And Now, Nicholas Connors will Blow. Your. Mind.

JJWattsNicholasConnors

I know nothing at all about this child, except for two things. No, three.1) He has a lithe vocal instrument of remarkable clarity, sweetness, and power.2) His mother appears to know how to support without forgetting to be honest.3) J. J. Watt was is very cool. And I don't actually know who he is.Check out young Nicholas' performance of the National Anthem. That's a rare gift and a natural musicality, there. … [Read more...]

How I Loved My Kitschy Madonna!

My column in the latest Catholic Answer Magazine, is entitled "Mary, Mystery and Imagination", and I explore therein the value of Catholic kitsch to a developing soul:Because my mother was devoted to Our Lady, and also susceptible to Catholic kitsch, my childhood home was filled with small plastic statues of saints and devotional artwork that fascinated for the sheer incongruity of it.On my bedroom wall, she had hung an image that looked for all the world as if Mary had brought the Baby … [Read more...]

Grief, a Joyful Nun, Misery-lovers & the Annunciation

My column at First Things looks at two stories from last week -- one grievous, and one glad -- and how, amid the mysteries contained within each, some people could only be miserable:The immediate responses seemed like reasonable ones: The plight of a family facing a wound of such depth would naturally evoke empathetic sadness in others, and our human need to feel empowered in dreadful circumstances fueled an impressively-answered fundraiser meant to defray the costs of emergency airlifts, … [Read more...]

Augustine’s Confessions Set to Music? Let’s Bring This Baby Home! – UPDATE: GOAL REACHED!

sam rocha trio

:::UPDATE:::: GOAL REACHED! Applaud yourselves for the hand you've had in a creative endeavor! :::END UPDATE:::Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You … [Read more...]

No Black Opera Singers, No White Kid in a Gi, No Kabab in UK!

I hope Randa Jarrar will break the news to Zaineb Abdul-Nabi, the young, female student-filmmaker featured among a group of six talented young people at last week's Oscar telecast, that Zaineb cannot make movies because they didn't originate within her culture.Hey, it's not my call. I'm all for a young Arab-American woman becoming a cinematographer, if she wants, but Jarrar says, no -- that people have no business "appropriating" artforms outside their culture. Because purity or something … [Read more...]

Duke Ellington Understood Incarnation, Lived Christmas

There is a collection of Christmas-Themed articles over at National Review, and among them you'll find my piece which started out as a rant against cruise-pictures-as-Christmas-cards and ended up being about Duke Ellington and the Great Christmas Secret:“Duke Ellington and I exchanged Christmas greetings each year,” wrote Joe Delaney of the Las Vegas Sun., “Mine were sent in mid-December. Duke sent his when the spirit moved him.”A reformed Ebenezer Scrooge may have pledged to “honor Chri … [Read more...]

Missing Beautiful Stained Glass? Find it Here!

I was going to add this as an update to this post, but it's really so neat it deserves it's own mention.Our Lady of Solitude Monastery is a foundation created from within the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of the Angels monastery. While other foundations from that community are still working on their hopes to start building (and finding creative ways to fund their hopes), this community, located in Arizona (Max's stomping ground) have finally installed the last of the … [Read more...]

Lay, Mad Patriarch, Lay Down; Finally Take Your Rest

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Do you see those two boys up there?I'm so proud of those two boys, and the men they have become. They are smart; they are thoughtful, and kind. They are the sort of men who tell the women they love, "you go for it; you do what you feel called to do. You will be great; don't let anything stop you."And to top it off, they're musicians!The older one -- destined, in our minds, for MIT and a career as a bio-medical engineer -- picked up a guitar at 15 and became a virtuoso over a single … [Read more...]

Orthodox Nuns and “God is With Us”

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After wading around in the filth of this post, I needed a palate cleanser; this seems just the ticket. Beautiful Orthodox nuns, and a lovely recording by the Mennonite Sharon Singers: We Are Not Alone; God is With Us … [Read more...]

Mercy, Mercy!

This comes to us via Pianogirl, who writes of Georgio Allegri's Miserere mei, Deus:For many years, it was thought that Mozart composed this piece because a copy of it was found in his handwriting. It was forbidden for this music to leave the Vatican. Rumor had it -- under threat of excommunication -- that the choir was forbidden to let the score be taken out of the Chapel, copied, or even seen by any outsider.On April 11,1770, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, age 14, was visiting Rome with his … [Read more...]


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