Friday, December 29, 2006

Preach it, Mike!

Some great insights on sin at Adventure Faith. Pastor Mike's absolutely spot-on; it's always a battle to treat sin as sin, rather than just a mistake or a lapse of judgment.
[R]eligion will not help me. Humanism will not help me. Rationalization will not help me. Going numb with drugs and alcohol will not help me. Listening to someone's story of faith will not help me.

The only thing that will help me is this: to fall on my face, daily if possible, and invite the presence and power of Christ to heal me and fight with me. To lean on the Word of God and trust it to carry me through the next battle. To grow up and fight.

Finally, I need to recognize that the more I rationalize away my sin the less I need Christ.

I have a pet peeve with my pastor (whom I love and respect, BTW): In the Mass, when you get to the Kyrie, the priest's usual line is something like "Let us call to mind our sins." My pastor always says, "Let us call to mind the ways in which Our Lord invites us to love, honor and serve Him, and how we are answering that call." I can jolly well tall you how we are answering that call, Father. We're answering it badly. Sometimes very badly, sometime not as badly as other times, but I can assure you that anybody who says, "Well, I guess I've answered all right this week" is brimming over with the well-known bovine byproduct.

We shouldn't be asking "how are we doing?" as though "Great!" were a possible answer. The focus should be on "What do I need to ask forgiveness for, and what should I try to avoid next time?" We don't say "Lord, have mercy" over our successes. Most of us think about our positive points quite enough as it is. Let us call to mind our sins.

You love me! You really love me!

I made the list of the year's best entries in the Friday [Fornicate]-Off Thread at It Comes in Pints! My entry was probably the cleanest, from back in October:
Madonna. Madonna can [FORNICATE] OFF. With big, splintery nails.

You don't just tootle down to the used-child lot and pick one out like it's a 1998 Nissan. You remind me of those people who buy baby chicks for their kids at Easter, knowing the poor thing won't live to see May, but it's just SOOO CUUUTE!

Next time you crucify yourself in concert, do some other child a favor and stay on that damn cross!

Steel yourself to the language and go check out the rest of it. It's really cathartic.

Swingin' in the New Year

It's looking like sometime between now and when that big ball falls in Times Square, Saddam Hussein will dance the Tyburn jig.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving chap. May God show him more mercy than I think He will, and certainly more than Saddam ever showed.

Update: Looks like it will be 7:00 tonight (Pacific time, that is). Sooner than I expected. And it will be on YouTube by 7:02, I'm betting.

Another Update:
Al-Nueimi said U.S. authorities were maintaining physical custody of Saddam to prevent him from being humiliated before his execution. He said the Americans also want to prevent the mutilation of his corpse, as has happened to other deposed Iraqi leaders.

"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," al-Nueimi said.

Good. Political reasons aside, this is how Americans handle executions. We are not barbarians.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Just as an aside... the person who came in on this search, her name is Nicolette Scorcese. I don't know if she's any relation to Martin or not. But boy, howdy, could she sell absolutely anything to any man whose eyeballs hadn't been physically removed!

Now you know who she is, if you ever come back this way. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shakin' it for Santa

I don't know what to add to this that won't leave me sleeping on the couch. Except that I wonder what kid wound up with the stuffed dog, and what he'd think if he knew where it had been. On, Vixen!

This just in

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has filed criminal charges against überabortionist George Tiller. No further details yet on the newswire, but be assure I'll be keeping it updated.

Go get 'em, Phill! Nail his loathesome, murderous hiney to the wall! The spirit of Simon Wiesenthal be with you!

Update: Not much information out yet, but here's a preliminary story. Sure enough, it's for covering up for child molesters. It'll be an uphill climb, since apparently abortion clinics are the only "health care providers" who aren't subject to legal oversight.

A shame it has to be a lame-duck effort, but it may have the effect of shining some light on one of the abortion industry's dirty little secrets.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Monks gone wild

They'll know we are Christians by our crowbars.

Turkmenbashi, we hardly knew ye

In my case, that's literally true. I'd never heard of the man until yesterday, when I ran across this amazing account of a foray into Turkmenistan, and then lo and behold, when I pulled up the news wire this morning at the office, there was his obituary. No two ways about it; this guy was fascinating. I don't think he was as loony as he's made out to be, though. He may have had a staggering sense of self-importance, but he managed to keep Turkmenistan from descending into the sort of bloodbaths and power vacuums that other countries went through after the USSR fell apart. No mean feat, that.

Nevertheless, he was an unusually colorful guy (which is sort of like saying that Stalin was unusually forceful). Check out his legacy of weirdness here.

A more serious story here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Helsinki Complaints Choir

My best-friend-from-childhood comes from a Finnish family, as does about half of Klickitat County where I grew up (Motto: "Baaaa!"), so I'm not as surprised as Mark Shea that they have a sense of humor. Anybody who's taken a real Finnish sauna (a hundred-plus degrees of steam followed by total immersion in a snowbank) knows that as oppressive as the heat might be, you come out as thoroughly clean as you've ever been in your life. This video is just about that cathartic. I don't think I'll bellyache for a while after seeing this. Fun!

Danny Bonaduce has class...

And this sunglassed dickhead doesn't. I had to wait until I got home to watch this, but I'm glad I did. I don't care if you're for or against the Iraqi occupation, what this pissant did was inexcusable. You don't just ooze up to someone in mid-meal as though just because he was famous 30 years ago he's somehow obliged to talk with you. As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Bonaduce would have been well within his rights to give the guy a microphone enema; he showed great courtesy in merely speaking to loser-boy as though he MATTERED A RAT'S PATOOT.

A/T to It Comes in Pints?.

Cartoons at half mast

Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo... all died today.

Going through the motions

Note: Once again I'm recycling an article I wrote a few years ago for a Christian (mostly Protestant-oriented) magazine I used to put together for The Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™. Since it deals with ordinary time, I probably should have waited until Christmas was over and posted it then, but a blogfriend seems to be going through a rough patch, and I thought this might be the right time to bring it up. (You know who you are, brother.)

I dread the time between Christmas and Lent. The holidays are over. The carols have been replaced by the whines of children. The snow that was charming two months ago now leaves me snarling at my shovel. And my spiritual life reminds me of the feeling you get driving at three in the morning with nothing on the radio and seventeen cups of gas station coffee dissolving the lining of your stomach. On the church calendar, it’s called “Ordinary Time.” I can see why. And as soon as I say this, I feel a little guilty. A Christian isn’t supposed to feel this way.

Remember the songs we used to sing in Sunday School?

“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!”

“I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!”

“Jesus wants me for a sunbeam!”

It starts early, this conditioning to feel happy. And it continues into adulthood. As mature Christians, we know intellectually that there will be spiritual ups and downs. Still, how often are we exhorted to be “on fire for God?” Not to “go through the motions?” And the oft-quoted “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?”

Bah. Nobody moved. I’m still here, and He’s still here, and how I feel at any given time has nothing to do with it. I’ll “go through the motions” as long as it takes, thank you. Every Christian has times like that. The important thing is to have motions to go through.

For a Catholic, it’s easy. You go to Mass, sing the songs, read the responses, and receive the Eucharist. The routine is mostly the same. As the Mass goes along, I find myself adding my mental commentary:

Priest: “The Lord be with you.”
Congregation: “And also with you.” (I could do this in my sleep. In fact, I think I might be.)
Priest: “Lift up your hearts.”
Congregation: “We lift them up to the Lord.” (Does drop-kicking it in the general direction of the altar count?)
Priest: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”
Congregation: “It is right to give Him thanks and praise.” (The guy in front of me seems to be hygienically challenged. Hey, buddy, praise with your arms down, willya?)

And so it goes. If you’re not Catholic (or some other liturgical denomination), then it gets a little trickier. It’s kind of expected that you will have a “worship experience” at church, and you have to find a balance that will allow you to worship without feeling like a hypocrite. People tend to notice if you show up, glower at your hymnal for an hour or so, and go home without saying a word to anybody. Not the best witness, perhaps, but what can you do?

Well, you can pray. A lot. And remember that God hears you even when you mutter. You don’t have to be exuberant or interesting, just pray. Again, this is where having a set routine helps. My wife is a Secular Carmelite, so she prays the Divine Office regularly. (Translation for Protestant readers: the Secular Carmelites are sort of like a religious order, but without vows of celibacy and poverty. The Divine Office is a traditional series of prayers, mostly from the Psalms, that takes about 15 or 20 minutes twice a day.) I don’t have the self-discipline for that, but I can set myself a series of prayers and stick to it like gum to a theater seat. One “Our Father”, one “Glory Be”, repeat as needed. It’s not fancy, but it gets me through.

And for now, getting through is the name of the game. In a month or so, it’ll be Ash Wednesday, and the zeal will return. (Who but a Catholic gets fired up over penitence and self-denial? Praise the Lord and pass the hair shirt!) Meanwhile, I keep remembering the words of Bob Dylan:
“And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn,
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin’ on...”

...and on, and on and on. Our Father, Glory Be, Yadda yadda. World without end, amen. It’s a good thing the Lord knows how I feel even when I don’t feel it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Circumcision reduces risk of AIDS...

... by almost half. No mention of how much the risk can be reduced by simply not buggering other men.

Lying godbag defames self-sacrificing hero

But... but... things like that don't really happen! Women who have abortions are happy! Happy, I tell you! And Dr. Tiller is a great man, who gives his profits to charity! Yeah, that's it! Secretly! And it wasn't a baby! It wasn't! SHUT UP!

Stop it! Stop saying those things! La la la la la...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

If things had gone terribly, terribly wrong

This alternate-history obituary of St. Jack is really disturbing. I don't think it's all that plausible, but the convergences are fun to ponder, in a Lovecraftian sort of way.

Christmas reality check

As fast as the decorations come out, somebody starts going on about how "Christmas is just a glossed-over pagan celebration, blah blah blah." Next time you hear that twaddle begin, shut it off by directing them to someone who knows what he's talking about.
The idea that the date was taken from the pagans goes back to two scholars from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, wished to show that the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25th was one of the many “paganizations” of Christianity that the Church of the fourth century embraced, as one of many “degenerations” that transformed pure apostolic Christianity into Catholicism. Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk, tried to show that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals for Christian purposes without paganizing the gospel.

In the Julian calendar, created in 45 B.C. under Julius Caesar, the winter solstice fell on December 25th, and it therefore seemed obvious to Jablonski and Hardouin that the day must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one. But in fact, the date had no religious significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian’s time, nor did the cult of the sun play a prominent role in Rome before him.

There were two temples of the sun in Rome, one of which (maintained by the clan into which Aurelian was born or adopted) celebrated its dedication festival on August 9th, the other of which celebrated its dedication festival on August 28th. But both of these cults fell into neglect in the second century, when eastern cults of the sun, such as Mithraism, began to win a following in Rome. And in any case, none of these cults, old or new, had festivals associated with solstices or equinoxes.

Thanks to Catholic Überblogger Mark Shea for reminding me about this. He's got some really good comments on the subject here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stuff you can't make up

A high school art teacher suspended for making a YouTube video demonstrating how to paint with your butt.

Where do you even begin to make fun of something like this?

Peter Boyle, R.I.P.

It's hard to say what my favorite performance of his was, especially since I was never a fan of "Everybody Loves Raymond." Didn't hate it or anything, just never got into it.

I first saw Boyle in Yellowbeard, which (despite almost universal gagging) remains one of my favorite parodies of all time. I remember him as a police commander trying everything he could find to relieve stress in Red Heat; he made an otherwise forgettable movie as least a little enjoyable. And everybody loved him in Young Frankenstein.

I think my favorite role of his, though, was as the father (Ox Callahan) in the sappy romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping. Some of the quotes still crack me up:
Man at Church: Will you please pipe down?
Ox Callahan: Hey, be nice pal-ly, we're in Church!
Man at Church: You're disrupting the Mass!
Ox Callahan: Who made you the Pope?

And one I throw around sometimes for no particular reason:
All I know is, she was pretty high and mighty for someone named after breakfast meat!

Incidentally, looking at his trivia, I notice that before he was an actor, he was a Christian Brothers monk. How cool is that?

Rest in peace, pal. Make God laugh.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I can talk gooder'n anybody!

Given that I work for a newspaper, 98 percent shouldn't be good enough. But I don't have time to go back and see what I missed.
Your Language Arts Grade: 98%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

I'd be curious to see how Dani does, since I occasionally hire her to freelance. I'd like to think she can, like, write a correct sentence, y'know? I'll bet she beats me. H/T to Patrick.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

For my Reverend Auntie

She was very active in Mensa for a long time, ever since she discovered it through administering my Mensa test when I was a kid. In fact, I remember her telling me that she had been letched after by the Good Doctor himself at a Mensa gathering. (I didn't envy her that, although I would have liked to have met him.)

Here's a few lines I hope he didn't use:
The Top 5 MENSA Pick-Up Lines

5> "If I were to mention to you that you have a bellus corpus, would you take umbrage?"

4> "I bet your brain stem reaches almost down to your gluteus maximus."

3> "Ooohh, your IQ is 145? I like 'em dumb and strong!"

2> "By visually measuring the wrinkles in the front of your pants, calculating your body mass based on your height and weight, and dividing that number by your waist size -- I conclude that you have absolutely nothing in your pocket and are, in fact, glad to see me."

and the Number 1 MENSA Pick-Up Line...
1> "Baby, I'll have you barking like a canis familiaris."

Our Catholic governor...

... leaps eagerly at the chance to please her NARAL masters. This wasn't even a political necessity; it was just a gesture to show how committed she is to betraying her faith for the sake of the abortion industry.

I take some solace in the knowledge that she actually lost the election. But not much.

Counseling by phone

While I was cleaning out some stuff, I found this from a back issue of the Wittenburg Door, back when it used to be funny. I thought I'd post it just for the heck of it.

You have reached Enormous Christian Center's automated spiritual counseling and referral line. If you were trying to call Domino's Pizza, please press (1) now.

If you have a loved one in the hospital, please press (2) now.

If you have done something you feel ashamed of and you wish to anguish over it without any real resolve to change, press (3) now.

If you wish to complain about another member of the church who does not meet your expectations, press (4) now. If you wish to complain about the pastor, press (5) now.

If you would like marriage counseling, press (5) now.

You already used 5.

No, I didn't.

You most certainly did. Complaints about the pastor were 5.

Well, pardon me. I suppose you never make mistakes.

I can count, if that's what you mean.

Oh, really? Then how do you explain last month's checking statement?

I was still in a stupor from your tuna casserole.


If you would like to speak directly to God, think very hard about the number (7) now.

If there was no answer at that extension and you are now experiencing a crisis of faith, please press (8) now.


You have selected menu item number 8, a crisis of faith. This automated service offers various arguments for the existence of God.

To hear a defense of creationism by the biology professor from a nearby Bible college, press (1) now.

To hear about God's message in the awesome beauty of nature, press(2) now.

For a celebrity's personal testimony, press (3) now.

For a pretty lame attempt to deal with the problem of evil in 45 seconds, press (4) now.

To return to the main menu, press (5) now.


For general counseling, please press (9) now.


You have selected menu item number 9, general counseling. Please begin describing your life situation. Press the pound key when you are ready for a response.






I see.


And how did you feel about that?


I see. Well, perhaps you should pray about it.


For church softball league results, please press (1) now. Softball league results are $2.95 for the first minute, 95 cents for each additional minute.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I kind of saw this coming

The more seriously the MSM begins to take Mitt Romney's chances for the White House, the more Gee-Whiz-Those-Mormons-Sure-Are-Kooks stories like this one we'll be seeing. The media didn't care about Mormons when it was just fresh-faced kids at the door, but with Romney considering a presidential bid, it's time to start establishing the meme in people's heads that the LDS are really just Branch Davidians in weird underwear.

Monday, December 04, 2006


... and Pervo was his name-O!

This is the lamest excuse for despicable behavior I've heard in a long time.