Musical icon Dion DiMucci may be well known as “The Wanderer,” but his entertaining and readable new memoir tracks his long musical career and how — after years of searching — he found his way home to the Catholic Church.
“Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth (Stories, Humor & Music)” (St. Anthony Messenger, $16.99), co-written with Mike Aquilina, is both entertaining and thoughtful. Music fans will revel in his stories of the early days of rock ’n’ roll, including what truly happened in the early-morning hours of Feb. 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash (DiMucci, who was touring with the men, opted not to take a seat on the plane), and his impressions of such rock luminaries as Bob Dylan and John Lennon, of whom DiMucci offers insights on his anti-religion rants, including the hit song “Imagine.”
“John wanted good things, ‘All you need is love.’ ‘Give peace a chance,’” he writes. “The problem is those things slip away like eels unless you have a clear idea of what they are.”
DiMucci is skilled not only at writing about music. He’s as likely to quote Erasmus and his idol, St. Augustine, as he is the lyrics of a pop tune as he wanders from being a tough kid growing up nominally Catholic in the Bronx to his days of drinking and doing drugs to his embrace of evangelical Christianity to his coming home to the Church.
At 140 pages told in easily digestible chapters, “The Wanderer Talks Truth” is easy to plow through in an evening or two. But be prepared for classic hits such as “Teenager in Love,” “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer” to stick around in your head a little longer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.
It’s summer — time to hit the open road, maybe visit a Catholic shrine or two. But with gas prices these days, a pilgrimage may not be in the works for everyone.
No problem. You can travel along with Diana von Glahn, host of “The Faithful Traveler” series — the first season is now out on DVD ($29.95) — as she visits important Catholic sites throughout the country, including the National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel near Philadelphia, the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Seton in Emmitsburg, Md., and Old St. Patrick’s and St. Patrick’s Cathedrals in New York City.
Incorporating humor and history lessons, von Glahn explores the sacred spaces and gives viewers time to do the same. At the National Shrine of St. Rita Cascia, for example, the camera lingers over individual stained-glass windows for a few seconds, allowing the viewers to soak in the images.
And like any good road trip, “The Faithful Traveler,” which airs on EWTN, has a great soundtrack, featuring Catholic recording artists such as Sarah Bauer, Sean Clive and Popple. For more information, visit www.thefaithfultraveler.com.
The ‘MTV effect’ on abortion views
MTV has two hits on its hands with the reality series “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant,” which profile young women struggling with single motherhood. In fact, when the Social Security Administration revealed the top baby names of 2010, two of the hottest up-and-coming names were Maci and Bentley, inspired by a teen and her son on “Teen Mom.”
It turns out the shows are influencing viewers in a far more serious way. In its study released earlier this month, “Committed to Availability, Conflicted About Morality: What the Millennial Generation Tells Us about the Future of the Abortion Debate and the Culture Wars,” the Public Religion Research Institute found that Americans who have seen the two MTV shows are more likely than the general public to say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases — 65 percent vs. 56 percent. The survey, based on 3,000 telephone interviews, also found that viewers of the two shows are more likely to think that abortion is morally acceptable (48 percent vs. 40 percent of the general public) and that health care providers should provide legal abortions (65 percent vs. 34 percent).