Mass of Joy (just not too much) and Peace

In Fall 2016, my church in Cleveland (Our Lady of Victories) began using a new mass setting in addition to the previous two in regular “rotation”. The reason was pretty simple – the two we have include one that is great for stark services and simpler seasons (Missa Simplex) and one that is great for big formal celebrations (the much maligned at times, Mass of Creation). While both are nice settings, we were missing an element of liveliness and energy that the Mass so richly deserves. So along with the music director, the cantors began ‘trying out’ new settings privately, and we eventually settled on Mass of Joy and Peace. Joy and Peace is a very upbeat setting, which (in my opinion) is much more fun to sing than either of the two others. Apparently others agree as well, giving rise to some very interesting arrangements online. My favorite being a contemporary arrangement by Daniel Houze. Moved into a rock beat, this version certainly hits the criteria for the concept of a “joyful noise”. The comments on YouTube, however, are less than positive. Several commenters lament the fact that it’s “too Protestant” or “liturgical abuse”. I find this quite ironic since the word “joy” is right in the title – apparently anything that sounds too joyful isn’t “Catholic” enough. Overall this makes me a bit frustrated as a young Catholic active in music ministry as a cantor. Apparently there is a very fine line somewhere that we are expected to hit – not too dirge-y and not too happy, or else our faith and reverence are called into question. Coupled with a widespread problem of participation in mass (In the past 20 years, I’ve only seen a handful of congregations that I would classify as “conscious, active, and full participation” as…
Read More

The Political Obsession

Recently a friend posted an article to Facebook about a colossally stupid thing two individuals did. The story wasn’t important, although it was interesting within it’s context. What I found really interesting was the first comment, which read “I bet they voted for Trump!”. Given our political climate in the United States over the past several years, it got me thinking: What causes people to become politically obsessed to the point that literally everything revolves around politics?
Read More

Jerry Lewis, Under the Sea, and Idolatry

Last night at Delta Writer’s Group, I proposed a ‘speed writing’ challenge based upon 3 very random lists of prompt material that came off the top of my head. The lists were “People”, “Locations”, and “Conflict”. When I rolled the wheel, I got “Jerry Lewis”, “Under the Sea”, and “Idolatry”. Five minutes later, this appeared. Who says you can’t make a story out of the most random of things Sebastian the crab dressed in his Sunday best To worship the comedian revered above the rest “Hey Mon, tis Lew day” he screamed with delight “We gonna follow tru day” His psychosis bordering on fright The chorus began its calypso serenade As his likeness was erected and upright it stayed In view of the crows, the mania, the glee All praised the Lewis, under the sea
Read More

Registering a Car in the State of Mississippi

There are things in life that one just knows or assumes. Then there are things that are hidden, obscured, confusing, or that no good source on the Internet exists for. This is one of the latter. So in case you don’t know… If you buy a car from a dealer in the state of Mississippi, and you live in Mississippi, all you need to take to the tax assessor is your yellow bill of sale copy. Bring a check to pay the crazy taxes, and you’ll walk out with your license plate. If you buy a car from a dealer OUTSIDE MISSISSIPPI, and you live in Mississippi, you need to wait up to 7-9 working days for that dealer to send the information to the tax assessor. You only have 7 working days (9 if out of home county) before crazy penalties apply. If you live somewhere else, hopefully someone else wrote up this information for you somewhere. Source: Personal experience, 2/22/2017 Frustration: Thinking that the dealer had to send information that they, do not in fact, need to send!
Read More

Much Ado About Inbox Zero

I’ve always been an Inbox Zero kind of guy before Inbox Zero was even a thing. From the time I got my first email address in 1995 to today, I’ve felt that the inbox should be empty nearly 100% of the time (I’ll outline my own exceptions below). Recently I told a friend that my inbox was empty and he was astonished, envious, and perhaps a little annoyed. It got me thinking about the practice, and about the relative merits or consequences of such a rigorous approach. Inbox Zero has been widely discussed among productivity mavens and life hackers for the last few years, with many staunchly defending it’s usefulness, and others claiming it is a colossal waste of time and energy. Opinions on email seem to be in no short supply – some argue that push is the way to go, others take the opposite approach and pontificate that checking only once or twice per day will up your productivity to the stars. If it isn’t blindingly obvious by now, the discussion boils down to what works best for the individual. For some, Inbox Zero will be the way to inner zen. For others, the inbox count is just a number, not one to be worried about or praised. In my experience over 20 years, I’ve found that I’m happiest when my inbox is nearly empty, so I keep up with that. If you’re experiencing email overload, you might find Inbox Zero satisfying as well (as soon as you dig out of your current overload!). For what it’s worth, I’ve tried ditching Inbox Zero and experience quite a bit of anxiety over it (which kinda scares me) – I’d like to be ‘cool’ with having stuff in there, but I suppose old habits die hard. One final note –…
Read More

You Found Me! (Your Weird Professor)

Each year I try to write something on my blog right before school starts up again. This past week has been pretty crazy as I juggle multiple roles while making sure everything is set for Monday when I step back into the classroom for the first time since the end of April. And tomorrow I get to take on a fun new role – the guy helping to drive the Peoplemover during Move-in Day. It’s been busy, but I still found some time to put together this post. This year I’ve decided to write it to the students who will eventually find it over the next few weeks – those intrepid individuals who think “Wonder what’s on my professor’s blog” or find a link to this on social media. So allow me to introduce myself, using photos! So there is a quick photo summary of your crazy professor. I’ve been teaching for a long time, but I’m still learning every day.  If you happen to read this, come up to me and tell me! Its not weird to “stalk” your professor (here or on social media) – we’re all human and we like to learn about other humans. That’s why I went into teaching and psychology in the first place! Have an awesome school year everyone!
Read More

Living and Blogging in 3/4 Time

It’s been awhile since my last post, and I have some very good reasons for that – and despite what one of my favorite artists would sing, Summerzcool is not where the courses are easy and there are no rules! Read on for a life update!
Read More

Spanking is Wrong for These Three Reasons

As a psychologist, I often am asked questions related to children, child rearing, and development. One comment I often get from students and parents alike is that they disagree with most experts on spanking. They believe it is an effective form of punishment and (in some cases) have told me that they will not change their mind. I figured today I’d take some time to explain the reasons why spanking is wrong, giving you a chance to think about them and debate.
Read More

Seasonality

In August 1986 I started school. I was 2 1/2 years old, and I think my mother figured it was time for me to get out of the house and see the world, or at least the preschool at Thoreau Park Elementary School. In a few short months, that will have been 30 years ago. And while those first 3 years of pre-school (my mother really wanted me out of the house…) may have consisted only of half-days, they did run the entire length of the school year. This means that, as of Spring 2016, I’ve completed 30 school years, as either a student or a teacher.
Read More