Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dad's okay...

My Dad's back home from the hospital, and all the tests came back okay (including the CAT scan and the MRI). It appears that one of his medications was working a little too well and causing his pulse to drop too low while raising his blood pressure. So the docs decided to take him off the one med, feeling that it's no longer necessary.

So, thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Request for prayers...

A humble request for some prayers for my Dad who is currently in the hospital for some tests (including an MRI).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Top-10 Catholic Stories of 2006...

Catholic World News has posted their annual "Top 10 Catholic Stories" of 2006. A brief run-down:

1. The Regensburg speech by Pope Benedict XVI

2. The new Vatican Secretary of State

3. The Pope's trip to Turkey

4. The Pope's first set of new cardinal appointments

5. Rome vs. Beijing

6. The expected revival of the Latin Mass

7. The excommunication of Archbishop Milingo

8. Pope Benedict's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est"

9. Catholic-Orthodox theological discussions resume

10. Boston archdiocese drops adoption services

Read the post for details.

Dale Ahlquist films Season 4 of EWTN's "G.K. Chesterton:The Apostle of Common Sense"

Dale Ahlquist (president of the American Chesterton Society) started filming the forth season of his wonderfully successful EWTN series "G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense" last month. Kevin O'Brien (an actor who has done many of the various re-enactments on the series) has posted a lengthy account of the filming experience over at his own blog.

False Jesus' (and why the stories persist)...

Anthony Sacramone (Managing Editor of First Things) has an interesting read on the persistence of various alternative "false Jesus" theories which continue to crop up in society from time to time (including in current media outlets such as novels, motion pictures, and television programs).

He touches on quite a few theories, from various forms of gnosticism, to science fiction-like explanations, to the so-called Jesus Seminar, to the DaVinci Code hype, to the bogus "gospels" of Thomas and Judas. Lots of links abound here, too.

The Myth of the Dark Ages...

Carl Olson has another great post over at Insight Scoop, debunking the myth of the Dark Ages and Medieval European society and the Catholic Church.

Lots of links included for further reading and research.

Women & the Priesthood...

Carl Olson (over at Insight Scoop) posted a succinct summary on the possibilty (or lack thereof) of women becoming priests within the Catholic Church.

The "money quote" comes from Pope John Paul II in his 1994 Apostolic Letter "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis":

"Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

This is what is known as an infallible statement by the Pontiff to all of the faithful on a matter of faith. In other words, this is an unalterable and eternal doctrine of the Church.

So, to the Sister Chittister's of the world... enough already!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Last month was the big 4-day NAMM trade show in Anaheim.

What is NAMM? More specifically, what is Winter NAMM?

NAMM is the "North American Music Merchants" Association (although now it's really fully international). And the Winter NAMM trade show is the international trade show for the entire industry for the year. They have a smaller show in the summer, but the big one is in mid-January in Anaheim, California.

Imagine your local music instrument store in your neighborhood. Now imagine it on steroids. Now imagine it on Bonds/McGwire/Sosa/Palmeiro/Canseco/Giambi steroids. Now multiple that by 100. THAT is the Winter NAMM Show! Manufacturers and distributors of every type and model of equipment and supplies for music production (guitars, keyboards, drums, drum sticks, guitar picks, trumpets, pianos, all types of software and hardware, speakers, amps, cases, cables, sheet music, instructional materials, stands, lighting canisters, mixing boards, stomp boxes, etc., etc., etc., etc...).

It's one big music mall filling up practically the entire Anaheim Convention Center for four whole days so that retailers and wholesalers can check out the latest and greatest new items to sell in their stores or on their web sites. Industry press are also in attendance. So are quite a few famous (and many more not so famous, and even a few infamous) artists and musicians.

Where else can you see the likes of Steve Vai & Joe Satriani pimping themselves for publicity, catch a glimpes of Sinbad the comedian flashing his cheesy grin, stumble upon a florescent orange flying-V ukulele (and actual want to buy one), learn the intricacies of piano hammers (and be given a sample hammer free of charge from a desperate exhibitor), grow bunions and corns on your feet before the end of day one, drool in full-blown envy as you wish for one of each and every single item displayed throughout the convention center by day two, go deaf from the ambient noise by day three, and become nearly comatose by the beginning of day four.

Fun stuff! I took some pictures (a couple are a little blurry... sorry).

Welcome to the 2007 Winter NAMM Trade Show!
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Below is a pic of former Yes/Moody Blues keyboardist Patrick Moraz (second from the right).

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Next is Sinbad, very intrigued by our new website. (to go live on May 1st):
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Want a weird, new German guitar? (Tueffel "birdfish" Electric Guitar)
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How about a Japanese Koyabu board?
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Something for all you hard-core rocker chicks!
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Ah, yes... the infamous florescent orange flying-V ukulele. It really does exist!

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Gee, I wonder who this is?
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So, now yah know what I look like. (Is that a good thing??? The jury's still out on that.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Crowded House is coming back...

One of my all-time favorite bands, Crowded House, is currently in the studios finishing their first CD since 1993. Of course, they will be without drummer Paul Hester (who, sadly, committed suicide a couple years ago). But Neil Finn (guitar & vocals) and Nick Seymour (bass) are together, with Mark Hart on keyboards (he being the "4th" House-member, kinda like the "5th Beatle") adding to the creative fun. I wonder if Mitchell Froom will be producing the record.

Neil is the consumate tunesmith. Not only do I have every Crowded House recording, but I also have Neil's three solo CDs, as well as his two duo projects with his brother Tim Finn. I even have several classic Split Enz LPs and tapes.

"I don't know why sometimes I get frightened...
You can see my eyes. You can tell that I'm not lying..."

I've seen this "band from down under" live several times (including at the Trocadero in Philly way back when they were just starting out in '87). Their concert in (I think it was) late '91 at the Tower Theater just outside of Philly was absolutely incredible. Newcomer Richard Thompson was opening up for them on that tour, and he and several of his own band members came on stage at one point to add to the musical intensity. Crowded House' live rendition of my favorite song of theirs ("When You Come") was UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE! There's a live version available as part of their "Best of" CD release, "Recurring Dream" (not all of these CDs include the second "live" CD in the package). It's the closest proximity in energy and sound quality to that unforgettable live rendition.

It also looks like they will eventually be touring. I will DEFINITELY snag tickets to that concert if they swing by the L.A. area.

Lonely Hearts Urged to Pray to St. Raphael

News Story:

On this Valentine's Day, a Catholic organization is advising lonely hearts to pray to St. Raphael, one of seven archangels and the patron saint of "happy meetings."

"Many people have testified to the help they have received in finding a life partner through the prayerful help of the archangel," said Msgr. Keith Barltrop, director of the Catholic Enquiry Office.

"If something is for our good and happiness, then God will answer our prayers as we ask," he told The Telegraph.

The monsignor said he was certain every prayer would be answered but not always as expected.

"You might be praying for a tall, dark and handsome person to come into your life, or a beautiful brunette, but God may have prepared someone quite different but wonderful for you," he told the newspaper. "Prayerfully ask him, and find out for yourself."

Monday, February 12, 2007

I think I just got kicked in the pants...

Thanx, Julie D, for the wake-up call.

I don't have anything brand new to post just yet (including info from my time at the NAMM trade show last month). Until then, here's a little something I stumbled across a couple weeks ago (I can't remember from where... mayby Curt Jester.... maybe Ironic Catholic). Anyway, it made me chuckle.

The Seven Deadly Sins (in geometry form):

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P.S. Oh, I do need to comment that the politics (and the musical cluelessness) is getting worse and worse at the Grammys. I lost all respect for the Academy when, back in the mid-80s, they gave the "Song of the Year" award (for best written song) to Bobby McFerrin for "Don't Worry, Be Happy." (a travesty to troubadours and tunesmiths everywhere) The Grammys have gone downhill fast since then. It was soon followed by Jethro Tull winning the first-ever "Best Heavy Metal Group" award. (???) Followed by Jewel winning for "Best New Artist" when her first CD was released over three years prior to her nomination. (!!!) Followed by Hillary Clinton winning for "Best Spoken Word Album." (#*&*@!) Followed by this year's winner in the same category, Jimmy Carter. (ugh!) Now the Dixie Chicks (I'm fighting the serious urge to substitute "Chicks" for the 4-letter s-word) win five awards. Lame... pathetic... and disheartening.