Archives for May 2012

Today in Catholic Artists/Catholic Art/Patrons

Barbara Nicolosi’s Mary Mother of Christ has all its pieces in place, including Texas pastor Joel Osteen as Executive Producer.

Justice Clarence Thomas at Gerasene 12?

P’raps – p’raps not.

But there’s a good possibility he might just be passing through.



A Precautionary Tale

When I finally come down out of the mountains
I am holding hard to an empty whisky tumbler;
A frozen sprain in its side looks like vague lightning
Trapped in a glacier since the days of Genesis.

“You been up there too long,” one of my old neighbors says
As he meets me on the outskirts of town. He’s pulling
A wagon. “All your kin and blood is plumb dead, sonny.”
He says as we walked home. My house is bigger now.

“Your daddy and your ma got tired of waiting for you,”
My neighbor explains. “They had some more kids
After you cleared out that day you had your revelation.”
I thank him before he goes and close the door, walk

Through the cavernous halls of my childhood house,
And after confessing to the wallpaper about time
And the confounding of memories I find the back door.
Out in the yard, the wind blew on for so long

The trees are growing sideways. The dandelions
Must have sensed the futility that ransomed the spring
Because they all strike fey and tragic gestures,
Beseeching the crab grass to commit to a life of poverty.

As I look down at the dusty old whisky tumbler,
The sprain leaps through it and starts growing up
The bloodline on my palm. Before long, it settles
Down the middle of my wrist like it’s fixing for a fight.

There is no whisky in the house this day, and ghosts
Once swept its floors with the wind. Like a precursor,
A train in the next county is coming hard and fast.
Its whistle always sang the strangled anger of the Lord.

The house begins to rattle, and that’s when I notice:
“Yes, Lord, the ghosts are gone alright,” I pray.
The crucifix that hangs on the wall is made of rawhide;
It’s been there since the day my daddy smiled.

“But,” I continue, “at least they were kind enough
To dust my grandma’s teacups before they left.”

From the YouTube Music Video Archives: Lieben, Hassen, from Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss

“I love Richard Strauss. Rosenkavalier and Arabella most of all. Not Wagner. When I was at school in New York, my uncle took me to see Tristan, with Flagstadt. I was bored. But I’ll never forget Lotte Lehmen in the Marshallin. She was making her farewell to singing and to the stage, just as the Marshallin to loving, youth and Octavian. It was incredibly moving—I’ll never forget it … I always dreamt of being a tenor, a Helden-tenor you know, with my voice making the ceiling shake …” Conversations with Walker Percy, p. 247.

Strauss is perhaps most famous for such groundbreaking works as Salome and Elektra—ginormous, dissonant masterpieces that can be fairly tough going for the uninitiated. Beautiful, yes, but terrifying in a Greek Tragedy sort of way. Or even biblical.

But he also composed some amazing lyrical pieces. There’s aria by the Italian tenor in Der Rosenkavalier, and one of my favorites is the Harlequin’s aria from Ariadne.

As Mr Sunyata says in the comments, “In this far too short aria, this man captures perfectly the bizarre combination of satire AND serious music that (I believe) R. Strauss was seeking in this wonderful, wacky opera.” Too wacky to relate all the details of the plot, but a good subtitle is “The Consolations of Opera”.

So, not a Helden-tenor here, but a baritone, and a fine one at that.

Lieben, Hassen, Hoffen, Zagen,
alle Lust und alle Qual,
alles kann ein Herz ertragen
einmal um das andere Mal.

Aber weder Lust noch Schmerzen,
abgestorben auch der Pein,
das ist tödlich deinem Herzen,
und so darfst du mir nicht sein !

Mußt dich aus dem Dunkel heben,
wär’ es auch um neue Qual,
leben mußt du, liebes Leben,
leben noch dies eine Mal!

Loving, hating, hoping, doubting,
all of joy and all of pain,
all these things a heart can bear,
over and over again.

but numbness to joy and sorrow,
pain deadened or hidden away,
these are fatal to the heart,
and I shall not have you that way!

From the darkness you shall rise,
even if to endure more pain,
but you must live your dear life,
Once again, live this time!


My dear friend William Wilson, guitarist extraordinaire, has gone and plumb lost his mind, and is now posting tracks online for free.  You, the listener, are the winner in this situation.  But because the man has a wife and children, I will note that he also has items for saleTango for One is my favorite.

Divorce Seems to Be Treating Katy Perry Well

Ah, yes.  Marilyn Manson by way of Fairuza Balk in The Craft, with a dye job from the Holly Hobby Do-It-Yourself Candyland Collection.  (Good to see she’s getting back to her roots.  Whoop!)  But on the plus side, she’s still staying close to her beads.


oh, man. look, it’s full of dirty talk, but if you’ve been following the fifty shades of grey phenomenon, you really should listen to the reading gilbert gottfried gives it. but yeah, lots of dirty talk.

The Girls of Summer (For Webb)

You Mean Like This?

Oh, good grief, JOB. Why didn’t you tell me about this?*

*Meaning: how the hell am I just now listening to that CD you gave me?

Ars longa, caenum facile: Part II

The frisson between porn and lit continues…

On the face of it, this case pivots on a trivial legal distinction – to wit: “that simply viewing child porn on the Internet is not enough to prove its procurement or possession.”

But it has it’s roots in the deeply inhaled myth that pornography is just another art form – and as long as the perveyor is not directly harming another, well, we all know art has no affect on it’s audience, right?

Sed contra est, what one bloke from Rockford, Ill. has to say about it all:

Libertarians insist that these innocent fantasies do not lead to harm. After all, we know from a series of enlightened court rulings that the state has no interest in banning erotic novels if there are the slightest pretensions to literary merit – yes, an obvious reference to Lady Chatterley’s Lover. After all, moral questions can all be reduced to subjective value, can’t they?  

Libertarians put the case directly. We should enjoy the freedom to read or watch anything we like so long as no one has been demonstrably harmed. So, if a father of two little girls becomes aware that his next-door neighbor is addicted to virtual pornography depicting the rape, torture, and murder of little girls, it is none of his business. If people feed their imagination on images of sexual violence – as, by the way, so many sex offenders predictably do – this has absolutely no bearing on what kind of people they are or on the crimes they might some day be willing to commit.

What say you all?

Ars longa, caenum facile…


RIP Mike McGrady – aka one-part Penelope Ashe.

“It came after a night of reading ‘Valley of the Dolls,’ ” he later told Newsweek, “which I couldn’t put down because I was asleep.”


Picture Story

It turns out there are five kinds of rum and over seven ounces of booze in a Zombie.

But at least it’s tasty!

Stormy weather ahead…

And the hilarious part is that I wound up with a Zombie because I asked for “whatever drink comes in the Easter Island head cup,” but the bartender followed my pointing finger instead of my voice and told me I would be getting a Zombie, when what I should have been getting was a Mai Tai.  Naturally, I rectified the situation, because Easter Island.

Of course, by that point, I had exceeded my tolerance for tropical drinks to the point where I had to order a whiskey cocktail just to put my humors in order.  However, it was thought that photography would be unkind.

Duck’s Dead

First, there was Levon Helm

And now, another reason bluesmen around the globe ought to be singing, well, the blues

See/hear why, here/here.

Where I Go on Wednesday Night

Mark Anderson is my second cousin and a hardworking Spokane poet guy. (Mark and I are both 23rd great-grandsons of Chaucer, by the way. Someday maybe we’ll collaborate on The Spokane-turbury Tales.) The guy in the wheelchair is Travis Naught, another Spokane poet phenomenon, whose book I blurbed and with whom I did a reading recently. The author of the article is the father of a four-year-old boy who has the hots for my four-year-old daughter. (Keeping my eye on you, son.) “Intentional facial hair” is a fine turn of phrase.

The Boy of Summer

We summer boys in this four-winded spinning,
Green of the seaweed’s iron,
Hold up the noisy sea and drop her birds,
Pick the world’s ball of wave and froth
To choke the deserts with her tides,
And comb the county gardens for a wreath. – Dylan Thomas “I See the Boys of Summer”

“Time for your aurul scrubbing, Ellen!”

Play this real loud –  and with a glass of wine/whisky/gin already in you and another on the way let the sound flood you like sunshine through a large picture window in an Italian villa. If this doesn’t get your head right, nothing will.

p.s. Can you do that in high heels?

Childhood was cool.

This is my brother’s Facebook header right now.  The Captain America shield in the background is an old trash can lid, lovingly transformed lo these many years ago.  With authentic battle damage!