A Couple of Things Before the Triduum
Brahms, and Caroline Shaw

A Couple of Things After the Triduum

(The title is for you, Stu)

For various logistical reasons we didn't go to the Easter Vigil at the cathedral this year, or even to our regular parish, but rather to a very small parish in a very small town a bit further away than our own.

Well, why not be specific? It was St. John the Baptist in Magnolia Springs (Alabama). I'd never been there before and I was impressed. I think it was not so long ago only a mission and a relatively poor parish, and the building is small and plain. But the interior has fairly recently been redecorated, and it's very appealing. Good taste can do a lot without a lot of money. The liturgy can be described as simple but passionate, in a good way. And it included a fair amount of Latin and a great deal of incense. I don't think the church  holds more than a hundred people, and it was packed, so much so that my wife and I felt a little guilty about taking up space that some parishioner might have used. I think we were all accommodated, though.

I got the feeling that it's a very healthy parish. And that is undoubtedly in some large measure due to the young and very dedicated priest, Fr. Nick Napolitano. I've known him slightly for a while. He was a high school classmate of one of our children, and when he in seminary sometimes was an altar server in our Ordinariate Masses. He is fiercely--the word is not too strong--committed to his mission. I hope he can sustain it in the face of all the opposition, from without and within the Church, that will come to him, and from the risk which no doubt faces all priests of simply growing weary and jaded with the passage of time. 

This link will take you to a video at the parish site of Fr. Nick discussing the visual features of the church. I had not noticed the bugs.

The young priests I've encountered in recent years are all similarly committed to the traditional mission of the Church, which makes them "conservative" in the confused mind of our time. And they are very brave. The orthodoxy is not surprising, because, as has been pointed out for decades, who would give up everything a priest has to give up for an ill-defined mission of which he is half ashamed? The bravery is almost true by definition now, because in the minds of many all priests are automatically suspected of child molestation and other crimes. And the accusation obviously gives a lot of pleasure to those who already hate the Church for other reasons. I certainly would have trouble walking around in public if I thought people were looking at me with that in mind. God give them strength. 


Post-Lenten drinking update: I had given up my regular evening drink, usually a beer, for Lent. I did, as the questionable practice allows, give myself a Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon break. And I had a few lapses, some for social reasons, but didn't too very badly. 

One thing I did not do during Lent was to sneak a little of this wonderful scotch. One of my children had brought it for the Christmas holidays, and there was a little left, which I have been saving for a special occasion. I thought Saturday night after the vigil was special enough. 


Scotch is not my favorite whiskey, but this is something else. People talk about the "peaty" taste of scotch, and I guess it's a marker of its non-favorite-ness for me that I don't think I especially like that quality. And this has much less of it than most. I don't think I would ever have applied the term "fresh" to any other scotch, but it comes to mind here. All that "nose," "palate," etc., stuff on the label, which I have a hard time taking very seriously (which may just mean that I'm a clod) uses comparisons to various fruits, which, again, would never have occurred to me in relation to scotch, but which seemed justified. Not that it tastes fruity, but there's a lightness and brightness to the flavor which I don't associate with scotch. 

I don't want to know how much it costs but I do know that it is not available in the state liquor stores here, which maybe is just as well. Happily, there is still another ounce or two in the bottle.

I also let alone during Lent another holdover from another offspring's visit: a couple of canned cocktails from TipTop Cocktails. Canned cocktails may sound like a terrible idea, but to my unsophisticated taste anyway they are extremely good. My son had brought an assortment, and one that I especially liked was the daquiri. I don't think I'd had a daquiri since I was in college (long ago). I have the impression that it's out of fashion. One of the company's mottos is "never too sweet," which was what made the daquiri better than I expected. 

Unfortunately they are not available in Alabama. You can order them online in an package of eight for $40. I don't want to bother doing that, and shipping cost would probably be pretty high, but that's only $5 for a very good drink. So if store prices are around the same they are very much worth it.


As I have often mentioned, I have a peculiar attraction for offbeat and little-known music. One such that I found (at eMusic, of course) fifteen or twenty years ago was Voyager, an album by a group called Space Needle. A week or two ago something reminded me of an odd little track from that album, "Dreams." The lyric consists of one repeated line, which I heard as 

In time you will know that dreams no longer come true.

It spoke to my condition, as they say: I was more melancholy than usual when I heard the album. But I had only heard it in the car. When I listened to it at home the other day I thought Wait--is she saying "that" or is she saying "bad"? I decided it was the latter. I searched for the lyrics online and found only one attempt at transcription, at one of those dodgy lyric sites, and whoever did it agrees. So:

In time you will know bad dreams no longer come true.

Happy thought.



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Thank you for the title change, Mac!
What does it say that your children bring you alcohol? Dad is a lush so we might as well bring him this, or it's the only way they can stop you talking about the end-times for America? :-)

More seriously, I liked the video and the priest. Will have to try and get over there for a Mass one day. Thank you for posting it.

Actually these particular alcohols were for everybody including the providers. But they do tend to give me expensive alcohol as gifts. Something they know I’ll like and won’t buy for myself. And don’t already have.

I avoid talking about socio-political things with them so I don’t think they feel the need to shut me up for that reason. Others maybe …

Something you'll like, that you won't buy for yourself,... and that doesn'y create clutter in the long run is a perfect present.

I liked the video, too, but I was disappointed that the priest does not sound like he's from Alabama.

And he definitely is. I don’t know whether his parents are native or not. But it’s sad. The southern accent is dying. None of our children have it, even though my wife and I very much do. Along with all the other homogenizing factors, there’s that “southerners are stupid” (or worse) stereotype.

Very good point about clutter.

I had never heard of Rattray, but I know MacDuff, so I looked them up. Apparently they are a bottling firm, not a distillery, and what they do is acquire quality scotches from various distillers (like MacDuff) in small quantities and bottle it themselves. This process isn't well-known in the States -- I had never heard of it -- because most of the scotch we get is bottled by the distilleries themselves.

Anyways, MacDuff 10 seems to be a well-regarded whisky with a fairly unique flavor profile, so the kids picked you a winner. I checked both Pennsylvania's and Ohio's wine and spirits website and they don't list any MacDuff or Rattray whiskies, so I'm out of luck for now. I do have a friend coming over from England however, and I might be able to get him to score me a bottle if it isn't too pricey.

My favorite non-peaty scotch is Old Pulteney, which is well known in Scotland, but not so much over here. I can't get it in Pa., but Ohio stores carry it, and it's very reasonably priced at $45.00. If you can get it in Alabama I'd recommend giving it a try.

$45 is still more than I would spend, except as a gift for someone else.

The Rattray came from somewhere in the DC area, probably DC itself. Notice the alcohol content: 57.4%! Which makes it 114 proof. I had forgotten that when I took a sip Saturday night. It really needs some dilution. A little goes a long way.

Yeah, that's pretty high. I think the highest I've ever had was 104, and that was a bourbon. It needed ice or water for sure.

I read in a review about the recent book on the story of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon that most of that crowd drinks theirs on the rocks with a twist of lemon. I'd never do that with scotch but I can see doing it with bourbon, especially a strong one.

Interesting piece on changing regional accents, with a close look at North Carolina: "The Death of the Southern Accent? (At Least in These Parts)" https://www.charlottemagazine.com/the-death-of-the-southern-accent-at-least-in-these-parts/

Seems to come down to this: "The language is fading because the demographics are changing because new people are moving here."

The only thing I've ever seen that's higher is Everclear, which is almost pure alcohol--190 proof--and is downright painful. I'm not sure it won't do physical damage to your mouth, though I guess maybe it doesn't, since some people do seem to actually drink it as a kind of bravado thing. My wife made limoncello with Everclear and I think it was better than the commercial ones, though maybe that's just a matter of how much sugar is used.

I don't have time to read the article about the southern accent now, but a general mixing of people from other regions is certainly a major part of it. Not the whole story, though. Thanks to mass entertainment and media, ordinary non-southern American is the norm from which anything else is a deviation. Distinctive accents of all sorts are disappearing.

I recently read something about a similar thing happening in England. Many of the regional accents are fading away and a standard "normal" London accent is becoming dominant for the same reasons you mention regarding the U.S.

Part of the general homogenization that makes all suburban strips look the same.

An interesting exception to the homogenization of dialects is the northern cities vowel shift. Having lived on one of these cities for 28 years, I can attest to the phenomenon and that I, though from Oklahoma, have picked up a lot of these linguistic habits.

I didn't entirely follow that but from what I did pick up I think I don't like that accent. "Jab" for "job"? A bit grating to my ear.

"In any case, fears that TV and the Internet are funneling us toward a standard dialect don’t hold up to basic scrutiny."

Direct experience leads me to think that's an overstatement at least.

And the Charlotte Magazine article seems similarly only partly accurate. 'Take the word “y’all,” that iconic headlamp of Southern-speak. It doesn’t exist on the subconscious level like Dook or Dewk. When we say it, we know it, and we’re trying to prove something.'

Speak for yourself, newcomer. "Y'all" is and has been for my whole life as much a part of my natural speech as "you." I do hear people sort of brandishing it more or less self-consciously, but that's not normal for native southerners.


It certainly isn't affected among my people. I think my sister can't NOT use it.

I even still use it after living on the north for over forty years.

It seems to be coming into much wider use outside the south, maybe partly due to the popularity of black artists in hip-hop and other entertainment. Plus it's useful, since "you" as both singular and plural can be ambiguous.

I spent two years of college in Dallas and picked up "y'all" there. Never really let it go. Sometimes I say it on purpose but at other times it just creeps in on its own, which bothers me not at all.

Much more common in this area is "you guys," which seems to have been around forever.

No one ever does the Pittsburgh accent on TV or in movies even when they're set here. To see what it sounds like check out "Pittsburgh Dad" on youtube. Very true to life -- if that guy wasn't your dad, he was someone else's dad in your neighborhood, make no mistake. The accent used to be near universal, but nowadays it's mostly a working-class thing.

We have a book called "How to Talk Pittsburghese."


I don't really notice an accent as such but the general vocabulary and personality. Which I will say is pretty much in keeping with my uninformed impression of a Pittsburgher. But there were several words I didn't understand so they may have been instances of the accent making a word sound very different to my ears.

"You guys" has made strong inroads in the south. I remember southerners sort of mocking it when I was a teenager. I suspect some southerners sometimes use it in place of the more natural (here) "y'all", perhaps to avoid sounding too southern.


"hahs" for house, "aht" for out.

What's the deal with the yellow cloths on the cooler handles?

And I did get "yinz" after the first couple of times.

The yellow cloths are the Terrible Towel, the "rally towel" that fans twirl at Steeler games.

Ha! Thought it probably had something to do with the Steelers.

You can't escape it up here. Pretty much everything comes in black and gold, especially since all three teams (Steelers, Pirates, Penguins) all sport the same colors. Lol

I am a person who cannot not say y'all, especially because it makes perfect grammatical sense.

I can promise you that the regional accents in Northern Mississippi are certainly not disappearing. People might use a more formal accent at work, but elsewhere they are ubiquitous.


But what I came to this thread to say was that we attended a few Masses in Indiana this weekend and the young priests at our son's parish certainly fit the your description of young priests above.

And now I am remembering that I noticed a distinct Midwestern accent there.


I was thinking about the "y'all" discussion a little while ago as I was leaving a restaurant and overhearing some people talking about "what y'all did" on a trip or something. There was absolutely no trace of self-consciousness or deliberateness about it. The guy who thinks we're "trying to prove something" by saying it just doesn't know what he's talking about. Maybe he doesn't know anybody in Charlotte but transplants.

Glad to hear that about accents in your area. Where I notice the decline is among young people.

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