Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

I didn't have time to post during our national paean to gluttony, because I was too busy, well, gluttonizing. This marks the first year that my Lovely and Brilliant Wife has hosted Thanksgiving at our house. I think that should be considered sort of a rite of passage, especially for women: the first year that you don't go to some other woman's house and partake of her meal. It's like moving from daughter (or daughter-in-law) to mother. Since it was also her first holiday with the title "Grandma," it seems fittin' for her to savor her matriarchal moment.

I took the afternoon off on Wednesday to drive over to Tacoma and get Wharf Rat, her boyfriend and the grandchild, then stop off and pickup Long Drink on the way back. That was the plan, anyway. As it happens, someone went and moved around all the roads between Seattle and Tacoma so that none of them look like they did twenty-odd years ago when I lived there. After an eternity creeping along in holiday weekend traffic and twice - twice! ending up on I-5 going the wrong direction, I finally collected up all the young 'uns and we made it back home around midnight.

(Incidentally, what's the correct way to designate Wharf Rat's chap? They're not married, so "son-in-law" is obviously out. They live together (for now, in her mother's overcrowded apartment, God help them!), so "boyfriend" or "gentleman friend" both seem too transitory. "Baby Daddy" is revolting on several levels, not least of which is grammatical. "Partner" carries the baggage of being used as a homosexual epuhemism. All I can think of is "pseudo-son-in-law." So until I get a better suggestion, PSIL it is.)

The day itself was not without hitches. The cooking had to be done in shifts, as different kids tackled different dishes. The dining room table collapsed as we were setting it (before the food was laid out on it, praise be) and had to be shored up with TV trays and a two-by-four. Long Drink (12) and Drama Queen (oh, so 13) had to be dispatched to Dollar Tree for wineglasses, as it turned out that all of ours had been broken over the last year.

But it all came together beautifully. The kids pulled it off with nary a bicker, which in our house is right up there with loaves and fishes. They pitched in on cleaning up after dinner without nagging. Visigoth (4) and Ostrogoth (2) ran out of attention span before the rest of us ran out of appetite, so I spent much of the meal corralling them rather than eating. (I actually had my big plate of turkey and stuffing for breakfast this morning.) After dinner we test-played a game that Covarr (19) bought for the church youth group, which he helps lead. And there was Christina presiding over it all with justifiable pride. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. It was like living in a Hallmark Channel special.

We've got a lot to be thankful for. Both the PSIL and I have gainful, family-supporting employment, our house is safe, everyone's in good health, and the prospects for next year are looking good. Someone online (I forget who) said they always watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. It's a good time for it, especially with the economy tightening up. We may be worried about this or that, but the reality is, things could be a heap worse. This time last year, I was sure it would be by now. Thank God we live in Bedford Falls; it could so easily be Pottersville. I may not be the richest man in Moses Lake, but you couldn't prove it by yesterday.

In which vein, here it is. Replay your favorite parts while you wallow in gratitude.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Calvin & Hobbes greatness

Two-year-old Ostrogoth has actually done this:

Book facts

As long as I'm stuck here at the paper on a Sunday afternoon, waiting for an advertising client to call me back, I might as well respond to my auntie's Book Facts meme. Seven weird, random things about my reading habits.

Only seven? Where to begin?

1. When I grow up, I want to be Harry Turtledove. I've actually started in (barely) on an alternate history novel that at this rate will be finished somewhere around the time the earth crashes into the sun. But ah my foes and oh my friends, the research is fun to do!

2. I have yet to see any part of a Flashman novel that doesn't immediately set my table on a roar. Seriously. I can just pick up the book, turn to a page, and laugh. It doesn't hurt that the author was the most painstaking craftsman of historical fiction ever to draw breath, as well as having a bawdy, curmudgeonly sense of humor. Alas that he had to stop drawing breath last winter.

3. I save my place by dog-earing the page at the bottom. I started doing in grade school that because of a librarian who would skim along the top corner of any book I returned to see if I'd been mistreating it.

4. The only Orson Scott Card book I've ever not enjoyed was Ender's Game. That's the only thing by him that most people have even heard of. Almost everything else he's written, I loved.

5. In high school I discovered Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books and became hooked. I still think they're one of the greatest unknown treasures in sci-fi/fantasy.

6. The only horror author who has ever frightened me is H. P. Lovecraft. The others might as well not even bother.

7. When I re-read How Green was my Valley, the words on the page are in English, but the ones behind my eyes are in Welsh. For a man who didn't actually speak Welsh (at least I don't think so), the author has a perfect feel for the cadences and quirks of the most beautiful language on earth.

I usually don't tag anyone in paticular, but this time I will. Kaci, Ricki and Word Girl, tell us all about it!

A little resentment, a little envy

My friends got to go out hunting this year, and I was stuck here raising kids and working two jobs. So I guess I'll have to settle for doing it vicariously:

Not with a roar, but with a whimper

I'd love to gloat over the Apple Cup game yesterday, but it was basically a matter of which team reeked slightly less. Still, we kicked the Dawgs, and that's what matters. And I can still point and guffaw at my friend Sister Mary Attila: ex-nun, rabid Husky, and now Managing Editrix at the Sequim Gazette.

Neener neener!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This was so much funnier before I had kids

Wharf Rat (now 20) would have done this in her childhood. Visigoth (4) has come darn close.

By way of explanation, I found a complete collection of Calvin & Hobbes for download here. I need to e-mail the excellent Marcello and thank him profusely.

Update: Speaking of Visigoth:

Is a picture of our home life beginning to emerge?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I think I'll stand over here...

... A long way away from this guy.
MÜNSTER, Germany -- Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a Muslim convert and Germany's first professor of Islamic theology, fasts during the Muslim holy month, doesn't like to shake hands with Muslim women and has spent years studying Islamic scripture. Islam, he says, guides his life.

So it came as something of a surprise when Prof. Kalisch announced the fruit of his theological research. His conclusion: The Prophet Muhammad probably never existed.

Muslims, not surprisingly, are outraged. Even Danish cartoonists who triggered global protests a couple of years ago didn't portray the Prophet as fictional. German police, worried about a violent backlash, told the professor to move his religious-studies center to more-secure premises.

Just the name "Muhammad Sven" provokes thought. In any case, I'm glad I'm not underwriting his life insurance. Akubra tip to Damian.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We hate you because you're intolerant!

If you follow the comments at the YouTube site, you can certainly see the gay people's point. The Christians had no business going into the Castro district and praying or singing. Even if they were within their rights technically, it was just plain rude and more than a bit foolhardy. Imagine a group of, say, black kids going into a well-established white neighborhood and doing something that made their outsiderness obvious. Wouldn't the locals be justified in doing the same thing? Of course they would.

There's a commentary at Michelle's from one of the Jesus Freaks, and apparently the (remember, rightfully) angry locals threw coffee on one of them, knocked her down and kicked her. Just a friendly way of saying, "Go back where your kind belongs, breeder!"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coffee snorter

From the inimitable Iowahawk:
In his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial 45 years ago, Dr. King said "I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Let us now take pride that Tuesday we Americans proved that neither thing matters anymore.

Set down your beverage and read the whole thing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oh, to have this kind of time!

Not to mention the savvy. I can't imagine working all this out. I wouldn't embed it if I could; you'll have to go watch it all at full size. Akubra tip to Cassandra.

Bless me, Barry, for I have sinned?

Okay, I understand the new president-elect isn't behind the California prop-8 tantrums. But what with the whole Obamessiah thing and the irony of tolerant brownshirtism, this from the comments at the above-linked post was too good to pass up:
O my Obama,

I am heartily sorry for
having offended thy homosexual activist goon squad,
and I detest all my "incorrect" thoughts and acts,
because I dread the loss of business/social acceptance in such a "tolerant" clique,
and the pains of vandalism and harassment;
but most of all because
they offend Thee, my Obama,
Who are all good and
deserving of all my unquestioning sycophantic devotion.
I firmly resolve,
with the help of the queers continued patronage
to confess my doubleplusungood thoughts,
to donate as much as the gays demand of me to the next gay marriage initiative
and to amend my life.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Two possible reactions

In a related case, a group of Christians held a funeral for a baby, born alive, and left to die on the roof of an abortion clinic. The response from the president-elect was that it was a disgusting political ploy.

Okay, so they called his attention to it intentionally to highlight his response. It was Operation Rescue, after all, and they're not known for subtlety. But what happened to the child was real, and despicable. It was completely unworthy of any civilized society.

Now, there are two possible reactions to something like this. One is to say, "My God, this murder was an abomination. Things like that must not be allowed to happen." The other is to say, "Why are you making me look at something that makes me so uncomfortable?You're only trying to make me look bad!" Guess which one Barack Obama chose?

This gives us more insight into his character than a hundred televised debates. It's not a political ploy, dammit! It's a human being! If human life is so worthless to this man that he cannot spare even a moment's sorrow, but thinks only of his political position, then he is utterly without conscience and all his charm is the façade of the sociopath.

Making health care Katolischenfrei may work too well

Ed Morrissey reiterates what I pointed out yesterday:
How serious are they? So serious that they won’t bother to sell the hospitals. They’ll shut them down and take the losses in order to prevent their use as abortion clinics. To do otherwise, the bishops stated, would be to cooperate in the evil of abortions.

What kind of impact would that have? The Catholic Church is one of the nation’s biggest health-care providers. In 2007, they ran 557 hospitals that serviced over 83 million patients. The church also had 417 clinics that saw over seven million patients. If they shut down almost a thousand hospitals and clinics nationwide, the US would not just lose a significant portion of available health care, but the poor and working-class families that received the health care would have fewer options.

Also, the Catholic Church runs this on a non-profit basis, spending vast sums of its money to ensure access for those unable to pay. That’s the kind of model that many on the Left believe should exclusively provide health care — and FOCA would spell the end of the major provider already in that model.

No doubt the left will call this blackmail, as though the only reason the Church provided health care at all were for political leverage. What the pro-aborts cannot grasp is that there are some wrongs that some people simply will not do, and that those same people do right because it is right. Some people actually believe in absolutes of right and wrong, and in eternal consequences for both. Genuine principle is so alien to the pro-abortion lobby that they will end up selling out poor people in their desperate quest to bend our faith to their will.

God bless you, Mr. Sybouts

One of my Sunday School teachers went home last week. I mentioned him in my list of things I like about Protestants. His role was to tell us stories out of the Bible, and boy, did he. Because of him and some others like him, when I needed to find my way back to the Lord, I had the scriptures to fall back on. I'm grateful.

Most of my memories of Larry Sybouts are little details. At Goldendale First Baptist Church in the 70s, we still had an old-fashioned belfry, with a thick bell rope that hung down in the narthex. Mr. Sybouts (I'm still not old enough to think of him as "Larry") used to slip back there before and after services to ring the bell. Once in a while he'd let me do the ringing. Being just a little feller, I would pull down on the rope and it would hoist me back up in the air a few feet. That was the coolest thing in the world at the time.

Mr. Sybouts' trademark was Juicy Fruit gum. He always had a bottomless supply on his person, and every time he encountered a child, out would come the pack and he'd offer us a stick. The last time I saw him I was probably about twenty. I know I was taller than he was bu then. He never even hesitated before proffering the gum.

So Lord, if You happen to see a man in a gray flat-top haircut show up at the gate and offer You a stick of gum, would You take extra-good care of him? And You might let him ring some heavenly bells. He'd love that. Thank You.

Islamic calligraphy comes in a bewildering, beautiful array of scripts. Copying the Qur’an is a sacred act, and — so I suppose — extreme calligraphic exertions are one way of demonstrating extreme piety. One of the most demanding scripts is the ghubar script — literally, “dust script” — and it requires that the scribe produce words that are as fine as hairs while still legible (on pain of eternal damnation, for distorting the Holy Book is a Mighty Sin). To an extent this sort of miniature writing had some actual functionality: sending long, compact messages to far-off lands by carrier pigeon, for example. But…

This is unbelievable. Check thou it out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The gauntlet has been thrown

The bishops have clearly articulated the Catholic position on abortion, and it's not "nuanced," no matter what Nancy Pelosi thinks. Now we'll see if our impending president actually cares. I'm betting not. Which could have some disastrous effects, because I don't think he actually believes that the Church will have no choice but to close hospitals and charities, rather than participate in abortion. There may also be excommunications for pro-death politicians.

I expect there will be punishment in store for any bishop who continues to hold to Church teaching on the matter. The First Amendment must not be allowed to interfere with the Sacrament of Abortion.

Thinking of migrating

I was considering today the possibility of moving over to Wordpress. It's not that Blogger's been mean to me or anything, but Wordpress seems to have a lot more versatility with files and widgets and photos (oh my!). But I'd hate to lose my archives and sidebar stuff, and I don't want to get into a situation where I have to spend a lot of time on blogging. (I waste more time at it as it is than I ought.)

Has anyone else ever made that move, and how did it work out for you? Any tips/warnings? Oh, and what about Haloscan comments? Will those disappear? I like having access to them all the way back to my blogbirth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why can't we reenact this every year?

On November 12, 1970, a whale exploded on the beach near Florence, Oregon. Hilarity and severe auto damage ensued.

No matter how many times I see this video, I still can't stop laughing at the change in the observers' expressions as they realize that large hunks of whale are, in fact, just as subject to gravity as anything else. A/T to Apoloblogology.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just so we're clear

This is a hate crime:

This is not:

This is what awaits people who vote wrong:

Full story here. And promises of what's to come here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I can has cornz?

The baby (somnophobic little pill) and I have been getting up several times a night, so I set "Hee Haw" to record on the DVR. He doesn't mind, and there's nobody else up at that hour to complain. So, why not:

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ignorant burbling of the day

From the AP article I linked below, proof that being an "activist" doesn't require knowing squat about history beyond, say, 1969:
"At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one," said gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential Washington, D.C-based blogger. "They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards. You don't do that and get away with it."

Oh, really?


Good church, bad church

So gay people in California are cheesed at the Mormon Church for supporting Proposition 8. Boycotts are planned, and apparently there have already been protests and minor violent incidents. There's a push to get the Church's tax-exempt status revoked on the grounds that they had no business getting involved in politics.

I notice, however, that the same people who most vigorously oppose mixing religion and politics aren't calling for a similar action against the liberal churches that fought hard against the proposition. I haven't heard the gay activists calling for a single boycott or IRS audit of the Episcopal, Unitarian or Metropolitan Community churches over their involvement in the area. My UU-minister aunt has worked hard for the gay marriage cause here in Washington. I'm not on the same side, but you don't see me or any other conservative shouting for revenge on her church for taking a stand. That's what religious people do: they vote their consciences. Why hold it only against one side?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes! Oh, lordy, yes!

Bioegineering students in Texas are working on a beer that will fight cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The secret, apparently, is a genetically-modified yeast. Now this is what scientific research should be about.

"Honey, would you go to the fridge and get me another bottle of medicine?"

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another Obama thought

When Barack Obama was born, his parents would have been unable to marry in 21 states. The last such laws were struck down the year I was born. Yesterday he was elected president by voters who had never heard the word "miscegenation" and would have no concept of its meaning if you explained it. Yep, things have changed.

Support for the president

This may seem contradictory to what I've posted over teh last few days, but it's really not. I outlined my fears and objections to an Obama presidency. Be those as they may, the die is cast.

I was a McCain supporter, not just because he was the Republican nominee, but because I hold a high opinion of him. He campaigned like a gentleman (which may have been his undoing) and when he conceded last night, he did that like a gentleman as well. We as conservatives should do the same.

Back in April, several of us agreed to avoid certain behaviors we saw damage the Clinton and Bush administrations unduly. Now a blogger at Patterico has advice for the new chief executive and also reminds us what we as conservative Americans ought to say and do now that Obama is the president-elect:
1. We’ll acknowledge that you’re the President of the United States, that you got the job fairly and properly, and that you want to do the right thing.

2. We’ll shun anyone who believes personal harm to you is a good way to prevent your policies from coming in. For that matter, we’ll shun anyone who believes personal harm to you is a good idea for any reason.

3. We’ll try to stop the programs that look like boondoggles before they start. Once they start, we’ll try to make them work as efficiently as possible.

4. We’re not all moving to Costa Rica or anything; we don’t view this as the end of civilization. We’re going to try to make this country a better place. We’ll keep farming, working, raising families, and petting puppies. Sometimes, we’ll like you.

5. We’ll fight for what we believe is right. The free-market folks will fight. The small-government folks will fight. We’ll point out how the programs aren’t working. We’ll point out the long-term harm. And in all likelihood, we’ll try to get a viable candidate to send you on the lecture circuit in 2012.

Barack Obama is going into office with a number of handicaps. The biggest, I think, is just the temptation to abuse his popularity in the ways I pointed out below. He's also made a lot of pie-in-the-sky promises that he now has either to keep or get out of without being seen to weasel.

His lack of conscience where human life is concerned will cost him the support of a lot of Christians who otherwise might be reconciled to him. (Me among them, alas; I aim to fight him on those issues every inch of the way.) And he's going to have a very, very hard time gaining the respect of the military, because he's never served. Clinton faced the same thing and never really overcame it.

I think he got the office with a lot of dishonesty, through ACORN fraud and other machine tactics. But as the saying goes, once the ship sails, all bills are paid. Now that he's in, we need to pray for him and hope he doesn't get himself and us into any situations we can't get out of by the next election cycle. Let's not be like the Gore campaign and refuse to accept a fait accompli.

I'm pleased to see that the White House will no longer be exclusively white. I'd rather it were a conservative black man in the Oval Office, but at least that particular barrier has been broken for good.

Good luck, Mr. President-Elect.

Addendum: This is what I meant. Would that it had been said several years ago.

November 5 and Triumph of the Will

I'm sure the post below made everyone think I'm just another of those rubes clinging bitterly to God and guns, shouting "Obama=Hitler" as though it were an item of political discourse or something. On the contrary, I chose my subject matter most carefully. Allow me to clarify.

Barack Obama is not Hitler. I don't expect to see him establish liquidation camps for his enemies. I doubt very much he will enmesh us in a war to spread his brand of political and racial purity across the globe. And pace Godwin's Law, I'm not tacking the name onto him simply as the embodiment of evil.

The movie I embedded below has nothing directly to do with extermination camps or world wars, either. It's entirely positive in tone. It reflects what happened when a highly charismatic leader surfed to office on the shoulders of a throng of worshipping admirers.

When Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, the country was enmired in a depression that makes ours look tame. They were demoralized, they were anxious, and they were tired of the rest of the world holding them in contempt. The National Socialists promised law and order, economic prosperity and prestige for the nation. in contrast to his image today, Hitler was seen as a uniter, not a divider. Unlike his ally to the south, he actually did make the trains run on time. He was marvelously effective and popular to match.

Hitler's popularity came mostly from his person, not his political party. Unfortunately, that popularity was such that he didn't have to do much to squelch opposition himself. Public opinion was sufficiently pro-Hitler that it wasn't necessary to have more than cursory laws against dissent.

This is where the parallels between Obama and Hitler come in. Try to forget for a moment what we know of Hitler in retrospect. To Germans of his time, he was young (only 45 when the movie was made), vibrant, optimistic. He made them feel good about themselves. He gave them hope.

Like Hitler, Obama comes to leadership at a time when Americans are hungry for a person to believe in rather than a dry philosophy. Obama has a powerful and not terribly scrupulous political machine backing him. He has no Enabling Act, but he does have a substantial majority for his party in both houses, essentially creating a one-party rule. He also has a huge grass-roots following, for whom Obama's enemies are their enemies. He also has a lot of friends in the popular media, through whose lens he looks even more like a savior. The vandalism and assaults during the campaign weren't ordered by him. They didn't have to be.

Hitler tolerated churches only so far as they played ball. The infamous Reichskonkordat, which guaranteed freedom for German Catholics, required the Catholic Church to refrain from fighting in the political arena. Most of the Protestant churches in Germany made similar agreements. Religion that contradicted the National Socialist Party was considered outside the pale and suppressed by any means necessary. Today the Church stands for human rights against the Obama platform as well. Undoubtedly lots of bishops will go along with him in support, they think, of the greater good. Bishops who haven't have already begun to see some menacing signs. If the pope attempts to discipline the dissenting bishops, he'll be painted as an enemy of America. In 1934, remember, Jews weren't yet sentenced to death. They were just unpopular and distrusted. Practicing Christians are likely to be treated that way under an Obama-Democratic government such as has just been elected.

Today, we see Triumph of the Will as a load of hooey, but in 1934, it was seen as just a portrait of a self-evident truth. That's because there were no media contradicting Hitler's version of events. Newspapers and radio stations were expected to adhere to the party line. Obama may not have thugs smashing presses and jamming radio broadcasts, but he does have the Fairness Doctrine, which his supporters are already gleefully promising to reinstate. What that promises bring is a velvet-gloved Canadian-style censorship. Look at the treatment Kathy Shaidle, Mark Steyn, et al. have received form mainstream Canadians. "Free-speecher" has actually become a pejorative up there. "Racist" is poised to become a synonym for "anti-Obama," and who wants to defend the hate speech of a racist? It won't take long, I suspect, before conservative talk radio is forced back to the shortwave bands.

Now, I don't think this is permanent. I don't think Obama could make himself president-for-life, even if he's inclined to. The 22nd Amendment may be repealed in his administration, but even so, the American electoral system isn't going to disappear under him. He certainly isn't going to ship all the undesirables off to camps and gas us to death. Any damage he could do will be temporary. But it could still take decades to mop up after, and be very unpleasant in the meantime.

Catholic Überblogger Mark Shea is fond of dividing history into two parts: "What Could it Hurt?", and "How Were We to Know?" Watch Triumph of the Will, not with hindsight, but with the optimism and pride that the original viewers felt in 1934, as they witnessed the dawn of a new, hopeful day. Then ask yourself, "What could it hurt?"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I for one welcome our new Democratic overlords

... and would like to offer this tribute to their benevolent reign.

Kalifornia Klansmen?

Via Jeff (HTBUH):
This reminds me of the Ku Klux Klan campaign against Al Smith.

But remember: conservatives are the bigots.

Ironically, there's a semi-official belief among Mormons that the US constitution is divinely inspired. Presumably this includes the Fourth Amendment. Doubly insulting.

Afterthought: from an LDS commenter at Protein Wisdom
The Church cannot ever ever ever recognize same-sex marriage. Our foundational assumptions about human nature and about God’s nature and about life after death prevent it. And the last time we were out of step with the rest of the country regarding marriage practices we were murdered, raped, ravaged, pillaged, and driven out of the country at gunpoint in the dead of winter.

So we would kind of like that to not happen again, dig?

Point well taken.

News from the home front

I've been purposely staying away from the subject of our ongoing mortgage trouble, both because I didn't know what was going to happen and because, honestly, nobody wants to read the whining. But we talked with a credit counselor yesterday, and it appears very likely that we won't lose the place. We'll wind up with some extra legal fees and such, but we won't face the impossibility of finding a rental we can afford for this size family (are you freakin' kidding?). Everyone who prayed, thanks!

We've actually been helped a lot by the mortgage meltdown this year, because currently the bank has a lot more houses than it can ever unload. There are three homes up for sale on our block alone. (As it happens, I know at least two of those aren't foreclosures, and I doubt the third is. But still...)

So we have our vine and our fig tree after all. And none shall make us afraid.

Obama's Grandma

Madelyn Dunham now travels in elephants.*

No snark on this one, if you please. A man's grandmother is sacred. I believe him when he says that his best character features were formed by her. Kids might obey their parents, but it's the grandparents they listen to.

If he's elected today, then it's sad that she couldn't be there to see it happen. She deserved to. And if he's not, then she's entitled to be proud of him anyway.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Or should that be "siortl?"
Swansea Council contacted its in-house translation service when designing a bilingual sign barring heavy goods vehicles from a road in the Morriston area of the Welsh city.

But as the translator was not available, they received an automated e-mail response in Welsh saying: "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated."

Unaware of the real meaning of the message, officials had it printed on the sign under the English, which correctly reads: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only."

The council took down the sign, near an Asda supermarket, after Welsh speakers spotted the mistake.

I guess bilingualism has a long way to go.

See why I love this woman?

Given the choice between despising the imperfect and embracing them, guess which one Sarah does?
NEW PARIS, Pennsylvania: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska was swiftly working the rope line at an apple orchard in southwestern Pennsylvania when she met a supporter who brought her to an abrupt stop.

Amber Brown, 23, held a poster that read, "I have Down syndrome and I'm voting for you. I'm a fighter too!"

Seeing Brown, Palin wrapped her in a tight hug.

"I love that poster," Palin said. "You're a fighter and you're beautiful."

Then Palin hugged her again. Before climbing back on her campaign bus, she circled back to Brown and hugged her a third time...

Ignoring her teleprompter, Palin gazed to her left. "I've got to make a comment about this poster," she said. "'I'm extra-special just like Trig."'

"Now what she's saying there," Palin said, "that extra chromosome that our blessed bundles of joy were born with. It's like a bumper sticker that was mailed to me from a Down syndrome group in Arizona. You know how we have bumper stickers on the back of our vehicles saying, you know, My kid's a better soccer player than your kid, and, My kid's on the honor roll and your kid isn't, well this bumper sticker says, 'We win - my kid has more chromosomes than your kid.' "

Afterward, Anita Kearns of Louisville, Kentucky, who had watched the speech with her children - Josh, 27, who has Down syndrome, and Katie, 19 - was beaming. "She stands for everything that matters right now," Kearns said. "Free enterprise, the American way, working for your family."

But most important, Kearns said, "I love that she's an advocate for special needs. It hasn't been since the Kennedys that we've heard a politician talk about it, and they talked about it in a very different way. And that was so long ago."

Yep. There was a time when 90 percent of these children weren't consigned to the dumpster. Sarah Palin is just plumb good. Which is why her opponents despise her so much.

The glorious days to come...

... unless you happen to be little and helpless.

I know I promised to get another post in on the brave new world that awaits us under an Obama administration, but I've been so up to my kiester with work and family that I just haven't had the time. (Of course, I'm on salary, so it's not like there's much difference between company time and my time. It's all company time.)

The thing that really worries me about electing Obama along with a Democratic supermajority is the abortocaust. Now, it's not the first time we've had a pro-death president in office, but Clinton had a check on his power in congress. Even before the '94 "contract with America" there were enough Republicans in both houses to make a filibuster possible. Also, Clinton wasn't really committed to the abortion industry. He mouthed the words because his party demanded it, but he wasn't bought and paid for.

Obama is. If he's got a single scruple about the value of helpless life, he's kept it well hidden. His dismissal of Gianna Jessen sums it all up. If you let them live, they cause you all kinds of trouble later.

The BAIPA is the most egregious of his positions on human life, but it's not the most insidious. Consider a couple of seemingly unrelated facts:

1. Barack Obama is both willing and able to use brownshirt tactics to control public discourse. The Fairness Doctrine is one aspect of that. So is the fact that nearly all the mass media are manned by his fans. The mainstream media will say whatever he wants them to. The Fairness Doctrine and other legal muzzles will guarantee that the mainstream media are all the media that are out there.

2. Abortion is a big-money business. There were something like 1.2 million abortions last year. (That figure is lowballed – more in a moment.) The cost runs between $400 and $800 on average; some are as much as $1,200 if it's after a certain point and requires an actual doctor. When you do the math, it adds up to a major cash cow.

The reason 1.2 million is a low figure is that the Guttmacher Institute only tracks reported abortions. It's common practice among abortuary workers to report only those abortions that leave a paper trail. But when there's a cash transaction, all bets are off. And legal attempts to get a clinic's records - for any reason - are a quick route to an ended career. As Phill Kline learned.

So we have an administration that (a) is heavily committed to a huge-money industry and (b) has the capacity to shut off talk that that industry doesn't like.

The first thing to go will be the crisis pregnancy centers. All the Obama campaign has said so far is that he intends to cut off federal funding for the centers, but that's kind of a non-statement. So far as I know, most of them don't get any federal funding. There have been bills introduced in the past to ban them from advertising or even operating at all, as their supposedly deceptive practices are cutting into Planned Parenthood's business.

I'm going to digress a little to marvel at the sheer chutzpah it takes to go after the CPCs. My Lovely and Brilliant Wife volunteered at our local one, and there's absolutely nothing deceptive about it. However, it does give the lie to the canard that pro-lifers only care about babies until after they're born. Crossroads keeps new mothers supplied with diapers and baby clothes, all of them from donations form the community. What support does Planned Barrenhood give women who "choose" not to abort? (Sound of crickets.)

Our CPC is also due to get an ultrasound machine next year, which the abortion lobby is trying to make illegal as well. See, women who see ultrasound of their babies are less likely to opt for an abortion. "Choice" is okay with the abortion industry as long as it's a choice that lines their pockets. That's the real issue abortion clinics have with CPCs: they offer actual alternatives to abortion. Tell me again which one is pro-choice? (Ironically, the reason given by the pro-aborts for prohibiting ultrasounds is that they might pose a risk to the baby. As opposed to the utterly safe alternative of scalding their skin off or jamming sharp objects into their skulls.)

Back to Obama's plans for America. First they'll come for the crisis pregnancy centers. Next will be the sidewalk counselors. My Lovely and Brilliant Wife spent countless days in front of a clinic in San Antonio, and the stories she could tell you would curl your hair. Trigger-happy guards watching for an excuse to shoot someone, sidewalk counselors being assaulted, things like that. One of the saddest things she saw was an older man, father or boyfriend or both, literally dragging a girl out of the minivan as she screamed, "No, no, I don't want to do this!" Two of the clinic "escorts" came in response to her cries for help, and dragged her into the clinic themselves. This isn't rumor; my wife actually watched it happen. Some choice, huh?

Under an Obama regime, you can expect the protesters and sidewalk counselors to be banned altogether. We've already seen how much use our presumptive president has for the first amendment. Want to bet that the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act gets expanded? The pro-lifers couldn't do anything to help that girl in the minivan because the guards had orders to shoot to kill, and the law backed them up. How many of those will go entirely unwitnessed if nobody is even allowed to raise a voice against them?

In my earlier post, I brought up free exercise of religion. That's going to figure even more into Obama's abortion policies. Already states are passing laws forcing pharmacists to dispense abortifacients, even in their own store. Same with hospitals. Doctors are being targeted even now for the same thing. We've gone from a fight to allow them to do abortions to a fight to force them to. Again, it's all about choice, isn't it?

Although the stereotype of the pro-lifer is a big-haired Bible-banging fundamentalist, the big enemy of abortion is the Catholics. See, it's absolutely, unequivocally forbidden for any Catholic to take part in an abortion in any way. If my medi-cab company ever told me to drive a woman to an abortion clinic (a service they've been known to provide), I'd have to quit. Period. Any Catholic who participates in abortion in any way is automatically excommunicated. No ceremony or official action is needed; you're barred from the sacraments immediately. (Contrary to popular belief, excommunication isn't the same as damnation. However, since it's also a mortal is to participate in abortion, dying without absolution for it does> land you in hell.)

Fundamentalists (however you define the word) make up a much smaller proportion of the country than Catholics do. The health-care professions are filled with us. The goal of eliminating conscience exemptions is not a blow against the fundamentalist caricature, but a concerted effort to expel all Catholics from the health-care field. If you change the rules so that a practicing Catholic is required to do things to keep his job that his faith absolutely forbids, the only Catholics you'll have left are the ones whose principles are for sale. Naturally, there won't be any new ones entering the professions, either. The less-numerous Protestant pro-lifers will be much easier to weed out once health care is entirely Katolischenfrei. (I'm not running down Protestant fervor on life issues; quite the contrary. But let's face it - we're more numerous and better organized, and hence a bigger thorn in their side.)

Finally, as I alluded to last week, the Fairness Doctrine and other free-speech-suppression tactics will be to the abortion industry's benefit as well. When the FCC won't issue licenses to religious radio stations, when the Internet is scoured of conservative content, when anyone who speaks out is subjected to investigation and harassment (you think Joe the Plumber was an anomaly?), the abortion industry will have no oversight and no restrictions whatsoever. You think abortion workers will be bound by consciences or limits on their own? Ask Carol Everett or Jill Stanek. But do it fast. If Obama wins, they'll be a lot harder to hear.

The bottom line in an Obama presidency: Live babies bad, dead babies good. If you don't like it, keep your mouth shut.

A matter of equal writhes rights

First off, women my own age are not too old to take off their clothes in public, thank you very much.
Kimberlee Ouwroulis doesn’t believe her age should be a roadblock to success.

So, the 44-year-old adult dancer from Stouffville has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, alleging the owner of a Mississauga strip club fired her because she was too old.

“He told me that the club is going in a new direction with younger girls,” Ms Ouwroulis said. “That’s age discrimination to me.”

I have no axe to grind here; I don't frequent girlie bars and it wouldn't break my heart to see them go out of business. But if she can still bring in the customers, that seems to justify her on capitalistic grounds. A strip club owner is in kind of a poor position to take the high ground on anything, including aesthetics. Especially since he's 49 years old himself and I'll bet he doesn't look like a movie star.

(I do get a chuckle out of the idea that the guy paying her to give lap dances is called "Mr. Sit.")

On the other hand, maybe this is a god business opportunity for some enterprising person to start a club featuring elder ecdysiasts. Call it "Saggy's Place" or something. Chez Oedipus?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thanks, Mom!

The Golden Age of Broadway Musicals

Score: 100% (13 out of 13)

My mom used to play the records from these musicals all the time when I was a kid. I had the scores memorized long before I ever actually saw the plays. (Or the screen travesties that sometimes showed up on TV. Don't get me started.) There were only a couple where I couldn't immediately hear the line in my head.

If my Reverend Auntie doesn't get them all, I'll be very surprised.