Sea Chanties

So yesterday I posted Ewan MacColl singing about Nancy Whiskey; which led a Facebook friend to start singing it; which led her son, to point out that the video game Assassin's Creed 4 has almost an hour of sea chanties that get played in the background whilst you are sailing about. The whole thing is on Youtube:It's quite a good selection of songs, many I've heard and many that I've not; and there are some (like "Spanish Ladies") where I know the words from Patrick O'Brian's … [Read more...]

Disney Hall

In 2003, Jane and I went to hear a concert at Disney Hall in Los Angeles for the first time. Here are my impressions, which haven't changed particularly since: silly building, beautiful acoustics. This was first posted in November of 2003.Last night, Jane and I were fortunate enough to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic play Ravel, Saint-Saens, and Francesconi at the new Walt Disney Hall. This was a bit of a fluke—we were given tickets—but it means that I can now weigh in on the whole Fra … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Popular Music: Fairytale of New York

"The boys of the NYPD choir are singing Galway Bay; and the bells are ringing out for Christmas day."Today being the Friday before Christmas, I'm presenting you with the Pogues' song "Fairytale of New York", a poignant (and occasionally vulgar) duet between Shane McGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl, in the personas of two people who are clearly no good together and yet somehow no good apart either. In my travels around the web I see this song mentioned more often than any other by the … [Read more...]

Classics of the Season

Santa Claus, as we know, goes everywhere, every year. This year, courtesy of photographer Ed Wheeler, he's been visiting a number of classic works of art. For example, here's Botticelli's Santa. There are many more on Wheeler's "Santa Classics" site, which I discovered courtesy of Julie Davis. (I've no idea how she finds these things.) … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: FBI Man

You don’t have to believe me, but I would have known after one look at him, even if Fritz hadn’t told me. It’s mostly the eyes and the jaw. An FBI man spends so much time pretending he’s looking somewhere else that his eyes get confused; they’re never quite sure it’s okay to admit they’re focused on you. His jaw is even worse off. It is given to understand that it belongs to a man who is intrepid, daring, dauntless, cool, long-headed, quick-witted, and hard as nails, but it is cautioned that he i … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: The Prefecture

The Prefecture (more fully the Apostolic Prefecture of St. Mary's World) is the name given to the Catholic Church as an institution on St. Mary's-without-the-Arm, also known as S'Mary's World. Prior to the departure of the freezer ship … [Read more...]

Whose Body?, by Dorothy Sayers

Sometimes you go back to a book you remember with delight, and you wonder what you ever saw in it. Other times, you go back to a book you remember with a mild fondness...and discover that it's wholly delightful. That's been my experience recently as I revisit Dorothy Sayers' tales of Lord Peter Wimsey; and the first of these is Whose Body?, which is in the public domain and can be found in any manner of places.Whose Body? was published in 1923. Lord Peter, Sayers' hero, is the younger … [Read more...]

The Eternal View and the Temporal View

There are two ways to look at the Church, two ways that are essential for a balanced Christian life; and I notice that many Catholics I read on-line seem to give more emphasis to one or the other.The first is what I'll call the Eternal View. People who emphasize this view (people like me) focus on the unchanging things of the Faith: the Divine, the truths of theology, the words of scripture. We study these things, and we think we have a pretty good handle on them, thank you very much. … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Rosary

I actually picked up the Rosary before I returned to the Catholic Church. A non-Catholic high school friend had gone on a trip to Rome, and since I was still Catholic then had brought me back a rosary from the Vatican. (He also brought back a photo of a statue of a pope that he and his sister thought looked like me. I have no idea who it was, really.) I didn't pray the Rosary at that time; but in the year leading up to my return to the Church I pulled it out, and began to figure out what it … [Read more...]