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Nicholas Frankovich on Several Things

At National Review Online. Like so many other writers I’ve discovered at the magazine over the years, Nicholas Frankovich has become the guy to go to for the Catholic culture overview.

On Trump’s intrusion into sports:

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. A few months later, they went to the White House for the traditional round of presidential congratulations. Manny Ramirez was a no-show. Why? He didn’t like the president, George W. Bush, a baseball man himself, a former part-owner of the Texas Rangers? Sox officials said Ramirez was visiting his sick grandmother. Boston won the Series again a few years later, and the president invited the team back to the White House. Again, no Ramirez. Bush’s response? A shrug, a teasing smirk. “I guess his grandmother died again,” he said.

On the decline in Catholic Literature:

The traditional Catholicism that is the setting of that backward-looking novel included a lot of looking backward itself, of course. That’s what made Catholicism traditional. For believers immersed in the faith, the past was alive no less than the present. They could see ghosts. A heavyweight from the Norman Mailer generation of American letters once commented on the Catholic writers of her generation. They were sure of themselves, she recalled, though not preachy. Spend time with them and it was hard to escape the impression that they knew something you didn’t. That’s gone. So the flowers in the garden aren’t what they used to be? Blame the flowers if you like, but it remains the case that the soil has been depleted.

Here he is on reasoning behind the Novus Ordo:

In the 20th century, Church leaders began to advocate an effort, more deliberate and thorough than in the past, to enculturate the faith among the various nations of the Third World: Catholic missionaries should learn, and learn to love, local customs and languages and to translate the faith into forms that would be meaningful and appealing to indigenous peoples. Implicit in their argument was the need for the Church to pour the Romanità out of Catholicism so that vessel could accommodate the new wine of non-Western cultures.

Read Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), the Vatican II blueprint for liturgical reform, and you will notice a lot of concern for the mission lands. References to them dot the document, and in their glow the reader is led to imagine that the point of the many broadly sketched recommendations is only sensible and moderate, generous but not extravagant.

In the mission lands, let bishops adapt the liturgy to local cultures. Trust their circumspection and sober judgment: “Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.”

No sooner had Western Catholics digested and largely shrugged in agreement to the gist of this plan for liturgical reform than they discovered that Rome now counted them, too, as inhabitants of mission lands, in effect. In America, English was introduced into the Mass by increments, which meant of course that Latin was ushered out at the same pace, until the process was complete in the fall of 1970.

The movement away from the sacred, classical language and toward the vernacular was accompanied by a corresponding change in tone and style, from solemn and formal to less solemn and less formal. William F. Buckley Jr. recorded for posterity a typical reaction of many a Catholic: both a sense of loss and a glum resolve not to be sour about it. Surely some good could come of this?


Al Michaels just said it during the Super Bowl pre-game. I guess it’s here to stay.

Benjamin Watson’s Facebook Post

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 12.21.39 AMNew Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson shared his thoughts about Ferguson on his Facebook timeline last night. The post is well worth reading and pondering.

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

Football, Seattle

Football, Seattle


See also

Triangulation at Its Best Part II


The first (!) two-time Super Bowl winning coach of JOB’s team talking about the two-time Superbowl team from Webb/Potter/Jobe’s corner of the world in reference to one of if not The Most Painful Super Bowl Loss sustained by Lickona’s team:

“Here’s what impresses me about the Seattle defense,” Parcells says, “and it’s what impresses me about any top quality defense in this league: They keep things very simple. They rely on execution the way any good defensive team we ever had relied on execution. They’re not schematic. They’re not out there to fool you. They’re not one of those teams that’s gonna show up next Sunday and say, ‘OK, we’ve got three or four blitzes you’ve never seen before.’ That’s not who they are.

“It’s why this is such an interesting matchup to me, and just because it’s best offense against the best defense again. If it goes Denver’s way, they’re going to get up early and have that be their way of putting pressure on the defense. Seattle? They’ll just hang around a little bit the way they did against the 49ers, and then try to play the way they want to play.”

UPDATE: But of course, in this game, the gods of football will find a way to even keep greatness humble.

Cops: Husband uses Taser on wife after she loses Bears-Packers bet – Chicago Tribune

The Liverpooligans vs. The Bilderburg Bluebloods

In the US, however, spectator sports were organized from the top of society down, which has largely kept them from being a vehicle for mass populism. For example, American football evolved among rivalries between universities with national pretensions: Harvard v. Yale, Army v. Navy, and Notre Dame v. USC.

Similarly, professional sports in the US always had a strongly corporate, upper-middle-class air. For instance, the most celebrated game in professional football history, Broadway Joe Namath’s New York Jets’ victory over the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 Super Bowl, was a victory for the national media’s home team.

In the 1890s, baseball’s sole major league, the National League, was being taken over by Irish brawlers such as the crafty John McGraw of the Baltimore Orioles. Thus, ballparks attracted a lower class of fan. In 1901 entrepreneur Ban Johnson founded the rival American League to provide a more honest and gentlemanly version of the game that would appeal to WASP and German-American families. Johnson’s league has remained dominant for most of the last eleven decades.

In contrast, European soccer clubs mostly emerged from their indigenous communities. European soccer teams sponsored local youth leagues that served as feeder systems for talent. American college basketball coaches, though, are lauded not for their training, but for scouring distant slums to recruit genetically gifted one-and-done stars.


There will be an extra point

Top three comments in Johnsonville, immediately after witnessing what Wayne Laravee referred to as “The Travesty”:

1. “Russell Wilson: First quarterback in NFL history to win by throwing an interception.”

2. This is how Obama is going to win in November.

3. I thought Giants fans [i.e. JOB] were out of control!

Then to add insult to injury, because points scored by a team in a game are part of the play off calculus at the other end of the season, as the AP reported it, the Packers had to eat their anger and show the stuff of true sportsmen by having to endure a final humiliation:

The game wasn’t over for another 10 minutes after both teams went to their locker rooms and were summoned back to the field for the extra point. But that was just the cap to one of the most bizarre finishes in recent memory.

ADDED: The NFL came out definitively in favor of the rep refs (i.e. Footlocker employees and Lingerie football rejects):

Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball. (emphasis mine)

There Will Be No Extra Point

More here.

Fiction Friday


Kay Stone

It seems that a lot of football fans don’t know the story of the eleventh pick in this year’s upcoming NFL draft. It all has to do with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle professional team whose name represents a mythical Native American bird of prey and started with the fact that the Chiefs and the Seattle team were in a complete statistical tie for their respective 2011 records. This tie included wins and losses, as well as every other tie breaking category including division record. So, the draft order was to be determined by a coin toss. Our diverting story, as originally broken by ESPN, centers around an unknown Seattle team sales representative named Allen Reynolds who was selected to represent his team during the coin toss in New York City.

“Don’t bother coming back if it’s tails,” the General Manager said, and Allen wasn’t sure if he was joking. Allen felt that the G.M. was a mercurial man who might fire him if he came back to Seattle with the twelfth pick instead of the eleventh.  Allen calculated, correctly one would think, that the odds of coming home from New York with the eleventh pick at around 50%. Did that mean there was a 50% chance he would be out on the street? He wasn’t sure.

You might ask why Seattle sent Allen Reynolds to witness the coin toss. You can ask that, it is a fair question why such a prestigious organization would send the Luxury Box Liaison on such an important assignment. In his heart Allen thought knew why, he was expendable.

If you go to the team offices in Renton, Washington, you might see a poster reading, “Luck Favors the Prepared”. But, how can anyone prepare for a coin toss. Adding to the pressure was the fact that the team reserved a first-class seat on American Airlines, a Central Park view room at a five-star hotel called the Mandarin Oriental. They also provided a $2000 expense card for the one-day/two-night trip. They were expecting results. Allen wondered whether those Egyptian cotton sheets would become the burial linen of his career. This might be the sort of thing a man with an Anthropology degree worries about.

Anyway, the difference between pick eleven and pick twelve in the NFL draft was the difference between a black defensive end from Alabama and a white, overachieving, middle linebacker from Boston College. It was the difference between a pass rushing playoff team and an eight and eight disaster.

In his Central Park view room, Allen avoided the mini-bar because he wanted to return with $2000 intact. He pulled out a liter of Old Crow from his suitcase and lay down on his bed with a burger from Wendy’s and watched a rerun of Hack. He thought about having dinner at the Russian Tea Room. He always wanted to eat at the Russian Tea Room. Then he thought about losing the coin toss and also spending $300 on dinner. Maybe if he won the toss he could live like Diamond Jim. Allen took a wait and see approach. Part of him felt that maybe he should hold on to his luck, that he needed to stay pure potentiality. He flipped past the erotic channels. He would avoid self-abuse as reported later.

Allen turned on the hot water in the shower and turned the bathroom into a sauna. He thought about his power animal, the horned owl, and after an hour wondered when the Mandarin Oriental would send a security man to check out why he was using so much hot water. Nobody came. Apparently, when you are paying $1100 per night for a hotel room you could use all the hot water you wanted.

According to ESPN.COM, Allen stood naked in the hotel room and began flipping coins. He recorded the results of 1000 tosses and determined the odds really were close to 50/50. Except if he lost, then the results would be 0/100. Of course, if he won, then the odds would have been 100/0. Allen was 0, or he was 100. 0 seemed more likely. He wanted to bet against himself. Allen learned in college that the intervention of “God” wasn’t a consideration, as was the opinion of The New York Times.

Around 10PM, Allen felt hungry. He pulled on some pants and a zipped up a team coat. Slipping into some loafers he went downstairs to buy a cookie at an espresso stand he noticed in the lobby.

“You and I have a date with destiny”

She stood behind him at the espresso stand. “Kay Stone,” she said, extending her hand. She had a soft enveloping shake. She was about 50, with large breasts which came to sharp points in a Kansas City Chief V-neck. She was tan, with a wide plain face and moist brown eyes which were really more black than brown and looked like an abyss.

Allen wondered how this woman knew who he was.

“I like your socks,” she said. Allen wasn’t wearing socks.

“I have a pair just like them at home,” he replied and Kay laughed.

“So, you’ll be at the coin toss?” he asked.

“That’s right, ain’t it the life though. A night at The Oriental for thirty seconds work. How much is your meal voucher?”

“Two thousand,” Allen couldn’t help but look at Kay’s chest.

“Two thousand! I thought Mr. Hunt was generous. You better win that toss.”

Allen felt the dread come over him again. “I haven’t spent any yet. Frankly, I just want to get home.”

“Are you kidding, that’s a perk of the job. Loosen the tie a little bit kid, you’re in the big apple.”

“Actually, now that you mention it, I was thinking about having dinner at the Russian Tea Room tomorrow. You can join me if you want, I mean…” Allen couldn’t believe he had asked her to join him. She was twenty years older than he was. Who was this woman and why was she getting so personal. He wanted to go upstairs and finish the Old Crow and fall asleep in his clothes.

“The Russian Tea Room hasn’t been around for years, but that’s the right spirit. I could go for a drink. Why don’t you pull out that expense card and buy me a fancy drink. The bar here has quite a view.”

He tried not to look at her large breasts, but could feel their power piercing him like cosmic radiation. “Aren’t they closing soon” he mumbled. They. Her tits were closing soon, he thought.

“Closed! Are you fresh off the turnip truck. This is New York City.”

Kay was right. The view from the Lobby Lounge was excellent. They took a couch facing the window. The skyline lights helped Allen feel a little better. He knew he was wound a little too tight. He made people feel uneasy. Kay ordered a Side Car.

“House bourbon,” Allen told the waiter.

Kay shook her head. “You can do better than that,” she said.

“Okay…how about McCallum, twenty year old.”

“More like it,” Kay said as the waiter returned to the bar. “People give me a hard time because I order such old fashioned drinks.”

“Like Side Cars?”

“Like Side Cars, and Old Fashions. Ever had a Gimlet, it’s made with lime juice. Kay lightly touched Allen’s leg with every punctuation, He had to admit to himself that he was enjoying it.

Kay looked out at the city lights, “I just like old fashioned things. Like Gershwin, the view reminds me of Gershwin. Do you like old movies?”

“They’re kind of funny,” Allen replied. In reality he liked playing Halo.”So what do you do for The Chiefs?”

Kay sipped her drink, closing her eyes with delight, “just about everything. I’m one of Mr. Hunt’s personal assistants, kind of a Girl Friday.”

“So, you’re an Administrative Assistant?”

“In a way, men are always very comfortable with me. Say, do you think The Oriental has a man passing out towels in the men’s room?How much do you want to bet they have an old man who passes out towels in the restroom?”

Allen tasted his scotch. Yes, he was definitely enjoying himself. “I have no idea, do you want me to check?”

“Oh would you?” Kay asked, her hand resting a little longer near the top of Allen’s leg.

There was no old man or anyone else in the restroom. No matter, Allen had to go. When he came back, Kay watched him finish the scotch. “Do you want another?” he asked.

“One’s my limit, but why don’t we sit here for just a while, it’s so beautiful.”

As they sat admiring the view, Allen began to feel numb. He wondered if he was having a minor stroke. It was at that point that started to have trouble breathing and began to panic.”

“You don’t look so good,” Kay said. “Are you feeling okay?”

“I feel like I can’t breath,” Allen said.

Kay helped him to his feet. “You don’t look well at all, let’s get you upstairs.”

Strangely, Allen’s mind was completely lucid as he observed himself walking into the elevator with Kay’s help. He watched her press 25, not his floor. And observed himself being guided into room 2514, not his room. After observing her pull his clothes off, he watched her go into the bathroom.

What happened next has been confirmed by Jim Riley at ESPN. As she emerged from the light of the bathroom, he saw that Kay’s stomach was covered with pink scars which Allen recognized as the ritual scarring of The Tiv of Nigeria.

Kay lit a candle and chanted over Allen’s paralyzed body. A pestle and mortar was produced and she smeared red paint on his face. She then rubbed a small, wriggling lizard over his body as she convulsed herself inhumanly. It was at this time that Kay performed fellatio on Allen, and after he climaxed whispered in his hear “I stole your juju.”  And then Allen passed out.

The next day, he was awoken by the maid. At first the plump Hispanic woman was startled. “Check out was twelve o’clock. I thought you were checked out.” Barely able to rise from bed, Allen covered himself with the sheet and checked the clock, it was 12:11. There was a black and white movie on TCM. Allen didn’t like old movies. Kay liked old movies. Kay. He wasn’t dreaming. The coin toss was at noon

The room was empty except for his clothes on the floor. His key card was missing, along with the change from the espresso stand. No time to call the NFL. He ran into the hallway and caught the elevator. League headquarters was two blocks away, he knew the location because it was the first place he stopped after coming into town. Just to be sure, just so he wouldn’t be late when the time came. Allen was thirty minutes late.

“Sorry Seattle, you lost the coin toss,” the Assistant Commissioner said with a smirk as Allen entered the conference room. “Had a long night?”

Allen heard laughing from behind him and saw Kay with a group of suits leaning against a table. Allen was zero. His chances of losing were 100%. In a window separating the large conference room from the hallway he saw his reflection. His face was still painted. “That woman!” he screamed, “that bitch drugged me and stole my juju. I demand a re-toss!”

Kay looked at Allen as cool as summer lemonade, “whatever gets you through the night sweetie.”

“Sorry Seattle.  We only toss once,” said the Assistant Commissioner. “We’ve never tossed twice. It’s a coin toss, you have a fifty percent chance of winning or losing. Here’s a commemorative coin”

“In my case it’s a one-hundred percent chance of losing,” Allen said, and threw the coin to the floor on his way out.

“Sounds like a personal problem,” he heard Kay to the delight of her audience.


As it turned out, Allen Reynolds wasn’t fired for losing the coin toss. In fact, he wasn’t fired at all. The General Manager was very disappointed. He said that he sent Allen as a reward for an outstanding year.

“You can’t control the toss of a coin. We wanted you to have a good time in New York City. Loosen your tie a bit. Live a little. You’re a young man. I don’t know what happened between you and Miss Stone. That’s your business. However, in the future we would like you to uphold the reputation of this organization.”

Allen felt as if he would never recover his juju again.

And that’s the story of the eleventh pick in the 2012 NFL draft.