Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #1

Thanks for the reading the Lattanzi Land Christmas Music Countdown - it will be found under the Greatest Hits link at the top of the page - you can also click on it here!

Number One on this countdown is an easy one - it's "O Holy Night". The toughest part was deciding which version of that great and wonderful song to use. There are at least five variations of it that I absolutely love. I have decided to put three particular versions of it. The first is from Celtic Woman in their Christmas concert:

The second is from Josh Groban...

And the third is from Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, who was featured in Number Three ("Silent Night") as part of Celtic Woman, but here she sings it as a solo, and much like her singing "Silent Night", it is absolutely angelic, and the high note she hits on the final "Noel" in the song is positively tear-inducing.

Again, thanks for following the Countdown. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and enjoys the beauty of the songs!

The Christmas Proclamation!

This has always been one of my favorite things about going to Midnight Mass every year at Christmas time.  The proclamation is a moving piece when done very well - and it always is at my parish.  A special shout out to my dear friends Eddie and Hilary, who became engaged at the end of Midnight Mass!  Cent'Anni!  And may the blessings of the Lord be upon them!  To the proclamation itself:

The twenty-fifth day of December.
In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world
from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses
and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world,
Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary,
being made flesh.
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Merry Christmas to all, and God bless us everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #2

For the rest of the countdown - go here!

Number Two on this Christmas Eve is a song that is fairly new, but it is one that I find to be a sweet song - "Mary Did You Know?" - a duet by Wynonna Judd and Kenny Rogers. While this isn't a song I would recommend for any kind of worship, and the Christology is a bit underdeveloped (theology nerd shining forth!), it is nonetheless a type of song that leads one to ponder who Jesus is. In this day and age of over-commercialization and a tendency to forget just what Christmas is about, it is a song that at least attempts to bring us back to what Christmas is about, and there is something to be said for that - a LOT to be said for that. Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #3

For the rest of the countdown - see here!

Number Three is perhaps the sweetest of all Christmas carols - "Silent Night". There are many wonderful versions out there, but none stirs the soul like the rendition performed by Méav Ní Mhaolchatha (then of Celtic Woman) and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt (still with Celtic Woman). Méav's voice along with Máiréad's violin is haunting, and she actually sings it in Gaelic first before singing in English. Her voice is truly that of an angel and no one will be able to convince me otherwise. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #4

For the rest of the countdown - click the link!

Number four comes from a source that is well known for its Christmas concerts - the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The selection is "Joy To the World". All through my life, there has never been anything more rousing than listening and singing this song as we leave Midnight Mass every year, especially the final climactic verse. Every year when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is on TV, I stop and listen. I obviously don't belong to that particular church, but damn it, they have a fine fine choir. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #5

For the rest of the countdown - go here!

Number five is one that I have come upon fairly recently, only in the last few years. I wish I had known about it earlier - it's "Christmas Canon" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I love the Canon in D by Pachelbel, and so any kind of addition to it like this is usually going to sound very nice. I love the singing of the children, as well as the medium speed orchestral arrangement. I can't say, however, that I care too much for the companion "Christmas Canon Rock". The remaining four are still to come! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #6

For the rest of the countdown - go here!

We are getting close to the end of the countdown, and at number six, we have an "unorthodox" version of a song - "Carol of the Bells" by Manheim Steamroller. As an added bonus, the video linked here is of a guy who rigged the lights of his house to the song. Quite a sight to behold! Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #7

To see the rest of the countdown - click here!

Number seven is a delightfully traditional carol - "O Come All Ye Faithful". The rendition of it here is done by the Irish singing group Celtic Woman. You will see more of them over the next week; their singing style is perfect for the types of songs that are sung at Christmas time - like listening to angels sing.

Most people only know the first verse of the song, but the subsequent verses are as good a summary of basic orthodox Christology that you will find. Usually, at midnight Mass, it is the opening hymn of that celebration after listening to the Christmas Proclamation. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #8

For the rest of countdown - follow the link!

Our next song in the countdown is a bit of a slower one, but is a timeless classic of the past 60 years - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Frank Sinatra. Originally introduced by Judy Garland in the early 1940's, the most famous version is this one by Sinatra, recorded in 1957. Many others have tried to emulate Ol' Blue Eyes, but with little to no success in that regard. Sinatra had a distinct voice and that's why people love this particular version more than any other. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #9

For the rest of the countdown, click here!

Number nine isn't a Christmas selection, per se, but the very essence of it is tied with the nature of what that Holy Day represents. It is the "Hallelujah Chorus", which is the final piece of the Second Part of Handel's Messiah (contrary to common thought that it is the final climactic song of the entire Messiah). This particular rendition is from The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus, along with its namesake chamber orchestra. The simplicity of something like this piece is powerful, and it goes within the Christmas spirit of celebration that the Lord has arrived. Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #10

For the rest of the countdown - check out the link!

Now we are finally to the top ten of the countdown! For the most part, we are dealing with religious songs from this point forward. Makes sense, since Christmas is, you know, a religious holiday and all (although Lucy van Pelt would argue otherwise).

#10 is "Go Tell It On the Mountain", done by Dolly Parton. She puts a lot of soul into it and is just an enjoyable performance. Christmas is nine days away, and we still have a lot of great classics and incredibly moving songs to get into. Enjoy and share!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #11

To see the rest of the countdown - go here!

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a classic all the way around, but the one that I love the most is the one from the 1979 special A Christmas Together, which has John Denver singing along with the Muppets. Miss Piggy's over-dramatic five gold rings is a highlight, along with the constant interaction of all the major characters that made the Muppets famous - Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rowlf, and so on. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #12

To see the rest of the countdown - click here!

The next one on this little countdown is a very simple song and yet every time I hear it, I can't help but sing along. It is Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad". Yes, it is very repetitive, but then again, so is the "Hallelujah Chorus" and the "Ave Maria". Repetition (or lack thereof) doesn't necessarily make or break the song. I cannot hear this song without thinking of this. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Where Does It End?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing for a ban nationwide on all 'smartphones' (and other electronic devices) in a moving car, even those that are hands-free.

That's a bit too much.

The question I ask in the title is an apt one.  Why stop there?  Why not ban eating and consuming (soft) beverages, listening to radios, and even having passengers in the automobile.  Aren't all of those things distractions as well?

While the accidents (such as the one mentioned in the linked article) are tragic, they don't necessarily call for the draconian solutions being put forth by organizations such as NTSB. What is being done in the name of 'safety' is ultimately an attempt to control our behavior and steer us like the cattle our political masters believe us to be.

Will banning hands-free phone make the roads safer?  I doubt it.  But what it will do is turn masses of people who would rather just go through life anonymously into petty criminals. Unfortunately, I believe this to be the actual goal of a certain subset of those who are currently in power.

Christmas Music Countdown - #13

For the rest of the countdown - click here!

For #13 we go with a little bit of soul...because..ELVIS!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #14

For the rest of the countdown - go here!

We are finally getting closer to turning it from secular to religious songs, but we aren't there just yet. #14 is another fun romp that people of all generations can enjoy - Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". Many have tried to emulate her style, but there is no one other than her who can belt this one out. This is also another song that reminds me of Home Alone, when Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) sets up the mannequins in the house to fool the burglars. Good times, indeed. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #15

To see the rest of the countdown - follow this link!

The next song in our countdown isn't necessarily even a true Christmas song, but it is associated very heavily with the season - "Linus and Lucy", the theme from Peanuts and one of the most iconic sounds of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The scene of all the characters dancing on the stage is a very famous one and has been emulated many times.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #16

For the rest of the countdown - go here!

A true classic we have at #16 - Andy Williams' "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year". I have always adored this version of the song. It is full of exuberance and gives some of the reasons why we enjoy the company of our loved ones and the things we do. True, it isn't particularly religious, but it does encompass the spirit of the season. Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #17

To see the rest of the countdown - click here!

#17 is an incredibly entertaining one - "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch", from the 1966 television special How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The lyrics were actually written by Dr. Seuss himself and sung by Thurl Ravenscroft (also the voice of Tony the Tiger in Frosted Flakes commercials). It provides some sense of comedic relief in what is otherwise a fairly serious (but poetic) program. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Albert Pujols Is Who We Thought He Was...

This picture is now obsolete
So I guess my wish of Albert Pujols coming to Philadelphia is null and void.  Nuts.

Pujols agreed to a ten year, $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of California and thus completely removed any semblance of the bright eyed this-guy-is-different-than-the-rest mentality that seemed to surround him for most of his career in St. Louis.

He's now a mercenary, pure and simple.

Now, before anyone jumps on me for that particular use of a loaded term such as 'mercenary', allow me to state that there isn't anything wrong with that, per se.  As one of the greatest players ever, he certainly has the right to sell his services to the bidder of his choosing. Notice, however, that I didn't say 'highest bidder', especially since Pujols didn't accept the allegedly higher deal the Miami Marlins were offering (supposedly $275 million).  The Cardinals were offering around $220 million, which is certainly not chump change by any stretch of the imagination.  With all that said about Pujols' right to do what he will in choosing his employer, let's mention a couple of other things...

1) Pujols took more money in Anaheim over staying in St. Louis, but he has thrown away the opportunity to be a local god and the greatest player in the history of the Cardinals franchise - greater than Musial, Hornsby, or Gibson.  That's his decision, and so be it, but money doesn't buy happiness and love, and he would have had the latter forever, and that kind of adoration in a hometown is priceless.

2) Can we please, please stop saying the Cardinals 'lowballed' Pujols?  $220 million to do any job is not 'lowballing' in any meaningful sense.  It is an insult to people who actually do get lowballed in their professional lives.  The Cardinals in some ways may actually be breathing a sigh of relief; Pujols will be thirty-two years old this coming season and ten years is a loooooong time.  Almost a year ago, I stated in these pages that I would go no longer than eight years for someone who is at his age.  I would bet that he doesn't play out the whole contract.  Time will tell...

3) The spin coming out is that Pujols 'took less money' to sign with the Angels.  It seems to me that this is an attempt to be Cliff Lee redux - from the whole 'mystery team' thing to this (idiotic) notion that he was leaving money on the table.  I had hoped the Phillies would be the mystery team again, but 'twas not to be.  I think Pujols and co. knew that the Marlins would be having a fire sale within 3-4 years anyway, and the Angels are a much more stable place to play with a big market and people who, you know, actually care about baseball.

I look at Pujols' signing and remind myself that the fundamental nature of Major League Baseball is that of a business.  A lot of people are upset, especially in St. Louis, but many fans of the sport are upset as well, because they truly believed that Albert Pujols was the final bulwark against the total immersion of the mercenary player; that he was a throwback to an era of loyalty to one team.  That mirage has been completely destroyed and the pieces have been vacuumed up.  Pujols is now just another guy who can hit a baseball very well.  

And that doesn't sit well with more than a few people.

Christmas Music Countdown - #18

To see the rest of the countdown - click here!

As you have noticed, we have been doing a lot of secular-type songs so far in the countdown. This is intentional for the time being - the truly religious songs will be coming as we move down toward number one.  #18 is a just a good, old-fashioned romp: "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms.  It's short, quick paced, and easy with which to sing along.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #19

For the rest of the countdown - look here!

We move to #19 today with one of the masters of the guitar - Chuck Berry and his famous "Run Rudolph Run". I have to admit that I can never think of this song without envisioning the McCallister family running though O'Hare International Airport in Home Alone. Catchy song, beat, and enjoyable to sing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #20

To see the rest of the countdown - click here!

We unveil #20 today with a bit of heresy to some traditionalists.  The choice is "White Christmas", a song written by Irving Berlin, but the rendition I chose is not by Bing Crosby, but by the doo-wop group The Drifters.  It's not that Bing's version is bad; it's actually very good - and the way he sings it in the film of the same title is very moving, but for repeat performance and sheer enjoyment, The Drifters it is.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

BCS Whining...

There used to be a time when I was as against the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) as the next guy.

Not any longer.

Does this mean I care about it?  Not really - as most people who know me well know, I am not that big of a fan of college football anyway. You should be able to tell by the dearth of posting I make concerning the subject.  Also throw in the fact that I have been known to defend the BCS against meddling do-gooders who try to fight one vice (greed) by using another (envy).  Hmmm, kinda like how the Occupy Wall Street movement operates...

But I digress...

The latest BCS berths have been announced and #1 LSU will play against #2 Alabama in a rematch of an earlier season game in which LSU won 9-6.  People are upset that Oklahoma State isn't 'getting their chance' to show that they can hold their own against LSU.

Too bad.  

I still advocate a playoff in college football - and there is a way to do it, but so long as the major conferences make this deal to line their pockets with television money, nothing will ever move forward with regard to a playoff system.  We can keep whining about it, but in all honesty how much has that accomplished?  Not a single iota of change.  I have decided that I am just not going to waste my breath anymore yelling and screaming about the inherent unfairness of the current system.  The BCS needs that bitching; it thrives on it - for it believes the axiom that 'any publicity is good publicity' - and there is a lot of truth to it.  The very fact that entire fan bases whine about being screwed over for the national championship game continues to give fuel to the BCS fire and does more to sustain the system than eliminate it.

The only way it will stop is for people to stop going and stop watching, which will never happen.  People don't have the discipline to just ignore the savagery known as college football, in the name of 'tradition' and other things.  Knowing these things, I have just decided to stop caring and learn to love and embrace the system.

It's not going anywhere, and that's the fact, Jack.

Christmas Music Countdown - #21

To see the rest of the countdown - go here!

The next song on the countdown is encompasses a little cartoon short - from the Chipmunks, entitled "Christmas Don't Be Late".  It's a cute little ditty and is one that I remember all through my childhood (even though I obviously wasn't alive when this hit #1 on the charts in 1958-59), thanks to the Christmas special, A Chipmunk Christmas.  This is the original short cartoon.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #22

To see the rest of the countdown, go here!

Today's song in the Christmas countdown is one that always stirs up an argument in my home.  The song, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer", is a novelty song that came out in the late 1970's, but has become a fixture on the radio.  How does it stir up an argument?  In the silly little cartoon of the same name, Grandma is held hostage and is alive after being run over by a reindeer.  In the song, as I argue in the post linked above, it is plain that Grandma is killed from the incident.  But no matter - every year brings up the exact same silly argument!  Anyway - enjoy the song by Elmo and Patsy...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #23

To find the countdown so far - go here! 

We continue our countdown today with a little bit of an outside choice, entitled "True Blue Miracle" from the 1978 television special Christmas Eve On Sesame Street.  It's a sweet little song that has a lot of the original cast that I came to know and love.  The premise of the song is that Christmas has the power to transform in ways that most other times of the year are unable to do. Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #24

We began the countdown yesterday with Gene Autry's "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" and we move along to the next one each day leading up to the celebration of the birth of the Lord.

#24 is Johnny Mathis' rendition of "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas". Most people are split in their opinion between Mathis and Bing Crosby's version, but Mathis has much more of a joyous sound in his rendition; Crosby sounds too down (and part of that is just how his voice is) in what should be a song that demonstrates a child-like joy of the approach of Christmas. Enjoy and make sure to return each day for the next song in our countdown!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Music Countdown - #25

This year I wanted to do a countdown of Christmas music - of my twenty-five favorite Christmas-themed songs; there won't be too many repeats of songs, but as I complained last year around this time, the all-Christmas format of radio stations just doesn't have enough material to sustain it for over a month.  This way is better - just consider it one Christmas song a day all the way through that day itself - when #1 will be revealed to all!

#25 - is an oldie - Gene Autry's rendition of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer".  I particularly enjoy the jazzy-flavor of it and the middle instrumental verse is the clincher.  Stay tuned every day during the afternoon for the next item in our Christmas music countdown.  Enjoy!

Christmas Music Countdown

This year I wanted to do a countdown of Christmas music - of my twenty-five favorite Christmas-themed songs; there won't be too many repeats of songs, but as I complained last year around this time, the all-Christmas format of radio stations just doesn't have enough material to sustain it for over a month. This way is better - just consider it one Christmas song a day all the way through that day itself - when #1 will be revealed to all!

Come here to see all the best Christmas music Lattanzi Land has to offer each and every day! Number One will be revealed on Christmas itself!  Enjoy

#24 - "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" (Johnny Mathis)
#23 - "True Blue Miracle" (Christmas Eve On Sesame Street)
#22- "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" (Elmo and Patsy)
#21 - "Christmas Don't Be Late" (Dave Seville and the Chipmunks)
#20 - "White Christmas" (The Drifters)
#19 - "Run Rudolph Run" (Chuck Berry)
#18 - "Jingle Bell Rock" (Bobby Helms)
#17 - "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (How the Grince Stole Christmas)
#16 - "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Andy Williams)
#15 - "Linus and Lucy" (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
#14 - "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" (Brenda Lee)
#13 - "Here Comes Santa Claus" (Elvis Presley)
#12 - "Feliz Navidad" (Jose Feliciano)
#11 - "The 12 Days of Christmas" (John Denver and the Muppets)
#10 - "Go Tell It On The Mountain" (Dolly Parton)
#9 - "Hallelujah Chorus" (Academy of St. Martin In The Fields Chorus)
 #8 - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Frank Sinatra)
 #7 - "O Come All Ye Faithful" (Celtic Woman)
 #6 - "Carol of the Bells" (Manheim Steamroller)
 #5 - "Christmas Canon" (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
#4 - "Joy To The World" (The Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Stupidest Songs of the 1990's...

I was going through my musical collection, especially through the 1990's, and there are indeed quite a few songs that are just idiotic.  Now, this doesn't mean that I dislike the songs; quite the contrary, I do like all of them for different reasons, but my liking them doesn't make them any less retarded in their sound or lyrics.  I have narrowed it down to four songs - I want the audience to either vote on these or nominate their own to the 1990's Stupid Song Hall of Fame.  So here are the four...

1. "Peaches" - The Presidents of the United States of America

2. "Tubthumping" - Chumbawumba

3. "How Bizarre" - OMC

4. "Rockafeller Skank" - Fatboy Slim

Each one of these is unique! If you have others, put them in the comment thread or give your reasons as to why which of these four is in fact THE stupidest song of the 1990's.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

But I Thought You *Wanted* To Pay More....

About three months ago, Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed in the New York Times asking, nay, demanding that the feds tax the 'super-rich' at a higher rate.  I believe his precise wording was to 'stop coddling' those people. Guess you were kidding, eh, Warren?  I suppose Buffett and his company don't want to do their, uh, 'patriotic duty'?  

Nothing to see here.  Move along folks.

Higher taxes for thee, but not for me! 


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Because Local Governments Have Nothing Better To Do...

The ostensible reason for banning artificial grass on front lawns is protection FOR THE CHILDREN!!!  Of course, this smells like a potential revenue generator more than anything else, much like red light and speed cameras, both of which are also done in the name of safety.  Further down in the story is this line, which absolutely kills me...
When asked why the fake grass would continue to be allowed in backyards, officials had no answer.
The answer is obvious, silly! It's because children never play in backyards, and thus don't need to be protected there!   Duh!

Seriously, all they have to say is that they think property values will be driven down with fake grass in the front.  Instead, they have to lie to people and tell them it's all about THE CHILDREN!  The issue comes about that the more we say things are all about THE CHILDREN, the more desensitized we will get to the real issues that are affecting actual children, and then we will be in bad shape.  We are already on that path, methinks, and that's a damn shame...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yes, I Am Alive!

The last week and a half has been an incredibly long stretch with school related items and the Event™ known as the Harvest Bazaar.  It's finished, but there is still one more thing to do with it - deconstruction.  Regular blogging will resume in the middle of this week.  -- J.L.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The New Mass Translation...And A Fisking!

It's been said by quite a few people that you have to shut your brain off when reading or hearing anything the news media has to say about Catholicism, and this article from the Washington Post from last Thursday is no different.  It is in dire need of a good fisking here. So let's begin...
English-speaking Catholics are bracing for the biggest changes to their Mass since the 1960s, a shift some leaders warn could cause “ritual whiplash.”
Who are these 'some leaders'?
The overhaul, which will become mandatory Nov. 27, is aimed at unifying the more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide with a translation that is as close as possible to the original Latin version. It allows for less independence and diversity of interpretation in a church that in recent decades has tried to retain more control over how Catholicism is defined.
The horror! God forbid that the translation actually be faithful to what the 'original Latin version says'. Why do I get the sense in reading this paragraph that the author of the story believes the translation to be some kind of nefarious Romanist, Popish plot? Technically speaking, the Mass has never allowed for a diversity of interpretation and independence. One quick look at the Missal demonstrates that the prayers of the Mass are in fact 'universal', which is what 'Catholic' means.
The new translation changes the majority of sentences in the Mass. The prayers and call-and-response dialogue between the priest and the congregation are different, transforming the dialogue that Catholics under 40 have used in church their entire lives. Some leaders warn that the shift could cause “ritual whiplash” among those accustomed to a worship script so familiar that most recite it from memory.
Those 'some leaders' again! Let's get a couple of things straight about the history behind this. In the late 1960's, the Missal was revised from the Mass of Pius V, which had been in use since 1570 (sometimes called the 'Tridentine Rite') to the current Mass of Paul VI (officially released in 1970). It was hastily translated for the English-speaking world (which had been agitating the hardest for the vernacular) and the committee (ICEL - International Committee on English in the Liturgy) did so in a slipshod fashion that was more concerned with 'dynamic equivalency' rather than any kind of 'formal equivalency'; in other words, they went with how they thought it should be translated based on late 1960's linguistic tendencies. Thus the Latin phrase et cum spiritu tuo became 'and also with you'.

It's interesting because the New American Bible (the official liturgical English version of Scripture used here in North America) suffered through all the same defects of translation, and has been revised a few times since its initial release (also in 1970).
Reaction to the changes has been intense, in some ways fueling a Catholic culture war that began when the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s imposed far more sweeping changes designed to open up and modernize the church. Some traditionalists say the new translation of the ritual is richer and — because it’s less conversational — more mysterious and spiritual.
I will always maintain until the day I die that if they had taken the time to get it right forty years ago, we would have none of these issues occurring now. The problem arises that when you 'translate' words that have no equivalency to the original, you cease being a translator and you become an interpreter. ICEL was given free reign forty years ago with little oversight and put an interpretation forth rather than a straight translation. What we have now is an actual translation, which should have been done the first time.
But more modern Catholics, and some who are already disaffected, say the new language is an awkward imposition that will distance people from the church. The translation “wouldn’t affect me going [to church] or not,’’ said Vilma Linares, who was walking near St. Matthew’s Cathedral earlier this week with a friend at lunchtime. “But the less conversational the Mass, the more they will alienate people.”

Erie, Pa., Bishop Donald Trautman says that such words as “consubstantial” and “chalice” and a Jesus “born ineffably of the inviolate Virgin” won’t help Catholics get closer to God.

“We have to keep in mind these are prayer texts being used by priests at a Mass,” he said. “People should be able to understand them when they are heard.”

Others, including clergy, have protested that the new translation replaces ones approved by the U.S. bishops.
Finally, they name one of these 'some leaders'!

Seriously though, if you are already 'disaffected', then nothing can be done to please you. People will always find things to alienate them. If you feel offended that we will use words like 'consubstantial' and 'chalice', I would bet my last dollar that those are just covers for whatever other issue you might have with the Catholic faith. The good bishop, unfortunately, is operating under the assumption that 'relevance' needs to be the key feature of the Faith. I find his comments to be a tad condescending, as if the faithful are too stupid to figure things out, especially when the solution is merely going to a dictionary to figure out what particular terms mean.
Perhaps the most basic change will be when the priest says: “The Lord be with you.” The congregation will no longer say “And also with you.” The new response is “And with your spirit.”
Which is what we should have been saying all along in the first place!
Some changes are more controversial. The line that said Jesus died on the cross “for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven” will change to “for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
There is nothing controversial about this in the least. Look up the actual words that are found in Scripture - Matthew 26:28: this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. If you have a beef with the line, take it up with the Lord, not the Church. What the Post reporter left out, or was too lazy to figure out, is that salvation is not a one-way street; it's not imposed by God, but also requires, nay, DEMANDS a response from us. Not all will end up in the Kingdom, as many of Jesus' parables make plain (i.e. 'many are called, but few are chosen').
Other changes emphasize the difference between common English and Latin: “When supper was ended, He took the cup” becomes: “In a similar way, when supper was ended, He took this precious chalice in His holy and venerable hands.”
I like this. It's a lot less profane (in the literal sense) than what we will have until November 27th. It gives us a sense that the Eucharist is, you know, sacred. I know, the horror!
A poll of Catholics done early this summer by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate showed that 77 percent of respondents were unaware of a forthcoming new translation. Catholic dioceses and schools began preparations a few months ago, running workshops and podcasts and updating Web sites to lay out what’s happening and why.
Don't know who this is more reflective on...probably those who don't attend Mass with any regularity, because I know that a lot of parishes have been running inserts in their bulletins lately preparing for the translation. My parish has already implemented a lot of the musical settings that reflect the new translation and we have read and heard about it coming up. If the number is indeed that high, then I just can't get worked up over people who are shocked, SHOCKED (and chagrined) about this new translation.
Millions of books are being replaced; each parish must buy its own. (What becomes of the old books? The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recommends burying them on church grounds or in a parish cemetery.) While parishes wait for the new ones, laminated cards will be put in the pews as a guide for worshipers.
Snarkiness ensues from the usual suspects: oh look at those silly superstitious Catholics burying books!! Actually, I don't know why anyone would have a problem with this - it's stimulating the economy, much more so than any plan put forth by our current political masters (yes, I went there).
Still, church officials say they expect serious confusion when those Catholics who aren’t connected with Catholic institutions and attend church only on big holidays, show up for Christmas. The Rev. Michael Wilson of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Solomons, Md., said he will offer this advice next month to his congregants: “Okay, folks: Everyone take a deep breath.”
Msgr. Wilson provides good advice (disclosure - he was my pastor for three years when we lived in Laurel and he was at St. Mary of the Mills). I have no doubt that I will probably spend a good three months reading off a card to make sure I get the statements right.
The new translation has been in the works since a decade ago, when Pope John Paul II called for a full replacement of the one that came out of the 1960s Second Vatican Council. The thinking that came out of Vatican II was that the Mass script should be contemporary and paraphrased, that people should pray the way they speak in regular life.
I want to know whose thinking that came out of Vatican II said that the Mass script 'should be contemporary and paraphrased'. It certainly didn't come from the actual documents of that council. Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy - December 4, 1963) actually said that Latin should 'retain the pride of place' within the liturgy. Not exactly an endorsement of 'pray the way they speak in regular life', is it?
As a result, pivotal changes were made. Mass was no longer said in Latin, and priests began facing the congregation (instead of standing with their backs to the crowd) and preaching more about the Bible rather than only on church doctrine.
Quick little pet peeve: I absolutely cannot stand it when the ad orientum posture is referred to as 'standing with their backs to the crowd'. A little research can go a long way - especially since Papal Masses at the main altar of St. Peter's have long been ad gentium (toward the people). So not all Masses prior to 1965 were done ad orientum. Ok, I digress...

The use of vernacular is not quite the 'pivotal' change the author of the article makes it out to be. Can it help? Absolutely. However, it wasn't as if the prayers were changed or as if the Mass was fundamentally altered. A sense of perspective is needed and historical ignorance needs to be shed. Consider that until the rise of the colonial powers and nationalism as a movement in the 17th century, Latin, ahem, was a vernacular language. To imply that worship had never occurred in the vernacular until 1965 is just sheer ignorance (or worse).
When asked this week about the issue, several priests repeated an inside joke: What’s the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist.
Trust me, this is not an inside joke. It had been repeated around my home for years - by my father especially. 
Catholics who speak other languages are on a later schedule and won’t see any changes immediately. There is no timeline yet for Spanish-speaking Americans. But the English version is perhaps the most important to the Vatican, because booming areas in Asia, including China, use it, not the Latin one, as the basis of their translations.
That's because all the other translations aren't quite as messed up as the one that came to the English-speaking world in 1970. They actually had more literal translations and just need slight tweakings here and there rather than wholesale overhaul (or rather, an actual translation) that we needed here.
Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the commission in charge of English translations of liturgy, said the reforms will promote unity. “The way we worship is what we believe,” he said. “If you want to have unity of belief, texts used in worship need to be the same.”

Several priests in the region said the controversy was being overblown.

“There are other things more important to focus on,” said the Rev. Gerry Creedon of Holy Family in Dale City, “like drone bombings.”
Interesting take by the good Father there at the end about the drone bombings. But anyway, I do believe that a lot of this is overblown, but stories like this one in the Post are contributing to the overblowing. Unity of text is important - we are a Universal Church!

As you could tell, I am a big fan of the new translation. I have my own copy of the revised Missal and have read through it - it's 1) a lot more reverent, 2) gives a much better feel of the sacred, and 3) is much closer to the words that we have in Scripture. The sense of meaning is better preserved with the new translation.

I just wish that the Post reporter(s) had done their homework a little better.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NFL Picks - Week 8 Primetime Games

In the afternoon games, I finished 8-3 and Ryan finished 7-4.  Here is the docket for the next two nights.  Let's get to them.  And enjoy the games!  -- J.L.

Dallas at Philadelphia (Sunday, 8:20 PM)

Ryan's Take: It’s Dallas week in Philadelphia and I still don’t know what to think about either team. Both teams play great at times during games and all of a sudden look like crap in other parts of the game. I think that this game will come down to turnovers and I think Dallas will get more turnovers from Michael Vick and win a close game.

Josh's Take: This is the Battle of the Enigmas. However, with my bias, I must get this out of the way...DALLAS SUCKS! Ok, I feel better now. Returning to an objective stance, the Eagles are pretty good when the lights are shining upon them, and with the homefield advantage, I believe that Philadelphia will prevail in what may be considered in the future to be an 'instant classic'.

San Diego at Kansas City (Monday, 8:30 PM)

Ryan's Take: The Chargers are a baffling team. They have all the talent in the world, but don’t play up to it. The Chiefs seem to be a team that has to play low scoring games to even stay in them. I think San Diego and Norv Turner figure it out for at least one week and beat the Chiefs.

Josh's Take: At the beginning of the season, this was an incredibly easy game to pick; now, I am not so sure. This is a tale of two teams moving in opposite directions. The Chargers look like they are on the downside whereas the Chiefs seem to be figuring it out a little more. This being the NATIONAL. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE. NFL, though, talent still prevails, and I like San Diego stepping into Arrowhead and actually 'stealing' one from Kansas City, as hard as that would have been to say just two months ago.

NFL Picks - Week 8 Daytime Games

Here are the Week 8 daytime games.  As I said last week, for the next couple of weeks, it will be just the picks for the day games; primetime games will get the full rationale and such.  Eagles draw a Sunday night game, so here's to hoping for a good slate of games all the way around.  Enjoy! -- J.L.

New Orleans at St. Louis (1 PM)

Ryan: New Orleans
Josh: New Orleans

Miami at New York Giants (1 PM)

Ryan: New York
Josh: New York

Jacksonville at Houston (1 PM)

Ryan: Houston
Josh: Houston

Arizona at Baltimore (1 PM)

Ryan: Baltimore
Josh: Baltimore

Minnesota Vikings at Carolina (1 PM)

Ryan: Carolina
Josh: Carolina

Indianapolis at Tennessee (1 PM)

Ryan: Indianapolis
Josh: Tennessee

Detroit at Denver (4:05 PM)
Ryan: Detroit
Josh: Detroit

Washington at Buffalo (4:05 PM)

Ryan: Buffalo
Josh: Buffalo

Cincinnati at Seattle (4:15 PM)

Ryan: Cincinnati
Josh: Cincinnati

New England at Pittsburgh (4:15 PM)

Ryan: New England
Josh: New England

Cleveland at San Francisco (4:15 PM)

Ryan: San Francisco
Josh: San Francisco

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Attempted Elimination Of A Meme...

Listening to the song "Puff, the Magic Dragon" is always a nice moment for me.  It's a pretty song; Peter, Paul, and Mary hit the harmonies very well.

What has long bothered me is this notion that the song is somehow about drugs, and people will say this with the flimsiest of evidence, because of course it is OBVIOUS that a name like "Puff" couldn't refer to anything other than marijuana.  It actually boggles the mind that people will mindlessly buy into this.  Naturally, pop culture does its share of helping keep this definition on the weakest of evidence.  Behold this scene from the 2000 film Meet the Parents:

Greg (Ben Stiller) represents that mindless repetition that just because the name "Puff" shows up, that it NATURALLY has to represent smoking. Jack (Robert DeNiro) actually has it right - that it's just a song about a boy and his magical dragon. It truly is a fantasy song that is ultimately a song about the loss of childhood innocence and a boy who outgrows his own imagination. That just must be too hard for people to figure out, so they fall back on this meme that is based on just one word, that happens to be a name (lest we forget). I wonder if the idiots who started this meme in the 1960's were the same fools who believed that because Paul McCartney was barefoot on the Beatles' album Abbey Road, that he must have been dead. Just a thought. But I digress...

It is amusing that even Peter, Paul, and Mary have poked fun at the meme.  One would think that the words of the authors would be enough to settle this.  First, Leonard Lipton, who co-wrote the song (via Snopes):

And then Peter Yarrow (the "Peter" of the group (also via Snopes):

If that doesn't settle it, then I have nothing more to say about it to you.  One of the reasons that Don McLean refused to ever give the official authoritative meaning to "American Pie" is that he always feared the freaks who simply refused to respond to logic and the meaning that he, as the author, gave to it.  

So, what's the big deal, you ask?  Why is Lattanzi going off his rocker over the fact that people think that "Puff the Magic Dragon" is about drugs?  The answer is that this kind of thing is a microcosm of the attitude and mentality of people.  Even when confronted with the evidence to the contrary, it's just easier to retreat back into the simple mindset, even when one knows it to be false.  We want the truth, it is said, but the reality, as Jack Nicholson (in character as Col. Nathan Jessup) so bluntly put it...

We can't handle the truth.  Even in something as easy and simple as the meaning of a song.  If we can't even get that right, then how do we get the bigger things right?  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Random Musings...

It's Tuesday and there isn't really anything going on (which is unusual for me until Thanksgiving).  So I figured I would put together a few random thoughts and questions...

- The most depressing song I have listened to recently is Pearl Jam's rendition of "Last Kiss".  They play it in a relatively upbeat fashion, but the lyrics are just downright gloomy.

- Most teachers find the parental email asking what they (as parents) personally can do to improve their kids' grades from a B to an A to be the most aggravating ones (For the record, the answer is nothing).  I disagree.  Give me that any day of the week and twice on Saturday over the parent of the under-performing student who is deafeningly silent.

- I want to know why no one will just straight up call BS on Tony LaRussa's explanations as to why he had massive brain farts in managing his bullpen last night in the Cardinals' loss to the Rangers.  Although as of recently, LaRussa finally manned up and took responsibility for the giant snafu.

- I love weekends in which I know my football team went undefeated.

- I have been paying a little bit of attention recently to the whole Occupy...(Fill in the blank) "movement", and the only thing it has going for it right now is media attention.  There is no coherence to it other than 'eat kill tax the rich' (which has all sorts of unintended consequences in itself), and each and every day brings more revelations that the "movement" is ultimately going to cannibalize itself.  It's a Catch-22 for them: a coherent message and platform brings organization, but also makes them more susceptible to manipulation.

- Rick Perry's flat tax plan is too high.  Twenty percent is too much.  I would also keep capital gains at least a little bit.

- So Joe Biden wants to run for President in 2016?  Let him.  I can just see his platform...Vote for me or else the national murder and rape rate will skyrocket.

- Please pray for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey.  Much as with Japan earlier this year, I fear it will get worse before it gets better.

- The next 3-4 weeks are going to be hectic, to say the least.  We are the co-chairpersons of the annual Holy Redeemer Harvest Bazaar, which takes place on November 11th and 12th. This weekend, I will be making a presentation at all the Masses to gin up excitement and volunteers.  Wish us luck!

- Let's just get to Thanksgiving with everyone's health and sanity intact.  So let it be written, so let it be done...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NFL Picks - Week 7 Primetime Games

Here are the picks for the primetime games.  Full recap will come on Tuesday.  Enjoy!  -- J.L.

Indianapolis at New Orleans (Sunday, 8:20 PM)

Ryan's Take: I think the Colts will move the ball against the Saints. I think the Saints are going to move the ball more against the Colts. New Orleans will win this one and it will be a closely contested game.

Josh's Take: Weirdly, this game will probably be an offensive shootout, as neither team plays very good defense. Ultimately, New Orleans will play better defense (relatively speaking) and pull out the win.

Baltimore at Jacksonville (Monday, 8:30 PM)

Ryan's Take: The Ravens have the best defense in the game right now and they are going to go up against a rookie in Blaine Gabbart. I think this game will be dictated by the Ravens defense and Ray Rice. Baltimore will win this game big.

Josh's Take: The Jaguars are starting a rookie quarterback, and the Ravens love to feast on such 'fresh' meat. I am surprised that ESPN allowed such a game to be played on their premier product. Baltimore walks all over Jacksonville.

NFL Picks - Week 7 Daytime Games

We are in busy season around here at Lattanzi Land. I apologize for not getting up the picks for the past two weeks. Through mid-November, we are just going to place the actual picks, but starting on the weekend of November 20th, the full explanations will be back for all the daytime games. Primetime games will still have full explanations behind the picks. Enjoy! -- J.L.

San Diego at New York Jets (1 PM)

Ryan: San Diego
Josh: New York

Chicago at Tampa Bay (London, 1 PM)

Ryan: Tampa Bay
Josh: Chicago

Seattle at Cleveland (1 PM)

Ryan: Cleveland
Josh: Cleveland

Atlanta at Detroit (1 PM)

Ryan: Detroit
Josh: Detroit

Houston at Tennessee (1 PM)

Ryan: Tennessee
Josh: Tennessee

Washington at Carolina (1 PM)

Ryan: Washington
Josh: Carolina

Denver at Miami (1 PM)

Ryan: Denver
Josh: Denver

Pittsburgh at Arizona (4:05 PM)

Ryan: Pittsburgh
Josh: Pittsburgh

Kansas City at Oakland (4:05 PM)

Ryan: Oakland
Josh: Oakland

Green Bay at Minnesota (4:15 PM)

Ryan: Green Bay
Josh: Green Bay

St. Louis at Dallas (4:15 PM)

Ryan: Dallas
Josh: Dallas

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An Educational Paradox

Test days drive me nuts the most.

I know, it sounds completely counter-intuitive, but of all the days of the school year, the eight days a year I administer a test to my classes are the ones where I am the tensest and the most irritable.  Most teachers I know absolutely love test days, because they can  feel laid back and relaxed.  I am the exact opposite, and there are a few of reasons for this.

First, during a test I am always hyper-aware of what’s going on in the classroom – and thus am always on the lookout for any kind of foul play. This is not something for which I have to be constantly on the watch during a regular school day. A regular school day requires a couple of admonishments here and there for a lack of attention and preparation but not necessarily against academic dishonesty.

Secondly, giving a test bears with it the frustrations of explaining things several times that should be somewhat obvious. It’s interesting in that I don’t mind repeating myself so much during a regular class period, but during a test I absolutely hate it – especially when I had explained it at the beginning of class (or yesterday and Tuesday). I guess it has a bit to do with the fact that I don’t want to cheat the kids out of time taking the test. So much of test-taking is about momentum and getting into the frame of mind with the material. If I have to repeat myself, then it follows that I am drawing their attention away from concentrating on the test.

Thirdly, there is always the fine line of how to actually make a test, and this is one thing that only can come with experience; no amount of schoolin' can help in the art of making a test juuuuust the right length so that it isn't too short or too long.  It truly is trial and error, but the other issue is one of self-interest: how much does the teacher want to grade?  It is always an interesting question from a pedagogical point of view; different types of tests will tell you different things.  Hence, I have a little bit of everything on them.  It can tell me a lot of different things about the students, but it becomes a little more to grade.  And that's the trade off.

Two tests down.  Six more to go.    

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Useless Grandstanding...

So apparently, some members of the 'world's greatest deliberative body' as well as some of our finest bureaucrats have decided they need to stick their noses where they don't belong...
U.S. senators and health officials are taking on a baseball tradition older than the World Series itself: chewing tobacco on the diamond.

With the Series set to begin Wednesday between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, the senators, along with health officials from the teams' cities, want the players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera. They made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Quick disclaimer - I am a former smoker and I find smokeless tobacco to be repulsive at best. That being said, this is patently absurd. If they want to use chew and dip, then they should be able to do so. It's their life and freedom, and it is up to them to deal with the consequences of their actions. But that's not enough, it would seem...
"When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example," the senators wrote to union head Michael Weiner.

The senators noted that millions of people will tune in to watch the World Series, including children.

"Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products," they wrote.
In Senate speech Tuesday, Durbin said, "Let's not let the health and safety of young baseball fans across America be a bargaining chip between the major league players and the owners. Let's win one for the kids across America."
This is what Senator Durbin used our taxpayer dollars to pontificate about on the floor of the Senate? Shouldn't they be working on things like how to remove burdensome regulations on businesses? Is this what our politicians are reduced to? Harassing entertainers and athletes when they are getting set to play on the biggest stage.  And for what?  To make oneself look good?

Never forget, our political masters know us better than we know ourselves.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility and parents actually, you know, raising their children with a set of standards?  Or do parents now expect the State to do that job for them too?  If our political masters were actually concerned about the health of the youth of America, they might undertake legislation that would actually put a dent into it:

Ban the NFL and football

But of course not; instead they decide to go after individual behavior that, by the way, is a choice.  You know, a choice?  But apparently, some choice is permitted while others are not.  I just get sick and tired of people who have made it their business to try and know what my business is.  Get a hint - butt out.  If Josh Hamilton and Matt Holliday want to pop a can of Skoal during the game, more power to them.  I also have the ability to say it's disgusting, and parents can teach their children about how it isn't healthy and the effects of long-term usage.

Senator Durbin, et al - shut up and go away.  Tend to your own house.  We'll tend to ours.

P.S. I'm pretty sure that Senator Durbin and Co. will have zero problem with protesters streaking across Busch Stadium during the World Series, though, because after all, they will just be 'making a statement'.  Children seeing nudity must be ok according to them, but grown men chewing tobacco isn't.  I just want to rip what is the remainder of my hair out.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Toughest Teaching...

In my class lately, we have been covering what I have termed to be Jesus' "Controversial Teachings", with the notion that in its own time and context the teachings were incredibly contentious.  Two-thousand years later, and only a couple of those are now not quite as controversial as they were to the primarily Jewish audience in the time of Christ.  The ones we covered are the following....

1) The Bread of Life (John 6)
2) Jesus forgiving sins (Mark 2, Luke 7)
3) Jesus using the name of God (YHWH) for himself (John 8)
4) The Good Samaritan (Luke 10)
5) Renunciation of Riches (Matthew 19)
6) Marriage and Divorce (Matthew 19)
7) Forgiving your fellow man (Matthew 18)

At first glance, probably #1-4 are less controversial now than they were in Jesus' time.  Many Christian denominations and churches celebrate some form of the Eucharist (correctly or not is a whole 'nother topic) and no Christian disputes that Christ forgives our sins or that he is the second person of the Blessed Trinity.  The parable of the Good Samaritan may only be controversial now because of the current laws that are named after the hero of that parable, though ironically, it is arguable that the current crop of "Good Samaritan" laws are actually antithetical to the spirit of what the Good Samaritan represents, but again, another topic for another day!  

So we are left with #5-7. 

In our day and age, at least on the surface, having to follow Jesus' command to 'sell all you have and give it to the poor' (Matthew 19:21) is very much against our borderline Mammon-worshipping society.  Wealth in ancient Jewish society was seen as a sign of one's own sinlessness, and today, it is seen as a testament to either a) blind luck or b) hard work.  Either way, there was and is a tendency to hoard for its own sake and to forget that it is only due to God's graciousness and providence that it is even possible.  

It hasn't been difficult for me, because through my life, I have never been wealthy in any pecuniary sense - most of life has been scraping by in some way, which is fine.  Sure, it's always nice to have more, but I will never begrudge others their earnings.  (One commandment that many tend to forget these days is the 10th - Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's possessions. Unfortunately, we have an entire cottage industry that predicates their entire existence on envy.)

The issues surrounding marriage and divorce are way too numerous to recount here, but let's just say that there are hardly any people that haven't been affected by especially the latter in some way, shape, or form - whether directly or indirectly.  

This leaves us with #7, and what I consider to be the toughest teaching of Jesus to put into practice - forgiving one who sins against you.  It's interesting, because when we pray the Our Father, we recite the words 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us' without any real regard as to what it means.  Jesus said that forgiveness is a constant, on-going process (hence we must forgive seventy-seven times, rather than merely seven).  

Quite honestly, there are many times when people just don't want to forgive.  We tend to concentrate on 'getting back' or 'evening the score', which was the essence of the Old Covenant's 'eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' admonition.  True forgiveness takes courage; a courage that not many of us possess for any length of time.  Grudges are held easily and our fallen nature makes it easy to do all these things except for what Christ called us to do. I do not exclude myself here.  I have gotten better in the past few years, but there was a time when grudges were very much a part of the deal.  I was wrong then, but I still have a ways to go. 

It's the on-going process of forgiveness that can be a deal-breaker for many, especially when you hear a lot of people mindlessly repeat the mantra 'forgive and forget'.  First of all, the default position for fallen man is to do neither of those things.  Secondly, Jesus' teaching doesn't permit forgetting; remembrance is necessary for the continued forgiveness.  However, we can stumble on that because remembering might make us angry all over again concerning the way we were wronged.   

It's never easy, of course, but as Christians, we are called to 'be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect'.  We get there, one step at a time.  It always reminds me of that one saying...

There, but for the grace of God, go I.