Monday, July 11, 2016

A Little Help

Pivotal Week

This will be the week that will largely determine whether the Republican Party survives as a viable enterprise or succumbs to
the will of a vocal minority and destroys itself.

Do I exaggerate? I don't think so.

The drama this week will involve decisions made by the RNC's Platform and Rules Committees regarding some key issues heading into the convention. The head of the Rules Committee is already making moves to ensure that asshat Donald Trump is the party's nominee.

Others involved in that process have different ideas.

So even though not a single delegate to the convention is bound to vote for Trump, we're going to be treated to a three-ring circus of talking heads spouting off about what this or that decision by an RNC committee "means" for the convention. It's all a sideshow, of course. Trump will be the nominee, and his madness will be inextricably associated with the Republican brand for a generation.

My own prediction is that Trump will ramp up the insanity this week, daring the RNC
or the delegates themselves to do anything about it. And, of course, when the time comes they won't. Because they're not known as The Stupid Party for nothing...

"Has anyone ever told you that politics brings out the severe pessimist in you?"

It has come up a couple of times, yes...

Cruise Update

My best friend Skip and his wife Elaine will finally be headed home today after their month-long vacation cruise...

The first leg of the trip back home will be an Icelandair flight from Keflavik International Airport near Reykjavik to Dulles International Airport in Virginia...

...and the second leg will be
a short United Airlines flight from Dulles International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport. The drive home from there takes about another hour...

"Wow. That sounds like an exhausting day!"

They'll be tired when they get home, certainly...but there's something about heading home that makes it a bit easier, of course...

Feast Day

St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte, N.C.

Today is the feast day of St. Benedict, one of the most important religious figures of the Middle Ages and someone widely regarded as the founder of Western monasticism.

Although his famous Rule of St. Benedict has been used by Catholic religious orders for centuries, Benedict himself did not found any such orders, preferring to establish individual autonomous monastic communities. Eventually the Order of St. Benedict was formed to promote the principles laid out in the Rule.

Benedict had a twin sister, St. Scholastica, whose feast day is February 10.

Because the Benedictines were closely associated with Bishop LeBlond, I have had an affinity for St. Benedict ever since I began teaching there in 1995.

For instance, I drank my morning coffee today out of a mug featuring the Medal of St. Benedict and his famous motto Ora et Labora ("Pray and Work"). I also own a tie with that design, and when I visited the gift shop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City in 2014 I bought a crucifix with the St. Benedict medal.


From the incisive pen of Michael Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

One of the coolest things about seeing Michael Wadleigh's Oscar-winning documentary film Woodstock was being able to finally see so many musical artists whose music I had heard but whom I have never watched perform live. When I was a teenager, most rock music on TV consisted of lip-sync performances of recordings, and most of the artists
I liked were nowhere to be found on any of those shows anyway.

Many of the performances captured for this film have become the stuff of legend, including jaw-dropping performances from The Who, Santana, Sly & The Family Stone, and Jimi Hendrix. Needless to say, when the soundtrack album for the film was released near the end of my junior year of high school (May 11, 1970), it was a must-have.

On July 11, 1970 the triple album hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, a position it would hold for four straight weeks. It would be one of the 25 best-selling albums that year.

One of the performances in the film that totally floored me was English singer Joe Cocker's cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends," from The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album. Cocker had covered the song on his first album in 1969, which bore the song's title.

Joe's high-energy interpretation of the song is widely considered one of the best cover versions in rock history, and in 2001 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Seeing Joe in the movie made me a fan for life, and I was really glad that the album captured that moment.

Today's send-off is the audio of Cocker's soulful performance (I searched in vain for a good YouTube version of the film's performance). Enjoy...

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