Monthly Archives: March 2009
While we’re discussing classical music and objective beauty, it is perhaps time to address the phenomenon of the “babe violinist”. No, I’m not talking about some kind of Vanessa Mae type with an electric violin and a wet t-shirt. I’m talking about women with real God-given gifts, musical and otherwise.
My own personal favorite is Hilary Hahn, here playing Franz Schubert’s Der Erlkonig:
This is a perfect show-off piece, which allows you to hear just how good Ms. Hahn is. Her albums with Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending and her various Bach performances are all worth hearing.
During Lent I usually do some special reading. One year it was a selection of Saint Augustine’s sermons, another year it was a massive biography of Cardinal Newman, and one exhausting year it was to read the multi-volume History of the Church of Christ. This year I am re-reading and reading various volumes by Joseph Pearce.
The title of this post is probably the first and last time I will use that phrase.
Something for the weekend. Gustav Holst’s Jupiter, the bringer of jollity, my favorite part of The Planets. Some things become so popular that we tend to take them for granted. I am afraid that is what has happened to some degree with The Planets. It is a magnificent piece of music and places Holst in the top ten list of composers of all time in my estimation.
Daniel Larison on why conservatives have been critical of Michael Steele, but defended Sarah Palin:
Steele does not have the benefit of a verbose, mistake-prone counterpart to distract us [like Palin did with Biden], but even if he did the reaction to Steele would have been nothing like the response to Palin. In other words, Steele’s blunders on substance are treated as badly damaging and activists insist that they require immediate correction, while Palin’s blunders were spun as imaginatively and desperately as any politician’s answers have ever been spun. This is a bigger problem than pushing unprepared leaders into the spotlight–it is a clear preference for one kind of style, namely the combative pseudo-populist act, over whatever style Steele has at the expense of any consideration of the merits of what these leaders say. The takeaway is that Steele is being ripped apart for making statements that are not terribly different from Palin’s campaign statements on the very same issues, and somehow she is still considered a rising star by the very activists who are ripping Steele.
Fertilizing embryos? You know, I never thought much of the intelligence of ex-President Clinton, although I stood in awe of his political skills, but I did think, based upon his colorful history, that he had the facts of life down pat. For his future reference, and the edification of anyone who agrees with him about fertilizing embryos, this video might be helpful. The fellow not correcting Clinton? Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the nominee of President Obama for Surgeon General until Gupta abruptly withdrew his name from consideration.
Update: Father Z is all over this story.
Salvete AC readers!
Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:
1. The Catholic Newman University College Chapel in Birmingham, England is celebrating the birth of Mohammad. Yes, that Mohammad who formalized Islam and spread it throughout the Arabian peninsula by forced conversions of Jews, Christians, and pagans. What is even more outrageous is that Archbishop Nichols where this chapel is located is supporting this 100%. And he’s considered orthodox. You know what I think about these types of bishops.
For the article click here.
2. Speaking of England rumors are that an announcement will be made today that the next primate of England and Wales, ie, Archbishop of Westminster, will be Bishop Bernard Longley.
For the article click here.
Outgoing Archbishop of New York Cardinal Egan demonstrates why he is a complete failure in raising the number of vocations in his archdiocese. In comments made to a radio program in Albany two days ago Cardinal Egan [may have] insinuated that because priests aren’t allowed to marry was the cause of his inability to raise the number of vocations. Cardinal Egan openly admitted it was his “greatest” failure in bringing in more seminarians.
[I am using the Cardinal’s own words in describing the issue of raising the number of vocations]
It is rare that a swashbuckling movie can also be a suitable Lenten meditation, but Prince of Foxes (1949) accomplishes this difficult feat. A magnificent portrayal of Renaissance Italy at the time of Cesare Borgia, the film is also a compelling indictment of treachery, deceit and the lust for power. The realpolitik of Machiavelli is matched against the True Faith of Christ, and found wanting.
Politicians are already considering how to tighten gun control laws as people respond with shock and horror to a school shooting spree which took the lives of 15 victims and the 18-year-old shooter in a small town today in Germany. The problem is, Germany already has some of the tightest gun laws in Europe, a continent of tight gun laws.
In 2002, in the wake of a school shooting which killed 17 plus the shooter, Germany went so far as to require a permit for airsoft guns and starter pistols. Under current German laws, someone must have a gun license for each gun he purchases, and licenses expire and must be renewed at least every three years. To get a license, you must a 18 for an airgun or .22, and 21 for larger calibers. Applicants are subjected to a criminal and psychological background check and must demonstrate ability and safety knowledge.
Obama’s pledges to reform schools and stand up to teacher’s unions are sounding pretty hollow. Via MOJ:
In the spending bill that President Obama will sign today, the D.C. voucher program will be effectively killed, as Democratic leaders in the House had desired. A proposed amendment in the Senate to strip this measure from the bill was defeated on a vote of 39-58 (you can check here to see how your Senators voted on school choice for the disadvantaged in Washington, D.C.). This is not an auspicious beginning for educational reform and opportunity in the new administration.
According to a recent study, the percentage of Americans who profess no religion has been increasing over the last 20 years:
The Catholic population of the United States has shifted away from the Northeast and towards the Southwest, while secularity continues to grow in strength in all regions of the country, according to a new study by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College. “The decline of Catholicism in the Northeast is nothing short of stunning,” said Barry Kosmin, a principal investigator for the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). “Thanks to immigration and natural increase among Latinos, California now has a higher proportion of Catholics than New England.”
In broad terms, ARIS 2008 found a consolidation and strengthening of shifts signaled in the 2001 survey. The percentage of Americans claiming no religion, which jumped from 8.2 in 1990 to 14.2 in 2001, has now increased to 15 percent. Given the estimated growth of the American adult population since the last census from 207 million to 228 million, that reflects an additional 4.7 million “Nones.” Northern New England has now taken over from the Pacific Northwest as the least religious section of the country, with Vermont, at 34 percent “Nones,” leading all other states by a full 9 points.
Salvete AC readers!
Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:
1. There are massive leaks all over the Catholic blogosphere concerning a Papal Letter in regards to the SSPX. Pope Benedict XVI will release a statement expressing his disenchantment of the reaction among Catholics over the lifting of the excommunications of SSPX. His Holiness also explains that he will connect the Ecclesia Dei commission to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He also states clearly that the Church is not frozen in 1962, so the SSPX will need to embrace Vatican II. In addition Vatican II also “brings with it the the whole doctrinal history of the Church”, ie, the Church didn’t end at Vatican II either.
For the story click here.
2. The Pope’s trip to Israel will entail a visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque otherwise known as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. That’ll be interesting.
Lieutenant j.g. Aloysius Schmitt had just finished morning mass aboard the USS Oklahoma. Acting chaplain of the Okie, a Sunday meant a busy day for him, a relaxed day for almost everyone else on board the ship. Since they were in port and the country was at peace a Sunday was a day of rest. Besides, the port was a tropical paradise. Life was good for the crew of the Okie.
Since the blog has, of late, become the site of intense discussions on the quality of rock versus classical music, I think it’s important that I as a classical music partisan take a music appreciation moment and recognize that while rock may in some ways be a limited genre compared to classical music, it is none the less capable of evoking deep and powerful human emotions, and many rock musicians are in fact very talented and deeply influenced by the classical masters:
Ulysses S. Grant VI, the great-great-grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, stumbled across these pics in the family photo album.
The 6’4″ figure is alleged to be Abraham Lincoln himself.
Ulysses S. Grant VI, had seen the picture before, but didn’t examine it closely until late January. A tall figure in the distance caught his eye, although the man’s facial features are obscured….
Grant carefully removed it and was shocked to see the handwritten inscription on the back: “Lincoln in front of the White House.” Grant believes his great-grandfather, Jesse Grant, the general’s youngest son, wrote the inscription.
[Photography expert Keya] Morgan recalled the well-documented story of Warren’s trip to Washington to photograph Lincoln after his second inauguration in March 1865. Lincoln was killed in April, so the photo could be the last one taken of him.
(Biretta Tip: Brian Saint-Paul of The Inside Blog)