Monday, May 26, 2008

Thank you, gentlemen

Rest now.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Insert Tim Taylor grunt here

Via Ken comes yet another list of things a man ought to be able to do. I modified his a bit, striking out the ones I can't do and bolding the ones I can.

Let's make this a meme. Male readers, consider yourselves tagged.

A man should be able to:

1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. Constantly. I'm a lot better at giving it than at living it out.
2. Tell if someone is lying. Fairly well. My oldest daughter still doesn't know how I could always tell when she was lying. Maybe when her own kids are teenagers I'll tell her how I did it.
3. Take a photo. Eleven years in the newspaper business have forced me to learn, but I'm still not good at it.
4. Score a baseball game. Never done it. It looks straightforward, but there's probably aspects I wouldn't be familiar with.
5. Name a book that matters. The Confessions of Saint Augustine.
6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. The Grateful Dead. Go ahead. Ask me anything.
7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. Are you kidding? My dad used to say that a man who can cook is never going to be lonely. My Lovely and Brilliant Wife would agree, between ladylike belches.
8. Not monopolize the conversation. Depends on whether I've taken my medication that day.
9. Write a letter. I can still do that, even in the Internet age. I wouldn't know where we keep envelopes and stamps, though.
10. Buy a suit. I never, and I mean never, shop for my own clothes. It would be a recipe for stupid-looking. And on the rare occasions I wear a suit, it hangs on me like I borrowed it from my father.
11. Swim three different strokes. I used to could, but now all I can do is kind of dog-paddle.
12. Show respect without being a suck-up.> Actually, I'm pretty good at this. Spending lots of my childhood around old people helped.
13. Throw a punch. If absolutely necessary. I haven't done it since the night before my college graduation, though.
14. Chop down a tree. I'm from Goldendale. Of course I can chop down a tree.
15. Calculate square footage. I'm with Ken. Are there really guys who can't do this?
16. Tie a bow tie. No clue. I can just barely cope with a regular tie.
17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. I used to brew an excellent brown ale. As for cocktails, I do fuzzy navels in a gallon tea jug that I don't think I could replicate in a glass.
18. Speak a foreign language. Spanish and Welsh, plus varying facility in German, French, Latin, Cornish, Italian and Portuguese. I was a serious language nerd in my youth.
19. Approach a woman out of his league. I've done that. Don't tell Christina, though; she hasn't twigged to how far out of my league she is, and I'd just as soon she didn't.
20. Sew a button. As long as neatness doesn't count.
21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. Yep. The trick is to avoid dogmatic statements.
22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn't have to ask after it. Next question...
23. Be loyal. Absolutely.
24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. I assume it refers to beverages. My tastes are straightforward. Beer doesn't usually take too much dithering. In a pinch, bourbon on the rocks is easy to remember.
25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it. I can hammer a nail, but not instinctively.
26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. Yep.
27. Play gin with an old guy. I have no idea how to play gin.
28. Play go fish with a kid. Now there's a gam I can handle.
29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. No, but now I'm going to do some reading until I can discuss it without looking too stupid.
30. Feign interest. Uh, I mean, "No, honey! I can't! Really!"
31. Make a bed. Again, as long as I don't have to be very neat. Christina usually just sniffs and does it herself.
32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. I can say "Yum" or "Yuck." I'm married to a northern Californian, so I know better than to fake wine knowledge.
33. Hit a jump shot in pool. Not without tearing the felt.
34. Dress a wound. If I had to, I could. I haven't had to do it with anything serious, though.
35. Jump-start a car, change a flat tire, change the oil. Yep. I'm no mechanic, but anyone who can't do those things shouldn't be driving. Especially not in the kind of cars I can afford.
36. Make three different bets at a craps table. Nope. I haven't the foggiest.
37. Shuffle a deck of cards. Yes, Ken, there are adults who can't. Or at least not with any sort of grace.
38. Tell a joke. It's stopping that's difficult.
39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack. Are you beginning to get the idea that I don't gamble much?
40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear. By now, I think I've got the hang of this one.
41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. Yep.
42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. Not really.
43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. I've done the last, and I think I could handle the other two given time and no kids yelling, but I'm going to call it a "no" just because I'm not that confident.
44. Ask for help. This one I can do.
45. Break another man's grip on his wrist. A cop friend of mine taught me once years ago, but I don't know if I still could.
46. Tell a woman's dress size. Not that I'd be so stupid even if I could.
47. Recite one poem from memory. Ozymanias the King, off the top of my head. I believe there are more.
48. Remove a stain. With eight kids? Damn skippy.
49. Say no. See #48.
50. Fry an egg sunny-side up. Yep, although nobody in the house likes them that way.
51. Build a campfire. Yep.
52. Step into a job no one wants to do. Story of my life.
53. Sometimes, kick some ass. Not really, either literally or figuratively. I tend to take what comes down the pike.
54. Break up a fight. Oh, I suppose if I had to, but I've never tried.
55. Point to the north at any time. Generally.
56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person. Do what, now? I guess so.
57. Explain what a light-year is. Yes.
58. Avoid boredom. Who wants to avoid it? I'd kill for some.
59. Write a thank-you note. I'm not going to claim credit, because I'm the worst person for remembering to write them that I've ever known.
60. Be brand loyal to at least one product. Yes
61. Cook bacon. First thing I learned to cook.
62. Hold a baby. Again, see #48.
63. Deliver a eulogy. Not for anybody I cared enough about to eulogize. I couldn't keep from tearing up.
64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. Trick question. By the standards of his time, he wasn't.
65-67. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap. Nope.
66. Throw a football with a tight spiral. Nope.
67. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably. Nope. Can you tell who hated gym class?
68. Find his way out of the woods if lost. I haven't been in the woods for a long time, but I'm pretty sure I still could.
69. Tie a knot. This probably means the fancy ones they teach you inn Boy Scouts. I didn't stay in it long enough to learn anything useful.
70. Shake hands. Yep. I can also roll over, play dead, and usually not make messes on the carpet.
71. Iron a shirt. I didn't think I could until I had to. It wasn't as hard as I thought.
72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. Yes
73. Caress a woman's neck. See #48.
74. Know some birds. Some. I'm no expert, but I can usually pick out the obvious ones.
75. Negotiate a better price. Nope. I feel impolite trying.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


He'll never see this, I'm sure, but my grandfather is 89 years old today. Within a year of his birth, the two stupidest amendments to the Constitution were enacted: the Eighteenth and Nineteenth. I don't hold either of those against him, however. Meanwhile, he's seen a Depression, a World War, 68 years of marriage, four kids, ten grandchildren, and God knows how many great-grandchildren. If he holds out the way he is, he'll live to see at least one great-great-grandchild in September. (I'm not sure if my cousin Lori's daughter has kids yet, so I don't know if this will be the first or not.) I wrote about him here at rather greater length. I'll be calling him tonight, but I doubt he'll remember me.

Happy birthday, Grandpa!

A time to mourn, even when it's more fun to celebrate

Looks like Ted Kennedy has a brain tumor. I'm sure there will be others on the right side of the political aisle who will gloat. I won't.

Yes, I loathe just about everything he stood/stands for politically. Yes, I'm angered by his insistence on flouting his Church's teachings while reaping the political advantages of being a member. And in particular I'm revolted by his fanatical support for the slaughter of innocents. But my dad, my mother-out-law and my uncle all died of brain tumors. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

More importantly, to be a Christian requires a constant awareness that - literally - there but for the grace of God go I. I've never left my date to drown in a river, nor have I ever sold out my principles for political advantage. Then again, I've never had the opportunity to do either one. I have done enough of my own sinning that I know how easy it is to fall into, even without the temptations that come with being wealthy and powerful. Jesus died for him and me both, because we're miserable offenders. Only the circumstances of the offenses differ. I can't be pleased at seeing another suffer what I deserve to, even if he deserves it, too.

May God make Sen. Kennedy's remaining time and his death as merciful as possible. May He grant him repentance and forgiveness as he needs it, and may He welcome Ted Kennedy into His kingdom shriven and holy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

That's family values for ya!

It's never too early to get a head start on emphysema!
The boy's 26-year-old mother and 39-year-old aunt were eating at the restaurant last week when they held a cigarette up to the boy's mouth and attempted to light it.

The aunt told police that the boy often says, "smoke, smoke," and sometimes takes cigarettes out of a pack and puts them in his mouth.

The child had been saying "smoke, smoke" while the aunt was smoking in the restaurant, and she held her cigarette up to the child's face. When she took it away, he continued to ask for a cigarette and grabbed one from a pack on the table.

When the child put the cigarette in his mouth, the aunt held up her lighter to light it, but the boy did not inhale the cigarette so it failed to light. During this time, the boy's mother was paying for the food and when she returned to the table, he still had a cigarette in his mouth, and the two women began laughing.

That given, is the next part any surprise?
The aunt said the mother keeps a rolled up dollar bill in the bedroom, which the child plays with.

Any time the boy has the dollar bill he hold it up to his nose and says, "fix, fix" over and over again.

What in the name of every deity ever postulated is the matter with these people?

Evolving sidebar

I happened to be looking through blogs in Moses Lake and found some gems.

Under "Prods," we have John Roberts' 5:30 Coffee, written by a pastor here in Moses Lake that I didn't know was blogging. I know John slightly, both from having had my kids at the local Christian school and from working on the newspaper's short-lived Christian magazine. He's always impressed me as having his head and his heart placed squarely in the Lord's service. I'll be checking back with him often; he seems to have good insights.

Under "Other," I'm adding Jonda. I don't usually go in for photoblogs, but this lady has some serious talent. In the interest of full disclosure, she also earns her living two desks away from me at The Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™. That seems to be keeping her too busy to post very often, alas.

Also, I'm regretfully going to remove Sagebrusher from the sidebar. Hindu hasn't posted since last June, his URL is up for sale, and he said in a comment a while back that he's not going to go back to blogging. I hope he'll still keep in touch, though, especially since I've lost his e-mail address.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thank you for not jamming scissors into my skull, Mommy!

Every time I think the limits of chutzpah have been reached, Murder Inc. manages to top it. This time, it's soliciting donations for Mother's Day. Yes, really.
The e-mail reads:

"Dear Friend, Join us! Make a Mother's Day gift. My daughter, Hannah, recently wrote this for a national magazine:

'I was raised by strong women. My mom, Cecile Richards, fights daily for women's reproductive rights and social justice as president of Planned Parenthood. It's a legacy she got from her mom (my late grandma), Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas. I've learned that the most rewarding battles in life are those waged for something you truly believe in.' ...

"... As Mother's Day approaches, I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference and hope you'll join me. Happy Mother's Day."

Happy Mother's Day ... from the one you didn't dismember! With love from your worthless little clump of cells.

I'm so glad I didn't see this last weekend. H/T to Protein Wisdom.

Good boy!

Abortion whore gets a Scooby-snack from his masters.

Of course, he's been a satisfactory servant to the abortion industry all along, with stomach-turning fidelity:
This brings us to the next category of human being Obama says has no intrinsic right to life: Babies born “accidentally” while a doctor attempts to kill them by abortion.

This is a necessary consequence of Obama’s embrace of abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Most of us know parents who have cared for preemies — premature babies, born too soon. With the abortion industry’s wide-scale attempts to kill American premies and nearly due children, some will be born alive accidentally.

Whistleblower Jill Stanek, a Chicago nurse, described the practice of killing babies in what is now known as “live-birth abortion.” Illinois tried to stop the practice. But in 2002, as state legislator there, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, which would have protected babies who were “accidentally” born alive during attempts to abort them.

“I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a soiled utility room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived,” Stanek told the U.S. Congress, describing one such case. “He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet that I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall.”

After Stanek’s testimony even N.Y. Democrat Jerrold Nadler, who says he is “as pro-choice as anybody on earth” supported and spoke in favor of the bill.

But for the abortion industry and Obama, opposing the right to life has meant uncompromising dedication to a counter-principle. For Obama, protecting the unstated principle “unwanted children do not have the right to life” is the only way abortion can remain legal.

I don't care how charismatic and charming the man is, Barack Obama isn't fit to be elected dogcatcher.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

56 Questions meme

I've tried to stay clear of memes for a while, since no matter how many you answer, there are always more being sent your way. But since both Ken and Ricki succumbed to the temptation, I guess I might as well, too.

1.ONE OF YOUR SCARS, HOW DID YOU GET IT?I had a tumor removed from my right hand when I was a toddler. Even today, the only way I can remember right from left is that the right hand is the one with the line on it.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM? A couple of posters that the kids gave me, a charcoal portrait of Jerry Garcia and a monster bookshelf. Other than that, the walls are pretty bare.

3. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN? 12:29 p.m. Every year I try to call my mom at that time and apologize.


5. WHAT DO YOU MISS? My grandmother, my dad, and Redhook Double Black Stout.

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION? Gosh, I don't know. I have a wooden fire truck my grandparents sent me from Italy when I was about three, and a copy of The Kingdom of the Winding Road that belonged to my grandmother when she was a little girl. I also have a rosary that Christina made for me while we still only knew each other online. Those are pretty prized.

7. HOW TALL ARE YOU? Six foot three.

8. DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DAY? Of what? I'm usually too stressed to be genuinely afraid.

9. WHAT’S YOUR WORST FEAR? Losing a child. I can't even imagine what that would be like.

10. WHAT KIND OF HAIR COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX? The exact shade of brown that graces my Lovely and Brilliant Wife's head.

11. WHAT ABOUT EYE COLOR? See above.

12. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINK? Coffee. The older I get, the less I consume, but that's a decrease from a habitual seven-shot latte.

13. FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPING? Shrimp. Do you know how few places will put shrimp on a pizza anymore? I remember when it was common.

14. IF YOU COULD EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Steak and kidney pie at the Horse Brass pub in Portland.

15. FAVORITE COLOR OF ALL TIME? Green, I guess. Which makes it a little incongruous that I live in the desert.

16. HAVE YOU EVER EATEN A GOLDFISH? Nope. But then, I'm not trying to find the location of a safe-deposit box full of diamonds.

17. WHAT WAS THE FIRST MEANINGFUL GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED? I can't recall the first, but my dad gave me a watch for my high-school graduation that my grandfather, his father-in-law, had given him. It had been bought new for Grandpa in 1939. I still wear it.

18. DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH? I've had a long-standing infatuation with Lauren Bacall. My wife is very understanding about that.

19. FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND? I can't really afford to buy particular brands over others most of the time, but I do wear an Akubra hat, and when I'm forced to wear a tie, I wear a Garcia.

20. WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU WANT? An early 1960s Corvair, preferably a drop-top.

21. WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING? Been there, done that, bought the abandonment issues.

22. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE USA? To Vancouver, B.C., several times, and to Wales for a week many years ago.

23. YOUR WEAKNESSES? I'm very distractible. That tends to... hey! Is that a Tootsie Roll over there?

24. MET ANYONE FAMOUS? Not really. I met Peter Kreeft last year, but he's only well-known in certain circles.

25. FIRST JOB? Hauling firewood when I was about 11 or 12.

26. EVER DONE A PRANK CALL? Not since I was old enough to sound like an adult on the phone. There was a family named Vader in my hometown, which made them the perfect target. They must have gotten really sick of smart-ass kids asking to speak to Darth.

27. DO YOU THINK EVERYONE OUT THERE HAS A SOUL MATE? Heck if I know. I'm just happy with what I've got. And I got a lot of misery from looking for a soul mate in my younger days.

28. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU FILLED THIS OUT? Talking with my boss about upcoming Internet work.


30. WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ABOUT MOST? Writing, I guess. Every time I have a column in the paper, people stop me in the store to tell me they liked it. can you tell it's a small town?

31. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY? I'd kind of like one off those USB turntables, so I can put my vinyl collection on CD. But those are a little spendy for our budget.

32. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT? Every time I make a suggestion as to a limit, God laughs at me and hands me another.

33. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? One Joel Abshier, whom I barely remember. My parents still have some furniture he made.

34. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TURN OFF WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX? Women who object to traditional manners, like opening doors or standing when they enter the room.

35. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU MISS ABOUT GRADE SCHOOL? Being able to go anywhere in town without my mom worrying about something happening to me. Moses Lake isn't a very dangerous place, but it was a lot safer in Goldendale in the 70s.

36. WHAT KIND OF SHAMPOO DO YOU USE? I'm too nearsighted to read the bottle in the shower, so I use whatever looks like shampoo.

37. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Define "handwriting." I'm not sure what I do on paper qualifies.

38. ANY BAD HABITS? Silly question. I have Tourette's; my life is filled with minor bad habits.

39. ARE YOU A JEALOUS PERSON? I wouldn't say so. Why? Who told you I was!

40. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably. I'd get on my nerves eventually, though.

41. DO YOU AGREE WITH FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS? Hell, I don't even believe in girl/boyfriends with benefits. If there's anything I've learned from years of being a lousy Christian, it's that nookie without a ring always leads to misery in the long run.

42. HOW DO YOU RELEASE ANGER? Release? Who has time to release it? Someday it'll reach right up through my chest and strangle me.

43. WHAT’S YOUR MAIN GOAL IN LIFE? To raise good kids, make my wife deliriously happy, and eventually go to Heaven. Everything else is kind of peripheral.

44. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD? It's a bit of a stretch, but my favorite thing was a fort my uncle built in the backyard for me and my sister. It was a two-story jobby, with a playhouse below for her and a crow's-nest/castle keep/darn near anything in the top for me. Bestest toy I ever had; I wish our yard had room for one like it.

45. HOW MANY NUMBERS ARE IN YOUR CELL PHONE? Three. It's a company phone for the moonlight job, and it has some other employees' numbers in it. I don't use cell phones by choice.

46. WERE YOU A FAN OF BARNEY AS A LITTLE KID? No, but some of my kids were. I hated having to watch him when my oldest was little, but then, he wasn't aimed at me anyway. I think he was great for the kids.

47. MASHED POTATOES OR MACARONI AND CHEESE?I guess I'm a smashed potatoes kind of guy.


49. DO YOU HAVE A COMPUTER IN YOUR ROOM? Christina and I each have one. And all the kids have their own in the family room, too, all networked. Any family with Number One Son in it is jolly well going to be wired.

50. PLANS FOR TONIGHT? Cook dinner and get the urchins off to bed. I was up at 2:30 this morning for the side job, and I could stand a little unconsciousness.

51. WHAT’S THE FASTEST YOU’VE EVER GONE IN A CAR? 120, in my buddy Dean's 70-sommething Nova when I was in high school. We were on the Biggs-Rufus Highway (you can see the area here), and we pegged the speedometer. There were three of us in the front seat (no seatbelts, natch) with me in the middle, and while we were flying down the road, the guy on the passenger side opened the door, stuck his foot out, and scraped the sole of his tenny-runner on the asphalt to see how hot it would get. And we were all sober, even. The stupidity of teenagers knows no bounds.

 co-worker bitching about yet another employee of hers that quit. What she doesn't mention is that she put the poor girl in a position where she had no choice. I'd say three quarters of the turnover in this office is due to one person.

53. LAST THING YOU DRANK? Stale coffee from the office pot.

54. REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT? Republican with strong libertarian leanings. In general, I figure the government probably isn't wiser than the individual, and if it is, it still has no business getting uppity with me. However, I'm also emphatically pro-life, which isn't usually a libertarian position. That issue, and free exercise of religion, are my strongest voting points.

55. DO YOU HAVE A LOW SELF ESTEEM OR A HIGH SELF ESTEEM? I dislike that terminology. Better to have a fairly accurate self-image than to worry about low or high. Besides, I'm really not good enough to deserve self-esteem anyway.

56. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? I'd like to say I'm re-reading The Imitation of Christ, but I'm not getting far enough fast enough to be able to say that. When I get time to read, it's usually something I've read a dozen times already, just because I can put my brain in neutral. George MacDonald Fraser and Harry Turtledove are old standbys. I'll make it through Imitation eventually, though. I loved it the first time I read it, years ago.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Flicks: Hitler – Dead or Alive

There was a little pre-discussion about bad movies over on the Friday [Fornicate]-Off Thread at It Comes in Pints? (language alert, obviously), so I thought I'd toss in a demonstration of true celluloid badness.

Yes, I know it was wartime. Yes, I know propaganda movies were an important part of the war effort. All I can say is that in order for guys like Ward Bond and Warren Hymer to be willing to appear in this stinkeroo, they must have really, really loved their country.

The plot is silly enough on the surface. An American businessman offers a million-dollar reward for the abduction of Hitler (hence the title). His offer is accepted by a group of low-key gangsters, who join the Canadian air force, hijack a plane, and parachute into Germany behind the lines. It gets progressively more ludicrous from there. I hesitate to give away any more plot, because you actually have to see it to believe it. It's not boring, at least. Nor, mercifully, is it overly long at an hour and ten minutes. But if you can get out of it without cramping up your cringe muscles, you've got a higher threshold than I do.

This is not a movie with camp value, like Plan 9 from Outer Space. It's unintentionally funny, like Plan 9, but it's so straight-faced that it's hard to make enough fun of. If it were a person, it would need to be institutionalized for its own good.

As always, if you watch even some of this, leave a comment. If I'm to watch this bilge, I hate to do it alone.

A note of additional weirdness: Apparently this turkey was inspired by an actual reward offer. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are turned into schlocky B-flicks.

My son, the stereotype

It seems all those assumptions about video game fanatics have a certain basis in truth.

This is what makes me proud of my country

Well, one of the things.
The governing military junta in Myanmar has agreed to allow a single U.S. cargo aircraft to bring in relief supplies for victims of a devastating cyclone, Bush administration officials said Friday.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the United States welcomed the go-ahead to land a U.S. militaryC-130 in the country on Monday. He said he hopes this is the beginning of continued aid flowing into the country from the United States and other nations and international relief agencies.

Earlier Friday, Ky Luu, director of the U.S. office of foreign disaster assistance, had said that skilled aid workers were being forced to sit on the sidelines as victims of last week's cyclone die. His comments reflect the mounting frustration among the United States and other countries as they wait for permission from the military-led government to begin trying to help.

Said Johndroe: "We will continue to work with the government of Burma to allow other assistance. We hope that this is the beginning of a long line of assistance from the United States to Burma."

"We are very concerned about the people of Burma," he added.

Johndroe also said that while the U.S. still has limited leeway to help, "One flight is much better than no flights.

This is a country whose government hates us, and what are we doing? We're jolly well begging them to let us come and save their lives. We've got nothing to gain from this. There's no profit potential, no political capital to be won. We're simply humbling ourselves and asking to be allowed to give away some of what God's blessed us with. Why?

Because we're Americans, and this is what Americans do. Remember that the next time some loud-mouthed pissant starts ranting about all the evil we unleash in the world, or shouts "God damn America" from a pulpit. When people are hungry, or homeless, or in danger, Americans are the first ones to step up to the plate. We are, by and large, some of the most generous people on the planet. Even to countries that treat us like dung. Notice that when the story first broke and President Bush called for sending aid, he didn't use the press conference to badmouth the Myanmar junta. (And if ever a government had some badmouthing coming, this is it.) Say what you will about his policies, the president understands what it is to be American. How many of his detractors would have left politics out of the equation?

I'll salute the flag and sing the national anthem. I'll cheer when soldiers go by on parade. I support our military endeavors, whether or not I think a particular operation is a good idea. But the time I'm proudest of my country is when we're handing out food and saving lives.

God bless America. And then may He help us bless the rest of the world.

Monday, May 05, 2008


A guest blogger at Internet Monk seems to have solved the denominational problem, albeit at the cost of a lot of gas and more stress than the Sabbath should warrant:
First, I will attend the early service at my local evangelical megachurch, New Life Excitement Amazing Church Franchise #165. About half an hour into worship (maybe 1/4 of a worship chorus), I will inevitably convert to Catholicism. I will hurry over to mass at Our Lady of Dubious Likenesses in Quesadillas, but find myself so irritated by the idea of the actual mass that I will indignantly march over to Biblical Family Principles Baptist Family Family Church. With any luck, they will be well into the sermon. Since this is an election year, I’ll only have to listen for a few minutes before the blatant politicization and unbearable law sends me over to St. Oprah’s Episcopal. I’ll enjoy the sonorous liturgy right up until the sermon, which will help me finally understand that there is no God and all religion is evil. I’ll head out to my car, where I’ll do devotions with Richard Dawkins. It usually takes around 17 or 18 pages before, out of spite, I go to a mosque, or more likely Extremely Greek Orthodox church, which is just down the road. I know I won’t be able to take communion, of course, but I’ll be able to get the priest’s blessing and tell everyone about my coming home story. The self-congratulation will be enough to propel me happily back to NLEAC #165 where I’ll be able to catch maybe the last 15 minutes of the closing song, having made peace with evangelicalism until next Sunday.

The only flaw I can see is that I’ll never get to take communion, but if my wife and I order rolls and a glass of merlot at lunch, we can decide that’s what Jesus really had in mind and be emerging for a few minutes. Problem solved!

*With apologies to Steve Taylor.

I'm a little proud of myself

I'm not as out of practice as I thought. I only had to look up one word to get this. (In honesty, though, it was a pretty crucial one.) The Wittenburg Door's Latin Joke of the Day:
Cum Bob expiscit is reciperet fortunam ubi suum patrum aegrum interiit, decrevit invenire mulierem quam fructa sit copiam cum eo.

Ita, uno vespere iit ad tabernam caelibum ubi conspexit pulchrissimam feminam quam visus esset umquam. Nativa pulchritudo feminae exanimavit eum.

"Videor quasi sum modo vulgaris vir," Bob dixit ubi ambulavit ad eam, "sed in septum diebus modo, meus pater interibit, et hereditatem sestertiorum viciens accipiam."

Inculcata, femina ivit ad domum cum eo illo vespere, et, post triduum, noverca eius facta erat.

Feminae sunt tantae intelligentiores quam vires.

How and why I learned Latin to begin with is a story for another time. I had no idea then I'd ever be Catholic.

Daughters Two and Three are studying Latin in their homeschooling. Let's see if they can get this one.