Archive for April, 2012

A Little Princess

I cannot believe how fast the little (or not so little) nephews and nieces are!  From Shelby who turned 17 in March to the tiniest Kydall who is 6 months, it doesn’t seem possible that one of them is driving.  Shelby still has not gotten her permit but I know some adults who have never had a license. Last Sunday, 8 year old Alyssa made her First Communion.  It has been a long haul this school year with all the prayers she has had to learn and devise the meaning of.  Then came her First Penance (I still think I made my First Communion before going to confession for the first time). And finally, the “Big” day.

As in year’s past, there was a special mass for the 14 communicants.  For his homily, Father Art walked down the aisle and asked the children questions about their special day and the journey they had been on.  He made an analogy to every person and and an old toy (that he insists is worth millions… check your toy boxes) called Mr. Machine.  We are so much more than a mechanical robot programmed by a human creator… sounds like a lesson learned during more than a few hours of a certain sci-fi television series and at least the first movie (ZZZZ to that movie).

Following the distribution of communion, the second graders stood front and center and sang while they signed a song.  Not the same song I learned years ago.  Later in the day, the family tried to figure out how long the current second grade teacher has been at the Catholic school.  Just a few years as she has led the classes of my 3 siblings and I (and this year marks my 20th High School Reunion).

After the ceremony, the family gathered at the banquet room of the local restaurant to eat and to celebrate Alyssa’s special day,

On a sad note, Father Art will be leaving our church in July after only a year.  I had heard that he is not in the best of health and the burden of leading a number of services each weekend between two churches along with his other duties has taken its toll.  May God be with Father Art wherever He leads him and his magical sax.

So Long

It was never goodbye.  It seems that whenever Dick Clark signed off for any of his broadcasts, it would be with his traditional salute and his familiar “This is Dick Clark… so long.”  Whether it be the myriad incarnations of the original Pyramid game show,  “Bloopers and Practical Jokes” (along side another icon, Ed McMahon), his 30+ years of hosting his own Rockin’ New Year’s Eve show, the “oldest living teenager” seemed to have his hand in every aspect of every show he was associated with.  I was not around to really enjoy the heyday of American Bandstand; however, popular music owes the show and the man most associated with it a huge debt.  Bandstand not only brought rock’n’roll to teenage homes on Saturdays but also broke the color barrier by showcasing acts like Chubby Checker, Sam Cooke, the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, amongst others.

Today, Mr. Clark bid his final adieu after suffering a massive heart attack at the age of 82.  I’m not sure which I remember him more from.  Every New Years for as long as I can remember, the TV was tuned to ABC from 11:35PM onward to witness whatever elements were being thrown on Times Square to ring in the New Year.  Until the last few years (after he suffered a stroke), Clark was in the thick of rain, snow, sleet, or 60°+ degree weather counting down the minutes until the ball would drop from atop Number One Times Square to ring out the old and bring in the new.

From time to time, I catch reruns of the many Pyramid shows on GSN.  Others have attempted to recapture the success of the original but have failed for whatever reason.

WHile I was not alive in the 50 and 60s, I do remember seeing some of the hit artists of the 80s on Bandstand.  From Michael to Janet to (I’m almost embarrassed to say) Prince, and Madonna AB was a staple after cartoons ended.

HOWEVER… I have been trying to recollect if Mr. Clark had  one of those famous “poke their head out the window” cameos on Batman visitng Gotham City from his home Philadelphia way.  SURE ENOUGH!

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Rest in Peace, Mr. Clark.  May you ring in the New Year for eternity.

Rowling Along

Yesterday, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling announced the title and brief synopsis of her first foray into more adult fiction. The Casual Vacancy
will be a darkly comic novel set in the seemingly idyllic British town of Pagford in which everything is not as idyllic as it seems.  It opens with the sudden death of a popular man whose unexpected demise shocks the town. The battle for his seat on the local council sets off “the biggest war the town has yet seen,” with rich people fighting poor, parents battling their teenagers, and wives in conflict with their husbands.

Given the juggernaut success that is the Harry Potter brand, I believe the world will be moderately interested to see if magic can strike again with a tale aimed at a more grown-up demographic. We have until September 27 to find out.  Since the Potter books were accepted by a large amount of adult readers as well as the target adolescent audience, I think the book will have a moderate amount of success.

Speaking of Mr. Potter, once again Warner Bros. is going for the jugular when it releases the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection (Blu-ray / DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy) this fall.

If you have the $400.00 to throw around you can perhaps be mesmerized by the 31 disc set full of the obligatory bells and whistles contained in an attractive display box.  I suppose that if true collectors are willing to pony up the money, then whoever is behind these merchandising schemes will continue.

Easter Gala

What a way to celebrate the blessings of the suffering and resurrection of our Savior!  The three day cycle is truly the most powerful, and beautiful time of the liturgical year.  This year seemed even more somber as my hometown community lost a true friend during the week.  I was truly shocked when I read the post from Wayne’s nephew on Wednesday.  Once again, the funeral parlor that is a block away from our house was full to bursting on Good Friday.

Friday evening, I made the trip to Wally World with some family and finished birthday shopping for the notoriously difficult to shop for 16 year old (tomorrow) Godson.  With some help from my happened upon ol’ chum, I was able to come up with something hopefully suitable.  Although, I think Elizabeth might get more use out of the 3D attachment for the iPhone 😉  I’m sure that the techno-saavy Joshua will find some pleasure from it.

Saturday night at our sister parish, Mare joined in the Catholic faith. Although I would have been honored to accept her invitation to join in the celebration, I had to work a 12-9 shift.  CONGRATULATIONS Mary!

Which brings me to the merriment of Easter Day.  Although each week’s mass is special, there is something awesome and amazing about emerging from the 40 day journey of Lent.  Hopefully on Easter Day, we can all look at ourselves and project a different “reflection” than when we started.  One in which we are closer to our creator and yet knowing that at times we will inevitably fall short.  After all, we are only human.  Father Art with his unique brand of humor drove the reflection point home by use of a full-length mirror.  He constantly pronounced his dislike of said mirrors in every facet of life from fun houses to just looking into ordinary ones.  Is it just me or is he part vampire? Or perhaps more likely, it was because the mirror he had was taller than himself.

This afternoon, the family gathered at the local restaurant for Easter buffet.  One of the major Earth-shatterning topics was the brilliance of the latest installment in the American Pie movie series.  I guess the cast has matured and gathered to celebrate a class reunion.  Aptly entitle American Reunion, it sounds like a wait 3 months to rent flick to me.

Finally this evening, the family plus some of our extended members gathered at Jeff’s for Shelby and Joshua’s birthday celebration.  And more creamed chicken sandwiches 😀 Honestly, I don’t think I will ever let anyone forget the merriment of the wedding reception a few years ago.  Before the evening was complete, the topic and television turned to golf.  Like auto racing, this sport brings tears to my eyes.  I take more pleasure in picking out the most original sounding name and rooting him on to victory.  And did I pick a dandy!  Unfortunately, poor Louis Oosthuizen lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff round.  Seriously, Oosthuizen sounds like a close personal friend of  the Swedish Chef.  However,  I was assured that the golfer is African.

Speaking of the Swedish Chef, I presented the new Muppet movie to my 17 year old niece.  Shelby visited last week during Spring Break and asked if we could watch my copy and I decided that I would buy her own DVD copy of the fabulous Oscar-winning movie.  “Man or Muppet” was a nice redemption for the horrendous loss of the nominated “Rainbow Connection” back in 1980 (I think that is the correct year).

I hope that you all were able to enjoy the love, beauty, and majesty of the Easter mystery!