Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two Women I Admire

Some latter-day heroes we can look up to:

Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA, and a winner in my book for telling morons like "Perez Hilton" to take his same-sex "marriage" and shove it, and is getting criticized roundly for her stance. As Mark Steyn said, "What's a 'gay' man doing as a beauty pageant judge, anyway?" She's got a bigger crown than she'd ever have if she'd won.

Mary Ann Glendon, who told Notre Shame and Fr. John Jenkins to forget honoring her at the same commencement where the university was going to ignore the last shred of its Catholicism and award an honorary law degree to the most pro-abortion president in history.

We need more women and men who are willing to stand up for what they believe, no matter what the cost. God bless you two for your example.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Donner Summit

On Friday, I was going to Hayward, California, a city sandwiched between Oakland and San Jose on the east side of the San Francisco. But when trying to get anywhere from Nevada to Sacramento and points west, there's a small logistic that needs to be overcome.

Make that a big logistic, called Donner Summit. Yep, Donner, as in Donner Pass, as in the Donner Party.

There are only two practical ways to get from northern Nevada to California over the Sierra Nevada mountains. One is west from Carson City over Spooner Summit to the south end of Lake Tahoe, then down toward Placerville. That's Route 50, which ends in Sacramento (and begins in Ocean City, MD). The other is through Donner Pass, now traversed by present-day I-80.

I guess the Donner Party would have given anything to have the problem I had Friday morning. I had just gotten off my overnight shift, bought gas, and gotten some money, and was ready to head west. Earlier in the week, temperatures had been well into the 80s.

But that day, there was snow just west of Reno, those big, wet, and thick flakes. And it was snowing hard enough at Donner Summit that vehicles needed chains to get over it. There are many passes in the country that are at a higher elevation than Donner, but probably not as many that are as treacherous and fickle. And as far as I know, Route 50 was open with no controls, but that's a considerably longer route from Reno/Sparks. Finally, I don't cross the Sierra enough to warrant purchasing chains.

So I chose to have breakfast at Boomtown Casino in Verdi (rhymes with "where-dye") and wait things out, taking a brief snooze in my car afterward. With signs in the casino still saying "chain controls," I took a chance and got back onto I-80, and as I approached the summit, the clouds were breaking right over it! Wish I'd had a camera. And I had no further snow issues, but I did have probably the only car in the Bay Area with salt on it.

Unfortunately, a big rig had chosen that time to break down in the right lane, so it took me another ten minutes to get through the summit. Again, that would have been the least of the Donner Party's worries.

Footnote: When LC and I first visited the area in 1993, we both swam in beautiful, but chilly, Donner Lake. That lake is NEVER warm! She shivered just about the whole rest of that August night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Acquiring Intelligence, Obama-Style

Here's how we'll get information out of captured terrorists like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed et al. in the future:

We turn them over to the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. (Naaah, someone will decide that's torture too.)

We never tortured anyone. What is this country coming to?

"Mr. KSM, we'll give you ten minutes to tell us what we want to know."
"And if I don't?"
"Well, um . . . we'll give you longer."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Regina Pacis Cantorum

Over the past month or so, I have been singing tenor with Regina Pacis Cantorum, a traveling a cappella Latin choir throughout the diocese of Reno, and the only one of its type in the area.

I am so enjoying singing Latin chant and polyphony (many voices) at Mass again; for years, I sang more Latin with the Parkway Chorale (mixed chorus at my workplace) than I ever heard at Mass. Frankly, we need more of it, not less. Pope Pius X thought so too in his encyclical Tra le Sollecitudini (emphasis mine):

These qualities are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity.

On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down thefollowing rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.

Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.

4. The above-mentioned qualities are also possessed in an excellent degree by Classic Polyphony, especially of the Roman School, which reached its greatest perfection in the fifteenth century, owing to the works of Pierluigi da Palestrina, and continued subsequently to produce compositions of excellent quality from a liturgical and musical standpoint. Classic Polyphony agrees admirably with Gregorian Chant, the supreme model of all sacred music, and hence it has been found worthy of a place side by side with Gregorian Chant, in the more solemn functions of the Church, such as those of the Pontifical Chapel. This, too, must therefore be restored largely in ecclesiastical functions, especially in the more important basilicas, in cathedrals, and in the churches and chapels of seminaries and other ecclesiastical institutions in which the necessary means are usually not lacking.

I could tell you more about Regina Pacis Cantorum, but I'll let my esteemed director do so, courtesy of Be Present Faithful Catholic Apostolate:

Dear Friends of Our Lord and Our Lady:

For many years, Regina Pacis Cantorum (Queen of Peace Choir) has been serving both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the liturgy in the local diocese, singing the sacred music of Gregorian Chant and polyphony. These are the only forms of sacred music specifically recommended in the liturgical documents.

It would take too long to provide citations from the documents which provide the foundation for the choir, whose mission is:

“To foster and maintain the treasury of sacred music of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Regina Pacis Cantorum is also dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Many. It has been our pleasure to sing for the closing Mass at the Eucharistic and Marian Conferences hosted by Be Present Faithful for all three years it has been held.

Faithful Catholics have learned over the years that anyone and any cause completely given over to God, His Church, and the Blessed Mother must certainly expect difficulty. Beyond doubt, this is our time.

This is NOT a plea for money!

Rather, it is for an even more precious commodity; your time and the sharing of the gifts God has given you.

We have lost membership over the past couple of years due to my adherence to the Pro-life message [I KNEW there was something I liked about her!]. There have been other losses due to opposition to Catholic moral teachings. One of the losses was especially hard to bear; that of our accompanist and my dear personal friend.

Since we are not “attached” to a particular parish, recruiting has been problematic. Most parishes will not run bulletin ads for us, thinking that it could detract from recruiting for their own musical needs. That is understandable.

So, I am asking simply this. Did God bless you with a good voice and musical ability? Will you consider placing those gifts at his service and help us in continuing our efforts to fulfill our Holy Father’s wish for a return to truly sacred music?

We need voices in ALL ranges and, if there is a generous soul out there who would donate keyboard skills for our efforts, I know there would be many blessings in store for you!

Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, 7 PM – 9 PM at Trinity Episcopal Church. If you would like even more of a challenge, the choir’s schola, Sursum Corda (Lift Up Your Heart), meets on Tuesdays, 7 PM – 9 PM at my home. For more information, please contact me at 345-6106 or via e-mail at bkreinh@gbis.com.

Please give this your prayerful consideration and be assured of my prayers and gratitude.

Pax Christi (Peace of Christ),

Kathy Reinheimer


Regina Pacis Cantorum

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nevada 101

For my East Coast friends. Let's start today's lesson.

This is Nevada. All together now: "neh-VAA-dah." No, not "neh-VAH-dah." "Neh-VAA-dah." Very good.

It's the seventh largest state; it could hold 10 Marylands. It's slightly larger than Colorado and just smaller than Arizona.

It was founded in 1864, hence the reference to "Battle Born" on the otherwise admittedly boring flag. But the state nickname is "The Silver State."

Who knows the capital of Nevada? No, not Reno. No, not Las Vegas. No, not the Palms (*whack*). It's Carson City, where a U.S. Mint used to be back in the Comstock's (area near Carson City) silver heyday.

Note where people live in Nevada. With all due respect to Ely (e-lee), Elko, and Tonopah, most Nevadans live in one of two areas: down south, in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, or Boulder City; or in Reno, Sparks (collectively known as the Truckee Meadows), or Carson City in the northwest. Since Vegas and environs have such a large population, they have two of the state's three Congressional districts. Congressman Dean Heller serves the whole rest of the state.

Note the distance of Reno and Sparks from Las Vegas, about 450 miles. That's about as far as Boston is from Washington, DC, but you're still in the same state. Needless to say, Reno and Sparks are not suburbs of Vegas. The nearest bigger city to Reno? Try Sacramento, 120 miles to the west over Donner Pass. In terms of the West, 120 miles is pretty close. San Francisco is about a four-hour drive from Reno.

Just southeast of Reno is historic Virginia City, which you may remember from the opening of "Bonanza." Of course, I don't know why they kept burning up that map. To the east is Fernley, which suffered a flood last year when canal levees broke; and Fallon, site of a naval air station that is the home also of the Top Gun aircraft. Out east, Elko is a small but fairly wealthy town, built on gold and silver mining.

Not on this map is Searchlight, a southern town between Boulder City and Laughlin that gave the world Harry Reid (John Ensign is our other senator); and Yucca Mountain, south of Tonopah and the designated repository for the nation's nuclear waste . . . maybe. And between Tonopah and Vegas is the famous Area 51, where extraterrestrials may or may not be hidden. Art Bell of Coast to Coast AM fame lives in Pahrump ("pah-RUMP"), where things go Pahrump in the night.

Most of Nevada consists of mountains and high desert. Both Reno and Vegas sit on the edges of the desert, meaning any precipitation that comes usually doesn't last long in the valleys (see also: Denver), but the mountains sure get their share. While it's routine for summertime temperatures in Vegas to reach into the 110s, it's rare for Reno temperatures to top 100, but it has happened. And when it snows in the valley, it's actually rare for schools to close for it.

Mountain snow is the primary water source for northern Nevada. Much of the snowmelt runs through the Truckee ("Trucky") River. As a result, even in late summer, most of the lakes and rivers in northern Nevada are quite chilly. But that's also what gives Lake Tahoe its deep shade of blue. Southern Nevada relies more on Lake Mead and the Colorado River for water, but so does Arizona, southern California, and other states.

Prostitution is legal only in authorized brothels in Nevada's counties except Washoe and Clark, where Reno and Vegas are respectively. Most locals laugh as visitors go off to those places. No streetwalking is allowed.

More than 85 percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government, whether as Indian reservations, national parks or forests, or just plain land. Not much happens on it, except for wild horses running across it. The Bureau of Land Management is arguably the largest federal agency out here.

While Vegas is still very much built on gaming, that industry is losing its foothold here in the Truckee Meadows, largely because of competition from Indian casinos in northern California. The area has lots of festivals, however: the Rib Cookoff, Hot August Nights, and the Reno Air Races, to name only a few.

Any questions?