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December 30th, 2008
Yankee (1923-2008), Shea (1964-2008)

Yankee Stadium (1923-2008)

The champagne was all over my shirt and Derek Jeter stood there laughing. I had just played his accomplice by interviewing Darryl Strawberry in the corner of the locker room so that Jeter could spray him in the face with champagne moments after the Yankees had clinched the American League’s Eastern Division in 1996. Later that year, they won the World Series for the 23rd time in their history, and an even bigger celebration ensued.
A few years before I began covering the locker room for WOR Radio, I was a young cub radio reporter following around WFAN’s Yankee beat reporter, Suzyn Waldman. Down in the bowels of the stadium we’d see all kinds of strange things. One year…

December 30th, 2008
(1962-2008)

David Foster Wallace was a famous writer, which is not that common anymore. He wrote “Infinite Jest,” arguably the most important novel of the past 20 years, and certainly the one that took America’s avant-garde out of its incessant postmodern navel-gazing. He was probably more famous for his essays, which were published in magazines like The Atlantic and Harpers…. He had another novel too, and various collections of short stories and non-fiction. He studied philosophy when he was younger and those who know said he could have been one of the most important mathematical philosophers of his generation. He also sweated a lot, which is why he always wore a white bandana in interviews and at readings.

December 30th, 2008
(1918-2008)

I had a TV in my room from a very early age, giving me control over the cultural influences that entered my world. Using my command of the dial, the most subversive thing I watched in my atheist home might have been a sweet little show that has been loved now for generations: Davey & Goliath.
Son of a Lutheran minister, Dick Sutcliffe started his career as a journalist, but soon found himself working for the church, as assistant editor for The Lutheran magazine, then with the radio division, then television. Sutcliffe, as director of Lutheran radio and television ministry, was one of the first religious officials to realize the potential of television, starting in the late 1950s. When church leaders told him to…

December 30th, 2008
(1937-2008)

It was a long shot but I thought I’d give it a try.
Tony Hendra was making the publicity rounds for his latest book, a novel, The Messiah of Morris Avenue and I was searching for a different angle from which to cover it. Two years earlier—just after the release of Fr. Joe, the New York Times bestseller in which Hendra chronicled his own journey back to Catholicism—I had done an extensive interview with him for Busted Halo and I was hoping to do something other than the usual Q&A this time around. The blurb on the back of Messiah… provided all the inspiration I needed:
“I was prepared for my usual serving of sharp Tony Hendra satire; I was not prepared for his sensitive and highly convincing exposition

December 30th, 2008
(1921-2008)

“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports…!”

That voice, heard each and every weekend for over 40 years, was the voice of James Kenneth McManus, better known to most as Jim McKay of ABC’s Wide World of Sports, a sports variety show, if you will, that covered both mainstream popular sports and obscure sports from the hinterlands of the world. When Roone Arledge, the legendary TV executive, offered McKay the job, he said, “I think I should tell you, this job will involve a certain amount of travel!”
Sure enough,

December 30th, 2008
(1922-2008)

During the nearly sixty years he graced stage and screen, Paul Scofield was a man who had little use for self-justification, and even less use for self-promotion. His press-shy ways created something of a vicious cycle. The less frequently the celebrated British actor consented to interviews, the more frequently such interviews tended to revolve around the question of why, say, he didn’t make himself more available to the media. Or, why he had chosen to appear in so few popular films. Or why, unlike so many of his peers, he had not been knighted.
It would be more correct, however, when we speak of peers, to say that Scofield had none. He was sui generis…—universally admired by the Burtons and Oliviers of the

December 29th, 2008
(1937-2008)

Speeding down the road, it seemed like just another day at work. My camera person Maxine and I were heading out to interview a woman for a special Thanksgiving feature on the BBC. Max and I had been on several shoots together over the previous six months, and this was no different. But as we hurtled along, in anticipation of our next television adventure, conversation somehow migrated to a feature we had done in the middle of summer, with a woman we both had come to admire and respect in the 20 minutes in which we’d gotten to know her.
“I heard that Lucy — I think that was her name — passed away recently,” Max said. “Lucy?” I questioned. I could hardly believe it. “Yeah, Lucy Stokes,…

December 29th, 2008
(1918-2008)

Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, who died at 90 on December 12, was the scion of a legendary family (his father, John Foster Dulles, was Secretary of State); one of the most famous American converts to Catholicism (his conversion came after reading philosophy at Harvard and then, memorably, spying a tree in springtime bloom); and widely considered to be the “dean” of Catholic theologians in the United States, respected by both traditionalists and progressives. His Eminence, Avery Cardinal Dulles to the world, however, was to many Jesuits, “Avery,” and he took himself none too seriously, as befits a serious man.
Funny stories abound about the Jesuit, made all the more amusing for the man’s…

December 29th, 2008
(1950-2008)

A young political operative who charmed a beautiful woman to marry him for his intellect despite his dough-boy appearance, Tim Russert ended up hitting it big as the moderator of a struggling Sunday morning talk show that most people considered fodder for softball questions.
That was before Russert came along and made a trip to the dentist a more enjoyable experience for the politicians who sat across from him. His impeccable preparation made Russert a journalist whom Democrats and Republicans alike both feared and respected.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger thought their friendship would mean an easy interview, his wife Maria Shriver, a lifelong colleague of Russert’s, told him to prepare more. “Tim…

December 25th, 2008
December 25, Christmas Day 2008

Return to the Advent calendar.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.…

December 24th, 2008
A mother, a son and grieving at Christmas

I didn’t want my children to know. They were waiting for a baby to be placed in a manger. The doll, the placeholder for our Lord, symbolized all that they had learned about love during Advent.
My toddler daughter was being coddled by a little Polish girl, only a year or so older who told her, “Jesus was once a little baby just like you.”
My son was hanging out around the life-size crèche with the older boys. All of the children were staring with huge lemur-like eyes in that way unique to children on Christmas Eve.
My thoughts were more morose. While we were attending Christmas Eve children’s services, several time zones and an ocean away, my siblings were beside our grandmother’s bed…

December 24th, 2008
Misa del Gallo

Return to the Advent calendar.

Advent Fast Fact…
In Spanish, Midnight Mass is often referred to as Misa del Gallo (“Rooster’s Mass”).
Filipino custom is to go to mass at the crack of dawn — 4 or 5 a.m. — for nine straight days, December 16 through December 24.

Today’s Prize is: Sirius Men’s T-shirt + Sirius-XM Hat
To win today’s prize: Give us your name and email address along with the email address of one friend you’d like to introduce to BustedHalo.com® using the form below by 3 a.m. EST tonight.
(We will, in turn, send them one email asking them to register for our Busted Halo® weekly email updates. We do not SPAM people nor do we share our email lists with any third

December 23rd, 2008
Making it comfy

Return to the Advent calendar.

Advent Fast Fact…
In France, children would add one piece of straw each day to the manger, to create a comfy sleeping place for Jesus.
When they did this, they also would be expected to offer a prayer or good deed for the day.

Today’s Prize is: Sirius-XM Hat + Sirius Swag — Combination of various items (subject to availability) — Sirius pens, paperweights, key chains and mouse pads.
To win today’s prize: Give us your name and email address along with the email address of one friend you’d like to introduce to BustedHalo.com® using the form below by 3 a.m. EST tonight.
(We will, in turn, send them one email asking them to register for our Busted Halo® weekly

December 22nd, 2008
What will you give away?

How should we celebrate Christmas in tough times? Maybe the way we should have been celebrating the birth of Christ all along. All religious traditions call us to be generous and care for the poor and needy.
“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”
To see that saying framed and embroidered you have to watch It’s a Wonderful Life … very often and closely. Capra’s camera focuses in on the saying, which appears under the picture of Peter Bailey, as George and Uncle Billy discuss how to confront the run on the bank. George and Mary put up their honeymoon money to keep the “old, broken down” Bailey Building and Loan afloat, and out of the hands of miserly Mr. Potter,

December 22nd, 2008
Where Do Candy Canes Come From?

Return to the Advent calendar.

Advent Fast Fact…

Q. True or False: Candy canes were originally made by a candy maker in the shape of a “J” with red stripes to represent the “stripes” of Jesus’ scourging?
A. False. Candy canes have very little religious origins other than the following: Straight white candy sticks and cookies were often used throughout the Christmas season, and placed on Christmas trees when Europeans started using Christmas trees.
Around 1670, at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, restless youngsters were attending ceremonies near the Christmas living creche scene. The choirmaster persuaded craftsmen to make sticks of candy bent at the end to represent shepherds’

December 21st, 2008
Benjamin Franklin

Return to the Advent calendar.

OUR GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio with car and home installation kits as well as a free six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio is:
Kelsey D!!!
Keep coming back every day until Advent is over for daily prizes of books, t-shirts and Sirius swag, as well as opportunities for reflection, for action, for learning and for Charitable giving.

Advent Quotable…
A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
— Benjamin Franklin

Today’s Prize is: Sirius-XM Hat + Sirius Swag — Combination of various items (subject to availability) — Sirius pens, paperweights, key chains and mouse pads.
To win today’s prize: Give us your

December 19th, 2008
The Vatican's "Dignitas Personae" has powerful things to say about complex medical issues... but is anyone listening?


“Spare us from the Pharisees and Scribes pretending to be concerned with life!”
“It’s ridiculous that we’re still pitting science against religion in the 21st century.”
“The Catholic Church, once again, remains in the middle ages with its teachings.”
“Dear Vatican & co.: please go away.”

To say that the reactions to media stories on the unveiling of Dignitas Personae were resistant and hostile—those listed above appeared in comments to articles in the National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times—is probably an understatement. For many, this latest document is simply more evidence of a Church that is anti-science and anti-technology,

December 19th, 2008
How to handle those pesky relationship questions this season

‘Tis the season for Christmas parties, family gatherings … and pesky (but well-meaning) friends and relatives asking you when you’re going to get married. Yep. While we enjoy the anticipation of Advent and look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ, for many young adults this is also a season of waiting — with more than a bit of dread — for the family inquisition into your love life.
Maybe it’s just an innocent comment from your great-aunt: “So, dear, any special someones in your life?” Or perhaps your family is more direct, with relatives tsk-tsking about how “you’re not getting any younger” when you say that “the one” hasn’t…

December 19th, 2008
Latkes

Advent Eating…

We unite with our Jewish brothers and sisters in anticipation of this weekend’s start of Hanukkah.
A great Jewish tradition is to make latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil) to commemorate that a small jar of oil, discovered at the cleansing of the Temple, miraculously kept the Temple light burning for eight days until additional oil was found.
From Arthur Schwartz, The Food Maven, foodmaven.com:

Traditional Potato Latkes…
There are two basic schools of thought on potato pancakes. Either the potatoes are grated very fine on a box grater (or chopped fine with the metal blade of the food processor) and result in pancakes that are thin and crisp-edged. Or, the potatoes are grated on the

December 18th, 2008
Calabrian pifferari

Return to the Advent calendar.

Advent Fast Fact…
During Advent in Italy, Calabrian pifferari — bagpipers — play before shrines of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
This is based on a traditional Italian belief that when the shepherds came to the manger in Bethlehem they played music to pay homage to the infant Jesus.

Today’s Prize is: Dr. Christine B. Whelan’s new book, “Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love” + a Sirius Women’s T-shirt
This Friday, December 19, we will choose the winner of our grand prize: a Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio with car and home installation kits as well as a free six-month (6) subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio (a value of

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