Sunday, June 01, 2008

From the blog For God, For Country, and For Yale, I discovered the website The Art of Manliness. One of the articles there "Rediscovering the Barbershop" describes my exact situation. Snip:

"Every time I go to the barber shop I just feel manlier. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s the combination of the smell of hair tonics and the all-man atmosphere. But more so, it’s the awareness of the tradition of barbershops. Barbershops are places of continuity; they don’t change with the shifts in culture. The places and barbers look the same as they did when your dad got his hair cut. It’s a straightforward experience with none of the foofoo accouterments of the modern age. There are no waxings, facials, highlights, or appointments. Just great haircuts and great conversation."

I went to a barbershop with my Dad when I was a kid. I am not sure why but at some point I started going to a chain unisex salon and was usually unhappy with my cut. There was always a long wait, usually with few choices in reading material to pass the time -most of the magazines were for women, and the haircuts ranged from bad to ok, depending on what woman cut my hair, all for a high price. A couple of times I got my hair washed in a sink by a woman who had "European Style" armpits. Finally, I looked around and settled on a barbershop that turned out to be right down the block from where my grandparents used to live. What a difference! The magazines were for men, the guys doing the cutting were manly men, all from some indeterminate country where men are still men (I still can't figure out what country it is and don't really care). They shave my neck with a straight razor, trim my eyebrows so I can see, and slap a hot towel on my face which is awesome. Someday I will get up the nerve to have a real shave with a straight razor, which is a specialty of theirs. At Christmas time there was a small table set up with some complementary cookies, wine, and vodka! I will never go back to a salon.
The Long Island Catholic has a special section on the 9 men who will be ordained for the Diocese of Rockville Centre this June 14th.
Worst Book By a Catholic Priest. Ever.

God Underneath by Edward Beck

A few weeks ago, I had managed to lock both my wife's car keys, as well as her spare car key in her car. This meant we had to wait for my father in law to come home from Mass since he also has a key, so we had some time to kill. I picked up this book and started reading and it was just sad. Fr. Beck is a Passionist Priest and his book made me wonder if he wished he had done something else with his life. He tells of the ordination Mass for two of his classmates and him and how he really wanted to have a friend of his who sings and plays guitar to sing at this Mass and insisted this be allowed. His classmates did not really want this and when they tell him their opinion and remind him that the Mass is not just for him it makes Fr. Beck burst into tears. For his first Mass he invites a female friend to both read the Gospel and give the homily. He somehow "forgets" to mention this to the pastor of the parish and when she comes forward to receive the pastor's blessing before reading the Gospel the pastor, totally caught off guard, correctly says oh no and does the Gospel reading himself. The woman then gives the homily, in violation of Church teaching that lay people do not give homilies. Fr. Beck frames this story as rudeness on the part of the pastor, who he says later apologizes. Fr. Beck does not seem to think asking a lay person to proclaim the Gospel and give a homily without telling anyone what he is doing is not rude. These two stories pretty much sum up the book, all the world is filled with people who are not kind and considerate enough to allow Fr. Beck to do his thing. Liturgy, retreats, music should not be about worshiping God, but about Fr. Beck, friend of Carly Simon, showing the world how compassionate Fr. Beck is. He presents himself as a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue of those poor Catholics oppressed by the rigid orthodox clergy. This is a silly, sad book.