New Years Meme 2019

And now, as my remaining long-time reader has been waiting for, it's the end-of-2019 edition of that New Year's meme that I have been filling out every year for longer than I can prove (some posts having disappeared in the Purge of Aught-ten). Over the years, I've added one or two prompts to the original question set, and I've deleted others for which I could never, ever think of an answer. This year, there were no changes to the questions from the 2018 version -- and, in a few cases, no substantive changes to my answers!

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In five ...

The Friday Five this week are asking me to be succinct!

1. In exactly five words, how was your week?
Busy and a little disappointing.

2. In exactly five words, what's up this weekend?
Getting ready for final exams.

3. In exactly five words, what are you feeling great about?
I have some lovely friends.

4. In exactly five words, what's giving you confidence?
You've got to be kidding.

5. In exactly five words, what're you listening to?
Classics on Lutheran Public Radio.


So, I haven't been around here much in the last few months. I can plead many things -- too many jobs, the fact that I now have a grandson and will drop anything to babysit him if called upon, a "crush" that tethered me to Facebook for a while -- but if I'm honest, the main reason that my absence turned into a virtual defection was something that happened six weeks ago, on Sept. 14th. I was filling out this Friday Five question set, my first in weeks, and enjoying the composition process immensely, when all of a sudden, the un-backed-up draft on which I was working disappeared, irrecoverably, into the ether.

To say I was distraught would be to put it mildly. My time means everything to me, and I had given several hours of a Saturday morning to answering that questionnaire, a music-themed one (my favorite kind). That my work, though utterly frivolous and of value to no one but me (but of value nevertheless -- and, not incidentally, one of my better efforts), could evaporate in a mere second, due undoubtedly to a random, rogue keystroke on my part, felt like evidence of the Problem of Evil.

Step aside, Job: philosophymom lost her Friday Five post.

I tried to reconstruct it. In fact, right now I am staring at a text file, composed the next day, in which I appear to have gotten as far as completing question Three and collecting all the links for the remaining two. But I didn't have the energy (or the time) to finish the task, and so it has sat there on my desktop, blocking me from going on and doing later Fives (because why expend the energy on a question set if it doesn't grab me the way the "lost" one -- again, a musical one of the sort I most enjoy -- did?).

Well, I have decided that if I am ever going to resume anything like the regular use of this journal, not to mention ever do a Friday Five again, I need to roll up my sleeves and complete & post that old post. So that's what I'm doing.

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Don Camillo and "Father Z"

Something like a decade ago, I ran across the blog of Father John Zuhlsdorf (aka "Father Z), an uber-conservative Catholic priest whose reactionary views on liturgy & theology and take-no-prisoners presentation thereof have gathered him quite the Internet following. I suppose he might frustrate me if I were a Catholic (and still somehow me), but as a liberal Protestant, I don't have a dog in most of the fights he participates in. Thus, I have the luxury of simply finding him interesting and provocative to read, and even better to listen to (there's a podcast). It helps that the good Father is personable, erudite, and talented: back when I was a more regular listener, I enjoyed the humor and the musical and literary accessories of the podcasts even when my more-or-less evangelical self didn't connect to every bit of the content. In fact, I used to link to some of those podcasts on my old blog, because (and here comes the point of my post) he would occasionally include in them a story or two from my beloved Little World of Don Camillo.

Now, Fr. Z was and is a busy chap with an important agenda, so his Little World feature was a pretty infrequent one. Indeed, there were only nine episodes between 2008 & 2010 in which he read, in a lovely baritone that would be the envy of half the DJs on NPR, a story or two by Guareschi. After that, there was nothing ...

Until almost eight years later! I'd long been out of the habit of checking for Don Camillo content from Fr. Z, and then, on a whim, I went to his site yesterday and discovered that, just over a year ago, he'd read another pair of the stories, including one of my very favorites, on an installment of the podcast.

In honor of the new content, I'm linking to all ten of the Fr. Z episodes featuring tales from the Little World. I've put them in reverse chronological order, so newest is at the top. And if, as you listen, you are curious about the old-fashioned, fuzzy-sounding bumper music the host employs for this feature, I can tell you that it's the theme from the 1950s Don Camillo movies starring Fernandel & Gino Cervi, audio ripped straight from DVDs of the old flicks (I have some clips that are even fuzzier and warblier, lifted from VHS tapes). Happy listening!

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    a succession of jazz solos featuring "the lick," courtesy of Number Three Son
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