Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Micro Touch One safety razor - somebody else noticed it looks like a Weishi

First, I love "Pawn Stars." Figured out early on that it's staged - come on, they've got a camera in their faces; it has to be (ditto "American Pickers," which I like too) - but I don't care; it's a more entertaining version of PBS's "Antiques Roadshow." Anyway, I recently noticed that Rick Harrison's selling a Chinese copy of my two '50s-'60s Gillettes, the Micro Touch One.

A few years ago I tried the ultra-shiny chrome Weishi, a copy of my Gillettes. The twist-to-open knob jammed after a couple of months. My 50-year-old razors still work. My daily shave is a '60s one I got as new old stock (unused; new condition) - the only difference from the '50s is the handle's painted black. Edwin Jagger cream from England, Astra platinum-plated blades from Russia, a badger-hair brush on a metal stand, and of course a hot shower and hot water in the sink, and I'm good to go. Makes shaving an art form and fun; it's second only to a straight razor at a barbershop. If I want to see a nice finish, I just polish the Gillette with a shammy and Scrubbing Bubbles.

Bet the Micro Touch One is a Weishi.
Just go on eBay and buy an antique razor for the same price. It'll last forever, and give a better shave, I'm sure. I love my 1955 Gillette.
USA! USA! The golden-era USA, anyway.
Maybe we can negotiate?
"It's $19.99."
"How about $5? It's just a stinkin' Weishi."
"I'll do $15."
"How about $10? Don't you read shave forums?"
"OK, $12; that's my final offer."
"OK, and free shipping; shake on it."
(Cut to Chumlee shaving with it segment, cuts self, Old Man gives him hard time.)
More plus shaving tips.

It never really was a high-end shop but a scuzzy place to pawn stuff for last-minute gambling money, etc. I understand now it's about half that stuff and half merchandise related to the show (I♥CHUMLEE T-shirts, etc.); the stars (owners and Chumlee) never come out except for filming. The childlike Chumlee, Corey's friend, was hired at the shop to do the show because he's colorful; the producers were right as he's viewers' favorite (Chumlee merch is the best selling).

Layoff and recovery, the end of the American dream, and more

  • hibu cuts jobs across the company. I was one of an estimated 300 laid off in King of Prussia. I'm not all that bitter. Great pay while it lasted, good training, and a year and a half of solid experience writing Web content at a real company, not the online freelancing I had before, so I am really out of the print business after nearly 20 years. No longer chained to a sinking industry. hibu essentially rewrote my résumé, so I got to market myself as a different person from two years ago. 10 days after being given notice I had another job in the same field, this time for a new, still small but nimble office of a German-owned company that has no print product; it's all Internet. A pay cut for now... back to what the newspaper paid. So I didn't lose anything. Deo gratias.
  • Learned on the job hunt: Facts about the modeling biz and scouting for it. Answered an ad and was called in as part of a cattle call for, of all things, a talent scout's job for a modeling agency. Of course it wasn't right for me - the job would have involved approaching people cold and taking down their names, phone numbers, and email addresses, and IF the agency signs them up, you get a commission. Worth showing up for the presentation. Educational and entertaining. For example, only about 2% of the population can be high-fashion runway models, a certain tall height and size and with certain looks, so that the designers don't have to worry about size when making expensive custom prototypes of clothes. Pack up the clothes, go to the next city, and they fit the models, no problem. The window of opportunity for such people is ages 16-22; they can literally become millionaires just because of nature and luck. Prospects can come from anywhere but some people just throw away the chance of a lifetime. A girl was discovered working at Target and was signed up for a TV appearance and several photo shoots just for starters; she blew off the TV appearance because, she figured, someone else could fill in for her just like at Target. (TV shoots are costly; you have to have lots of union crews doing their respective jobs, so delays can be disastrous financially. So this girl was through.) Small thinking; small life. Again, if she was a little smarter, she would be a millionaire now and possibly a household name like Heidi Klum. Most modeling and acting jobs are literally for all kinds of people for all kinds of ads and shows.
  • Holy Week and Easter. This year is one of the rare ones when all of apostolic, “Catholic” Christianity is in sync. Modestinus: It’s always wonderful when East and West can commemorate these holiest of days in unison. By the way, Greek Catholics in their traditional homelands use the Orthodox date for Easter (Greek refers to rite; most of them are western Ukrainians), as I understand Roman Riters in Greece do.
    • A Catholic diocesan bishop will go to Greek Orthodox Easter Vespers. Wonderful! The right kind of ecumenism. Bishop McManus will be the guest of Metropolitan Methodios shown above.
    • But of course there's this reality: Two metropolitans in Greece send an anti-Catholic rant to the Pope. Old stuff to anybody who's hung around online Orthodox. The thing is, while we have defined doctrine about them, seeing them as an estranged part of us, not Protestants, they have none about us, so these two's view, that we are frauds, is an acceptable opinion in their church. When they're backed by your teachings, you are who you are in communion with. Just like I'm pro-Russian (Христосъ воскресе! Christ is risen!) despite the Russians not liking us (and the Ukrainian Catholics joining an anti-Russian revolution in their country didn't help in that regard), because I'm what I am, and part of our calling is working for the unity of all the apostolic churches (yes, under Rome, but ideally as a loose federation of conservative churches, almost like the Orthodox; phase out the Novus Ordo), I say to Mets. Andrew and Seraphim: Χριστός ἀνέστη! (I love saying that at Greek diners and pizzerias in the spring; after a split second of surprise I get back: Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! Indeed he is risen!) And better a bishop who believes in one true church than the wrong kind of ecumenist (indifferentist, which would say there's no church). The right kind of ecumenism's great, but the great apostolic family (which equals Catholicism's criteria for valid orders) won't reunite in the Catholic Church any time soon. By the way, the Ukrainian Catholic Church siding with the Kyiv Patriarchate is like when the Episcopalians host Dignity and Roman Catholic Womenpriests to spite us.
    • Easter facts. Of course the theological among us say it tops Christmas, but Christmas won the hearts of the people over this feast long ago.
  • From Bob Wallace: The American dream died in February 1973. When real wages stopped going up. (Right before that, sure, "turn on, tune in, and drop out" to go slumming for a bit, because you had the luxury of being able to drop back in whenever you wanted.) Interestingly the same time the, yes, evil Western cultural revolution that started around 1968 just about completely took over the mainstream.
  • From Cracked: Growing up in Communist Romania. A pro-capitalist true story. Ceausescu allowed "Dallas" on Romanian TV as anti-capitalist propaganda and it backfired. The Romanians, beaten down into poverty by a system that obviously didn't work, loved J.R.'s high life and wondered how they could have it. The rest, as they say, is history.
  • In the news: A high-school English teacher quits over the government hindering real education. Good points and very heartfelt, but libertarians will note that turning kids into cogs for "the Machine" was always the "progressive" goal of modern (post-Industrial Revolution) schooling. It's the left's fault, going back more than a century. Public school really is a lot like jail, and it's hell for a lot of kids, such as the dreamy and creative. Update: she gets it. Can we escape the Matrix?
  • From Takimag: Feminist fallout: a roll call of regret. Most women would be happier at home raising a family, and many are just going through the motions by choosing careers.
  • From Roissy: Social distrust is up among millennials. I saw some of this at the old job. The kind of observations a whole blog, Face to Face, is dedicated to. New to me: "to catfish" means "to pretend to be someone you're not online by posting false information."

Monday, April 14, 2014

The show

  • The long goodbye: And for me, except for sweet Megan Draper — someone whom many other viewers absolutely detest — the entire "Mad Men" crew has become so much less likable over six seasons that I've almost detached from their fates. I care about them but have said something similar. Except sweet Megan and Trudy, every main character belongs in a circle of Dante's hell. Entertainment: it's a soap opera for people who don't think they watch soap operas, plus Madison Avenue was insane then. This could have happened.
  • “The Don” still has his hat; all’s still right with the world, barely. Matthew Weiner is smart enough to know that the ’60s weren’t the Sixties to most people. The Sixties were there but didn’t become mainstream until a couple of years later. The show’s alphas have changed little if at all; the opposite, insecure trend follower Harry Crane, has looked ridiculous the past few seasons.
  • Who else found the symbolism a little pretentious? Self-congratulatory stuff for the “yuppies” who are the show’s main viewers? SWPL overthinking?
  • Forbes commentary. Someone's said I'm a Man Out of Time. Thank you.
  • Neve Campbell’s still beautiful after all these years.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Busywork in the fields of the Lord, and more

  • From the Anti-Gnostic: Busywork in the fields of the Lord.
  • Which started here with relatively liberal Orthodox: American Orthodoxy loses people like crazy as they become less ethnic. True but the answer isn't the pat one of de-ethnicizing, which for them would be suicidal. The Anti-Gnostic: the church works best when it's the Church Local, which is the Church Ethnic. As long as you don't worship the ethnicity. Of course I'd love it if the Greek Catholic parishes (Greek refers to rite; they're usually Slavic) in the old no-longer-ethnic American Rust Belt neighborhoods figured out how to convert the local blacks to "Orthodoxy that's Catholic" but I don't know how.
  • From Tea at Trianon: The death of the greasy spoon.
  • From Face to Face: Planned obsolescence and conspicuous consumption.
  • SWPL hand-wringing about Christian seders. As always, liberal Protestants are trying to be nice. Good point that Judaism now isn't Judaism in Jesus' time. The liberals seem to be aiming at a two-covenants theory (so what was Jesus' point?); a sound answer is a seder might be educational to learn Christianity's origins but the new covenant has superseded the old. The Jews are no longer the chosen.
  • From LRC: College is good for some people. If you want to go into a field that has high earning potential (engineering, medicine, accounting, etc.) or you really like a certain subject and want to dedicate your career to it even if it may not be the best financial decision, go for it. But don’t go to college just because as Colin Hanks says in “Orange County,” “that’s what you do after high school!”
  • Spring in Philadelphia.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why churches lose the young, and Catholic-Lutheran ecumenism

  • From Rod Dreher: Why churches lose the young. Because people in almost all American churches are infected with what Harold Bloom called the American religion, or we're Protestantized and don't know it? Unless there is a specific adult in a teenager’s life who shows the teenager by example and in the context of a meaningful, long-term relationship how an adult incorporates Christian faith into daily life, no program, camp, mission trip, youth group, worship style, musical trend, Sunday school, church reform, updated pastoral style, modernization, or even catechetical class will make a statistically significant difference. ... Teenagers and emerging adults believe in and practice “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” not because their parents and their local church have failed to teach them otherwise, but precisely because that is what their parents and their local church are actually teaching them.
  • Joint Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of the "Reformation" in 2017: too far? Maybe. I agree with the church and the mainstream Lutherans that justification was, after all, a non-issue. But Luther did become a heretic. That said, ironic considering his place in history, Lutherans, certainly the conservative ones I like, such as the Missouri Synod, who wouldn't be involved in this, are very close to us. Christ-centered, liturgical, etc. I feel for them in a way I don't for other Protestants; they're our cousins. (How many other Protestants have always defended using the crucifix? Luther kept it.) So talk, by all means. Teach so that like Fr. Richard John Neuhaus they may come in. But like I say, ecumenism's played out. We know what the other side teaches and we're not trying to kill each other anymore. That's as far as it'll go. Catholic teaching - Trent - of course can't change so the Lutherans would have to convert. Not the merger thinking of the mainline Protestants with their denominations. The one true church, our holy mother, the church, the infallible church, is foreign to them. In the end of course all this joint statement can say is pious rhetoric - again, our doctrine's not negotiable - but this sort of thing arguably sends the wrong message, like Vatican II did and as Pope Francis seems wont to do. In the Sixties, many people thought the church had really changed so a merger was about to happen. Nobody really believes that anymore and few care.

Two quick links

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The post-employment economy, and more

Monday, April 07, 2014

John Paul the Overrated and more

  • Groups seek to halt John Paul II’s canonization. I have no devotion to John Paul II. His papal name, a tribute to Vatican II, pretty much says why not. Assisi, the Koran incident, and altar girls. That said, this story, these groups, are suspect. In other words they want to stop the canonization for the wrong reason. The mainstream media are ginning up mainstream Western anti-Catholicism by calling the scandal "pedophilia." Actually, good Wanderer-reading Catholics, REAL Catholics, blew the whistle on those crimes and were blown off by liberal bishops. Now the liberals are on the bandwagon of righteousness, hiding the problem of homosexuality, calling the problem pedophilia, and even using it to attack the conservative Catholics who first attacked the problem. Calling for liberal "reforms" like having priests marry like Protestant ministers, women priests, and yes, teaching that homosexuality is fine. By the way, when many of these crimes happened, the secular left was sort of OK with sex with kids. (NAMBLA didn't come out of nowhere. Those golden-era public-service films were right. Homosexuals try to recruit and seduce teenagers. Tried it on me twice. That's my answer about gay scoutmasters.) If John Paul the Overrated is sainted, no problem. I'll just keep not venerating him. I have Jesus, Mary, and the traditional saints East and West. John Paul who? The petition is signed by Catholics for a Free Choice. What did I tell you? How, pray tell, is stopping predatory gay priests related to the "noble cause" of baby murder? (The feminists' sacrament, parodying the Incarnation and the Eucharist. "I will not serve.") By the way, didn't/doesn't Playboy fund that group? (The sexual revolution: pig heaven for alpha players and ultimately nobody else. Playboy: more sex for players, while at least before the Internet, the losers were stuck paying for Playboy's product. How convenient as Dana Carvey used to say.)
  • Brendan Eich. If you had told someone in the golden era that, say, General Sarnoff, head of RCA and NBC, would be forced to quit his company for holding the radical, offensive notion that two men or two women can't marry each other, he would have told you that you were crazy. (One of neoconservatism's points: the Jewish gentlemen of the old left rightly hated the hippies.) This society's in a death spiral. Hint: the state has an interest in promoting the common good, and marriage is ultimately about producing children, for that good. Any other definition of marriage, such as for mutual happiness, from no-fault divorce and remarriage to same-sex pseudogamy, isn't about that good. So the state shouldn't call it marriage. Also, freedom of association. Homosexuals only have the right to live unharmed like anyone else ("hate crime" = thoughtcrime); one should have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. Ludwig von Mises: money's money, so discrimination is self-limiting because it's self-defeating. The state has no right to redefine reality.
  • Outrageous historical denial. Not of an acceptable (substitute) religion, of course, such as the magic number "six million" about you-know-what ad nauseam (Bishop Williamson and science: try "hundreds of thousands"), nor "the Burning Times" when wonderful, woman-affirming witches were burned by the hundreds by evil Christian white men (false), but... the church's early martyrs in the Roman Empire. So says pretty theology professor Candida Moss. Why I don't give places like Notre Dame a second thought. Vatican II and the Land O'Lakes compromise (break with the bishops, get government funding) shot them in the foot; they're only about sports as big business, and I don't follow sports. Granted, as educated Catholics before the council such as Donald Attwater knew, many legends of the saints are just that, fanciful and not part of the faith. But this rewriting of history comes close to heresy. No surprise. Our Protestant host culture, even in the North where it doesn't go to church anymore and has turned into political correctness, wants to assimilate us.
  • Quo vadis? To those who are in or know about the Catholic Church: what do you think will happen to it in 50 years? My line: Most kids don't go to church, but Catholics who do tend to join the trads and the reform-of-the-reform conservatives. The liberals are dying. So the American Catholic Church will still be here, and will be almost traditional again, but will be much smaller. (As Pope Benedict envisioned.) Other say Pope Francis is the sign of things to come as Third World/Global South liberation theology will essentially take over so traditionalist and conservative First Worlders will be sidelined at best. At best orthodox but low-church. Churchmen will try to keep their power and influence by continuing to align with liberal democracy (as they have been doing since Vatican II) even as that fades (we're becoming the Third World: no real republic anymore and no more middle class; a few very rich and a lot of very poor). So you won't see bishops heroically excommunicating pro-abortion politicians - they want to keep having their pictures taken with the president to show that Catholics have succeeded in America. And giving tenure to professors like Dr. Moss.
  • From Takimag:
    • Mass cisteria. A flint-faced New England farmer was out walking his hedgerows one day when he chanced upon 2 Sodomites in the midst of their abnormal gyrations. He cocked his head to one side and took in the scene, and after a moment, said: "I hate to break it to you fellas, but you can't have a baby doing it that way."
    • Gaytheism.
    • Gilding the Bagel. New York City is the capital of the world. Been there many times.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Passion Sunday

  • Mass: Judica me, Deus. Low Mass with no altar boys because the archbishop or at least a bishop was coming to the later Novus Ordo Mass (our Mass is the parish's main one). The celebrant is Fr. David, one of two young resident friars who do our Mass; another priest on our rota is Fr. Brannan, a Jesuit ordained in '63. (Fr. Check from "St. Clement's Jr.," Holy Trinity Traditional Latin Mass Community downtown, is our supply priest.) The priest at the side was the guest preacher, from Nebraska. (With the Fraternity of St. Peter?) This is our Victorian exposition-chapel church: short sanctuary with the front pews of the nave right by the altar rail; no choir stalls. Anyway, it was great to have a quick half-hour Low Mass because I was off to a flea market afterwards.
  • A Christ-centered sermon from Fr. Robert Hart, since the Prayer Book readings are the same as ours today. Some of the right kind of ecumenism.
  • Strange religion I: Narco-saints. Corruption of folk Catholicism from the never-catechized. Jesús Malverde and Santa Muerte.
  • Strange religion II, SWPL edition. Wicca. Made-up religion from the ’30s. Christianized, not really paganism. Apostate Christians invented this: like the mainstream now (political correctness, also called the Cathedral), it's Christian ethics minus Christ. Real pagans believe in the gods they worship, sacrificing an animal for example to try to get the god to do your bidding, like a contract. Or the word-faith movement in Protestantism: send the preacher money, and God owes you what you want, right? An easy trap in thinking that of course Christians fall for. Anyway, Wicca seems to appeal to some women. More from Bob Wallace.
  • We don't worship the Pope. From blogger Dale Price: "Frankly (no pun intended), I don't get this pope, and I'm no longer interested in trying to get him. He's going to recede to the background of my spiritual life, he and his intentions the subject of the regular family rosary, remembered as part of the liturgy on holy days of obligation, and... that's it. Like it was in the old days, before instant information made it possible for someone to be omnipresent." My approach to him all along.

Byzantine snobbery

I recently read the horrible news that St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brampton, Ontario, burned down. Nobody was hurt, thank God. On an unofficial Byzantine Catholic message board I remarked on this great loss: "At North America's showplace of high-church, pure-rite Ukrainian Catholicism. Very sorry to hear that." Which got this answer: "Really? 'Pure-rite'? Only a 'High Church' Latin Catholic would phrase this loss as you did. I have to take offense with your tone deafness." That's the way of that particular online culture, like its even more obnoxious anti-Catholic cousin, online Orthodoxy. A compliment from one of the great unwashed is beneath them. Defend moderate traditional latinizations as well as the pure unlatinized form of the rite, as I do, and get smacked with the 2x4 on their shoulder. Thank God you don't encounter that attitude much in person from ethnic parishioners, who are mostly older and not online, but that attitude's a big reason why I don't worship in that rite anymore.

Our goal is neither to turn Orthodox into Roman Riters nor make them into copies of the Greek Catholics past or present. The calling of our unlatinized Greek Catholics such as the Russian Catholics (who aren't ethnic; they're mostly non-Russians), St. Elias in Brampton, and the Melkites is not to snag individual Orthodox or groups of Orthodox but to show all the Orthodox that becoming Catholic isn't the negative thing they fear it would be, a taking away of their traditions. That said, nor should we try to hellenize, russify, or romanize the old latinized Greek Catholics and even former Greek Catholics (ACROD, for example).

The first traditional Catholic liturgy I ever got to go to was at a Ukrainian Catholic parish nearly 30 years ago; the families of World War II refugees, the priest a refugee himself, pastor since 1951.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and more

  • Catholicism and Orthodoxy:
    • From Owen White: On leaving Orthodoxy and on Catholicism and Orthodoxy generally. I almost didn’t post this because I don’t want to give the wrong impression that Catholicism hates the Orthodox tradition or is trying to break up their churches instead of seeking corporate reunion, but this post and thread are too good to pass up.
    • Relatively liberal Orthodox’ take on that. I thought the priest's first answer to me came up short. Reminds me of when I asked the late Fr. Peter Gillquist in person about contraception and didn't get a straight answer. (Mainstream Orthodox have changed on this to be just like ’50s mainline Protestants and modern evangelicals; plausible but not the full faith. The Pope's the last man standing in Christendom.)
    • Cardinal Kasper once said there is no such thing as "the Orthodox Church"; there are only Orthodox churches. True in the sense that there's only one true church; the Orthodox are real particular churches like the Ukrainian Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, only separated from us. But that doesn't mean we're trying to break up their communion. We want to bring them all back and not change their traditions.
    • I'm all for a loose communion of traditional churches as long as it includes the Pope.
    • From the Anti-Gnostic: Modernity, church, tribe. Interestingly, the Roman Church is strongest where she actually behaves like a Local Church: Croatia, Poland, Ireland, Italy...
    • Anti-Catholic stuff from a convert Russian Orthodox priest in England. The Ukrainian revolution, specifically the American backing of it, and the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s understandable (historically) support of it, shortsighted (political Uniatism) and losing the Catholic big picture of bringing all of the Orthodox back, have done to Catholic/Russian Orthodox relations exactly what I was afraid of. Some Catholics say that complete reunion is a pipe dream; it probably won't happen but witnessing to it is still part of our calling.
    • I like to say that my High or Sung Mass is essentially the Orthodox Liturgy minus icons. (Icons are great but not necessary.) Which come to think of it is what the Nestorian (Assyrian) and Armenian rites are like. The Nestorian Eucharistic prayer (consecration), which doesn’t have the words of institution ("This is my Body," etc.), is the oldest anaphora still in use; ours, the Roman Canon or Gregorian Canon, is second. I think the two Byzantine ones are in the top five.
  • Languages:
    • From Ex-Army: Slavic languages are closely related. Russian and Ukrainian are very mutually intelligible: My impression of Ukrainian's relationship to Russian is what the relationship of Southern and Standard American English would be if the South had seceded and decided to spell everything slightly differently, and make words like "poke" and "sody pop" and other regionalisms the standard words, and regard dialectal formations like "He knowed what I wanted, but he done something different" standard grammar. Much closer than English to its most closely related large language, Dutch, which is close to German. Dutch is what English would have been if the Normans hadn’t conquered England. English of course is Germanic but in the Middle Ages was half-Frenchified, like it's trying to pretend it's a Romance language; that's the English we understand and still speak.
    • The fight to keep diacritical marks in Polish.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the best movies I've seen. Scorsese's still got it; up there with Goodfellas. Interesting how his casting rewrote history a little.
  • Derb at Takimag: This I believe. Pretty good but I can anticipate the paleo-conservatives' and Catholics' argument that his individualism is a kind of liberalism. That said, he balances it out with ethnic and nation-state loyalties, humanity's normal state of affairs. (Sailer: liberals have leapfrogging loyalties, romanticizing the foreigner - "diversity," "multiculturalism" - as a way to hate their Christian kin. They "love humanity" but hate people.)
  • Music: The Bachelors, “I Believe.”
  • Photo I happened to find: The Bristol Drug. Co. Pharmacy, Santa Ana, CA.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

’50s London, and Americans’ images of Britain

A new favorite, from about 30 years ago, a stylized musical about ’50s London:

Much like another favorite made around the same time and set roughly in the same era but in an imaginary version of America, more surreal with many deliberate anachronisms (the ’80s as I would have liked them to be; all that and Diane Lane at 18):

Anyway, Absolute Beginners has its seeming time-travelers too (Patsy Kensit’s character) but seems to get the music mostly right. It was slightly more conservative than in the States, with more remaining from the ’40s, with cool jazz too. Trad jazz was a thing then there. Some copies of early rock from the States too. You had “It’s Trad, Dad,” the cool jazz at the coffee bars, Teddy Boys, the Cunard Yanks bringing over records of early rock, and some would-be American greasers, the rockers, but they weren’t around yet in this. Mods were a few years later, completely creatures of the mid-century so their devotion to modernity was self-limiting/self-destructive.

Of course it’s pepped up and stylized because it’s a musical (the ballet moves are like West Side Story), but London then was a happening place. I understand the provinces were another story. Not to rub it in but after the war the country was poor.

Piccadilly Circus in ’49 looked like 10 or 20 years earlier.

Anyway, it reminds me. Like the lag you see here, not necessarily bad, just different, in some ways life there used to be a step back. 25 years ago you had only about four TV channels and about four or five radio stations, mostly controlled by the government. Chances were there was no shower, just a tub. I imagine the Internet has changed the media part; can’t have a BBC monopoly now, and I don’t think Britain is Red China in that respect.

But Britain of course isn’t as quaint as Americans who’ve never been there think. Most of our mental pictures of the country come from TV and movies, often period dramas such as “Downton Abbey,” which has passed me by. From “Harry Potter” (’50s muggles and magical medieval school, I guess - never read or saw it; I went to school in England and none of that happened) to those PBS costumers, Dickens, the Beatles, “Monty Python,” and punk, I think the American image of Britain is typically at least 30 years out of date!

One thing about being Catholic in England a quarter century ago: in London and Oxford you could find high-church if you were looking for it, seemingly more easily than in the States. “Reform of the reform” before that was a thing. My parish does what the Brompton Oratory did then, only with more now that the traditional Mass is more easily available.

I love the swing era, the transitional early ’50s vocal pop segue-ing from boogie-woogie to early rock (my sweet spot and where ’58 London in Absolute Beginners was), and early rock, like Pat Buchanan does, who grew up then. I like the catchy light pop from around ’60 too, not what music critics like. The Beatles are puzzling: very good at what they did, and their early music is a well-done example of the continuation of the ’50s, so why were they a powerful instrument of evil? Some metal is good: with its bombast the snobs hate, it’s music for the masses in a good sense, truly of the people (fey hippie folk-pop never was - by the way I also like the Kingston Trio and the Serendipity Singers, for example; the beautiful sound of the good ’60s, not the Sixties). And don’t forget cool jazz including bossa nova: Dave Brubeck, Vince Guaraldi, and Stan Getz, for example. The ’50s included the Fifties (things like the Fonz) but were so much more.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Et Verbum caro factum est. Everything else is commentary. Mary of course is not eternal but is the Mother of God.

Where God and the flesh meet is the flashpoint of all rebellion, all heresy. Lucifer and his angels wouldn't minister to man. Then man said no to God. All of man's rebellion breaks down into three categories: who Jesus is, what the Eucharist is, and sex. The rest - infallible vs. fallible church - follows from that.

  • Catholicism, including Byzantine Catholicism, and Orthodoxy: Delatinization good and bad. Modestinus hits another one out of the park. Their true-church claim is anti-Western. Ours isn't anti-Eastern.
  • Ukraine aftermath. Filled up the car at Lukoil this past Saturday to celebrate with the Crimea.
  • I have to give liberal high church, the Episcopalians, credit. If I were living mostly in my head and decided to try to invent a church, it has a lot of appeal. Credal orthodoxy, the same sacraments, and high-church, just like us (and not like Catholic liberals). But women are beautiful, so let's ordain them, and be nice to gays by having them marry. Trouble is, reality doesn't work that way. You don't get to invent a church. You receive the one handed down to you from Christ and the apostles. And besides, like lots of things the elite invents, meaning to appeal to the masses, it doesn't. (Sort of like how folk-pop has never been the music of the masses.)
  • The rise of secular religion. Picking up where Clyde Wilson's "Yankee problem" article and Bottum's own First Things article about the fall of mainline Protestantism left off. Exactly. The Cathedral/political correctness/secular humanism is Anglo-American Calvinism without Christ. English-speaking Calvinism lost its faith at the "Enlightenment": the Pilgrims' denomination is now among America's most liberal. America's still Protestant; the North just doesn't go to church anymore.
  • American St. Patrick's Day has passed again. From what I can tell from the Drexel and Penn kids here, it's merging with Mardi Gras. You can search the blog for yearly "everything you thought you knew about Ireland is wrong" posts. (For example, the church and the Irish nationalist cause aren't synonymous.) American St. Pat's is about Catholics succeeding here, so even though I'm not Irish, besides it being about a saint, it's my holiday too.
  • My parish is partly Italian, having sort of merged with an Italian national one (still open for one Mass on Sunday as a "worship site"), so at our monthly coffee hour (one of Anglo-Catholic alumni's contributions to our parish culture?) we had St. Joseph's pastries, sort of a cross between doughnuts and cannoli. Jesus' stepfather; in the East a forgotten man. I wonder why. It's too bad that St. Joseph's Day is eclipsed in America by St. Pat's, because it's so close after, like me-too/also-ran. Besides Italian parishes' festas - St. Anthony, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Assumption, etc. - Italian-Americans have a secular holiday far away from the big green party, Columbus Day. I celebrate: I stand on South Broad Street in South Philly for the parade, and from the grand marshal's car Jerry Blavat makes a crack about my hat. Tradition.
  • Fred Phelps. I learned from Cracked that he was once a respected civil-rights lawyer. I can't name a conservative Christian who took him seriously. He always struck me as being just like a liberal trying to make fun of conservative Christians. So like others I've thought that maybe he was a false-flag operation, or as another blog put it, he was a live-action version of an Internet troll. Actually, I remember when secular culture was mean to homosexuals and conservative Christians taught mercy because "they have a problem." Now we're demonized for believing they have a problem. Sunshine Mary: why are we bowing to the demands of 1.7% of the population anyway? Such as demanding to preach in a big American Catholic holiday parade. They are allowed to march. They just can't preach. Like the Russian law they were so bent out of shape about, setting off more media putdowns of the Russians: you may live in peace; just don't try to indoctrinate our kids.
  • That apocryphal high-school principal's speech ending political correctness/identity politics at his school, actually a column, not a real speech. Well and good, a reset to normal America around 1960. I don't care what color you are; you are here to learn math. That said, the paleoconservative's/Dark Enlightenment's rebuttal: family and ethnic ties are normal. (Normal people are loyal to family, ethnicity, and town; liberals say they love humanity but really hate people, so they fetishize the alien and hate their own kin.) Trying to take them away from students is really a kind of liberalism: making cogs for the state. So I'd say the gist of this column is only a relative good, not an absolute one.
  • The Lutheran Satire: Frank the Hippie Pope. Our conservative Lutheran cousins nail the problem. The only part where they're wrong is the end. Vatican II happens to be right there, and the church doesn't declare who is going to hell; mortal sin means risking hell. More. As Christopher Ferrara says, stay Catholic, no matter what happens in Rome. The nature of the papacy is that the Pope can't change the teachings of the church, so this low-church media clown isn't really my problem. I go to my Mass and send Peter's Pence once a year, and that's that.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Крым: the Crimea is Russia again

Очень хорошо! Wonderful! Поздравляю! Congratulations!

That went down like I thought it would.

Well-meaning Catholics including those who remember the Cold War and the heroic Ukrainian Catholic Church resurfacing after 40 years underground support the rebels in Kiev.

The Ukraine joining the EU and NATO would be like California seceding from the Union and Red China further turning it against us, even conducting military exercises there. Is Obama so phenomenally vain and stupid as to start a nuclear war with Russia over a piece of land nothing to do with us?

I've read something from Patriarch Svyatoslav supporting the rebels, which is understandable. I'd welcome a conservative, even authoritarian (as Slavic states tend to be), Slavic state, partly Greek Catholic, in the remaining Ukraine. That said, I understand that the clergy of all of the Ukraine's "Catholic" churches - Russian Orthodox, nationalist breakaway Orthodox, and Ukrainian Catholic - have asked the Ukrainian and Russian governments not to go to war (and indeed Russia has not), have prayed literally in the street to try to keep the peace, and have been ministering to the wounded. Acting in a Christian manner. The people I knew from Kharkov and Simferopol were Russian. Hooray for Russia and, I hope, hooray for the new Ukraine, its own Slavic state, not a U.S. and EU pawn.

Russia isn't Communist anymore. Sure, the Crimea and Transdniester have Soviet flags and statues of Lenin but they're also nominal Orthodox. They miss the USSR because it's what they grew up with and of course they're proud that Russia was a superpower. (It still is, which is why Obama can't tell it what to do. Putin has nukes and an empire: hands off! As the Germans learned in the war, don't f*ck with Russia.) We don't import anything from the Ukraine. The U.S. government should STAY OUT OF IT.

Why the hell did the U.S. under Clinton sign a treaty to defend the Ukraine's sovereignty? Haven't the Western pols learned anything from World War I? Entangling alliances caused an unnecessary, immoral war.

Like with World War I, the liberals want to wipe out a conservative nation's power. The liberal Protestants in America wanted to KO Catholic Europe; the fundamentalists were doves. Now Obama wants to get Russia. That's why the U.S. government backed the putsch in Kiev. Joke's on them if the new Ukraine is neo-Nazi. (Historically understandable. The western Ukrainians, the Greek Catholics, welcomed the Germans as liberators. I've met two Ukrainian veterans of the German army.)

The eastern Ukraine is Russia. The center, including Kiev, is Russian-speaking but wants to be independent, like Austria to Germany. The west speaks Ukrainian and is Greek Catholic. It isn't Russian. Stalin stole it during the war.

The Crimea just self-determined. It is Russia and always will be, unto ages of ages. Amen.

I only have a problem with "the melding of Realpolitik and religious language" when it causes schisms. I'm a big-picture Catholic. We aren't trying to break up Orthodoxy. Bring back the WHOLE Orthodox Church, including mighty Russia, the big NYET to the liberal agenda. These are estranged TRADITIONAL Catholics. Promoting Ukrainian Catholic nationalists instead is shortsighted; Uniatism all over again. That's why I'm pro-Russian to this day.

Friday, March 07, 2014

This our sacrifice, and more

  • From the Anglican History project: This Our Sacrifice. Classic Anglo-Catholicism, fitting the Book of Common Prayer into the traditional Mass, or how to do the Mass in English (It’s Not About Latin™) and what the ordinariates should be like (the British in that have been Novus Ordo for decades). It works even though Cranmer was a heretic (his consecration prayer isn’t allowed in the Catholic Church), because he was credally orthodox and a master of English prose. (Even though he edited and replaced collects because of his Protestantism, they’re not heretical and are gems to read and pray. My diurnal has them alongside the Roman Rite ones.) Benedict the Great’s reform of English Novus, his greatest accomplishment (at last, a church official acknowledged there was a problem with English Novus), is so close to it that the few times a year I’m at Novus I say the BCP things such as the creed from memory. My way of thanking A-Cism for giving me the pre-conciliar ethos. Other than that I don’t miss the Prayer Book because I know where it came from, so I’m not in the ordinariate. I still want to visit Mount Calvary, Baltimore, though. (The only English that Catholics are attached to is the English with a long Catholic tradition: the prayers of the Rosary, the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.)
  • This got Archbishop Robinson and me into a talk about Dom Gregory Dix. I admit I’ve not read The Shape of the Liturgy; he’s one of those people the liberals latched onto like John XXIII but maybe he doesn’t deserve that rap of derailing the liturgical movement and getting the church on the Novus track. He was never a reformer/wreckovator in practice: as an Anglo-Papalist monk of Nashdom he celebrated our Mass, in Latin. (Anglo-Papalists were would-be Catholics but they defended Anglican orders. Now they’re the British ordinariate.) Robinson explained that Dix’s motive was good: he was targeting Cranmer’s Communion service in order to defend our Mass. (Msgr. Barnes: The English experience of BCP could hardly be more different from that in North America. There, Anglo-Catholics would look to the Prayer Book to defend them against the liberal ascendancy. In England, Anglo-Catholics had the Prayer Book used AGAINST them. That’s why Novus was a badge of orthodoxy for British would-be Catholics.) The title comes from his idea that the liturgy’s shape matters even more than the words (one ancient liturgy still in use, the Nestorian, doesn’t have the words of institution, which is no problem), so Cranmer’s service was wrong (well, yes: writing a new liturgy from scratch is un-Catholic even if not heretical); not necessarily bad but of course you can see the problem right away of relativizing content. The liturgical revision in his name, after he died, was blowback.
  • Fisher More College. In Fort Worth, Bishop Olson has suppressed our Mass at a traditionalist Catholic college in the official church. (By the way, almost all American Catholic colleges are private, not controlled by the diocese.) The story as I understand it: the bishop did it because the college had become “extremist,” whatever that means, and, says ex-FMC chancellor Taylor Marshall, financial mismanagement (president Michael King made a real-estate investment that didn’t work out, costing FMC a lot of money). The people defending the bishop say he can do this even under Summorum Pontificum because SP only frees up private Masses. I never heard of that. My first reaction was that SP frees up our Mass, period, so Olson has no right to do this. I don’t think King’s a crook; all investments are risky. He’s explained himself, answering Marshall, and anyway, why is that an excuse to suppress our Mass? The Fraternity of St. Peter were the school’s chaplains and allegedly withdrew due to the “extremism”; the FSSP deserves respect so that accusation, if it exists, has a lot of clout. (And FMC brought in Fr. Gruner* and John Vennari to speak.) So what is “extremism” that would justify a crackdown (again, he has no right to stop our Mass, thanks to the Pope)? I’d draw the line at sedevacantism right now or for the past 50 years or so, saying the council was heretical or not a valid council, and saying that the Novus Ordo is heretical (although the old English paraphrase comes close) or invalid. Saying the council and Novus were mistakes that harmed the church is allowable, and what I believe. Otherwise things like this from the Latin Mass Society (It’s Not About Latin™: allow our Mass in the vernacular and Catholics’ objection to it would fall like a house of cards) are triangulation or divide and conquer: beat the trads by splitting us up (“at least I’m not like those rad trads”). I still think this crackdown is foul. As Modestinus notes, mainstream American Catholic colleges have gotten away with dissent for 40 years. Is this crackdown part of the Francis effect? (He’ll end up like Paul VI and the mainline: the mainstream cheers for him but will push him aside; he’s a flash in the pan, the liberals’ last hurrah in the official church.) Hunker down. Without Benedict backing us, it will be a bumpy ride. (*He says things that need to be said and that official churchmen don’t, but Fátima isn’t strictly speaking part of the faith. I’m about doctrine, tradition-driven papal minimalism based on our doctrine, the Mass, and the office, not chasing even approved private revelations. I also don’t need sedevacantism, the Siri theory, the imposter Paul VI theory from Bayside, or the theory that Benedict is still the Pope to explain the mess in the church. We don’t worship the Pope. No matter who is in the See of Peter, the church is the church.)
  • By the way, IF Pope Francis or someone else retracted Benedict’s Novus and SP, and there were no Eastern Catholic or ordinariate church to go to, I’d go to the SSPX. I’d miss the normality of parish life like 50 years ago but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. We have our Mass because of the SSPX. Fellay for cardinal; Lefebvre for saint.
  • Low-church Francis opens his mouth again, about “civil unions,” a way the state now pretends the same sex can marry each other without calling it that. He admitted the possibility, which isn’t heretical. The Pope can’t change the teachings of the church; he wasn’t suggesting changing the matter of a sacrament to redefine marriage like the secular media wanted to hear. He’s appealing to civil liberties to leave homosexuals in peace, which is fine. That said, in the culture wars, saying what he did was bad judgement, a hallmark of this Pope.
  • Why did the Sixties gut the church? Why did the council, the false “renewal,” happen? It wasn’t the hippies; they were a minority and too young, and not interested in the church. (They were mostly consumers of popular music. All the real work in the ’60s, good and bad, was done by people who looked like me.) It was the generation before them. The golden era’s blind faith in progress did it in: make the church all shiny, space-age new.
  • This old lie from ecumenism grinds my gears. Recently Orthodox Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) repeated it: “Actually, Vatican II in many way brought the Roman church closer to Orthodoxy.” Are you blind and deaf? Witness the Orthodox Liturgy: your Tridentine Mass, to your lasting credit. Witness the Novus Ordo. The reasons for that line about the council and Orthodoxy: collegiality, the vernacular in services, and the chalice for the laity. To which I say so what? The church can’t change teaching on the Pope or anything else; as Benedict the Great suggested before he was Pope, we can envision what I believe in: a loose communion run by tradition (Orthodoxy) but with the Pope’s share in the church’s charism of infallibility. (That part about the papacy is the only thing keeping the two sides apart.) The vernacular is fine (witness Anglo-Catholics’ translation of the Tridentine Mass) but Orthodox often don’t use the vernacular. Everybody develops a liturgical language (for American Protestants it's the King James Bible). Greeks use medieval Greek; Russians Slavonic. And the way the Orthodox (and Greek Catholics) and the Novus Ordo do the chalice for the laity are worlds apart. No sale. That line is left over from when ecumenism was fashionable. The world is less churchy now and everybody in the churches knows they won’t get back together. Still, you are an estranged part of us, not Protestants, so corporate reunion is our goal, with your rite intact (because of our true-church claim, we accept individual converts and unias, but they’re not our main goal). (The archbishop was a vagante whom the OCA graciously took in as a retired bishop, but they’ve made it clear his liberalism doesn’t speak for them.) Reminds me of this gem from Fr. Hunwicke (in which he also rubbishes the Celtic Christian myth in time for St. Patrick’s Day): Remember those happy heady days when “Orthodoxy” was the “sexy” version of Christianity? Eastern Christianity had more romance and less menace and “rigidity” than Rome ... because it came from further away. Sadly, when we got to know them better, we discovered that the Orthodox were, if anything, distinctly more “rigid” than Rome, particularly on questions like “Intercommunion.” As a friend once put it, if the liberals took Orthodoxy seriously it would be an embarrassment to them, because the liberals can’t blame the Pope for the Orthodox being Catholic.
  • For the foreseeable future, the best we can expect with the Orthodox is common charitable work and witness against abortion and homosexualism. Like how I understand all the churches, official Orthodox, nationalist breakaway Orthodox, and Greek Catholic, have tried to keep the peace in the streets and minister to the wounded in the Ukraine.
  • Jesus saves, Mary prays; save souls; happy Lent and feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Ukrainian revolution

So a mob has overthrown the elected government in the Ukraine, a move at least passively supported by the U.S., whose media talking heads are cheering for the rebels. The U.S. wants to weaken Russia by taking the Ukraine away from it and putting it in the EU. As LRC's Michael Rozeff says, neither Russia nor the Ukraine are threats to America; they're not Communist anymore, remember? Anyway, as happens with American-driven coups, the results might not be what the U.S. government wants. Good. It seems these are anti-Soviet right-wing nationalists, culturally conservative Slavs like the Russians.

American opinion from those who care seems to be that liberals, neocons, and well-meaning conservative Catholics support the rebels, remembering the Cold War and the heroic Ukrainian Catholic Church surviving underground for 40 years. Real conservatives like Putin's Russia, non-Communist and anti-liberal. I like Russia too for those reasons, but really this calls for common sense. The eastern and southern Ukraine are historic parts of the Russian heartland; let them go back. I would have counted Kiev as Russian too but apparently they want independence. That's their business. I fear for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, whose home is the far west that Stalin stole during World War II, as they're outnumbered in a secular country with a big Orthodox minority; not sure if they'd fare best in one independent Ukraine or in their own country with Lvov as the capital.

Also, there's the Catholic big picture of corporate reunion with Russian Orthodoxy, even though they want next to nothing to do with us for the foreseeable future. They are obviously an estranged part of us. Going after Russia to try to help the Ukrainian Catholics works against that.

I'm a legitimist — Putin and Yanukovych are the authorities — and born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt, so for the Russian homeland, Orthodoxy.

The Kyiv Patriarchate schism from Orthodoxy is jockeying to be the state or at least the national church. They're friendly with the Ukrainian Catholic Church for their nationalism vs. Russia but I wonder if that would last if they got their way. They might not; most of the Ukraine, like Russia, is secular with a lot of very nominal Orthodox. The U.S.-backed former president Yushchenko belongs to the KP. The legitimate Orthodox church there is Russian.

And if a mob can take over the government in Kiev, reason the Russian majority in the Crimea who never wanted to be in the Ukraine, why can’t they in Simferopol? There's a patriotic song in Russia about the Black Sea fleet choosing to remain Russian after Ukrainian independence: that day the ships flew the Russian navy flag with St. Andrew's cross. Let them go back.

Dreher writes that, considering all the pipelines running through the Ukraine, Putin is a rational actor. (Right. He’s not stupid.)

Anyway, not our fight. Pat Buchanan, a historic American conservative for peace since the Cold War ended, is right: we should cut it out.

On making English the U.S.’s official language

Undecided. America at its best doesn't legislate those things, letting them take care of themselves, which is how we've used English for all of our history, but no problem if it is the official language. (I mean, nobody's surprised that the official language of France is French.) Relates to immigration: individual freedom to travel but a country has limited resources and an obligation to its citizens first. Why not tests to let in only the best and brightest? Also, no to social engineering: putting Islamists in the middle of Kentucky to defeat conservative whites. I love languages, knowing four of them (not fluent in the foreign ones), and an immigrant language can be a good hedge against the worst of American culture. Usually the language doesn't get passed down beyond the second generation. The second generation is perfectly bilingual, with the home language and then perfect American English learned in school (the schools did them a favor teaching them English) and from friends. Also, in Europe, multilingualism is normal. So have English at least quasi-official, teaching it in school, but leave other languages in peace.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Novus Ordo doesn’t work

From an e-mail group:
The NLM article is very interesting, summing up very recent writings on the liturgy. I must say, I am surprised at all of this erupting just now. It's like watching a geyser insistently spouting; you've got to acknowledge the pressure that has been there all along.

I heartily agree, and have always agreed, that the
Novus Ordo doesn't work. The whole premise -- that you can take a rite older than Gregory the Great, submit it to the tender mercies of an editorial board and publish the new product with great fanfare as Our Daily Bread from now on -- is dopey beyond belief.

What's truly revealing is the institutional psychosis. We enter the Conciliar period having been prepared by the Liturgical Movement of the 1940s-50s to expect that the Church will be renewed once we have, well renewed the Liturgy. We proceed to completely ignore the sonorous document produced by the Council Fathers on the subject (the stuff about tambourines and mood synthesizers was in a footnote). We lose
sixty percent of our worshipping congregation over the next thirty years, all the while prattling on complacently about Renewal. It took FORTY YEARS before the liturgical establishment started to mumble, "Hmmm... didn't quite go as we had hoped..." And there are still people who insist that it was all to be expected, society went mad in the 1960s, you can't blame it all on liturgical reform.

Grrr. Ours is a sacramental faith. That means that signs and symbols affect us profoundly, more than we realize. Once there was a central symbol, one that affected virtually every Catholic -- the Sacred Liturgy. It was celebrated as something which we had received and should treasure. When violent hands were laid on that (the "winged monkey treatment" -- "Well, they took my stomach and threw it HERE, and my legs are over THERE..."), even that most sacred thing... everything was up for grabs. If you could do what you wished with the Liturgy, convert it into a vehicle for self-expression, then you could do what you wished with anything -- Religious Life, seminary formation, marriage, sexual morality, medical ethics, you name it.

It is all of a piece. And then we blame "The World." How could we expect that we wouldn't be affected by The World? Well, within living memory we took it for granted that the Church was supposed to be the salt of the earth, a leaven for the world, that the Church should affect the world. It's highly convenient as well as significant that we seem to have forgotten that.

Father Kocik and these other authors are attacking a forty-five-year-old logjam.
What I call the legitimate liturgical movement worked with the traditional Mass, teaching people about it, and wanted more of what is technically the norm in the rite, High Mass. Their ideal was a congregationally chanted High Mass, maybe with parts in the vernacular. You ended up getting the opposite. The low-church Irish-Americans described by Thomas Day were happy to have an even lower Low Mass and junked it up with a different kind of devotional hymns (pseudo-folk instead of 1890s pop), and the High Mass disappeared.

Without the council, the church still would have taken a hit from the Sixties but it would have been smaller. We had the clout to ride it out. My guess is eventually — in the ’70s? — we would have had a vernacular version of the traditional Mass, just like what the OCA, some other American Orthodox, and some American Eastern Catholics did. Pope Benedict the Great’s correction of English Novus was a big step in that direction.

Meanwhile, low-church Pope Francis gets on the cover of Rolling Stone and the UN tries to tell the church what to do. Let’s see; did he get that honor because of the teachings of the church and will it promote them? No?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The last of the original von Trapps

Maria von Trapp, who happened to have the same name as her stepmother on whose life The Sound of Music was based, has passed away at her home on Trapp Mountain in Vermont. She was 99.
Known as Mitzi, Maria was the youngest of the original seven von Trapp Family Singers, who emigrated with their parents to America.

Von Trapp was the last surviving member of the Austrian family of seven brothers and sisters and died in her sleep at her Vermont home. "It was a surprise that she was the one in the family to live the longest because ever since she was a child she suffered from a weak heart," family friend Marianne Dorfer told the
Austrian Times.

"It was the fact that she suffered from this that her father decided to hire Maria von Trapp to teach her and her brothers and sisters," she continued. "That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century." Von Trapp's first visit back to Austria after escaping was in 2008.
Much to say both about the history and the musical.

The history I’ve learned over the years:
  • The world would have been better off if the Central Powers had won World War I. Capt. Georg von Trapp was made a nobleman because of his wartime service to Catholic Austria-Hungary as a submarine captain.
  • He wasn’t like the character in the show. Always was nice. He used a bosun’s whistle (smart!) to call the children when they were far away on the grounds.
  • The elder Maria wasn’t sent out of the abbey for being a lovable troublemaker. She was sent to work at the von Trapps’ because of her health; she was sick from moving to a lower altitude from the mountains she was used to.
  • She was hired at first just to be the younger Maria’s tutor, not the children’s governess.
  • She wasn’t in love with Georg von Trapp but he apparently was with her so she married him for the children’s sake.
  • They started singing because he lost his fortune in the Depression.
  • The one who encouraged them to sing was actually the family’s priest. Max Detweiler the agent was fictitious.
  • Maria wasn’t nice but she was sincere, very devout.
  • The family was profoundly Catholic. Not only did they perform but up at their ski lodge in Vermont they had a liturgical life, being a schola cantorum.
  • Because of that, it’s true than von Trapp was anti-Nazi. But because he needed the money, he considered the German government’s job offer to serve as a U-boat expert in their navy. The Germans were nice about it; they didn’t try to force him.
  • Because von Trapp was born on part of the Adriatic coast then Austrian (why they used to have a navy!) but part of Italy after World War I, he was an Italian citizen.
  • The show’s timeline is wrong. The von Trapps married in the 1920s.
  • So is the geography. Salzburg isn’t on the border with Switzerland but with Germany.
  • Anyway, that part of the show is made up. The von Trapps didn’t have to sneak out. They just moved, leaving Salzburg by train.
  • Von Trapp died early on in Vermont, I think in the late ’40s.
The show and movie:
  • Beautiful depiction of Catholic Europe, specifically real nuns, probably Benedictines. (Whose communities are “abbeys.”) The early scene of them chanting the office? Those are choir nuns, full-fledged women monks. Most nuns aren’t really nuns; they’re “sisters,” who were given the privilege of dressing like nuns.
  • The names of the children are fictitious.
  • Julie Andrews starred in a rival Broadway show, My Fair Lady (losing the movie role to the better-known Audrey Hepburn; no hard feelings, she says), and once was in a stage spoof of The Sound of Music before she landed the movie role. (Andrews didn’t appear in films until Mary Poppins in ’64.)
  • Because of the heavy fictionalization, the movie’s not much known or liked in German-speaking countries. A more accurate movie in German is.
  • The show has a couple of songs that were cut from the movie, with “An Ordinary Couple” replaced by the much better “Something Good.” I’ve seen a stage production.
  • Christopher Plummer hated the movie, thinking it too sentimental. He called it The Sound of Mucus.
  • The movie was the No. 1 box-office hit of 1965. What mainstream society liked, right before it went to hell.

Sexagesima: Common decency from Gene Simmons, let’s phase out the Novus Ordo, and more

  • Common decency from Gene Simmons. On Tim Tebow and freedom of religion. Reminds me of what Steve Sailer calls diversity before “diversity,” 50 years ago. Before identity politics and the mainstream’s (new left’s) war on white Christian America, this is how Americans got along. Libertarianism at its best (when it’s not knee-jerk anti-authority and selfish: left-libertarianism is mental 12-year-olds who don’t like being told what to do) comes up with answers like his.
  • Mass: Exsurge; quare obdormis, Domine?
  • From NLM, which for all its good intentions I rarely read, probably because I can go to my Mass so I don’t have to read about it: The growing realization of the irreparable failure of the liturgical reform. Good; a somewhat mainstream conservative Catholic blog admitted it. Our holy mother, the church, is indefectible. (Also why low-church Pope Francis doesn’t scare me much; I don’t feel compelled to make excuses for him every time he says something the mainstream media want to hear.) The Novus Ordo was a mistake. Liturgies evolve. Writing new ones from scratch is un-Catholic. There is heretical intent behind the change. That said, because the church is the church, the Latin text isn’t heretical, and now, thanks to to now-Pope Emeritus Benedict the Great, clearly neither is the English. (His greatest accomplishment was ordering that change.) I have no conscience problem with the new Mass’s text. (Two years ago I got to put that to the test, visiting a liberal parish for a First Communion. Sure, I didn’t like the low-church ceremonial, the Eucharistic ministers, or the music, but thanks to Benedict it was Catholic in spite of themselves.) That said, Novus isn’t as good, it has harmed the church, and should be phased out. Modestinus is right of course: do that and issue a new edition of... the Tridentine Mass. I say most Catholics would go along with that, as long as it doesn’t have to be in Latin.
  • Is the St. Benedict option some conservative Christians talk about even real? Some ghettoization is necessary for survival, but I like the idea better of starting over challenging the culture like immigrant Catholics in America 100 years ago did. Don’t like de facto Protestant government schools? (Political correctness/SWPL/the Cathedral, as it is a false religion/Common Core = decayed Yankee Protestantism.) Start our own schools! (Replacing the Catholic schools that the council ruined.) Etc.
  • Christian theatrics.
  • For yesterday’s traditional American former civil holiday, Washington’s Farewell Address. Stay out of it in the Ukraine. By the way, I don’t have many fears about a remaining independent Ukraine made up of what’s now the Greek Catholic far west. These are Eastern European conservative Catholics. As the Anti-Gnostic says, the revolution probably won’t turn out the way the mainstream West wants.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Friday, February 07, 2014

The American Catholic showdown, and more

  • The American Catholic showdown. Liberal Catholicism will die, and the indifferent masses will drift off to secular humanism. So this is a fight brewing among the Catholics who still go to Mass. American Catholicism won't disappear, because it used to be so big. But it will be a lot smaller, and sounder and higher-church along Pope Benedict's lines. (Francis is a flash in the pan for the libs.) It looks like the only choices American Catholic intellectuals are offering me are to be a neocon supporting the economic liberalism I believe in but reformed religion and the mainstream Republican Party, or to have my Tridentine religion along with fascism (just a description, not a dirty word) or monarchism, with well-meant leftism or third-wayism economically that just doesn't work. Zmirak really doesn't like trads. I have nothing against the man and agree with some of his points, as I am a well-meaning Catholic libertarian, but this line of writing reminds me of that tool who wrote how uncool and crazy Ron Paul supporters are so now he's on board with the people at Salon. Valid discussion point: was the golden era of American Catholicism around the '50s just a fluke - is America inherently anti-Catholic? I don't want to think so but it makes me think. Catholic Social Teaching seems to be a well-meant welfare state but anti-abortion and anti-unjust wars.
  • From Theden: How we helped the USSR win WWII. By betraying our mother country: Protestant but still our people (why America defending Australia made sense).
  • A reprint of William S. Lind’s 1995 article, “Militant Musings: From Nightmare 1995 to My Utopian 2050.”
  • Culture-wars shows:
    • Sochi-bashing. Russia has lots of embarrassing problems but of course our mainstream media are going after them with a vengeance for thoughtcrime; Google’s in on the rainbow-flag waving. Reminds me of Henny Youngman inventing Polack jokes.
    • That mild multiculti Coke commercial. I don’t watch the Super Bowl but don't write about it because it seems to bring out the kind of lefties who were envious of the jocks and try to tear them down. (Like the Episcopalian crusade against alleged sex trafficking at it.) So I saw this after the fact. Perfect bait for the understandable nativist backlash, a set-up for the SWPLs to make fun of it (idiots can't even write English, don't know the song isn't our anthem, etc.). I love foreign languages but Roissy's right. This lefty business isn't about helping the poor but sticking it to their own white kin whom they hate. Importing Islamists and dropping them in Kentucky. Social engineering, or trying to replace the white proles.