What’s Wrong with the World

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November 2019 Archives

November 3, 2019

“Just throw my bones in a hole in the ground” -- Lord Huron's spectral harmonies

by Nolan Cella and Paul Cella


Let’s say as things now stand your interests in music run toward the ethereal and harmonic sector of Americana. Put more picturesquely, imagine yourself in the mood for some cool and moody indie-rock from the Old Northwest Territory.

Perhaps for the moment you prefer the gigantic mild skies, the Great Lakes, the bitter winters: this you prefer to the sunbaked woods of rockabilly or country or swampy Southern blues. Your heart yearns for the Northwest Ordinance, not the Mason-Dixon Line.

Why, you could hardly do better than give Lord Huron a listen. Led by the golden-tongued Michigander Ben Schneider, the band takes their name from the third largest of the Great Lakes.

Third largest? Affirmative. It turns out that Lake Huron is nothing less than the world’s third largest lake; and given its extraordinary proliferation of tangled inlets and islands, by some measures this inland monster has more freshwater shoreline than any body of water on earth. Exceeded only in water volume by its siblings Superior and Michigan, Old Man Huron is a lord of waters indeed.

Lord Huron the band plays music that resembles the expanse of the Great Lakes: vast and mysterious, seductive and formidable. Now based in L.A., these guys have carved out a nice little niche for themselves in the constellation of American music. Each of their three albums, Lonesome Dreams (2012), Strange Trails (2015), and last year’s Vide Noir, represents a successful foray into a kind of atmospheric grove-rock sound that leans on harmonies and chiming guitars to enchant the listener. On stage, the band projects a professionalism that is occasionally broken by a contagious burst of wild emotion. They portray the world of a shaman telling tales of mythical vision-quests while instilling wisdom on life and manhood; a lively image of the world in this confused era.

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November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving, 2019 Edition

We who are Christians and Americans have much to be thankful for, and I will here elaborate a few of those things.

First of all is the gift by God, that gift of infinite value: salvation by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, the God made man who gave his life for us sinners. The second is attached to it as the other side of the coin: the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, our savior; faith in the Church He founded, faith in all that He promised.

I put these before and above the gift of life itself, because they are worth far more: as the martyrs and prophets declared, faith is to be preferred over life itself, if God-hating men make it a choice between one or the other. But faith and salvation pre-suppose the gift of life, so we are thankful for that gift of life in the very midst of being thankful for salvation and faith. And necessarily, if we are thankful for the gift of life, we are also thankful for our parents and families, from whom we receive life and so much more – ideally, the first school of that permanent, faithful love that is our calling here in this world.

Like with our parents, we must be thankful also to our patria, our homeland, which comprises both the society in which we live (in particular, our nation) and the formal expression of that society in its overarching principles of organization (including, but not limited to, its government). St. Thomas confirmed what the earlier Fathers and Doctors taught, that we owe filial reverence to the patria, after the reverence we owe our parents, and for somewhat the same reasons (though in different way). This filial reverence is in part thankfulness, and the proper name of this virtue is patriotism.

Under this heading, one of the common features of America for which so many people express gratitude is our freedom. And indeed, this is something for which we should be immensely grateful.

But what does it mean? What is this freedom that we celebrate?

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