Thursday, May 1, 2003

May 2003

This is a placeholder post linking to the page with this month's entries in the pre-Blogger format.

Topics: Publisher, print thyself. "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy." Bob Hope turns 100. Vicki Verhasselt. News hole and memory hole. Kumbaya clergy convention. (More?) planning planned. Clerical job. The Prophet and Power Point. Megan's first communion. Bing Crosby centennial. Catholic Herald web site redesign.

Saturday, May 31, 2003


Publisher, print thyself

The May 22, 2003 issue of our Archdiocesan weekly is now on-line with the permanent links. In his column, Archbishop Dolan complains about press coverage of our Pope's recent Encyclical on the Eucharist.

What is most troublesome is that, for the vast majority of people, Catholics included, all they will know of this powerful encyclical is what they saw in the dismissive headlines.

I went back through the Herald's past on-line issues and could find no article on the Encyclical. I used the Herald's new search function, looked for "Eucharistia," and all I found was the Archbishop's column. His column does not have a link to the Encyclical.

The website of the Archdiocese has our Archbishop's Easter message, which encourages us to go to Mass and receive Communion, but does not mention the Encyclical. I could find no mention of or link to the Encyclical on the site.

Here it is at The Vatican.


Friday, May 30, 2003


"Yentl the Yeshiva Boy," by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Marion Magid and Elizabeth Pollett

Only now did Yentl grasp the meaning of the Torah's prohibition against wearing the clothes of the other sex. By doing so one deceived not only others but also oneself. Even the soul was perplexed, finding itself incarnate in a strange body.


Thursday, May 29, 2003

Bob Hope turns 100

Our morning newspaper recently looked ahead to today, Bob Hope's 100th birthday.

Here's a selective look at the high points of Hope's big-screen career:

"The Big Broadcast of 1938"

Sporadically funny all-star Paramount vehicle, featuring W.C. Fields, an Art Deco ocean liner and Hope's evolving comic persona. It was Hope's first feature for the Hollywood studio that made him wealthy - and vice versa. He also sings, with Shirley Ross, "Thanks for the Memory," the song that became his signature for the next 60-plus years. ...

"Road to Morocco"

This 1942 Hope-Crosby comedy is the best of the "Road" flicks, thanks to its near-surreal use of the film medium and outrageously irreverent gags, as orchestrated by veteran director David Butler. ...

"The Princess and the Pirate"

The definitive Hope vehicle. The physical production in this 1944 film is lavish, the Goldwyn girls are lovely and co-star Virginia Mayo is ravishing in Technicolor.

"The Paleface"

Paramount spoofs the Western in this serviceable, enormously popular 1948 farce. Cowpoke Roy Rogers and voluptuous Jane Russell add to the fun, but it's Hope all the way.

"The Facts of Life"

Hope seldom dabbled in even moderately serious drama, but this unlikely 1960 pairing with Lucille Ball, about illicit suburban lovers who finally face up to their separate fates, pays off with some sharply defined characters and scenes.

It also looks at television coverage commemorating the event.


Wednesday, May 28, 2003


Heard Vicki Verhasselt speak
at a luncheon meeting of our local chapter of the CPCU Society.


Phaedo, by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett

... I am very far from admitting that he who contemplates existences only through the medium of thought, sees them "through a glass darkly," any more than he who considers them in action and operation.



Tuesday, May 27, 2003


We have said that litigants are entitled to a fair trial but the judge does not have to enjoy giving it. [citation omitted]

--Bruenig v. American Family Insurance Company, 45 Wis. 2d 536, 546, 173 N.W.2d 619, 626 (1970)


Sunday, May 25, 2003


Crito, by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett

Socrates: Then we must do no wrong?

Crito: Certainly not.

Socrates: Nor when injured injure in return, as the many imagine; for we must injure no one at all?

Crito: Clearly not.


Apology, by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett

But I cannot in a moment refute great slanders; and, as I am convinced that I never wronged another, I will assuredly not wrong myself, I will not say of myself that I deserve any evil, or propose any penalty.



Saturday, May 24, 2003


News hole and memory hole

The May 15, 2003 issue of our Archdiocesan weekly is now on-line with its permanent links.
This article reports on Cardinal Keeler's recent visit to give a lecture on Catholic-Jewish relations. Missing from the article was any mention of the Cardinal's involvement with the document Reflections on Covenant and Mission on that very topic.
That document generated quite a bit of controversy, described in this item.

The Herald article does link to the text of the lecture at the Archdiocese web site.

Kumbaya clergy convention

The Herald reports on this year's Spring Priests Assembly in this article.

According to some in attendance, the most moving part of the three-day assembly occurred Monday evening when the archbishop addressed the gathering. Another keynote speaker had been scheduled, but became unavailable shortly before the assembly. ...

When he finished his hour-long talk, the archbishop received a warm, standing ovation, according to Fr. Paul Esser, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Church, Racine.

In this Archdiocese, at least, isn't "Archbishop gets standing ovation" like "dog bites man"?

Fr. Esser described Archbishop Dolan’s tenure here as timely. “He’s made us laugh again. Hugging is back in and I thanked him from the floor (of the assembly) for that.

It had escaped my notice that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee had developed a problem of insufficient hugging. Compared to hugging, even standing ovations are rare.


Friday, May 23, 2003


Leading Up: How to lead your boss so you both win (2001), by Michael Useem

But for [the commander of the U.N peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Canadian brigadier general Romeo] Dallaire, the most chilling portents came from a well-placed informant. ... The informant coldly estimated that they were prepared to kill at the rate of 1,000 Tutsis every twenty minutes, and he himself had been part of an effort under way for the past three months ot register all Tutsis living in Kigali. ...

On January 11, 1994, Dallaire sent the startling information to his superiors in a cable ...
Dallaire's news, though, had far from the desired effect. Iqbal Riza was serving as assistant secretary-general for the U.N.'s Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and his immediate reaction on reading the cable was "Not another Somalia!"

--pp. 82-83


A reader emailed,

Re your last post, I'm sure you can guess the Hutu national anthem: Toot-toot-tootsie, goodbye.

Can a sequel to The Producers be far behind?


Friday, May 16, 2003


(More?) planning planned

The May 8, 2003 issue of our archdiocesan weekly now has the permanent links for its on-line edition. Its reports on the appointment of its new executive editor and associate publisher in
this article.

With circulation declining, [Archbishop] Dolan said, "as much as I hope we’re able to continue it, I’ve got to be realistic. ... It’s one of the questions I inherited, whether we can do our communications better. Consultation, research, and study might show we need to go in another direction."

Suggested alternatives include a monthly magazine or a move to electronic media, "but nobody can come up with details of those," Dolan said. "We need somebody to look into those options. Eventually we’ll have a blue-ribbon commission that will not only look into the Catholic Herald, but on other options, what can work."

Dolan had approached someone about heading the commission, but was told that he was "starting at this backward — as a new leader, you need time spent in more comprehensive planning for the archdiocese" before tackling the question of Catholic communication.

A "strategic planning process" will be announced in future editions of the archbishop’s column, "Herald of Hope."

Perhaps that is a reference to the ongoing planning described in this article.


Monday, May 12, 2003


Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing (2000), edited by William Irwin

[J.] Peterman's appearance on Seinfeld could be seen to exemplify what Slavoj Zizek, a Marxist Lacanian [footnote omitted] calls "performance ideology." By "perfomance ideology, Zizek means a form of ideological consciousness in which we know that we are dealing with a fiction, but in which that fiction nonetheless regulates our actual real behavior.

--Chapter 10: Peterman and the Ideological Mind: Paradoxes of Subjectivity, by Norah Martin, p. 140


Saturday, May 10, 2003


Clerical job

This morning's newspaper
reports on changes at our Archdiocesan weekly.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan has appointed Father Thomas Brundage to temporarily replace the Catholic Herald's top editor, who left last week to take another job, marking the first time in decades that the traditionally independent, lay-led newspaper has been run by a cleric.

If the Archbishop appoints the editor, you might wonder from whom or what the Catholic Herald was supposedly independent.

The appointment of a priest who has no professional journalistic experience alarmed some journalists in the Catholic press. Some activist Catholics were concerned, too, because it followed an unusual incident in which both the newspaper and a parish priest apologized in print for their separate handling of a March 25 prayer service marking the annual World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination.

Managing Editor Maryangela Layman Roman said in an interview that the editorial - which explained Pope John Paul II's position against the ordination of women as a definitive teaching that could not be debated - had been "recommended" by Dolan.

Who had been "surprised" that such a service was permitted in a Catholic Church.

The archbishop is the newspaper's publisher, but former Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland never intervened in news decisions, said retiree Ethel Gintoft, [departing editor Laurel] Nelson-Rowe's predecessor.

Perhaps, then, the idea was to have the Herald be "independent" like a theologian on the faculty of a Catholic university; what's said might be heresy, but there's nothing the Archbishop can do about it.

Terry Ryan, regional coordinator of Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic reform group, said, "The clarifications in the Catholic Herald were disturbing. Many of our members have questioned how authority was exercised."

How it was exercised or that it was exercised?

For the Herald, the larger question now is the survival of the 21,000-subscriber weekly newspaper. Its Legal Board has been concerned about low circulation and rising costs for years.

Not only are people not showing up for Sunday Mass, they aren't subscribing to the Herald.

And Dolan said a comprehensive study would be made on how to better communicate with the 10-county archdiocese's more than 200,000 Catholic households.

The wide range of possibilities include greater use of the Internet and cable TV,

What about using our priests to communicate? Oh, yeah, the prayer service. I would have thought radio would be listed. There's an ostensibly Catholic station in the works. The Archbishop's brother Bob has a morning radio show locally.

and a switch to a monthly magazine.

To be called Milwaukee Catholic, most likely. Seems like publications always get renamed to something like that.

[Former Editor Ethel] Gintoft said that the Herald had a balanced budget when she left and that its circulation had been hovering around 22,000 to 23,000 for years.

Trying to increase circulation would be like evangelizing. No way we were going to see that.

"My only mandate is to try to find a way to more effectively communicate and evangelize," Brundage said.

Effectively and profitably, it appears.

"My own personal vision is that the Catholic Herald is one of the pearls of the archdiocese. It has tremendous historical significance and, as I told the staff, I see it as my task to keep (its) tradition going forward well into the future."

When someone at the Archdiocese talks like that about your organization, and is going to conduct a study regarding it, odds are they're going to be closing it before long.

Asked how much control he would exert, Brundage said, "This is the first time I've done anything like this, so it's premature to say what my role will be. I wouldn't talk in terms of riding herd or anything like that. I would consider myself to be a hands-on administrator."

Not riding herd, but hands-on? Sounds like a rodeo. Maybe there'll be a little hog-tying at the Herald.

The Prophet and Power Point

Over at the Herald, the May 1, 2003 issue now has its permanent links to articles. On the ecumenical beat, there's this article.

Islamic scholar Scott Alexander outlined key components of the Muslim myth, prophesy and tradition recently at Saint Francis Seminary. He introduced Mohammed as a mythical figure, in the way that any religious historian would bring any great individual to light.

I would have thought a religious historian would introduce Mohammed as an historical figure.

While some Muslims consider it blasphemous to portray the prophet in an image, Alexander had a slide of a young boy smiling, adding that this is what he imagined that the prophet must have looked like.

I would have thought he'd say that since some Muslims consider it blasphemous to portray the prophet in an image, and it was not essential to his presentation that he do so, he would not.

Alexander, a religious historian who earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's and doctorate degree from Columbia University, indicated that Mohammed was an "odd ball."

Maybe that can be the caption for the image.

During his Power Point presentation ...

For those of you unfamiliar with this software, here's an example.

Mr. Alexander went on.

"I contend that Quranic usage of 'islam' and 'muslim' are existential categories of Islam," Alexander said. "For example, 'Islam' means to submit to Allah God and 'Muslim' is one who submits to God. 'Are you Muslim?' is 'Do you submit to God?' in my mind."

Those are the only meanings I've ever heard for the terms Islam and Muslim, so it's hard to see why he'd need to contend for them or that they'd be only in his mind.

Humanity's great flaw has been forgetfulness, he said. "As a community grows, it will take a stone away with it to bring it with them," Alexander said. "Then they begin to worship the stones. What was originally the shrine's housing becomes the shrine of many deities."

At this point, I have to doubt the accuracy of the reporter's account of what Mr. Alexander said. Otherwise we have people going from a stone as reminder of belief in a deity to the stone being believed to be the deity itself, and numerous stones built into shrines would be the origin of polytheism. This seems to say that polytheists worshipped shrines, rather than worshipped in shrines.

He said that this is true of Judeo-Christians as well.

"Take the deification of Jesus," he said. "Muslims feel that Jesus never wanted to be deified."

I suppose that argues that the stone the builders rejected has been carved into an idol.

"There are profound things about Islam that can't be articulated in a Power Point presentation."

A better point for the introduction than the conclusion.


Megan Berres
This morning we went to my neice Megan's first communion at St. Aloysius Church in West Allis. Here she is opening gifts at the luncheon afterward.


Saturday, May 3, 2003

Bing Crosby centennial

Bing Crosby was born 100 years ago today. Last month, our local daily newspaper reviewed his career in
this article.

Crosby's success was as much technological as it was personal. Before Bing, singers either played to the balconies - think Al Jolson or Ethel Merman, belting out Broadway tunes at the top of their lungs - or resorted to a megaphone to make themselves heard.

"Bing was one of the first to master the microphone," [Steven] Lewis said.

We take it for granted now, but at the time it was a revelation. By using the microphone as a musical instrument rather than a mere amplification system, Crosby transformed singing from a shouting match to a conversation between intimates. ...

But Crosby's greater role in music technology was financial.

Crosby, who had long been frustrated with the limitations of doing a live radio show, saw the possibilities, too, and helped bankroll an inventor's efforts to perfect a viable audio tape system. By using the system developed by the fledgling Ampex Corp. to record his radio show, also helped popularize the system, revolutionizing the music and radio business.

Steven Lewis operates the
Bing Crosby Internet Museum.


Friday, May 2, 2003


The April 24, 2003 edition of our Archdiocesan newspaper tells of its web site redesign in
this article. The change took effect May 1st so you can compare the old look from the article to the new look. The article describes the changes.

In addition to the refreshed design and a consistent, easy-access approach for visitors beginning Thursday, May 1, the Web site's content will include more information. Three popular special sections -- Catholic Weddings, Mature Connection/Retirement Living, and Vocations -- which are regularly produced and distributed in print with the Catholic Herald newspaper will be carried on the site throughout the year.

The expanded site also will include a "photos of the week" page, more direct access to content archives and site search, more links to other Catholic Web sites and Internet resources, and a "send this URL to a friend" capability for the electronic version of Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan's Herald of Hope column.

In addition, the site's editorial content will be complemented by online advertising content and sponsorships.

The redesigned on-line edition still does not include the editorial, the columnists, or letters to the editor, nor is there an increase in the news content.



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