Wednesday, December 31, 2003

My meeting with my pastor went much better than I'd hoped for. He explained that his concerns were mostly that the congregation not be distracted by people getting up and down during the Eucharistic prayer, and also that people not be made to feel bad or wrong if they are not able to kneel (which a number of folks in the other choirs are not). I pointed out that having to stand for the whole prayer was actually more tiring than either kneeling or sitting, at which he expressed surprise and said he had not intended to tell people they couldn't sit. I suggested some possible options such as singing the memorial acclamation from a sitting/kneeling position etc. He said he would give it some thought and let me know. He also clarified he didn't have any problem with a cantor kneeling, which solves my immediate problem since I'm supposed to cantor tomorrow.

Thanks to all who prayed about this. I'll keep you informed.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Peg Noonan asks, "Why are rich people afraid of the Virgin Mary?". Perhaps it's that whole crushing-the-snake's-head thing -- rather than feeling protected by Our Lady they fear her? Makes you think, doesn't it?

Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.
I will be meeting with my pastor tomorrow afternoon to discuss the issue about the choir standing during the Eucharistic prayer. I'm not optimistic about it since I very much doubt my pastor will change his mind, and I don't know what, if any, changes might be made that will ease my mind on this problem. Please pray that I will not be overly defensive or obnoxious.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

This is encouraging -- the new bishop of Phoenix, in one of his first acts, led a prayer vigil at an abortion mill. Would that more bishops would do so!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola (10 p.m.)
Solemnity of the Nativity, Year C

Carol Service
Veni, Veni Emmanuel
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Dixit Maria (Hassler)
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
Angelus ad Pastores Ait (Hassler)
Silent Night/Night of Silence
Harke the Herald Angels Sing
Joy To The World
O Holy Night

Gathering Song: Adeste Fideles
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Gloria: (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: Today Is Born Our Savior
Gospel Acclamation: Today Is Born Our Savior
Preparation of the Gifts: Resonet In Laudibus
Holy,Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)
Great Amen: (Chant Mass)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: Silent Night, Holy Night
Meditation: Noë, Noë, Noë (Mouton)
Recessional: Angels We Have Heard on High
Music for Mass
SSPP Volunteer Choir (7 p.m.)
Solemnity of the Nativity, Year C

Carol Service
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Holy Mary
The Inn at Bethlehem
O Little Town of Bethlehem (ST. LOUIS)
Silent Night
Resonet in Laudibus
The First Noël
Angels We Have Heard on High
While By My Sheep
Joy To The World

Gathering Song: O Come All Ye Faithful (ADESTE FIDELES)
Penitential Rite: (recited)
Gloria: Christmas Gloria
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96: Today Is Born Our Savior
Gospel Acclamation: Today Is Born Our Savior
Preparation of the Gifts: O Holy Night
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (MENDELSSOHN)
Holy,Holy: Sanctus Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acclamation: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Great Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: Yantis
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Communion: Piano solo
Meditation: What Child Is This
Recessional: Joy To The World

Merry Christmas!

I'll post the Mass music later. I wish all my readers a blessed and holy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Since people are asking, here's the response I got to my note:

Dear Gordon and [choir director]:
The decision to have choirs stand during the Eucharistic Prayer was not made by our Choir Directors. It was made by our pastor and I agree with it. The rubric allows for exceptions for good reasons. It was our judgment that kneeling in the choir area is impractical, first because there are no kneelers and secondly it would be more distracting to the congregation to have the choir trying to pop up quickly for the singing of the anamnesis response. I don't think it confuses the congregation, especially here, where the congregation has been traditionally kneeling at the times called for in the new GIRM and the choir has been traditionally standing. I would suggest that if the Schola wants to adopt the practice of kneeling, that it be discussed with [pastor] before implementing such practice. I think he would not be inclined (nor would I) to adopt different postures for different choirs, particularly when you consider the elevated steps used by some of our choirs. Notwithstanding the devout and good intent of your thoughts and comments, Gordon, in the end carrying them out would be both impractical and actually more distracting to the congregation. I believe I was suggested that choir members give a profound bow at or immediately after the elevation of the Body and Blood of Jesus. I know I discussed that with [other choir director] and I'm not sure I mentioned it to you, [choir director]. I would be happy to discuss this further if either of you would like. For example, if a member of the Schola feels strongly about this, he or she could quietly move to the pews on that side and absent themselves from the choir after the Sanctus and return for the Our Father. On the other hand this should not become a mass exodus or significant partial exodus of the choir. That would be distracting, disrupt the flow of the liturgy and weaken the choirs singing during the liturgy of the Eucharist.
May God bless both of you for all that you do for our church and the people of God.
Fr. [associate]

I should mention that our Schola sings from the nave area to the left of the sanctuary (in front of Mary's altar), so we are in front of the congregation and to the side.

I followed up with this note:

Hi Fr. [associate],

Thanks for your response.

1) Clarification -- does this apply to cantors as well, or only to choirs?

2) I would like to meet with you to talk about this sometime next week if you will be around. Or if you prefer I could meet with [pastor] since it was his decision. Let me know.



And I received this response:

Hi Gordon:
I think it applies to the cantor as well as the pianist/organist. If cantors wish to kneel in place, the pastor should give that consideration provided all cantors, physically capable of kneeling without kneelers available, desire to do so. I would be opposed to sending competing messages to the congregation where some cantors kneel and others do not. You can speak with either of us next week. We are both on the same wave length on the issue. Feel free to speak with [pastor] about it.
Fr. [associate]

I don't know what to do at this point. I am sick at heart and I don't know why it hurts me so.
This Christmas seems to be going rapidly downhill. I had very high hopes for this Christmas, but somehow they all seem to be unraveling.

  • I felt very rushed, and I never got ANY decorating done except for my outside lights. I didn't even get a tree. That is depressing.
  • I have not mailed even one Christmas card. I finally got my Christmas letter done Sunday night and got it xeroxed last night but I've not mailed any at all.
  • It seems I've had a bazillion things I had agreed to do that took up large chunks of my time.
  • There's the aforementioned no-kneeling-for-the-choir thing at church, which is bothering me much more than seems reasonable. It's just ripping my heart out and makes me want to chuck everything.
  • There's a lot of squabbling in my family right now about who's doing what and so forth, with the result that no one knows when the heck we will be able to exchange gifts at all. My sister is not well, she was supposed to have surgery but isn't feeling up to traveling at all. It's just a mess.
  • And of course I'm feeling lonely and unloved.

*sigh* Of course all these things are distracting me from the whole point of the season.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Back in November, just before we sang at the 11 a.m. Mass, for reasons that are still not clear to me our Schola was told we should remain standing during the Eucharistic prayer. This has been bothering me since, so I finally wrote up my thoughts and send them to our director and the celebrant at Mass that day:

My apologies for not having sent the following more promptly but it took me a while to gather my thoughts on the subject.

I was very concerned and disturbed by the decision made on 11/16/03 that the Schola was to stand during the Eucharistic prayer. After much thought and reflection, I respectfully request that this decision be rescinded, for the following reasons:

1) The Church rubric in the US is to kneel during the Eucharistic prayer.

2) There was no consultation among the Schola members about this discussion, as far as I am aware. It seems arbitrary.

3) As far as I can remember, the Schola has always knelt or sat during the Eucharistic prayer. There was no explanation or reasoning given as to the change, and I cannot think of any reason to be making a change now.

4) It confuses the congregation when we do not have the same postures as they do. For example it has often been my observation that if the Schola does not kneel after the Agnus Dei the congregation is confused as to whether they should kneel or stand.

5) It appears the concern might be that there is a lack of unity in the Schola's posture if some members kneel and others sit. Aside from the point given in #3 above, the Schola should adopt the same posture as the congregation. Indeed, my understanding of the Vatican II documents is that the choir is supposed to be seen as an extension of the congregation. At the Eucharistic prayer only the celebrant stands. It seems very improper for the Schola to be standing at this point, instead of having the same posture as the congregation (i.e. kneeling or sitting).

6) If the Schola's unity were truly the issue, a number of other items should have been and indeed ought to be addressed:

a) Saying the Creed as it is written (some members omit the word "man")
b) Omitting the bow during the Creed

The fact that these issues(and others) are not addressed suggests the argument re: unity is a specious one.

7) It also appears that it may be a concern that some members of the Schola are unable to kneel. However, this was not a concern in the past, even though my experience has been that some members have knelt and some have sat. Furthermore, not everyone in the congregation is able to kneel; those that cannot sit, they do not stand.

8) It is distracting for the congregation to see people standing during the Eucharistic prayer.

9) Members of the Schola who wish to obey the rubrics of the Church should not be prevented from doing so except for a grave reason, but none has been presented.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Music for Mass
Peter Dodge & Gordon Zaft, cantors; Kathie O'Sullivan, pianist
Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C

Gathering Song: Maranatha I (Westphal)
Penitential Rite: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 80 (Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: Advent Gospel Acclamation vs. 4 (Haas)
Preparation of the Gifts: Holy Is His Name (Talbot)
Holy,Holy: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acclamation: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Great Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Communion: Like A Child Rests (Walker)
Recessional: People, Look East (BESANCON)
Just in time for Christmas, the terrorism alert level has been raised to orange. *sigh*

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I attended the University of Arizona® Fall Commencement today, as my friend Amber Lee was graduating with her BM in Vocal Peformance (Go AL!). It was a nice ceremony. Particularly interesting to me (other than the usual tortilla-tossing that happens at UA commencements) was the awarding of two honorary doctorates. Interestingly enough, two UA alumni are both serving as ministers in the Afghan government, and they received honorary degrees today. It's amazing the connections in our world between Tucson and a far-off country struggling to rebuild itself.
At home I run a Smoothwall firewall to protect my home network from intrusion. It runs on an old P2-233 I had lying around. I recently installed some updates to ensure that I was keeping the bad guys out. Before I rebooted the machine tonight, it had been up for 165 days!

If you are looking for a flexible home firewall that can do things like VPNs, pinholing for outside access, support for dynamic DNS, and setting up a DMZ network, I highly recommend it. Check it out.

Friday, December 19, 2003

I saw Return of the King tonight. It was absolutely terrific! Highly recommended. It's 3 hrs and 20 minutes but didn't feel long at all. A couple of key plotlines were left out; one of them pretty understandably and the other not. Still an excellent production and one that will stand as a classic, I'm sure.
My Friday Five:

1. List your five favorite beverages.

  1. Diet Dr. Pepper
  2. Diet Pepsi
  3. Milk
  4. Vernors
  5. a real cherry Coke (fountain mixed)

2. List your five favorite websites.

  1. Slashdot
  2. Figure Skater's Website
  3. CNN
  4. Star Net (the Arizona Daily Star)
  5. Computer Geeks

3. List your five favorite snack foods.

  1. 4-Cheese Doritos
  2. maple & brown sugar oatmeal (hey, it's a snack, really!)
  3. onion dip (usually with #1 above)
  4. saltines
  5. baby carrots

4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.

I rarely play board or card games, but...

  1. Chess
  2. Risk
  3. Poker
  4. Monopoly
  5. Hearts (haven't played in ages though)

5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.

I don't play any. In college I wrote a D&D type system with my friend Marc, but in general I've never been big on any of this stuff.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Tonight was my second of 5 sessions I get to teach this year for RCIA. The subjects were original sin, sin, grace, and faith. We had a really nice discussion about the topics, and it was really nice to see that people are grasping things and thinking about them. For example early in our discussion about sin, we'd said that sin was not about feelings, and how the determinant for what is sinful is not about how we feel (after all concupiscence handicaps us) but whether it's against God's law. Later we were talking about how sometimes we can have feelings of lust, anger, etc., and I asked if that was a sin -- and one of the candidates replied that it couldn't be because sin wasn't about feelings. Bingo! It's so cool when people make connections.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I'd be remiss if I didn't mark the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight. Unfortunately, the attempted re-enactment didn't come off. Still, it's a milestone, one to reflect on how far we have come in 100 years of flight. All because of two tinkerers from Ohio!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Prayer requests

Please pray:

  • For the repose of the soul of Richard Chonak's mother, and for Richard and his family.
  • For my friend M.'s daughter B. who is ill and needs some kind of surgery to figure out what's going on.
  • For my sister, who is going to have an operation (hopefully before Christmas) to fuse two of the vertebrae in her neck. She's been in a lot of pain.
  • For the repose of the soul of my friend MH's aunt.

Thanks for your good prayers.
Tonight I led an intrepid band of carolers through the Winterhaven neighborhood. Winterhaven's residents are famous for going all-out in their Christmas displays, and this year's example was no exception. The lights were terrific, although as usual we got so caught up in singing that we didn't see as much of the neighborhood as I'd have liked. There were 8 of us, including 6 members of Collegium Musicum, and 2 friends of CMers. We were well balanced: 2 sopranos, 2 altos, 1 tenor and 3 basses. Not bad. We sounded pretty darned good too. We sang a number of old favorites, including:

  • Carol of the Bells
  • Silent Night
  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Joy to the World
  • Jingle Bells
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • Away in a Manger
  • What Child Is This
  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing

We also had a go at some more difficult stuff:

  • O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria)
  • Coventry Carol
  • the infamous Deck the Halls in 7/8
Here's my belated Friday Five:

1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays?

Snow? What is snow? Oh, that stuff we sometimes get on the mountains. Yes, it's pretty. As for cold weather... I like it in small doses. Fortunately, in Tucson it's usually warm enough during the day, even in January.

2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect?

Hm. This is tough. Generally my ideal holiday would be singing at Midnight Mass, then coming home and getting up early with a wife and several beautiful, well-behaved children. Obviously since I'm lacking those I'm a ways away from my ideal holiday :-)

3. Do you do have any holiday traditions?

Midnight Mass. Large Christmas lights, of the non-blinking kind. Fudge and Christmas cookies, formerly made by my Mom and now by my sister, God bless 'er. My well-worn Christmas stocking. Christmas caroling in Winterhaven (a local neighborhood).

4. Do you do anything to help the needy?

I usually give to the food bank when I go caroling, plus donations to the Salvation Army and other local groups.

5. What one gift would you like for yourself?

Of the "store-bought" variety, a USB flash drive/MP3 player/voice recorder/FM radio with 256 MB of memory (expensive). Of the "priceless" variety, someone to love, of course!
Peggy Noonan, as she so often does, gets it exactly right on the capture of Saddam Hussein:

But normal people don't have to be sophisticated. They can be normal. And happy. And say what normal Americans say when something great in history happens. "Thanks, God. Thanks a lot."

Thanks to the lovely Jeanetta for the link.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Saddam Captured

As probably everybody is aware by now, Saddam Hussein has been captured. This is really a momentous day, for Iraq and for the US and its allies. Good work!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Tonight was my first turn to teach RCIA for this year. Under our new system we team members are only present when we are teaching, which for me is only 5 times, in addition to taking the dismissal and our retreats. Tonight I talked about the Saints, and also introduced the class to the Rosary. We were a little short on time so we said an abbreviated Rosary; we did the Luminous Mysteries but left out the 2nd and 4th. Still we packed a lot into our 90 minutes of class.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I would be remiss if I didn't thank God and St. Anthony for the recovery of my class ring, which I misplaced almost a month ago. I was in my office and had just changed into my skating gear and had put my pants down on the guest chair, and noticed that my watch (which I'd put in the front pocket) was almost falling out. I noticed that and wondered where it would have gone if it had fallen out, since I'd thought my ring might have fallen out under similar circumstances. I realized there was a potpourri basket on the floor behind the guest chair that was a perfect receptacle; I looked in it and saw the gleam of gold from my class ring! Thanks be to God, and thank you St. Anthony, for this find.

The episode made me reflect on my relationship with material things. I only have five pieces of jewelry that hold real meaning for me. They are:

  • University of Arizona® class ring, given to me by my brother and Dad in 1985.
  • My Mom's Phi Beta Kappa key, which was given to me when she died.
  • My Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity pin.
  • My watch, given to me by my best friend.
  • A pearl tietack that my mother gave me when I was little.

Of course I don't wear the Phi Beta Kappa key, but the others I do. I'll have to be more careful in the future.
Today was our bimonthly "alumni lunch" for NewMonics (, my former employer. After a bunch of us were laid off in August of '02 we formed an email list to keep us in touch, and we meet to have lunch every other month to touch base and see each other. Today there were 14 of us, which is just about everyone. I've been very fortunate that every place I've ever worked has been staffed by people who became not just coworkers, but friends, the kind of people you really enjoy working with. This lunch is an example of that.
You have to check out Kathy Schaidle's Twas the Night Before Kwanzaa. Bwahahaha!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

One of the great things about having two blogs is getting to quote yourself :-). Anyway, I went to the doctor yesterday and he told me I really did hurt myself in my fall October 5th. *sigh*

Monday, December 08, 2003

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

Sunday, December 07, 2003

The Arizona Daily Star reports that 80% of Arizonans still claim to believe in God, but they are increasingly fuzzy on just what that means. It's not surprising, but it's still sad that so many want to believe but are seemingly turned off by traditional religion, or are unwilling/unable to turn their vague beliefs into something more concrete.

The Star also asked readers to submit responses on their beliefs in God and religion. The results (Part I and Part II) are pretty interesting reading. As usual the atheists are both condescending and defensive, and among the others there's quite a bit of fuzzy thinking. One particularly saddening comment (from a grad student at UA, a homosexual man who has left the Church):

I always liked the peaceful and ritualistic nature of Mass. But these days Catholics are playing guitars and holding hands and if one wants an authentic Roman Mass, one has to attend an Episcopal service.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Being an Arizonan, December 7th has always held a special place both in my heart and the heart of all Arizonans as the anniversary of the loss of the state's namesake battleship at Pearl Harbor in 1941. I-10 is designated the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway, and this year as every year, the bell of the USS Arizona will be rung at the annual memorial service.
Episcopal Spine Alert, as Mark Shea likes to say. Thanks to Mark for this story on the bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin reminding "Catholic" legislators that checking your conscience at the door didn't work at Nuremberg and won't work before God either. Of course the legislator whine back that he can't tell them what to do.
Alas, there's no Friday Five this week. At least I remembered!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

In Sunday's Star, columnist Bonnie Henry talks about Tucson's F-word. She's got a point.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

One of the neat things about the Internet is getting to know about new cool stuff that would have been to expensive to be notified about before the advent of email. The example in this case is that one of my favorite artists, Sally Harmon, has released a new album. Check it out.
Well, that didn't take very long at all. Now a polygamist is invoking the Supreme Court's sodomy decision to claim that polygamy is okay. Of course, the problem is that he's right (about the decision, not about polygamy).
Time has a good cover article on the coming Type II diabetes epidemic. The saddest part is that it seems to be almost entirely preventable.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

As expected the UA has hired Mike Stoops as the new head football coach. Stoops will have quite a rebuilding job to do. Star columnist Greg Hansen is pleased with the selection.
My belated Friday Five:

1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?

Sometimes. It depends on what I'm shopping for. I like shopping when I'm just looking for things. I dislike it either when I'm looking for a specific thing that I can't find anywhere, or when I'll "know it when I see it" and have no idea where to look.

2. What was the last thing you purchased?

Other than lunch? :-) Um, a Type 5 keyboard and mouse for my Sparcstation 20, off of eBay.

3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?

I prefer shopping online for books, music, DVDs, and computer gear. Everything else I'd rather buy where I can see it, especially clothes and furniture.

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?

Other than a brief period of time where my Dad was sending an allowance (I think it was when I was 8 or 9), no. I think it was 50 cents a week, but it might have been a dollar.

5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?

Hmm. I bought a pair of exercise pants at Factory 2 You a couple of months ago, and they were too large but not returnable. That's about it.
The Massachusetts bishops are (finally) speaking out about gay marriage. I suspect this is too little too late.

Friday, November 28, 2003

*sigh* The UA Wildcats lost to the ASU Sun Devils today, 28-7. It was not a pleasant game to watch. It started out badly and didn't get much better. I was proud of the team, though -- they didn't give up and they kept on fighting. They did their best.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Music for Mass
Gordon Zaft, cantor, Kathie O'Sullivan, piano
Thanksgiving Day Mass, Cycle B

Gathering Song: Thanks Be To God (Dean)
Penitential Rite: recited
Gloria: recited
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 113 (Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: Praise His Name (Joncas) w/verse of the day
Preparation of the Gifts: For The Fruits of This Creation (AR HYD Y NOS)
Holy,Holy: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acclamation: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Great Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: Yantis
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Communion: All Good Gifts (Keil)
Recessional: America, the Beautiful (MATERNA)

Happy Thanksgiving

President Bush celebrated Thanksgiving by making a surprise visit to Baghdad. It's a nice touch, and I am sure the troops really appreciated it. I think most people would agree that he has made a good Commander-in-Chief regardless of what they think of him otherwise.

Best wishes to you, reader, for a happy Thanksgiving celebration. I hope you can gather with family and friends to celebrate. If you can't, if you are alone, remember -- you are here to read this, here to celebrate. For that at least you can be thankful. Thanks be to God!

I'm heading out in a few minutes to go to Phoenix to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I'll post the Thanksgiving Day Mass music in a minute and then be out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

This Sunday is Terri Schindler Schiavo Day. Please pray for Terri and for protection for all life, and pass it on!
The Star reported on Sunday that Tucson's Bishop Kicanas may well be moving up in the hierarchy. That doesn't surprise me; from the time of his appointment I thought it unlikely that an auxiliary from Chicago would finish out his days in our diocese. That said, Kicanas has proved to be a lot of what this diocese has needed -- he is a good communicator and listens, and I get the distinct impression he's using the promulgation of the new GIRM to clean up some of the problem parishes in the diocese. I hope so.

Meanwhile it's being reported that Bishop Olmsted of Wichita has been appointed the new Bishop of Phoenix.

Monday, November 24, 2003

*bleah* Saturday night/Sunday morning I went to bed around 1:30 a.m., and wound up sleeping until 3 p.m. -- I was exhausted. I thought, okay, so I'll be fine now. Went to bed Sunday night around midnight and woke up exhausted again, called in to work sick and went back to bed and slept 'til 1 p.m. Tonight I got up and went to choir rehearsal, and now I'm feeling... bad. My glands are swollen and I'm feeling kind of achy. This doesn't bode well.

I was cleaning up a little bit tonight and came across an old tape of the 200th epsiode of "Beverly Hills 90210" from 1997. I loved that show! I know many people thought of it as pure trash, but there were some story lines in it that really resonated with me. In the 200th episode there's this great story line about the engagement ring that Brandon had bought Kelly when he proposed to her. She turned him down, but he had kept the ring. His new girlfriend Tracey found it and of course they argued about it, so he goes to return it. He can't bring himself to when he gets to the shop, but later after talking with Kelly he goes ahead and returns it. Kelly goes and buys the ring because, as she says, she didn't want anyone else to have it.

I love this kind of stuff. It's so romantic. I am a romantic through and through and this sort of thing just kills me. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of heartache before you realize just how much you really love someone, and sometimes you have to let them go even though it breaks your heart. That's romance and true love.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Today was the 40th anniversary of the death of the first (and so far, only) Catholic president of the US, John F. Kennedy. Since I was only 10 weeks old when he died I obviously have no memories of the day... but I grieve the loss anyway. Rest in peace, JFK.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

It goes on... new "credible" allegations from the 60s and 70s of a priest and a nun (!) of the Diocese of Tucson accused of sexual abuse/molestation.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Here's my Friday Five:

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.

  1. Clean up the house and get rid of stuff
  2. Lose 5 more lbs.
  3. Pick a coach for skating lessons
  4. Get all my Christmas cards sent early
  5. Get my Christmas shopping done early

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.

  1. College buddy Marc Allen
  2. My friend Chelsea Tor
  3. High school buddy Stephen Michael
  4. Kirsten Hall Bellars
  5. Ex-gf Therese Aguayo

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.

  1. Speak Spanish
  2. Play piano (for real, not the plinking I can do now)
  3. Ballroom dancing (including swing),
  4. Read/understand Latin
  5. Land an Axel (of course)

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).

  1. Get a huge house with my own ice rink, and skate every day
  2. Go back to school and get a Ph.D. in history or philosophy
  3. Endow a charitable foundation
  4. Travel
  5. Buy a Steinway

5. List five things you do that help you relax.

  1. Figure skating
  2. Listening to music
  3. Reading
  4. Surfing the web
  5. Walking
Pushing the envelope once again, the Wildcat interviews someone while on the pot. Geez, give 'em a break!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Tonight my friend Tom took me to watch the Wildcat basketball team play Team Nike in an exhibition game. It was a lot of fun! We won 116-91. One of the nice things about basketball (compared to football) is that the games are so much shorter and, being indoors, more comfortable. I still prefer watching Wildcat football, though :-).

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Chess champion Garry Kasparov played to a draw against the X3D computer program. While this stuff is mostly for show, I was struck by the unfair nature of this latest competition -- the X3D has 4 processors, Kasparov has only one. It should be one-to-one! Either X3D should play a group of 4 masters, or it should only use one CPU.
The Arizona Daily Wildcat is reporting that the first mirror of the Large Binocular Telescope has been moved to Mt. Graham. Very exciting stuff! The LBT will use adaptive optics to compensate for the Earth's atmosphere.
Ever helpful, Blogger is telling us How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog.
The Lady of Shalott has resurrected her blog, All But Dissertation. Check it out... welcome back!

Monday, November 17, 2003

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola
Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Prelude: Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
Gathering Song: Come, Worship the Lord (Talbot)
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Gloria: (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16 (Domincan tones)
Gospel Acclamation: (Chant Mass w/verse of the day)
Preparation of the Gifts: Be Thou My Vision (Pius X Hymnal #15)
Holy,Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)
Great Amen: (Chant Mass)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: Ave Verum Corpus (Byrd)
Meditation: Ubi Caritas (Pius X Hymnal #16)
Recessional: Now Thank We All Our God (NUN DANKET)

In retrospect it would have been quite apropos to do the Bruckner Os Justi. Maybe next year.
Saturday evening I went to watch the Arizona Wildcats play the USC Trojans. Unfortunately for us, #2 ranked USC destroyed the Wildcats. The 45-0 shutout was not pretty; in fact it was the first shutout for the Wildcats in 12 years. *sigh* Of course, the reality of UA football is that if they can somehow pull off a win against ASU, all will be forgiven.

Star columnist Greg Hansen says that USC just plain had superior players. In the past that didn't always mean they would win, though, but this year it was just too much.
Friday night I went to the Arizona Opera production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado. It was a really fun production, and the Arizona Daily Star thinks so too. Yes, it's a little unusual for a full-fledged opera company to do G&S, but it was a really well-done production.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

This is really cool. I've often thought that abortion only continues in the US because we Christians (and others of good will) aren't actively opposing it. Well, some folks in the construction industry have put their money where their mouths are and organized an abortion clinic construction boycott. Way to go!

Friday, November 14, 2003

Today's Friday Five:

1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.


2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.

interesting and challenging

3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime.

thrilling, exciting, fascinating

4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.

hectic, busy, tiring, long

5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.

Active, stimulating, musical, spiritual, full
Those of you who are propeller-heads might appreciate this Seuss parody -- The Grinch Who Stole Linux.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Ah, just the antidote I needed for my mood -- read Fr. Johansen's account of the Generosity of St. Blog's. Way to go, St. Bloggers!
So of course, having just written the preceding self-pitying entry, I come across this post on the Onion: "Mom Finds Out About Blog". Fortunately or not my family already knows about this blog...
I'm having a bad day... I had a date planned for tomorrow night but it was canceled via email because the person in question didn't want to be on a "date" with me. So I've been hit where I so often am, in the "you're such a nice person, you'd be perfect for my best friend /cousin /roommate /coworker /manicurist /veterinarian /anyone but me". I swear, if someone calls me "nice" again I will just lay them out. Okay, probably not, but can someone explain why a woman would give me her phone number and then either not want to go out, or agree to go out and then change her mind at the last minute? It's happened to me twice in the space of a month, and it's really dragging my self-esteem through the gutter. Am I really that undesirable? It's hard to avoid that conclusion.

Yes, I'm venting, yes, I'm upset, no, I wouldn't really lay anyone out. Thanks for reading/listening.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Happy Veteran's Day. I hope you can take a moment today (if you are an American) to give thanks to the veterans who sacrificed for our freedom. From Valley Forge to Fallujah, across hundreds of years and thousands of miles, brave men and women have answered their country's call and served. As they say -- some gave all, and all gave some. Thank you, veterans.

Monday, November 10, 2003

I was dogsitting for my sister, one of the 3 remaining Americans without a home computer and Internet access :-) so no posts over the weekend.

The Wildcats came out with a 27-22 win against the Washington Huskies! This from a team that has only won a single game previously this season (against UTEP), and had not won a PAC-10 home game since... 2001, I think. It was really a terrific game. Mike Bell had a terrific game, 222 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. Defensive rover Clay Hardt also played the game of his life; he was all over! As the Star notes, there were a lot of good signs in this game. Of course, next week the Wildcats play #2 USC. It should be a good game.

Friday, November 07, 2003

It's Homecoming at my beloved alma mater, The University of Arizona®, and my favorite part is the 10th Annual Student Showcase. I worked on Student Showcase when I was a member of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, the graduate student goverment. I competed in Showcase in 2001 with my thesis research and received a second place prize. Student Showcase is a research exhibition where the public at large can see how students are translating their learning into new knowledge. It's really fascinating and well worth the time to see.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

President Bush, true to his word, has signed the partial-birth abortion ban. The pro-abortion lobby will sue, of course. What they don't seem to have figured out is that every time the press actually describes this procedure in any detail at all the ban gains support. Imagine that, people are actually disgusted and horrified at the idea of sticking a sharp instrument in a fetus's head and sucking his/her brains out to collapse his/her head and kill him/her.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The outcome of yesterday's election seems to be that we retain the status quo. The mayoral race was quite close (less that 1300 votes between winner and loser) and not quite all the votes are counted so there's a small possibility it will change, but I doubt it. So discounting that, we have exactly the same city council we had before, and all the propositions were defeated. I wish I knew what Tucsonans want to do about transportation, but all we know for certain is that they don't want increased bus service and light rail.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Today is election day. In Tucson, we are deciding the mayoral race as well as 3 (of 6) city council seats (one seat is unopposed, however). We also had the two transportation propositions (200, 201) and a pay raise for the mayor and council (100).

The mayor's race is going to be close, and one of the council races also. I'm sure the pay raise will be voted down, although I supported it - - councilmembers only get $24,000 a year, and well, you get what you pay for. I really have no idea whether the transportation initiatives will pass or not. They would raise the city sales tax by .3 cents and add a construction sales tax to pay for improvements in bus service and street maintenance, as well as to construct a 13-mile light rail line.

Monday, November 03, 2003

As usual, David Morrison gets it right about the new Episcopalian bishop. Check it out, and bookmark his blog.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Something you are not likely to see given attention in the media -- another death due to RU-486.
It's happened -- the Episcopalians have made a practicing homosexual a bishop. I knew they were going off the deep end but it's pretty clear that this is non-recoverable. I don't see how the Church can continue an ecumenical effort with the Episcopalians now when they can deny something so obvious and basic.
Another black eye for the Diocese of Tucson -- a priest has admitted he fathered a child.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

I went to see SeaBiscuit tonight. While it was not a perfect movie (and I've heard there were some major liberties taken with the story) it was a good movie and I enjoyed it thoroughly. While I'm not a real horse person (my experience is that there are horse people and then there's everyone else), I do love and appreciate them. I really liked the movie a lot. Good stuff.

Friday, October 31, 2003

I did not make it to the display of the Tilma relic last night -- by the time I got there it was over. Bishop Moreno (our retired bishop) didn't make it either. It sounds like it was a good turnout though.
Happy Halloween! Here's my Friday Five:

1. What was your first Halloween costume?

I really don't remember.

2. What was your best costume and why?

I don't know about "best" costume. One year I went as Mickey Mouse -- it was pretty simple, just my mouse ears, a white turtleneck, white gloves, black pants, and a high squeaky voice...

3. Did you ever play a trick on someone who didn't give you a treat?


4. Do you have any Halloween traditions? (ie: Family pumpkin carving, special dinner before trick or treating, etc.)

No, not really.

5. Share your favorite scary story...real or legend!

It's probably the legend of the headless horseman (Ichabod Crane etc.).
Not your average Catholic schoolgirls! Okay, this one is too good. CNN reports "Girls pummel man who exposed himself":

A man described by authorities as a known sexual predator was chased through the streets of South Philadelphia by an angry crowd of Catholic high school girls, who kicked and punched him after he was tackled by neighbors, police said Friday.

St. Maria Goretti would be proud... well, maybe. I suspect she would have been gentler and a bit more loving.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Happy Birthday, mom! Today would have been my mother's 73rd birthday.
Breathing trees. Tucson is getting a lot of smoke from the Southern California fires, so much so that we can barely see the mountains. That's a lot of trees burning.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The following letter appears in today's Arizona Daily Star:

Ambrose is no Bible scholar

Jay Ambrose thinks newly appointed V. Gene Robinson should decline his position as bishop in the Episcopal Church USA ("Gay man should decline Episcopal bishop post," Oct. 26). Ambrose should resign from his self-appointed position as amateur Bible scholar.

I could just see Ambrose's 19th-century counterpart counseling compromise as the Baptist and Methodist churches approached schism over the slavery controversy.

Certainly, they argued that church unity was more important than human rights, especially rights that the Bible seemed to know little of.

Ambrose fails to mention that the four gospels make no mention of the immorality of homosexual actions.

He also fails to note that Paul, like his Hebrew scriptures counterparts, rarely writes on the subject, and, when they do, it is clear that they are most concerned with differentiating their communities from so-called other cultures.

Ambrose's most serious blunder is when he tries to argue that Paul's interest is in behavior not orientation.

Considering that the word "homosexuality" does not enter modern languages until the late 19th century, he is anachronistically expecting that the first century Paul could make a distinction between orientation and action.

The sacrifice "Christianity is about" is not the compromise of human dignity!

Thomas Rogers


Of course, the disturbing part of this letter is that the author is a theology teacher at Salpointe Catholic High School.
Exciting stuff! A piece of the Tilma of Tepeyac will be displayed in Tucson tomorrow. I bet the crowds will be immense, but I'm going to try to visit after work. There's more info on the diocesan website.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

*sigh* I took my car in to the shop to get my alternator belt replaced because it was squealing, and also to fix my power antenna. Well, it turns out I need a new water pump too, and while they are in there they're going to replace the timing belt (it's almost due anyway). So instead of $250 or so it's going to be more like $1000. *sigh*

Monday, October 27, 2003

Some people claim that Tucson doesn't have four seasons; I think they just have not been here long enough or are not observant. Fall arrived in Tucson Saturday night; Sunday was blustery with a high of just 73! This week the highs are in the low 80s and lows are in the high 50s. That's quite a change from two weeks ago when we were breaking high temperature records.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Collegium Musicum Concert
John T. Brobeck, Director
Wayne Glass, Assistant Director

October 26, 2003
2:30 p.m.
Holsclaw Hall, University of Arizona®


Ista est speciosa

Mathieu Gasgongne (fl. c. 1500 - c. 1535)


Pastourelle dieu te donit joye
Je voys je viens mon cueur
J'ay mys mon cueur
Wayne Glass, tenor
Tom Tompkins, tenor
Christopher Jackson, baritone
Vanessa R. Sheldon, harp
Peter Worden, recorder


Bone Jesu dulcissime

En contemplant la beauté de m'amie
D'amour je suis desheritée
Robin viendras tu à le veille

Erin Hagedon
Amber Lee Harrington
Molly Holleran

Martina Chylikova
Tereza Jandura

Joshua Koch
Alex Woods

Wayne Glass, viol & recorder
Vanessa R. Sheldon, harp
Peter Worden, recorder


Mijn hert altijt heeft verlanghen

Pierre de la Rue (c. 1460 - 1518)

    Wayne Glass, tenor
    Christopher Jackson, baritone
    Vanessa R. Sheldon, harp
    Peter Worden, recorder

Missa Mijn hert altijt heeft verlanghen

M. Gasgongne

    Agnus Dei
Soli Choir:

Lydia Bell
Erin Hagedon
Molly Holleran
Kieran Fasse
Andrea Garcia
Tereza Jandura
Christopher Jackson
Alex Woods
Gordon Zaft

Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Prelude: Spirit Seeking Light and Beauty (Trad. Gaelic)
Gathering Song: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven (LAUDA ANIMA)
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Gloria: (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126 (Domincan tones)
Gospel Acclamation: (Chant Mass w/verse of the day)
Preparation of the Gifts: Voce Mea ad Dominum (Gomulka, Pius X Hymnal #32)
Jesu, Salvator Mundi (Pius X Hymnal #215)
Holy,Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)
Great Amen: (Chant Mass)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: Amazing Grace
Meditation: Panis Angelicus (St. Gregory Hymnal #229b)
Recessional: Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens (Beethoven)

Amazing Grace used the original words, thanks be to God!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Friday, October 24, 2003

Cardinal Arinze has some good stuff to say about the liturgy:

Even when we give the hasty innovator the benefit of the doubt, that the motivation is a sincere attempt to bring the liturgy home to the people, it remains true that the results are generally disastrous. Unapproved innovations distract and annoy the people. They often draw attention to the priest rather than to God. They generally do not last long. They are often superficial. And they scandalize because they run against Church norms and regulations. If many lay people had only one request to make, they would ask that the priest celebrate Mass, or other rites, simply according to the approved books. Many lay faithful complain that rarely do they find two priests celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice in the same way. The Roman liturgy is not a free-for-all experimentation field where each celebrant has the option to tag on his cherished accretions. Repeated and laid-down action is part of ritual. The people are not tired of it, as long as the celebrant is full of faith and devotion and has the proper ars celebrandi (art of how to celebrate).

To which I add a hearty Amen! Read the full text at EWTN. Thanks to Catholic Light for the link.
There's no Friday Five this week, but I did remember!
I finally broke down and bought some new furniture -- a new entertainment center and a new mattress/box spring. My old mattress was 16 years old or so so I was definitely overdue for a new one. The new entertainment center is a little bigger than my old one, but much better constructed and sturdier, more attractive, and it matches my bookcases. Yea!
Rejoice! My beautiful goddaughter Isabel now has a baby sister, Brayden!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I consider myself a patriotic person. I've been that way from childhood, but it was enhanced and strengthened during the 6 years I worked for the US Navy as a civil service electronics engineer. During that time I had a chance to see first-hand the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of our armed forces. If you want a reminder, check out this cool slide show. Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.
Okay, Halloween is fast approaching and, much though I'd like to just skip the whole thing, I need to come up with a costume. I've been coerced into being Amber Lee's designated driver -- not because she's going to be sloshed, but because her costume (she's going as Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind) is going to have a huuuuuge hoop skirt which would make it difficult to drive. So I need a costume... not one from GWTW (don't want to compete, and anything I come up with is not going to compare with the huge amount of effort AL has put into her costume) but something... ideas, folks?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I was very happy to hear on the news as I was traveling yesterday that due to a lot of work by the Florida legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush, Terri Schiavo's feeding will resume. Of course that hasn't prevented her "husband"'s lawyer from being an idiot.
I just got back from a work trip to Connecticut and New Hampshire. Sunday night I flew into Hartford and had meetings all day Monday. Monday evening I drove up to Manchester and had meetings in Bedford Tuesday morning, then drove to Boston and flew home.

I'd never been to New England before, and I found the parts I visited to be much less urbanized than I expected. Central Connecticut and the swath of Massachusetts I drove through were very pretty. It was a good time to be there as the leaves were turning in many places. The daytime weather was (by Tucson standards) quite cool (50s) and the overnights were darn cold (mid 30s). I really enjoyed the non-work parts of my trip (the work parts were just very busy).

Flying out of Logan was a bit strange. I'd only flown out of Boston once before, back in '97 or '98. Flying out of there now was bit strange. Security seems tighter to me than it was even the last time I flew -- nowadays people just take off their shoes and send 'em through the x-ray machine rather than wait to be asked to take them off. And of course, realizing that Logan is where two of the 9/11 planes took off from (and flying on an American Airlines Boeing 757 which was the same type as one of the planes that day) reminded me of the tragedy again. It's only been two years and yet it seems both yesterday and a million years ago. To think only a couple of years ago we didn't have this implicit fear about flying, or planes. We showed up just in time to catch our flights and security was just a formality. I wonder if I'll ever really get over it.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Tonight I went to the UA's Arizona Symphony Orchestra and Arizona Choir concert with my friend Alex. The program was:

The Far Edge (Daniel Asia)
8th Symphony "Unfinished" (Schubert)
Mass in Cm (Mozart)

The Asia piece was... well, let's just say if I listen to it a few more times maybe it will start to take hold. For the most part it was over my head.

The Schubert was very nicely done -- the symphony seemed well balanced and played very lyrically.

The Mozart was nice. I knew several people in the choir, including a couple of the soloists who have been in Collegium Musicum. The Latin was pronounced as Germanic Latin (e.g. "qui" pronounced "kvee" etc.) That drives me bonkers, and I have my doubts that it really is authentic performance practice for Mozart. At least, I suspect that in Vienna it would have been done in the usual Italianate fashion. I'll have to ask Dr. Brobeck at Collegium about it sometime.

Friday, October 17, 2003

My Friday Five:

1. Name five things in your refrigerator.

John, James, Andrew, Steven, and Peter. Wait, you want me to identify 5 things in my 'fridge? Okay... Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Pepsi, water, cheese, hamburger buns.

2. Name five things in your freezer.

Hamburger patties, ice, french fries, sugar-free popsicles, and one of those nice ice-pack thingies you get at the hospital (I saved it from when I broke my arm).

3. Name five things under your kitchen sink.

409 spray, silver polish, bug spray, wasp spray, and the green pad thingies I use for doing dishes.

4. Name five things around your computer.

Which one? Well, for the main one at home... a wrist rest, a gecko toy-thing that a friend (he's since passed on, unfortunately) gave me, floppy disks, CDs, and lots and lots of manuals.

5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet.

acetaminophen, ibuprofen, sunscreen, decongestant, allergy medicine.
A Diocese of Tucson priest was sentenced to 5 years in prison for child molesting. I have to say, though, in reading the story there are some things that just don't seem to make sense. I pray that justice has been done.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Today we celebrate 25 years of Pope John Paul II's reign as Supreme Pontiff! Ad Multos Annos, Holy Father!

You can send anniversary greetings to the Holy Father here.
The Anglican Communion has met with the Archbishop of Canterbury. They've basically warned the Episcopal Church not to go forward with their planned ordination of a practicing homosexual as a bishop:

Therefore, as a body we deeply regret the actions of the Diocese of New Westminster and the Episcopal Church (USA) which appear to a number of provinces to have short-circuited that process, and could be perceived to alter unilaterally the teaching of the Anglican Communion on this issue. They do not.

They've posted the complete statement.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

It appears the Florida courts have ordered Terri Schiavo to be starved to death. Please pray for her, her parents, and for life to be respected and the court decision overthrown.
Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola
Diocese of Tucson Red Mass

Prelude: Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
I Have Longed For Thy Saving Health (Byrd)
Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Palestrina)
Gathering Song: God We Praise You (NETTLETON)
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: (OCP Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia (Walker)
Intercessions: Oyenos Mi Dios (Hurd)
Preparation of the Gifts: All Good Gifts (Keil)
Holy,Holy: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acclamation: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Great Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: One Bread, One Body (Foley)
Tantum Ergo (St. Gregory Hymnal #242b)
Recessional: God Bless America (Traditional)

It was definitely a bit jarring to go from "One Bread, One Body" to "Tantum Ergo".

Sunday, October 12, 2003

I've posted a kind of important personal reflection here on my skating blog. It's a reflection on the freedom that skating has brought me in my life.
Friday night I went to see Arizona Opera's production of The Pearl Fishers (Bizet). It was pretty good! The Arizona Daily Star gives it a pretty good review as well. It is a relatively obscure opera (i.e. your average Joe on the street has never heard of it) but it was well done and quite enjoyable. The first-act duet between Zurga and Nadir was particularly nice.
Of course I went to the UA football game yesterday, and again the Cats lost (24-21). I missed the first home game of the year, which turns out to have been the only one that they won. Still, in yesterday's game against UCLA the Cats played respectably, leading for most of the game and putting in a performance that was both fun to watch and encouraging. Star columnist Greg Hansen says, "On a night the Wildcats blew it, they made their first clear move toward respectability. "

Friday, October 10, 2003

Here are my Friday Five, right on time!

1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones?

I watch almost no sports at all. The only sports I watch on TV are figure skating, and women's gymnastics (and away games of UA football). The only sport I watch live is UA football and the occasional Sidewinders baseball game.

2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes?

Of course, the UA Wildcats. Favorite athletes are Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen -- also Shannon Miller is very inspirational. On the male side, Tedy Bruschi was an awesome, awesome defensive player for UA, and I really admired QB Keith Smith.

3. Are there any sports you hate?

Not that I hate. There are many sports I refuse to watch, though, with golf being on the top of the list. There are few sports that I wouldn't play at, say, a picnic.

4. Have you ever been to a sports event?

I have season tickets for UA football. I've also been to a 49ers game with my dad a long time ago.

5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?

I never played any sports in school. I am learning to figure skate, as readers of my skating blog know.
Robert Cringely has a good column on identity theft, privacy, and how we can improve our security and safety by going back to being a tribe. Check it out! Cringely is almost always a good read.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

In an important ruling, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against a challenge to the state law reserving marriage to one man and one woman.
Check out this cool post by Fr. Rob Johansen on his experiences both receiving and administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Thank God for priests like for Fr. Rob!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Good grief! It looks like Arnold is going to win the California governorship... well, they get what they deserve I guess. At least he's not eligible to be President!

Monday, October 06, 2003

Okay, it's late, but here's my Friday Five:

1. What vehicle do you drive?

A '97 Mazda 626 (burgundy). I bought it used. It was hard to find since I wanted a car with a stick shift. I like it a lot.

2. How long have you had it?

Since June of '99 (a bit over 4 years).

3. What is the coolest feature on your vehicle?

That would have to be the "Swing" button. "Swing" mode means that there are little motors that move the AC vents in the dash so that the air stream coming out of them swings back and forth.

4. What is the most annoying thing about your vehicle?

Alas, it would appear that I got a defective paint job since the paint on my hood (at least) is "crazing". It's too bad. Apparently the only fix is to strip it down to actual bare metal and repaint, which is much more expensive than a standard paint job.

5. If money were no object, what vehicle would you be driving right now?

Hmm. I like the new Mazda 6 that's out. My friend Maria has a Volvo S60 that's pretty nice -- sporty and very comfy at the same time. And of course it would be fun to have the red '72 Alfa Romeo Spyder (if money really isn't an object).

Sunday, October 05, 2003

In another fine example of "piling on", 4 new lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Tucson. The lawsuits claim sexual abuse by priests and were filed in California since that state has changed its laws (in a flagrantly unconstitutional way) to retroactively change the statute of limitations on such cases.
I guess I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the UA Wildcats got the stuffing beat out of them by WSU, 30-7. Still, by all accounts (the game was an away game and wasn't televised) the Cats played better and were more competitive. It's hard to be a Wildcat fan in times like these. Star columnist Greg Hansen says the Cats took a few steps forward.
Last night I went to see Lost In Translation, the new Bill Murray movie, with my friend Amber Lee (she's a big Bill Murray fan). I believe it's gotten somewhat mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed it. First of all I found the views of Tokyo to be really interesting. I've never been to Tokyo, and other than maybe a couple of early Bond movies I can't think of any movies I've seen that have been set in Tokyo. It was interesting to see a slice of Tokyo, although I'm sure it's hardly representative.

Warning -- Spoilers! Of course I found Scarlett Johansson riveting. She's a rare type, a pretty actress who's not so pretty as to seem unreal. I think the things I liked most about this movie are precisely what will annoy so many people -- it doesn't go where you'd like it to, or expect it to. Charlotte and Bob are not lovers, but their relationship is the more intimate for that. They respect their wedding vows but still can love each other deeply in a way that isn't seen often. Having been in relationships like that it really resonates with me. I thought it was terrific.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

In 1997 the Arizona State Legislature passed a law allowing a tax credit (not a deduction!) for donations to private and parochial schools, so long as certain criteria were met. The tax credit has been pretty popular and has really helped Catholic schools. Of course the ACLU was not happy with this state of affairs, and sought to get the credit thrown out. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled against them, so naturally they went to the feds. The Arizona Daily Star is now reporting that the Supreme Court is going to review a 9th Circuit decision that allowed challenges to the credit. Apparently that's a good thing for supporters of the credit, including yours truly. The Star reports that some 40% of the $25 million donated last year went to the tuition support organizations for the Tucson and Phoenix dioceses.
The US House has once again voted to ban partial-birth abortion. I don't know what the chances are this bill will pass the Senate. President Bush has promised to sign the bill.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Okay, I'm in follower mode. Following the trend at St. Blogs (started by this post by Terry Teachout), here are my 5 books/CDs/works of art I'd have to take if I were leaving for a desert island Right Now:

  • CD: Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna as recorded by Pau Salamunovich and the LA Master Chorale
  • CD: Avril Lavigne's Let Go
  • Book: John Misha Petkevich's Figure Skating: Championship Techniques
  • DVD: 1998 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Exhibition. Michelle Kwan... Tara Lipinski.. wow!
  • CD: The Lane Justus Chorale, Cantoria. It's not because I'm on this CD, it's because it's one of the finest recordings I know.

Hey, thanks to Jane from Catholics, Musicians, Students, in that order for posting a comment. Check out her blog, it's way cool.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I've been putting together a private web page for our Ss. Peter and Paul Schola. Since I've blogged our music since I started this blog (August 2002) I was able to get a good snapshot of the music we've done... and while it's good, there's a lot of repetition. That's partly due to our limited rehearsal time and so forth.. still, we need new music. In particular I think we need some good songs for communion. If you have a suggestion for good (preferably Renaissance) motets for communion, please leave a comment or an email.

Monday, September 29, 2003

I had some good news over the weekend. I was cat-sitting for a friend, and while I was over there I used her scale. I'd not weighed myself since May or so -- I used to use the scale at my previous job but since I'd started my new job I'd not weighed myself. The good news is that I now weigh 208! I have lost about 14 lbs. since May, roughly a pound a week or so. This puts my Body Mass Index at 29.8. I have gone from "obese" to "overweight". My goal weight is around 175 - 180 lbs., which besides the fact it's about the high end of 'standard' BMI is also a little less than I weighed in college. I'm hoping that with a continuation of the things I'm doing now I'll get to this weight next spring.
This is good -- in case you ever needed the directions! (Thanks to Mark Shea for the link)
Yesterday afternoon I went to the Tucson Film Society's fundraiser, the West Side Story Sing-Along. This was a really fun event! There was a costume contest, and some introductory "study hall", followed by the movie itself. Each song in the movie had the lyrics subtitled for easy follow-along, and the audience dutifully sang along, snapped their fingers, hissed Officer Krupke, and generally had a terrific time. This is the second one of these TFS has done (the first was "Sound of Music"), but the first I had been able to attend. The next one is going to be "Wizard of Oz" sometime later in the fall.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Mackovic Fired

Wow! UA football coach John Mackovic has been fired. I must confess that despite all the rumors and so forth I'm really surprised that they would do this. While his tenure has been stormy to say the least, I really thought they would give him until the end of the season.
Saturday night I went to the UA football game against TCU. The Wildcats lost in overtime, 13-10. The game started very inauspiciously with an interception thrown on the very first play by the new freshman quartrback. Still, it was a much closer game than the blowouts we've witnessed in the last several weeks. Greg Hansen's column in the Star is excellent as always:

In any other year, involving any UA football team of the last 20 years, Saturday's 13-10 overtime loss to TCU would have created a weeklong crisis.

Instead, it was a reminder of why we care: a one-night seminar on why college football is so much fun. Oh, what Tucsonans would give to have a chance to win every week the way the Wildcats had a chance to win Saturday.

The losers played like winners.

Indeed. While it was saddening to lose a game they fought so hard, I was really proud of the team. They fought hard, played as a team, and they didn't give up. All this in spite of an atmosphere where fans are calling for Mackovic to be fired.

It was a great game.
It's been a busy, but fun weekend. Friday night I went to see my coworker Evan's improv group, Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed, with my friend Amber Lee. The performance was about an hour and was a lot of fun. Of course like all improv some things work better than others, but all in all it was a very enjoyable experience.

While we were there we bumped into a woman I went to high school with. It turns out her husband is a member of the troupe. Proving that Tucson is a pretty small place after all, the friends they were sitting with included a guy I used to work with back at Artisoft. He is now working with the founder of Artisoft (Jack Schoof) at NetMedia. Like I said, it's a small place sometimes.

Friday, September 26, 2003

For some reason there is no new Friday Five this week. However, since I forgot to do them last week, here they are a week late:

1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?

Wow, that's hard. Among "professionals" it's probably either Rain Perry or Suzanne Vega, I really admire and respect them both a great deal. Among the amateurs it's probably my friends Maria and Amber Lee.

2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?

That's hard to say. I abhor rap so basically any rapper.

3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?


4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show?

Most of the concerts I attend are classical music concerts, that are concerts and not shows.

5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from downloading free music?

Well, of course they aren't downloading 'free' music, are they? They are downloading pirated music. If the artists in question wanted to release their work for free they would do so, so the RIAA undoubtedly has the right to do what they are doing. That said, I don't think it's a wise course of action for them to pursue, nor is it likely to be effective in the long run. They would make better use of their time and money to find ways to sell music online legally but inexpensively.

Check out Steve Greydanus's review of the upcoming film Luther. While he's not down on the film entirely, he does say:

...Luther is also a seriously flawed film. Relentlessly hagiographical in its depiction of Luther and one-sidedly positive in its view of the Reformation, the film also distorts Catholic theology and significant matters of historical fact, consistently skewing its portrayal to put Luther in the best possible light while making his opponents seem as unreasonable as possible.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Grr! Eric Johnson on Catholic Light (an otherwise excellent blog) wrote:

I'd have a lot more tolerance for the man if he talked about the injustice of abortion instead of his boutique moral concerns like the School of the Americas, or running interference for Marxist thugs like the Sandinistas. He prattles on and on about the poor, but in this country at least, the "root cause" of most poverty is bad morals: infidelity leading to divorce, illegitimacy, drug and alcohol addictions, etc.

My quarrel is with the last statement. In a comment, I replied, somewhat heatedly:

"Eric, if you really believe that addictions are caused by bad morals then you are a fool. I'm sorry to sound so harsh, but it's true."

To which he replied:

"Gordon, you have an erratic history when it comes to the quality of your posts.

I do think there is a moral component to addictions. Each addict differs in culpability -- some people are more prone to them than others, as medical science has pretty well established. Some are barely culpable. In the later stages of addiction, the addict's will is probably so hollowed out that to say he "chooses" to persist in his behavior may be an exaggeration.

But there is always the element of free will in any action, however small it might be. Addictions aren't like breathing or heartbeats. They do require some kind of cooperation with the soul. If the person chooses the wrong thing, that's a moral problem.

So yeah, I'll stand by my statement. In closing: I pity the fool who calls me a fool! "

To which I reply:

I stand by my statement, and I notice that Eric did not actually disagree in his followup. Instead, he sidesteps the issue and talks about a 'moral component to addictions' which is a VERY different point than the one I replied to. It's side-stepping the question.

I did not for a moment say that addicts bear no responsibility for their actions, that there is no culpability. What I take issue with is the notion that Eric evinced in his statement that 'the "root cause" of most poverty is bad morals... drug and alcohol addictions, etc.' Drug and alcohol addictions are most certainly NOT merely "bad morals" and it is, pardon me for saying so, unChristian to suggest that it is. It also does not square with a great deal of real research which shows real causes for addictive personalities. To deny them is, in fact, foolish.

I'll point out in closing that if I have "an erratic history" in posting, to my knowledge it's only in response to you. I have few or no problems with your colleagues at Catholic Light.

Update: Eric has posted a separate entry on this topic. Here's my response from the comments there:

My objection is that morals has absolutely nothing to do with addiction itself. Addiction is a medical condition that is predisposed for in certain individuals, and is morally neutral.

What is NOT morally neutral, and is in fact sinful, is drug or alcohol use by a person who knows himself to be an addict, or to have an addictive personality. Indeed, the CCC reference doesn't refer to addictions at all, but instead to 'abuse'. Of course, I have no quarrel with the CCC so long as one reads what it actually says.

To put it another way, addiction in and of itself is not sinful, just as SSA is not in and of itself sinful. There is no choice involved whatsoever, and therefore no sin. What IS sinful (with varying degrees of culpability) is acting out that addiction. But to simply say that it is "bad morals" is a dismissive way of dealing with people who are often struggling with a horrible, terrifying condition. Having known a few addicts (alcohol and drugs) myself, I can tell you that an atttitude that characterizes them as having bad morals is cruel and, yes, unChristian. I trust that you meant to state your point more finely and don't really intend to say that addiction is "bad morals", but that abuse is "bad morals".

To put it another way, reading the CCC in context would certainly say that gluttony is a sin. By your way of thinking you would claim that obesity is simply "bad morals." It's much more complex than that and you do a disservice to others when you try to reduce it to a simple formula.

I'll duplicate this on my blog."

Monday, September 22, 2003

I stayed home today, feeling sniffly and having a sore throat. I thought it was a cold but the StarNet website says that the fall allergy season has arrived with a vengeance, so maybe it's that. Anyway I wound up sleeping until 3 p.m. which usually means I was definitely sick.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been doing a lot of fiction reading. In particular I've read the first two Harry Potter books, and all 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia. I was struck once again and how profound Lewis's writing is, and how he conveys such important truths in the allegory form. If you've not read them in a while you might consider going through them again; I think I got a lot more out of them the second time.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola
Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Prelude: Attende, Domine (Pius X #202)
Gathering Song: This Day God Gives Me (BUNESSAN)
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Gloria: (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: (OCP Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: (Chant Mass w/verse of the day)
Preparation of the Gifts: Locus Iste (Bruckner)
I Have Longed For Thy Saving Health (Byrd)
Holy,Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)
Great Amen: (Chant Mass)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: O Salutaris Hostia (St. Gregory Hymnal #226a)
Tantum Ergo (St. Gregory Hymnal #242b)
Recessional: Lord Of All Hopefulness (SLANE)
The misery continues. The UA Wildcats were creamed by Purdue yesterday, 59-7. It's been a miserable season, and the really sad part is it's likely to get worse before it gets better.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Speaking as I was the other day 'bout my alma mater, Amphi High is having an alumni reception at homecoming. Check out for info!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Prayer request. I talked to my best friend tonight, and her daughter B is ill. She's been having problems walking, and after two MRIs and a bunch of other stuff they think she has some kind of tumor in her back. It's unclear at this time how bad this is and what the treatment options are. Needless to say it's very scary. B is a beautiful child, 13 years old. Please pray for her and for the family. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Wow. A heartbreakingly moving post about 9/11 by an expatriate American (thanks to Aristotle Esguerra for the link). It helps if you know Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine.

I don't know. I know God was there, that day, and is there now. Not because He favors New York City, particularly, but because He is in every city. (Just like the tenor's voice is particularly, heartwrenchingly beautiful in the second syllable of "fidèle," but is beautiful in every syllable.) The important thing is constancy, and perserverance. Not of architecture, but of the soul. Something that underlies the incidents and accidents, the events and anecdotes, something that remains, even through a massacre, beyond the loss of temporal hope, beyond human frailty and meanness and error. Something that knows we are not perfect but striving to give what we can, what we have, and to live with the knowledge that it is sometimes inconsequential, or unrecognized. And that is much of the time.
Another sad and disturbing story. The body of a fetus was found yesterday at a sewage treatment plant. The fetus was 6 inches long, about 20 weeks of gestation.

"You could see it and know it was human," said Fairbanks, who caught a glimpse of the fetus before it was taken to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner.

Yes, if we could see fetuses we would know they were human, and there would be no such thing as abortion. Or would there? The human heart can be a stony thing.

Update: The Star reports the medical examiner has determined the unborn girl was miscarried.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

More woes as the Wildcats get whomped by the Oregon Ducks last night, 48-10. It was just grim. The Wildcats under Mackovic have only won 3 Pac-10 games, a 3-14 record for him. Columnist Greg Hansen puts it bluntly, UA football has reached rock bottom.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

As a birthday present to myself, I stayed a night at the Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast in downtown Tucson. This place is just awesome. The house was built in 1878 and has been very lovingly restored. I stayed in Nick Anthony's room. Since I spent a good part of my childhood in older houses (though certainly not this old!) I feel very much at home in them. My room was terrific and the ambience of the house was like a balm. Saturday morning's breakfast was amazing, some kind of fancy pancakes, sausage, fruit, and OJ. There were only 5 people staying there that night and we all had a nice breakfast conversation. It was my first time staying at a B&B but I know I will be back. The Royal Elizabeth is suprisingly affordable. I highly recommend it!
Woo-hoo! My alma mater Amphi High beat CDO 21-17 last night! That's a good feeling!

Friday, September 12, 2003

So I turned 40 today. It was a day with a lot of mixed emotions. In many respects I'm mourning my youth, which I now have to admit is truly gone. I have to say that my capacity for self-pity still can surprise me at times. I've felt a great deal of grief, mourning, loneliness, aridity, and maybe a bit of despair. I look at all the things I don't have and have wanted so much... a wife, children, love.

Perhaps God's particular gift to me is that my birthday now is a day of national mourning. It's hard to allow myself to really get into a pity party when I'm faced so starkly with the realization that for so many this is a day of intense and well-founded grief; that while I face my own loss, others are daily dealing with a real loss so much more intense, deep, and wounding.

There's also the realization that in many ways my life is better than a year ago. A year ago I was unemployed (having been laid off 8/15/02). Now I have a good job, I have lost 25+ lbs. and 4 inches off my waist, I am in better health than ever. Truly I can't complain, God has been very good to me.

Finally, I had many reminders today that I am loved... not perhaps in all the ways I would like to be, but still there are many people who care about me and show me that they do. First of all my family -- all my siblings called me today to wish me happy birthday, as well as my younger niece; my older niece wished me a happy birthday yesterday when I talked to her (9/10 is her birthday). My friends Tom and Amber Lee and Jerry called or wished me the same in person. And I had six birthday cards waiting for me when I came home tonight.

Thank you, God, for the gift of my 40th birthday.
I wanted to ask for a prayer for the repose of the soul of John Badagliacca, and for those who mourn him. I wear a Mercy Band with his name on it. He died in the World Trade center.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

There's a lot to say and blog about today... I'll do it in chunks. For starters, some good columns about today's anniversary:

And, a particularly moving and painful piece, The Falling Man (warning, disturbing image). (Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.)
Help out a good cause! I saw an ad on Blogspot for a volunteer choir for a wedding. If you live near Frederick, MD, you might consider giving 'em a hand. They are not Catholic, but they've chosen some really nice music -- music that ought to be heard on such occasions. Spread the word!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Latin pronunciation questions... My friend Maria called to ask about some Latin pronunciation for the Pachelbel Magnificat that her school choir is doing. While answering them I did a Google search and found a handy pronunciation guide for the Magnificat. In listening to it, though, it occurs to me that I've always tended to pronounce "Magnificat" with a hard "g" even though I would never (for Church Latin) use a hard "g" anywhere else (not for "magnum" or "regnum" for example). Has anyone else noticed this? The aforementioned website doesn't use a hard "g" so I suspect I'm just tending to be wrong.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

One of the things I'd hoped for when our new Bishop came to the Diocese of Tucson was more open and active communication. It looks like this is happening! Bishop Kicanas now publishes his Monday Memo on the Diocese of Tucson website. I think it's terrific.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Over at Catholic Light, John Schultz asked about appropriate hymns for All Souls Day, which this year falls on a Sunday. While the Stanford "Justorum Animae" that he mentions IS a wonderful piece (I performed it with the Lane Justus Chorale), perhaps it's not as good for All Souls Day as it is for All Saints. Alas, at my parish we will probably content ourselves with Sine Nomine (For All The Saints) -- which is a good song, to be sure. For All Saints Day I'd tend to look for a wonderful piece like the Bruckner "Os Justi", which, properly performed, should make even the hardest of hearts melt and grown men weep like babies. The translation of Psalm 37:30-31 is:

The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom,
and his tongue shall speak justice.
The Law of his God is in his heart
and his steps shall not falter.

There's an excellent recording available from the University of Arizona Symphonic Choir.