Not much reading this week. In fact, I didn’t crack a book open at all. Yikes. Traveling, plus a work deadline which occupied me until this morning. Well, I did start reading Jane Eyre, as promised. Just got one chapter in before other concerns took over, though. I’ll get back to that, as well as a couple of books I checked out earlier this week, including Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle. It’s a subject that interests me not only as a writer, not only as a Catholic writer who was told she had to get ICEL’s permission to have the text of the Hail Mary and the Our Father in a book (to be fair, the fellow at ICEL’s response was the polite written equivalent of, “Er….sure. Wait, what?”, but also as the former editor of the Loyola Classics series. One of my responsibilities in that was researching and obtaining permissions, a task I really enjoyed for some odd reason. Librarian and researcher genes, I guess.
We saw a really excellent production of The Music Man this evening at one of our local theaters. Mostly great cast, including a Harold Hill who echoed Robert Preston rather brilliantly without slavish imitation. Not that referencing Preston is necessary, but it’s probably a challenge to skirt his influence completely, since the identification between actor and part is so close in this case. That imbalance between first and second act, though, in which the first act is stuffed full of non-stop great music, while the second act must pause and Do Plot so all can be resolved – it’s in The Music Man and almost every other musical I can think of. Are there exceptions?
It brought back a couple of memories – first, my daughter’s 8th grade class doing a “junior” version of the play (she was one of the Pick-a-Little ladies), and then at some point in middle school, I think, one of my older sons had to learn “Rock Island” for music class – I think all the boys had to do it or something, maybe? I was actually impressed with the assignment. And it’s certainly an improvement over the sight (and sound) of struggling through those high notes in “Both Sides Now,” which is one of my more vivid memories of grade school music class. That and the controversy aroused by having us sing “One Tin Soldier.” Oh, the 60’s and 70’s. Much controversy. And honestly, even reconstructing it in my hazy memory makes me laugh. Imagine a bunch of ten year olds pounding out “Go ahead and hate your neighbor! Go ahead and cheat a friend! Do it the name of Heaven! You can justify it in the end!” Imagine some teacher who thought it was awesome and he was such an brave iconoclast.
People. So crazy.
Speaking of school memories, twice this week I’ve had the chance to share the Fun Fact that in my high school in the 70’s – a Catholic high school in the South – we had a smoking pit. It was a corner of sidewalk where those of age – mostly seniors – could smoke. Of course, for most of us today, it’s difficult to imagine a time in which anyone could smoke indoors in any public space, but the concept of having a sanctioned area for high school students to smoke during school seems especially bizarre, doesn’t it?
Anyone else experience that?
(And no, I never smoked. My father was a lifelong, heavy smoker, it killed him, and I always hated it.)
I had a strange spike in blog hits today. I discovered that it was because Fr. Blake linked to my years-old report of a visit to his parish, a visit I was fortunate enough to make during a longish layover at Gatwick. He offered the link as a response of sorts to a ridiculous, agenda-laden Ship of Fools report on the parish.
Speaking of today – it’s July 3 and the feasts of St. Thomas the Twin. Speaking of St. Thomas, here’s Pope Emeritus Benedict’s General Audience talk on him from 2006.
Then, the proverbial scene of the doubting Thomas that occurred eight days after Easter is very well known. At first he did not believe that Jesus had appeared in his absence and said: “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20: 25).
Basically, from these words emerges the conviction that Jesus can now be recognized by his wounds rather than by his face. Thomas holds that the signs that confirm Jesus’ identity are now above all his wounds, in which he reveals to us how much he loved us. In this the Apostle is not mistaken.
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!