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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

This And That Archives

Spit-take of the day

posted by jmcgee

A reader left a comment about this post, by noting: This reminds me of a great salutation at the start of the Mass, “Let us stand and greet our celebrant, Father Whachamacolit, by singing “Hail, Holy Queen.” Eyebrows leap up […]

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“Have a Coke and a smile”

posted by jmcgee

Remember that ad? This sweet video below gives new meaning to it — and it will really make you smile. Enjoy.

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In Florida, preserving a “pocketful of miracles”

posted by jmcgee

This treasure trove contains some of the oldest bits of American history, pre-dating even the Pilgrims: Sister Catherine Bitzer slowly opened a file box and carefully removed a brittle page, scarred by years of neglectful storage, mold and insects. At […]

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Want to feel really old?

posted by jmcgee

Grace Slick — “White Rabbit,” “Somebody to Love,” etc. — just turned 70.  “I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled…”   Sigh. 

The best “Mad Men” episode. Ever.

posted by jmcgee

Betty seethed. Don cried. Roger resisted. And Joan’s hapless husband Greg decided to join the army so he could be a surgeon. Would he have to go overseas? “Maybe West Germany, or maybe Vietnam, if that’s still going on,” he […]

What’s George Washington doing in jail?

posted by jmcgee

For the answer, check out  this unusual art project: photographing ordinary people who happen to bear the names of presidents. 

Metropolitan Jonah and his amazing technicolor vestments

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amazing, indeed. Check out more here.

Playing Father

posted by deacon greg kandra

Up in Boston, a man who once studied for the priesthood is now playing a priest onstage — and the Boston Globe’s Michael Paulson turns a spotlight on this intriguing melodrama: The weary priest, seated on a deep couch with […]

Bono and the pope: an encore?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The celebrated rocker knows his way around the Vatican, and he’s no stranger to papal audiences (see the photo above.) And a report indicates may meet with John Paul’s successor later this year: Bono has been invited to meet with […]

God bless us, everyone: Disney’s new take on Dickens

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those of us who loved Robert Zemeckis’ “The Polar Express” can now look forward to another shiny present under our Christmas tree, with his take on “A Christmas Carol,” featuring Jim Carrey as Scrooge. A first look, below.

A Jewish Catholic Shinto Greek wedding?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes, but I don’t think any could be quite as unusual as this one, melding three different faiths. From the Los Angeles Times: We are on the Greek island of Spetses. It’s 30 hours […]

The creed to come: satire or prophecy?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled upon this the other day. It comes from the old BBC series “Not the Nine O’Clock News.” It’s hilarious — but probably not as funny today as it was nearly 30 years ago, when it first aired. Incredibly, […]

Why this post? Just because.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Okay. It has nothing to do with faith or deacons. But this is just too funny to let pass. Enjoy. U.S. Condemned For Pre-Emptive Use Of Hillary Clinton Against Pakistan

May the force of Jesus be with you

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another reminder, from the Georgia Bulletin, that priests aren’t that different from the rest of us. They can be geeks, too: Among people costumed as Star Wars storm troopers, bare-chested Spartan warriors and Superman, there stood Father Bryan Small in […]

Why the only books I favor burning are yearbooks

posted by deacon greg kandra

The sad part is: I really did look like this. The horror, the horror. Snaps, courtesy Yearbook Yourself, with an embarrassed h/t to Fr. Austin. UPDATE: Um, some readers seem to think these are really pictures of me. Sorry to […]

E.T., phone Rome

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Vatican official has some interesting thoughts on aliens — not the undocumented kind, but the outer space kind: Father Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said this week there is no opposition between belief in the existence […]

Further proof: Susan Boyle’s got talent…and faith

posted by deacon greg kandra

When was the last time you saw someone on a top-rated TV show praying before the Blessed Mother? Check out the clip below, from the finale of “America’s Got Talent.”

Knockin’ on heaven’s door: a summer of celebrity deaths

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of learning of the death of Mary Travers, someone posted a comment, noting that Henry Gibson had also died today. Does it seem like a lot of well-known people are shuffling off this mortal coil? The […]

Mary Travers, 1936-2009

posted by deacon greg kandra

Somewhere in a battered cardboard box in the back of my closet there is a 45 rpm recording of this classic (and controversial) song that I played over and over and over on a record player in my corner room […]

Susan Boyle’s first single: “Wild Horses”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, here it is. The first cut from Susan Boyle’s debut album, “I Dreamed A Dream.” It’s a cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1971 ballad “Wild Horses.” The good people at Wikipedia inform us that it’s been recorded previously by […]

Got a match? “Catholic Match” turns 10

posted by deacon greg kandra

Light the candles: the Catholic online dating service Catholic Match is marking its 10-year anniversary. Rhode Island Catholic takes a look at the impact of this internet phenomenon: Brian Barcaro, co-founder of Catholic Match.com, could be considered partly responsible for […]

Jesus in 2009?

posted by deacon greg kandra

These pictures are provocative in all the right ways. (Check out Jesus with the Nazi!). As the article explains: A veteran fashion photographer who is used to having his works featured in Vogue, GQ and Elle, will release his most […]

The angels are laughing

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the legs that go first; it’s remembering the word for legs.” – The brilliant comedy writer Larry Gelbart,who gave the world “Tootsie,” “Oh, God,” and the TV series “M*A*S*H.”He died yesterday at 81.

Light a candle…on the internet?

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for a high tech church?: A Catholic church is allowing worshippers to light candles in memory of their loved ones over the internet as it seeks to reach out to a broader community. The church of Santa Maria […]

All I really need to know I learned from “Inglourious Basterds”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I finally went to see the Quentin Tarantino opus “Inglourious Basterds” today. I liked it. I didn’t love it, the way I loved “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” but it had some typically Tarantinovian touches: cool music, crazy camera work, […]

Please silence your cell phones. Or else.

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader saw this post on cell phones and sent this my way: one Protestant congregation’s witty way of dealing with an all-too-common problem.

Somebody’s brilliant brainstorm

posted by deacon greg kandra

Play this video, and close your eyes. In a few seconds, you’ll want to check and make sure you didn’t leave a window open. Prepare to get drenched — in imagination and a little bit of genius. You just have […]

What are you searching for?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something pretty great, sent in by a reader:

Simply incredible: paintings that look like photographs

posted by deacon greg kandra

The image below is not a photograph. It’s a painting. Yes. That’s right. A painting. Same with this picture, too: Amazed? I know I am. Is it art? Well, it’s definitely…something. Read more about it and see other examples right […]

Calling Quasimodo: does this ring a bell?

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for a dying art: a glimpse at the exotic and often-misunderstood world of bell ringing: Twelve people stood in a circle in a tower high above Wall Street. Eyes flitted from side to side, watching, concentrating, as arms […]

What the…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is the blogosphere big enough for two of these?

Ambassador Kmiec

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the most controversial Catholic supporters of Barack Obama was officially sworn in as an ambassador this week, and U.S. News & World Report’s Dan Gilgoff has the scroop: Imagine a Washington event that opens with Martin Sheen—aka The […]

Who’s your daddy?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some people might start to wonder. One company based in California (where else?) is taking the notion of designer babies to the extreme: Want your baby to look like Prince William? Easy. Michael Phelps? Done. A California fertility company whose […]

Another Kennedy burial at Arlington

posted by deacon greg kandra

Arrangements and details are trickling out: The official tributes and funeral services for Senator Edward M. Kennedy will begin on Thursday morning, when his body is carried by motorcade from the family compound in Hyannis Port to the John F. […]

Who can have a Catholic funeral? — WITH UPDATES

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some people might be wondering — especially in light of the death of Ted Kennedy. My understanding has always been that every baptized Catholic, with few exceptions, has the right to a Catholic burial. But, of course, there are nuances […]

Chilling. And necessary.

posted by deacon greg kandra

This graphic PSA from Great Britain reminds me of the disturbing accident films they used to show in Driver’s Ed. Do you sometimes text and drive? Well, you won’t after watching this. Warning: it’s not for the faint of heart. […]

Forget the monkeys. Watch how a gorilla opens a banana.

posted by deacon greg kandra

By now, you have probably seen this video, explaining the authentic, monkey-inspired way to open a banana: But wait. There’s more. Check out how gorillas do it (at least, at Busch Gardens):

Don’t stop believing

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amy Welborn can’t. Check out this latest entry. And then crank up the volume, below. Oh: and for a very different interp of the same music, there’s this version, from “Glee.”

The savory pleasures of “Julie & Julia”: cooperating in the act of creation

posted by deacon greg kandra

I never thought it would be possible for someone to make an absorbing movie in which the central dramatic question turned on whether a 30-year-old woman from Queens could master the art of boning a duck. But then Nora Ephron […]

Animal magnetism

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the always-amusing Jeanne Moos at CNN… Embedded video from CNN Video

That whacky guy from Galilee, Jesus

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did the savior of the world have a sense of humor? We know Jesus wept. Did he laugh? “A Pharisee and a Saducee walk into a bar…” Well, give a listen to this thoughtful and entertaining interview with Fr. James […]

“Lovely Bones”: haunting preview

posted by deacon greg kandra

I loved Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” when I read the novel a few years back. It’s a fascinating and moving glimpse at grief, narrated by a young girl who was murdered and who recounts how she watches over her […]

“Talkin’ ’bout my generation”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I popped over to visit Happy Catholic today and discovered The Zimmers. I’m now smitten. Who, you may ask, are The Zimmers? Just some rowdy senior citizen rockers who have caused a sensation across The Pond. Check out this delightful […]

How long until we can tweet confession?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The day is fast approaching. Our Hebrew brothers and sisters can already tweet their prayers, according to this report: Want to tweet God? An Israeli university student has opened a Twitter site, twitter.com/thekotel, where prayers can be sent for placement […]

You have never seen anything quite like this. Really.

posted by deacon greg kandra

From The Anchoress comes this astonishing example of “sand animation,” from the Ukraine. The explanation: The video tells the story of life during World War II or The Great Patriotic War, as it’s known in the Ukraine. It is no […]

Maddening

posted by deacon greg kandra

Our long national nightmare is almost over. “Mad Men” returns tonight at 10. What started for me as a guilty pleasure two summers ago has become as addictive as nicotine and as intoxicating as a Bloody Mary. It also happens […]

Best divorce video. Ever.

posted by deacon greg kandra

I thought Weird Al might get to it first, but no! This delightful take-down of that great wedding video (which some say was crap, but I loved it anyway) nails it. Enjoy. See more funny videos and funny pictures at […]

I’m a Mad Man

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Anchoress sent me this link and — knowing how much I love this show — said, “Here. Knock yourself out.” I did. The results are below. The new season begins August 16. Set your TiVo!

Another sign of the coming apocalypse

posted by deacon greg kandra

Or, maybe, our desire for naps.

Beware: this preacher is armed

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader sent me the picture below (I’m not sure where it was shot; it was sent to him by a friend) and noted: “Having traveled all over the US and Europe I haven’t even seen it before. So, I […]

Sister Uma

posted by deacon greg kandra

This may seem like an improbable casting choice, but there’s word from Hollywood that Quentin Tarantino’s muse will soon be donning the habit to play a nun. From CNA: An upcoming movie will portray the real life story of Ugandan […]

Best wedding processional. Ever. Now, the backstory…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, the couple who launched this terrific wedding video are speaking out about their exuberant nuptial boogie. They popped up a couple days ago on TODAY: Most couples wait until the reception before breaking out into the Funky Chicken on […]

A thorny problem

posted by deacon greg kandra

Clearly, I have too much time on my hands. A former colleague from CBS posted this on his Facebook page: A band of friars lived up on top of a secluded mountain. They had hardly any money, so one day […]

Ladies and gentlemen: the real Invisible Man

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s a certain mad brilliance to this kind of artistry. Check out the picture below: A website explains: 35-year-old Liu Bolin, from Shandong, China, manages to camouflage himself in any surroundings, no matter how difficult they might be. Liu works […]

Best wedding processional. Ever.

posted by deacon greg kandra

I know I should probably be shocked and wringing my hanky into knots over this. It’s clearly not what most of us would have in mind as the proper way for beginning the celebration of a sacrament. (N.B., it wasn’t […]

Shalom! Franciscan friars to open Hebrew academy

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something you don’t hear about every day: Roman Catholic Franciscan friars are to open Poland’s first privately-run Hebrew academy in October with the approval of the country’s chief rabbi and a Polish cardinal, its rector said Tuesday. “We’ve started […]

Mad as a hatter?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Clearly, that sums up Tim Burton’s vision succinctly. The first trailer for his adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” is out. See below. Disney is producing. Spinning teacups, anyone?

Warning: something adorable ahead

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s Wednesday in late July. The Vatican has rolled up the sidewalks and the pope is out of town and the news cycle is slow. Hence, this:

“Doesn’t that have something to do with family finances?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s one of the responses we got when my TV show “Currents” visited some parishes this past Sunday and asked the question, “What’s NFP?” This week marks Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, and so we decided to see just how […]

The naked novice: nun sues ex-boyfriend over revealing Facebook pics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another sign of the times. You can’t make this stuff up: A novice nun is suing her ex-boyfriend in Italy after he uploaded pictures of her naked on Facebook. The 31-year-old woman who lives in Turin said she was devastated […]

You deserve a break today: Happy Birthday, Happy Meal

posted by deacon greg kandra

Everyone is getting all excited about the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. How about the 30th birthday of the Happy Meal? The kids’ meal was first introduced nationally in 1979 with a Circus Wagon Train theme and tried to […]

A culinary star whose recipes are second to nun

posted by deacon greg kandra

The culinary world has a new star — and it’s not someone on the Food Network. Take a look: Emerging from the quiet of her convent, Sister Anastazja Pustelnik was confronted by a jarring image — her smiling face on […]

Need a laugh?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This should do it. Quadruplets giggling. Go ahead. Smile. H/T Creative Minority Report.

From the e-mailbag: thoughts on being a “Catholic judge”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This arrived in my e-mail this afternoon, from Deacon Marv Robertson, in the Diocese of Lansing. I asked him if he’d mind my sharing it on the blog, and he happily gave his permission: I recall some weeks ago, the […]

Communion in the Sea of Tranquility

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a poignant flashback to the anniversary of man’s landing on the moon — the launch happened 40 years ago today — from New Zealand Anglican blogger Bosco Peters: On Sunday July 20, 1969 the first people landed on the […]

Those other Deacons…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ever met a Demon Deacon (besides the snarly one in your parish sacristy)? It’s the curious mascot for Wake Forest University, and someone has finally explained the character’s origins: There are some things at Wake Forest that are absolutely unique. […]

America’s Susan Boyle?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You decide. One thing is certain: this guy’s got the goods.

Anybody you know?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Exhibit A in how not to practice the New Evangelization.

What if the Beatles were Irish?

posted by deacon greg kandra

No need to wonder any longer. This guy has it figured out. It’s a hoot.

Stumped: thousands see Mary in a cut willow tree

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Marian Oddities Desk, a report that some of the faithful in Ireland are seeing the Blessed Mother in a tree stump: Thousands of Irish Catholics have flocked this week to a County Limerick church to pray at the […]

The NEW kings of pop

posted by deacon greg kandra

While the world was obsessing about the Michael Jackson funeral, Evian unveiled this amazing — and amazingly freakish — ad that has apparently taken the internet by storm. How’d they do that? See below. Watch CBS Videos Online

Isn’t that St. Peter’s on the cover…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

…Oh, no. My mistake. It’s the U.S. Capitol. It’s on the cover of Dan Brown’s new book — whose cover was released yesterday with much fanfare: Ramping up the publicity campaign for Dan Brown’s long-time-coming follow-up to “The Da Vinci […]

Did he play “We Are The World” for the processional?

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now for something different: a brief Michael Jackson tribute, played as the postlude on the organ of the Trinity (Episcopal) Church on Wall Street in lower Manhattan. It’s a blending of “Beat It” and “ABC.” (A wave of the […]

Go Fourth!

posted by deacon greg kandra

As only the Muppets can… Happy Independence Day, one and all.

Should the flag be displayed in church?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A regular reader and FOB (Friend of The Bench), Msgr. Thomas Welbers from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offers a few thoughts on the subject in this week’s issue of LA’s The Tidings: There is no law, either ecclesiastical or […]

If anyone’s looking for me, this is the LAST place you’ll find me — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pull me in. Now. Please. Read all about it from the safety of your desktop right here. UPDATE: You can also find more information, and more heart-stopping pictures, at this link. I’d recommend sitting down first.

Just in time for the Christmas holidays…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…what may be the most spectacularly depressing movie of all time! Really. Roland Emmerich — who obliterated much of the world in “Independence Day,” and then went back to do it again with “The Day After Tomorrow” — turns his […]

Blame it on Disney

posted by deacon greg kandra

That sound you hear is me, slapping the desk and laughing hysterically. Honestly. How can anyone take seriously something like this: Researchers at the University of Michigan have concluded that the love stories told in classic Disney and other G-rated […]

Who invented the Moonwalk?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not the person you may be thinking of. Take a look below at the man considered the originator of the moves Michael Jackson immortalized. The classic steps appear at the end.

What is faith?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the question posed by this item in the New York Times. It’s elicited over 1,000 responses so far. Care to weigh in?

“I hope he has the peace now he never had in his life”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I loved his music. His young voice was almost a miracle, his poise in retrospect eery, his joy, tempered by pain, often unbearably uplifting. He made the greatest music video of all time; and he made some of the greatest […]

The Jackson Effect

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone has any doubts about Michael Jackson’s impact on our culture, the videos below should put those doubts to rest. Three interpretations of a classic. The marching band just might be my favorite. (Besides the familiar original, of course.) […]

Farrah, the Catholic — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Farrah is in intensive care and is supported by Catholic priests consistent with her faith. I have reports that Farrah has received last rights. (sic) It is time now to make contact with your God and say a prayer.” – […]

After 62 years, still in tune with each other

posted by deacon greg kandra

For all those couples celebrating an anniversary in this month of weddings — and all those who just need a quick day-brightener — get a load of this. A married couple, together for 62 years, tickles the ivories in the […]

“The words he wanted on his headstone are those he lived by each day: ‘parish priest’.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: a heartfelt appreciation in a Boston paper for a man who evidently touched many lives. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the Year for Priests than with this remembrance […]

Jon Stewart, prophet

posted by deacon greg kandra

If true, what does that make MCPF Stephen Colbert? Anyway: the scoop on Stewart, from David Waters in the Washington Post: In the July issue of Sojourners magazine, the Rev. Jim Wallis calls the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart a prophet. […]

Do you know an incredible priest?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, then, have I got a deal for you. To celebrate the Year for Priests, the folks at the Catholic Company are sponsoring a contest, inviting savvy Catholic videographers to submit short videos on YouTube about their favorite priests. There […]

Revenge of the nerd

posted by deacon greg kandra

From last night’s Radio-TV Correspondents Dinner in Washington. He’s the familiar guy from those Mac-PC commercials. And he was pretty hilarious.

“Interesting. It’s far too nostalgic.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

TCM just showed the documentary “Scorsese on Scorsese,” which ends with the very clever commercial below. (The documentary, by the way, also includes some pretty interesting dissection of his controversial “Last Temptation of Christ.” I once saw Martin Scorsese speak […]

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: writer’s block!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yeah, that’s about write. Er, right. Check out this amazingly cool video that raises the humble Post-it note to the level of art. See more funny videos and TBT Videos at Today’s Big Thing.

I feel better already

posted by deacon greg kandra

All you need to do is scan the headlines — or just google the word “Iran” — to get utterly and completely depressed at the state of the world. I need a Muppet fix. How about you?

“She’s one of God’s creatures, although she’s a Unitarian”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Blessing of the Animals is not uncommon around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in October. But in the city named for the saint, they didn’t want to wait for the fall: If Ursula could talk, she’d probably […]

“It’s missionary work turned into a business”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you’ve ever had a missionary ring your doorbell, you might be surprised to learn that some Mormons are now turning that skill into a second career during these tough economic times: Six days a week, in fair weather and […]

Ah! Bright wings!

posted by deacon greg kandra

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oilCrushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?Generations have trod, have trod, have […]

68.1 million, and counting…

posted by deacon greg kandra

The 2009 Official Catholic Directory is out, and the numbers are in: The number of patients served in Catholic hospitals and the number of clients assisted by Catholic charitable agencies went up. Fewer baptisms, first Communions, confirmations and marriages were […]

Reason to rejoice

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is there any better way to mark the end of another week? I don’t think so.

Amazing gymnastic stunts: don’t try this at home

posted by deacon greg kandra

But watch. It’s spectacular.

Give this kid a blog, now

posted by deacon greg kandra

How about a hug?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve often said the world can be divided into two kinds of people: huggers, and everybody else. Now, the New York Times is reporting that, among teengers, it’s become hip to hug: There is so much hugging at Pascack Hills […]

“Highly improbable but mindlessly entertaining”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The USCCB has weighed in with its own review of Ron Howard’s “Angels & Demons”: Highly improbable but mindlessly entertaining sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” – adapted from Dan Brown’s prequel written in 2000 — in which religious symbologist […]

Mel: “I’m to blame”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Look. When it’s all said and done, I did a pretty good hatchet job on my marriage myself. I’m to blame. If you’re inclined to judge, put it here.” – Mel Gibson, talking last night to Jay Leno about the […]

Singing an American tune: a great poet from Forest Hills

posted by deacon greg kandra

I blame The Anchoress for this. She posted a string of great Paul Simon songs, which sent me scurrying to YouTube to find one of my all-time favorites. Here it is: a bittersweet elegy that comes from a different time, […]

Susan Boyle strikes again: her latest performance

posted by deacon greg kandra

The singing sensation returned to “Britain’s Got Talent” this weekend — and made it to the next round of the talent contest with her rendition of “Memory.” It’s a little rocky at the beginning, but she soon finds her footing […]

Because it’s more than just another three-day weekend

posted by deacon greg kandra

We remember.

Jesus in jeans

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’ve seen a lot of different interpretations of Jesus, but here’s something altogether different, from a church in England: He could be a singer, an actor or even a footballer. But this is no mere entertainer – this is Jesus […]

It’s a prayer, it’s a homily, it’s…life

posted by deacon greg kandra

Or maybe it’s Zen. But take 40 seconds and ponder this fascinating look at one year: One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

Everybody has a song

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those clever people behind the T-mobile “Life is for sharing” commercials have struck again. Here is a big, loud, lovable sing-along of “Hey Jude” recorded just a couple weeks ago in London. Enjoy. H/T to that Pittsburghian, Paul Snatchko.

A Mother’s Day thought

posted by deacon greg kandra

“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” — Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895.

The way she was: Susan Boyle, 1984

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know what you’ll find in the basement, next to the stack of 8-tracks and 33 rpm HiFi albums. Someone evidently unearthed this: a grainy tape (BETA?) of a 22-year-old Susan belting out the classic Streisand tune.

The incredible disappearing car

posted by deacon greg kandra

A brilliant art project in England. Take a look.

Thank you for dancing with me

posted by deacon greg kandra

It snuck up on me, but my sitemeter at the bottom of this page now tells that there have now been just over one million visitors to The Bench. I’m amazed, incredulous, humbled and grateful beyond words. Thank you for […]

Fasten your seatbelts…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…for something wonderful. If this doesn’t make you smile, you haven’t got a pulse. H/T Googling God and The Concord Pastor.

“I think you’re the father of one of my kids”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I caught this on TV over the weekend. I almost did a spit-take.

Ron Howard charges Vatican interference in filming of “Angels & Demons”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ron Howard is continuing to fan the flames over the controversy surrounding his movie adaptation of Dan Brown’s “Angels & Demons.” The latest: Director Ron Howard claimed Sunday that the Vatican interfered with efforts to get permits to shoot certain […]

Owed to joy

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s Saturday night and this just seems like the right time for a little of this:

Shroud to be displayed in 2010

posted by deacon greg kandra

Reports from Rome indicate that he mysterious Shroud of Turin will go on display for the first time in a decade. From CNS: The Italian Archdiocese of Turin has announced that the Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the […]

Superstar? Superkitsch

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought you’d seen everything, with this tacky bit of shock- art… …along comes this: Evidently, that really is a legitimate design for a license plate in the Sunshine State. According to this account, Governor Charlie Crist said: […]

“The Vitae Monologues”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone weary of the incessant productions — and incessant debate — over “The Vagina Monologues” can take heart. Someone has produced a fitting counterpoint: A play created by a member of a Minnesota theater company aims to be an alternative […]

On intrinsic evil — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lately, one or two readers have left comments along the lines of: “You can’t say it’s wrong for Notre Dame to honor Obama, but not wrong for them to have honored Bush, because both presidents went against Catholic Church teaching.” […]

Susan Boyle fix of the day: a video from 20 years ago

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the Mirror in the U.K. comes this fascinating snip of young (or younger) Susan singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”

Ron Howard slams William Donohue’s “silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The director of the upcoming film of Dan Brown’s “Angels & Demons” has decided to turn his attention to the head of the Catholic League. Ron Howard wrote this Monday in the Huffington Post: William Donohue of the Catholic League […]

“It’s still more than almost any one of us will ever achieve”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I think it’s great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult. It is a great opportunity for her and as far […]

Today’s Susan Boyle fix: “Susan, you’ve got pluck, girl”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those clever people at “The Early Show” got Broadway legend Patti LuPone to join them as a guest this morning, chatting about Susan Boyle. Take a look. A cheerful wave of the stole to The God Googler for bringing this […]

On Susan Boyle: “She has lived an obscure but important life”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Susan is a reminder that it’s time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It’s people like her who are the unseen glue in society; […]

The prince of pieces: a Jesus made of Lego blocks

posted by deacon greg kandra

What would Michelangelo say? Take a look at this unusual statue of Christ. Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Breaking: Mel Gibon’s wife files for divorce

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just moved a few moments ago — and I have to say the timing, the day after Easter, is curious: From AP: Mel Gibson’s wife of 28 years filed for divorce Monday, citing irreconcilable differences. Robyn Gibson filed the […]

Joy

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader dropped the following note to Rod Dreher, and he posted it on his Beliefnet blog. It speaks for itself. Beautifully. (And it doesn’t hurt that the author evidently likes Merton.) Take a look: I’m a sophomore at the […]

Life is for sharing

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yes, it is, and this inspired commercial makes you want to share — and dance, and just grin. Enjoy. A jolly H/T to Sister Boogaloo herself, The Anchoress. Meantime, if you want to know how they did it, watch this. […]

“Making felt banners does not help produce a reverence for God”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Making felt banners does not help produce a reverence for God and the moral law. Catechesis may have improved in the schools, but fewer Catholic children are going to Catholics schools or to religious education classes. Instead they are picking […]

“Hey JC, JC, you’re alright by me…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now, a little ’70s flashback for you. From the movie version of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” just for Palm Sunday: Incredibly, Ted Neeley, who played Jesus way back when, is now touring in another stage production of the show. A […]

What Matt learned on his feet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Remember Matt Harding and his delightful dance around the world? Over at NPR, he’s offered his thoughts on what that exercise taught him: Here’s what I can report back: People want to feel connected to each other. They want to […]

“De-baptized”???

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not content with simply renouncing their faith — or just ignoring it and sleeping in on Sundays — a number of non-believers have decided to take things a step further: More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded “certificates of de-baptism” […]

From the Domers, to another dome…

posted by deacon greg kandra

With a lot of attention and ink being devoted to the “Domers” at Notre Dame, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at another Catholic university, and another dome, where a long-awaited architecture project may finally be […]

From the logo-sphere

posted by deacon greg kandra

Further proof — if any were needed — that anyone can have a blog, and there is a blog for anyone. This is called — with breathtaking precision –Your Logo Makes Me Barf. One example, below.

Life-giving water

posted by deacon greg kandra

A friend at the parish passed along a flyer about a worthy project she’s involved with and asked if I would spread the word. So here it is. She’s helping to raise funds for the people in the village of […]

Just when you think you’ve seen it all…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…along comes something like this: dolphins just doing what dolphins do. And it is simply amazing. This clip from Sea World is pure, undiluted delight. Just take a moment, watch and smile.

Raising hell

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now for something completely different. From the New York Times comes this odd item about a filmmaker who is having trouble with the law over the name he’s chosen for his production company: Back in the fall of 2007, […]

Habit-forming

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest sent this my way — an interesting item from Fr. Z on the fashion statement of the priesthood (along with some mild criticism from the always-smartly-dressed pontiff). The original news story, from ANSA: Priests are under pressure to […]

Monkeyshines

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Anchoress has posted her own link of great Irish contributions to the world — including Michael Flatley. Good as Flatley may be, I have a certain affection for the version below.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

posted by deacon greg kandra

A l’il bit o‘ green for ye. With Debbie Harry, no less. Enjoy.

A reader writes

posted by deacon greg kandra

This showed up this afternoon in the comments of a post from nearly two years ago: I’m a Catholic, my fiance is not religious. He never had any sort of mention of God in his life and doesn’t seem to […]

Happy Anniversary, Frank

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest I know is celebrating his 30th anniversary of ordination today. This one’s for you! Ad multos annos!

See it now: the first filmed papal blessing

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good Dr. McNamara dug this up from the vault, and it’s an interesting little curiosity: the first bit of film showing a papal blessing. It’s Leo XIII, in the 1890’s, and McNamara notes: It’s said that when this short […]

Lead us not into temptation

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just in time for Lent, when more of us are struggling to fast and do without, someone created this: It’s the world’s largest Girl Scout cookie. The caption says: Pastry chef Ernie Rich applies the finishing touches to the largest […]

Collared — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’d thought I’d toss this out there to see what “Bench” readers think. Most of us would probably agree that the collar to the right, or a variation of it, is typically found around the neck of a Roman Catholic […]

“Mary” joins the evangelicals

posted by deacon greg kandra

This little item may be a shock to many who watched the drama of World Youth Day unfold last summer. From a paper in Australia: World Youth Day was hailed for reigniting youthful passion in the Catholic Church, but the […]

Everybody dance!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone who’s seen it knows you can’t help but grin and bop along to the jubilant, delightful finale of “Slumdog Millionaire.” It’s favored to win the Oscar tomorrow night. And it should. Watch below and dance!

Need a break?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Crank up the speakers and enjoy.

Scorcese plans film on Japanese martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Zenit‘s Hollywood desk: An Academy Award-winning director is planning a movie on Japanese Christians martyred in the 17th century. Martin Scorsese will film the movie in New Zealand and release it in 2010, according to the Japanese daily Asahi […]

All dolled up: Barbie at 50

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t believe it, but I’m the same age as Barbie. Needless to say, she’s holding up a lot better than I am. To mark this milestone — hers, not mine — there’s an exhibit now underway in Baltimore. And […]

“Little Jeff,” the almost-Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, who’d a thunk? McNamara’s Blog has this fascinating tidbit about the leader of the confederacy, who loved nuns and reputedly wore a Miraculous Medal: When he was a child, future Confederate President Jefferson Davis attended Catholic school for a […]

Another sign of the coming apocalypse

posted by deacon greg kandra

True headline: Cher Says She’s Living Like a Nun in Las Vegas

I have just three words for you: switch to decaf

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is why God made Sanka. See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

Illuminating the Bible

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the more remarkable undertakings of recent years — a complete edition of the Bible, written by hand, and “illuminated,” is nearing completion. And a gallery in Baltimore is putting some of the extraordinary handiwork on display. From the […]

You are loved: Happy Valentine’s Day

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just because. I like the song and this video, and I suspect more people need to hear its message — especially now. Enjoy. Because you are loved!

Excuse me while I burp

posted by deacon greg kandra

Don’t try this during Lent. A sloppy Joe ladled onto a Krispy Kreme donut for a bun. That and so much more that’s bad for you can be found here.

Okay. I’m going to go lie down now…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…’cause this short video below is really exhausting. Astounding. But exhausting.

Sleeping beauty: husband’s kiss revives woman in coma

posted by deacon greg kandra

What can love do? This astonishing story out of London offers one answer: A woman who doctors believed could remain comatose indefinitely recently revived after her husband asked her for a kiss. Just ten days after giving birth to her […]

But can you use it on Fridays during Lent?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve received no less than three e-mails today with this image (you can click to enlarge). It comes from the blog Creative Minority Report:

On Inauguration Eve: Obama as pancake expert

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a little something from Mr. Peabody’s WABAC Machine. Barack Obama before he had mastered the art of walking on water and giving sight to the blind. Peach cobbler, anyone?

“Danger, Will Robinson!”: the man who was the Robot dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another icon from my youth has passed away: Bob May, who donned The Robot’s suit in the hit 1960s television show “Lost in Space,” has died. He was 69. May died Sunday of congestive heart failure at a hospital in […]

Free at last

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t think of a more joyous way to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. today than with this little clip, courtesy Concord Pastor, performed by the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama.

The the impotence of proofreading

posted by deacon greg kandra

The tittle says it tall. From poet-performer-teacher Taylor Mali.

Playing for “Peanuts”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you love “Peanuts” — and who doesn’t? — you’ll find this item from Wednesday’s Times especially fascinating: In a “Peanuts” strip from the mid-1950s, Charlie Brown walks through the first panel and finds Schroeder sitting in front of an […]

Washington’s OTHER African-American president — and he was Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Catching up on various bloggery this Sunday, this item from Patrick McNamara caught my eye — and might raise an eyebrow or two. As Washington prepares to welcome the country’s first African-American president, it seems the city had another African […]

See, this is why I’m a dog person

posted by deacon greg kandra

This guy set up a camera to record what his cat was doing all night. I can’t help but wonder if the cat now sleeps outside. Do you think Pope Benedict has these problems?

Buttoned

posted by deacon greg kandra

I caught the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” last week and found myself unexpectedly moved — fascinated, and then drawn in to the strange tale of a life lived in reverse, and a love that refuses to let […]

About those 12 days…

posted by deacon greg kandra

I kept meaning to post on this during the peak of the Christmas season. Now that you’ve carted the tree to the curb and picked up the last of the needles from your rug, the truth can be revealed. If […]

What do you call a search engine that doesn’t eat meat on Fridays?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Catholic Google. It looks just like the other one…but with some significant differences. A description, from TechCrunch: CatholicGoogle, a new site based on Google’s custom search, is “striving to provide an easy to use resource to anyone wanting to learn […]

Addressing the ball

posted by deacon greg kandra

A local station here in New York has been running a “Honeymooners” marathon all day today — and I was lucky enough to catch this episode, which always just slays me. I’ve seen at least a dozen times, and it […]

The wait is over

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone missed it, here’s Dave Barry’s typically brilliant year-in-review. The good news: it’s a riot. The bad news: we have to wait another year for the next one.

What’s on your iGod?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m a little late in posting this bit of technological wizardry, but the priest who developed this little marvel was kind enough to send me an e-mail (from Italy, no less!) and asked if I’d spread the word. I’m happy […]

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

posted by deacon greg kandra

If your name is Von Trapp, and you’re the grandson of that fabled former nun, you decide to turn the lemons of Hollywood into lemonade. The New York Times catches up with the family heirs and what they’re up to […]

Welcome home

posted by deacon greg kandra

For your Christmas enjoyment: a wonderful kind of homecoming, courtesy The Dish.

“You have made him little less than the angels…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That verse from Hebrews popped into my mind when I saw this amazing video. Behold, gymnast Boyanka Angelova — as near to being an angel as you will see here on earth.

Stocking stuffers for your favorite pooch

posted by deacon greg kandra

The ad below says it all, from Happy Catholic.

The odor of sanctity?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Now, for the man in your life who has everything (including, perhaps, a miter that he wears at the dinner table and a crozier that he uses for raking leaves), something truly special: papal cologne. For that whiff of infallibility. […]

“Makes a great gift!”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I couldn’t help but feel a little surprise — and nostalgia — when I heard an ad for this on the radio today. They still sell these? Now I know what to get my pastor for Christmas!

“Hallelujah”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve been looking for a good excuse to post this, just because I love the song so much. And no, it has nothing to do with Handel. Rocco points out that this Leonard Cohen classic could well end up being […]

Petty pets?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Somebody get St. Francis of Assisi on the line. It turns out dogs can be, in a word, bitchy. Take a sniff: To the list of the qualities of dogs — enthusiastic and steadfast come to mind — can be […]

Study: happiness is contagious

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s some news that, at least in theory, should make everyone smile. Happiness is catching. From the Los Angeles Times: They say misery loves company, but the same may be even more true of happiness. In a study published online […]

The impossible made possible

posted by deacon greg kandra

Think you can’t? Think again. Watch and marvel at what one young man can do.

For one couple, the wait is over

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since we are in Advent, the season of waiting, how’s this for really waiting — a story so incredible, it just has to be true. From the Chicago Tribune: Two abstinence teachers who wed in Chicago experienced their first kiss […]

Any camels?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not even December (barely) and I have been avoiding digging out the Christmas decorations, but that hasn’t stopped some hardy souls in Ohio, who are getting into the spirit with some novel views of the Nativity. From CNA: A […]

Glittering

posted by deacon greg kandra

While spending a lazy Saturday surfing through iTunes, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Kristen Chenoweth has a Christmas album. My wife and I first discovered Chenoweth a few years ago, in a revival of “You’re a Good Man, […]

iWait for iAdvent on my iPhone

posted by deacon greg kandra

A couple of readers sent this my way, and I have to say: this is unbelievably cool. It’s an Advent app for your iPhone. As the good people at Mac describe it: Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation […]

The saga of a lion named Christian

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of my last projects at CBS was working on a pilot for a proposed series that would consist of great animal clips from YouTube. The clip below was one of the best I saw. Now it’s getting some airplay […]

Happy Black Friday

posted by deacon greg kandra

Remembering William Gibson and the worker of miracles

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some sad news today, that playwright William Gibson has died, at the ripe age of 94. He will forever be remembered as the man who gave us one of the most powerful and inspiring testaments to hope and perseverance: “The […]

Plucked from a time capsule: “All Good Gifts”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Before there was “High School Musical 3,” there was this musical staple of so many high schools (including my own) “Godspell.” Here’s a little curiosity for Thanksgiving Day that will either bring back fond memories of the early ’70s, or […]

You gotta believe

posted by deacon greg kandra

A plucky penguin gives us all a lesson in perseverance. Happy Thanksgiving, little guy.

Could the carpenter’s son help build Obama’s cabinet?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at Beliefnet, Fr. Jim Martin takes a wry look at what goes into cabinet appointments — and wonders if even the Son of God would pass muster these days. What if Obama’s transition team met with Jesus for a […]

Is Thanksgiving actually Catholic?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, to quote a certain governor from a cold climate: “You betcha.” Or so it seems, from this intriguing little giblet: This history books will tell you that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621. Not true. […]

The dancing camel

posted by deacon greg kandra

My sister, a horsewoman, sent this my way. It comes just in time for Christmas — when, of course, we’ll be seeing the Magi depicted on countless Christmas cards, journeying on these lumbering beasts. But trust me: you’ve never seen […]

Finally, an idea for this Sunday’s homily…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something you don’t hear priests preaching about very much. From the Dallas Morning News: God may have rested on the seventh day, but the Rev. Ed Young wants married couples to have sex all week long. Once a day. […]

Sounds like a deacon, actually…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…though I was hoping to be more like Kermit. You Are Scooter Brainy and knowledgeable, you are the perfect sidekick. You’re always willing to lend a helping hand. In any big event or party, you’re the one who keeps things […]

What’s a dad to do?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Check out this wonderful short film from The Responsbility Project. How far would you go for your kids? Oh: it turns out the blog at this site is written by a former colleague of mine, Kathy McManus. Kudos, “Mackers”!

And, for the first time, a president who’s younger than me

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some interesting factoids from the Washington Post: History was made Tuesday when Barack Obama, 47, was elected president — the first man with a last name ending in a vowel (other than “y” or silent “e”) to ascend to the […]

Actually, Obama isn’t the first

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It was James Earl Jones. Anybody remember this? From 1972, “The Man,” a drama about the first black President of the United States.

Anxious about the election? Want to throw something at Wolf Blitzer?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Then take a mental health break: the inspired “Mad Men” parody from Sunday’s “The Simpsons.” You’ll feel better. I promise.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

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