Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Autumn in New York

As the mercury starts to fall and the leaves change into their faded reds and oranges, a young man's thought turns to tennis. How could we possibly avoid the opportunity provided by the U.S. Open of watching our favourite, Marat Safin play Canadian wunderkid Frank Dancevic. Dancevic, having made it to the finals at Indianapolis, and taken Nadal to three hard-fought sets in Montreal, has managed to clear the qualifiying round had is becoming something of a fan favourite of local New Yorkers who love a hot hand.

Meanwhile, later this evening, Maria Elena Camerin, sweetheart of our own Bassano del Grappa will be facing off against Serena Williams. Although she won her opening round match, her prospects are not good. del Grappa might be praying to the Madonna of Mt. Grappa and all the saints of the Veneto for assistance, we are quietly taking bets as to Camerin's over/under.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Excuses and Expectations

Maybe we just should have announced we were taking the summer off, since our publication rate has been below what we were expecting. That is not to say that we have been slacking off, it just seems that we have been enjoying our "researches" a little more than we've enjoyed writing about them. Our afternoon Kino Matinee count is almost at forty movies since the end of June, far too many to update one and all on, though perhaps we might be able to offer some sort of summary nearer the end of the month. A similar story exists in music, where a flood of mediocre new releases has seen us retreat into some stellar archives.

But for now, we are preparing ourselves (and our drinks) for the highly anticipated tennis match-up of Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal at the Rogers' Cup in Montreal. How we wish we were there, watching perhaps from some patio along St. Laurent our Sherbrooke.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gimmee That Ol'Time Religion

It's not often that you will hear us espouse on religious matters, but recent announcements coming out of the Vatican have left us a little perplexed.

Several weeks ago the Pope announced that congregations wishing to use latin during mass would be free to do so. This comes as part of the general conservative trend that seeks to undermine and roll back the clock on certain liberal efforts of recent popes such John Paul II. In fact, Pope Benedict XIV's endorsement of last year's book by Archbishop Augustino Marchetto deliberately downplays the importance of the Second Vatican Council, almost as if the popular mid-twentieth century conference on religious reforms never happened the way the public imagined it: you know, no more meatless Fridays, no more priests disappearing behind screens during mass to whisper in languages people no longer spoke, and host of other things.

In fact, our own Marchetto, has suggested that it was the popularity of Vatican II that kept many Catholics out of the counterculture of the 1960s. Our Marchetto (Sean), working off a survey done in the 1960s by Kenneth Kenniston that showed Catholics made up 5% of the "hippie" population, supposes that involvement in a counterculture can be viewed as a measure of dissatisfaction within a particular religious community. The achievements of Vatican II, coming out during the late 1950s and early 1960s satisfied the needs of Catholics for change and modernisation. Now it would seem, the pontiff is suggesting that modernisation is not what the members of the Universal Church are looking for, and perhaps this is true - maybe we are simply assuming that the rapidly growing non-Western populations want the same as their Western counterparts, or, perhaps we are assuming that today's kids, who are flocking to organized religion at surprisingly high rates want a religion with more structure and tradition. As we said, we are perplexed and intrigued.