Thursday, August 30, 2007
I don't care what the school administration has to say; this kid deserves a scholarship. This took some serious planning and organization.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Devon and I went to Wal-Mart on Thursday night to pick up some last minute school supplies. I was exhausted and not thinking clearly, so I told him to just get what he needed and I would mindlessly swipe my credit card at the register. This is how I approach back-to-school time, you see. It's the only way I can spend that much money (and pay interest! Yay!) on that many glue sticks and Bratz folders and other useless shit without walking into school on the first day and asking to please speak with the other twelve children I'm obviously supporting.
I was numbly standing behind him in the aisle and watching him obsess over rulers when he turned to me.
"Look at this, Mom. Who in the world would need an eighteen inch ruler?"
And without thinking, I replied, "John Holmes."
The lady passing me began shrilly giggling and my son looked puzzled.
I coughed. "Um, actor. Way before your time."
"Just pick a damned ruler! I have places to go and interest to pay! Gah!"
My kids wouldn't have understood it either, for which God be praised.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
WASHINGTON - Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who has voted against gay marriage and opposes extending special protections to gay and lesbian crime victims, finds his political future in doubt after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from complaints of lewd conduct in a men's room...
A political science professor in Idaho said Craig's political future was in jeopardy. And a spokesman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, Hannah August, said Craig's guilty plea "has given Americans another reason not to vote Republican" next year.
The married Craig, 62, has faced rumors about his sexuality since the 1980s, but allegations that he has engaged in gay sex have never been substantiated. Craig has denied the assertions, which he calls ridiculous.
The arrest changes that dynamic, said Jasper LiCalzi, a political science professor at Albertson College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. He cited the House page scandal that drove Florida Rep. Mark Foley from office.
"There's a chance that he'll resign over this," LiCalzi said. "With the pressure on the Republican Party, he could be pressured to resign. If they think this is going to be something that's the same as Mark Foley - the sort of 'drip, drip, drip, there's more information that's going to come out' - they may try to push him out."
Only much farther down the article do we find out what Craig actually did:
Roll Call, citing the report, said Sgt. Dave Karsnia made the arrest after an encounter in which he was seated in a stall next to a stall occupied by Craig. Karsnia described Craig tapping his foot, which Karsnia said he "recognized as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct." [Emphasis mine]
Hey, today tapping his foot, tomorrow waving his john thomas at the crowd in a pride parade. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Unless you're someone gay people (and the media) don't approve of.
Monday, August 27, 2007
We have become a nation of women.
It wasn’t always this way, of course. There was a time when men put their signatures to a document, knowing full well that this single act would result in their execution if captured, and in the forfeiture of their property to the State. Their wives and children would be turned out by the soldiers, and their farms and businesses most probably given to someone who didn’t sign the document.
There was a time when men went to their certain death, with expressions like “You all can go to hell. I’m going to Texas.” (Davy Crockett, to the House of Representatives, before going to the Alamo.)
There was a time when men went to war, sometimes against their own families, so that other men could be free. And there was a time when men went to war because we recognized evil when we saw it, and knew that it had to be stamped out.
There was even a time when a President of the United States threatened to punch a man in the face and kick him in the balls, because the man had the temerity to say bad things about the President’s daughter’s singing.
We’re not like that anymore.
Now, little boys in grade school are suspended for playing cowboys and Indians, cops and crooks, and all the other familiar variations of “good guy vs. bad guy” that helped them learn, at an early age, what it was like to have decent men hunt you down, because you were a lawbreaker.
Now, men are taught that violence is bad—that when a thief breaks into your house, or threatens you in the street, that the proper way to deal with this is to “give him what he wants”, instead of taking a horsewhip to the rascal or shooting him dead where he stands.
Now, men’s fashion includes not a man dressed in a three-piece suit, but a tight sweater worn by a man with breasts.
Now, warning labels are indelibly etched into gun barrels, as though men have somehow forgotten that guns are dangerous things.
Now, men are given Ritalin as little boys, so that their natural aggressiveness, curiosity and restlessness can be controlled, instead of nurtured and directed.
And finally, our President, who happens to have been a qualified fighter pilot, lands on an aircraft carrier wearing a flight suit, and is immediately dismissed with words like “swaggering”, “macho” and the favorite epithet of Euro girly-men, “cowboy”. Of course he was bound to get that reaction—and most especially from the Press in Europe, because the process of male pussification Over There is almost complete.
Read the rest. It rates a language alert, but it's well worth it. It's an old essay; I can't believe I hadn't seen it before. Thanks to Johnny Law for bringing it to my attention.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Let's see: Michael Vick stole his dogs and sold them on E-bay. Barry Bonds sold steroids to nuns (those must be some bulked-up sisters!), and in between times, supplied arms to Saddam Hussein. but only after liberating food out of the plaintiff's refrigerator. He was framed to prevent him from exposing Bonds' dealings.
As soon as I saw the guy had put a copyright symbol next to his name, I knew it would be a hoot. And I wasn't wrong. Happy silly season!
Sometimes a mortician for a dolphin sweeps the floor, but some insurance agent always buries a fundraiser of an industrial complex!
This line has more elements than one of those sleeping-pill commercials with Abraham Lincoln, a deep-sea diver and a beaver. (Oh, the symbolism in that combination!) So let's consider what symbolism we can derive from our cast of characters.
First we have the mortician. A mortician's function is twofold: first, to assuage ceremonially the grief of those who have lost a loved one, and second, to make that loved one appear as though he were still alive, and to fix him in his mourners' memories in his natural state. In both cases, death is both the stock in trade and the enemy of the clients. Should death suddenly cease to exist, the mortician would be out of business. This makes it tempting to think of him as profiting from the misery of others, but any actual mortician would tell you the opposite. They side with their clients' families, against an enemy which has already defeated them, at least temporally. (Spiritually, of course, they may not be defeated at all. Christian immortality and the resurrection of the body add a whole 'nother dimension to this.) The dichotomy between the need for death and the conflict with it is reminiscent of the relationship of a dentist toward candy.
Typically morticians work on human beings. So when he performs the same duties for a dolphin, what does it mean? (Assuming it's a literal dolphin, and not a football player from Miami.) Among the animals, dolphins are often thought to be second only to Man in intelligence (come to think of that, you could probably say the same of the football player), a kind of lesser (and unthumbed) human race. Nevertheless, they are not and cannot be human. So if a mortician does his work on one, is he implicitly denying the natural superiority of man over cetacean? Or is he merely being charitable to a lesser creature out of magnanimity?
In either case, he seems not to want the fact to be made public. He sweeps the floor, perhaps to hide the evidence of his cross-species labors. This would seem to support the second hypothesis, as he wouldn't be so furtive if he wanted to make a statement in favor of equality. He would shout from the rooftops, or perhaps from the sea floor, depending on whom he was trying to convince.
But he is foiled in this by the insurance agent. Like the mortician, the insurance agent both profits from death and seeks to disarm it, but for opposite reasons. The insurance agent's profit is derived not from death itself, but from the fear of it, whereas the actual event of death costs his company money. It is thus natural to see the agent and the mortician as opposing forces in a dualistic sense, a kind of yin-yang of the Rotary Club.
The use of the word "bury" is telling, as that's usually the province of a mortician, yet here we see the insurance agent doing it. Is it possible that he's trying to get an edge on the mortician by doing the job ahead of him, or is the fundraiser something that the mortician would rather not see buried? A fundraiser is at bottom an act of altruism, much like embalming a dolphin, which suggests that the two opposite forces are nonetheless parallel in their actions. To be simultaneously parallel and opposite is self-contradictory, and so the stuff of which koans are made.
The fundraiser itself presents another interesting conundrum. On the one hand, it is a vehicle of charity, a means for an entity with no merchandise except generosity to continue to dispense that generosity. But is there anything less evocative of generosity than an industrial complex? The whole nature of the complex is the buying and selling of goods: it's a marketplace in which the one-way exchange of the fundraiser is completely out of place. It may be that this unnatural placement of the fundraiser is what impels the insurance agent to bury it, to hide its deformity.
So here we see the fundamental difference between the mortician and the insurance agent. The mortician is embarrassed by his act of kindness out of modesty, whereas the insurance agent is apparently ashamed of an act of kindness which he himself presumably didn't perpetrate. The one regards charity as essentially good but not an occasion of pride, while the other regards it as essentially bad and worthy of shame. We come at last to the conflict: woe unto those who call good evil and evil good. The mortician, who does good, has no cause to fear death, while the insurance agent, who does evil, derives only harm from that final journey. And so cosmic justice is maintained.
Now where did I put those sleeping pills? Maybe the beaver has them.
Monday, August 20, 2007
What are you reading right now?
I'd like to say I'm reading Summa Theologica, but really, I just have it out so I can try and convince myself I'm reading it. In fact, I'm not reading anything new, but I am re-enjoying Thomas Howard's Splendor in the Ordinary before I give it to my mom. (I have my own copy, but the one for her is in the car, so it's closer.)
Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
Probably not Aquinas, alas. I'm waiting on a shipment from Powell Books in Portland (which is where I hope to go when I die) that has an out-of-print Donald Westlake book and a couple by Orson Scott Card. I'll probably read the Westlake first; it's called Dancing Aztecs and it's the funniest he's ever done, I think. I last read it about twelve years ago.
As for first-time reads, I'm really looking forward to Rachel and Leah, which is the third in Card's "Women of Genesis" series. I already have Sarah, haven't yet read Rebekah, and the third was the only one that was available cheap at Powell's. Card is a devout Mormon, and his retellings of Old Testament stories bear that out, but if you ever get a chance, you have to put that aside and read Stone Tables. It's the best Exodus rendition I've ever seen, bar none.
What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
My wife has whatever the current issue of Sunset is, and I have a few re-re-re-read books lying around. We're not really magazine people, as we (okay, I) tend to sign up for subscriptions and forget to pay them.
What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
I forced myself to read The Da Vinci Code to see what all the yelling was about, and it sucked like a White House intern. Bad writing, bad plotting, and enough historical howlers to make me chew off my leg to get away from it. I finished it, but when I tried to read the prequel, Angels and Demons, I just couldn't do it. I not only put the book down but actually punted it across the room when Brown mentioned in passing, that Copernicus had been executed by the Catholic Church. Really. It wasn't an element in the story, mind you; it was just background, in an everybody-knows tone. Had the man some tinge of letters or of wit, he could easily have found out that Copernicus died at the age of 70, retired from teaching astronomy on the Church's payroll. That was the last time I tried to read something by Dan Brown.
What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
I'm a huge fan of Lewis' The Great Divorce, and I've been known to recommend it to strangers on the sidewalk. Thomas Howard's On Being Catholic is one I like to recommend, too, but it's harder to find.
Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
Yes, but it's a small town. Mostly, they know my oldest daughter, who used to hang out there after school just about every day when she was little. (And became the first girl to climb onto the library roof, I learned later.)
Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
Several. George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman books are a source of continual delight to me, yet nobody else ever seems interested in them. A couple of others by the same author go begging as well. But the one book I've never, ever been able to get someone to read is Manly Wade Wellman's short-story collection John the Balladeer. (The whole thing is online here, if anybody's interested.) Wellman created an entire mythology out of Appalachian folklore, inserted a soft-spoken hero, and made magic such as I've seldom seen on a page. The speech cadences, the resurrected legends, all of it is so addictive that I can't help talking like the characters after I've been reading them. Yet somehow nobody else ever gets caught up in them.
Do you read books while you eat? When I can get away with it. I have a big family, so reading tends to be on stolen time.
While you bathe? This sounds silly, but at six foot three, I don't fit into the bathtub. And reading in the shower has proven disastrous in the past.
While you watch movies or TV? Sometimes I watch my wife's shows with half an eye while reading.
While you listen to music? Can't concentrate when I do. I'm like a poster child for adult ADD.
While you’re on the computer? Not really. Although my computer chair is the only place to sit in our bedroom, so I'll alternate sometimes.
While you’re having sex? If I ever really, really wanted a skull fracture, that might be an efficient way to get one. (Who on earth stuck that question in here?)
While you’re driving? In Moses Lake? We never have enough traffic backed up for me to do that. Although I confess I used to in Seattle, twenty-some years ago.
When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Boy howdy, did they ever. In Little League, I used to take a book into the outfield with me, which affected my popularity with my teammates no end. In fifth grade, I dodged every bit of schoolwork, while reading pretty much the entire contents of five (yes, five) sets of encyclopedias. Not cover to cover, but cross-referencing from subject to subject like you can do with mouse clicks on Wikipedia today.
What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Empire, by Orson Scott Card. Not his best, but still better than most of what's out there.
I'm not going to tag anyone either. If you take it up on your own, let me know inthe comments.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Your Score: A Bit Of Both
You are 40% Calvin and 60% Hobbes
Calvin & Hobbes, like a scruffy yin and yang, are in perfect balance within you. Like Calvin, you're weird, a bit insecure, and can be a trouble-maker. But like Hobbes, you're down to earth and sensitive. It's a risk to say it here, after just a ten question test, but I'll bet you're smarter than most. Both Calvin and Hobbes are crafty, clever characters, and any one made from equal parts of each is a force to be reckoned with.
|Link: The Calvin Or Hobbes Test written by gwendolynbooks on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
A tip of the Akubra to Michelle at Rosetta Stone, who actually posted this something like a year and a half ago. What can I say? Tigers don't have time to do quizzes.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
|You Are a Club Sandwich|
You are have a big personality. It's hard for anyone to ignore you!
You dream big. You think big. And you eat big.
Some people consider you high maintenance, but you just know what you want... and when you want it.
Your best friend: The Tuna Fish Sandwich
Your mortal enemy: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Ricki, I'm sorry. I guess we can't be friends anymore.
Why does He insist on the suspense, though? It's probably to teach me faith, but it's unnerving while it's happening. As someone said once, "The Lord moves in mysterious ways, and I just wish He wouldn't insist on carting me along with Him."
Thanks for praying, y'all!
Starting your lawn mower can be trouble enough.
But Danny Fendley, of Johns Creek, started more than just his mower Tuesday afternoon when he tugged at the pull cord.
Danny Fendley and his wife Sabrina watch as their two-story Johns Creek home burns down after Fendley's lawn mower exploded into flames inside his garage.
Firefighters try to extinguish the fire at this Johns Creek home. The fire started when Danny Fendley tried to start his lawn mower, inside his garage, and the mower exploded.
The mower "exploded," starting a fire that soon consumed Fendley's home.
"It's a goner," said Fulton County Fire Lt. Gregory Chambers, at the scene of the blaze. "There's not even one brick standing."
Fortunately, nobody was hurt, not even the cats.
Now I'm afraid to mow my own lawn. Who knows how many of those possessed lawnmowers are out there? I'm having visions of the mower following Peter Sellers around in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu. Sure, that one was friendly enough, but you know, some breeds can turn on you without warning.
Sorry, honey. I can't take the risk. The grass'll just have to grow. Think I''ll have a cold beer in the hammock and be thankful for my fortuitous escape.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
...people count the number of your children out loud when you're in public
...people ask, "Are they all yours?"
...you start counting your children when you're out in public...
My Lovely and Brilliant Wife has the rest. It reads like a checklist of our lives.
See why I love The Dawn Patrol so much?
"Fun new products available soon," says the home page for Planned Parenthood's online store. Along with that tease is an image that is apparently a preview of the abortion provider's new line of clothing: a logo reading "I ♥ WOMEN."
Given Planned Parenthood's main source of income, its vocal support of partial-birth abortion, and its failure to report a single adoption last year, a more appropriate slogan would seem to be "I ♣ BABIES."
Update: Scott points out that they can't ♥ women too much, since half the babies they abort would have been destined to become women. Maybe it's only the ♠ ones they like.
Monday, August 13, 2007
A FATHER posing for a publicity photograph in an attempt to track down the daughter he hadn't seen in 10 years was unaware that she was standing just behind him.
Michael Dick had lost track of Lisa, 31, when his first marriage broke down.
After searching the electoral register for clues, he went to the local free newspaper, which agreed to do a story about his search.
Mr Dick posed in a photo with his two daughters from his second marriage.
Lisa, who was told about the article by friends, was amazed to see herself and her mother in the background of the photo. The family has been reunited.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.
“The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1.
The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing.
It is the latest in a series of measures by the Communist authorities to tighten their grip over Tibet. Reincarnate lamas, known as tulkus, often lead religious communities and oversee the training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in the Himalayan region. Anyone outside China is banned from taking part in the process of seeking and recognising a living Buddha, effectively excluding the Dalai Lama, who traditionally can play an important role in giving recognition to candidate reincarnates.
The problem atheist regimes have historically run into is the assumption that all religion is merely a collection of superstitions that can be changed at will, like a children's jump-rope rhyme. By definition, religion involves things beyond Man's control, be he priest or commissar. Religions may be false, but they're never frivolous.
A/T to Fr. Tucker at Dappled Things.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Turns out, even beheaded rattlesnakes can be dangerous. That's what 53-year-old Danny Anderson learned Monday night, when a 5-foot rattler slithered onto his Central Washington property, about 50 miles southeast of Yakima.
Anderson and his 27-year-old son, Benjamin, pinned the snake with an irrigation pipe and cut off its head with a shovel. A few more strikes to the head left it sitting under a pickup truck.
"When I reached down to pick up the head, it raised around and did a backflip almost, and bit my finger," Anderson said. "I had to shake my hand real hard to get it to let loose."
This is a new one on me. You can't spend too many summers in central Washington without learning how to deal with rattlers. (Method one: stay the hell away from them. Method two: see method one.) But I always figured at least the dead ones were safe. 'Pears not.
E-ZPass and other electronic toll collection systems are emerging as a powerful means of proving infidelity. That's because when your spouse doesn't know where you've been, E-ZPass does.
"E-ZPass is an E-ZPass to go directly to divorce court, because it's an easy way to show you took the off-ramp to adultery," said Jacalyn Barnett, a New York divorce lawyer who has used E-ZPass records a few times.
Lynne Gold-Bikin, a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer, said E-ZPass helped prove a client's husband was being unfaithful: "He claimed he was in a business meeting in Pennsylvania. And I had records to show he went to New Jersey that night."
Generally mounted inside a vehicle's windshield behind the rearview mirror, E-ZPass devices communicate with antennas at toll plazas, automatically deducting money from the motorist's prepaid account.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Frederick police busted the Rev. Robert Whipkey in June after an off-duty officer spotted him walking down the street naked at about 4:30 in the morning. Whipkey told police he had been jogging at the Frederick High School track.
"I'm a heavy man and wearing clothing while running makes me sweat profusely," Whipkey said, according to a police report. "I know what I did was wrong."
Must... resist... urge to make a pun... on his name. Must... resist...
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
And don't give us that dreck about sexual harassment. We're the minority here. It's not harassment if gay people do it, but it's harassment for you breeders to object to it. What, you have a problem with that?
Monday, August 06, 2007
Mark Shea pointed out this excellent campaign, which I hope catches on like wildfire. Like Mark, I wonder how long it will take before Planned Parenthood gets it silenced to protect their bottom line. Barak Obama has promised to add Lolita 101 to our kindergarteners' curriculum if he's elected, but there's still no law (yet) against parents teaching their kids that doing the bouncy is a bad idea.
Being a teenager sucks anyway, and that suckage is never - and I mean never - improved by sex. All sex does is magnify all the misery that comes with adolescence. Face it, people: Porky's was a fantasy.
The fact is that most of the grief we went through in junior high and high school could have been avoided had it merely been a given that our zippers would remain closed. Never mind the horsecookies about how they're "just going to do it anyway." That cuts no ice whatsoever. There's no excuse for us adults sloughing off our duty to teach them better.
And these days, it's not just the teenagers. Preteens, especially girls, are being drawn into the exciting world of becoming sex toys, which pisses me off no end. Because the only people who believe that childhood is improved by sex are the ones who stand to make a profit from your daughters being molested.
No sex. No problems. How complicated can that be?
1. If a burger and coffee are 85 cents, and the hippie's only got 23, what time is it, what day is it, and where are you at? (I posted this in Ken's comments, too, but it's unanswered so far.)
2. I got no brains, I got no sense, and I never had no class. Where am I going, and what will I be when I get there?
3. What should the Lord do with all those departed dear loved ones of mine? [Thornharp: Stick 'em up front in the offensive line.]
4. I'm almost out of cigarettes. Where is Margie?
5. If you don't stay with Marie for the rest of your life, what'll it be?
6. You see these nice white pearly teeth? You know they ain't my own. What happened to mine?
7. What did John Wayne once say to me? (This wasn't just Bare, but three other guys with him. Extra points if you know who they are.)
8. Hey, Sheriff, thank you for stopping and being concerned about... what?
9. What was above the door of the cabin in Hickory Holler? [Ken: Above the door there burned a scarlet lamp (at the end of a deep and wide path).]
10. If she left on that 5:09, what time zone are you in?
Congratulations and blessings, 'Fly and Ladybug! May you live as long as you want and love as long as you live. And may your married life overflow with joy, children and silliness.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Granted, I'm a little biased, but I don't think I have to be in this case. She's sixteen, for heaven's sake, and she sounds this good. We've never gotten her any private lessons, either; we can't afford to. All she's had is training from a semi-adequate high school choir teacher, and the intensive stuff she's gotten in two one-week sessions at Eastern. Which, I have to say, has been excellent.
Dang, she's good. Is it any wonder I'm proud?
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I have to admit that I am, indeed, typing away without clothing. This isn't for any lecherous purpose, I assure you; that's as far from my mind as can be.
I took most of a day off from work, and fulfilled a promise to Thing One and Thing Two (eleven and about-to-turn-twelve) that as soon as my big overtime-sucking project was finished I'd take them out fishing. We headed out at five this morning to Hutchinson Lake, on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, to try and convince a few fish to join us for dinner. The cool thing about Hutchinson is that although it has a gravel boat launch, gas motors aren't permitted. Well, we have a paddle boat, one of those kind that you can rent at lakeside resorts. With that, the lake belonged to us.
By about three in the afternoon, a mess of bluegill, crappie, and one small largemouth bass also belonged to us. (The first time the three of us got anything at all on our fishing trips, I might add.) And along with those, the sunburn from hell belonged to me as well. I may have been a redneck in theory before, now I'm one in practice as well. And red arms, and red scalp, and red legs (although I still think William Quantrill was a blackguard). In short, I crackle when I walk.
Ah, well. I got to spend some time with Thing One and Thing Two when they (mirabile visu!) weren't bickering, and I got to see each of them haul in their first fish. We also got to see a couple of Sandhill cranes, for which the refuge is justifiably famous. I made some serious dad points today, I tell you what. Alas, it also means that clothing is going to be a miserable thing for a while. When I went in to the office briefly after we got home, I had to do it in sweats. One look at my lobster-raccoon-hybrid face and nobody questioned it. But oh, how I dread tomorrow.
Gotta go slather on some more aloe vera. Having discovered this fishing spot, I now need to take Christina there next week. The couple that lures bluegill from the water together, stays together.