I quite like Good Friday. The chants at the morning service at the Convent of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen down the road are always so lovely. Although I’m Catholic, and therefore not particularly religious, I do find the stark dignity of that empty tabernacle quite stirring.
Neverthless, we did get our praying out of the way pretty quickly this morning, so we could get on with the important business of gossip, showing off our new hats and handing round pictures of the grandkiddies, interspersed with the odd bit of actual business so that we didn’t have to deal with it at morning tea. There may well have been some man or another up the front of the chapel, wearing a dress and yammering on, but none of us was paying much attention except during the hymns.
This morning we worked out who was bringing what to the next bring-and-buy – I’m doing Cherry Bakewells and a caraway seed cake – set the date for the next Convent Fair, and managed to find a nanny job for poor Mary McKenzie.
While she was on holiday in New York a few months ago, she got rather too excited in a nightclub toilet with one of the boys from Jersey Shore. She’s not sure which one. All she can remember is muscles, big hair and a cloud of Axe body spray which really isn’t much help. Now she needs the work to pay for a nice new pram and some DNA tests.
We aren’t missing out on much by not listening during mass, as we do have a rather uninspiring roster of priests thrown our way each week.
Father Seamus, who I seem to recall lead the service today, is a nice and pretty young man. Unfortunately he’s frightfully stupid and exceptionally fond of the Virgin Mary, if you get my drift. He can speak about her pure, forever untouched femininity for hours. The poor dear will come crashing out in a few years and be much more entertaining, but for the moment he’s a dreadful bore.
Father Flarety only ever talks about birth control, homosexuality or and the environment (he’s against all of them), but in the heat of his oratory the poor sot usually forgets which of them he is denouncing. It doesn’t seem to make much difference anyway. He also has a tendency to wander off during communion and not come back, which makes for a nice early mark. Last Sunday he got his hip flask mixed up with the communion wine. The blood of Christ had a kick to it that day, let me tell you. We had to take old Sister Luigi out into the vestry and fan her for a while.
And Father MacDonald is now so old and so wizened that he can’t be seen over the altar or the lectern, even when standing on a milk crate, so no one has any idea what he talks about.
Anyway, I really just wanted to wish you all a happy non-denominational Easter/Passover for this weekend and share with you a personal email I received from Marcus Bachmann reminding me that it is Michele’s birthday today. How lovely that the day of her birth falls on Good Friday this year, the day when Jesus died for us, the day when the tabernacle is as cold and dark and barren and empty as Michele’s heart.
This Friday, April 6, is a very special day in the Bachmann household – it is Michele’s 56th birthday!
This past year has flown by, and Michele has spent the year working incredibly hard fighting day in and day out across this country for the conservative values we hold near and dear. In addition to being the voice in Washington we always know we can count on to tell the truth, Michele has worked extremely hard as a wife, mother and conservative activist.
I really want this birthday to be special for Michele, but I know that what would mean the most to her is if she was able to hear from you.
I’ve put together a special online birthday card for Michele and I hope you will follow this link to sign the card. On Friday, I will compile the messages to show her that people from every corner of the country appreciate the hard work she does.
Michele is facing a formidable election this year, and the Democrats would love nothing more than to see Michele be defeated. Please sign the card to show you stand with Michele, and afterwards you’ll be given the opportunity to make a special donation to show Michele just how much you support her work.
Please consider making a $56 – one dollar per year, or even $112 – two dollars per year, contribution. But, if you can’t afford to give that much, a gift of $10 or even $25 is greatly appreciated. Every donation received is one step closer to ensuring Michele’s campaign is victorious this fall.
On behalf of the entire Bachmann family, I want to personally thank you for your continued support of Michele. It is not easy to stand up to the liberals and mainstream media who attack her and our values, but I know that your support means the world to her.
Michele and I are blessed to have your friendship.
P.S. Not much time remains until Michele’s birthday, and I need your help to ensure she has a great day. Please sign the birthday card for Michele and afterwards make a donation to her campaign. Thanks, Marcus.
I hope that Marcus has found a nice present for her. Perhaps a stepladder and some nails so she can climb on up there next to Jesus and show him how a martyr really dies. I must send her a basket of muffins.
I will leave you with two things to properly sweeten your day after Marcus’ dish of saccharine and suffering.
First this song, which I have linked to before, but which I play for myself almost every day. It’s dedicated to the Senegal national football team, the Lions of Teranga, by a Swedish girl of Senegalese ancestry called Mary N’diaye. It’s so joyous, it has a great beat, she has such a lovely voice and the video has awkward straight boy dancing, so it always brings a smile to my face.
Secondly, if you will indulge me, I’m going to link to one of my old stories, which I reread the other day and which I think deserves another whirl. It cheered me up anyway. It involves Bill O’Donoghue, an adorable baby, cake, lesbians, graphic vengeance and a rather sweet ending.
Happy Easter weekend to all. I hope you have a pleasant weekend and that you find an opportunity, on this Good Friday, to reflect upon the importance of sacrifice and self-denial.
Now I’m off to buy a cheeseburger and a quart of gin.
I’m stunned to find out you are a bead rattler my dear. Where I came from the real society people you present yourself as would never have tolerated a mackerel snapper in their midst. It was the Catholics only endearing quality.
Now that they have become accepted by the WASPs too many have taken the bigotry to 11 as if to over compensate for their own unwelcome reception.
I liked that a lot, thank you.
I’m finding this weekend one of the most spiritual in recent decades. What with this and John and Andrew I find my nature walks almost sublime in a very non-political way i can’t really explain.
Perhaps I needn’t.
I actually LIKE Good Friday. It once was quite grueling. Being the son of a Lutheran preacher, there was no escaping Good Friday services. And they were usually about three hours long. Little boys have skinny butts and the pews were unpadded. Painful!
But since I once lived in Sweden, I discovered that even lapsed Lutheran atheists could celebrate Good Friday because of a wonderful tradition—listening to the St. Matthew’s Passion. Still three hours long, but this is BACH. One Easter weekend in Stockholm, I had a choice of nine different live performances plus is was on TV1 Sweden in its entirety. So for at least 35 years, I have made it a point to listen or attend a SMP. Today it was a recording from Belgium—superb! I have six recording to choose from—plus a score.
So tomorrow I can go back to being a heathen knowing I have re-upped my Lute credentials for another year.
The Fat Kate Middleton
Your recounting of Easter Sunday in New Orleans was sublime – thank you so much. It was a much needed, much appreciated bright note now in my life, at a time I’m attempting to recuperate from a headlong fall down the stairs. Result: seven rib fractures, one shoulder separation, a concussion and stapled skull, and nearly three weeks of pneumonia. Sorry for whining – just at the point of being really tired of it – and your post really did help so much.
Sounds familiar to me, only I remember having to be quiet and not eat from 12 to 3 pm on Good Friday because that was when Jesus was dying on the cross. Mostly I remember listening to my transistor radio in the bedroom. Oh well.
I was also intrigued by the Bachmann year which apparently has 56 weeks instead of the earthly 52 weeks. I always thought there was something very UFO-ish about Michele and Marcus.
I have fallen so far away from Catholicism that I had ham for lunch. With proscuitto-wrapped asparagus.
(What can I say, sometimes the cafeteria at the Giant Evil Corporation has pretty tasty stuff.)
Oh this is making me laugh. Took a moment to figure out that weeks, not years, were meant, and then, well. 52. 52. So, so sad.
@The Fat Kate Middleton: Dayum, that made me wince just reading it. Best to you!
@techno: I was too busy at work today for the SMP, but it is also my favorite.
Favorite recording: Helmuth Rilling 1982(?)
The OVPP ones are interesting but lack the contrast of tempo or tone that the best ones seem to have.
The monumental slow ones by Karl Richter I hate.
What are your favorites?
@The Fat Kate Middleton: Get better soon.
So you don’t like Richter, huh?
True story. My grandfather moved his family to Lindsborg Kansas during the Depression so his children could attend Bethany College. This is a SERIOUS Swedish-Lutheran school with a serious music department that does Handel’s Messiah and SMP during Holy Week. In those days, the school choir would be augmented by others in the community. And so my favorite aunt first sang SMP when she was only 13. When I was in the Bach Society of Minnesota, I first learned it at 26. She was so pleased, she sent me her marked-up score from 1935. I was even more impressed by her accomplishment once I knew how hard this thing is to sing. So over the years, I would call her on Good Friday to smile about our shared love of SMP. She loved the attention and flattery.
Then one year, I got my hands on an historical recording of Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Vienna Philharmonic. It was the first time I heard that dirge-like tempo that was once so common. So immediately I called my aunt. I asked, did you sing SMP at this tempo in 1935? She admitted she had. I said, “Singing SMP at 13 is still remarkable but now I understand how it was even possible.”
I thought about that today when I saw some SMP conducted by Richter on YouTube. I was looking for clips for today’s post on my blog. Just think, that version of SMP was once considered “normal.”
As for my favorite recordings, I have several. Probably the one I listen to most is a 1970 recording by Harnancourt. But I rotate.
But my favorite performance, by FAR, was one I attended about 3 years after I left Bach Society. It was my old choir in an 1900 seat auditorium. They decided to very theologically pure so it was sung in English and when it came time to sung the Chorales, the conductor stood up the whole house and we all sang the Bach as printed in our programs. Turns out a lot of folks who can sing go to Minnesota Bach Society concerts. The sound of 1900 people singing in parts in a hall with excellent acoustics was beyond awesome. It literally made my knees go weak.
@techno: Wow! What a great way to hear it!
A hammer and nails as a birthday gift for the headache inducing theocrat?
How about a hoodie? And a trip to central Florida?
I wish that I knew what “formidable” election Bachmann was talking about. She will be facing only token opposition from the DFL, and I hardly call the Independence Party “formidable”.
The MN DFL is done pouring all of its money into the Sixth District. Instead, the effort is on taking Eighth back. By 2014, the Second will be ripe.
Having Bachmann in the Sixth is a good thing, at least for now. She constantly reminds MN voters what the agenda of the Republican Party is. And she is so unpopular statewide that she has no chance to run for Senator or Governor. Her own District is starting to view her as a punchline, as well. She was supposed to “blow the minds” of the “urban libs” with “the truth”, but she just makes everyone else in the State roll their eyes or chuckle instead.
She’s peaked and she’s been de-fanged.