Sunday, February 23, 2003

Chinua Achebe

to the African reader the price of Conrad's eloquent denunciation of colonisation is the recycling of racist notions of the "dark" continent and her people. Those of us who are not from Africa may be prepared to pay this price, but this price is far too high for Achebe. However lofty Conrad's mission, he has, in keeping with times past and present, compromised African humanity in order to examine the European psyche. --Caryl Phillips, Out of Africa, The Guardian, February 22, 2003

On the recommended works by this author:

The allusion in the title to Yeats’s poem, “The Second Coming”--“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”--signalled Mr Achebe’s awareness that he was living at a crossroads in history, something he regards as being good for a writer and for which he has always been grateful. --The Economist, A golden jubilee, October 23, 2008

In Arrow of God, his most richly complex novel, the inability of the British to read the script and scripture of Igbo culture had disastrous consequences, not, as it turns out, for the British but for the Igbos. Before the imposition of British rule, the Igbos had no kings or forms of centralised authority enshrined in chieftaincies, a feature of Igbo polity which, as the novel is at pains to spell out, Lord Lugard’s policy of ‘indirect rule’ ignored. --Lewis Nkosi, At the Crossroads Hour, London Review of Books, November 12, 1998, review of Chinua Achebe: A Biography, by Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Saturday, February 1, 2003

February 2003

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

Topics: Local parishes take up issue of diversity. Bad things happen to people. Megadittos from Joan Didion. Archdiocesan audit results. Vienna vacation. Archdiocese planning planning. Are some parishes stuck in the '60s? Feynman on the reliability of the Shuttle.


Insert awareness into national infrastructures, Matthew 28:19

The February 13, 2003 issue carries an article from Catholic New Service in which Fr. Bryan N. Massingale, who teaches moral theology at the Archdiocesan seminary, decries common attitudes among Catholics toward racial and ethnic diversity.

Some Catholics are lukewarm because "diversity is one more thing to do, one more issue to squeeze into the agenda and into the mission statement," he said.

"They don't speak against it but have no passion for it," said Massingale.

--Catholics told to avoid negative attitudes toward racial diversity, by Agostino Bono, Catholic News Service, Catholic Herald Milwaukee, February 13, 2003 pp. 1 and 9

The very next week's issue shows how the issue is handled in practice in
this article. It explains how Catholic Charities became involved in creating the 16 member District 12 Parish Cluster Diversity Council.

Ron Spitz, Catholic Charities director of social ministry, credits pastors from the four parishes with spurring the council's creation in 2001.

"At the same time that we were developing the new vision for Catholic Charities overall, we also went to the parishes to directly ask what they needed and wanted from us," Spitz explained.
"The pastors told us of inhospitable behaviors at their parishes that were ethnic or racial in nature. They were seeing it, and wanted to do something about it."

One of the pastors explains,

"We sat down and said, 'There's racism in our parishes,' but where do you go, what do you do with it?"

At the risk of being deemed an "aggressive pragmatist," I would have suggested that the pastors go up to the offending parishioners and point out the problem and, if it's a pervasive problem, address it in homilies and the bulletin. After all, we don't want it to end up that "diversity is one more thing to do, one more issue to squeeze into the agenda and into the mission statement." What did the pastors have in mind?

"We saw an opportunity to start a group that would talk about these issues, and saw the need for leadership in a core group that would be local," said Fr. Ralph Gross, St. Margaret Mary pastor, recalling the council's origins.

"The pastors decided the parishes needed to address racism, but from a more positive stance, so we look at ways to recognize and celebrate diversity," said Fr. Chuck Schramm, St. Sebastian pastor.

Now those of us who have served on a parish council might be concerned that this will turn into a lot of committee meeting discussion with no action. How are things going after a year?

Schramm characterized the council's work to date as "carefully building quality," particularly in the council members' relationships with each other in the last year, and the council's interaction with the respective parishes. ...

"The formation work within the council itself was critical," said [Irene] LaBrie [Catholic Charities' parish social ministry supervisor], whose council work was partially funded through a Catholic Charities USA grant. "There was a lot of very personal, very individual work with the council members on their own attitudes and behaviors. My work was to facilitate that conversation among the council people first, before we could move on to talk about the tough stuff at the parishes, things like why we as a parish aren't welcoming to African Americans, or to Hispanics, or to Asians, and what we can do about those issues."

The times being what they are, you might have been wondering where the money you donated to Catholic Charities USA went. Now you know some went to facilitate committee conversations, probably in a rather abstract jargon like this.

And council members are working directly with parish staffs and leadership teams to "insert awareness and an appreciation for diversity into the infrastructure, the culture and the ministries of the parish," according to LaBrie.

She goes on, somewhat more comprehensibly, to lay out the program's goals.

"In five years I'd like to see visible change, in that parishioners with ethnic and cultural diversity have stepped up their involvement and truly become part of the parish community, including in leadership roles," said LaBrie.

So some pastors saw a problem. A committee was formed and grant money funded the facilitation of its deliberations. Awareness is to be inserted into the parish infrastructure. And, who knows, in five years there might be visible progress. In other words, "diversity is one more thing to do, one more issue to squeeze into the agenda and into the mission statement."

Fifty years ago today, Watson and Crick first said they believed they had discovered the structure of the DNA molecule.


Thursday, February 27, 2003

Monkey love in Madison.


Wednesday, February 26, 2003


Not to mention the Lisbon earthquake

Jesus mentions another tragedy: the collapse of the tower of Siloam on 18 people [Luke 13:4]. What did the victims do to deserve that? After September 11, 2001, most people did not pose the question ...

But George Rutler does.


Tuesday, February 25, 2003


The dearth of irony

The March 13, 2003 issue of The New York Review of Books contains an essay
On "Fixed Ideas" Since September 11 by Frank Rich. As you will see if you follow the link, the complete article is not available for free. The "fixed ideas" reference recalls an essay
Fixed Opinions, or The Hinge of History, by Joan Didion. She there recounts an interview the subject of which asserts that most of the country is in the grip of these fixed ideas about how to deal with terrorism. Ms. Didion's reaction?

I was struck by this, since it so coincided with my own impression.

To coin a phrase.


Monday, February 24, 2003

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee publishes a newsletter To Live Is Christ. The January 2003 issue, Volume II, Issue 1, includes the promised audited financial statement, pp. 5-9. This is followed by Questions and Answers, including

Q. Why is the financial report not comparative to the previous year?

A. With the unexpected change in our auditing firm, the new firm (Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP) was not able to obtain the prior year records and work papers from the previous auditing firm (Arthur Andersen, LLP) in order to present an opinion on the prior year results in a cost-effective manner. Copies of past auditors' reports are on file and have always been available to the public.

--pp. 11-12

At the risk of being deemed an "aggressive pragmatist,"
I'd like to see them on file on the Archdiocese's web site.

The issue also has "A Look Back" which contains this measure of shrinkage over fiscal 2001.

Sacramental Life
Infant Baptism 8,768
Youth Confirmation 5,106

--p. 4


Sunday, February 23, 2003

Policy wonks could spend Sunday morning in front of a different screen at
In the National Interest.

At Mass today, there was a recorded message from Archbishop Dolan for the Catholic Stewardship Appeal. He started out a bit apologetic because it was his first such message to all the Catholics in the Archdiocese and it was about money.
At the risk of being deemed an "aggressive pragmatist,"
it seems to me that the first person who realized this could have suggested that the Archbishop send out a message on some other topic, and schedule the appeal message a few weeks later.
As it is, there's the danger that it reinforses the perception that nothing gets the institutional Church to everyone's door or mailbox except a fund drive.


Saturday, February 22, 2003

There's poetry, of a kind, at
UBU web.


Friday, February 21, 2003

Here's an animation of
Langton's Ant: a cellular automaton, by Anna Claudia Nardella.


Thursday, February 20, 2003

Even if you don't enroll, the Courses for Self-Study at the
International Catholic University make intereting reading.


Wednesday, February 19, 2003


The Ghost of Hitler, ghosts on the payroll

In 1999 elections, the Freedom Party won notoriety and 27% of the vote, by denouncing the presence of foreigners in Austria. Echoing Nazi rhetoric, the party blames foreigners for drugs, crime, welfare abuse, and the spread of tuberculosis. The party remains racist and Nazi-admiring in spite of the resignation of its leader, Jorg Haider, its most controversial member.

--Frommer's Vienna and the Danube Valley (3rd Ed. 2001), by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince, p. 207

...the benefits of the political stability produced by the long-term coalition of [the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPO)] "Reds" and [the Austrian People's Party (OVP - Conservatives)] "Blacks" led to (non-existent) jobs for the boys, multiple salaries and much else the then leader of the [Freedom Party of Austria (FPO)] Blues, Jorg Haider, hastened to bring to the attention of the Austrian voters.

--The Xenophobe's Guide to the Austrians (rev'd ed. 2002), by Louis James, p. 43


Tuesday, February 18, 2003


Up at 4:30 a.m. to be ready for a 5:15 a.m. taxi. When we get to the lobby, my wife says "The taxi's waitin', he's blowin' his horn." It's going to be a long day.

Vienna airport isn't enormous, but it does have a little Harrod's for your shopping enjoyment. Then it's on the bus to the plane, again no waving at the top of the stairs, and we're off to another giant chocolate coin and land in Zurich.

The plane back is even less full than the flight over. Seating in coach is 2-4-2, and some folks lie down in a center row of four seats. When I said it's going to be a long day, I mean literally. Flying with the sun, we're in the air nine hours but by the clock land only two hours after leaving. It's like a thirty-one hour day. I almost didn't bring enough to read. Just before landing, we're given our last giant chocolate coin, and we land in Chicago.


Monday, February 17, 2003


Breakfast: diced wurst, etc.

The Habsburgs spent the summer at
Schonbrunn Palace. We took the shortest and least expensive tour, the "Imperial Tour." Life in the imperial family had its highs and lows. You'd be the audience for the debut of that musical prodigy from Salzburg, six year old Wolfgang Mozart. And you marry off one of the girls to the heir to the throne of France in the hope that this would lessen the strains in the relationship of the two nations, only to later lose her to the guillotine. And there was the constant pressure to either add territory to the empire or be building a palace.

Back in the Inner City we stop at a Starbucks, hoping for a cup of just plain coffee. But even the special of the day was pretty strong by our standards.

Back at the hotel, we check the guidebooks for a nearby restaurant and walk to Feuervogel. It's just around the corner and across the street from the Luxemburg Palace. Feuervogel serves Russian cuisine from a menu in German. We ask the waiter for a suggestion and he suggests the sampler. Very good but the most expensive thing on the menu and it takes us hours to finish. For dessert, shots of vodka.


Sunday, February 16, 2003


Breakfast: diced wurst, etc.

Then it's off the the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle [Hofburg Palace Chapel] for Mass with the
Vienna Boys Choir. In season, you might have to write for tickets for seats or wait in line for a small block that goes on sale on the Friday before. Here in the off-season, we walked in on Friday and got tickets. The ticket seller cautions you that the Choir is in the choir loft so you will hear them, not see them. And so it was. The chapel is not large, seating maybe a couple hundred. Two priests were vested, while fifteen other priests or deacons or seminarians or acolytes assisted. The chapel has no altar table and the presiding priest said much of it facing the altar or the group of most of the fifteen who were to one side of the altar. The Choir sang the Mass in G Major by Johann A. Hasse. While we didn't sing along, we did chant the Pater Noster, so we can say we sang at Mass with the Vienna Boys Choir. After Mass, the Choir and its director come down to the Sanctuary and do an encore to about a thousand camera flashes.

Next is this vacation's day trip. We return to our hotel, which happens to be across from the Franz-Joseph Bahnhof [Franz Joseph Railroad Station] but we cannot figure out the timetable. So we take the subway and change to a bus at a station across from Karl Marx Hof [Karl Marx Block], which looks like a series of Moscow apartment blocks painted peach. We transfer to the bus to
Klosterneuburg Abbey. The abbey tour included the 12th Century enameled altar of Nikolaus of Verdun. It might be the finest piece of medieval enamel work, and one of its panels contains what might be the earliest example of the use of perspective. After the Habsburgs lost their Spanish possessions, an emperor fancied building a summer palace adjoining the abbey, along the lines of the Escorial. The work was about one-fourth done when he died, his successor preferred to summer at Schonbrunn Palace, then on the southern outskirts of Vienna, and the palace here can still be seen in this incomplete state. Napoleon did spend a few minutes in a room of the royal apartments while marching through Austria. After the tour, we head for the Stiftskaffe [Coffee Shop] and gift shop. It was cold and damp in the abbey and I thought I just wanted a black coffee. Somehow the waitress persuades me, in German, to order a Maria Theresa (coffee with orange liqueur, whipped cream, and colored sprinkles) and a wedge of Sacher Torte (a chocolate layer torte) with more whipped cream. The canons of the abbey serve as pastors in parishes around Vienna. They finance the ongoing restoration and preservation of the abbey and pay one-third the cost of the restoration work on their parish churches from the sale of wines they produce here. So we bought a few sample bottles to take home.

Back at the hotel, there's only one English-language channel, Euro MSNBC, and so we watch Meet the Press, followed by infomercials for the Laser Trainer and the Controller by Key-TV. The ad for the Controller includes seeing it used in breaking the world distance record for a fairway shot ("Over 335 yards!") and a brief endorsement by Dan Quayle.

Key-TV also offers CD's, the kind not sold in any store. Once again, a quote from Homer is apt. When Lisa notes that his barbershop quartet beat Dexy's Midnight Runners for a Grammy, he says "We haven't heard the last of them." He was right; one of the compilation CD's has a track by them and it isn't "Come on Eileen."


Saturday, February 15, 2003


Breakfast: diced wurst, etc.

First stop today is
Gemaldegalerien, with its collection of 16th, 17th and 18th Century art. Featured is the Last Judgment triptych by Hieronomus Bosch. Facing it was a very large computer monitor showing an enlared version of the painting. Viewers can scroll vertically and horizontally to see the painting in closer detail and click on certain points in the display to get explanations and dramatizations.

Later we visit Mozart's "Figaro House," one of several places he lived in Vienna. It's a large upstairs apartment on a narrow street a short distance behind the cathedral, and takes the name from his composing "The Marriage of Figaro" while living there. With the wood floors sometimes slanting a bit, the high ceilings, the painted woodwork, it reminded me of a big old off-campus apartment built before the Depression.

Mozart sometimes dined at
Griechenbeisl, as did Beethoven and Mark Twain. If he had come through town, Columbus could have eaten there since it opened before he was born. This might be my only chance to order wienerschnitzel in Vienna, so I did. As my wife warned me, wienerschnitzel is breaded veal cutlet. In Vienna, the larger the better. This one was about the size of a 78 rpm record. (My second choice would have been the wild boar ragout.) How do the Wieners [Viennese] dress for dinner? Some wore blue jeans and sweaters, but one gentleman at the next table was wearing a tuxedo. About half the male patrons indulged in an after dinner cigar. As to the decor, I'd put it somewhere between Karl Raztsch's and Mader's, with the former's dark wood and leaded glass window, and the latter's wall slogans, e.g.,

Better a young old

Than an old young

[my translation].


Friday, February 14, 2003


Breakfast: diced wurst, etc.

Back to the shopping district, and its streets for pedestrians only radiating through the southwest part of the central city. We stop for lunch at a Nordsee seafood restaurant. Nordsee fills the seafood niche between Arthur Treacher's Fish 'n Chips and Red Lobster.

Then it's off to Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere to see the Klimt exhibition in the upper Belvedere. The Belvedere was a pair of palaces just outside the central city, now serving as art galleries. The Klimt exhibit featured his landscapes, but the information desk assured us that we could also see "his women."

On the way back, we pass Schwarzenbergplatz, formerly Hitlerplatz, site of the Russian War Memorial, erected during the Soviet occupation of Vienna. Sore losers among the Viennese are said to refer the grave of an anonymous Red Army soldier as "The Tomb of the Unknown Plunderer."


Thursday, February 13, 2003


The hotel includes a continental breakfast: diced wurst, scrambled eggs, more diced wurst, fruit cocktail, yogurt, corn flakes, muesli, schtitzel (ph) [a sweet bread], cake, sliced cheese, sliced wurst, kaiser rolls, juice, and strong coffee.

We explore the neighborhood a bit. I notice the chain stores have names from the Ikea catalog, like BIPA and BILLA and SPAR. At the entrance to our subway stop is a stand selling sandwiches and beverages, including brotwurst [bratwurst] and bier [beer].

(Brats and beer sounds like Wisconsin. The guide books talk about how the Austrians seek gemutlichkeit [coziness]. Now, that term gets thrown about quite a bit in describing Milwaukee. If Milwaukee had been the capital of an empire for a few centuries, it probably would be a lot more like Vienna.)

Walking around the central city, we see a chain of souvenir stores called (brace yourself) Mostly Mozart. There are McDonald's restaurants, but many more places serving what look like variations of wienerschnitzel on a bun. Near the center of the old city is Domkirche St. Stephen [St. Stephen Cathedral]. We take the spiral staircase up the south tower, 343 steps, 220 feet, to a gift shop. And some good views of Vienna, including the Wienerwald [Vienna Woods] to the northwest.

Crossing the Burgring [part of the ring road around central Vienna] to the Kunsthistorisches Museum [Museum of Fine Art], I and a tourist from New Hampshire get caught up trying to figure out what a young man, apparently deaf, wants. From his written itinerary and his holding his hand out it appears he needs some money because he doesn't have enough for his train to Slovenia. Since it's a good story and maybe true, and I haven't shaken the illusion that Euros are like Monopoly money, I give him enough in coins to pay his fare.

Austria is now on the Euro, the common European currency. As of our trip, a Euro was worth slightly more than a dollar. The only reason I have to think that won't last is that the small coins say they are whatever number of "Euro Cents" which sounds like a distiction from the real cents we have in the U.S.A.

Among the paintings in the museum is The Miracle of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He stands on the height, arms outstretched, while in the foreground figures writhe in agony. I assume this has something to do with telling the parents about next year's tuition.

Back to the hotel to change, then to the Staatsoper [State Opera].


by Francesco Maria Piave,
music by Giuseppe Verdi,
Wiener Staatsoper.


Wednesday, February 12, 2003


Slept relatively well, in this context meaning dozed off a half dozen times. Breakfast: yogurt, granola (or is it muesli?), banana, juice, coffee. Strong coffee. Each passenger is offered a piece of Swiss chocolate, in this case giant silver-foil wrapped chocolate coins.

Disembarked at Zurich, went through another metal detector and our carry-on bags were X-rayed, and then went to the "Warthalle" or waiting area. While Europe might be divided on Iraq, it apparently is unanimous in finding no imminent threat from second-hand smoke, which filled said Warthalle. On one end was a bank branch office with an ad in airportese

Keep cool

mit anlagefunds von

SwissQuote Bank

To get to our connecting flight, we're taken by bus to the plane which is parked out on the tarmac. To enter, we climb a roll-up staircase, although we refrain from turning around and waving at the top. Lunch on the hop to Vienna was a ham or cheese sandwich in a long crisp roll. So good it makes me wonder why airlines don't give up on serving hot meals in coach. More strong coffee, another complimentary chocolate, and we land in Vienna.

We go through a passport check. Somehow they don't need an equivalent to the two forms you have to fill out on arriving in the U.S.

We puzzle through the automated ticket process and board the Schnellbahn [express train] to town. Trains keep to the left, British-style, while on the roads vehicles keep to the right. Along the way we pass the Zentralfriedhof [Central Cemetery], site of Harry Lime's two funerals in The Third Man. In a rail yard, there was quite a collection of antique rolling stock, a couple of steam engines, and an old switcher. They looked fit for either a junkyard a rail museum. Perhaps this decision was being indefinitely deferred, which some say is an Austrian trait.

We circle the station looking for the taxi stand which is nearby, per our maps. The fault is not in our maps but in ourselves, and, passing a few stands selling wienerschnitzel on a bun, we reach the cab line. Our cab is a Mercedes-Benz sedan; our driver is a woman in, I'll say, her late thirties, hair styled, wearing a pinstriped blazer, black leather slacks, and dress flats.

We reach our hotel, in a district north of central Vienna. The senior desk clerk gives us a thorough briefing on the main sites and how to get there from the hotel. He also says the grocery in the building across the street is open late, which in Vienna means 7:30 p.m. We wait at the lift [elevator] for the door to open. It opens when we pull it open.

We go to buy a transit pass, then stop at the grocery, and I buy some of the real Budweiser.


Tuesday, February 11, 2003


The Travel section of the Sunday paper once had a little article on the back page about off-season travel bargains available
on-line. Leaving out some intermediate steps, that's why we're at O'Hare this afternoon.

Our tickets say we're flying on "Swiss". That's not Swissair, which is bankrupt. Our tickets were for
Swiss International, which appears to have taken up at least some of Swissair's routes, planes and people.

We left the car in remote parking, or, as the recorded message on the tram to the terminal calls it, "re'-mote parking."
Security was stepped up since we last traveled by air, including security guards on the tram to the terminal, X-raying and swabbing (for explosive residue?) of our checked bags, and having me take off my shoes before walking through the metal detector to enter the gate area.

We were flying via Zurich to Vienna. As a final preparation, for lunch in the terminal food court we had Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dogs.

We boarded the plane, an
Airbus A300.
Inside and out, an Airbus is pretty much like a Boeing. The difference might be more in the Airbus philosophy. Man thought he yearned to fly like a bird but Airbus concluded he really just wants to ride a bus.

Every passenger is given a half liter of bottled water, a nice touch.
Once we reached cruising altitude, dinner was served. Entree: breaded chicken patties.
Swiss red wine isn't bad, or else I convinced myself it was while trying to convince myself I was sleepy at what my biological clock thought was 6:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.


Sunday, February 9, 2003


Surely the bishops have issued a document on this

One other reason for the success of non-traditional Protestant churches, especially in Latin America, is the social benefits they bring. James Grenfell, an Anglican curate who studied these churches in Guatemala, noticed that women were especially attracted to their emphasis on thrift, punctuality and honesty, and to their hostility to domestic violence, gambling and booze. Get the husband to come along, and before you know it, the whole family has enough to eat. On one guess, he reports, 400 Latin Americans an hour leave the Catholic church to become Protestants.

["The Fight for God," The Economist, December 21st 2002-January 3rd 2003, p. 36]


St. Dilbert's

At his installation, Archbishop Dolan said that, so far, the only plan he had for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was like that of Francis of Assisi for his proposed order of friars,

... he simply pointed to the Gospels and said, "This is my plan."

That approach must have been determined to be too good to be true, judging by this

Bishop Richard J. Sklba, ... is leading a new archdiocesan-wide study planning effort to help assess pastoral and institutional resources in light of recent and continuing population and demographic shifts across the 10 counties.

... the team will study U.S. census, status animarum (annual parish reports), and other available demographic data, and gauge the data's implications for priest and deacon assignments, for pastoral and ministry resources, and for other issues, such as the need to establish new parish and school communities, Sklba said.



Prologue to Green Eggs and Ham

Dusty: Now Sam's a gentleman through and through.

Doris: I like Sam.

Dusty: I like Sam.

Yes and Sam's a nice boy too.

He's a funny fellow.

Doris: He is a funny fellow.

He's like a fellow once I knew.

He could make you laugh.

Dusty: Sam can make you laugh.

Sam's all right.

[from Fragment of a Prologue, by T. S. Eliot,
from The Complete Poems and Plays (1952)]


Thursday, February 6, 2003

The most recent issue of The Jibsheet, newsletter of the
Milwaukee Community Sailing Center reports that longtime member Jan Lawrence is spending January through March volunteering her skills as a physical therapist at an orphanage in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. She wrote that

...there is a lake about an hour away that has sailing so maybe on my weekends off...

No indication she was able to get to sail one of the local lakes.

~ ~ ~ (\_ ~ (\_ ~ (\_~ ~ ~


Heard Stephen Moore, a Senior Fellow at
The Cato Institute
and President of
The Club for Growth
speak to the
Wisconsin Forum on "Government: America's Number One Growth Industry."


Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Here are a few selections from the
Journal of Irreproducible Results.


Tuesday, February 4, 2003

How to Make Your Own UFO.


Sunday, February 2, 2003


Often someone will say that a certain priest or lay minister or, more commonly, a parish itself is still "stuck in the '60s." What does that mean?

Some people and some parishes immediately following Vatican Council II seemed way out ahead of the pack in the implementation of that council. They may even have wanted to give the impression that they were the true implementation of the council and that others would eventually catch up with them.

But now they seem fossilized, frozen in the '60s. The church has simply not moved in the directions they thought it would: it took a different turn. Now, instead of being avant-garde, these parishes of the '60s appear just out of step and ideosyncratic.


The innovations made in the '60s and '70s in such parishes were brought about with goodwill, in an attempt to make the liturgy more "meaningful," more understandable.

Those innovations were usually suggested at national workshops by some renowned liturgists, creatively trying to find possible solutions to some of the new liturgical demands.

These ideas were picked up and experimented with, but not examined carefully in subsequent years to see if they were effective. In most cases, with time, they were seen as impractical and thus did not catch on. Some parishes still hold on to them with an unbending rigor that is just as harmful as some pre-Vatican II stances.

--Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B. [from "Stuck in the '60s," Herald of Hope column, Catholic Herald, Milwaukee, October 24, 1996]


Last night we saw Viva La Mamma,
music and libretto by Gaetano Donizetti,
translated by Michael Feingold,
performed by the Skylight Opera Theatre Company,
in the Cabot Theatre of the Broadway Theatre Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This morning's newspaper has this review.


Saturday, February 1, 2003

Test pilots

In his Personal observations on the reliability of the Shuttle, Richard Feynman discussed the calculation of the chance of catastrophic failure of a Shuttle, considering various major components. For example,

An estimate of the reliability of solid rockets was made by the range safety officer, by studying the experience of all previous rocket flights. Out of a total of nearly 2,900 flights, 121 failed (1 in 25). This includes, however, what may be called, early errors, rockets flown for the first few times in which design errors are discovered and fixed. A more reasonable figure for the mature rockets might be 1 in 50.

Today's Washington Post on-line

All told, the shuttle fleet logged 1,015 days, 14 hours, and 15 minutes of flight time in the 112 flights going into Columbia's mission.

Which is a loss of 2 in 113, pretty close to 1 in 50.


The crew of Columbia

Bless now our wings as on through space we wend.

Bless us who to Thy care our souls commend

Oh hear our prayer.

[From the Airmen's Prayer.]

Among the crew was Laurel Clark, a native of Racine, Wisconsin.