Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Dusty Organ

Last September, just before the annual "Street Vibrations" rally in Reno, we got word of a motorcyclist being killed in a crash in Lemmon Valley.  Only later did we find out that was the only organist our parish had.  May he rest in peace.

I hate our organ not being used.  Instead, we have to put up with the "Tongan Choir," which is led by a guitarist and an obnoxious electronic keyboard.  It wouldn't be so bad if they could actually sing.

Sadly, many pipe organs at parishes are gathering dust.  Despite the entreaties of Sacrosanctum Consilium (1963) that (all emphasis mine)

[i]n the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things[,]
the organ is now seen as a quaint novelty, and many new churches are being built without one.  For example, look at St. Ignatius Loyola in Ijamsville, Maryland, which thought a grand piano would be more appropriate for its new sanctuary.

I think what happened in the "Spirit of Vatican II" was the next passage from Sacrosanctum Concilium was taken way out of context:
But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.
And if we take a look back a few years at De musica sacra et sacra liturgia, we see how this got watered down:
Musical instruments which by common acception, and use are suitable only for secular music must be entirely excluded from all liturgical functions, and private devotions.
Now that you've read this, chances are you know more about Church teaching on sacred music than does your parish's music director, or perhaps even the one for your diocese or archdiocese.  And you also know how OCP and GIA's bread has gotten buttered since the late 60's.  Remember this the next time you have to suffer through "Gather Us In."

P.S.  I just became aware of this article from Adoremus that explores this topic further in depth.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Is Called Tolerance

Gay Mob Protests Wedding Vow Renewal at Chicago Cathedral

What, didn't Perky Award-Winning Journalist Katie Couric tell you about this?

Maybe the most disturbing part of the article:

The Chicago Municipal Code states that someone is punishable for disorderly conduct whenever he "pickets or demonstrates on a public way within 150 feet of any church, temple, synagogue or other place of worship while services are being conducted."

When Doherty asked an officer why they were permitting the protest to continue immediately outside the cathedral, she recounts, he "said that the organizer of the protest currently has 20 lawsuits pending against the city of Chicago and he tends to name officers personally as defendants in his civil suits."

But try to have a protest anywhere near a Chicago abortion clinic. Wow. Just wow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Old Rugged Stadium (Not)

Are stadiums and arenas becoming the latest examples of Planned Obsolescence?  I cannot believe the increasingly short lifespans these (usually taxpayer funded) structures have.

As a Baltimore Colts fan, I'll never forget how that snake in the grass Bob Irsay snuck the team out to Indianapolis and their state-of-the-art Hoosier Dome (which, like just about every other stadium these days, went through a couple corporate name changes after that).  It opened in 1984.  Twenty-five years later, it's gone, replaced by LucasOil Stadium, which is -- you guessed it -- publicly financed.  Giants Stadium was just torn down at the ripe old age of 35.  The Pontiac Silverdome hosts a few conventions and expos, but that's about it.  Its punishment for being built in 1975?  Being sold for slightly more than an upper middle class home.

Down the road in Sacramento, Arco Arena opened in 1988.  Despite the fact that every Sacramento Kings game is sold out, there's talk about building a new arena on the site of the Cal Expo.  And note this inside the story of how the NCAA is no longer holding March Madness games at Arco:

The NCAA rejection message supports what the owners of ARCO Arena have been saying for a number of years. Built in 1988, ARCO is the oldest arena in the NBA.

There you have it.  A structure built in 1988 is now "old."  It's all about Not Being The Last Kid On Your Block To Have A New Building.  Or, it's a case of How Many Luxury Boxes Can We Squeeze In?  (Never mind that the recession has made many companies cut back on those expenses.)

Now I have not been to Arco personally, and I know some folks who have are less than happy with it.  But I can't imagine it's worse than Baltimore's First Mariner Arena, which is going on *50* years old and is woefully inadequate for everything.  Even in college, we called it the Baltimore "Urena." 

Fortunately, across the country, taxpayers have been increasingly saying "no" to publicly financed stadiums, especially when they don't need to be replaced for any other reason than to satisfy the whim of an owner.  And let's hear it for the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park, which was compeletely financed through private funds.  That needs to be the rule, not the exception, in sports.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nice Weekend

LC and I took advantage of a one-night-free special at the Grand Sierra Resort (formerly the Reno Hilton) and spent Friday and Saturday nights there.

The hotel was rather busy when we arrived; there was a scientific convention going on, plus many were arriving for either weekend skiing or the super middleweight boxing match between local boy Jesse Brinkley and Curtis Stevens.  We wound up watching the Brinkley-Stevens fight in our room while it was going on downstairs, with Brinkley pulling an upset victory by unanimous decision.  He knocked down Stevens in the 6th and 12th rounds, and Stevens should be thankful there wasn't a 13th round.  Neither of us are boxing aficionados, but we both concluded that was an enjoyable fight.

Both of us fared well gaming, with the Mystical Mermaid slot machine being especially generous to me.

Our room was as nice as just about any we've stayed in. The beds were ridiculously confortable, soft but not too soft.  The bathroom was huge and gorgeous; the only thing that would have made it better was if it had a bathtub instead of a shower (almost the size of our walk-in closet at home).  It also gave great views of downtown Reno.

On Saturday afternoon, we partook of the virtual golf facility on the lower level, playing the Kapalua Village course.  It's a good thing we did so virtually and not in reality; we both stunk up the joint.  We hit golf balls off a mat into a pad onto which the computer-generated course screen was projected, and the computer plotted where our shot wound up.  We also checked out the sports merchandise store (we were the second customers to ask about Ravens merchandise, which they didn't have any of) and the candy shop (they had Goetze's caramel creams!).

Only down side about the GSR: the service at their cafe left much to be desired, even when were were there after the virtual golf with hardly anyone else. 

And an oopsie on my part: I forgot to get my dirty clothes out of the closet!  Fortunately, they kept them for me and I picked them up the next day.

All in all, a nice time away with my sweetie . . . even if "away" translated to only 8 miles or so.