Throwback Thursday

One of the oh so many joys of living in Rome was taking a walking tour with Nancy.  She is an American art historian who has lived most of her adult live in Italy and has a wealth of knowledge – both technical and anecdotal – on Italy ancient and modern. And she also seems to have access to things that you just don’t see on the average tour. On one occasion she managed to set up a private evening tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. After visiting it in a group of only 20 I was never able to go back during the crush of regular opening hours.

On another occasion she arranged a peek into the rare book collection of the Biblioteca Angelica – one of the first public libraries in the Western world. I thought I’d reblog three posts I wrote back in 2010 after that visit. At the end of this first repost there are links to the other two. I had several others in the works that were left unfinished and languishing in that very large “drafts” folder.

Willy Or Won't He

A week ago Tuesday I spent the morning at the public library here in Roma – well okay not just any old public library but one of the earliest public libraries in Europe. Biblioteca Angelica was founded in 1604 by Bishop Angelo (hence Angelica) Rocca, a writer and collector of rare books. He was also in charge of the Vatican Printing House during the pontificate of Pope Sextus V. He entrusted the care of some 20,000 volumes to the Monks at the convent of St Augustine, provided a building, an annuity, and regulations for its operation: the principle rule being that it was open to all people regardless of income or social status. It has functioned as a public library since 1609 and except for a few periods of renovation and civil upheaval has been a major source of learning and research material to anyone over the age of 16…

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New Canadian Stamp

Another reason to celebrate Canada.

Larry Muffin At Home

Canada Post unveiled today a new stamp to show that in Canada we have marriage equality and this is enshrined in our Constitution.


The stamp is in both of Canada’s Official languages, French and English and is shaped like a Maple Leaf with the Rainbow Flag and the Words Canada 150 to mark the Anniversary of Confederation 1867-2017.

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Throwback Thursday

Willy Or Won't He

Jacek Goldman and his Sister Wanda, Krakw, 1924 Jacek Goldman and his sister Wanda. Krakw, 1924. “My mother Wanda Meloch (nee Goldman) was killed in Bialystok after the Germans invaded in the summer of 1941. Jacek left the Warsaw Ghetto to join the partisans and nobody ever heard from him again. I received this photograph from my family in New York.” Katarzyna Meloch, Warszawa

While attempting to clean up what I laughing call my office I knocked a box off a shelf – out tumble all the family photos I had found when I closed up my mother’s house. The photos I had promised myself I would scan and catalogue while there were still people around who could remember those faces and places. A well-intentioned task still not begun 10 years later.

That and a New York Times article about a photograph exhibition at the Yeshiva University Museum in New York had me turning to a bookshelf to…

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The Music of Good Friday

I originally posted this video I created on Good Friday in 2015. I believe the combination of Palestrina’s Reproaches and Josep Maria Subirachs’ design fit the mood and drama of the Good Friday.

Willy Or Won't He

Frequently on past posts I have spoken of the strong role that music played in Holy Week observances in my old parish of St Thomas.  From the Hosannas of Palm Sunday to the Hallelujahs of Easter Sunday it was music rich in both the traditional and the modern.  On Good Friday when the sanctuary was stripped of all ornaments, the redos hidden by a black drape, the clergy, acolytes and choir robed in black cassocks and the organ silent the words and music of the liturgy of the day took on a more important role.

Though much of the sung liturgy was restricted to plainsong the setting of the Improperia, central to the liturgy of Veneration, was varied and ranged from Stanford to Sanders to Vittoria.  However I don’t recall the Palestrina ever being sung.  Though Palestrina had been released from his job as cantor at the Sistine Chapel…

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Seventh Inning Stretch

The days of our years are threescore years and ten;
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
yet is their strength labour and sorrow;
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Psalm 90:10

Well I guess that’s another milestone reached – as my friend (?) Rick reminded me earlier this week I am entering my eighth decade today.  That’s seventy years behind me.  Good lord that makes me one of those old farts I use to talk about when I was in my 60s!


Well it’s been an interesting seven decades with its share of ups and downs, good and bad – but from what I can see it’s been a damn good run.  For a kid from the sticks with no education I’ve done pretty well – no fame and god knows no fortune to speak off but I’ve been lucky in so many things.  But most of all I’ve been fortunate in my family, my friends, my opportunities, and my experiences.  For that I thank each and every one of you.

Many versions of the verse I’ve quoted from Psalm 90 refer to it as being the Song of Moses and though he was far older and wiser than I, it is my hope that in the coming decade will be little labour and less sorrow that he suggests.   And that what labour or sorrow there is, and being life we can be assured there will be some, it will be balanced, no exceeded by rest and joy.  And I know that as it always has much of that joy will come from my family and friends.

And to end the rather – for me at least – strange metaphor of the title:  Play Ball!

On this day in 1960: The first episode of Coronation Street, the world’s longest-running television soap opera, is broadcast in the United Kingdom.