Thursday, September 27, 2007

What Mark said

I can't possibly improve on Mark Shea's commentary, so I'll just quote it in its entirety:
What a Relief!

I am *so* glad Joni Mitchell has finally broken the terrible silence among our entertainment elite and penned a song that criticizes the Catholic Church.
“Shine on the Catholic Church/And the prisons that it owns”, she sings. Yes, all those prisons! Big huge Catholic prisons. We've got one in the basement of our parish!

Oh wait! That's the soup kitchen we've been running for Seattle's homeless for 30 years. Well, then there's that horrible dungeon downtown.... No, that's a hospital. How about the jails called Oxford and Cambridge? The prison of the confessional? No. I've found more freedom there than anybody can ever know.

Well, at any rate, I'm sure she knows what she's talking about. Because only an Incredibly Brave Artist would kick and insult a bunch of people whose creed bids them turn the other cheek.

Next time you're hot and thirsty, reach for an icy-cold can of...

... Linebacker sweat!
Jones Soda (Nasdaq: JSDA), you sweat hog! The edgy soda-pop maker is coming out with a limited-edition pack of gridiron-themed flavors to coincide with its debut this month as the exclusive soft drink provider at Seattle Seahawks home games.

Running Back Root Beer? Hail Berry? Post Pattern Punch? You're dreaming if you think Jones Soda will settle for flavors like those. The company has never shied away from putting out some pretty funky flavors over the holidays, so don't be surprised to learn that two of the five new flavors target dirt and sweat.

The five flavors?

* Dirt Soda
* Sports Cream Soda
* Perspiration Soda
* Natural Field Turf Soda
* Sweet Victory Soda

Thanks, but no.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh, please

Please, please, let this guy get the Democratic nomination. Besides being clearly the best-qualified on the blue side of the fence, he even makes Brownback look electable.


Woops! Thanks, Ken! Forgot to tip the ol' Akubra to Better and Better.

Monday, September 24, 2007


This is without a doubt the coolest marriage proposal I've ever seen.
The clue for 111 across in yesterday’s Boston Globe Sunday magazine crossword puzzle was “Generic Proposal.” The answer (spoiler alert, for those still working on it!) was “Will you marry me?”
Most puzzle devotees no doubt just moved on to the next clue when they solved that one. But for Aric Egmont of Cambridge, those 14 letters on the grid were the actual proposal he’d been plotting for months to his girlfriend, Jennie Bass.

Egmont, 29, who works in the communications department at Fidelity Investments, contacted the magazine this summer to ask if the people who create the puzzles would be willing to write a special one for him. Sunday mornings for he and Bass, he said, have always included tackling the Globe magazine crossword, a tradition that started early in their relationship.

“On our fourth date, I knew I had found the kind of dork I could love,” Egmont wrote in a note to the magazine. “We had already had some more adventurous outings. But on our fourth date we just went to the local coffee shop and did the crossword. That date was the first moment when we stopped relying on some kind of event to set the agenda, and instead we took that first tiny step towards normalcy, spending time together doing the same things we would regularly do on our own.”

Any couple that does crosswords together has a better than even chance of making it, as far as I'm concerned.

If anyone's curious, here's the actual puzzle.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A little embarrassing

I got 85% right, 51 out of 60. One less than Ken, so I guess I don't feel that bad. I think I'll have my kids take this and see how they do. Maybe that'll humble them a bit.


Congratulations, Jeff!

He's answered the call to be a Newsweek reporter. Now if only those hidebound traditionalists at Newsweek would recognize his calling, and end their discriminatory hiring practices!

Candlelight vigils and protests to follow. We shall overcome...

A tip of the Akubra to Mark Shea.

"Man. I wish you were stupid."

How often do parents of teenagers hear that? Or at least we would, if the kids knew just how not-stupid we are. But they always think they can get past us.

Crystal (have I mentioned that she rocks my world?) had to meet with her son's principal. I'll bet from here on in, they'll both move heaven and earth to keep her from having to come in again. (Language alert!)
"Mom, you have to come to school with me tomorrow."

I avoid high school like it's my high school. I hate the banners, the noises, the ... kids. They all smell like evil.

"Why would I do that when there's so many other things I'd rather be doing, like, like - having my asscrack hair tweezed! That sounds like fun! Or, ooh, I know! I'll have someone come over and stick an egg beater up my-"

"I have five tardies. If you don't come, they'll...well, I didn't pay attention, but it can't be anything good."

"Why do you have five tardies?" I asked.

"Because when I miss the bus, you can't get it in gear and take me-"

"Stop. Think about what you're doing. You're already in shit. Do you want to compound that shit?"

He sighed. "Because I keep missing the bus."

"Exactly. If I have to go, you will sit and keep your mouth shut."


"No. You will not say a word. If you do, I'll take my shirt off and try to climb into the counselor's lap. Capiche?"

"Man. I wish you were stupid."

Read the whole thing here. But make sure you set down your beverage first.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

All right, all right

Since everyone else seems to be doing this 55-question meme, I guess I might as well. I'm just a lemming at heart. At least they're original, and not not one of those "Which color paper clip are you?" quizzes.

1. Is your second toe longer than your first?
Now that you mention it, yes.

2. Do you have a favorite type of pen?
Not really. I've always wished I could learn to use a quill pen, but it seems kind of unlikely. Also pointless (no pun intended). But it sure would look cool.

3. Look at your planner for March 14, what are you doing?
Cooking fish, probably. That's a Friday in Lent.

4. What color are your toenails usually?
I suppose toenail color. Kind of a pinkish-white.

5. What was the last thing you highlighted?
A number on a list of ads for one of our salespeople.

6. What color are your bedroom curtains?
Brown, dusty miniblinds.

7. What color are the seats in your car?
Those are also brown, as are the seatcovers over them.

8. Have you ever had a black and white cat?
No, I haven't. Most of our cats when I was a kid were Siamese, and my last one was a delightful orange cat named Romeo. He disappeared a couple of years ago, but every so often I think I see him around the neighborhood.

9. What is the last thing you put a stamp on?
I think I mailed a resume out last spring. It's funny how much the internet has replaced snail-mail.

10. Do you know anyone who lives in Wyoming?
Not anymore. I used to, but she died about nine years ago.

11. Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time?
To distribute the kids' allowances.

12. Whose is the last baby that you held?
Jamie's, a girl I work with. The next one due at the office is mine.

13. Unlucky #?
Not that I can think of.

14. Do you like Cinnamon toothpaste?
No, but I use it anyway.

15. What kind of car were you driving 2 years ago?
The same thing I do now: an unbelievably dilapidated '86 Nissan pickup. I paid $300 for the thing seven years ago, and it's still going strong. It's ugly, but a truck is supposed to be. Guys who drive nice-looking pickups are prissy.

16. Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida Gators?
Beats me. They both sound to me like good reasons not to live in Florida.

17. Last time you went to Six Flags?
Next time I go will be the first.

18. Do you have any wallpaper in your house?
No, which is a good thing. I hate to imagine what Hypertot would do to it.

19. Closest thing to you that is yellow?
A highlighter on my desk. It's dried up, but Im too lazy to throw it away.

20. Last person to give you a business card?
A realtor I interviewed yesterday.

21. Who is the last person you wrote a check to?
A farmer selling tomatoes at the Farmers Market last Saturday.

22. Closest framed picture to you?
Some relatives of the co-worker at the next desk. I don't know who they are, but if they're related to her, I don't want to know.

23. Last time you had someone cook for you?
My Lovely and Brilliant Wife made dinner a couple of weeks ago when I had to work late. Usually I cook, which seems to suit her all right.

24. Have you ever applied for welfare?
Not as such. We had food stamps for a while last summer, and even that was a festival of paperwork. In contrast to the popular image, though, the bureaucrat who helped up went out of her way (and bent some rules, I suspect), to get us signed up, as she knew we weren't freeloaders by nature. There are two kinds of government employees: people like her and chairwarmers. I wish they'd hire more of the former.

25. How many emails do you have?
In my work inbox, 679. In my private e-mail, 200. I also keep a Yahoo address for required registrations and such, so if I get spam, it can go there. God knows how many I have in that one.

26. Last time you received flowers?
I honestly don't recall. It's not the sort of thing guys usually get. Maybe a nice bouquet of lug wrenches or something.

27. Do you think the sanctity of marriage is meant for only a man and woman?
Yep. And I don't feel any need to argue the point.

28. Do you play air guitar?
Depends on whether anyone's watching.

29. Has anyone ever proposed to you?
Nope. I've been married twice, and both times I did the proposing. The first time was in the backseat of a Dodge, and the second in a Mexican restaurant with both sets of kids watching. Guess which marriage lasted?

30. Do you take anything in your coffee?
Cream (real cream if I can) and sugar.

31. Do you have any Willow Tree figurines?
Any what?

32. What is/was your high school's rival mascot?
I don't know. My high school's mascot was the Trojans, so anyone would have looked better. Besides, I hatedthat school. I left my home town when we moved after two months of my freshman year, and I spent my high school years wishing I could go back. If nothing else, it's a lot cooler to be a Timberwolf than a Trojan.

33. Last person you spoke to from high school?
I think my ex-girlfriend, almost six years ago. I talked to my boyhood best friend a couple of weeks ago, but although we were friends at the time, we didn't actually go to high school together. (See above.)

34. Last time you used hand sanitizer?
I think we have some in our bathroom at home. I'd have to check to be sure.

35. Would you like to learn to play the drums?
Naah. Bagpipes would be cool, though.

36. What color are the blinds in your living room?
They're cream-colored drapes, torn off on one side by Hypertot playing Tarzan on them.

38. Last thing you read in the newspaper?
Everything you see here is there because I read it and posted it.

39. What was the last pageant you attended?
You mean last year's Christmas pageant? Number Three Daughter was in it, the last time she'll be young enough. Naturally, she was the star.

40. What is the last place you bought pizza from?
I bought frozen pizzas at the grocery store a couple of days ago. The last time I bought real pizza was from Papa Murphy's, sometime last month.

41. Have you ever worn a crown?
I think I was a magus in a Christmas pageant when I was about 11 or 12.

42. What is the last thing you stapled?
A set of dummies for the next day's newspaper.

43. Did you ever drink clear Pepsi?
No. I'm not much of a pop drinker, certainly not enough to get what's trendy. We buy whatever's diet and on sale.

44. Are you ticklish?
Violently so.

45. Last time you saw fireworks?
The Fourth of July, watching the display over Moses Lake from my sister's backyard.

46. Last time you had a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
I think last spring. We had a salesperson from Konica who used to bring them from Spokane whenever he came to check on our supplies, but he retired and I haven't seen one since. The nearest Krispy Kreme is a hundred miles away, alas.

47. Who is the last person that left you a message and you actually returned it?
The guy at the temp service I've been working for off and on.

48. Last time you parked under a carport?
I think in January 2003, when we moved Christina's stuff up here from Sacramento.

49. Do you have a black dog?
Nope. No dog at all.

50 . Have you had your mid life crisis yet?
I have a wife and eight kids. Who has time for one?

51. Are you an aunt or uncle?
Yes, but until a few years ago I never got to act like one. My sister had a little girl, but they lived in Pittsburgh. Since that time they've moved back to Washington, so I've gotten to be Uncle Joel. It's kind of fun being around kids I'm not responsible for. My brothers, on the other hand, are damnably slow about reproduction. One of them has been married for a couple of years, and it's about time they started shouldering their share of the grandchild-producing.

Then too, when I married Christina, I suddenly acquired her 22 nieces and nephews. (I think there are a few more now.) Most of them don't know me from Adam, but I've come to like a few of them a lot.

52. Who has the prettiest eyes that you know of?
I should say Christina, but I'm looking at a collage of Lauren Bacall on my desktop, and it's a hard call to make. I hope she'll forgive me.

53. What kind of soap or body wash do you use?
Whatever's in the shower. I'm sorta partial to Irish Spring, but I'm not picky.

54. Do you remember Ugly Kid Joe?
Yeah, but my mom made me stop calling him that, because it wasn't nice.

55. Do you have a little black dress?
No, which is just as well. I don't have the legs to carry one off.

Okay, someone else's turn now. Who's up to it?

Show him, honey

This gives a whole different dimension to the "designated driver" concept. Not that it kept them from an accident anyway.

For Ricki

Because she brought up the subject of archaic vocabulary the other day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My school principal died the other day

I wish I could be sad, but I can't.
John Davis, the former Hockinson school superintendent who helped lead the successful 2000 bond drive to construct a high school and create a full-service school district, has died of cancer.

A memorial service will be in the Hockinson High School auditorium at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Davis, 60, a Ridgefield resident, died Sunday.

Just last week, the Hockinson school board unveiled a plaque that honors his seven-year tenure, from 1994 to 2001, and his devotion to libraries. It was placed in the high school library, next to the large stone fireplace and comfy chairs that have become a student hangout.

Confined to a wheelchair, Davis attended Thursday's emotional tribute that drew a crowd of former colleagues and friends...

Davis spent 33 years in public education. Before his time in Kelso, he was assistant dean of the school of education at the University of Connecticut, principal of Goldendale Middle School and principal of Neah Bay Schools on the Makah Indian Reservation.

He was the principal at Goldendale Middle School the four years I was there (fifth through eighth grades), and the strongest emotion I can summon up is disappointment that I'll never have a chance to get him alone and repay his viciousness. I know, lots of kids think their principals are mean, but this guy really was abusive to me. I don't know what it was that made him dislike me so much, but I was a hyperactive, smart-mouthed kid and it wasn't hard for an authority figure to get tired of me to me. With most of them, though, it's not personal; with Davis, it was. Just for an example: when the school created a special program specifically for me and a couple of other kids, he actually changed the rules to make sure I couldn't get in. I'm not exaggerating that, either; the requirements had been laid down beforehand, and when my name came up, he added an extra one that he knew I couldn't meet, one the other kids hadn't had to meet. (Naturally, his own kids were among the first enrolled.) My mother risked her job (she was a school secretary) to go over his head. He never forgave me for that. If he disliked me before seventh grade, he purely hated me after.

By the end of my eighth-grade year, he was taking me into his office literally every day for a paddling, on any pretext he could find. I say "paddle," but it was really a baseball bat that had been shaved flat, and he had to take a batting stance in order to get the leverage to hit hard enough. I don't recall him ever missing a chance to punish me, even when he had to invent something. (Some of the things he invented were downright silly, but the served their purpose.)

No, I can't make myself mourn. The most I can do is hope that by the time he died, he was a better person than the John Davis I knew. And repent of my own hatred.

Update: It looks like maybe he was a better person than I remember him. Certainly there are people who loved him. His daughter started a blog here, and it's a really sweet one. I hope it was justified, I honestly do, and that the stuff he did to me was an aberration. And I'm editing this to make it a little less harsh.

This can't be an accident

It just can't.
There's a story going around South Lake Union, but a spokeswoman for Vulcan, Paul Allen's development company, says it's just an urban legend.

That aside, the story that the neighborhood's streetcar line now under construction was called the South Lake Union Trolley until the powers that be realized the unfortunate acronym -- SLUT -- seems here to stay.

Officially, it's now the South Lake Union Streetcar. But the trolley name already has caught on, and in the old Cascade neighborhood in South Lake Union, they're waiting for the SLUT.

Jerry Thomson, foreground, and Don Clifton model the "Ride the S.L.U.T." T-shirts they created to poke fun at the original acronym of the South Lake Union Streetcar. The shirts are sold at the Kapow! coffee shop in the neighborhood.
At the Kapow! Coffee house on Harrison Street, they're selling T-shirts that read "Ride the SLUT."

"We're welcoming the SLUT into the neighborhood," said Jerry Johnson, 29, a part-time barista. Johnson said the T-shirts were done just for fun, but they seem to have tapped into something: The first 100 sold out in days and now orders for the next 100 are under way.

Am I the only person who thinks it should have been named "Janet?"

Planned Parenthood: Fighting for a whiter America

It's billed as satire, but that's only because it's truer than most people want to think. All Dawn's guest blogger did was connect the dots that Murder Inc. don't want you to connect. Not that it's hard to piece together; they're pretty blatant about their genteel, white-liberal racism. All they need is sheets and nooses.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A chuckle to take into the weekend

Bon Apetit!

Life, death, and the Communion of Saints

I've been meaning to write this for a while now, ever since Pastor Larry Brice passed away last week. (There's a good story on him here and his obituary is here.) Alas, time has been tight, and I really wanted to wait until after his funeral before I posted. Somehow a death doesn't seem "official" before the funeral, if that makes sense.

My Lovely and Brilliant Wife and I did go to his funeral service, although we couldn't stay through the whole thing. (Pregnancy is a lot tougher at 40 than at 20, and she was feeling pretty lousy after the first hour.) I don't think anybody noticed our absence; not only did they hold it at the biggest church building in town (his own church, Grace Harvest, wasn't nearly big enough), but they also had to set up a second sanctuary with a video screen for the mourners who couldn't fit. Larry was a police chaplain, so every cop in town who wasn't actually on duty was there in dress uniform. I saw people from probably every Christian church in Moses Lake. I expect there were even more than a few Mormons in attendance, because of his police work and his work with the local CPC. Lots of people loved Larry, and they were all was there to show it. Because Larry loved Jesus, and what's more, Larry loved everybody Jesus loved.

We heard testimonials from one person after another who had witnessed Larry's work for God in action. He had served the Lord faithfully as a layman, husband, and father, for decades before taking on full-time ministry work for Grace Harvest. Even in his last days, when he was so weak he couldn't get up, he was asking a fellow police chaplain if there was anybody he could pray for. Everybody had a story of how Larry had helped them, through prayer, support, counsel, or just being a good example. Faithful and loving to the end.

But it's not the end. "He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." This is one of the linchpins of the Christian faith. "The life everlasting" is how it's phrased in the Apostle's Creed. Larry's passing reminded me of another phrase from the same creed: "The Communion of Saints."

That line is interpreted in different ways, but I'm speaking here of the traditional understanding of it, what Lewis called "the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners." This has nothing to do with schisms or Reformations; it's not a Catholic, or a Protestant, or an Orthodox thing. Rather, the whole Body of Christ is said to be divided into three parts: The Church Militant (on earth), the Church Suffering (in Purgatory), and the Church Triumphant (in Heaven). I'm going to leave the second part alone for now; it's kind of tangential here. Besides, I suspect a man who's been through almost a year of colon and liver cancer has had all the Purgatory he'll ever need.

It's first and third parts of the Church I'm thinking of, and how easily we forget that they're not two completely different things. We think of death as a total departure: that when a man leaves earth and enters into glory, he's gone for good and has no further connection with the rest of us. But it's not that cut and dried. They may go far away from us, but it doesn't follow that we are far away from them.

But when we try to articulate this, it comes out sounding like superstition at best and New-Age occultism at worst. Sure, we believe in life after death, but it's still death, after all. Any attempt to circumvent that is necromancy, right?

Well, yes and no. (Love those precise answers!) Man can't circumvent death himself, but Christ short-circuited it on the Cross. If we think of death not as the end, but as the transition from Militant to Triumphant (with maybe a stopover at Suffering), it's easier to see. The Church is not, as Chesterton said, limited to those members who happen to be walking around at any given time. Larry isn't gone from the Church; he's just gone from Moses Lake.

But do you really think Moses Lake is out of his sight? Do you really think he stopped loving the people he left behind? Not likely! Our Christian faith is both a vertical relationship (Man and God) and a horizontal one (Man and the rest of the Body of Christ). That horizontal unity doesn't disappear at the Pearly Gates. And a man like Larry Brice, who prayed and loved here, isn't going to quit just because he's reached the destination he was headed for all along.

When he was on earth, Larry prayed for people constantly. He sought out people who needed prayer and comfort, and he gave it to them. But then, he saw through a glass darkly. He only knew to pray for those needs that someone told him about. Today, he sees clearly, and sees many more people to pray for. he also knows what to ask God for, whereas on earth he had only the Bible and his own thin knowledge of God to guess by. Nor is he limited by the earthly restriction of only doing one thing at a time. He has all eternity, the never-ending "now." I have no doubt that he is right now watching the people of Moses Lake, of Grace Harvest Church, and of earth in general, and praying for their constant needs. And what's more, he's not praying to a God he can't see, but to one he can look full in the face and say, "Father, will You help this person?" And you can bet that He will. That's how prayer works. It's not just a two-way channel, with each individual asking God for favors for himself. It's a huge, intricate network, webbed between the three parts of the Church and the Triune God, all intersecting and interlacing, all forming a support that sustains us and shares out God's blessings in abundance.

Back in November, when Larry was diagnosed, many people prayed for him. Now there's no more need to pray for him, but I'll bet that anyone who asks a favor from him will find that petition immediately brought before a generous God. That is the communion of saints. We're all praying for each other: Militant, Suffering and Triumphant. Death can make a temporary, incomplete separation, but it can't divide the Body of Christ in any complete way. You can't stop a saint from praying. He'll always be lifting up the people of his Church. And especially those in Grace Harvest, where his heart was when he was here. Because in the Communion of Saints, death isn't the end; it's just a change of address.

Game day!

That's the theme at this week's Catholic Carnival. Lots of good stuff there.

I have a problem with this

I don't have a lot of stomach for what the "Mormon fundamentalists" have done with the tradition of plural marriage. I don't care what they do in their religious ceremonies, but marrying underage cousins should be outside the pale. (Not all the polygamists are into that sort of thing, but those who are are the ones that make the headlines.)

However, I see a disturbing precedent in the Warren Jeffs trial. Has anyone else noticed that the actual perpetrator of the alleged rape isn't being charged with anything? And that so far all "Uncle Warren" has been accused of is teaching that the marriage was Godly? I don't like the idea that a religious leader can be prosecuted simply for advocating the tenets of his faith. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to see clergymen down the road prosecuted for preaching that homosexuality is a sin, or the Catholic Church sued for prohibiting abortion. I know, those sound like paranoid scenarios, but suppose a gay person killed himself, because he was afraid of the church's condemnation. That would place the preacher in almost the same situation as Jeffs. Not quite, because it's still legal not to be actively gay, so the hypothetical reverend isn't actually advocating something illegal. But it's less of a stretch than it first appears. (Update: Looks like what Jeffs told the girl to do wasn't illegal either. I hadn't realized that the age of connsent in Utah was 14. So the scenarios are parallel.)

If the "bridegroom" were being charged with statutory, and Jeffs were tried as an accessory, that would make sense. But this smacks of lynching. And with the current climate in this country toward traditional religions, it could be just the first step.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What a man should be able to do

Pastor Jeff at Conblogeration links to a list at Popular Mechanics of 25 things a man ought to be able to do. I can say I've done most of them, albeit badly in some cases. (In particular, my early attempts at number 13 were not pretty.)
1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who as capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Fillet a fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat
25. Extend your wireless network

Jeff cites Sippican's shortened list, which is a lot less subjective:
Sippican's List Of Everything A Man Should Know:
1. Know how to do whatever the hell you feel like doing
2. Learn how to take your lumps for doing #1


Personally, I like Lazarus Long's list:
A man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Update: Bill thinks I resolutely refused to link his decidedly bawdy contribution, so I defy him with equal resolution. So there!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let's play "Count the Ironies!"

The Democratic Party (which considers itself the sole advocate of Hispanics, immigrants and diversity, and is vehemently oppposed to "official English" laws), held a Spanish-language debate in which the questions and answers were translated for the candidates through earpieces. Two candidates were actually fluent Spanish speakers but were not allowed to speak Spanish to a Spanish-speaking audience. Apparently abilities that allow a person to rise above the herd are contrary to the Democratic ideal. (As is actual Hispanicness, as opposed to superficialities that can be exploited in the media.)

Incidentally, how many people are aware that President Bush actually speaks fluent Spanish? This despite dyslexia that makes his have to work twice as hard to express himself in any language. But then, he's just a Gringo racist Republican, so his Spanish and familiarity with Hispanic culture don't count.

Friday, September 07, 2007

One more tesseract

Madeleine L'Engle travels in elephants.

Besides her better-known children's books, she also wrote some surprisingly (for an Episcopalian) orthodox Christian material. I had no idea of htis unti a friend loaned me his copy of Walking on Water, tackling the arts from a Christian perspective. Even better was Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols which explored the role of the visual in Christianity. I had just begun looking into traditional Christianity when I read both those books, and they hinted of more things in heaven and earth than were dream't of in my Baptist upbringing.

Her books for kids (she hated being a "children's author") were still the jewel in her literary crown, though. Unlike an awful lot of people who write for kids, her characters were believable and identifiable, even over the generations. I went through much of puberty feeling like I knew the O'Keeffes and the people they encountered. Bright people, strange families (as whose isn't?) and stories that may not have been, strictly speaking, magical but nevertheless set the imagination racing.

Thank you, ma'am. You made millions of children dream bigger, brighter dreams. Rest now.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Heaven's gain, earth's loss

Larry Brice, whom I lifted up for prayer back in November, went home this morning after a long and painful bout with cancer. I didn't know him very well myself; we crossed paths from time to time, but since I didn't go to his church, that's all it was. What I do know is the effect he had on other Christian brothers I respect a lot. Doug and Paul both describe him as a mentor and a role model, and they're the sort of Christians I look to as examples.

May the Lord welcome him home where cancer is less than a memory. Guys like Larry are why the Church Triumphant is called that.

Back to work

I took down my post from Monday, as it looks like I won't be leaving the paper after all. Out of the blue, minutes before I was about to hand in my notice, my boss called me in and offered me enough money to make it through, plus prospects for down the road. It suits me dandy; I've been here a long time and I was sorry to have to leave.

He had no inkling that I was fixing to quit, either. This wasn't a game of leverage and counter-offer; I was really expeccting to take the other job. I'd gone so far as to clean out my desk last night in case I was dismissed on the spot. I'll still be working side jobs through a temp agency until the bills get caught up, but at least the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the Bankruptcy Express.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Woman sues over botched abortion

She's lying, of course.
A 40-year-old Nebraska woman said in a lawsuit filed Friday that she had an emergency hysterectomy because of a botched abortion at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Lincoln last month.

The woman, who is not named in the lawsuit, said she lost four liters of blood — the equivalent of 80 percent of the average woman’s blood volume, according to the lawsuit — and that the procedure caused her excruciating pain.

Obviously, she set this up because she's a hysterical (you should pardon the expression) wingnut devoted to the patriarchy's plot to control women's uteruseses and force them all to have lots of babies. It's all faked.

And the slander she brought against that poor doctor – she should be ashamed. No matter what they say, he wasn't fired for doing an unauthorized abortion. He chose to bring his saintly services to Planned Parenthood to further the right of all women to have exactly the same benefit that this anonymous whiner received. For a consideration, naturally.

She should just buck up and quit complaining. If she had hemorrhaged to death, she could have been a martyr in a good cause. Not that she was ever in any danger of that, of course. It's perfectly safe! Safe, I tell you! La la la la... I can't hear you... la la la...