Thursday, August 26, 2010

Howard Stern

2 Degrees

Degree 2: Howard Stern
Shock-Jock Howard Stern has friends in high places.  Very high places.  He fell from terrestrial broadcast media and landed up, in the world of satalite radio.  Though many Catholics would not even consider listening to his program, many more bought XM Satalite radio to follow him when he left regular broadcast radio.  Now, uncensored, he can be heard on XM 100.

Degree 1: Lino Rulli
Most of Lino's fans stumbled across the Catholic Channel, XM 117 and Sirius 159 by first listening to Howard Stern.  Lino stumbled across Howard Stern because they are studio neighbors in the XM building.  When Lino first began at XM he was alone in the city.  "It was the Howard Stern folks who invited me for Thanksgiving dinner.  Not one of my Catholic comrads did so."  Howard was given a rosary that was blessed by John Paul II, does that mean that he has been directly blessed by the Holy Father?  The rosary touched Stern so much that he mentioned it on his show for a week after receiving it.  How many of us would do the same?  Could Howard Stern be one degree removed?

I'll keep the official reckoning to 2 degrees and leave it at that.

Lino is unashamed of his friendship with Stern.  He will not deny his friend, even in the face of "Catholic Taliban" emails.  (Catholic Taliban refers to those suffering scrupulosity, religiosity, and a lack of humor, the Catholic version of Dana Carvey's "Church Lady")
To read "Lino is a walking contradiction" post on Lino's blog click here.  
To read St. Anthony Press' story "Lino is one Sirius Catholic" click here. 

Lino met John Paul II.
Lino with JP2 and out and about in Rome

Monday, August 23, 2010


5 Degrees
Fifth: Scooby Doo's voice was that of Don Messick.  Don also did the voices of Astro, Bamm Bamm Rubble, Muttley, Papa Smurf, Dr. Benton Quest, and scores of others.  Hiring Don was hiring a cast!  It was so much fun to research the animated films of Hanna-Barbara for this post.  The cast lists never had more than two names, usually one!  To read more about Don Messick click here for the wiki-page and here for his imdb page.

Don Messick
Don Messick was personally recruited from warner Brothers by Joe Barbara and Will Hanna.  This post is loaded with video.  Let's take a walk down memory lane with the theme song from Scooby Doo. 

A link to a great full-length episode of Scooby, later in the post!

Norman Shelley, most famous for
being Dr. Watson, but he was also
the voice of Churchill
Fourth Degree: Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara won the oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1946.  That year, Sir Laurence Olivier was nominated for his role of Henry V.  

Third Degree: Sir Laurence Olivier worked with Norman Shelley in the 1969 film, "Oh What a Lovely War."  Here is a clip from the movie.  Do you recognize the future "Professor McGonnagall playing a recruiting showgirl?  Catch a glimpse of Shelley at the end of this clip.
Elizabeth, Mary, Churchill, George, Margaret
Second Degree: Norman Shelley was the voice of Winston Churchill for his wartime radio speeches.  To read one story about this click here.  To read another account, click here.  Evidently, Sir Churchill was a might busy during the war and needed an actor to help him keep up with radio.

Elizabeth Windsor was just a child when Hitler first became powerful.  Though her Uncle gave up the throne to be with his fascist, divorcee bride, Elizabeth was not enamored of the fascists.  As she grew to womanhood, she became a soldier in her own right. She was pro-Churchill, later knighting him.  She is on the far left, in uniform, in this picture with Churchill.  

First Degree: Queen Elizabeth met John Paul II on several occasions.  Here is a film of them from the early 80s.  The pope crooks his arm as though wishing that she'd take it as they strolled.  

Messick to Hanna and Barbara to Olivier to Shelley to Churchill to Queen Elizabeth II

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Roger Federer

Roger Federer and his wife meet the pope
2 Degrees  
Swiss Guard
Being Swiss in the Vatican usually means you're wearing  a colorful costume designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Swiss and Catholic, Roger Federer arrived in Rome clothed in humility before the Holy Father despite having won over 60 major tennis titles. The following account of the meeting from Monsters and Critics is Federer's memory of the encounter.

 'It was a very emotional day,' said Federer, who battled for one hour, 50 minutes as a home crowd fired up his unheralded opponent.
'It was very nice and a big honour to meet the pope,' said the Swiss. 'They told him who I was and we shook hands and exchanged a few words in German.'
Federer admitted that he couldn't deduce how much the new pontiff actually followed the sport, but in the heat of the moment, it didn't seem to matter.
'It was special of course, I am Catholic. This was just the perfect day.'
After this morning audience, Federer went on to win the match that had brought him to Italy.  Swiss mojo, it's a beautiful thing! 
Roger to Benedict XVI to John Paul II!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bob Dylan

Reverently Greeting the Pontif
1 Degree
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, tried to stop Bob Dylan and other rock musicians from performing for Pope John Paul II at the 1997 World Eucaristic Congress in Bologna (WEC 1997).  In an act of total fuddy-duddyness, Pope BXVI called rock music anti-Christian and labeled Dylan as a false "prophet."  Our pope loves many modern things, music is NOT one of them. 

John Paul II welcomed the rock music and gave a long sermon on "Blowin' in the Wind" as part of the WEC 1997.  For the original story by Malcom Moore, click here

At the event in Bologna, Dylan performed four songs, including Knockin' on Heaven's Door, A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall and Blowin' in the Wind.
A visibly frail John Paul gave a long sermon based on Blowin' in the Wind.
He told the young Catholics: "On the road of music this evening, Jesus met you. A representative of yours said on your behalf that the answer is blowing in the wind.
"Yes, it is true. On the wind there is the voice and breath of the Holy Spirit."
He added: "You asked me: how many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man? I answer you: just one. One only. It is the road of a man. And this is Jesus Christ, who said 'I am the way'."
After his performance Dylan went to greet John Paul on the podium to roars from the crowd. The conference proved a great success and John Paul's popularity with young people rocketed.

What do you think? I'm totally behind the Pontiff trying to make the music of church more reverent and more Catholic.  Latin seems to be abandoned in many parishes and with it, the ancient melodies.  It's tough for me to wrap my head around singing  second-rate jingle music from the 70s when we have mass music by Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Dufay, and Palestrina and more.  While there are loads of great rock and folk songs to sing for edification, they are not for mass.  What do you think?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Edith Shain: The Kiss in Times Square Nurse

The Eisenstaedt photo
August 14, 1945
Edith Shain and Glenn McDuffie kissed on August 14, 1945 in Times Square. This iconic photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt makes me happy each time I see it.  A random GI kissing a random nurse in Times Square upon hearing that the war was finally over!

The identities of the kissers was a mystery for over 50 years.  Not wanting to be seen as a flusey,  Edith Shain did not come forward.  As an elderly lady she figured, what the heck!

5 Degrees
Julius Axelrod
Edith in the 21st century
Fifth Degree: Julius Axelrod:  Edith was a nurse at Doctors Hospital, now Presbyterian Hospital, when she heard about the end of the war.  When she was a medical student at NYU in the late 30s/early 40s, so was 1970 Nobel Laureate Julius Axelrod.  

Fourth Degree, Norman Borlaug:  Julius Axelrod, with colleagues Bernard Katz and Ulf von Euler, won the Nobel Prize for their study of  neurotransmitters. Dr. Axelrod received his prize in Medicine in the same 1970 ceremony that Norman Borlaug won the prize for Peace.

Dr. Borlaug receiving the Congressional Gold Medal
Third Degree, Nancy Pelosi:  Dr. Borlaug discovered ways to yield more wheat per acre.  His work was seen as an embodiment of the ideals of Nobel by "benefiting humanity."  To read the award ceremony speech for Dr. Borlaug click here.  Dr. Borlaug's work didn't stop with this work.  He went on to head  the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) under the auspices of the Ford Foundation, The Rockerfeller Foundation, and the Mexican Government.  His work with the CIMMYT earned him the Congressional Gold Medal.  He received the medal during the Bush administration, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.

You do realize, Nancy, that by kissing my hand you
are submitting to my authority?
  Second Degree, The Pope:  Madame Speaker was summoned to The Vatican in February of 2009 by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.  The audience was requested when Speaker Pelosi stated that she was a "good Catholic" in spite of her party stance on life issue, including abortion.  While no transcripts of the 15 minute meeting were released, both parties released statements to the press. Pelosi's rendition is of a formal and friendly greeting.  The Vatican's statement is about life issues and the importance of leaders to stand for justice.  Read the Fox story here.  Read the CBS story of the visit here.  

First Degree: Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) was a friend and confidant of John Paul II.  The two were very good friends.  It's so unfortunate that Benedict is plagued with dark circles under his eyes and a surname that begins with "rat."  The combination of these characteristics have made for many nasty photoshop opportunities, but he's a very holy man.  Check out the photo of him with Nancy Pelosi.  Yeah, he's got dark circles like Natasha's Boris, but there is a warmth, light, and sweetness radiating from him.  When you see the parody pix, close the page. 

Don't make statements of doctrine
unless they are correct, Nancy
Bishop Tobin vs Patrick Kennedy
The bishop won

Did you know? The Catholic Church reserves public contact with politicians to State events and matters of heresy.  While Nancy Pelosi had been on the wrong side of life issues for many years, she was only called out publicly when she said she could do so and still be a "good, practicing, Catholic."  

A similar Episcopal reprimand was given to Patrick Kennedy by Bishop Tobin in 2009.  Read the story here.  

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Glenn McDuffie: The Kiss in Times Square Sailor


Original photo by Alfred Eisenstadt, Glenn McDuffie 60+ years later
3 Degrees of Separation

2004 Sox, Pedro wins!
Lois Gibson of the Houston Police Department did forensic work on the photograph and concluded that the man in the photograph was Glenn McDuffie.  To find out how she did it, click here!  At a 2008 baseball game between the Houston Astros and the New York Mets, Glenn celebrated his 81st birthday with a song during the seventh inning stretch.  He was hailed as "the kissing sailor."

Glen to Pedro (3): Pedro Martinez was a Met at the time.  Only 4 years earlier, as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Mr. Martinez became a World Series Champion.  GO SOX!

Pedro to George (2): The team was invited to the White House to meet President Bush.

Castel Gandolfo with George and JP2
George to John Paul II (1):  President Bush met John Paul II.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon is a man after the Catholic heart.  He's Catholic in so many ways.
  • He's only had one wife
  • He is faithful to that wife
  • He treats his wife with dignity and respect
  • He has a great sense of humor.  Instead of being offended, he named a charity after the drinking game "6 Degrees"
  • He uses his influence to help the poor
  • Sean from Catholic Roundup
  • He doesn't bash religion with the roles he chooses to portray
2  Degrees of Separation
  1. Kevin gave a concert with his band, Bacon Bros.  Sean McGaughey of The Catholic Roundup heard his concert and really loves the band
  2. Michael Jackson
  3. Sean McGaughey went to a mega-mass given by John Paul II when he was on one of his United States visits
Another reconning
  1. Kevin Bacon did a Happy Birthday special for Elizabeth Taylor with Michael Jackson in 1997.
  2. Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II both appeared in the 2002 World Awards.
Kevin Bacon is not Jewish, but he married a Jewish lady.  Some may be under the impression that Christians hold Jewish people responsible for the death of the Messiah.  That would mean that He committed suicide.  JESUS WAS A JEW!!!
Kevin married Kyra, a Jewish lady
Fun Catholic Fact About Jews
Did you know that our Lord, Jesus Christ, is a Jew?  Antisemitism is a way of hating Jesus through his family.  Antisemitism in all its forms was repudiated by the Second Vatican Council.  If you hate Jews, the Pope is not pleased with you!  Get thee to a confessional!  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rule and Regs for the blog

Everyone in the world is bound to be bound to The Church in one way or another.  Sometimes the links are straight and direct, other times it's a long and broken road.  God bless that broken road.  From a goatherd in Transylvania to a Maori in New Zealand, we are all tied to the Guy Upstairs.  

There will be Saints and non-Saints linked to John Paull II on this blog.  If you don't like it, you can contact this guy.  He'll set me straight.  If you want someone higher, go complain to this guy, he's really nice, he'll set me straight.  Want someone with a cool perspective and maybe an accent, complain to this guy.

If you don't get satisfaction there, try any one of these guys.  Don't ask me which one is my bishop, I can never tell.  I love them all.  Sure do wish they could organize things.  The Orthodox Church is 2000 years old, but it sure ain't what ya'll call "organized religion".

If you have no sense of humor, go to another site.  This blog is satire with love.  Deal!

Let's have some fun!