Weekend 445.1

(1) Leopold Stokowski Collection (Penn Libraries)

(2) “He could feel the music. In Fantasia, there’s a lot of his soul in that picture.” —Joe Grant in Remembering Disney

(3) A scan from Ave Maria

Southampton, P2

(1) The fabulous flying boats of the Solent Sky museum (c|net)

(2) Wonderful prose from Southampton Sketches by Elsie M. Sandell:

“How deep was the delight in former days to be able to sail on the Test, dropping slowly downstream with the evening tide, seeing the full beauty of the old western walls suffused in the mellow glow of sunset, with the dusky purple shadows of the arcading and the towers.”

(3) My scan of Bargate from The Story of Old Southampton by Elise M. Sandell. Illustrated by Victor W.B. Hiscock.

“The Bargate was the central point of the Walls which were commenced in early Norman times and were gradually extended until they encircled the town, being about a mile and a quarter in circumference. There is a wide view of the town from the top of the Bargate and, in olden times, there was May-day singing up there, a custom which was continued until fairly recently. One of the Town Bells, used as an alarm bell, swings aloft. It is called the “New Bell” and was put up in 1605, replacing an earlier one. It is inscribed “In God is my hope. R.B. 1605.”

Weekend 445.0 (Terminus)

(1) A quote from Absolutely On Music by Haruki Murakami:

“In that sense, Seiji Ozawa is simultaneously an unschooled ‘child of nature’ and a fountain of deep, practical wisdom; a man who must have what he wants immediately and who can be infinitely patient; a man with bright confidence in the people around him who lives in a deep fog of solitude.”

(1a) A quote from Score: A Film Music Documentary:

“One of the responsibilities we have as film composers, is we’re the last people on earth who on a daily basis commission orchestral music. Without us, the orchestras might just disappear, and I think that will create a rift in, you know, human culture. I think it will be such a loss to humanity.” —Hans Zimmer

(2) I was in Southampton last weekend (for Saints versus Wolves) and need to keep plussing my original post on The Gateway to the World.

(2a) Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

(3) A quote from Remembering Walt:

“On the Park’s opening day, I was walking down Main Street with a cup of coffee in each hand, when I ran into Walt Disney. He stopped me and I thought I was going to be fired, but he just wanted to know where he could get a cup of coffee.” —Scotty Cribbes

(3a) A quote from Designing Disney:

“When we design any area of a Disney park, we transform a space into a story place. Every element must work together to create an identity that supports the story of the place—structures, entrances and exits, walkways, landscaping, water elements, and modes of transportation. Every element must in its form and color engage the guests’ imagination and appeal to their imagination.”

(4) “Like church, the organ will invite the tears…”

(5) Another quote from Designing Disney:

“Like music, color is one of the great joys of life, mysterious and wonderful.

(6) A quote from the Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton:

“To immerse ourselves in Japanese aesthetics and to nurture a sympathy for its atmosphere may help to prepare us for the day when, in a museum of ceramics, we encounter traditional tea bowls, for example, by the artist Hon’ami Koetsu. We won’t believe, as we might have done without the legacy of 600 years of reflection on the appeals of wabi, that such pieces are puzzling blobs of unformed matter. We will have learnt to appreciate a beauty that we were not born seeing. And, in the process, we will puncture the simplistic notion, heavily promoted by purveyors of plastic mansions, that what a person currently finds beautiful should be taken as the limit of all that he or she can ever love.”

La Marche de Saint Joseph

Paris / Our Lady of MercyI promised a ton in the hopper! Today marks my first week as an expatriate.

Yesterday I went to mass at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. I met up with 14 pilgrims from Our Lady of Assumption and we walked 12 miles and visited 7 churches! It was amazing (even though all the lectures were in French). Pilgrims from every parish participated and all 2,000 of us converged on Notre Dame for mass celebrated by Bishop Matthieu Rougé. We ended the twelve-hour day at St. Eustache (built between 1530 and 1637) for adoration.

Churches Visited

Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption de Passy
Saint-Honoré d’Eylau
Saint-Ferdinand des Ternes
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

The fire at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris on Monday, April 15 sadly gives my participation in La Marche de Saint Joseph extra significance. I am so saddened by the tragedy (especially during Holy Week) but buoyed by the responses from Catholics (and non-Catholics) all around the world.

A related quote from The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton:

“The facile din of the outer world had given way to awe and silence. Children stood close to their parents and looked around with an air of puzzled reverence. Visitors instinctively whispered, as if deep in some collective dream from which they did not wish to emerge. The anonymity of the street had been subsumed by a peculiar kind of intimacy. Everything serious in human nature seemed to be called to the surface: thoughts about limits and infinity, about powerlessness and sublimity. The stonework threw into relief all that was compromised and dull and kindled a yearning for one to live up to its perfections.

Weekend 444.0

(1) Disneyland Paris reimagines its events offer (Exhibition World)

(2) This post has some amazing personal significance! #serendipity

(3) VERUM REX Mini Game / KH2013’s Live PS4 Broadcast

Weekend 443.0 (Fellow Travelers)

“Driven out of paradise by You and exiled in a distant land, I cannot return by myself unless You, O Lord, come to meet me in my wandering. My return is based on hope in Your mercy during all of my earthly life. My only hope, the only source of confidence, and only solid promise is Your mercy.”
— St. Augustine

Posting has been light. I’m reading Absolutely On Music by Haruki Murakami and playing KH3. I also started the year with two wicked colds. There’s a ton in the hopper¹ though (and something very significant in the works). I’m a BIG believer in having things to look forward to and the KINGDOM HEARTS Orchestra this summer fits the playbill. There’s also the new TWA Hotel, a trip to the UK, and something Disney related (a real theme in 2019).

The Sound Tigers are still playing some solid hockey and the game against Charlotte could include Ladd and Hickey in the lineup (which probably means Dal Colle and Toews are staying with the BIG club).

Update 1: Ladd and Hickey were in the lineup against the Hartford Wolf Pack last night. They each had goals.

Update 2: The game against the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday @ 3:00 PM was incredible. The pace was blistering after the 1st.

Congrats to Josh Ho-Sang on being named @CCMHockey / #AHL Player of the Week with a natural hat trick, 4 goals total, and 2 assists in just 2 games! 🎉

Full story: https://t.co/HlRh2W2iS4 pic.twitter.com/t3m9BvPPmz— Bridgeport Sound Tigers (@TheSoundTigers) February 18, 2019

(1) The Trotz Effect (YouTube)
(2) The Postal Museum
(3) Disney Skyliner Gondolas Make First Test Runs at Walt Disney World Resort (Disney Parks Blog)
(4) Color and Comfort: Swedish Modern Design

¹What a great word. It harkens back to the railroad.

KH3 (January 29, 2019)

Don’t Think Twice by Hikaru Utada

I want you for a lifetime
So if you’re gonna think twice, baby
I don’t wanna know, baby, I don’t wanna know
Everything is just right
But if you’re gonna think twice, baby
I don’t wanna know, baby, I don’t wanna know

Weekend 442.0

(1) Why Microsoft is replacing Edge (YouTube)

(2) Islanders have become one of NHL’s most compelling stories this season (Newsday)

“No one else can match the mix of nostalgia, excitement, bitterness, uncertainty and hope that the Isles have put together in a season that looks a lot better than we thought it would.”

2018 Advent Retreat at St. Joseph’s Abbey (Part 2)

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

The Pillar of the Cloud by Cardinal John Henry Newman

A couple more notes from my Advent Retreat at St. Joseph’s Abbey.

(1) Handcrafted stoneware/porcelain pottery from the monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey.

(2) Added three books to the Limestone Library from the Abbey Bookstore:

(2a) Life Lessons from the Monastery by Fr. Jerome Kodell

“Our life is an arc of ascent and descent. And this is for our good, because the project of this life is to learn how to turn over control to the Creator so that we may have the interior freedom to leave this world in peace and be ready for new life with God.”

(2b) Lead, Kindly Light by James Sharp

“Mary is the most beautiful flower ever seen in the spiritual world. It is by God’s grace that there have ever sprung up at all the flowers of holiness and glory. And Mary is the Queen of them. Therefore she is called the Rose, for the rose is of all flowers the most beautiful.”

(2c) Night Prayer by Catholic Book Publishing Corp

Loving Mother of the Redeemer,
gate of heaven, star of the sea,
assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again.

To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator,
yet remained a virgin after as before.
You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting,
have pity on us poor sinners.

KH3 Countdown

It’s less than thirty days away! Here’s a list of five (um, six) things you can do while you’re counting down:

(1) Preview KINGDOM HEARTS III at Disney Springs (Disney Parks Blog)

(2) Pre-Order Face My Fears by Hikaru Utada. The release is scheduled for January 18th

(2a) Hear Skrillex, Utada Hikaru’s Dizzying Preview of New Song ‘Face My Fears’ (Rolling Stone)

(2b) Listen to Kingdom Hearts Live / Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra & Kuehn’s Mixed Choir (YouTube)

(3) Watch Kingdom Hearts Story Summary (YouTube)

How will KH3 start?
Riku and Mickey – Extracting Aqua from the Realm of Darkness
Kairi and Lea – Training with Merlin
Sora, Donald, and Goofy – Training with Hercules in the Olympus Coliseum

(4) Create or search a Kingdom Hearts board on Pinterest

(5) Unlock the Starlight Keyblade (IGN)

(6) Replay your favorite title from the series

US Coup d’état / Banana Republic **Updated**

Post was originally published on August 16th 2018

It’s really simple (and in the irony of all ironies) would make an incredible Hollywood blockbuster.  During the Obama Administration, federal agencies (CIA, FBI, DOJ, NSA, etc.) used opposition research from the Hillary Clinton campaign to spy on candidate/nominee Trump. He was also spied on as President-elect and President.

Let that sink in because this **** usually happens in a banana republic. It’s also tangentially related to the Yellow Vests, Brexit, and Open Borders.

UPDATE*** These are occurring fast and furious (classical reference in headline – it’s a tribute to Glenn Reynolds).

Eight days in May: New revelations about intrigue to remove Trump (Washington Examiner)

Michael Goodwin: Andrew McCabe is a national disgrace – and we owe him a big, fat thank you (Fox News)

“And damn this feels momentous. Because this matters. The other one did, too, but that was to ensure that we didn’t F something up. This matters because this MATTERS.” — Peter Strzok


Are the Investigations the Cover-Up? (American Thinker)

The Most Successful Coverup: Democrats get away with a much worse crime than Watergate (The American Spectator)

Strzok Joins List of 25 Top FBI, DOJ Officials Who Have Been Recently Fired, Demoted, or Resigned (The Epoch Times)

A World in Revolution: The Inevitable Backlash against Global Elites (YouTube)

Donald Trump is a symptom of a new kind of class warfare raging at home and abroad (USA Today)

May the Shutdown Go On Forever (PJ Media)

Walls Are Closing in on the FBI—and Its Media Accomplices (American Greatness)


Press needs to restore its credibility on FBI and Justice Department (The Hill)

“Now, these are all established facts. Let’s review them again: Ohr was a senior Justice Department official whose wife was employed by the research firm hired by Clinton and the DNC to get dirt on Trump. This was not reported on any disclosure forms. Ohr’s wife worked on the same Trump-Russia project as Steele, who concocted the dossier, and Ohr himself established a secret back channel with Steele, who had been dismissed for lying to the FBI — all, apparently, so that Steele was never far from learning about the investigation or having input into it. His texts even refer to a fear of “firewalls” being discovered.”

Sweet Shutdown, Roll On (American Greatness)

“The furloughed federal employees in question are the Beltway parasites who feed off the taxpayers in real America, and provide next to nothing in exchange for their three square meals a day and fancy digs in what has become, for all practical purposes, a one-party deep state that now consists of eastern Maryland, the District of Columbia, and northern Virginia—and thus the rest of America. Bureaucrats are happy to munch on the hands that feed them, with slovenly, indifferent “service” in useless, invented sinecures, but would never think of barking at the guys who actually throw them the bones, and thus keep them ensconced in petty power over their fellow citizens.”

Bonus Art

Christmas 2018 Sabbatical (Principle of Connectivity)

This placeholder is a tradition now. It’s a space to capture all the randomness linked to my couple weeks of downtime. I’ll try to organize it near the end of my break.

Here’s a fun fact…my first post was on August 21, 2003 on Blogger. I’ve been posting for 15 years and 4 months (or 5,601 days / 800 weeks and 1 day).

Scan is from The Art of Miyazaki’s Spirited Away

(1) A couple of musical preludes:

(1a) Somewhere Only We Know / Kacey Musgraves (YouTube)

(1b) Nothing Else / Angus & Julia Stone (YouTube)

Something from the 30s and something from the 80s:

(1c) And The Angels Sing / Benny Goodman & Martha Tilton (YouTube)

(1d) Somebody’s Baby / Jackson Browne (YouTube)

(2) Flipping through The Art of Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and just realized how reverently he and Makoto Shinkai depict train stations. In Spirited Away it’s the entrance to the other world and in 5 Centimeters per Second it’s the scene of Takaki and Akari’s reunion.

(2a) Spirited Away 1

(2b) Spirited Away 2

(2c) Spirited Away 3

(3) Another musically inspired quote from Haruki Murakami:

“Thelonious Monk did not get those unusual chords as a result of logic or theory. He opened his eyes wide, and scooped those chords out from the darkness of his consciousness. What is important is not creating something out of nothing. What my friends need to do is discover the right thing from what is already there.”

(4) More from Murakami…

“The bell was never mine alone. It belongs to the place, to be shared by everyone.”

“Every so often, I found myself wondering about the plastic penguin. I had given it to the faceless man as payment for ferrying me across the river. There had been no alternative, given the swiftness of the current. I could only pray that little penguin was watching over Mariye from somewhere
—probably as it shuttled back and forth between presence and absence.”


(5) I get this question quite often. Here are my top five indispensable blogging tools:

(5a) WordPress, (5b) Flickr, (5c) Directnic, (5d) TextPad, and (5e) Libib


(6) Carolina Hurricanes left hockey fans conflicted with throwback Hartford Whalers night (CBS Sports)

I was just in Raleigh for a couple of days and saw the Hurricanes play the Arizona Coyotes.

(6a) Islanders score five unanswered goals, top Senators (YouTube)

(6b) Islanders ride Barzal hat trick to John Tavares smackdown (NY Post)

(6c) Scott Eansor’s hustle and determination led to a shorthanded… (Twitter)

I attended four hockey games over my sabbatical and my record was 4-0-0. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated Springfield 5-3 on December 15th and Hartford 3-2 on December 27th. The Hartford Whalers (Hurricanes) defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 on December 16th and the New York Islanders the Ottawa Senators 6-3 on December 28th.

Politics & Culture

(7) As the Old Faiths Collapse, the Greens, Social Justice Warriors, and Techno-Futurists Aim to Fill the Void (Daily Beast)

I saw this on Twitter but Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) also linked to it as well.

(7a) Sweet Shutdown, Roll On (American Greatness)

“On the Left, the unattainably perfect (which is what Marxism is, in both its economic and cultural manifestations) must always be the mortal enemy of the good, and especially the good enough. The Left makes no allowances for human fallibility or imperfections; it attributes every failure to willful malfeasance, animated by “racism” or some other malevolence.”

(7b) How prophetic was C.S. Lewis? The Abolition of Man is mentioned in Sweet Shutdown, Roll On. I’ve quoted that book many times in previous posts, but perhaps nothing as much as: “But the man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they please.”

Peter Kreeft is more succinct in C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium:

“Our civilization’s educational elite, our opinion-molders (who have become much more powerful and much more philosophically radical since Lewis’ day in each of the three main mind-molding establishments: education, entertainment, and journalism) are producing a new species of man: ‘men without chests’, or hearts or consciences – i.e., ears to hear the Tao. In other words, our ‘experts’ are producing men and woman like themselves. They are reproducing not biologically but culturally, by a kind of cultural cloning.”

Mass Transit

(8) Absolutely Everything You Need To Know to Survive the L Train Shutdown (THRILLIST)

2018 Advent Retreat at St. Joseph’s Abbey (Part 1)

St. Joseph’s Abbey“Rejoice that you have succeeded in escaping the countless dangers and shipwrecks of this storm-tossed world, and have reached a quiet corner in the security of a hidden harbor.”
— Saint Bruno

I usually select one or two books from the library (in the retreat house) the day I arrive and this year it was Lessons from the Monastery That Touch Your Life by M. Basil Pennington and Spiritual Exercises by St. Francis de Sales. The former was fortuitous (there’s NO such things as coincidences) since the slim volume by the late M. Basil Pennington (St. Joseph’s Abbey) has a chapter devoted to Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, and Contemplatio and was the subject of Fr. William Meninger’s Saturday/Sunday talk.

Fr. William Meninger started his talk by asking the retreatants if we had any expectations for the weekend.  It was a mature group and most were just seeking a break from the noise. In the end Father Meninger opted to focus on Centering Prayer (although a talk on forgiveness and Julian of Norwich were also options). He gave us a background on its origins and some of the controversy. He also discussed the benefits, some techniques to manage distractions (like monkey brain), and then we practiced collectively during the last ten minutes of the talk.    

If you are interested in the subject and want to learn more try The Loving Search for God: Contemplative Prayer and the Cloud of Unknowing. I’ve also posted a link to an amazing video in the ‘other observations and notes’ section.

My journal entries for the rest of the weekend are fragmentary but sometimes it takes a couple of weeks to identify and distill themes. There’s a simple pre-retreat entry in my journal about our capacity to be surprised (something maybe I heard in a Bishop Barron program) and I spent a bit a time ruminating on that entry since I’d been dealing with a hardened heart all year. 

I also had two books from the limestone library. The first was The Return Of The Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen and the second was The Power Of Silence: Against The Dictatorship Of Noise by Robert Cardinal Sarah.  I spent so much time reading the latter that I never re-read the Nouwen book. I transcribed several quotes, but this is the one that’s a good precept for a hardened heart:

“God always watches over us. Man may experience the darkest nights, endure the worst outrages, confront the most tragic situations, yet God is with him. Often man forgets that God is present. If he is an unbeliever, he supposes that God does not exist. If he has a faith that has grown lukewarm because of the secularized atmosphere of the times, he despairs, thinking that God has abandoned him. But the Father stays with him despite all possible denials.”    

A couple other observations and notes…

There’s a beautiful circular stained-glass window in the back of the church that’s typically the last thing retreatants see at the end of their week/weekend. I usually focus on it only when I’m walking back to my pew after receiving the sacraments.

I always visit the visitors chapel before I start the trek home and NO matter how hard you strain (or how you position yourself in the chapel) you can only see a little sliver of the stained-glass in the back of the church!  I am often tempted to sneak through the cloisters or scale the wall in the visitors chapel to snap a photo, but the risk of being banned from the Abbey and the stigma of showing disrespect is too great a risk. I suppose there’s an analogy here about the stained-glass, with its obstructed view, and that passage about “faith being the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1-2

There was also NO snow on the ground this weekend but the sky was clear and at night, before vigils at 3:30 AM, the stars were immeasurable (although the brutal cold made stargazing impractical). I also didn’t take any photographs…content with the ones taken in a snowy landscape (and during previous retreats).   

This video isn’t a tutorial on centering prayer but includes some amazing images of the cloister (including the circular stained-glass window at the back of the church). It also includes an interview with Fr. Matthew Flynn who sadly passed away on December 4th. Here’s an excerpt from the video of Fr. Matthew:

“God loves unconditionally. They just told us that you’d better behave yourself and God will love you. But if you don’t behave yourself God will leave you. Well, God can’t leave you! There’s no place for God to go! He is in everything. And so, the experience of that love, that’s the contemplative experience. The experience that God loves you in time and space. He intervenes into your history and into your life and touches you in some way. And that can change a person’s life. That’s it. At that moment, you might say, that was the center of the universe, that a human being in time and space was so united with God that he experience LOVE.”

Weekend 441.0 (Annual Advent Abbey Retreat)

(1) An excerpt from Daily Meditations on the Psalms:

“We sing when we are happy. A lover sings when he has found his beloved. Sports fans shout for all to hear when their team has won. When Christians sing on joyous occasions, they name God because He is the source of all the good things that bring them joy.”

Weekend 440.0

(1) One final, musically inspired quote, from Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami:

“‘It’s an usual opera [Der Rosenkavalier]. The plot’s critical, of course, like with all operas, but with this one even if you don’t know the plot it’s easy to give yourself over to the music and be completely enveloped by that world. The world of supreme bliss Strauss achieved at the peak of his powers. When it was first performed, people criticized it as nostalgic, unadventurous even, where in reality the music is quite progressive and uninhibited. He was influenced by Wager, but Strauss creates his own strange, unique musical realm. Once you get into this music you can’t get enough of it.'”  

(2) Der Rosenkavalier Suite (YouTube)