Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito is looking better and better!

I hadn't realized that he was the one that wrote the dissent on Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

For all that we trace the abortocaust back to Roe vs. the Human Race, Casey was by far the more damaging of the two landmark decisions. Roe made it possible to repeal laws prohibiting abortion, but Casey made it well-nigh impossible to pass laws restricting abortion in any fashion. I would far rather see Casey overturned than Roe. And looking from the standpoint of a constitutional amateur, I think it's a lot more vulnerable to an honest judiciary.

You can see the full text of Alito's dissent here.

In related news, NARAL whore Senator Patty Murray is reportedly "disappointed" by Alito's nomination. This is an understatement; her masters are downright terrified. This line from her made my day:
"While the president's standards for a Supreme Court nominee may shift with the political winds, mine do not," she said in a statement. "I examine each nominee's record, experience and testimony and see if they meet my long-held standards."

Right. Does that mean you're going to look at Judge Alito's record on anything other than abortion? Not bloody likely!

An honest politician is one that stays bought. Points to Sen. Murray for honesty, at least.

Update: Planned Parenthood, not surprisingly, is pissed.
“Here we are on Halloween and it feels like we're being visited by a ghost from centuries past,” said Betty Cockrum, Planned Parenthood.

If confirmed, Alito will cast tie-breaking votes on abortion cases. As an appeals court judge he upheld a Pennsylvania law requiring women to notify their husbands before getting an abortion.

While the supreme court struck down the Pennsylvania law, Alito's ruling tells Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute, a Harriet Miers critic, what he needs to know about the her replacement.

“We know where he stands on a very particular set of circumstances and we can draw from that that he's someone who does not see in the constitution the kind of legal reasoning that was necessary for Roe v. Wade to be handed down,” said Smith.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

More Halloween fun from Miss Cellania

Alice
You're the Smart one....so chances are you'll
survive! :-)
You might get cut up & have some minor injuries,
but you'll be victorious. The Killer better
know NOT to mess with you anymore!


Will you survive a HORROR MOVIE??
brought to you by Quizilla

Another good story

This time it's a Halloween tale from the ever-delightful Miss Cellania.
LOUISIANA GHOST STORY

This happened about a month ago just outside of Cocodrie, a little town in the bayou country of Louisiana, and while it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's real.

This out of state traveler was on the side of the road, hitchhiking on a real dark night in the middle of a thunderstorm. Time passed slowly and no cars went by. It was raining so hard he could hardly see his hand in front of his face. Suddenly he saw a car moving slowly, approaching and appearing ghostlike in the rain. It slowly and silently crept toward him and stopped.

Wanting a ride real bad the guy jumped into the car and closed the door; only then did he realize that there was nobody behind the wheel, and no sound of an engine to be heard over the rain. Again the car crept slowly forward and the guy was terrified, too scared to think of jumping out and running. The guy saw that the car was approaching a sharp curve and, still too scared to jump out, he started to pray and begging for his life; he was sure the ghost car would go off the road and in the bayou and he would surely drown!

But just before the curve a shadowy figure appeared at the driver's window and a hand reached in and turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend. Then, just as silently, the hand disappeared through the window and the hitchhiker was alone again! Paralyzed with fear, the guy watched the hand reappear every time they reached a curve. Finally the guy, scared to near death, had all he could take and jumped out of the car and ran to town.

Wet and in shock, he went into a bar and voice quavering, ordered two shots of whiskey, then told everybody about his supernatural experience. A silence enveloped and everybody got goose bumps when they realized the guy was telling the truth (and not just some drunk).

About half an hour later two guys walked into the bar and one says to the other, "Look Boudreaux, der's dat idiot that rode in our car when we wuz pushin' it in the rain!"

Was I right, or was I right?

Actually, we'll never know for certain, but I think my assertion that Harriet Miers was a throwaway candidate for the Supreme Court may have been right on the button.

Fromm Confirm Them:
A graduate of Princeton and then Yale Law School, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the appellate division, Assistant to the Solicitor General, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey — what’s not to like?

Judge Alito also was unanimously confirmed in 1990 by voice vote in the U.S. Senate for the Third Circuit seat he currently holds; has argued 12 Supreme Court cases, argued at least two dozen court of appeals cases, and handled at least 50 others.

So he’s been confirmed by the Senate twice, has impeccable credentials, and a hsitory as a crime-fighter . . . as U.S. Attorney, he prosecuted white collar and environmental crimes, drug trafficking, organized crime and civil rights violations.

Oh, yes — and he’s a member of the Federalist Society.

Dems — filibuster this!

The Kleptocrats have used up so much of their sound and fury on Harriet Miers that to delay a second nominee would strain the public's attention span too far. A filibuster now would hurt them more than us. Let's face it: they can't filibuster for the next three years straight. They just about have to confirm Alito. And so we get a very clearly pro-life justice on the bench, despite the gnashing of teeth from the Molochian left.

I really hope Bush planned it this way.

The Devil's holiday

Last year at this time, I was talking with a (Protestant) friend and co-worker about Halloween. He had just explained to another co-worker that he didn't believe in celebrating it because it was "the Devil's day," and asked my opinion. I agreed with him that it was indeed, but for a completely different reason. Today is the day that Satan launched his biggest and most successful assault on Christianity since the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. It's not just Halloween, it's Reformation Day.

My friend took it in good spirits, having been Catholic for some years and having a respect for us that many of his persuasion don't share. That they don't is testimony to Satan's ability to spread lies and deceive man.

The real evil in Reformation Day is not really contained in the actual events of the day. Really, when Martin Luther posted his theses, he was protesting something that really needed protesting. Simony and bad catechesis need correcting anywhere they occur, and the Germany of Luther's day was riddled with both. I don't think Luther's initial gesture was motivated by thhe Devil. But the fruit that came of it in the long term sprouted straight from hell, whether Luther meant it to or not.

Satan's best lies come out of half-truths. The half that was truthful was that there was something wrong with the Church, and that it was incumbent on Christians of good conscience to try to correct it. The lie, the big thumping falsehood thhat Satan created out of this came about as a twisting of this into the idea – now accepted as Gospel by Luther's spiritual descendents – that the Church was wrong, period. That the great mass of Christendom, which Christ had established as an eternal edifice, was in fact a huge lie. That Jesus had lied in promising that the gates of hell would not prevail. That the Apostles had lied to their successors in conferring their authority on them. That the Holy Spirit had lied to the Church at Ecumenical Councils, guiding them into error. In the third chapter of Genesis, Satan called God a liar: "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Luther, Calvin and their followers went a step beyond, calling the Church that Christ established a lie. It is now a popular belief that to belong to the Catholic Church, to believe the promises of Christ, to obey the sucessors of the Apostles, is not salvation but damnation in itself. In short, the Reformation resulted in the belief that to belong to Christ's Church is to be damned, and it is necessary to disobey to be saved. "Woe to them that call good evil and evil good," says the Bible. But the Gospel has been twisted in an Orwellian fashion until it is thought to be the antithesis of itself.

Despite all that, Satan has not managed to break the Church altogether. He cannot unbaptize either Catholic or Protestant; he cannot cancel the love and mercy God has for those who love Him no matter how many lies he repeats. Protestant Christians (and they are that) may be in rebellion against Christ's Church, but their motive is still love of God. Even in the midst of deception, God's people love and serve Him, and he has not forgotten that. Satan can deceive, but he cannot damn. And the Gospel goes on, even in truncated form. The gates of hell have not prevailed, even against those who believe they have.

Moreover, those same Protestant traditions, either in spite of or because of their rebellion, have served as a reminder to the Church that we are duty-bound to safeguard the Gospel and the faith. Out of Luther's Protestant Reformation came the Catholic Reformation, in which so many wrongs were set right and so much corruption was cleansed out of the Church. The zeal of today's Protestants should and does make us too ashamed to be complacent about the faith. We may not be united on matters of doctrine, but we are still brothers by a blood tie stronger than mere genetics. Satan can no more break up that family bond in the long term than he can disunite the Trinity. We may fight this side of death, but in heaven, we will be reunited and laugh at how we fought on earth.

So enjoy your hollow victory, Satan. You did some damage, but the blow was not mortal. You may laugh on Reformation Day, but in the Day of the Lord, you'll howl, as the people you deceived, and the people you turned them against, all celebrate your defeat. Together.

I can always count on Julie...

... to fill a dreary Monday with belly laughs.
Weekend Joke

A pair of Irish ditch diggers were repairing some road damage directly across the street from a house of prostitution.

They witnessed a Protestant minister lurking about, then duck into the house.

"Would ye look at that, Darby!" said Pat. "What a shameful disgrace, those Protestant reverends sinning in a house the likes of that place!" They both shook their heads and continued working.

A short time later they watched as a Rabbi looked around cautiously and then darted into the house when he was satisfied no one was looking. "Did ya see that, Darby?" Pat asked in shock and disbelief, "Is nothing holy to those Jewish rabbis? I just can't understand what the world is coming to these days. A man of the cloth indulging himself in sins of the flesh. T'is a shame, I tell ya!"

Not much later a third man, a Catholic priest, was seen lurking about the house, looking around to see if anyone was watching, then quietly sneaked in. "Oh no, Darby, look!" said Pat, removing his cap and crossing himself, "One of the poor girls musta died...."

Are you gonna pull those rosaries, or whistle dixie?

A prayer request on Friday from Patrick for his father, who's been hospitalized several times this year already. What are we waiting for? Hit your knees!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Aren't dogmatists cute?

Cenk Uygur (whose name must be an anagram of something, unless his parents were sadistic Scrabble fanatics) is absolutely certain that we're all deluded fools. How does he know this? Because he knows it, of course. Duh!
Jesus was a lunatic. God is not coming to your rescue. He hasn't come to anyone's rescue in thousands of years, including Jesus. Mohammed was a power hungry, scam artist and ruthless conqueror. Moses and Abraham were figments of the imagination of some long dead rabbi. He would probably laugh his ass off at all of you who still believe the fairytales he made up thousands of years ago. He probably wouldn't even believe it if you told him.

Did I mention Judaism? The chosen people? Come on, get off it. People walk around in clothes from 18th century Russia, thinking they have been chosen by God when they look like a bunch of jackasses. I'm tired of all the deaths because we did not want to give offense. Orthodox Jews are wrong and ridiculous.

As are the orthodox and fundamentalists of all of the religions...

So let me get this straight. It is a dead certainty that no God exists, because you are unable to detect him with your senses. It is only our stupidity that prevents us from knowing this unassailable truth. It is unassailable because you know it for a fact. Solipsism in its most imbecilic form.

But we're the ones who rely on circular logic. Uh-huh. Isn't he cute?

A/T to Timotheos.

Since I'm off on the subject of Moses Lake...

... here's something I found while I was tossing old files, that my cousin Jeanne-Marie sent me a couple of years ago. (Isaac, you know her, I expect. And I'll bet you can identify with all of these!)

You know you're from Eastern Washington if...

You've never met a celebrity.

Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.

"Vacation" means going to Spokane (or Portland, or Seattle)

You've haven't seen the biggest Country & Western bands until ten years after they were popular.

You measure distance in minutes.

You say pop instead of soda or soft drink.

You know several people who have hit a deer or a cow.

Your school classes were canceled because of cold.

Your school classes were canceled because of heat.

You've ridden the school bus for an hour each way.

You've ever had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day.

You think ethanol makes your truck "run a lot better."

You know what's knee-high by the Fourth of July. (This is a test)

Stores don't have bags; they have sacks.

You see a car running in the parking lot at the store with no one in it no matter what time of the day or year it is.

You end your sentences with an unnecessary preposition. (i.e., "Where's my coat at?" or "If you go to town I wanna go with.")

You know how to pronounce the name of the State.

You know how to pronounce Wenatchee, Yakima, and Spokane.

You know Walla Walla, Washington is a REAL town, not just cartoon!

All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, or animal.

You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

You think of the major four food groups as beef, pork, beer, and Jell-O salad with marshmallows.

You carry jumper cables in your car.

You know what "cow tipping" and "snipe hunting" are.

You only own 3 spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup.

You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

You know how to put on chains.

You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent.

The local paper covers national and international headlines on one page but requires 6 pages for cattle prices and sports.

You think that opening day of deer season is a national holiday.

You know which leaves make good toilet paper.

You find -20 degrees F "a little chilly".

You know all 4 seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction.

You know the city of Pullman is named after a railroad sleeping car.

You traveled through hours of wheat fields or farms to get to the next city.

You know the names of the Tri-cities.

Your home town had more cows than people in it.

You actually get these jokes and forward them to your Eastern Washington friends, some of whom even have e-mail.

Mr. Sulu takes himself out

Turns out George Takei is gei... er... gay. Who knew?

You might also not have known (I didn't) that he spent part of his childhood in a World War II internment camp. There's more here. (The original story is only for subscribers, so the link is to the Google cache copy.)

A tip of the ol' Akubra to the BlogRev. Paul McCain for the HomoSulu story and to Eric Muller for the internment camp story back in August.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cool!

In looking around for a link, I found out there's a Moses Lake in Texas, off Galveston Bay. This is what it looks like. Not much like my Moses Lake, eh?

Speaking of "eh," I gather there's also a Moses Lake on a rez near Cardston, Alberta, but this is all I've been able to find on it.

If anybody wanders in who's familiar with either the Texas or Alberta Moses Lakes, or any others, would you leave a comment and tell me about the place? Pictures would be really nice, too.

I am the Lord!

Well, not the Lord. But a lord.
The Lord
You scored 28% Cardinal, 53% Monk, 38% Lady, and 56% Knight!
You are of the intellectual breed and yet you are also very interested in war. You are of the aristocracy and head the cavalry a safe distance from the carnage of the front lines. You believe in defeating your enemy with not only might, but also wit.

You scored high as both the Monk and the Knight. You can try again to get a more precise description of either the Monk or the Knight, or you can be happy that you're an individual.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 28% on Cardinal
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 76% on Monk
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 40% on Lady
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 70% on Knight
Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


Akubra tip to Sushan. "The homeless found a home on Shushan's Shore..."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Apology

Sorry posting has been so sparse. (Y'all may have noticed.) The nature of my job is such that my heaviest times come at the end of the month, and I've been running around this week like a head with its chcken cut off.

Feel free to talk about me behind my back in my absence. :)

"Ho, ho, ho" no mo'

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Elmer "Len" Dresslar, Jr., who extolled generations of TV watchers to eat their vegetables as the booming voice of the Jolly Green Giant, died Oct. 16. He was 80.

The cause was cancer.

Dresslar was an entertainer and singer for nearly six decades. But his voice rang through millions of households when he sang the simple refrain, "Ho, Ho, Ho," in an ad jingle for Green Giant foods.

"His was the most consistent and most frequent voice of the Jolly Green Giant over the years, the one consumers are going to recognize," said Tara Johnson, a spokeswoman for General Mills, which owns Green Giant Co.

I think I'll cook some green beans tonight in his memory.

Friday, October 21, 2005

This is depressing

I''m no Civil War historian, but I seem to recall MacClellan was a clueless buffoon whose only advantage was in being on the side that had not only Grant but also two or three men to each of the enemy. Thank God I'm not a general!

George MacClellan
You scored 53 Wisdom, 69 Tactics, 49 Guts, and 21 Ruthlessness!
Like General McClellan, you're smart enough to know what tactical decisions to make. However, the problem with McClellan is that he could never sprout the balls to act on his information, and in the end, that's why Geoge McClellan is only a sidenote in the history books.

After graduating from West Point, he served with distinction in the Mexican War and later worked on various engineering projects, notably on the survey (1853-54) for a Northern Pacific RR route across the Cascade Range. Resigning from the army in 1857, he was a railroad official until the outbreak of the Civil War. In May, 1861, McClellan was made commander of the Dept. of the Ohio and a major general in the regular army. He cleared the western part of Virginia of Confederates (June-July, 1861) and consequently, after the Union defeat in the first battle of Bull Run, was given command of the troops in and around Washington. In November he became general in chief. The administration, reflecting public opinion, pressed for an early offensive, but McClellan insisted on adequate training and equipment for his army. In Mar., 1862, he was relieved of his supreme command, but he retained command of the Army of the Potomac, with which in Apr., 1862, he initiated the Peninsular campaign . The collapse of this campaign after the Seven Days battles was charged by many to his overcaution. In Aug., 1862, most of McClellan's troops were reassigned to the Army of Virginia under John Pope . After Pope's defeat at the second battle of Bull Run, McClellan again reorganized the Union forces, and in the Antietam campaign he checked Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. He was slow, however, to follow Lee across the Potomac and in Nov., 1862, was removed from his command.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 17% on Unorthodox
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 42% on Tactics
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 35% on Guts
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 1% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


A tip of the bullet-ridden cap to It Comes in Pints?.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mark my his words

A couple of days ago, I took Catholic Überblogger Mark Shea to task for his hostility toward President Bush following his (Mark's) hiatus. Mark answered my comments here. I think I should make some things clear that I didn't in the original post.

One commenter felt I was too harsh on Mark. Looking back, I agree. A lot of the wording I used was to make the shoe fit two very different feet, Mark's and those of Garry Trudeau. Like Trudeau, Mark went on a hiatus, and came back with a different tone to his writing. I don't believe that Mark hates President Bush, nor that he really is seizing on any stick to beat Bush with, ccontrary to what I said. I was drawing a parallel between the two men that wasn't perfect by a long shot. Trudeau has continued to get shriller and shriller, and his work has been the poorer for it. where he used to have characters, he now has mere drawings that mouth his venom about the people (mostly Republicans) on his enemies list. Mark would never stoop to mocking Bush's dyslexia, for instance, nor constantly refer to Arnold Schwartzenegger as "The Gropenator" based on a couple of rather questionable accusations. Mark is strong in his views, and often sharp-tongued about them, but not vicious on that level. (For more about Trudeau's reverse evolution, see here. I really miss the old pre-hiatus strip.)

I have to admit I was worried that his shift in tone might be the beginning of a similar slide on Mark's part. His outrage particularly at the Miers nomination struck me as Doonesburyesque. I've been corrected (albeit obliquely) here.
As several people have remarked, I've been out of sorts lately. I hadn't quite understood why and hadn't really known what to do about it. But a combination of sitting in front of the Eucharist ("spiritual radiation therapy") and reading the Psalms has been helpful. I sat by the Eucharist the other evening after Perry Lorenzo's talk and the thought popped into my head "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." I've been rather slow in this department of late, so I thought I had better try. That was all for the evening, except that the evening got rather darker after that. A gloom and a pall fell over me and I felt considerably more depressed.

I think that was the unpleasant sensation of blood returning to the numb limb--a good thing. Because last night, when I read Psalm 23 and came to the words "surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life" it hit me: I've been feeling depressed ever since I finished the Mary book.

And I think I know why. I'm very pleased with the Mary book. In many ways, it felt, while I was writing it, like my life had been leading up to this book. Getting this book *right* was crucially important to me and I didn't want to blow it. But there's a down side to that. Because if you feel deeply that your life has been leading up to something and then that something if over--then what?

Part of the concern is, as my Lovely and Brilliant Wife mentioned to me the other day, is that while it's generally a bad idea to be a party man über alles, the aims we have go beyond Bush. Like it or not, we elected him partly (maybe mostly) because he was pro-life, at least more so than Kerry. If we're to elect another pro-lifer in '08, we'd better not split the party too badly. If that means bunking down with Bush, then so be it. (My hopes are pinned on Mitt Romney, personally.)

I can't overstate the respect I have for Mark. He's been the voice of him that crieth in the Bloggerness, defending both common sense and Catholic orthodoxy, and the first Catholic blog I read every day. Often the last as well, as he updates so frequently. I've also made good use of his Sheavings in apologetics situations, and I've plagiarized imitated several of his trademark phrases. Lots of other folks feel the same way. His influence as the Godfather of St. Blog's Parish means that his words are heeded by a lot of people. It's a responsibility I'm glad I don't have.

Mark, it's good to see you back and more or less your old self. I'm sorry I slammed you when you were down.

Oh, and the part about not being fun to read anymore? I was wrong about that, too. I'm still "Enjoying It." Blog on, Bro!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blogroll change

I'm saddened to have to remove Lance Salyers' "Ragged Edges" from my blogroll. It looks like Lance has abandoned it and the URL has been taken over by something called "Big Boobed Girls" with links like "Free Porn." Either Lance has had one helluva career shift, or he's dropped out of the blogosphere. I hope we see him again soon; I really liked his blog.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

When blondes shop

Another commercial from the same site. It's especially funny to a guy from Klickitat County (motto: "Watch where you step!"), who's married to a southern California native. (And who will probably sleep on the couch for a week after this.)

This one is safe for all ages. Really, if you can avoid the obscene and really really stupid ones, there's some hilarious stuff at this site.

The best case for nannyware I've seen yet

An unaired (at least I hope it's unaired) commercial for the Learning Channel. Don't watch it at work, or with kids around, or with hot coffee in your hand. Or if you're currently in a state of grace and don't want to blow it. Sick, wrong, howlingly funny, and makes a very good point. What are your kids learning?

Come to think of it, maybe it aired in Montana or something. Part of a school health class?

Friday, October 14, 2005

A changed man

It's always sad when a beloved writer becomes an adversary. Some time time ago, I discovered a man whose biting commentaries were tempered with humor and no matter how strongly he felt about an issue, he always treated the people on both sides as... well... people. He spoke truth to power; truth that wasn't meant to wound, but to heal. Politics and elections, war and peace, Social trends, religion and the Church, gay issues... everything was a smile and a chuckle waiting to happen. His politics were clear, but he wasn't above a potshot at his own party if he thought it was justified. I remember waiting every day to read a new installment, and I learned a lot about the American social and political fabric from this guy.

Then he went on a hiatus, and I had to satisfy myself with old archives and went through a kind of withdrawal. When I heard he was coming back, I eagerly dived into his daily offerings again. But something had changed. Where he had been gentle, he now focused all his most vitriolic attacks on our president. Never perfect, I nevertheless felt like the president was doing the best he could and was about as competent as he could be under the circumstances. But my hero could speak no good about the man, and instead seized on every stick with which he could beat the leader of our country. I was forced to conclude that his hatred of the president was greater than his love for America, and I've begun to despair of the old, kindly tone ever coming back into his discourse. I don't know what happened to cause the change from humor to anger, and I'm afraid to ask.

Frankly, he's just no fun to read anymore.

Wouldn't this be ironic

After all these years, this might be a fitting revenge for the Mandans. If there are any left, that is.
Mercer County officials have stopped work a guardrail project near the Knife River because the area was a burial grounds for tribal smallpox victims some 170 years ago.

Mercer County Road Superintendent Ken Nelson... says it was a peak time for deaths from smallpox, and after attending a homeland security workshop, he recommended against disturbing the area.

For the background, go here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Duff-free albums

Emily at it comes in pints? posted the other day about albums with no "duff tracks," meaning ones you can listen to all the way through without wanting to hit the "skip" button on the CD player. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few:

Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow
The Hooters, Nervous Night
The Grateful Dead, American Beauty
The 77's, Ping Pong Over the Abyss
Larry Norman, Only Visiting This Planet
Heather Jones, Petalau yn y Gwynt (How's THAT for obscure?)
Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, For the Last Time
Gordon Lightfoot, Sundown
Great Big Sea, Road Rage
AD, Art of the State

Okay, let's make this a meme! See if you can come up with ten, with extra points if they're all different artists. (No "best-of" collections, if you please.) Patrick, Julie, Pilgrim, and of course, The Love of my Life, tag! Y'all are it!

I thought this was impossible

As we all know, homosexuality is innate and immutable. So what possible basis can there be for this lawsuit?
J. David Enright IV says that Father Joseph Romano sexually abused him at a Christian youth camp in the early 1960s, when he was seven years old, telling him that it was “a rite of passage”.

Were it not for the repeated assaults, which are said to have taken place behind a log cabin after evening prayers, Mr Enright, 51, is convinced that he would be straight.

“I believe that my life would be very different now. I’d probably be married, living in Greenwich with four children in boarding school,” he said.

“Romano bent my life.”

That's not all that got bent, I'll warrant. But I digress.

If, as Catholic Überblogger Mark Shea frequently reminds us, homosexuality is the zenith of all that is sublime in the human animal, then not only is Fr. Romano innocent of any wrongdoing, but he ought to be charging Enright for the service he rendered him in making him a superior being. I don't recall buggery being on the list of Corporal Acts of Mercy, but maybe I slept through that part at RCIA.

I look forward to hearing the howls of the brownshirts on this one. Which is the more temptinig enemy: the man who wishes he weren't gay, or a pervo-priest? Decisions, decisions!

I wish I'd said that!

The inimitable Mark Steyn on St. George's Cross and its "offensiveness" to Muslims:
Thus, Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, already feels Ms Owers's [cross] ban is insufficient. The cross of St George, he explains, is offensive to Muslims because it was carried by English crusaders in the 11th century...

So Mr Doyle wants England to find a new flag which "is not associated with our bloody past and one we can all identify with". How about we simply swap with the Yanks? Give Crusader Bush the cross of St George and England can have the Stars and Stripes? The stars would be the 50 shards of a pork scratching crushed underfoot by a Dudley council official, with 13 horizontal yellow streaks representing the prostrate backbones of the nation.

Amen! Patriotism isn't the "last refuge of the scoundrel," but of the beleaguered and belittled. H/T to Loose Canon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hah!

My Lovely and Brilliant Wife often razzes me for being culturally Protestant. This'll show her!
HASH(0x8bbb484)
"Cultural Catholic"


You are related to longshoremen or teamsters. When
people make jokes about nuns and rulers, you
don't laugh; you get that "thousand yard
stare" instead.

See you at the next Knights of Columbus social.

Provided by


Are You A Cultural Catholic?
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As far as I can tell, I'm the first Catholic in any branch of my family since the Reformation. I've come a long way, baby!

Thanks again, Julie! (You always come up with the funnest quizzes!)

Can Maureen come out and play?

I notice she hasn't posted at catholicnews.org for over a month now. Is everything all right, Mo?

What a slimeball!

Guys like this really frost my apricots.
Jackson - A 34-year-old Jackson man has been charged with attaching an electric shock collar used to control the family dog to his 8-year-old stepdaughter's leg and shocking her because she was eating her breakfast too slowly.

A felony child abuse charge was filed against the man Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court. According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, the stepfather also threatened to shoot the girl's pet rabbit because he said she does not take adequate care of the animal.

I hope his cellmate is huge, horny, HIV-positive, and had a pet rabbit as a child.

My worldview is 78% Biblical

So this test says, anyway. Not that I place a great deal of stock in it, as it's pretty clearly slanted to make "Biblical" agree with a specific political stance. I'm conservative politically, and as a Catholic my faith is certainly Bible-based, but I don't see that questions about the intentions of the Founding Fathers are indicative of faith in the Word. As far as I recall, they were never even mentioned in the Bible. And posting the Ten Commandments in courthouses isn't a Biblical issue, either, especially since they're usually numbered wrong on the monuments. I believe in them, but I don't care if they're part of the decor or not.

A dead giveaway on the slant: Each question is in the form of a proposition, with which you (a) strongly agree, (b) tend to agree, (c) tend to disagree, or (d) strongly disagree. When the test is completed, and the "right" answers are given, not one is either b or c. Fortunately, if your answers don't measure up, you can always take one of their Biblical Woldview courses to get them straightened out.

It was interesting, but hardly a measure of genuine Biblical faith. I'll stick with the real thing.

A/T to Prairie Girl, who, judging from her blog, is a Bible-believer by anybody's standards.

Mariaphobic Response Syndrome, Part II: Apparitions and woo-woos

The second installment in Mark Shea's Mariaphobic Response Syndrome series is up at Catholic Exchange. When he posted the first one, it was oriented toward Evangelicals and their idea of Mary's importance in the Catholic church. In general, Marian devotion is a bigger issue to Protestants than to us. Catholics tend to take a ho-hum attitude toward her. Most of them, anyway.

This time, Mark is taking on a Catholic minority who do their durnedest to live up to the stereotype by making Marian apparitions into a continuing revelation:
Such Catholics are often not particularly cautious about distinguishing between public and private revelation, still less about whether a Marian apparition has been approved by the Church. Indeed, the creepier and more apocalyptic the "revelation" the more such a Catholic will be certain that its rejection by the Church is a sign of apostasy and imminent judgment on the Sinister Masonic/New Age/Jewish conspiracy at work in the hierarchy. So if an alleged Marian apparition starts claiming that the pope must define this or that teaching as dogma, or starts telling Catholics to save up beeswax candles to prepare themselves for the Three Days of Darkness that are just around the corner, the apparition enthusiast will often regard it as a judgment on the pope — not on the reality of the "vision" — if the pope does not salute smartly and do whatever the latest visionary is demanding.

The whole area of Marian apparitions is a touchy one with Protestants anyway, and these woo-woos aren't helping. To make it clear, when an apparition is "approved," it simply means that the Church has found no reason not to believe that it occurred, and the faithful may accept it as private revelation or not. The ones that get approved have been backed up with pretty good investigation; the Church really doesn't want to approve one that has a viable alternative explanation. Still, nobody is required to believe that the Virgin actually appeared at Tepeyac or at Lourdes any more than on a grilled cheese sandwich on E-Bay. The Church's line on it is "We don't know for certain, but it sure looks like a genuine apparition, so you're welcome to believe in it if it strengthens your faith." (Can somebody who knows more about it tell me if I'm wrong here?)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

£100 Pizza!

That's $175 American. I wonder if they deliver in an armored car?

The wood-fire baked pizza features a topping of onion purée, fontina cheese, baby mozzarella, pancetta, cep mushrooms and freshly picked wild mizuna lettuce leaf from Wiltshire. But its extravagant cost is down to the final garnish - fresh shavings of £1,400-a-kilo white truffle from Umbria, added at the table.

I can't even conceive of having so much money that there's nothing better to spend it on than this. I'll be happy to volunteer for the experiment, however!

A/T to A Welsh View.

I am Elrond

Wise but boring old pontificator, unreasonable father, annoying haricut... Yep! That's me!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?


Thanks, Julie!

This looks like fun

If Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater's wife ever wanted to stage a breakout, these would be the guys to call.

(From left) Steve Kramer, Brandon Krauch, Scott Wakeman and Trevor Blue of TreBarbaric with The Machine in the background celebrate their world record-breaking pumpkin pitch Saturday. The seven-member team who live in various communities in eastern Skagit County smashed the former record by 277 feet, setting 1,676 feet as the mark to beat. TreBarbaric held the record last year for 13 days.

Standing 58 1/2 feet tall, The Machine is a trebuchet, a siege engine similar to a catapult. But TreBarbaric’s trebuchet flings pumpkins, rather than stones.

On Saturday, TreBarbaric’s seven men, who hail from their castles in Lyman and Sedro-Woolley, were just one pumpkin pitch away from their mission: Take back the world record.

After their stick pony sally, the men got down to the serious business of pitching pumpkins. After the words “fire in the hole” and the warning blast of a handheld air siren, Frank pulled the pin holding his wooden war engine in check.

With a whoosh of wind and whorl of wood, The Machine flung a white pumpkin high above the grass field of Skagit River Park in southeast Burlington....

The tallest of the smaller trebuchets stood about 18 feet. The teams included a group of junior high boys working with one of their fathers, engineers from Boeing, machinists and auto mechanics.

“We have a nice cross between engineers and rednecks,” said Kevin Orcutt, a member of team Gourdinator.

I wish I could have seen this. I can picture the headline I'd have used:
The Great Pumpkin: No More Mister Nice Gourd!

The Catholic Carnival is up

Happy Tuesday! Catholic Carnival LI is up at Living Catholicism.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I would have excommunicated him, too

I have to thank Lutheran Pastor Paul McCain (whom I respect a lot, actually) for his post Papal Bullony, calling attention to the anniversary of Luther's excommunication by the publication of the papal bull Exsurge Domine. I had never read the bull, and I had always assumed that Luther's points were valid and Pope Leo X was just a blockhead who wouldn't listen to him.

Having now read the bull, I have a different picture. Yes, Luther had a legitimate beef about the sale of indulgences and other simonies rampant in the Church. But having read those of Luther's blatherings that Leo condemned, I can see that they are beyond mere heresy. I suspect (as my wife has suggested to me) that Luther was not praying with a full rosary, as it were.

Let's look at a few of Luther's lunacies:
6. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and detestation of sins, by which one reflects upon his years in the bitterness of his soul, by pondering over the gravity of sins, their number, their baseness, the loss of eternal beatitude, and the acquisition of eternal damnation, this contrition makes him a hypocrite, indeed more a sinner.

So not only are we not forgiven if we confess and repent of our sins, but it's actually a sin to repent of them.

8. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed.

Don't try to confess all your sins, because there will be more that you don't know about. Better to keep your mouth shut. Unless, of course, you've been caught publicly.

9. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God's mercy for pardon.

If we don't hold back a few sins, then God won't have anything to forgive. Huh?

12. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, or the priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved.

"A jocose manner?" Do priests kid around in the confessional? Absolve you with their fingers crossed? Even better, if the penitent wasn't contrite, but really believes that he has been absolved anyway, it still counts. "I'm not sorry, but I believe I'm forgiven anyway, so it must be so!" Clap your hands and Tinkerbell will live.

31. In every good work the just man sins.

32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.


Aren't we told to beware of those who call evil good and good evil?

33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.

Okay, I agree with this one. One out of 41 ain't bad. Next!

34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.

Sure! And Katrina, 9/11 and light beer are really God's judgment on us, and we shouldn't lift a finger to mitigate the damage from them.

35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.

So? If I understand correctly, it's only a mortal sin if it's committed knowingly. This guy has a guilt complex that's mind-boggling!

37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon.

Whose canon, Martin? Yours or the unexpurgated one? (Pardon the pun.)

40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.

The souls freed from Purgatory are in heaven. How can you be less happy in heaven? And, of course, that's assuming there evven is a Purgatory, since he says it can't be proven. For something that may not exist, Luther sure thinks he knows a lot about it.

Okay, it's entirely possible that I'm misunderstanding some of these statements. I'm not really a scholar; I don't even play one on TV. And if Luther didn't say those things, someone please tell me; I dislike straw men from Catholics as much as from Protestants. But if I read those statements, and it were up to me, I'd have excommunicated the guy who made 'em too. And preferably referred him to a competent mental health professional.

Notice also that the excommunication wasn't a knee-jerk reaction.
As far as Martin himself is concerned, O good God, what have we overlooked or not done? What fatherly charity have we omitted that we might call him back from such errors? For after we had cited him, wishing to deal more kindly with him, we urged him through various conferences with our legate and through our personal letters to abandon these errors. We have even offered him safe conduct and the money necessary for the journey urging him to come without fear or any misgivings, which perfect charity should cast out, and to talk not secretly but openly and face to face after the example of our Savior and the Apostle Paul. If he had done this, we are certain he would have changed in heart, and he would have recognized his errors. He would not have found all these errors in the Roman Curia which he attacks so viciously, ascribing to it more than he should because of the empty rumors of wicked men. We would have shown him clearer than the light of day that the Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, whom he injuriously attacks beyond all decency, never erred in their canons or constitutions which he tries to assail. For, according to the prophet, neither is healing oil nor the doctor lacking in Galaad.

But he always refused to listen and, despising the previous citation and each and every one of the above overtures, disdained to come. To the present day he has been contumacious. With a hardened spirit he has continued under censure over a year. What is worse, adding evil to evil, and on learning of the citation, he broke forth in a rash appeal to a future council. This to be sure was contrary to the constitution of Pius II and Julius II our predecessors that all appealing in this way are to be punished with the penalties of heretics. In vain does he implore the help of a council, since he openly admits that he does not believe in a council.

So authorities tried to get Luther to come talk things over peaceably, and he stuck his fingers in his ears and chanted "La la la, I can't hear you!" Clearly, he didn't want to resolve problems unless it was on his own terms. I have small children who do that, too. (Burning the bull, along with the Canon Law, probably wasn't the most mature reaction, either.) Still, Leo makes it clear that he wanted to work things out with Luther, and that even in Martin's absence, he and his advisers discussed Luther's statements carefully to see if they were orthodox. Finally, Leo issued Exsurge Domine, which stated that these teachings of Luther's teachings are "not Catholic... and are not to be taught, as such; but rather are against the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church, and against the true interpretation of the sacred Scriptures received from the Church." Luther's response, as I see it, was a combination of "Yeah? Well I don't wanna be Catholic anyway!" and "I know you are, but what am I?"

If this is bull-oney, then Leo should have dished up a couple more slabs, and I wish he were here to do it today. Way to go, Holy Father! I'm sorry I ever thought you were a blockhead.

Update: Bill Cork corrects the date and adds a couple of things:
Exsurge Domine condemned certain teachings of Luther's, was issued on June 15, 1520, and may well have taken four months to get to him. But this was not the decree of excommunication – that was Decet Romanum pontificem, dated January 3, 1521 (sorry, but the only on-line source I could find has it in Word format). Luther was given time to respond and recant, but Leo saw that he just dug himself in deeper.

Thanks, Bill!

Lawyers do serve a purpose

Maybe they are bottom-feeding scumdogs, but there are times when you really need a lawyer. Like this guy:
A man whose efforts to defend himself against double homicide charges have been called a "train wreck" tried one last time yesterday to convince a jury he did not kill his parents...

Phadnis, who has no legal training, insisted on defending himself against the two aggravated first-degree murder charges despite warnings from King County Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert and his former attorneys. He opted to act as his own attorney, he said, because he had "issues" with all four public defenders assigned to him.

This part is my favorite:
Phadnis claims he was kidnapped and tortured for three days by a gang of 400-pound Samoans who eventually killed his parents in front of him. At one point he tried to keep prosecutors from showing the jury a picture of one of his father's handguns by saying, "Your honor, that's not even the murder weapon," which implied that he had personal knowledge about the gun that was used in the killings.

Sometimes, you don't know whether to laugh or cry, so you just have to settle for cringing. Another A/T to Jim Romanesko.

Extreme news junkies

Fortunately, our carriers at The Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™ never have to deal with this sort of thing (scroll down), because they're unfailingly punctual in bringing the latest news to an eagerly-awaiting readership. However, some places aren't so fortunate:
A Jacksonville newspaper carrier found himself staring down the barrel of a Beretta when a man claimed the carrier forgot to deliver his paper, police said.

At gunpoint, the 56-year-old carrier handed him an edition of the Times-Union, worth 50 cents...

The robbery happened shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday at Ionic Avenue and McGirts. Two men walked up to the carrier's car window, with one telling him: "You didn't deliver me a paper this morning," a police report said.

When the carrier asked the man's address, the assailant pulled out a gun, pointing it in the carrier's face, while demanding "Give me a paper," according to police.

A/T to Jim Romanesko.

Halloween brings out the most horrifying creativity

Check out The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Halloween costumes at Miss Cellania. Be sure to follow the links; there's some amazing stuff there. My favorite was the Retired Hooter Girls. (I'm not going to post the picture here.) I really, really hope those things are fake. Warning: Some of these are best not viewed at work!

One of the few good memories I have with my ex was a Halloween party where we had planned to be Popeye and Olive Oyl. (This sounds pretty tame, until you remember that I'm six-foot-three and scrawny as a rail. So which of us was to be whom?) Alas, we couldn't find the elements of the costumes, so we ended up dressing all in beige and going as pasta. I was spaghetti, she was manicotti. My father (whose build is like mine) did one better years ago, dressing all in brown, walking around in a curly posture, and passing himself off as a pubic hair. I've only heard about that one; I wish I could have seen it.

Finally, it's not a Halloween costume, but the first year we were married, my Lovely and Brilliant Wife and I were invited to a Hawaiian-themed party. This was what we came up with. (Did I mention that besides the usual adjectives, Christina's an awfully good sport?)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Separated at birth?

Matt, a freshman at ASU, was astute enough to notice a strong resemblence between Pretender Governor Gregoire (who visited Moses Lake the other day) and another well-known figure:



As Matt said, it's kinda creepy, isn't it?

"The dogma is the drama"

I had no idea Dorothy Sayers' wonderful article The Greatest Drama Ever Staged" was online. I read it years ago, and it was a really bracing reminder that when we talk about the faith, we're not just discussing abstract concepts; we're talking about an actual Savior, who actually lived at a defined place and time, and actually "was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried."
Now, we may call that doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating; we may call it revelation or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull, then words have no mean ing at all. That God should play the tyrant over man is a dismal story of unrelieved oppression; that man should play the tyrant over man is the usual dreary record of human futility; but that man should play the tyrant over God and find Him a better man than himself is an astonishing drama indeed. Any journalist, hearing of it for the first time, would recognize it as News; those who did hear it for the first time actually called it News, and good news at that; though we are apt to forget that the word Gospel ever meant anything so Sensational.

Sometimes, we all need to be reminded of that. A grateful A/T to One Bread, One Body.

They should be flying flags at half-mast today

The founder of the first food bank has gone to be with the Lord.
John van Hengel set out to change his life and ended up changing the world.

Van Hengel died Wednesday at 83 in a Phoenix hospice care facility. He is credited as the founder of food banking with the start of Phoenix-based St. Mary's Food Bank in 1967.

After proving successful in gleaning food from the food industry and distributing it to agencies for people in need, he worked for many years as a consultant to cities across the nation and around the world so they, too, could start a food bank.

His efforts led to the founding of America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest charitable hunger-relief organization comprised of more than 200 member food banks.

About nine years ago, I had a business failure and no job, and when the money ran out, my daughter and I had to make a few visits to the food bank here in town. I was amazed at the way that local businesses and individuals had kicked in to provide groceries for people in my situation. It wasn't fancy, but it was enough to keep us fed until I got a temporary job. Thousands of other people have done the same. And it all started with one guy who made the connection between food and stomachs.

There are hungry people in our country of plenty, and a large part of the reason for it is the logistics of getting the extra food that we produce to people who need it. The government tries, but John Van Hengel succeeded. And I particularly like that he knew Who it was that enabled him to feed so many people:
"One day I tried to pawn off this idea of mine on the priests at St. Mary's," van Hengel said.

"I told them what we needed in this town was a clearinghouse for all the surplus food from the various markets - food just getting thrown away - and they said, 'Good idea. Do it.' They got me a building and a little funding so quick I couldn't get out of it."

But additional funding was slow coming in and van Hengel was ready to give up, when one day a man drove up to his little office, got out of an "old wreck" of a car, and dropped a folded check on van Hengel's desk.

"I was praying for $50," van Hengel said.

The check was for $10,000.

"The Lord doesn't often show his hand," van Hengel said. "But I knew he had that day. I knew we not only could, but had to go on with this food-bank idea."

I would love to see this man's cause brought up for sainthood, although I don't know much about him beyond this obituary. He wasn't a great theologian, or a high-profile speaker or writer, or anything like that. He was a man most people never heard of, who followed Jesus without fanfare, and fed the five thousand over and over. No miracles this time, just obeying the Lord.
Steve Zabilski, director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix, called van Hengel "a great visionary, a man who saw the world and wanted to make it better."

"John took his visions and made them a reality. I'm not sure there is anyone who has done as much for feeding the poor as did John, not only here, but throughout the world. I was just speaking with a member of the society who just returned from Italy and visited several food banks and they were talking about John van Hengel."

And, Zabilski suggested, every day for now and far into the future, many thousands of hungry people will be dining at the table of John van Hengel.

May the Lord feast him with all the honor he never sought on earth.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A terrible thing for a father to read

Gary Knapp at The Undershepherd has some sobering thoughts on Katie Holmes and her recent marriage to actor/psycho Tom Cruise. As we read all over the news that she's about to have a baby with him, Gary contemplates the path her parents set her on, and how they're reaping the whirlwind in the worst way you can: seeing their little girl turned into a plaything for a sick, egomaniacal bastard:
The parents of Katie Holmes are reaping the seeds that they sowed in the life of their daughter many years ago. They were willing to allow her onto a path of sensuality in her youth and her actions now reflect what they permitted. I wonder if Katie's parents are proud to see their daughter with Tom Cruise who has already gone through two wives? I wonder if they are happy that she is pregnant?

To the world Katie Holmes has reached the zenith: the bedroom partner of Tom Cruise. As a Christian father I grieve and want to vomit. I wonder if Katie’s parents go to bed wondering if their daughter is being mauled by Tom Cruise that evening? If so, does it bother them? Do they understand that they led her to this place?

The scariest thing about being a parent is that you never know how many of your children's mistakes and miseries you caused, and how many you could have prevented, and how many you couldn't have done a thing about. You also never know what dangers you unwittingly shielded them from, unwitting because you never knew the threats were there. Every action a parent takes – or doesn't take – is like a butterfly effect; you never know what the results are until years later, when there's no way to correct it. To parent is to fly blind.

All we can do is pray for our children as though we had no other way of influencing their lives. Because in the end, it's the only means we have that we can be certain will be for their good.

Hat tip to David Bayly.

I wonder if this is legal in Seattle

I sort of wish I hadn't seen this. (Warning: One of the images on the site is a little strong for work.)

Really, I don't want to know what kind of a mind came up with this. It sounds like something out of a junior-high school locker-room story. Why are only perverts imaginative enough to think up these things? If only we could put that creativity to work on a cure for cancer, or a palatable non-alcoholic beer, or something. What a waste!

Incidentally, posting the other day about Seattle's nudie-bar ordinances reminded me of the headline that ran in the WSU student paper about similar restrictions years ago:

Lap dances in Pullman will be harder to come by.

Opportunities like that come along only once in a journalist's career!

A juicy but fully-clothed hat tip to Happy Catholic.

Update on the altar-smashing God-goons

(I tried to post this yesterday, but Blogger was down.)

I was really, really hoping these people would turn out not to be acting out some deranged version of Protestant Fundamentalism. Rats.
"We are in End Times," Wagner said. "This is Armageddon, the end of all things. Basically, what we're in right now is the appearance of the antichrist who we believe to be Pope Benedict (XVI). . . . That's the main reason we chose the Catholic church. It didn't have anything to do with the people in it...

Turgeon and Wagner said they believe the End Times have begun because of widespread famine, epidemics and natural disasters like hurricanes and a tsunami that killed thousands.

"I'm just waiting for an earthquake," Turgeon said.

The couple spoke of their readings in the book of Revelation, saying changes in the moon, stars and an asteroid he believes is the woodworm, were all predicted. [That's "Wormwood," you dolt! – Joel]

Both Turgeon and Wagner believe Pope Benedict is the antichrist. They said Pope Benedict changed his pallium, a band worn over the pope's shoulders, and the color of his ring.

"He changed the color to red," Turgeon said. "A symbol of the blood of the lamb. Every time he puts the ring on he's saying, 'I'm God.' "

Turgeon said he discovered the difference in the pope's attire while browsing the Internet.

You know, this is not unlike a Protestant analog of the Catholic pervo-priest scandal. The overwhelming majority of Protestants would no more do something like this than the overwhelming majority of priests would diddle boys. Normal, sane Fundamentalists (no, that's not an oxymoron!) may believe that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, but they don't trash their neighbors' churches to combat him. (Particularly since there's a lot of ocean between Alabama and Rome, so the Pope wasn't even affected.) These people bear about the same resemblance to genuine Fundamentalists that Tim McVeigh bore to Republicans. To my Fundamentalist friends on- and offline, I want to say I'm sorry if any Catholic has tarred you with the same brush that slathers these loons. It's wrong when "guilt by association" is applied to Catholics, and wrong when it's applied to Protestants.

BTW, would someone who knows more about vestments tell me if the pallium's color changes according to the liturgical season, or what? I'm curious.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Let me get this straight

You're a Muslim in England, a country that eight or nine hundred years ago fought your ancestors in the Crusades. Your lot won, frankly, which is why Jerusalem has been mostly Muslim ever since. Chances are, you're either an immigrant or the son of immigrants, in a country that's been historically Christian since the third century. Moreover, you're in prison in England, which means you did something rotten to the people of your (adopted) country.

And you're offended if the local people wear their national symbol in your presence?

To use a term that's probably equally offensive to Muslims, that's Chutzpah!

He did what?!?

Okay, the gay priest thing is bad enough, but giving the Holy Eucharist to a dog? How much contempt for Christ does that take?

Homosexuality is a sin, whether you wear a cassock or a T-shirt, but it's a sin that is at least understandable, i.e. a giving in to lust. But to deliberately profane the Sacrament like this is not weakness, it's blasphemy, comparable to the Satanic "Black Mass." And this guy (who isn't named, fortunately for him) is priesting somewhere?

"Disgusting" just doesn't even come close.

All right, I'm in.


"It is awfully hard to be b-b-brave," said Piglet, "when you are only a Very Small Animal."

Courage, little oinker! We're a Very Large Blogosphere!

Things that make you say "well, duh!"

A new study links juvenile obesity to produce prices. Seems kids who live where fresh fruits andd vegetables are more expensive are less likely to eat it. No kidding?
The results showed that young children who live in communities where fruits and vegetables are expensive are more likely to gain excessive amounts of weight than kids who live in areas where produce costs less. That connection was stronger than the proximity to fast-food restaurants.

On average, children in the study gained 29 pounds. But for the region with the highest relative price for produce _ Mobile, Ala. _ children gained about 50 percent more excess weight as measured by body-mass index (a ratio of height to weight) than children nationally.

Among kids in the area with the lowest relative cost for fruits and vegetables _ Visalia, Calif. _ excess weight gain was about half the national average.

The study also found that many children who live in poverty have just as much access to grocery stores as kids in higher-income neighborhoods.

Access, yes. Do they use it? Maybe, maybe not. Kids do tend toward the path of least resistance, as do low-income parents, often working long hours and too damn tired to cook. There's access to fast-food all but the smallest towns; I don't think whether there's ten or twenty grease-joints in town makes that much difference. Then, too, the current trend in fast food is toward healthier, less-fattening meals. Of course, kids will always go for the grease; I don't know too many who say, "Hey dad, can we get a salad at McDonald's?"

Something that's missing is the lifestyle differences between, say, Visalia and Mobile. Visalia is a sizeable city, true, but it's also farm country, and low-income people in an ag commmunity are a lot more likely to be farm workers than in a city like Mobile. Farm work is hard, dirty, and lots of exercise. I wonder if that was any kind of a factor.

A family tradition

I've always had a soft spot for Jimmy Carter. I think he was and is a good, decent man, far too good and decent for the Machiavellian edge that being the president required, which is why he did so badly at it. Now it looks like his son Jack will be running for the Senate seat currently held by John Ensign of Nevada.

I don't know much about Jack, but I like the little bit I got from this article.
"I'm more concerned than ever with the way that the country is headed," said Carter, 58.
Carter told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in Tuesday's editions that he's considering a challenge of Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., in 2006. He termed himself a social liberal with conservative Southern roots and a business background that taught him that "you pay for what you spend."

But the thing that really jumped out at me is this little breath of classiness in a crass political landscape:
Carter's name has previously been floated for political office in Nevada. An effort last year was made to recruit him to run against Republican Congressman Jon Porter. Carter said at the time that since he was new to the area, "I didn't think it would be polite."

After seeing Hillary Clinton move to New York and get elected to the Senate before the U-Haul was unpacked, it's good that at least one Southerner knows the value of not being a carpetbagger. That in itself makes me look forward to seeing more of this guy.

Being Catholic means never having to say this:

Or it should, at any rate. Greg Krehbiel lets loose a deliciously sarcastic broadside at armchair experts:
I’m adopting a new strategy. When faced with Institutional Stupidity, I will (1) mock the stupidity, (2) withdraw any and all support (real or implied) from said stupidity, and (3) go play with my kids.

So, for example, when the cantor announces a David Haas song, I will fold my arms, scowl, press the lips tightly and tickle my daughter. When atrocious translations of Scripture are read from the pulpit, I will roll my eyes and have a thumb war with my son. When asked to read a part in a play written by some 60s wannabe, I will emit a belly laugh and take a kid to 7-11 for a slurpee.

I have already withdrawn all financial support from the American bishops and submitted my resignation to the Republican Party. The operative phrase from now on is “I won’t be a party to this.”

One of the toughest things about being an American Catholic is coming to terms with the fact that the bishop is the boss; I am not. Americans, by and large, dislike authority intensely. In terms of political parties, well, they're run by the pee-pul in theory, but in practice, the individual can't expect to call the shots there either. The bozos ye have with you always; that doesn't make it a good idea to abandon the whole bandobast whenever they come to the fore.

This may be the best thing that could happen to her

Operation Rescue is opposed to Harriet Miers' nomination.

Given the reputation (not really deserved) that Operation Rescue enjoys for being wackos and borderline terrorists, this may be of more benefit to Miers than detriment with the undecideds. The enemy of my enemy, and all that.

Still, I stand by my postulation yesterday that Miers is a throwaway nominee, to make the real one more confirmable. My LaBW suggested the same thing yesterday, before she had seen my post about it. See why I married her?

Update: Trent Lott doesn't approve of her either. The only thing that would make liberals like her more is if NARAL endorsed her.

Washington ballots being reprinted

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A mistake by state elections officials is prompting some counties to reprint thousands of ballots, driving workers and printers into overtime and testing a deadline for getting ballots to overseas voters.

The error, in an advisory from the secretary of state's office, caused some counties to print ballots with statewide initiatives in the wrong order, officials said Tuesday.

I figured they forgot to pre-mark the Democratic candidates before they sent 'em out. Oh, well, that'll be fixed when they're counted.

Back in the sidebar again

I'm pleased to see that a blogger I've enjoyed in the past is back under a new name. He's asked that we not mention the old name, as he doesn't want it googled, but you can see his new beginning here.

Welcome back, Joe!

"Mariaphobic Response Syndrome"

Catholic überblogger Mark Shea has an excellent article at Catholic Exchange that responds to the latria vs. dulia distinction that's hard to get across in Catholic-Protestant discussions.

I have to disagree in one place with Mark, when he says that Evangelicals don't have a problem with Eucharistic adoration, but the question does tend to take a back seat to Mary in raising Protestant hackles. Mary is more visible, and hence an easier target, but the Real Presence is a lot more fundamental, and I suspect a lot of Evangelicals don't really realize what a big deal we make of the Blessed Sacrament. (I know I didn't, but then, I was never a very thoughtful Evangelical.)

Anyway, go take a look. In particular, I'd like, in a brotherly spirit, to invite a regular commenter on this blog to read it and see if it doesn't address the things we've been discussing. (I'd just as soon not say who, as I don't want to make it look like I'm putting him on the spot.)

Great article, Mark! I look forward to Part II.

Woops!

I have a lot of trouble believing this wasn't somebody's idea of a practical joke.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Copies of a movie aimed at a Mormon audience have been pulled from store shelves after a recording mix-up left buyers watching "Adored: Diary of a Porn Star" instead of the squeaky clean "Sons of Provo."

Two Utah families caught the problem after purchasing DVDs at Deseret Book stores, which are owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Fortunately, the movie the customers unintentionally bought wasn't rated. Mormons consider it a sin to watch movies with an "R" rating, so it would have been the equivalent of spiking food with pork and selling it under a kosher label to observant Jews. Still, it's not far off, and it's a slimy thing to do to trick somebody into something they believe is sinful. Real funny, folks!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Here's a thought

What if Bush nominated Harriet Miers as kind of a sacrificial lamb, to make the Kleptocrats use up their political capital with a pointless battle, and leave them less ready to fight his real choice, to be named later? I don't think she'll end up being confirmed, but if the Dems put up too much of a fight, the voters will be tired of it after round one, and the next nominee will have less trouble with the Senate.

Or maybe he just knows something about her that the rest of us don't. Maybe there's some real quality behind her that we haven't seen. The one thing I'm fairly sure of is that the president is a lot less stupid than the media make him out to be. There's an iceberg under here somewhere.

Trust me, I'm a doctor

And I can play one, too!
SEATTLE - An Oregon woman whose doctor convinced her that he could cure her lower back pain by having sex with her is suing him and his medical clinic for $4 million, according to legal documents obtained Monday...

Dr. Smith’s medical treatment included intercourse in which he told plaintiff was needed to help alleviate plaintiff’s lower back and lower extremity pain,” the former patient said in the lawsuit.

What gets me is that the woman fell for it. How naïve is that?

The highlight of a five-dollar bill's existence...

... is to be stuffed into an undulating G-string. But it won't be happening in Seattle anymore.
By a G-string-thin margin, the Seattle City Council yesterday approved tough new rules governing conduct in strip clubs.

The council voted 5-4 to approve an ordinance that will require clubs to keep dancers and patrons at least four feet apart, install a 3-foot railing between the stage and audience, ban direct tipping and install brighter lighting...

"Without being prudes, we can be prudent," [Councilman Nick] Licata said.

In the city that Boeing built, I predict that there will be a new craze for folding bills into paper airplanes and competing for marksmanship.

Tell me they didn't really name him that!

Nicholas Cage does DC proud by raising his own Kal-el
The actor's publicist, Annett Wolf confirmed the delivery of the baby boy in New York City besides his name as Kal-el Coppola Cage, while saying, "They are healthy and happy and it's quite lovely". It is not known where they got the inspiration to name the boy Kal-el, but it is very likely that Cage himself, who at one point collected Superman comics, might have thought of it. Though he has since auctioned off his huge collection including the prized 1938 pulp Superman debut for an estimated $1.6 million, Cage can now hope to raise a super-son.


Of course, since it's been well-demonstrated by Larry Niven that Superman himself would require some pretty extreme measures ever to have his own super-spawn, it may be that this is an act of kindness on the Cages' part. Follow the link; it's one of the funniest things you'll ever read.

It's good night from me...

... and it's good night from him.



Ronnie Barker, 1929-2005. R.I.P.

(Go here to see why it's such a loss.)

Let the Carnival begin!

This week's Catholic Carnival is up at Kicking Over My Traces. Lots of good stuff there!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Good night, Father-Boy!

Last week, my Lovely and Brilliant Wife posted her thoughts about large families and vocations. I have to admit, even though I was the one who originally made the joke about our sixth-born becoming a priest, I hadn't really given the matter any serious thought.

Part of it is my Protestant background. My grandfather was a Baptist minister, and my mother always kind of hoped that I'd be a preacher, too. (I've made some steps toward diaconate formation, but I think she's not sure if that's the same thing or not.) In my family, the pastorate and paternity were far from mutually exclusive. The idea that a clergyman son would mean no grandchildren simply isn't (pardon the pun) an issue.

The thought of one of my kids being a priest is, frankly, a little frightening. First, of the six that have been born so far, three are girls, which makes the question moot for them. But what of the boys? Well, Number One Son is a faithful Catholic, but he'd make a terrible priest. Really. If ever there was a kid born with "engineer" tattooed on his forehead, he's it. He'd be the ultimate square peg in a vocation centered around mystery and the unquantifiable. The priesthood is no place for him.

Number Two Son is also unlikely to be a priest, as he's being raised mostly by his mother, who is not Catholic. And this is also where my own prejudices come in. He's named for my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather; he's the first to carry on my last name (Number One's is different), and if he didn't have children, I would feel like the family had been cut off.

But Number Three Son is a definite possiblilty. Granted, he's only a year and a half old, but already I find myself picturing him in vestments and collar. His favorite thing is to pray the "Our Father" with Mama; he lets us know he wants to pray by tapping his shoulders to cross himself. (My wife is teaching him the correct way to do it: "In the name of the Father (tap)... and the Son (tap)... and the Holy (tap) Spirit (tap), amen (fold hands)." In contrast, my oldest daughter learned the Sign of the Cross as "Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet, Watch." My own fault; I taught that to her when she was ten.

It's a little scary thinking of little Dai as a priest. First, I never met a priest until about six years ago. The priests I know at our parish are in their 70s and 80s. How can this baby ever be old enough to be a priest? And although my clergy experience before then was with Protestant pastors, they were still authority figures. How can I respect the authority of someone whose hiney I've whupped? Can I picture someone behind the altar that I've had to pull down off the bookshelves?

Then, too, what do you call a priest twhose diapers you've changed? "Father?" Hah! That's my title! "Kiddo" seems kind of disrespectful. I think maybe a compromise from The Waltons is in order: "Father-Boy."

But what about grandchildren? Well, with six-point-three kids, I don't think my future status as a revered patriarch is in any real jeopardy. My quiver runneth over already. I can imagine one or two of my kids not producing the number of grandchildren necessary to pay me back for their raising. Still, it's hard to imagine knowing that a child of mine will never have his own children. How do you threaten him when he misbehaves (approximately once per heartbeat)? "Just wait till you have parishioners of your own!" Doesn't really carry the same vindictive weight, does it?

On the other hand, there could be some real advantages, too. As my wife pointed out, John Paul the Great was raised by a single father, and gave him some of the credit for his vocation. Father of the pope... yeah, I could see that. (Would that make me the Holy Grandfather?) Pope Dai the First has a nice ring to it. And even if he never makes it that far up the ladder (which I'm not giving up on yet, thank you), I have no doubt he'll still be a model of devotion and strength in the church, a boost to a dad's ego if there ever was one.

All right, so the reasons it seems like a good idea are selfish. But half a century ago, it was almost expected that one son in the family would go into Holy Orders. Today, it's far from automatic even for cradle Catholics, and for an ex-Prod like me, it's on a par with thinking of myself as an underwear model: scary and almost unimaginable.

Mostly, I need to remember that God gave me this kid (and don't think I haven't had some things to say about that!), and what God does with him is emphatically not up to me. I'm just the caretaker; God will call Dai to the priesthood or not, as He sees fit. My mission – whether I jolly well accept it or not – is to raise him to be as Godly a man as I can manage, without trying to second-guess the real Father. If Dai marries and reproduces, good. If he celebrates Mass instead, also good.

But if so, I hope those parishioners give their Father hell! It's the least they can do for Father-Boy's old man.

Don't it just make Jesus proud?

Yea, brethren and sistern, I reckon we done showed the great Roman Harlot whut wuz whut! Watch their false altars break under the force of our Godliness! If we crush a couple of their spawn, well, they probably weren't the Elect™ anyway!
"They were screaming something about Catholics worshipping idols and other things. I was so stunned, I didn't hear it all," she said. "The man then went behind the altar and pushed it over. If it had not been so heavy and had not gone straight down the steps, someone would have been hurt, probably those little children sitting near us."

Nope, them Mary-lovin', Pope-kissin', Bible-burnin' heeee-thens won't be clackin' their beads in our Godfearing neighborhoods no more!

Now, I got the gas and the cross. Who's got a match? Puh-raize Jeee-zus!

Update: (From my LaBW) Jesus hates you, this I know/For my PCP tells me so..."

A/T to Mark Shea.