Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Lift Up Your Hearts”

Just a thought:
When I was a kid, and the priest would say, “Lift up your hearts,” and everyone said, “We lift them up to the Lord,” so mechanically, it kind of freaked me out a bit.
As I grew older, in addition to understanding the spiritual meaning of it, I also kind of came to appreciate a more literal interpretation.
When I have chest pain at Mass, I lift up my heart.
When I have chest pain at home, I lift up my heart.

I finally heard the “My Little Pony Mass”

Dan Schutte, whose biggest claim to fame was ripping off the “Brady Bunch” theme song for “Here I Am, Lord,” has now written an entire mass setting that seems to be derived from the “My Little Pony” tune:
Even the local “youth Mass” we usually end up attending on Sunday evenings thankfully only stoops to using Contemporary Protestant music at Communion but sticks to more familiar 70s tunes. Schutte has apparently never written a Mass setting in his illustrious career. In spite of recent quotations about following the rubrics that have raised his status in my mind of late, his “new” setting published in the post-new translation edition of _Gather_ not only uses the hokey melody linked above, but it also breaks _Liturgiam Authenticam_ right out of the gate by changing the words.

So, anyway, we happened to attend St. Peter’s in Columbia today after my Carmelite meeting and got to hear this setting for the first time. Since St. John Paul II visited there in 1988, we went down the hall to make a pilgrimage to the chair he sat it, which used to be on display but isn’t anymore. Then we went to the wall of crucifixes I posted about a few years ago.
Joe asked, “Why do they still have *that* one?”
Buddhist Cross
Gianna said, “They shouldn’t have a Yin Yang Cross!”
Clara asked, “What’s a Yin Yang?”
Gianna said, “You don’t need to know about that till you’re my age.”

On the other hand, the lady in front of me knelt to receive Communion. The kids were very good for Mass, and when Joe asked me to take him to the bathroom after Communion, he came out, and I just stayed in the hall to say my prayers. He pointed to the sanctuary and asked, “When are we going back in there?”

T. S. Eliot’s _Four Quartets_ “East Coker” IV

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That quesions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind us of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

The Day Before Spy Wednesday

How will you be celebrating Lenin’s Birthday–oops, I mean “Earth Day”– on Tuesday, April 22?

“I’m a little tea pot . . .”

A Parable

A rich man dies and leaves his very young children his entire fortune, his company, and a gigantic castle, more room in one building than they or their future families could ever need–holdings around the world that they will probably never travel to. Do they claim that as evidence their father never loved them or never existed?

Does a man who gives his children a small home love them more?

then why does the size of the universe or location of the earth matter, one way or the other, as to God’s existence and love?

John Ross Ewing III: not his father

“Junior, it’s time you learned the art of subtlety.  .. . . Because the lack of it turns competitors into enemies and enemies into fanatics.”
–John Ross “Jock” Ewing I

That advice from Jock Ewing to Larry Hagman’s J.R. in the pilot episode of Dallas, “Digger’s Daughter,” which aired April 2,  1978, could very easily establish the theme of the series.  While the original intention was Romeo and Juliet in the oil and cattle industries, Hagman’s portrayal of J.R. was so compelling that he became the break-out character and gradually the “main character,” the only series regular to be in all fourteen seasons (Ken Kercheval’s Cliff Barnes not being an official “regular” till the third or fourth).

In that sense, the recently retired Jock’s advice to his son served as a fitting theme.  In fourteen years, “Junior” never did learn “subtlety” in the way his father meant.  He kept making the same mistakes of hubris over and over, till the point that, in series finale “Conundrum,” he had lost just about everything due to making too many enemies.

Every villain is the hero of his own story, but that works many ways.  Hagman was successful by playing JR comically and by portraying him as thinking himself the hero, doing everything he did for his family’s own good.

Meanwhile, J.R. and Bobby’s sons, John Ross and Christopher, were often portrayed worrying their grandmother.  Miss Ellie would often express worry that they were too much like their Daddies, and that the family was doomed to another generation of feuding.  However, while in their play John Ross would sometimes cheat Christopher, in general John Ross was the “good boy,” and Christopher was the one creating mischief.  JR often worried that his son lacked the competitive edge to take up the legacy of his name.   Indeed, when his illegitimate firstborn James Richard Beaumont shows up in later years, JR lifts his usual contempt for “half breeds” to welcome a son who is a bit more interested in following in his footsteps.

Larry Hagman, Omri Katz and Linda Gray on the set of _JR Returns_

James (and the grandson he fathered,  who would be in his 20’s now) have not even been mentioned, but that tension is still at work in the character of John Ross as portrayed by Josh Henderson on the new series.  He isn’t in appearance or demeanor as “gentle” as Omri Katz’s portrayal of the character-there’s something very hard about him.  In recent weeks, he finally seems to be hitting his stride, but it’s been hard to sympathize with him as a character.

Josh Henderson and Larry Hagman in the new series

When the new show started 2 years ago, ignoring the two movies from the late 90s, it picks up almost like the beginning of Season 15.  JR is in a mental hospital recovering from an unspecified breakdown.  A fictional Facebook “timeline” suggests stories to fill the gap, but it could easily be picking up as if JR has been in the looney bin since he shot the mirror in 1991.

The Ewings are, largely, has-beens.  John Ross and Christopher each start the series trying to rebuild their family’s legacy.  While Christopher and Bobby have a standing relationship, John Ross and J.R. are estranged.  He wants to earn his father’s respect.  In the second season, J.R.’s death saddles John Ross with the legacy he was given in his name.

This season, the character seems to have come into his stride.  While he is still far more serious and dour than his father, we see him more as the “hero of his own story.”  We also see him not so much as the “villain who thinks he’s the good guy,” but as the reluctant villain.  More like Roger Thorpe than J.R. Ewing, he’s constantly struggling with the desire to *not* be what everyone expects him to be. I can truly see in him the need for Grace, the thought that he doesn’t really want to be this way and would welcome an “out”, that maybe with a slight shift in priorities, and truly establishing a relationship with Christ, he could be a better person.

The episode featured the introduction of yet another family, and another international connection: a vaguely defined Arab Sheikh who had a previous agreement with JR.  John Ross nearly loses the deal by failing to demonstrate “subtlety,” and then wins an alliance by showing it.

Meanwhile, we see an alliance of various competitors-turned-enemies and enemies-turned-fanatics due to the arrogance of both Jock Ewing’s namesakes, including the return of the McKay’s (with George Kennedy still living, perhaps at least a cameo by Carter McKay himself will come down the line).

It’s nice that they’re giving the character a slightly different angle rather than making him a straight-up copy of his father.


On a lighter side

The other day, the Facebook Page “Dallas Fanzine” posted the following photo of the casts of the four Lorimar TV series in production 1978-1979.  From stage right, they are: Dallas (minus Jim Davis, for some reason), Eight is EnoughThe Waltons and a short-lived series called Married: the First Year.Someone made the comment that, somewhere, in a parallel universe, Dallas  was an unsuccessful 1978 miniseries, and people are watching Married: the 35th Year on TNT.