new day has dawned, but the race is far from over. There are still nine hours of grueling racing ahead, hours that must be faced by crews with fifteen-plus hours of accumulated fatigue & cars weakened by fifteen-plus hours of pounding abuse. Nine hours is fifty per cent longer than any other race on the World Endurance Championship calendar, & none of those other races are preceded by two & a half full-length endurance races. It is hard to believe that fifteen hours have already passed, hard to believe that nine-plus hours remain ahead.

Fortitudine vincimus, "by endurance we conquer."

24 HEURES DU MANS | 9:46:00

This is a strange time amidst the already weird night. The old saw claims, "It's always darkest before the dawn." Dawn approaches in northern France, while here in sacred Michigan the night grows ever deeper. Exhaustion is widespread, fatigue is infectious. Those who slept are waking up to a race unrecognizable from the one they left behind; for them, the shock, the too-familiar heartbreak of Toyota's stunning collapse is fresh.

The № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid is running slowly, not because of any trouble, but because they are being ultraconservative; essentially, they are following quintuple Formula One World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio's (1951, '54, '55, '56, & '57) maxim of winning the race by going as slowly as possible. The № 2 Porsche is still eighteen laps down, but has carved its way throughout about half of the L.M.P.2 field. The chaps at Radio Le Mans are of the opinion that if the № 2 doesn't encounter any additional trouble its pace should still put it on the overall podium, ahead of the swarm of P.2s. The sole remaining Toyota TS050 Hybrid, № 8, is two laps behind the lead pack of G.T.E. Pro cars, clawing its way back up the running order, but too far back to do much of anything but salvage a moral victory (& World Endurance Championship points).

The № 13 Vaillante Rebellion is running second in class, third overall, fifty second behind the class-leading № 38 Jackie Chan DC Oreca-Gibson, two laps ahead of the sister № 31 Vaillante Rebellion.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 10:15:00

Here's another view, a daylight view of the Larbre Compétition "art car" Corvette, № 50, which is back on the road, though running last in class & second-to-last overall:


The № 63 Corvette is running eighth in class, the last car on the (class) lead lap, almost three minutes behind the class leader, the № 95 Aston Martin. The № 64 Corvette is running tenth, four laps down, but just set the fastest lap in G.T.E. Pro. Never say die!

24 HEURES DU MANS | 10:51:00


At this precisely moment, two G.T.E. cars are doing carted off the track by cranes: the № 92 Porsche G.T. Team 911 from G.T.E. Pro & the № 50 Larbre Compétition Corvette "art car" from G.T.E. Am.

Le Mans gets weird at night. The darkness closes in, constricting one's view. Fatigue sets in & the body rebels against wakefulness, further distorting one's already constricted perspective. On track, speeds actually increase, due to the cooler night air. Le Mans gets weird at night, though perhaps it is more accurate to say Le Mans gets weirder.

Bonus! Song of Sympathy for Toyota Gazoo Racing


Albert King, "Born Under a Bad Sign" via iTunes (from The Very Best of Albert King) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"You know, if it wasn't for bad luck,
I wouldn't have no kind of luck,
If it wasn't for real bad luck,
I wouldn't have no luck at all…"

24 HEURES DU MANS | 12:00:00

One of the things I love about Le Mans is the sense of community. No, I am not in France; no, I am not even watching the race alongside any friends here at home; but in many ways I am in sync with those at the Circuit de la Sarthe, so close in emotion even though so distant in miles. Up & down the pit lane, everyone the pit reporters interview is heartbroken for Toyota, again: déjà vu-link.

Here's where we stand, halfway through the twice-around-the-clock classic:

L.M.P.1
1) № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid
2) № 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid (+18 laps)
3) № 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid (+29 laps)

L.M.P.2
1) № 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson (+9 laps)
2) № 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07-Gibson (+9 laps, 24 seconds)
3) № 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson (+9 laps, 1:02 minute)

G.T.E. Pro
1) № 95 Aston Martin Vantage (+23 laps)
2) № 97 Aston Martin Vantage (+23 laps, 5 seconds)
3) № 71 A.F. Corse Ferrari 488 (+23 laps, 56 seconds)

G.T.E. Am
1) № 84 J.M.W. Motorsport Ferrari 488 (+25 laps)
2) № 90 T.F. Sport Aston Martin Vantage (+26 laps)
3) № 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR 991 (+26 laps, 13 seconds)

24 HEURES DU MANS | 13:00:00

Here at The Secret Base, we reserve the word triskaidekaphobia for posts about death in motorsport. However emotionally wrenching this 24 Hours of Le Mans has become, it's not as if a man has lost his life; this far, praise God, no one has even been seriously hurt. But with thirteen hours left to go, with fully half of the P.1 field retired & Toyota's hopes for redemption dashed almost as cruelly as in 2016 (Toyota-link), I regard what the next thirteen hours might hold with a certain dread.

The № 13 Vaillante Rebellion (Oreca-Gibson) is currently running second in class (P.2) & third overall. Such is the vague but widespread superstition about the number thirteen (triskaidekaphobia-link), that the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (F.I.A.), the world governing body for motorsport, only allows cars to sport the № 13 if a team specifically petitions to do so. This year, the № 13 alludes to ts frequent use in the Michel Vaillant comic books. (Life imitating art, thanks to clever marketing.)

24 HEURES DU MANS | 13:31:00

The № 9 Toyota TS050 Hybrid has retired, the second of Toyota Gazoo Racing's three cars to retire in the space of half an hour. The № 1 Porsche leads; the № 2 Porsche is now second in class, some eighteen laps down; the sole remaining Toyota, the № 8, is thirty laps down, running near the back of the whole field.

The two P.2 Vaillante Rebellions, № 31 & № 13, are now running second & third overall, in addition to first & second in class, nine laps down from the overall leader. Until this year, Rebellion campaigned as a non-hybrid privater P.1 team, & never quite finished on the podium, with a best finish of fourth in class & overall. Now, in the lower P.2 category, they are running second & third overall, ahead of two of the three still-running P.1s.

The racing gods don't exist, there is only one God. But if the racing gods did exist, they would be very, very cruel.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 13:39:00

The № 9 Toyota has come to a stop on the circuit. It suffered a punctured tire, possibly caused by a collision with a P.2 car; suffered massive chassis damage from being stuck in gear & running too far on the punctured tire, which flew apart, tearing up the car's bodywork; & has now come to a stop in the Porsche Curves, not far from where the № 7 retired. It is unknown if the № 9 will be able to get going again on hybrid power or will be the second Toyota to retire in the span of a very few minutes. The circuit in under the second full-course safety-cars period. Disaster upon disaster.

24 HERUES DU MANS | 13:52:00

The № 7 Toyota, which had led the race from the first hour, has retired. Kobayashi walked away from the TS050 after it stopped in the Porsche Curves, short of the pit lane. The № 9 Toyota is a lap down from the race-leading № 1 Porsche; so, unless the Porsche suffers problems similar to its № 2 sister car, Porsche will win a record-extending nineteenth 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Woe is us! Woe is us!

Especially given the heat of the day, there have been relatively few retirements to this point: only five cars. Of course, there is still far more race ahead than there is behind.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 14:14:00

The № 7 Toyota is in trouble! The car never properly accelerated after the end of the safety car-period & has lost the lead of the race to the № 1 Porsche. Driver Kamui Koyabashi is trying to get around the circuit, back to the pit lane, but right now the success of that effort is very much in doubt & anything but certain. Disaster!

The № 8 Toyota is finally out of the pits, after two hours of repair. The № 2 Porsche has now gotten in front of the G.T.E. Pro field, but is still behind most of the L.M.P.2s.

24 HEURES DU MANS |14:24:00


The field is running behind the safety cars for the first (& one hopes, only) time in this eighty-fifth running of the "Grand Prix of Endurance." The Circuit de la Sarthe is so long—eight & a half miles—that three safety cars are used, a choreographed ballet that is a necessary evil of this greatest of all days in motorsport. There had been lots of incidents earlier in the race, but those had been dealt with by the use of "slow zones" that neutralized only a portion of the circuit instead of the whole thing.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 15:13:00

The № 64 Corvette went backwards into the wall in the Porsche Curves, but driver Tommy Milner was able to limp the car back to the pits on three wheels. The Corvette Racing crew attacked the repair with their usual efficiency, but four laps—& any reasonable chance of a winning performance—were still lost. The sister car, the № 63 piloted by Jan Magnussen, is currently one lap down from the class leader, the № 97 Aston Martin Vantage. Corvette Racing has a never-say-die attitude, but lots of other cars in G.T.E. Pro will have to run into lots of trouble for the № 63 Corvette to have a shot at a podium finish, much less the team's ninth Le Mans win. Drat!

The № 8 Toyota, which was running second, is suffering mechanical/electrical gremlins with the hybrid drive on the front axle, seemingly a similar problem to that which beset the № 2 Porsche in the first four hours. As of this posting, the № 8 is still in the pits, having been overtaken by the № 2. The № 7 Toyota continues to lead from the № 1 Porsche, the partial-season № 9 Toyota running in third, two laps down. The L.M.P.1 field is small enough that with the early retirement of the sole privateer entry in the class, the non-hybrid № 4 ByKolles, & the lengthy repairs to the № 2 & the № 8, the lead car in L.M.P.2, the № 13 Vaillante Rebellion piloted by Bruno Senna, is currently running fourth overall.

Midnight looms in France.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 17:01:00

The № 8 Toyota has overtaken the № 1 Porsche to run second behind the № 7 Toyota, producing a Toyota one-two with the № 9 sister car running a lap down in fourth. I have no particular love for Toyota, & one of the world's largest automobile manufacturing firms is hardly a promising candidate for a scrappy underdog, but after last year's heartbreak only a stone-cold villain isn't rooting for the German-based Japanese outfit to earn their first overall win (after five second-place finishes).

The № 64 Corvette—piloted by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Miler, & Marcel Fässler—is running fourth in G.T.E. Pro, maybe third, because I think one of the Fords running ahead is out-of-sequence as far as pit stop strategy. To answer a question no one asked, yes, I am wearing my Corvette Racing "Take No Prisoners" T-shirt.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Rainerius of Pisa, Hermit (circa 1117-1161): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Theresa of Portugal, Religious, O.Cist. (1178-1250), Queen of Léon: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Albert Chmielowski, Religious, T.O.S.F. (1845-1916), founder of the Albertine Brothers, formally the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor; & the Albertine Sisters, formally the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis Serving the Poor: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.F.A.P.U. & Wikipedia-link C.S.A.P.U.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter five, verses fourteen thru twenty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one & two, three & four, nine & ten, & eleven & twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirty-three thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel speaks of vows and encourages us to “not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.” It calls to mind the story of Ann Russell Miller. Ann was a San Francisco socialite, fabulously wealthy, mother of ten children and nineteen grandchildren, in possession of a glorious mansion overlooking San Francisco bay, a denizen of the finest clubs, someone who liked to vacation on her yacht in the Mediterranean. But Ann was also a very devout Catholic, and she and her husband made a vow that whoever died first, the surviving partner would dedicate his or her life to God. So when Ann’s husband died relatively young of cancer, Ann resolved to give her life to God in the most dramatic way.

She threw one more huge party for her friends—and then gave everything away and joined the cloistered Carmelite sisters in Des Plaines, IL. She now wears the simple brown habit of a Carmelite religious and lives a life of utter devotion, in poverty, chastity, and obedience. She sleeps on wooden planks covered by a thin mattress; she eats the simplest, meatless dishes served in the convent refectory. She is no longer Ann Russell Miller; she is Sr. Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Sr. Mary fulfilled the vow she made to her husband by taking new vows as a religious. The new vows she now appreciates, not as burdens, but as a means to freedom. For now, in the most radical sense, she is free to give her life utterly to God. Now I realize that her path is a radical one, and that not everyone is called to this sort of total surrender. But everyone is indeed called to the spirit of the evangelical counsels, for we must all become detached from wealth, pleasure, power, and honor. They don’t matter at the end of the day. Only God matters.

24 HEURES DU MANS | 18:50:00

The 85e 24 Heures du Mans has already been underway for over five hours, longer than any of the races in the European Le Mans Series & most of the races in the I.M.S.A. SportsCar Championship, & yet is only in the early stages. This is so grandly ridiculous!

The № 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid is leading both the L.M.P.1 category & the race overall, over forty seconds in front of the № 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, followed by the № 8 & № 9 Toyotas. The № 2 Porsche spent over forty-five minutes in the pits with a problem with the hybrid drive on the front axle; they are back on track, but are nineteen laps down.

In L.M.P.2, in the first year of a new specification that sees every car powered by identical Gibson engines, the Oreca 07 chassis dominates: the duo of Vallainte Rebellion Orecas (№ 13 & № 31) are running one-two with the third place № 35 Alpine A470 being simply a rebadged Oreca 07. One has to look down to ninth in the running order to see the first non-Oreca, a Ligier JS P217, the № 32 from United Autosports.


In G.T.E. Pro, the Corvette Racing C7.Rs are running third (№ 64) & eleventh (№ 63) in class. The balance of performance in 2017 has made for much closer racing than the rigged Ford parade that made last year such a scandalous bore. The № 82 Ferrari 488 from Risi Competizione, which finished on the podium last year, has been crashed out by an L.M.P.2 car, the № 28 from T.D.S. Racing, which carries on.

In G.T.E. Am, only two cars are on the lead lap (for the class). Seven cars are one lap down, with another six cars two laps or more down. The № 88 Porsche 911 RSR 991 from Proton Competition was crashed out by an L.M.P.2 car, the № 26 from G-Drive Racing, which was also destroyed.