Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ave Maria


One of the more annoying by-products of asshat Donald Trump's presidential campaign is the renewed attention it brought to has-been mediocrities like the odious Newt Gingrich.

Yesterday, on the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, this gasbag took time out from his relentless bashing of Mitt Romney to praise the Japanese for the "professional brilliance" and "technological power" they employed to attack our naval base in Hawaii.

How politically tone-deaf do you have to be to not understand that, regardless of the sagacity of the point you're convinced needs making, December 7 is not the day to make that point?

"Hard to believe that nitwit was ever successful in politics."

Actually, he turned out to be a reverse alchemist politically...his specialty was turning gold into lead...part of why he had to resign in disgrace as Speaker of the House...

Feast Day

The Immaculate Conception, Peter Paul Rubens
Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, aka the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

It is an article of faith in the Church that Mary was conceived and born without the stain of Original Sin. The term "Immaculate Conception" has nothing to do with Mary's pregnancy, but that is a common misconception even among some Catholics.

Because the concept did not become Church doctrine until 1854, the peasant child Bernadette Soubirous's use of the phrase was a key to persuading skeptics of the truth of her Marian apparition which took place at Lourdes in 1858.

Raiders Weeklet

My beloved Kansas City Chiefs improved their season record to 9-3
last Sunday, defeating the Atlanta Falcons on the road. It was their seventh win in their last eight games.

Just four days later, the Chiefs are in a prime time showcase game, facing the division-leading Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium for Thursday Night Football tonight. The winner of tonight's game will have the inside track to winning the AFC West and getting a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Chiefs won 26-10 when the teams met earlier this season in Oakland, so there is reason for optimism, but there is more at stake now, and both teams can be expected to fight hard.

It hasn't been easy to work myself into my usual Raider Hater mindset, given the short week of preparation, but of course the Raiders represent all that is corrupt and evil in football, so I will have my War Face on by kickoff.

"Should I prepare for a barrage of foul language?"

I won't be happy if the Chiefs don't win, of course, but I'm certainly not going to curse on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception...

Cultural Erosion

From the Jeff MacNelly-created comic strip Shoe, now being produced by Gary Brookins and Jeff's widow Susie Macnelly.

Until Next Time...

By far the most popular prayer to the Blessed Virgin is the "Hail Mary." The prayer in its current form dates back to the 11th century, becoming a standard prayer roughly around the same time as the Council of Trent. In its Latin form (Ave Maria), it has also been
a popular subject of sacred music for hundreds of years, with most major choral and orchestral composers producing a musical setting for it at least once.

On December 8, 1939 James Galway was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His path
to musical greatness began when he was nine, with his uncle teaching him to play the flute. He would go on to become one of the instrument's most famous artists, selling over 30 million records and receiving a knighthood in 2001.

In 2002 Sony Classical Records released the holiday album Christmas Adagios: Holiday Classics to Soothe Your Spirit.
The collection featured recordings by The Canadian Brass, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, among others. It quickly became a favorite in my Christmas music collection.

One of the album's standout tracks was a Sir James Galway recording of the popular Bach/Gounod setting of the Ave Maria.

Today's send-off is that exquisite rendition of the classic Marian hymn, from Galway's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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