December 5, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 11.26.11

Are you just waking up from your turkey coma? Or are you just coming off of your shopping high? Then get ready to be brought back to life, real life (at least really funny life) with our post-Thanksgiving version of Saturday Ramblings.

By the way, Mr. Bones has the week off to visit his favorite dumpster for a Thanksgiving treat. In his place the agency sent over King Kat to pose for our Saturday Ramblings picture. Are you going to laugh at this cat? I’m not going to …

Oh my, but that Pat Robertson is funny. What a kidder. Now he wants to know if “mac and cheese” is a “black thing.” What’s next? Will he want to know if Dave’s Hot and Juicy burgers at Wendy’s are Asian things? If chicken wings are an Eskimo thing? You know, some of the funniest TV is not meant to be funny, which just makes it all the more funny.

And Father James Martin says we can’t make it through the holidays with our sanity intact if we don’t laugh. iMonks, let’s not take this time of year—or ourselves—too seriously, ok? It’s all right to laugh. It’s all right to watch Christmas Vacation and roar instead of watching Christmas Shoes and cry. Just sayin’…

Wow. This looks like a book I will be reading soon. Tullian Tchividjian is a friend of iMonk, among many other things. Give this a good look. If any have read it, what do you think?

The Vatican has set up a “liturgical art and sacred music commission” to help promote ascetic church buildings and music that will help the celebration of the mass. Personally, I haven’t seen too many ugly Catholic churches in my day. But then that was back when the Crystal Cathedral was still a place of Protestant worship. I’m sure Martha can weigh in on this with additional insight.

This last Tuesday was the 48th anniversary of the passing of C.S. Lewis. (Yes, I know the other two well-knowns who died on that same day.) So, did you read any Lewis this week?

“No one” is the most influential Christian leader in America these days, according to a recent Barna survey. Of those named, Billy Graham was top on the list with 19%. But an overwhelming 41% answered “no one” when asked to name the most influential Christian in America today. Is it just me, or do you see this as a sign of progress?

A factory worker in Georgia found that the number “666” really is dangerous. The worker refused to wear a sticker showing the number of accident-free days in his factory that fell between 665 and 667. He said wearing that would mark him a follower of the beast and condemn him to hell. Meanwhile, his employer thought his beliefs ridiculous and condemned him to the unemployment line. Oh my … seems our molehills-into-mountains industry is in prime form.

Happy birthdays this week go out to Dick Cavett; Larry King; Ted Turner; Calvin Klein; Jodie Foster; Robert F. Kennedy; Richard Dawson; Dick Smothers; Duane Allman (the third-best guitarist of all time); Joe Walsh; Harpo Marx; Goldie Hawn; Bjork (I would try to spell her last name, but I don’t think I have enough keys on my keyboard); Ken Griffey Jr.; Terry Gilliam; Joe Dimaggio; and Amy Grant.

Dicky Betts is an incredible guitar player by anyone’s standards. But in the Allman Brothers’ Band, he was second fiddle (pun intended) to Duane Allman. Update: I messed up, and you all caught it. I had a clip of the Allman Brothers playing Blue Sky—but it wasn’t Duane on guitar as he had been dead many years. So I am changing the bonus video to this clip of the Brothers playing Whipping Post. The video quality is a notch below horrible, but I think you will still be amazed at the guitar playing of Duane. Enjoy!

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But how could I pass on the Ordinary Average Guy, Joe Walsh? I couldn’t. Enjoy this as well, iMonks.

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  1. I really do miss Clive Staples Lewis (and President Kennedy). I have been reading “The Screwtape Letters.” Pure genus. It takes the very complicated matter of Spiritual Warfare and makes it more simple. That man had some great insight.

  2. Really liked the Allman brothers clip. Of course, in 1996 when it was recorded on Austin City Limits, Duane Allman had been dead for 25 years. The guitarist next to Dickey Betts is Warren Haynes – pretty good in his own right, but not Duane.

    • You know, you are right! My bad … Still, it is good, huh?

      • It was great. I ended up staying up way too late browsing YouTube for Duane Allman clips and reading his bio on Wikipedia. Then dialed up Live At Fillmore East on my iPod and went to bed. Totally worth it! Thanks, Jeff – and Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. As someone who grew up on Kraft Mac & Cheese and would probably have to go back 500 years to find an African family member, I want to know if “Pat Robertson” is a “racist thing.” 😉

    Also, Jeff — who do you have ranked as the #1 and #2 guitarists ahead of Allman? Hendrix and …?

    • Jeff ~ I forwarded music video to my brother and he answered with this from Wikipedia.

      “Blue Sky” is the eighth track by the Allman Brothers Band off the Eat a Peach album.
      Dickey Betts wrote this about his Native American girlfriend, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig. And for a while, Betts refused to perform this after their 1975 divorce.
      Although Duane Allman was part of the recording of this song, he died before its release on Eat a Peach. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts played on the bridge solo – Duane going first–starting at 1:07, followed by Dickey. They start playing a melody line at 2:28, which Dickey’s solo follows. There are only four known live recordings of the song with Duane Allman, one of them being from their archival live album S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook: Stonybrook, NY 9/19/71 released in 2003.
      This is the first time Dickey Betts sang lead vocals on an Allman Brothers song.
      FYI – Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971. Bass player Berry Oakley was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1972, 3 blocks from where Duane Allman was killed. Neither was wearing a helmet, both died from head injuries.

    • Ray ~ “Rolling Stone” released their Top 100 guitarists. Numbers 1 and 2 were Hendrix and Clapton.

    • Some sympathy for Pat, please! I never heard of mac and cheese in my life either! Not until I started reading you Americans and your blogs, and then I had to get my head around the idea of a package version of pasta and a cheese sauce.

      I can see why he may have thought it was a ‘black thing’ if he never heard of it in his life and the first time he did was by two black women discussing it as their signature dish. Is grits a ‘black thing’ or a ‘Southern thing’? Collard greens? Other mysterious delicacies I have only heard of but never seen?

      Crubeens, drisheen and colcannon are Paddy things 😉

      • Martha,

        Grits,black eyed peas, collard greens and other types of greens, such as turnip are Southern, not necessarily African American. Grin, you know that you are in the South, when you get grits for breakfast without asking for them.

      • IIRC the context was mac-and-cheese as a Thanksgiving meal main dish; which isn’t the most common choice here in Wisconsin. On another site commenters said it was more common in the South, and more common among black families.

        Grits are a “Southern thing.” There’s probably a way of fixing them that I’d like, but I’m not sure what it is yet.

      • No Martha, I promise you, everyone in the U.S. has heard of mac and cheese and it’s hard to imagine anyone not having at least tried it. I’m pretty sure Ray is right, Pat Robertson is a racist thing (btw, hahahaha)

        • Someone said you can tell how well the economy is doing or not doing based upon how many packages of macaroni and cheese are sold in a year. Bad economy…lots sold. There may be some truth in it.

      • Alison (wife) loves colcannon–put she’s thoroughly Paddy.


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Don’t know if “Mac & Skazz” is a “black thing”, but according to former Mormon missionaires, it IS a “Mishie Thing”. When young Mormons are doing their two as missionaries (“Hello! My Name is Elder Young!”) they’re usually on a very low budget, and Mac & Skazz is one of the staples of a Mishie diet.

    • Ray: Number 1–Hendrix. Number 2–SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughn).

  4. It’s unfair of me to pick on this particular church, since it’s not the absolute worse I’ve ever seen and what really irritates, annoys and grieves me more is the “wreckovation” (as I’ve read it called, and it really fits) of old churches that were hacked about in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II so that most of the altar, altar rails, woodwork, statues, etc. were dumped.

    However, go here and peruse the photo gallery to see what a typical 70s-built Catholic church looks like, and then see why Papa Benny is putting his foot down about beauty being necessary 🙂

    • “Tabernacles are semi hidden, leading faithful on a real treasure hunt and sacred images are almost inexistent.”

      This particular line from that article on modern(ist) Catholic church architecture reminds me of the quote attributed to Francis, Cardinal Arinze, about how going into modern churches and looking for the tabernacle makes him think “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him” (John 10:13)


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      It’s not only Evangelical Megachurches who have the “Wal-Mart look” or the “minimalist convention center” look. Even the “Disneyland Look” is preferable to some of these.

    • Hmmm. That 70s church isn’t really ugly or tacky. But it is a little bleak, it seems to me. As HUG said, it’s more like a convention center.

      I entirely love old churches. They tore down the grand old Catholic church in our town, and built a modernist one in the 70s. It’s pretty bare and chilly. The old statues were relegated to the basement, where they look a little out of place during church suppers.

      • Oh, as I said, it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen. But that style of architecture where it was all bare concrete and abstract stained glass and the ‘altar in the round’ is just, as you say, bare and chilly.

        I wish I could remember the website where I saw this, but I can’t. Suffice it to say, there was a post about modernist church architecture that focussed on the terrible things that were used in the guise of tabernacles, particularly when the churches separated the tabernacle from the main altar into a room on its own; pride of place went to the one from St. Malachy’s Parish in Bedford, Massachusetts, which everyone agreed looked more like the Borg cube than traditional tabernacles.

  5. Rating guitarists is very hard because there are so many different styles. How about Carlos Montoya, not to be confused with Santana, the great flamenco guitarist, or Jerry Douglas on steel guitar, or Robert Randolph on pedal? Check out some of the other styles than rock and you might just be astounded.

  6. “But an overwhelming 41% answered “no one” when asked to name the most influential Christian in America today. Is it just me, or do you see this as a sign of progress?”

    Our pursuit of relevance has ended in irrelevance? Wow. Who saw that coming? 8-|

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    A factory worker in Georgia found that the number “666? really is dangerous. The worker refused to wear a sticker showing the number of accident-free days in his factory that fell between 665 and 667. He said wearing that would mark him a follower of the beast and condemn him to hell.

    Reminds me of the times I wanted to walk into a Jesus Junk store, make a purchase that with tax would come out to $3.34, pay with a $10, and watch the fun as the register auto-calculated the change.

    Anywhere you go
    See three sixes in a row —

    • The fun thing to do with people like that is to point out that there are variant texts giving the number of the beast as 616. Just to double their paranoia.

      • I just learned of this 616 fact earlier this year. He that hath ears and good scientific caclulator or spreadsheet, let him hear. [Eschotological GPS: “Recalculating…”]

        And speaking of purchase amounts, I recently was rung up for $54.40 worth of groceries. I had to fight off a strange feeling that I should invade western Canada instead of paying up. Then I remembered that British Columbia isn’t actually British and so came home with the groceries after all.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Then there was the T-shirt I saw at 1984 WorldCon:

        Eric the ‘alf a Beast

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    It’s all right to laugh. It’s all right to watch Christmas Vacation and roar instead of watching Christmas Shoes and cry. Just sayin’…

    I assume Christmas Shoes is either a really awful or uber-tearjerker Christmas movie?

    • Both, I think– but I haven’t seen it and am extrapolating from the song.

      Indeed, I was going to suggest that it’s simply *not* all right to watch “Shoes.” For some good fun, I recommend “Santa vs. the Snowman” instead.

      • Is that the 3D (old style 3D not the new style kind requiring the gajillion $ TV to watch) one with the snowman who keeps trying to invade Santa’s workshop? I loved it!!!

    • Googled it, Headless, and as Oscar Wilde said of the death of Little Nell, “‘One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears…of laughter”. It started out as a song, then was turned into a novelization which was then made into a made-for-tv movie – all in the period 2000/2002.

      Take it away, Wikipedia!

      “The narrator is standing in line at a checkout stand for some last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, but is not feeling the spirit of the holiday. The customer in front of him is a little boy dressed in worn, old clothes whose only item is a pair of women’s shoes. The boy tells the cashier that he wishes to buy the shoes for his ill mother so that she may look her best when she meets Jesus later that night, because she is dying from cancer. The cashier informs the boy that he does not have enough money to buy the shoes, which prompts the boy to ask the narrator for help saying that although his family is too poor to make do with Christmas, his mother still made the best of celebrating it. The narrator pays for the shoes, and as the boy thanks him and walks away, the narrator finally realizes that the little boy helped him understand the true meaning of Christmas.”

      Ah, in my day, the Christmas miracle tear-jerker song was “Scarlet Ribbons” – again, according to Wikipedia, knocked out in 15 minutes in 1959.

      Anyone else got favourite maudlin dirges to recommend? 🙂

      • With regard to being reduced to tears of laughter, I mean, it’s not just that it’s Christmas; the little boy is dressed in hand-me-downs. And he’s not just poor, his momma is sick. And she’s not just sick, she has cancer. And she’s not just dying of cancer (which is not humourous) but she’s going to die that very night which is Christmas Eve. All in the name of making our smug, I’m-not-poor-or-dying narrator feel better about learning the Real Meaning of Christmas (TM).

        All we need to complete our tale of woe is that the kid got knocked down by a drunk driver, who had abandoned his wife and family, on his way back from the honky-tonk with a floozie in tow. Even better if said drunk was the little boy’s Papa! And if some ne’er-do-well robbed the dying child of his momma’s Christmas shoes to pawn them for drug/drinking/gambling money! How did they miss that final twist?

        It’s like they read “The Little Match Girl” and thought Hans Andersen was too upbeat!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Martha. That sounds like the “Ultimate Country Western Song” I heard on Dr Demento years ago. The song parody that included EVERY tearjerker & maudlin cliche used in every Country/Western song all at once.

  9. Another Allman Bros fan!
    Skyhook was just awesome. No one can play the slide guitar like Duane Allman.
    Live at the Fillmore East is still the BEST Live album ever recorded.

    Thanks for memories.

  10. For you Unix geeks….. we once had a contractor who refused to use the command “chmod 666…” because of the “sign of the beast” thing. I was not in a good mood that day and told him he might as well believe in voodoo. Needless to say that didn’t go over very well.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Back when I was in RCIA in the late Eighties, one of our catechists had a work phone number that ended in “-3666”. I think he said some of his Christian contacts refused to call him at that number.

      I think there’s even a formal medical name for Six-Six-Six Phobia.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      P.S. (I keep hitting “Post Comment” too soon…)

      Wasn’t one of the beefs the Roman Empire had with the Church was that they weren’t superstitious enough to be a real religion?