Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seven wonderful years so far

Intreat me not to leave thee, nor to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.


Happy anniversary to the most perfect woman the Lord could have picked out for me. I'm humbled and grateful.

(Oh, and thanks to Father Sam, who went way out of his way to come officiate at the wedding.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Updates from the grinch zone

In case you can't tell, I recently found a place to store music files so I could blog them. (You can see the results below.) I also put my favicon and The Man Who Traveled in Elephants on there, so you won't get a 404 message from Geocities. Unfortunately, my home computer seems to have wheezed its last yesterday, so any blogging I do has to be done from the office (on my breaks, honest) until I get it back. If indeed I do.

Meanwhile, my schedule has been so hideous this last month and a half that I haven't been able to do much blogging even during my occasional jaunts home. I haven't forgotten that I owe Paul a video of humiliation, but I've been so doggone slammed that my kids have mostly forgotten what I look like. Serious. I walked in the other night and Ostrogoth clung to my wife's leg and whimpered, "Mama, who's that man? He's scary!" Thirteen years in the newspaper business have taught me to loathe the festive season.

I haven't figured out what to do about comments yet. Haloscan is about to upgrade to a paid service, and I think I may just bite the bullet and shell out the ten bucks a year to use it rather than lose all my comments from the last four and a half years. Apparently they allow you to export the archives for free, but none of the other platforms can import them. I'm a cheapskate when it comes to blogging - I promised myself when I started that I wouldn't take it seriously enough to pay money for it - but now I'm not sure I can quit.

In case I don't get anything more posted, Merry Christmas. And God help us, every one!

Yingling all de vay!

I wouldn't expect a man named O'Hannigan to be able to swot up a good Norwegian accent. In fact, given the ferocity with which my ancestors raped and pillaged his (not necessarily in that order), I would expect it to be blotted from his genetic memory altogether. Fortunately, The irreplaceable Yogi Yorgesson left us with an immortal seasonal classic to remember it by:



And Patrick? Sorry about that whole pillaging thing, man.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hey, Nineteen!

My Virtuous and Excellent Daughter turned nineteen today. And I'll bet she's never even heard this:



Happy birthday! I love you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home for the holidays

A lapsed Catholic discovers that the Church, for all its warts, is still the Church.
It’s embarrassing to admit that I will go to Mass at Christmas, because I am clearly a bad Catholic. I am short-tempered, impatient, often the opposite of serene, and the number of Vatican rules I break doesn’t bear admitting. But, hey, if I didn’t go to Mass I’d probably be far worse.

I was educated at London state schools by bright nuns and committed Catholic lay teachers who firmly implanted in me the rhythms and inspiring messages of the church’s great festivals.

The commercialism of a Godless Christmas and Easter, reduced to conspicuous consumption and shorn of their epic tales of redemption, felt empty. I could never bring myself to use the word ‘Xmas’. Christ, the nuns always reminded us, was the feast’s whole point.

For years I used to sneak into my local church to pray when no one was there. While reporting child abuse horror stories I worked with an inspiring Christian police officer and confided my religious doubts. He gave me good, simple advice: ‘Take them to God. Just pray, “Lord, help me with my unbelief.”’

I surprised myself by even going to Confession for the first time in years. The priest put things in a nutshell when he gently asked: ‘Is your main argument with God or the Vatican?’

‘Oh, the Vatican,’ I blurted out.

‘Ah well, then,’ the priest chuckled, ‘I’m sure God the Almighty has far more problems with the Vatican than you. Welcome back!’

So that was it – it seemed that I didn’t have to sign up to the whole shebang to rejoin after all.

I don't understand people who can celebrate an entirely secular Christmas. It seems to me that whether you believe in the Nativity or you don't, it's still the point of the whole thing. If you can't in good conscience join with people who believe to celebrate that particular event, then why waste your time with the trappings?

If you haven't been to church in a while, Christmas is a good time to make an appearance. I promise, nobody's going to tie you to a pew and pummel you with a crozier until you can recite the Nicene Creed convincingly. And God's always happy to see you. Who knows? You might even feel like going back again sometime.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Glory to God in the weirdest!

This is from the 1984 punk compilation Midnight Christmas Mess. "Angels We Have Heard On High" as you never expected to hear it:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Here we go again

The usual spate of "Christmas is just a revamped pagan holiday" articles, reminding us Christian redneck yahoos that we're really just glossing over a solstice ritual, or a Mithras-cult revel, or some such. Some of those are atheist pharisees, some are civil-religion bigots for whom all religions are equally superior to the Christian one, and some are just well-meaning people who have been told that all their lives.

Umm... nope.
Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.

The idea that the date was taken from the pagans goes back to two scholars from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, wished to show that the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25th was one of the many “paganizations” of Christianity that the Church of the fourth century embraced, as one of many “degenerations” that transformed pure apostolic Christianity into Catholicism. Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk, tried to show that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals for Christian purposes without paganizing the gospel.

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

Go read it all and be ready the next time someone tries to foist the "pagan" canard on you.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Today being the feast of St. Nicholas...

... I think I'll desecrate his blessed memory with the worst movie ever made about him. If you can sit through this one without chewing off your mouse arm to escape, you deserve a special award. (And if someone who's better at graphics wants to come up with one, I'll even bestow it on you.)

Please enjoy endure Santa Claus Conquers the Martians:

Friday, December 04, 2009

Science fiction: ahead of the curve for a reason

I lifted this Harry Turtledove short from last July's issue of Analog, which isn't available online. (If the publishers want to make a fuss, they can let me know and I'll take it down.) I'm posting the whole thing; it's too good just to excerpt.

Ironically, sci-fi writers tend to think more realistically than the average novelist because theirs is such a wildly speculative field. You can't write good 'what-ifs" without understanding the forces that go into making what actually is. And sure enough, it's much more relevant than it was last summer.

Try as we will, we can no longer deny the truth. The world is getting warmer. Glaciers everywhere are in full retreat. Shamans and wizards of many clans have joined together, and rightiy so, in stressing the disastrous environmental impact the withdrawal of the ice will have.

Many large mammal species - the bases of our economy and our very way of life - are certain to face displacement or even extinction as the weather worsens. Clans dependant upon woolly mammoths and woolly rhinoceri for sustenance will either have to migrate into new and unfamiliar hunting grounds or begin feeding upon smaller, less satisfactory prey animals such as caribou and horses. In certain heavily impacted areas, clans may be reduced to eating beavers and marmots. There have even been reports of the regular consumption of crayfish, mussels, and other fare normally contemplated only during famines. All such movements and lifestyle shifts, of course, also entail numerous violations of tabu. The cost of propitiation is certain to be high.

Worse problems may also lie ahead for affected areas. As the tundra retreats northward, invasive foliage from the south encroaches upon it. These "trees," as they are technically known, cannot support the biodiversity upon which we depend. Not only that, hunting becomes far more difficult: with the severely reduced horizon among trees, visibility and tracking suffer badly.

Furthermore, anecdotal reports trickling up from areas in the south already afflicted with trees indicated that predators peculiar to this degraded environment pose significant risks to hunters and even gatherers. These so-called "bears," if such sources may be relied upon, are large, wily, and dangerous in the extreme.

It is as yet unclear to those studying issues pertaining to "forests" (as accumulations of trees are termed) whether the beasts called "boars" are predators or prey. Not to be confused with bears, boars are simultaneously alleged to be both extremely tasty and swift and savage. As trees continue to advance onto tundra, cautious experimentation seems indicated.

So far, it will be noted, I have discussed only the incontrovertible fact of global warming, its likely impact upon us in the relatively near future, and short-term coping strategies. Many will say that we should not remain in a reactive mode, but should proactivety seek to reverse the deleterious effects of this warming trend. In some ways, though, such a proactive response seems more readily proposed than implemented.

Forward-thinking shamans - including some among the first to recognize the reality of our predicament - have naturally sought sorcerous countermeasures. Considerable appropriations of dried meat have enabled a large-scale research program unmatched since the one that led to the partial taming of fire (about which, in a rather different context, more soon). If only success were commensurate with effort! Even spells essayed in the dead of winter and in the anomalous cold darkness of solar eclipses have failed to halt or even slow the steady, apparently inexorable retreat of the glaciers and degradation of the tundra south of them.

Which brings me back to fire. Wizards have conclusively demonstrated that fire is a spear with a point at both ends, as likely to wound the ones who wield it as to aid them. Fire gives heat. It cooks food. So much has been known for many generations. Because of this, tundra clans, almost without dissent, reckon it highly valuable. Lately, the truth of that assumption has come under question.

You see, fire, while burning, releases invisible spirits into the atmosphere. Because they spring from fire these spirits trap heat, in much the same way hunters trap mammoths with pitfalls. Once the mammoth tumbles into the pit, it cannot hope to escape. And, once the liberated fire spirits trap the sun's heat, that cannot hope to escape, either.

The more fires our clans burn, then, the more fire spirits commence to prowl the air. And, the more fire spirits prowl the air, the more solar heat they snare near the earth's surface. This obviously is a factor - and an increasingly significant factor as the use of fire grows - in the emerging global-warming crisis.

From this, it follows that reducing the fire spirits' footprints as they prowl the atmosphere would correspondingly reduce the amount of trapped solar heat contributing to the warming of the earth. We must use fire less. Those habituated to the savor and chewability of cooked meat may well object to that. So may those who have grown accustomed to sleeping soft in their tents even when snow swirls outside.

Their shortsighted, deluded self-interest must - I repeat: must - be rejected, and in the most emphatic way possible. The environment and its continued protection take priority over all the commonplace concerns. If fire causes the glaciers to retreat; if fire causes the tundra to follow the ice north and causes longtime clan hunting grounds to be overrun with useless, obstructive vegetation pushing up from the south in the wake of global warming; if fire causes the very seas to rise, threatening to displace or drown the clans living in low-lying regions - if fire causes these things, I say, we must suppress it. Cause them it does. Our wizards and shamans no longer leave us any room for doubt. Therefore, suppress it we must.

Let this be a warning, then, to all those so enamored of their temporary comfort that they are willing (perhaps even eager) to cling to fire despite the ever more obvious long-term environmental consequences. If they persist in releasing fire spirits into the air, we shall oppose them with all necessary measures, up to and including war.

And once we vanquish them - and vanquish them we shall, for our cause is just - we will make an example of them, so that we discourage and intimidate potential future backsliders. We will catch them and kill them and eat them.

Raw, of course.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I want to believe

Mr. Gorski was bad enough, but to hear that the greatest newspaper lede in history was a myth?

No! A thousand times, no! Generations of newspapermen have clung to the dream that one day they might write something half as good. I will maintain with my dying breath that the line was genuine.

La la la... I can't hear you...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Note to Paul

I haven't forgotten who won the game on Saturday. I just haven't been able to get everybody in the same room long enough. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow I can make good. Sorry for the delay.

(I may speak Welsh, but I don't do it. Honest.)

This is what's meant by "choice"

Silly girl just didn't understand that the abortionist only had her best interests at heart when he and his assistant held her down, clamped his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams, and aborted her baby against her will.

You know you really want it. You little hussy.

An aberration, you say? Think again. My Lovely and Brilliant Wife used to pray outside an abortuary in San Antonio, and she saw more than one occasion where a teenage girl was literally dragged into the facility, screaming in protest, by the man who drove here there with the help of the clinic employees.

See, sometimes choice isn't enough. Sometimes they have to be forced to accept the choice. For their own good.

This is why abortionists need to stay above the law. So their profits can be kept safe (for them), legal and abundant.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why reading is important

This poor kid not only made an embarrassing mistake, but now it's all over the Internet. I'm a really cruel person for spreading it further. So be it. If it saves just one teenage boy from the same fate...



For what it's worth, I wouldn't have understood what it was either, at his age.

Akubra tip to SondraK.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DC to Catholic Church: You're our bitch!

You'll violate your most basic moral tenets and like it!

I'm impressed by Wizbang's good sense. He's not a fan of the Catholic Church, and in fact he thinks we're wrong on most of the issues. But he still has a high regard for the First Amendment, which is increasingly being interpreted to mean "everyone but Catholics." [Emphases below mine.]
Critics are denouncing the Church (as is their wont), saying that the Church must be bluffing, that the Church is overreacting, that the Church is being hypocritical because it hasn't made the same threats in other places where gay marriage has passed, and it's all a big to-do about nothing, because the law explicitly says the Church doesn't have to perform gay marriages if it doesn't want to.

They're right on that last point. They're wrong on every single other one.

First up, the Church doesn't bluff. There may be a surface resemblance between the Church's move and the typical move of politicians facing budget cuts -- make the cuts in the most visible, most popular, most needed areas first -- but that's where it ends. The Church does NOT use the poor as hostages for imposing its social agenda.

Next, the Church is not overreacting. While the gay marriage aspect is the most attention-grabbing aspect, it is the other elements that are most offensive to Catholic doctrine -- and most directly threatening to the Church. The Church does NOT sanction or assist in gay marriage, does NOT offer "same-sex benefits" to employees, and does NOT recognize same-sex relationships as equal to opposite-sex ones. Under the proposed law, they would have to yield on each of those points...

The Church has its beliefs. It has its tenets and its principles. It has decided which are the most important ones, and has rediscovered its spine. It has drawn the line in the sand -- society can go to Hell if it wishes, but the Church will not aid and abet in the process.

On this, they will not bend. If that means that they will no longer help in the adoption process in Massachusetts, so be it. If that means they have to completely shut down their charitable works in the District of Columbia, so be it.

And as they've said in the past, if hospitals end up required to perform abortions on demand, they will shut down every single Catholic hospital in the country.

Now that is a bluff we dare not call -- Catholic hospitals represent 12.7% of all hospitals in the United States and 15% of all hospital beds. And the Church clarifies that threat -- they simply won't sell them off, but shut them down and, if necessary, tear them down. They will be morally obliged to make certain those hospitals are never used to perform abortions.

Look, people: the Church has said for years that it will not do certain things. The government says, "You may not provide services unless you do those things," and then feigns surprise when the Church says, "Very well, we accept your conditions and will cease to provide services."

It says something about both Church and state that the Church continues to meet the needs, without gain for itself, of people who despise it. Simply because it loves them. And that the state takes our love so much for granted as to try to force us to obey them with the threat of preventing us.

Hey, feminists! You ain't woman enough to be Sarah Palin

Victor Davis Hanson on why feminists hate the lovely Sarah so furiously:
Her success as an independent female, who was an up-from-the-bootstraps small-town council member, mayor, state regulator and governor, is antithetical to doctrinaire feminism. The latter devolved into a political and grievance-based creed. It is often whiny, and increasingly dominated by single, childless shrill elites. Many try to equate their own unhappiness in matters of family and sex into some sort of cosmic complaint against male patriarchy - as a way of leveraging influence, access, money, and power or simply justifying now regrettable life choices made in their 20’s and 30’s.

Feminism is not about ensuring that Dorothy at K-Mart is not fired because she is female. It is more about an upper-middle-class Dedi Wilson-Reynolds getting to the top of the university food chain, law firm, or government bureaucracy, on the assumption that her gender deserves compensation, in the manner of being non-white or foreign-born or non-Christian.

In such a climate, here comes snazzy, breezy, winking Sarah—happy, good-looking, a mom, and in no need of a rich husband or well-connected dad (in the manner of her critics like a Andrea Mitchell, Sally Quinn, Nancy Pelosi, etc). She inherently exposes feminism as a liberal advocacy movement rather than a bipartisan effort to ensure equal opportunity for women in the workplace and society at large.

Preach it, Victor! Let's face it, Sarah Palin is exactly the kind of woman that feminism purports to produce: capable of thriving alongside men without becoming mannish. Most of her detractors are not capable of that, and so they pretend that it's somehow an undesirable thing. Moreover, she is not grossed out at the idea of being a wife and mother, nor is she rendered subservient by the compromises any married person has to make. Most professional feminists find something demeaning in changing diapers or sharing the housework. In fact, it requires a strength and will that they secretly envy, and once in a while, they'll admit it.

And here's another take on the same phenomenon, using one of my favorite books as an analogy. This is true, too. I've run across intellectual snobbery often enough. And it's nothing more than that. One of the smartest men I ever knew was a high-school dropout who got his education as a Navy SeaBee, at the University of Being-Shot-At-By-Angry-Southeast-Asians. On the other side of the coin, I've known a fair number of people who were (as the great Jerry Clower would have said), "educated far beyond their intelligence." Often enough, a degree is simply a certificate demonstrating that the holder had enough leisure time to pursue it.

Book-larnin' is easy to acquire (besides the hard sciences, that is; those are another matter). But Sarah's knowledge is earned, which is what the chattering classes despise her for. As far as I'm concerned, if you can't change your own oil, you're not smart enough to sneer at Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Could you describe the ruckus, sir?

Jim at Obscure Store is dead-on: this guy does look like the sort who would throw darts at bar patrons. And defile the parking lot.

What goes on in Florida, anyway? Have they overtaken California as America's weirdo hive?

I needed this

It's been the week from hell at the Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™ and it's only Wednesday. Nothing unusual; the beginning of the Christmas retail season is always a nightmare. So it's really refreshing to have an actual chuckle to offset the death's head grin that has become my customary expression.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bring it on!

Here I thought Paul had ignored my challenge, and it turns out his comment disappeared somewhere into the bowels of Haloscan. He writes:
"I accept your challenge, and look forward to finally seeing all your boys... because you'll be the one singing."

With the dismal season my beloved Cougs have been having so far, I'm afraid he may be right.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hey Spider!

Are you hogging all the brain cells in Tampa, or what?

A perfect story for Veterans' Day

Say what you want about American criminals, some of them still remember that they're Americans:
A Milwaukee Army reservist's military identification earned him some street cred Tuesday, when he says four men who mugged him at gunpoint returned his belongings and thanked him for his service after finding the ID.

The 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student said he was walking home from work about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday when he was pulled into an alley and told to lay face down and with a gun to his neck. Four men took his wallet, $16, keys, his cell phone and even a PowerBar wrapper from his pants pockets, he said.

But the hostile tone quickly changed when one of the robbers, whom the reservist presumed was the leader, saw an Army ID in the wallet. The robber told the others to return the items and they put most of his belongings on the ground next to him, including the wrapper, the reservist said.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Knock that off, fetuses!

You're just blobs of tissue! You're not supposed to be able to do that! Stop impersonating human beings this minute!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Throwing the Apple Cup gauntlet

My friend Pastor Paul and I are separated by an irreconcilable difference. Not a theological one; that whole Luther business pales in comparison to the real division. And it's not because he was raised on the west side of the state. Why, some of my best friends are Coasties. No, the problem is that Paul, in his benighted wrongheadedness, is a Husky fan. (Spit, curse!)

I issued a challenge to him last year at Apple Cup time, but he begged off, pleading insufficient time. So here it is again, in plenty of time for the November 28 game:

The day after the confrontation between UW and the Holy Cougars, the supporter of the losing team will post video footage on his blog of himself and all male household members performing "I'm a Little Teapot."

There you go, Paul. The challenge is public; the gauntlet is thrown. You have oodles of time to acquire a camera or a cell phone or something. No excuses this year.

Or are ya... chicken?

Sunny day... sweepin' the clouds away...

Sesame Street turns 40 today, as anyone knows who pulled up Google this morning.

I grew up with the show. My kids did too. If my grandson can't sing the theme music to "Elmo's World" by now, I'll be very surprised. It's as much a staple of American childhood as Cap'n Crunch and Tonka trucks.

So here's one of my favorite clips form the show. I'm not sure of the date, but it doesn't really matter. Sesame Street's weirdness was kind of timeless.

Election Day

Okey-dokey. Election day is over and I've done my civic duty. This being Washington, I was tempted to write "Democrat votes inside - do not destroy" on the ballot envelope before it went to Olympia. But since it came from Grant County, I figured nobody would believe me. Maybe it'll get through anyhow.

I'm watching the AP wire to see what Washington results go up today, but because Washington has all-mail voting, it'll be a couple of weeks before everything is certain. The big race in the state was the referendum on the domestic partnership law. Unsurprisingly, it passed overwhelmingly in Seattle and is almost neck-and-neck across the rest of the state. Since the rural counties are likely to be the last to come in, it could still fail.

Yes, I voted for it. Thing is, it's a fair law. There is no reason why the government should be dictating what is and isn't a valid marriage. That's a religious matter. The DP law doesn't force anyone to recognize as a marriage, something that by definition cannot be one. I voted for it even though it benefits mostly people who tried to prevent me from being able to vote.

I tell you three times, if the DP law fails, it'll be because the homo-guerrillas shot themselves in the foot. The same sort of people who are likely to believe in traditional marriage are exactly the sort of people who are unlikely to roll over to threats. Most people don't have any problem with homosexuals in general; as I've said before, a traditional definition of marriage isn't the same as hate. I don't know anyone who would pull the same sort of stunt on a gay person that the gay brownshirts pulled in Massachusetts (see the post below). They justify these things with the canard that we would do it to them if the situation were reversed. And yet, we don't. We leave them alone, and they keep refusing to do the same. You want enemies? Okay, you got 'em.

I signed the petition to get the referendum on the ballot specifically because of sites like whosigned.org and knowthyneighbor.org. I'm a little disappointed that the Supreme Court has blocked the release of the signers' names, partly because the law is the law, and partly because I wanted these assferrets to know how much contempt I hold them in.

So in case any homobigots are reading this, my name is Joel Martin. I'm in Moses Lake, Washington. I signed the petition. My home address is readily available. I don't fear for my job because my employers are too sensible to be bullied. I don't keep a firearm in the house because I have small children, but I'm a pretty good hand with a tire iron and I have no problem with getting bloodstains on your lovely new party frock. Come to town and flop one painted toenail across my property line, and we'll discuss politics over your feeding tube.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Another good idea ruined by gay brownshirts

I was going to vote in favor of the Domestic Partnership law, because, frankly, I think it's fair. It ought to be possible to designate another person, be it a beddy-buddy or just a roommate, as a beneficiary for government purposes without having to designate it as a marriage.

But I'm beginning to think I was wrong. Even if this particular law is reasonable, I don't think there's any doubt that the gay lobby wants to use it as leverage to force the rest of us to bend to their will.

Case in point:
As Peter described the incident [video at link], he came to work on August 10 and began his day normally. A female manager from another store was in the store and began talking to Peter about her upcoming marriage. When Peter asked “where is he taking you for the honeymoon,” she corrected him and said she was not getting married to "he" but to another woman.

Peter did not immediately react, but when the manager sensed Peter’s discomfort with the subject of same-sex “marriage”, the woman apparently continued bringing it up to Peter throughout the day, reiterating that she was getting married to another woman. Finally, after the fourth or fifth time she brought it up, Peter remarked that his Christian beliefs did not accept same-sex marriage. At that point the woman became very angry and bluntly told Peter that he needed to “get over it” and said that she would be immediately contacting the Human Resources department.

A few hours later Peter was notified by a Human Resources representative that he was suspended from work without pay, effective immediately. Two days later, on August 12, after some further interaction with the Human Resources department, he was formally notified that he was terminated from the company.


That is the sort of thing that could very easily happen in the People's Republic of Washington. These people don't want tolerance or equality. They want to enforce approval and forbid dissident thought. The Greek Chorus is very clear on that point.

If it's just going to be used as a vehicle to religious discrimination, then I think I'd better vote against it. I'm not giving up my constitutional rights, especially in order to create a new right for the very people who want to take them away.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sow, reap, sow, reap...

I'm appalled, disgusted and infuriated at the homecoming dance gang rape in California.What I'm not, alas, is surprised. I don't see why anyone else is either.

This quote in the WaPo has a lot to do with my resigned attitude:
Neil Smelser, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California-Berkeley, said Tuesday that the incident could be categorized as "bystander indifference."

"The questions become, 'Why didn't they do something moral to stop an immoral situation? Why didn't they behave morally by calling the police, telling school officials?'" said Smelser, who has written extensively on collective behavior.

Facepalm.

You wanna know why they didn't do something moral, Mister Doctor Sociology Expert? It's because an entire generation has been brought up to instinctively shut off its morality as soon as sex enters the picture. There can be no, repeat no connection between sex and morality. By order of our superiors in the education system and the media.

My generation learned from example that sex, love and children were totally separate things. We were children of divorce and cohabitation, those of us lucky enough not to be aborted at the outset or thrown away by parents trying to "find themselves." We knew there were rules about sex, but we also knew nobody really followed them.

The next generation is even more enlightened. They were never even told that there were rules. They learned that sex is always OK, that it's a personal decision. That there might be moral dilemmas about recycling or wearing fur, but there were none about sex. Anything goes, kids! Just make sure to wear a condom.

Well congratu-frimpin'-lations, social engineers of the sixties. You wanted a sexual revolution? Now you've got one. Nobody stopped those animals because on some level, they understood that animal was a perfectly okay thing to be.

Go tell that poor broken girl how lucky she is to be on the cutting edge of societal evolution. Go tell her that sex is no big deal, that all teenagers do it, that the kids who did this to her were just engaging in a little experimentation. That there is no right and wrong where sex is concerned. That virginity is a joke and marriage is antiquated. That the only sexual commandment is "use contraception."

Go on, tell her. Just like you would your own daughter.

How's this for scary?

I don't know about you, but it creeped me out. And I'm not even a mommy.



More Children's Book Cinema at Something Awful. If you dare.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A couple of cartoons

This one made me think immediately of Wharf Rat, who most emphatically doesn't share my antipathy toward tattoos:




And this one, well, this just sums up our life here at Chez Joel:

Saturday, October 03, 2009

What a long strange trip it's been!

Miss C has it right:
Q: How many "deadheads" does it take to change a light bulb?
A: They don't change it. They just wait for it to burn out, and then they follow it around for 30 years.

But she says it like it's a bad thing!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who is like unto the Obama?

Apparently, it's International Blasphemy Day. (Not to be confused with International Public Urination day or International Wiping-Boogers-On-The-Couch Day.)

So what's the difference between this and this:




Answer: The first is just a bunch of educated-beyond-their-intelligence ass ferrets engaging in the equivalent of third-grade potty humor (Hee hee! Poo-poo-head! Fart on mom!) in hopes of offending a billion or so people who never did them any harm.

Whereas the second is actual blasphemy. Not to mention really, really creepy. You really have to see it to believe it.

A tip of the ol' Akubra to Mark Shea for both. And another A/T to anyone who got the reference in the post title at first glance.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Badass brethren


Check out the captions here. Some of the ones I liked:

"The main suspects in yesterday's drive-by baptisms."

"Look out! It's the brothers from Our Lady of the Broken Kneecaps."

"What's that, a sissy? You callin' St. Francis a sissy?"

"(not pictured: The Devil pissing his pants)"

"Alright. Let's baptize the shit out of this kid."

And my personal favorite: "Felonious Monks"

Akubra tip to the habit-forming SondraK.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

With gratitude and happy taste buds

A few weeks ago when I went to drop off Long Drink with his mother, I stopped off in Goldendale and saw my boyhood friend Alec and met his lovely wife Florame. Last night we finally opened the homemade wine they sent home with me, and this song has been stuck in my head ever since. (I suspect this slightly warped video is from an old VHS tape straight off MTV. Must be 30 years by now, almost. I was fortunate to see the Gordfather play it live in 1992.)




That wine was some of the best stuff I've ever laid lips on. Thanks, guys!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shoe, meet Other Foot

Looks like a pro-life protester was gunned down in front of a school this morning. No doubt this pro-abort asshat is dancing gleeful little jigs.

Naturally, Murder Inc. had a statement:
Lori Lamerand, president and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood East Central Michigan, also expressed shock and sadness at the news.

"We want to be very clear that we have no idea if this was related to his views, but Planned Parenthood would never condone any sort of violence against anyone, regardless of their views," said Lamerand.

Yeah, I wish you the same luck we pro-lifers had getting that across.

Meanwhile, we'll see how many liberals hold candlelight vigils for Jim Pouillon. And how many have the honesty and courage to hold pro-aborts responsible for his blood. My guess is that we'll see a rash of articles about how he had it coming, and there's no comparison between the saintly Dr. Tiller and this violent sign-holder.

Yash Skala is still remembered

As part of the 2996 Project, I posted this on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Go read it, then follow the first link and read the other 2,995 stories. It's still true.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spirit and exercise

Pastor Paul's mention of working for his father while he looks for a new pulpit brought to mind this scene from Pale Rider. If you gotta wear a collar, you might as well wear it with this kind of style.
Preacher (Clint Eastwood): How about putting me to work?
Hull (Michael Moriarty): No, I couldn't ask you to... Maybe if there was something spiritual...
Preacher: The spirit ain't worth spit without a little exercise.

And then he goes on to prove it. For a man of the cloth, he can pure down swing a hammer. All directions.

video

I especially like how he helps Richard Kiel back on his horse after it's all over with. Although under the circumstances, I'm not sure putting him on a saddle is an act of mercy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wow.

That's all I can say at this point. Just... wow.

I can't wait for the press conference to find out the details.

More Ted Kennedy stuff

Eulogies all over Medialand and its blogospheric outskirts are referring to Ted Kennedy as "the lion of the senate." Patrick's objection notwithstanding, I'm sort of inclined to agree with that assessment. Especially when you consider how encounters between Christians and lions have traditionally turned out.

Okay, that's all the snark I'll come out with. As Christine says, the grave-dancing on some blogs is disgusting. The man's dead, for Gossake! There's nothing to be gained by pointing out his faults now that he's beyond mending them.

Kennedy's funeral mass is happening even as I type. I hadn't thought to wonder about his eligibility for a Catholic funeral (given his support for the slaughter of innocents), but canon lawyer Ed Peters naturally has. He offers some reason for hope.

Still, I feel a little violated that Barack Obama is going to deliver a eulogy at a Catholic church. That's my church. Do I come to his mosque and talk pretty about Salman Rushdie?

(I know, cheap shot. But Obama's still alive, so I'll joke about him all I want. Report me if you like.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

May Ted Kennedy rest in peace

Yes, I do mean that. He wasn't always sold out to the sacrament of abortion, and it may be that he repented of his part in the abortocaust before the end. Or it may be (indeed, probably is) that God's mercy is bigger than I think. In the end (as Terry Mattingly points out:
Only God and his father confessor — if he maintained such a relationship throughout his life — have any right to claim inside information about the state of his soul and neither will be granting interviews today.

My hope is that purgatory was a welcome relief and that Mary Jo Kopechne was there at the gates to greet him. That should be the hope of every Christian. This isn't politics we're talking about now; this is eternity.

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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yee-haw!

Because it's Fair Week and the rodeo is in town, and because I'm so out of it today, this just seems to sum it all up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No, but He's supposed to be coming back soon

My friend Patti is married to a Tejano man who's legally named Jesús, but usually calls himself "Jesse" out here in Gringoland. That's pretty common; I know a Venito who's called "Benny" and a Lionel (pronounced Lee-o-NEL) who goes by "Leo." If nothing else, it can draw a line between the people who actually know you and those who have your name on a list.

So Patti takes a phone call this morning from an officious woman who asks, "Is Jee-zus there?"

"He sure is," says Patti. "In my heart, at all times."

Click.

What else could she say?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Virginia Davis travels in elephants

The very first Disney actress has gone to that great Cartoonland in the sky. It's kind of interesting to read about her; I had no idea she was still alive. I thought the name sounded familiar when I saw the obit on the wire. I never saw the Alice cartoons, but I remember her as an unusually good child actress in Three on a Match. (Which I highly recommend, if you can find a copy. Excellent cast, excellent acting, all around impressive early talkie.) I usually hate watching child actors of that time, as they lisp and overplay the cuteness. As I recall, little Virginia didn't do that. She spoke her lines clearly and with some semblance of realistic inflection. Unlike too many child stars, she didn't (a) hang around Hollywood trying to parlay cuteness into an adult career or (b) spend the next several decades consuming various chemicals and turning her brain to orange sherbet. She and Uncle Walt stayed good friends after her career fizzled, despite their disagreement over her taking the lead in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Here's the third cartoon she made with Disney. I can't watch it at work (kind of hard to disguise it as productivity), but I will when I get home.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good morning, you lying, racist bastards.

When the wonderful Cassandra starts off a post like that, you know you're in for a treat. Sure enough, A Few Words from Nan Pelosi on Health Care captures the liberal position to a T:
[B]efore we foist an unread bill of historic proportions on the American people, we must conduct a inclusive and robust debate in which only our side is heard. The failure of every single previous attempt to nationalize health care proves the need to exclude unAmerican liars from our national dialogue.

Of course, when I say the facts be heard, I mean "our facts must be heard". And no one can hear our facts when there's too much free speech going on. Too much information confuses people...

Read it all. Unless you're a liberal, in which case, you'll want to avoid it like the plague. Too much information confuses people.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Goodbye to a class act

Eunice Kennedy Shriver travels in elephants. I'll bet the crowds were lined up three deep to greet her at the pearly gates.

She refused to sell out with the rest of her party, when sacrificing the inconvenient became a requirement for being a Democrat. Instead, she left politics behind and cared first for the least of these, with no exceptions. She fought with gracious force to give them dignity and a place of respect in the world that nobody could take away. The world is better for her presence and poorer for her passing.

Rest well, ma'am.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Evil, evil earworm

It's not bad enough that I'm shackled to a desk for 14 hours a day this week. No, I've also had this song stuck in my head for the last three days. And as everyone knows, the only way to get rid of an earworm is to share!



Sorry, Internet friends!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dear John: who's more popular now?

Double points to anyone who recognizes that line.


I'm getting more of a kick out of this because Long Drink and I just went to see these guys do their Beatles tribute show.

H/T to Stephy at Stuff Christian Culture Likes. Protestant readers, you'll enjoy that one even more than I did.

Monday, July 20, 2009

When the astronauts landed

Everybody is into remembering where they were when they heard about the moon landing 40 years ago. I can certainly tell you what I was doing. I was projecting a loathsome substance into a diaper. As I appear to have done with great frequency in 1969.

But here's the recollection of a man who only found out the specifics years after the fact, and didn't have the excuse of infancy. Guys, take off your hat to read it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sometimes, reality is cynical



This is only funny to guys who have never been on the other side of it. Unfortunately, there are too many who have.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bastille Day post

I really don't get into the whole idea of celebrating Bastille Day like others might. I'm not absolutely convinced that the French Revolution was a good thing. I'm a monarchist at heart. I know it wouldn't work well for America, but I tend to think that countries that have kings ought to keep them. And the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution outstripped any long-term benefit, to my mind.

All of which isn't really the point here. Patterico used the occasion to post the greatest scene ever filmed, and I couldn't very well let it go to waste. French, American or anything else, if you can watch this scene without goosebumps, you're probably not the sort of person I want reading my blog anyway.



A bit of trivia on the side: The blonde who sings with tears in her eyes and shouts "Vive la France" at the end of the song? She's the only member of the cast still living Like most of the cast, she was a refugee from the Nazi occupation. When these people sang "La Marseillaise," they meant it.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy birthday, Wharf Rat!

My oldest daughter turns 21 on Monday. Let's everybody call her at five in the morning on Tuesday and wish her a loud and cheerful happy birthday!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Ooooh... Barracuda!

Looks like the Lovely Sarah may be going after The One™ in 2012! Let's see who's got the endurance. She's got more balls than any three liberal misogynists.

Y'betcha!

Take me out to the ballgame slaughter

Remember Ross Perot and his "giant sucking sound?" I don't think he meant to be prophetic, but it sure applies to my beloved Moses Lake Pirates this year.

In 2007 we were the league champions. As of now, we're 0-19.

0-19. Do you have any idea how lousy you have to play to get to that point? Joe Shlabotnik would be hard-pressed to suck that badly.

Sunday we have tickets (courtesy of The Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™) to watch them play Spokane. I sure hope the streak turns around by then. I don't want to expose the kids to the sight of dad sobbing uncontrollably.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Come and get me!

I just signed the petition to put Referendum 71 on the ballot. For those of you who aren't fortunate enough to live in Washington, that's the referendum to repeal the state's newly-enacted domestic partnership law. I'll probably vote "no" on the referendum, but I signed the petition anyway.

Why? Because of this. I want my name on the petition loud and clear, because when it comes time to harass and intimidate voters for participating in the democratic process, I want these jackbooted crapweasels to know exactly where to find me.

Anyone else who wants to risk the wrath of the brownshirts can sign the petition here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jesus is the True and Better...

... everything.
Jesus Is The True And Better . . . Adam who passed the test in the garden & who's obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus Is The True And Better . . . Abel who though innocently slain has blood that cries out, not for condemnation but for acquittal.

Go read the whole thing. Now.

Thank you, Wharf Rat.

I never thought I'd be seeing a silver lining here, but all the crap she put me through in her teenage years have made it possible to cope with her sisters' teenage dramas without panicking. It's like I don't even notice the feeling of impending doom any more.

Well done, daughter!

(And your daddy loves you.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

File under "Sad Ironies"

Blessed Blasted are the peacemakers.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A moderate Muslim cleric who denounced suicide attacks as forbidden by Islam was killed Friday in a suicide attack on his mosque in Lahore, authorities said.

Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi was the first imam in Pakistan to issue a fatwa, or religious edict, against suicide attacks in Pakistan.

On Friday, a suicide bomber approached Naeemi as he left the Jamia Naimia Mosque and religious school. The bomber detonated his explosives, killing Naeemi and two others, police said. Another 10 people were wounded in the attack.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A day in the life of an office drudge

These people must have a lot more time on their hands than I do. Can you imagine how long this had to take?



Akubra tip to A Welsh View.

Do NOT underestimate this woman

The Sarahnator's response to Letterman's assholicism:
"The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show," [Palin spokeswoman Meghan]Stapelton said in an email to ABC News. "Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman."

Misogynists who hate on this lady (and her family) get more back than they bargained for.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the season 'tis, my lovely lambs

What is it about this month that seems to be bringing out the murderous loons? First the Tiller Killer, then the anti-war activist expressing his disapproval of the military, now this piece of work:
WASHINGTON — An elderly man walked into the Holocaust Museum, one of the capital’s most-visited sites, shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday and opened fire with a shoulder weapon or pistol, wounding a security guard before being shot himself, officials said.

The gunman was identified by several news agencies as James W. von Brunn, a man in his late 80s. According to a Web site maintained by Mr. von Brunn, he embraces a far-reaching conspiracy theory involving Jews, blacks and other minority groups. Early reports indicated that he lives in eastern Maryland.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes before the news media start lumping him in with Christian conservatives. See, we're all on the right, aren't we? Never mind that this lulu liked Christians just about as much as he liked Teh Jooz.

So here's a question: if everybody who spoke against abortion shares the guilt for Tiller's murder, but the recruiter-killer acted in a vacuum, where does Von Brunn fall? Is everybody who waved anti-Zionist signs at these rallies going to be held responsible for this tragedy? I'm betting not.

Where is Todd Palin?

It looks like he owes David Letterman a fist in the mouth.
Riffing on Palin’s trip to New York last weekend, Letterman joked Monday night that during the seventh inning of the Yankees game “her daughter [14-year-old Willow] was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”

Letterman followed up on the line Tuesday night, joking that “the toughest part of her visit was keeping [former New York Gov.] Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter.”

Talk about my daughters that way, mister, and see how long you keep your teeth.

No.

Please don't.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The group that tried for years to put slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller out of business is interested in buying his now-closed clinic in Wichita, its president said.

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said that his group has discussed the idea of buying the tan, windowless clinic in east Wichita. He made the comment after the Tiller family announced that the clinic would be closed permanently.

"I would love to make an offer on that abortion clinic, and that's some of the discussion that we're having," Newman said in a telephone interview Tuesday from his group's headquarters in Wichita.

If Tiller's abomination had been shut down through honest means, by abolishing the death business legally or (even better) making abortion as unpopular as slave trading, then I'd say it was a great idea. But the man was murdered. We didn't win; he merely lost. I'm pleased that the clinic won't be reopened, but that's purely pragmatic - no more babies will die there. It's nothing to gloat over under the circumstances.

Dancing on Tiller's grave is not only immoral, but it's unbecoming to people who believe in human dignity.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Mocking my g-g-g-generation

Warning! Set down your beverage and put something absorbent on your chair before you watch this, especially if you're a Breakfast Clubber like me. Some memories are just best recalled with howls of laughter.


Don't just get the gist and then pause. The end is the best part.

A tip o' the Akubra to Mrs Who.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Brutally honest about a brute

Okay, I'm going to be honest.

I don't feel bad about George Tiller's death.

I've been trying to. As a Christian, I know that I deserve death and eternal damnation as much he does. Only God's grace can save either me or him. I know also that no soul is presumed to be in Hell. There's always the possibility that Tiller repented of his crimes at some point just prior to his shooting. It's my duty to pray so and I've been doing that. Honest. I truly don't wish him to be damned, even if I fear the odds point in that direction.

But on a secular level, frankly, I think he really did have this coming. Let's not pussyfoot here: the man made a huge amount of money slaughtering defenseless babies. These were not early-term fetuses (feti?), nor "clumps of cells," as abortionists often say to gloss over the question of whether or not a fetus is human. These were late-term, viable babies. Fully or near-fully formed children. Some of them, by Tiller's own admission, were due to be born the next day.These were human infants, beyond any room for argument, whose parents had decided for one reason or another they wanted them dead. Not adopted. Dead. And George Tiller was more than happy to make that a reality. For a handsome fee, of course.

Nor was this an easy, painless death such as the most despicable criminal gets. These babies were torn to pieces with no anesthetic and vacuumed out bit by grisly, pathetic bit.

Tiller bragged that he had killed more than 60,000 babies in this way. Why should we mourn the loss of a man who treated human life that cavalierly?

In fact, Tiller died in much the same way as his victims: at the hands of a stranger, in a place where he should have been safe. His death was followed by tribute upon tribute and candlelight vigils outside his abattoir. Yet not one candle was lit there for any of the nameless, forgotten infants he snuffed out with no remorse whatsoever. If anyone had been so brazen as to light one, they'd probably have been arrested for arson.

His defenders point to the fact that his actions were permitted under current law. So was the Holocaust. But who defends Eichmann because he was within the law?

I've never mentioned it before, but I had a friend who was convinced to have a late-term abortion at Tiller's "clinic," about twenty years ago. A doctor told her the baby growing inside her wouldn't live very long, and her husband didn't want the work of raising a "defective" child, so they flew to Wichita and had it killed. Not "it," him. She had already named him, and for as long as I knew her after, she wore a bracelet with his name on it, carrying the grief of a child she never got to hold or see. But Tiller didn't lose any sleep over it. He pocketed the money and went on to the next one. It turned out later that the doctor's diagnosis could well have been wrong and my friend's baby might have been perfectly healthy. But we'll never know.

At that, my friend was one of the lucky ones. Stories abound of women whose abortions were handled haphazardly at Tiller's hands. Some of them died. We may never know how many, because abortion clinics operate above the laws on record-keeping and reporting. The only botched abortion is one where the patient dies before the check clears.

George Tiller was a stain on the human race. I wish it weren't so, but he was. There is no personal virtue he could have possessed that I can imagine mitigating his sheer loathesomeness. God loved him. I wish I could, but I just can't. (I hope God will correct that defect in me one day.) I also, as I said, hope that he repented. I wish he had been granted more time, in the hope that he might eventually have turned from his grisly ways.

Mind you, I'm not gloating at his death. I know I'll be accused of that. I also know I should see him as the child of God he was. But all I can see is a monster.

God also loved the children that Tiller tortured and killed. Do any of the people eulogizing him today have hearts soft enough to spare a thought for them?

I didn't think so.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A martyr for Moloch

George Tiller was aborted this morning.

Some stupid son-of-a-bitch shot him while he was sitting in church. In church!

Now, I don't especially mourn Tiller. I know, a better Christian than I am would, but I think he deserved exactly as much legal protection as his victims. Make of that what you will.

But the fact is, he did enjoy greater legal protection, and it plays right into the hands of the pro-aborts who paint all pro-lifers as frothing lunatics. Heck, Homeland Security already declared us domestic terrorists. Never mind that actual pro-life violence is far, far rarer than the violence perpetrated against us. The perception still stands.

And now they have an excuse to come after us. Shut down our March for Life. Prohibit the crisis pregnancy centers. Force every health care provider in the country to take Tiller's place.

No, if he was going to die, it should have been by God's hand, not ours. There was a good chance of his going to jail, which would have served to save many more babies than killing him did.

Murder was his stock in trade; it shouldn't have been allowed to make a martyr of him. This idiot has put all our necks on the block.

Nice going, jackass.

(Thinking about it, I wonder if this was a set-up by a pro-abort? I rather fear it wasn't, though. We have enough homegrown Oswald wannabes that we don't need an agent provocateur.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

The ribs are on the grill, most of the family is here, and I have the weekend off. I posted this two Memorial Days ago, but things haven't changed. I don't think I could say it any better today..
-------------
See that earnest-looking kid on the right? Calvin Samuel Martin III, his name was. You wouldn't know it to look at him, but he was a first-class smart-ass, with an easy charm that made people like him as soon as they met him. That was my dad, in his high-school yearbook, before he went to war.

Unfortunately, I don't know a whole lot about his experiences in the war, because he never talked about it afterward. And I mean never. Even in the 80s, when it became stylish to dredge up buried memories of Vietnam, he had nothing more to say than just that he was proud that he'd gone.

Not that he had much choice. It was 1966, and he had just flunked out of UW, and the government offered him a full scholarship to the University of Pleiku, without a lot of room to decline. This was before Kent State, before Jane Fonda straddled an enemy gun like she was posing for a girlie magazine, before it became really fashionable to cry "peace, peace" where there was no peace. My mom says that he had some misgivings about the war itself. But it didn't matter; he went.

I don't know anything about what-all happened there, either, except little snippets. My mom says he got to be pretty friendly with the Montagnards, and got his heart broken by what happened to them. (I had to look them up; I'd never heard of them.) He ran supply convoys, "delivering socks," as he told his younger brother later. I don't think he ever shot anybody, but he certainly got shot at enough.

Whatever he saw over there, it damaged him pretty badly. He came back with a self-destructive streak that he watered liberally with ethanol. My mom says that he was like a completely different person. I wouldn't know; I was born on the army base just as he was getting out.

The problems he came back with exacted a price on both him and his family, and he eventually left. I spent a lot of my childhood without him, except as an occasional visitor. I started getting close to him again when I was in my teens, but by then it was kind of awkward. I didn't know it when I was little, but the war had taken my daddy away.

When I was 26, it took him away for good. Now, my dad wasn't what you would call an abstemious man. He drank like a fish, he chain-smoked for twenty years (then just up and quit), he ate anything he wanted, and he was entirely too fond of the fairer sex. (And I do mean "entirely"; if I didn't know he'd had a vasectomy I'd be on the lookout for people who looked a lot like me.) But just as he had settled into a career he loved (working in the Orient designing mass transit systems), and a marriage that looked like it was going to last, he started having some health problems. He came back to the States for some tests, and three months later he was dead of a brain tumor.

For all his vices, the one really virtuous thing he had done in his life had exposed him to Agent Orange. My dad died from the war, just as surely as if he had been shot by a sniper.

Even with him gone, the war still casts a shadow. He was cremated, and buried in his home town of Goldendale. He has two headstones: one in the veterans' section, and another in a family plot. The family couldn't agree on whether to be proud or ashamed that he'd gone to war.

Well, I paid as much of a price as any of them, and I'm proud. Proud as hell. Yes, I know it's fashionable to regard Vietnam as a huge blunder forty years later. Yes, I know the aging hippies are getting their kicks pretending that Iraq is Vietnam and their sign-waving actually matters a rat's ass. I know these things. But I also know what happened to the Montagnards after we left, and I know that the army today is all that stands between us and this. And I know what my dad would say about the people who insist the only way to "support the troops" is to cut them off at the knees.

I loved my dad. I miss him. He only lived to see one grandchild, but I think he'd have made a helluva grandpa. And on Memorial Day, I think I'll crack a beer, barbecue some dead cow, and be grateful to him and every other fresh-faced kid who stopped a bullet or breathed poison so I could do it.

Thanks, Dad.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

See what happens when you question The One™?


Notre Dame isn't a Christian university anymore. It's now dedicated to the worship of the real messiah. Thus saith Barack.

And old gleeps like this who insist on having gods before Obama are just begging to be hauled away in chains.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

IOU

Happy Mother's Day to my own mom and to the woman I'm proud to have for the mother of my children. (And to Wharf Rat, who's having her first one as an actual mother.) I love you all!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Just because

Because I'm a defiant Jesus Freak, and because it's Friday, and because, as much as we bellyache about persecution, us American Christians have nothing on the Poles.

I saw Steve Taylor do this song in concert back in 1985, just a couple of years after the events he's referring to. The lyrics are here. There's not a single banal line, not a wasted syllable. The man was a frimpin' lyrical genius.

You don't have to be a Christian believer to find yourself waving a fist in the air along with the Polish Catholics.



(I seem to remember that Brian posted these lyrics at one point, but I don't have the post handy to link to and I'm too lazy to search it out.)

Go granny go!

Maggie is an ancestress again! Wahoo!

Vengeance is mine...

... sayeth the guy whose dinner hour has been repeatedly interrupted by phone solicitors. (Language alert!)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Snatch the pebble from my hand...

The last couple of days my young co-worker Kaci and I have been taking turns training each other in the esoterica of our respective jobs. She kept looking perplexed when I made mention of things like grasshoppers and pebbles, and it dawned on me this morning that she's actually never heard of Kwai Chang Caine. A whole generation of boys grew up kicking each other and whacking each other with sticks because we all wanted to be Caine, and now he's relegated to history.(Do they even show reruns anymore? I'd love to find them and relive my boyhood.)

I don't know when this intro ceased to be universally familiar, but now she'll see what I was talking about.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A song to lie dreaming by

Not everybody will get this, but I don't care.


Akubra tip to Mark Shea.

Gone to that great buffet table in the sky


Dom DeLuise travels in elephants. Heck, he's probably impersonating one with great success.

He was a comic genius. That's not a phrase I use lightly, but Dom DeLuise was a man who could make anything funny. He just had a presence that inspired laughter.

Eat well at God's table, buddy.