Friday, October 30, 2009

Addicted to Material

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here is "Gone" by Jack Johnson.


The lyrics of this tune seem to echo this and this, no?

Black Eyed Peas did a recreation of "Gone" called "Gone Going" (with Jack Johnson heard in the chorus). Check it out:

J.J. Flashbacks: "Banana Pancakes" and "Better Together"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anglican Angst

The Catholic blogosphere has been abuzz these past two weeks over the Vatican announcement that the Church will establish a new canonical structure for members of the Anglican Communion who become Catholic.

It's a topic filled with spiritual, political and practical questions that I do not have the time to adequately address in this space.

Also, I have a hunch that some of the surrounding issues currently raising much ire may not be those most remembered to history.

I also think that, for the Catholic Church in the United States, the need to accommodate Anglican-Catholics is much less pressing than the need to better minister to the millions of Spanish-speaking Catholics. (I go to a lot of Catholic conferences. FYI, it's not a British accent that I'm hearing.)

But, since our thoughts are on Old England, perhaps a hymn from the realm of Elizabeth II would be in order.

Compliments of Tim, here is "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended":

The cross above is from here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The World's Attention?

Makes you think:

This was inked by Scott Breen of The San Diego Union-Tribune. It appeared in that paper on October 18.

Hat-tip: Deacon Greg

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"I Want To See"

The Gospel at Mass today brings us the account of a miracle that demonstrates the power of faith.

From Mark Chapter 10:

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.

On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.

But he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me."

Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."

So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you."

He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?"

The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see."

Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you."

Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Fran has a good post on this Gospel.

And, compliments of Jesse Manibusan, here is a tune that reflects the passage:

The image above is from here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Thursday to Saturday afternoon, I was in Dallas, TX, exhibiting for my gig at the University of Dallas Ministry Conference.

This was only my third visit to Texas and my first time in Dallas. (I'll concede I had the musical theme for the TV series "Dallas" in my head several times during the visit.)

Friday, during an afternoon break, we walked from the convention center to Dealey Plaza, the location of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November, 1963. It was surreal to stand in the same place where Abraham Zapruder filmed the shooting.

Friday evening, the conference hosted a concert by John Michael Talbot. The performance was both mellow and spiritually invigorating.

Here is a clip from another JMT concert that was similar to what we saw in Dallas:

Friday, October 23, 2009


For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" below is the mellow tune "Hideaway" by Karen O and The Kids. It's from the "Where the Wild Things Are" soundtrack.

(Don't be surprised not to hear much until :26.)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Out of Control!

Tuesday night, we went to a late showing of the new movie "Where the Wild Things Are," famously translated to the screen by director Spike Jonze from the 1963 children's classic by Maurice Sendak.

The film is an engaging look inside the wonderful imagination of a young boy named Max who lives with his mother and teenage sister after his parents split and his mom begins to date.

Max's rambunctiousness runs high. After biting his mother during a fight, she screams at him, "You are out of control!"

Max will later scream the same words to Carol, the favorite "wild thing" of his imaginary world of larger-than-life creatures who accept him as their king.

Max is adequately portrayed by a newcomer, 12-year-old Max Records, while his mom is played by the consistently good Catherine Keener. Carol is voiced by James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos."

I was glad I plunked down the $12.50 to see "Where the Wild Things Are" in the theater. The many beautifully-constructed scenes deserved the big screen treatment and my undivided attention.

It also was a pleasure hearing the voice of the great actress Catherine O'Hara bring life to Judith, a demanding inhabitant of Max's wild world. I've been a fan of O'Hara's since "Beetlejuice" and enjoyed her immensely in the mockumentary "A Mighty Wind."

Some parents are asking whether this movie is good for the kids. I'd say yes. But, post-movie conversation about the film's challenging themes would be essential. Sendak and Jonze have provided much to mull over.

As of this writing, "Where the Wild Things Are" has a 69 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Eh, that's too low.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Memoriam: Harry Collins, 1921 - 2009

My hometown, McDonald, PA, lost another one of its great old-timers Saturday: Harry Collins, age 88.

Harry was the subject of an early post of this blog in August, 2006, when the new tennis courts in McDonald’s Heritage Park were named in his honor:

“At our borough council meeting Monday evening, council voted unanimously to name the courts after Harry Collins, a life-long resident of Fourth Street and someone I've known for many years as a fellow parishioner at St. Alphonsus Church. Harry, a World War II veteran, was McDonald's postmaster for 28 years and helped to establish Heritage Park. But, that wasn't the only good reason to name the courts after Harry -- he once promoted tennis programs in the borough and is every bit the fitness enthusiast. Up until a few years ago, he was a common sight biking on the local roads.

“In addition to naming the courts after him, McDonald Mayor Jim Frazier and Borough Council also named Tuesday, August 8, as "Harry Collins Day" in the borough.” (Jim and Harry are pictured above.)

I distinctly remember a Sunday morning Mass a few years back at St. Alphonsus when Harry spoke up. He had asked our pastor, Father John Harvey, to say “Good Morning” at the beginning of each Mass (in addition to the mandatory prayers of greeting). At this particular Mass, Father Harvey did not do so.

Later in the Mass, just after Father Harvey finished reading the Gospel but before he began his homily, Harry called out, “Good Morning, Father!”

That’s the kind of good man Harry was. He’ll be missed.

From the prayers at the end of the funeral Mass:


May the angels lead you into paradise,
may the martyrs come to welcome you,
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.

The Overflow

Each morning in my work e-mail, I receive an "e-Spiration" from Franciscan University of Steubenville Conferences.

The latest:

“We are not meant to be channels, just moving things from here to there, even good things that we have heard or learned. We are designed to be reservoirs, filled to capacity with the very life of God, even overflowing. It is the overflow that becomes our ministry.”

- Jim Beckman, from here

At the edge of cheesy. But, an interesting way to think of how we can carry out ministry.

The quote made me think of Mike as he begins his adventure in campus ministry.

The image above is from here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"The Insidious Capacity of Power"

Brother Patrick, an SC from Syracuse, has posted an excellent reflection on last Sunday's Gospel. It's blunt, real-world writing.

A Concord Pastor has already quoted one wise passage from it.

Here's another:

Jesus is a hair’s breadth from Jerusalem, he’s just predicted his passion for the third time, and James and John come looking for jobs: to sit at his right and his left, that is, to become his secretary of state and secretary of war when he beats the Romans and becomes king.

Were they not listening?

Mark is just pouring on the irony at this point: when Jesus says they will drink from the cup from which he drinks, they’re all excited – “Oh boy! We’re close enough to the Boss that he lets us drink out of the same cup he uses!” Oh, they’ll get it soon enough, but not like they thought. We know who will be at his right and his left in Jerusalem, and it isn’t his chief ministers.

Why do the other disciples get mad at the two of them? Is it because they are frustrated that the boys haven’t been listening to Jesus or that they are thinking in too worldly or selfish a way? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s because the other disciples are jealous that James and John beat them to the punch – the ten wish they had thought of it first.

So, just like the last time we talked, Jesus has to sit them all down and straighten them out: other people use authority to dominate others and to make sure that their life “works” the way they want it to, but you can’t do it that way. Jesus says this is how the Gentiles are, and the gospels from the daily liturgy this past week were all about "woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites," but we know this isn't a Gentile thing, and it isn't a Jewish thing, it's a human thing.

All of us are susceptible to the insidious capacity of power to push us to feather our own nests.

(Brother Patrick doesn't use a lot of paragraph breaks in his writing. I've added the breaks in the quoted text above.)

The cup above is from the CP.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Zealous Few?

Food for thought:

"It is plain every great change is effected by the few, not by the many; by the resolute, undaunted, zealous few."

- John Henry Newman, from here.

I'm not certain if I agree with this quote. I would hope that is not accurate.

The will of the people counts for something, no?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Slave of All

I'm writing tonight from Gate B9 of Chicago's O'Hare Airport while waiting for a flight back to LaGuardia.

I've been in the vicinity of O'Hare since Thursday afternoon. I was here exhibiting for my gig at the Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic Festival of Faith (held nearby at the convention center in Rosemont, Illinois).

I went to "Sunday" Mass this evening at the festival.

In the Gospel passage, the apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee, didn't look so good. But, their jostling for position provided an important teaching moment for Christ.

From Mark Chapter 10:

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."

He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?"

They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."

Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"

They said to him, "We can."

Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared."

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.

Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.

"For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Deacon Greg has a very powerful homily for this Sunday. In it, he recalls how Maryknoll Sister Ita Ford and three other Catholic women were living this Gospel message when they were brutally murdered in El Salvador in December, 1980.

The icon of James and John above is from here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gonna Be OK

It's total bubblegum -- but admittedly catchy.

"Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus for the "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend"? Could it really happen?

I first came across "Party" during the summer. But, hearing it a few nights ago in the grocery store convinced me it might work here. It's cheesy but joyful.

And, who doesn't need some additional joy as the air chills and the nights grow longer? I know I do.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sell The Vatican, Feed the World?

Disclaimer: By posting the clip below, I am not endorsing some of the language used (see: f-bomb) or the rather shocking concluding statement. If you are easily offended by off-color humor, please do not hit play.

But, somehow, Sarah Silverman heard about Jesus' message in last Sunday's Gospel:

P.S. I would't sell the whole Vatican, maybe just some paintings and sculpture.

Back in the 'Burgh, Bishop Zubik has already done something similar.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


A few weeks ago, a tiny take out/eat in joint called Macbar opened a few blocks north of my apartment in Little Italy.

Located in a sliver of a storefront on Prince Street between Lafayette and Mulberry streets (catty corner from Old St. Pat's), Macbar can be identified by it distinctive yellow decor and signage -- fitting for a place that only serves macaroni and cheese dishes.

Tonight, I paid visit #3 to Macbar. I took out a small "margarita mac." It was excellent.

On visit #1, I took out "the classic." On visit #2, when my friend Jenni and I ate in, I had the "Mayan chipolte." These were both so good I wanted to lick the containers.

Before too long, I understand Macbar that will no longer be the new kid on its block. Two Sundays ago, I read in Monsignor Sakano's column in Old St. Pat's bulletin that a Shake Shack is going to open in the vacant lot at the northwest corner of Prince and Mulberry.

All good stuff for the neighborhood. Bad news for my diet.

The photo above is from NY1.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Obama's War"

Tonight, while on the elliptical on the gym, I watched the PBS program "Frontline." This week's report, called "Obama's War," was about our eight-year war in Afghanistan.

The report was good food for thought. It was certainly good to learn more about how the U.S. troops interact with the Afghan people.

My only immediate criticism of "Obama's War" was the lack of mention of the current status of women in Afghanistan -- and what the U.S. troop presence means for those women.

For your consideration:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Nobel for Neda?

Another thought regarding President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:

Perhaps the deadline for this year's Nobel nominations came before the protests in Iran -- but the citizens there who earlier this year took to the streets seeking freedom would have been worthy recipients.

Sully said it first:

... I'm happy Obama got it, but it is quite obvious who I would have picked in his stead: Neda, the murdered Iranian who died defending her own freedom and democracy. If not Neda, then Mousavi and Karroubi. Obama has set the stage for peace, and changed the global dynamic. But these people are heroes, displaying the courage of their convictions, putting their lives on the line for freedom.

Can you imagine how much more impact it would have had to have given them this prize? How big a blow it would have delivered to those vile torturers and thugs, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei? Oh, well. Maybe they missed the deadline for nominations. But history will remember them. I hope it one day remembers Obama for similar courage.

For He Had Many Possessions

This weekend, I have been dog-sitting in Woodside, Queens.

To be specific, I've been chillaxin' with the famous blogging chihuahua while the God Googler and wife are in Buffalo.

This morning, I went to the well-attended 10:30 a.m. Mass in English at Saint Sebastian's, the huge church in the shadow of the 7 train elevated line.

The Gospel at Mass made me feel good about my lackluster credit rating.

From Mark Chapter 10:

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother."

He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

The disciples were amazed at his words.

So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?"

Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."

Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you."

Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."

Deacon Greg, another Queens resident, has posted his excellent homily for this Sunday. In the homily, he notes the canonizations this morning in Rome of Little Sisters of the Poor foundress Jeanne Jugan and Father Damien of Molokai.

Fran has a post on this Gospel passage, too.

The "eye of the needle" image above is from A Concord Pastor.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In TR's Footsteps?

In 1906, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Some background:

In 1902 President Roosevelt took the initiative in opening the international Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which, though founded in 1899, had not been called upon by any power in its first three years of existence. The United States and Mexico agreed to lay an old difference of theirs, concerning the Pious Foundations of California, before the Hague Tribunal. When this example was followed by other powers, the arbitration machinery created in 1899 was finally called into operation. Roosevelt also played a prominent part in extending the use of arbitration to international problems in the Western Hemisphere, concluding several arbitration treaties with European powers too, although the Senate refused to ratify them.

In 1904 the Interparliamentary Union, meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, requested Roosevelt to call another international conference to continue the work begun at The Hague in 1899. Roosevelt responded immediately, and in the autumn of 1904 Secretary of State John Hay invited the powers to meet at The Hague. Russia, however, refused to participate in a conference while engaged in hostilities with Japan. After the peace of 1905, the matter was placed in the hands of the Russian government, which had taken the initiative in convening the first Hague Conference.

In June, 1905, President Roosevelt offered his good offices as mediator between Russia and Japan, asking the belligerents to nominate plenipotentiaries to negotiate on the conditions of peace. In August they met at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and after some weeks of difficult negotiations concluded a peace treaty in September, 1905.

On Friday morning, President Obama awoke to the news that he too will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nine months into his presidency.

Without settling any international disputes -- or yet achieving any of the (very worthwhile) goals he has articulated in the areas of diplomacy and disarmament.

And, on the day he considered sending 40,000 additional U.S. troops into a war zone almost eight years to the day of the start of said war.

Um. Yeah ...

Note to the Norwegian Nobel Committee: Need some fresh suggestions?

Might I recommend another deserving nominee?:

Friday, October 09, 2009

Broadway Barbershop

To my mind, one of the best tunes to come out Broadway in the 1980s was "Stars" from "Les Misérables". It's less famous than some of the other songs from the show but, in my humble opinion, superior.

So, for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," I give you "Stars." But, not just any rendition.

Ladies and gentlemen, below is "Stars" as done by a barbershop quartet.


And, a concert performance of "Stars" by Philip Quast:

Thursday, October 08, 2009

No Train

This happens sometimes:

LOL. "I'm not even from Manhattan ..."

"You, sittin' there on the bench ... yeah, you!"

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cincinnati Redux

I arrived this afternoon in Cincinnati, OH. It's my second time here, exhibiting for my gig at the Ohio Catholic Education Association conference.

After setting up our booth, we walked around Downtown Cincinnati a bit. The surrounding hillsides and the mixed-20th Century architectural styles (some old, some new) again reminded me of Downtown Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati, however, seems to have more large hotels located within two or three blocks of its convention center. And, these hotels and the other nearby buildings are well-connected by a series of sky bridges.

We had dinner this evening at a cool Mexican joint called Nada. I had the yummy mahi mahi tacos:

Pachelbel & The Cellist

I'm always surprised when I stumble across a video clip on YouTube that's been viewed by millions but is totally new to me.

Case in point: Rob Paravonian's comedic rant on Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D." Check it out:

Since this was posted in November, 2006, it has been viewed more than seven million times (!).

Just in case you'd like to hear the original:

Flashback: "Canon in D" was a "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" in November, 2008.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009


In early August, I mentioned in this space that five baby girls had been born this year to some of my friends and family members.

But, in that post, I noted that I did know of at least one y chromosome that had prevailed.

Saturday morning, that little man joined the party:

Welcome to our world, Carter Desrochers Moore! May the Holy Spirit always be your guide.

Carter is the son of my old college friend, Theresa, and her husband, Chris.

No, He Loves Ugly

Thursday night, I went to the very well-attended opening reception for "God Doesn't Like Ugly." It's a new exhibition by Openings, a group of visual artists based at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on Manhattan's West Side.

My friends, Anthony Santella and J.P. Regalado, were among the featured artists.

It's an interesting, thought-provoking show. If life takes you to the corner of 9th Avenue and 60th Street in the next few weeks, be sure to stop in the church and check it out. (The pieces are mostly in the side chapels.)

Here's a video backgrounder:

They Were Testing Him

In the Gospel at Mass today, Jesus addresses the question of divorce. In short, he gives it a definitive thumbs down. He also admonishes the disciples for being fuddy-duddies about kids.

From Mark Chapter 10:

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"

They were testing him.

He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"

They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her."

But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.

He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it."

Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

The image above is called "Yesus Memberkati Anak-anak." It is credited here to an artist named Komang Wahyu. Artist's statement:

I was most impressed to read in Matthew 19 that Jesus said: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as them." Adults often want to constrain children, Jesus wants to welcome them, to talk to them, to bless them. This inspired me to put it down on canvas, using a decorative style. The colours I have chosen are bright to reflect the bright and colourful mood when Jesus called the children. The aim was to represent the happy loving mood of Jesus when he was blessing the children who were witnessing to their parents and the disciples. Jesus has been placed symmetrically in the centre to become the focus. The message is that the love and grace of Jesus is for all people, from babies to old people, and that those who are disciples must regularly rethink their attitudes that Jesus is selective.

A Concord Pastor has background on today's readings.

At his new home at Beliefnet, Deacon Greg has posted his homily for this Sunday.

And, over at Googling God, Mike, who just got a nice plug from the National Catholic Reporter, has some reflections of his own for today.

Friday, October 02, 2009

"Daily Agitating Barrage"

In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan has a column that lines up with Thomas Friedman's thoughts from earlier this week about the sorry state of political discourse in the United States.

Notably, she echoes Friedman's concern that the tenor of our discourse could lead to violence.

One quote:

It is not new to call this kind of thing destructive, though it is. It is a daily agitating barrage that coarsens and inflames. It tears the national fabric. But it could wind up doing worse than that.

The image above is from the blog of Don Coker.

Alive Again

For a while now, I've wanted to post a tune by Matt Maher for the "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend." It's been difficult to find a high-quality clip that isn't cheesy.

But, I think I may have found one -- a radio show taping of "Alive Again." (Let me know if you think it passes the test.)


Below is a clip of Matt Maher in concert. The quality isn't quite there and those who are not religious or spiritual could understandably think it's hokey.

But, I think a person of faith may get something out of this combination of Maher's "Empty and Beautiful," some prayer and the refrain of "Here I Am Lord":