Don Knotts was a comedy genius but he understood that his creation, the bumbling Deputy Barney Fife, needed depth to be an effective character. Here he faces down two men, each far more physically powerful than himself, simply because his badge represents the Law and the people the Law represents. It is an example of a character overcoming his fear and helps explain why Sheriff Taylor had Fife as his Deputy. A bravura performance from the Silver Age of Television.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
After conducting his first symphony since being named Maestro of the New Mexico Philharmonic, Chinese-born Li Wei Chen has been under heavy scrutiny from longtime patrons for conducting Beethoven’s famous 9th Symphony while facing the orchestra.
Season subscriber Lance Humphrey told EOTT that he was offended that Chen did not conduct facing the audience like their old maestro.
“Look, I understand that the symphony is still the symphony no matter what, but I just think that turning his back toward us while conducting just takes us back to an archaic time.”
Many have reportedly labelled Chen a “Symphonic Rad Trad,” saying that he was out of touch with mainstream music.
New Mexico Symphony donor Cecilia Cotes told EOTT that it reminded her of times when she would be in music class and would be “whacked on the knuckles with a violin bow.”
“It’s completely outdated. What we want is Maestro Chen to turn and face us so that we can feel like we’re participating in the orchestral movements. Does that make sense?”
At press time, Chen has said that he would not turn to face the people, but would consider allowing a number patrons on stage to turn the pages of the sheet music during concerts.
Something for the weekend. Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913). It seems like merely a pleasant piece of music today, but a riot ensued when it, and the ballet it was composed, The Rite of Spring, were performed in Paris on May 29, 1913.
Three Islamic State fighters were mauled to death by a pack of wild boar, reports U.K.’s The Times. Another 5 militants were also injured in the attack.
The men were said to be taking cover in a field as they set up an ambush for local tribesmen, local leaders said.
“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,” Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and supervisor of anti-ISIS forces, told the Times. “The area is dense with reeds, which are good for hiding in.”
The incident occurred after Islamic State fighters executed 25 people in the town of Hawija, one of three Islamic State complete-control strongholds in Iraq. The executions were ordered after several people tried to escape the town, according to local leaders.
Last night I watched The FBI Story (1959) starring Jimmy Stewart as FBI agent Chip Hardesty. Through the story of his career the history of the FBI was told. A somewhat sanitized version to be sure but accurate as far as it went. Go here to read some background on the film. From an entertainment standpoint it is a great film, full of humor and drama, Jimmy Stewart and Vera Miles doing a good job of making you care about Chip Hardesty and his wife. In one moving scene Hardesty and his wife learn that their only son was killed in the first assault wave on Iwo Jima. As the black tide of grief washes over them as it does almost all parents who lose a child, Stewart seemed to be actually experiencing that sorrow. A decorated Colonel in the Eighth Air Force who flew bomber missions during the War, I expect that Stewart while filming that scene was recalling the many young men he had known who had died in the units he commanded, and the letters he wrote to their parents and wives. A good film, but that is not why I am writing this post.
In a clash with the Ku Klux Klan Hardesty describes it as follows:
The next day, Sam and I were sent down South with five other agents. We were given simple instructions: To check on a group of terrorists known as the Ku Klux Klan. They had one minor complaint: They didn’t like the Bill of Rights. They said so in speeches. They said so in a lot of different ways. They ransacked homes……and defiled ancient devotions. It was a secret organization……that was so powerful it didn’t have to be secret.
This struck home to me because in this country we see the growing influence on the left of groups that also do not like the Bill of Rights. To their credit some leftists are beginning to speak out against these groups, including Senators Warren and Sanders, Professor Cornell West and talk show host Bill Maher. It is a frightening movement that bodes ill for civic peace. Here is a current example of what these groups are accomplishing:
For years, the 82nd Avenue of the Roses parade has kicked off Portland’s annual Rose Festival and marked beginning of the Oregon city’s parade season.
But after a threatening email was sent to parade organizers – singling out members of the Multnomah County Republican Party (MCRP) who were planning to take part – officials have decided to cancel the family-friendly procession in an effort to avoid any clashes between protesters and marchers.
“This would have been the 11th year of the parade. This is culturally enriched community that has grown very diverse over the years,” Rick Jarvis, a spokesman for the Rose Festival Foundation, told Fox News. “The association has worked very hard to get everyone together in one common are and the parade helped served in that function.”
Local media reported that the email was sent from “[email protected],” and said that if members of the MCRP marched on Saturday they planned to have “two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push them out.”
“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the anonymous email said, in reference to the violent riots that broke out in Portland after the 2016 presidential election, reported the Oregonian. “This is non-negotiable.”
The Pope faces a situation on the ground far different from the view of Islam as a religion of peace that he has repeated ad nauseum:
Pope Francis is facing a religious and diplomatic balancing act as he heads to Egypt this weekend, hoping to comfort its Christian community after a spate of Islamic attacks while seeking to improve relations with Egypt’s Muslim leaders.
Security has been tightened, with shops ordered closed and police conducting door-to-door checks in the upscale Cairo neighborhood where Francis will stay Friday night. His only public Mass is being held at a military-run stadium.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis wasn’t overly concerned and wouldn’t use an armored car, as his predecessors did on foreign trips. Francis insisted on going ahead with the trip even after twin Palm Sunday church bombings killed at least 45 people and a subsequent attack at the famed St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai.
“We’re in the world of ‘new normal,'” Burke said. “But we go forward with serenity.”
The highlight of the two-day trip will be Francis’ visit Friday to Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of learning in Sunni Islam. There, he will meet privately with grand imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, and participate in an international peace conference.
Francis has insisted that Christian-Muslim dialogue is the only way to overcome Islamic extremism of the kind that has targeted Christians and driven them from their 2,000-year-old communities in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. While condemning extremist attacks against Christians, he has said he is traveling to Egypt as a messenger of peace at a time when the world is “torn by blind violence.”
But his message of dialogue and tolerance has been rejected as naive by even some of his fellow Jesuits, for whom Islam remains “a religion of the sword” that has failed to modernize. Even ordinary Egyptian Christians see his visit as a nice gesture but one that ultimately won’t change their reality.
“He has been saying the same words for years, which is all about love and tolerance, but political Islam ruined the world and the most important change should come from Al-Azhar,” said John, a 24-year-old Coptic Christian student from Cairo who declined to give his last name because he feared reprisals.
Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear does not think much of the Pope’s TED talk:
Everybody loves to hate TED talks. It is an official entry on the “Stuff White People Like” website. Comedian Sam Hyde was spot on when he gave a ridiculously self-congratulatory TED talk on “the 2070 Paradigm Shift” a few years ago, while dressed like a Greek hoplite.
With his “Neo-Earth Good Government League” he should have been the warm-up act for Francis’ TED talk.
Among the gems (this is Sam Hyde):
It should be no surprise that Pope Francis popped up on a TED to talk about the “Future You.”
The Bear finds that phrase ominous, since, actuarially, the future Bear will shortly be fertilizing the daisy patch. But, of course, the future is full of hope for Pope Francis. But what kind of hope?
As the Bear read the bland comments, he recalled the brilliant po-mo generator that assembles jargon into academic essays that have fooled at least one journal. It would not be hard to create a “Francis Generator” that did a quick paste job using solidarity, refugees, migrants, youth, arms dealers, dialogue, and those evil northern bastards who stole everything from the south, etc.
This talk could have been generated by the Bear’s hypothetical program. And it is just as hard to write a sensible story about. You can skim it for yourself. It isn’t that long. It is devoid of any genuine Catholic insights. The theological virtue of Hope is reduced to an expectation for a better tomorrow – here on earth. Pope Francis actually calls for a revolution. A worldly revolution, of course, that would put in power progressives like himself.
It makes an uncomfortable read, because you realize that this is not someone who is all that interested in souls, or Heaven, or any of that stuff. Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope to advance the agenda of the Prince of This World. His gospel is the anti-gospel of the Prince of This World.
PopeWatch guesses this was inevitalbe: The Pope gives a TED Talk. TED Talks are videos by individuals with ideas that the TED media organization (Technology, Entertainment, Design) deem worthy of being spread. Started in 1984 in Silicon Valley, the first videos were technical in nature. Now, most of the videos seem to convey ideas viewed as non-threatening by the global chattering classes. Apparently the Pope is clearly in that category. Here is the transcript of the Pope’s address:
The French are in the process of electing a President. The vagaries of French politics I usually find fairly bewildering, as one might expect from a nation that since 1789 has had a monarchy, three constitutional monarchies, two empires, a fascist state and five republics. The French use a run off system by which the two top candidates, if no candidate gets above 50%, go up against each other. The French finished the first round over the weekend. The two candidates, drum roll, are:
Marine Le Pen of the National Front. She has been compared to Joan of Arc. Well perhaps, if one can imagine a pro-abort Joan of Arc who has been twice divorced and is shacked up with a significant other. The National Front is sort of a Le Pen family business, started by her Daddy Jean-Marie LePen, probably a fascist, who she threw out of the party in 2015 when he made one of the thousands of controversial statements that litter his career. She is widely assumed to be doomed in the run-off, and that is probably the case, although she does recognize that France is in a war with Jihadists, something that most other sectors of French political opinion do their best to ignore.
Emmanuel Macron is a renegade moderate socialist, if there is such an animal. The French establishment has rallied around him to save them from dragon lady Le Pen who might, if elected, actually change the way France has done business since the days of the Sun King, whatever the French government of the day calls itself: heavily centralized rule from Paris, with the rest of France being, at best, a suburb of Paris. He is 39 and his spouse is 64. They met when he was 15 and she was his teacher at a private Jesuit school, married with three kids. Private meetings between them ensued where they no doubt had interesting conversations in the Jesuit manner regarding marital fidelity. They confessed their undying love for each other when he was 16. When he turned 18 she dumped her husband, although in Gallic fashion they did not get married until 2007 after she finally divorced husband the first. During the campaign Macron was accused of having a homosexual relationship with the head of Radio France. He has denied this, and that denial may be correct, because as far as I can ascertain the head of Radio France did not teach at the Jesuit school while he was a student.
The Pope has gone silent on Venezuela where a low level civil war is underway as desperate people take to the streets against their Castro wannabe government. Father Raymond de Souza wonders why:
For a brief period, the Vatican was involved as a mediator in talks between the Maduro regime and the opposition. The government was happy for the Vatican role, for it believed that it gave them added legitimacy. The opposition trusted the Church because of the longstanding criticism of Chavismo by the Venezuelan bishops, led by Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas.
The mediation role required the Vatican to maintain general neutrality its public diplomacy. However, the mediation talks were short-lived due to the Maduro regime failing to meet the conditions for the talks to continue, which included release of political prisoners and respect for democratic norms.
As the locus of activity has moved to the streets, the Venezuelan bishops have become pointedly critical of the Maduro regime and more clearly allied with the opposition, which has the people on its side against Maduro, who controls the courts and the military.
Maduro has thus unleashed government goons against the Church, entering parish churches to disrupt Masses. On Wednesday of Holy Week, Maduro’s men burst into the Chrism Mass of Cardinal Urosa, shouting threats and physically assaulting the cardinal.
It would therefore seem time for a thunderous denunciation from Francis against the Maduro regime. Certainly, the government has brought to Venezuela an “economy that kills,” with people dying for lack of food and medicine, to say nothing of protesters dying in the streets. The path of dialogue has long been abandoned by a regime that sends armed men into churches to intimidate the Church by threatening people at prayer.
So why has the Vatican gone quiet? Why no strong statement of solidarity with Cardinal Urosa, attacked in his own cathedral in Holy Week? Why no mention of the suffering people of Venezuela in this Easter’s Urbi et Orbi?
It may be a genuine uncertainty about the best path forward, though it is quite clear that Venezuela’s bishops have lost confidence in the Maduro regime. It may be thought that strong words from the Holy See might further inflame Maduro’s violence against the Church.
Or it may be that such a step would require Francis to direct criticism at a Latin American leftist, which he heretofore has not done. To the contrary, Latin American leftists have enjoyed favour under this pope, with both Raul Castro of Cuba and Evo Morales of Bolivia getting unusually warm receptions on visits to the Vatican.
The Holy Father has yet to visit his native Argentina, but chose Cuba and Bolivia for significant moments in his papal travels. To come out against the Maduro regime would require a break with Castro and Morales specifically, and the militant Latin American left more generally.
The things you find on You tube! The first episode of Playhouse 90, the hour and half long weekly series that aired on CBS from 1956-1960. This episode, Forbidden Area, was written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer. Introduced by Jack Palance, this live Cold War espionage drama starred Charlton Heston and Vincent Price. That television used to present such quality fare makes one weep for the current waste of airtime programming, usually filled with sniggering obscenity, mindless violence, and almost no thought, that makes up most television schedules.
I have a crowded day today. The centerpiece is six bankruptcy first meetings of creditors that will extend from noon to two-thirty PM. As is usually the case when I am in a hearing over the lunch hour, I will grab some fast food in my travels and eat in my car. About 50% of the time the food comes from a McDonald’s, as will be the case today. (No, having done this for thirty-five years I neither lose control of the car nor suffer from indigestion, although sometimes my ties end up the worse for wear.)
On Sunday my bride and I watched the Blu-ray of Founder (2017) the biopic starring Michael Keaton in the role of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. The film is a dark comedy and Michael Keaton’s manic comedic drive is a good fit for the film. The film tells a somewhat fictionalized tale of how Ray Kroc took the idea of the McDonald brothers for fast service of hamburgers, fries and pop and turned it into a globe-spanning corporation.
The film depicts Kroc as both hero and villain. Without his endless energy and resourcefulness the McDonald’s concept of fast food would have remained in San Bernardino and a handful of southwest locations. However, Kroc is also shown cheating the brothers and divorcing his wife of 39 years to pursue a younger woman. The latter charge is correct. It is even worse than the film depicts. When the younger woman did not divorce her husband, Kroc married wife number two and dumped her and married the younger woman, Joan Kroc, in 1969 when she finally did divorce her first husband and became wife number three. That tells you all you need to know about Ray Kroc as a human being. However, the wheel always comes round. Joan Kroc was a liberal airhead who gave away Kroc’s hard earned fortune after his death to such worthless causes as a million bucks to the Democrat party and 235 million to NPR. Ray Kroc, who was a political conservative, was doubtless grinding his teeth in the world to come. Hopefully he wasn’t outraged by the billion and a half she left on her death to the Salvation Army, a worthy cause. The allegation that Kroc cheated the McDonald brothers by denying them royalties is an urban myth. Kroc had to scramble to raise the 2.7 million they wanted as a buyout in 1961, the equivalent today, after taxes, of eight million apiece. When Kroc suggested that they accept installment payments, the brothers said they might as well then continue getting their royalties of 0.5% per annum of the franchise profits. It was understood that no royalties would be paid to the brothers after the sale. Kroc was a rough business man, but an outright cheat, no.
 Wilt thou give strength to the horse, or clothe his neck with neighing?  Wilt thou lift him up like the locusts? the glory of his nostrils is terror.
 He breaketh up the earth with his hoof, he pranceth boldly, he goeth forward to meet armed men.  He despiseth fear, he turneth not his back to the sword,  Above him shall the quiver rattle, the spear and shield shall glitter.  Chasing and raging he swalloweth the ground, neither doth he make account when the noise of the trumpet soundeth.  When he heareth the trumpet he saith: Ha, ha: he smelleth the battle afar off, the encouraging of the captains, and the shouting of the army.
Job 39: 19-25
Today is Anzac Day, in Australia and New Zealand. It commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli in World War I. Although the effort to take the Dardanelles was ultimately unsuccessful, the Anzac troops demonstrated great courage and tenacity, and the ordeal the troops underwent in this campaign has a vast meaning to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia.
At the beginning of the war the New Zealand and Australian citizen armies, illustrating the robust humor of both nations, engaged in self-mockery best illustrated by this poem:
We are the ANZAC Army
We cannot shoot, we don’t salute
What bloody good are we ?
And when we get to Ber – Lin
The Kaiser, he will say
Hoch, Hoch, Mein Gott !
What a bloody odd lot
to get six bob a day.
By the end of World War I no one was laughing at the Anzacs. At the end of the war a quarter of the military age male population of New Zealand had been killed or wounded and Australia paid a similarly high price. Widely regarded as among the elite shock troops of the Allies, they had fought with distinction throughout the war, and added to their reputation during World War II. American veterans I have spoken to who have fought beside Australian and New Zealand units have uniformly told me that they could choose no better troops to have on their flank in a battle.
A century ago in 1917 the Anzac troops were still fighting in the Great War. They accomplished many remarkable feats of arms during that year, but perhaps the most remarkable was the charge of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba, a battle in which both Australian and New Zealand troops fought. The long day of cavalry was almost over, but the mounted infantrymen of the 4th Light Horse, waving their bayonets in lieu of sabers, routed the entrenched Turks and only suffered light casualties themselves, a true military miracle. The war horse, ridden by Anzacs, had his last moment of military glory.
Carl Olsen at The Catholic World Report demonstrates why Cardinal Maradiaga, who is very close to the Pope, is an insult to all sentient Catholics:
The three key remarks are as follows: I think in the first place they [the four cardinals] have not read the Amoris Laetitia, because unfortunately this is the case! I know the four and I say they are already retired. How come they did not say anything in regard to those who manufacture weapons? Some are in countries that manufacture and sell weapons throughout the genocide that is happening in Syria, for example. Why? I would not want to put it – shall we say – too strongly; only God knows people’s consciences and inner motivations; but, from the outside it seems to me to be a new pharisaism. They are wrong; they should do something else. …
I think the car of the Church has no gear to go in reverse. It pulls itself forward because the Holy Spirit is not accustomed to go backwards. He always brings us forward. I am not afraid because I know it is not Francis, it is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church, and that, if He has allowed this Pontiff to come, it is for some reason, and we certainly ought to look to the future with hope because, more and more, the Church is God’s, it is not our own. We are only servants. … Let us look above all at reality, because to see also if there aren’t many cases of those who are in a second union–we will not enter there because there are many reasons– but that they in a healthy conscience [feel] that their first marriage was not valid and that they have found a new family, they are living in conformity to the law of God, why throw stones? why? Instead of saying, “How are we doing with the new generation because they could prepare themselves better to have a good family. And this is Amoris Laetitia… It happens that so many times the methods that these four brothers [the four cardinals] only look at, who think that they are the bosses [or masters] of the doctrine of faith [pensano che sono i capi della dottrina della fede], they don’t look at the the very great majority of the faithful who are happy with Amoris Laetitia.” [translations courtesy of Andrew Guernsey]
Although relatively short, these remarks speak volumes. Some thoughts: 1) It is revealing, to put it mildly, how often those who criticize the four cardinals—Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner—do so in such a personal, rude manner. This is to be expected of course in the woolly thickets of blogs and personal sites, but this is often the case coming from high-ranking prelates and others who are close to Pope Francis. That said, they may simply be emulating the Holy Father himself, who has a, well, colorful way of addressing those he disagrees with or thinks need to be put in their place. To say, as Cardinal Maradiaga does, that Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller and Meisner, have not actually read the controversial Apostolic Exhortation is the sort of low, embarrassing pot shot best suited for teenagers. That he says with such obvious disdain is bothersome, even scandalous.
2) It is a further example of how some of those close to Francis, and even the Holy Father himself, refuse to seriously address pressing, thoughtful, cogent, and important questions regarding marriage, morality, the sacraments, and a number of related matters. Put bluntly, it reveals either a sad superficiality or a dismissive disdain. Neither possibility engenders much trust or peace of mind.
3) The sorry attempt to change the subject by referring to the manufacturing of weapons (a popular theme with Francis, who in June 2015 denounced those who manufacture weapons and then criticized the Allies for not bombing trains during World War II) and the use of the tired—and rather ludicrous—descriptive “pharisaism” not only reveals disdain, but a consistent strategy: to isolate, label, and destroy. The focus (shrewdly, from that perspective) is on the alleged, if vague, faults of critics, who are routinely dismissed as pharisaical, rigid, dogmatic, and so forth.
4) If the four Cardinals are wrong, as Cardinal Maradiaga states, then simply show it. It’s starting to remind me of the kid in junior high who claims to have a football signed by Terry Bradshaw but never shows it to anyone because it’s in storage, it got lost, and so forth. But he keeps bragging about it. At some point you realize the football doesn’t exist.
5) The appeal to the Holy Spirit—also used in equally vague and sloppy ways by Cardinal Farrell back in October 2016—is a red herring; it is meant to suggest that nearly everything the Holy Father says and does is directly inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact, Cardinal Farrell stated: “Do we believe that he didn’t inspire our Holy Father Pope Francis in writing this document?” In fact, speaking with some needed precision, papal and conciliar texts are not “inspired” by the Holy Spirit; rather, the Holy Spirit protects the Magisterium from formally teaching error in matters of faith and morals. The language of “inspiration”, strictly speaking, is almost always (if not always) confined to the deposit of faith; that is, divine revelation as transmitted through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Which is why the fathers at Vatican II noted, in Dei Verbum, that “we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (DV, 4). Insinuating that the Church can change teachings simply because Pope A or Pope B decides he wishes to is problematic, to say the least; this is especially the case when the matter at hand has to do with the very nature of the sacraments, the proper role of conscience, and the life of grace (as I’ve discussed elsewhere).
I found another little known piece (I dashed off) which might bring you to beg the Muse for … the… thing muses give.
The Trumping of the Shrew
Dramatis personae: Chorus Lord Trump: President of these USA Lord Sean: Baron of Spicer – Secretary of Press Lord Bannon: Earl of Breitbart – Counselor CNN New York Times Lord Sessions – Attorney General Hillary Clinton MSNBC Crowd – Outside
CHORUS: O for a network pundit that would salve the anxious outcome of elections tense, a stage for wonk debates, senators to prate, and congressmen to guide th’ electorate. So has the ruddy Donald, hair swept up, defied th’ establishment and, in his wake, has claimants one by one discomfited, brought down in vanquishment and loss. But pardon, sponsors all, for we halt now your pandering for sales with this stock gang of mainsteam media elites, who press in conference for POTUS now to hear. List! List! O list if ever you did county love and office high respect. For Donald, hair in place, has enteréd a statement now to make, with many quips to batter newsies where they stand or sit, because their daily coverage is for….