Thursday, January 30, 2014

Not so heartwarming, actually

 The sneakers resembled these

Today at Mass, on the communion line alongside the one I was standing on, I saw a boy of about twelve in brand new fancy sneakers, followed by his parents.  I figured they were in the city for pre-Super Bowl festivities, and I was thinking how nice it was that they had made time to attend Mass, when I overheard the mother whisper to her son, "let's get it and go."  And sure enough, they did.

Even the Pope has noticed

Knute Rockne (1888 AD - 1931 AD)
105-12-5 as Notre Dame Football Head Coach
Winner of 3 National Football Championships
More importantly, converted to Catholicism due to the good example of ND football players

That Notre Dame is defaulting on its Catholic obligations.  And he's not talking about the 26 years since their last football title.

Of course, this has been going on since 1967, but kudos to Pope Francis for calling Notre Dame out.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Count your blessings

Not heading for you, unless you live in the UK

Sure, it's been cold and snowy, but at least you don't have to deal with a ghost ship full of cannibal rats heading right for you

UPDATE:  Irish coast guard fairly certain the Cannibal Rat Ghost Ship has sunk.   But they didn't say positively.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In the place now known as Levittown

Members & guests of Hicksville Aviation Country Club watch 
a Luscombe monoplane fly at air demonstration, ca 1939.

There used to be a swanky airfield called the "Hicksville Aviation Country Club."  Lindbergh was a member, as were other aviation pioneers such as Chance Vought and Roy Grumman, as well as a smattering of Vanderbilts and Astors.   The club had a big hangar, a clubhouse, and even a built in pool.  After World War II, Levitt offered $2200 an acre, and the Hicksville Aviation Country Club sold.  The houses of Levittown stand on top of the old airfield.

The Vanderbilts and Astors have not been seen in the vicinity since.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Typical Hollywood Story

Betty Hutton as Annie Oakley

I watched a few minutes of "Annie Get Your Gun" on TCM this morning.   It's a big MGM musical, but the role of Annie Oakley is played by Betty Hutton, not a typical MGM musical star.   The reason Hutton got the part was because Judy Garland, who was originally cast as Annie,  hated the director, Busby Berkeley, who she knew as a hard taskmaster from her days doing the Andy Hardy musicals with Mickey Rooney.   She tried to get Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM, to fire Berkeley, and when Mayer wouldn't, Garland stopped coming to work on time, and frequently didn't show up at all.   So Mayer fired Garland, replacing her with Betty Hutton.  Through the whole course of making the movie, the rest of the cast refused to speak to Hutton, even though she had nothing to do with getting Garland fired.  The only exception was Louis Calhern, who played Buffalo Bill.  Calhern was himself a last minute replacement for Frank Morgan, the Wizard from the "Wizard of Oz," who'd suffered a heart attack and died shortly after filming started.  Busby Berkeley was eventually fired, too, but the movie was a big hit for MGM.  It was also Hutton's greatest success.

Betty Hutton's career petered out within a few years.  After leaving movies, Hutton tried tv and Las Vegas but found mainly failure.   Broke, battling drug addiction, her fourth marriage having just ended in divorce, Hutton suffered a nervous breakdown.

After rehab, Hutton converted to Catholicism, and found a job as a cook in a rectory in Rhode Island.   She held this position for several years, and despite having only a ninth grade education, entered college, eventually earning a master's degree in psychology from Salve Regina University in Newport.  While at Salve Regina, despite the great difference in their ages, Hutton became best friends with Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses.   Estranged from her own daughters, Hutton sort of adopted Hersh, taking great interest in Hersh's singing career, and telling Hersh she was "gonna be the new me."

Hutton died in 2007, having worked her way back to the fringes of show business, but, alas, still estranged from her daughters.   Shortly afterwards, Kristin Hersh posted this lovely account of her friendship with Hutton.

I'll be thinking of Betty Hutton when I recite Salve Regina this evening.  We all have our share of "mourning and weeping," but Betty Hutton perhaps had more than most.

RELATED:  On a tour of Europe in 1892, Annie Oakley is said to have shot the ash from a cigarette held by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.  After World War I broke out, Oakley wrote to the Kaiser, requesting a second shot.   The Kaiser never replied.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

World Poverty Ending; Cultural Elites Hardest Hit

Standard MSM posture regarding facts it doesn't like

1.8 billion fewer people living in poverty: that's the result of world poverty being reduced 80% since 1970.   To me, this sounds like news.  Instead, it's practically top secret information.   The MSM's non-interest is easily understandable, though, since this remarkable success in poverty reduction was not accomplished by government mandated income equality, or by increasing taxes on the rich, or even by charitable giving.   Nor did the mandarins who believe themselves well-suited by education and ability to be in charge of things like ending world poverty have anything to do with it.  Instead, this dramatic reduction in world poverty is entirely due to the efforts of free people working under the protection of the rule of law.     The short name for this remarkable method for reducing poverty is "free enterprise", and as a means for increasing wealth free enterprise has no rival.   Free enterprise has many auxiliary benefits, too, such as the promotion of democracy and other human rights.  To the MSM, though, free enterprise is a villain rather than a hero, so all of this is exactly contrary to the MSM narrative for how poverty ought to be reduced.   And the MSM ain't got time for facts that don't fit the narrative.

Do you suppose Pope Francis has heard anything about this?

RELATED:  The more he explains, the worse it gets:  Cardinal Reinhard Marx distinguishes "capitalism" (which is bad) from "market economy" (which is not as bad.)   Cardinal Marx hints that the criticisms outlined in Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium were aimed at capitalism, not market economy.   The problem is that capitalism, as defined by his eminence, doesn't exist, and, if it did, would have few, if any, defenders.  Not sure if his eminence is telling us we may safely ignore Evangelii Gaudium, or if he just doesn't understand the strawman fallacy.   Luckily for the world's poor, the economic precepts of Cardinal Reinhard Marx are not binding upon anyone.