Friday, November 30, 2007

A man who never jumped the shark

It looks like hepatitis and pulmonary fibrosis have done what gravity, fire and the Snake River canyon couldn't. Evel Knievel is dead at 69.

What y'all may not know is that Robert Craig Knievel got his start right here in Moses Lake in 1965, trying to jump over a box of rattlers. He missed that time, but I've talked with people who remember seeing him do practice jumps over a narrow spot in the lake, just down the road from my office.

He fueled a million boys' stupidity in the 70s, with his jumps and stunts. Boys will do dumb, dangerous things anyway, but he gave us a role model. We used to pretend to be him when we jumped our bikes and hurled ourselves off roofs and things like that, imagining ourselves going through flaming hoops in a gaudy star-spangled suit. Rumor had it that one pinky was the only bone he'd never broken. Nobody, but nobody, was cooler than Evel Knievel. Even the Fonz was only a pale imitation.

I'm really glad it was natural causes that got him in the end, and not a crash. He may be dead, but by gum, he went out undefeated.

Update: I just ran across this (completely at random, in fact), and it seems like a fitting way to remember Evel.

Today I am a geezer.

That's right. Four decades ago, I came into this world, the only one out of something like ten pregnancies that survived to birth. And vile little whelp that I was, I can't believe I survived to adulthood. (Every year, at 12:29 pm, I apologize to my mom.) My oldest child is now the same age her mother was when she had her, and only a little younger than I was. At that time, I honestly never gave a thought to being 40. Heck, I figured I was taking the long view by acknowledging that one day I'd turn 30. (Coincidentally, I spent my thirtieth birthday about fifteen feet away from where I am now. Same office, different workstation.)

I can't complain; my Lovely and Brilliant Wife is both 40 and pregnant, which I can't top. But I can sit and ponder my misspent youth, and listen to my birthday song.

Anyone who wants to can see a baby picture over at It Comes in Pints (scroll down to number four).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And something for Ricki

Apparently there are people translating the Bible into LOLCat. I don't know whether to laugh, cry or watch out for lightening, but I know Ricki will find it amusing. With Advent upon us, Luke 2 seems a good place to check out the desecration:
Oh hai, Jesus iz bornd
1 'Roun dis tiyem, Caesar Augustus wuz like, "I can has cenzus?"
2 ('Coz while Quirinius was Teh Boz of Syria, is invisible census!)
3 And all teh doodz went home for teh saying, "I is heer!"
4 So Joseph went from Naz'reth to Judeeah to Bethlehemm whar David wuz bornededed, 'coz David wuz hiz graete-graete gran-daddie,
5 An Mary went wif him, 'coz she was gonna be married an she was preggerz.
6 When wuz time for teh baybee,
7 it wuz a boy, so he wuz wrapd in blanket like burrito an placd him in fud dish, cuz innkeeper wuz liek, no room here kthxbye!

Sheep-doodz n Angels
8 Then there wuz sheep-doods in teh field, an they wuz watchin teh sheep in teh dark. Iz vry vry boring. srsly.
9 An suddenly, visible angel! An glory! O noez!!
10 But teh angel sed, "is ok, you can has gud news for all teh doodz!
11 Todai in da city ov David, you can has sayvur! is Christ da Lord! w00t!
12 Is sign fer u, find da baybee wrapd like brrito in a big fud dish."
13 An suddenly, moar angelz! They sez, 14 "w00t to teh Ceiling Cat! An peace fer doodz he luffs! Kthxbai."
15 An when da angelz go invisible again, sheep-doodz sed, "sweet, nao we find teh brrito-baybee sayvur!"
16 So dey left da sheeps (sheeps r vry borng) and found Joe an Mary and da baybee in da fud dish.
17 An when dey saw it wuz baybee an not brrito, they told evrywun he wuz kewl,
18 An all teh doodz who herd were lyke, "neat-o brrito!"
19 An Mary wuz lyke, "o rly?"
20 Teh sheep-doodz sed, "Yay fer Ceiling Cat! Was not invisible brrito!"
21 On dai noomber ate, it wuz tiem 2 circumcize him (iz laik getting fixd) an they called him Jesus, 'coz teh angel sed it wuz a kewl name.

Somewhere, Linus must be shuddering.

A hymn for Kymn Kim

I went looking last week for the words to the hymn tune Hiraeth, as I thought Kim at the blog of the same name would be interested. I couldn't find it online anywhere, so I scanned a copy out of my gymanfa hymnal. It's not William Williams Pantycelyn's best, not by a long shot, but the tune by Protheroe certainly evokes its namesake emotion. (Ironically, I don't think Williams ever left Wales at all.)

Here it is, Kim. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Saving the planet, one death at a time

I've been having trouble coming up with an adequate response to this bit of eco-stupidity, which the worthy 'Fly brought to my attention. Fortunately, Lileks is able to express at least one aspect of my revulsion with it:
Disaster! She had the awful thing put away, and now she and her husband enjoy hiking and vacations . . . in other countries, accessed via jets. But: “We feel we can have one long-haul flight a year, as we are vegan and childless.” She expresses frustration that other people are unable to accept her decision. I suspect she means “my mum” by “other people,” and I suspect she confuses “acceptance” with “full-throated endorsement."

Of course I accept these people’s decisions not to have children. What am I supposed to do, break into their homes, duct-tape them together into the double-backed beast and play whacka-chicka 70s porn soundtracks until they’re in the mood? But “acceptance” is part of the usual recipe: first we must tolerate, which no decent person should have any problem doing. Then we are asked to accept, which for most means slump-shouldered acquiescence. Eventually it’s not the norm, but it’s standing alongside it on stage, nudging its way into the spotlight.

Be it understood, I don't care if this woman sterilizes herself. Heck, from a Planned-Parenthood-eugenics perspective, it might be for the best. What I have a problem with is the idea that abortion is the way to "save the planet."

If the trend catches on, eventually the commandment will be "Thou shalt not suffer a child to live." Instead of merely being a cynical cash cow for eugenicists, the Sacrament of Abortion might grow to be treated as exactly that. Currently, it's only treated as an unqualified good by the most loathesome uterofascists, while politicians who might otherwise disapprove of it still bow at its altar to keep the votes coming. But if the Global Warming Cult gets a strong foothold, mandatory (or at least socially-demanded) abortion will follow behind. Realistically, I don't expect anything that drastic, but it's a direction I don't want to see our culture even begin to lean toward.

The other concern is a little more behind-the-scenes - the idea that it should always be somebody else, somebody worthless, who has to be sacrificed for the common good. It's always couched in the highest of motives - in this case, the pursuit of a healthy environment - but the bottom line is twofold: (a) it's going to take some suffering, and (b) it's not going to be me that does it. Logically, the most effective means of lessening her "carbon footprint" would be for Toni to off herself. But that never crosses her mind. After all, what good is a healthy environment if I'm not there to enjoy it? Me, me, me.

So it can't be Toni or her sisters-in-folly who make that ultimate sacrifice. And it can't be her husband (or boyfriend or whatever); walking and hiking and going away for weekends aren't any fun alone. Still, somebody has to be eliminated, or carbon will batter the ecosystem with footprints like kids playing on the best sledding hill in town. Logically, it has to be the person who is of no use to her, either financially or socially or emotionally. Coincidentally, that's also the only person she can get rid of without legal repercussions; the law frowns on murdering strangers, but subsidizes this kind of eugenics. It enables her to feel like she's doing the earth some good (infinitesimal in fact, but impressive to the ego) without actually compromising her lifestyle. This is the kind of thinking that motivated the ancients to sacrifice their children to vengeful deities, that caused Germans to look away when their Jewish neighbors disappeared, that allows soi-disant men to slink away and abandon fourteen women to their deaths. It's cowardice and selfishness, combined with a smug self-righteous conviction that turns contemptible behavior into a badge of superiority. I can muster more respect for an Islamofascist suicide bomber than for a woman who kills the helpless to keep her lifestyle uncluttered, then has the nauseating gall to expect praise for her actions.

Personally, I'd exchange Toni in a heartbeat for the baby she had killed. At least that was an unknown quantity. With Toni, we know what sort of people we're dealing with, and it's not encouraging for the future.

I could pass for well-traveled

You Know Your States

You got 10/10 correct.

You've got a pretty good handle on US geography.
There's a good chance you've visited at least a dozen of the fifty states.

Actually, I've been to six as an adult, plus a couple of others when I was too young to remember it. But it wasn't a particularly difficult quiz for anyone passing familiar with the map of the US. A tip of the (Australian) hat to Cullen.

Of course there's no connection...

... between this and this. At least you wouldn't know it from the latter account. Pure coincidence.

So there, Serbs!

This makes "José can you see" sound pretty lame:
Football fan websites in Croatia want a medal for the British singer whose X-rated rendition of the country's national anthem apparently helped the team to beat England.

Opera singer Tony Henry mis-pronounced a key line in the national anthem before Wednesday's match and sang "my penis is a mountain" to the delight of the Croat players.

The anthem is written in the old Croat style. Instead of singing "Mila kuda si planina", which translates "You know my dear how we love your mountains", he sang "Mila kura si planina" - "My dear, my penis is a mountain".

Croatian players Vedran Corluka and Luka Modric were seen grinning at each other when they heard the mistake, and fans said it relaxed the team and helped them to their 3-2 victory.

Apparently, even the Croats say that's a pretty easy mistake to make. And unlike Roseanne, he didn't mangle it on purpose. In fact, it could even be taken as patriotic bragging. If you're a Croat, that is.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beyond Tomorrow (1940)

This seems as good a time as any to put up another Christmas movie, now that I've gotten the hang of it and all. I won't be watching any movies this weekend, as tomorrow is the Apple Cup game (Go Cougs!) and the rest of the time will probably be spent setting up for Christmas. But for those who have some time this weekend, I've got a little gem.

Beyond Tomorrow is the sort of movie you simply don't see anymore. Three elderly bachelors who both live and do business together set up a little test to see what kind of people are walking outside their window. They each toss a wallet with ten dollars and a business card inside, and wait to see who returns the money. Naturally, it's a man and a woman, both single and lonely, and both at loose ends for the holiday. The bachelors invite them to Christmas dinner, and the result is what you'd expect, either in 1940 or today.

It all takes a different turn when (a) the three men are killed in a plane crash and (b) the young man finds himself being led astray by a woman of easy virtue. From here on out, it's chock-full of the sort of thing that Hollywood would roll its collective eyes at today, even for a hokey Christmas flick.

For starters, the theology is a bit clear-cut for a modern film, even though for people who take their religion seriously it's kind of facile. The afterlife is presented without self-consciousness or wisecracks. Good is good, and evil is evil, and there is forgiveness for the repentant. It's a morality tale, pure and simple. If you don't like moral absolutes, you won't get this one.

Besides that, the acting is really good for such a low-budgeter, and there's a nifty little background/subplot thing with two Russian servants, refugees with Romanov connections. Maria Ouspenskaya is the sort of treasure that belonged in a museum; to see her in this B-flick is like seeing Olivier in a soap commercial. So get the hankies out and skip the cliche repellant:

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

A darn shame

I don't care where you stand on illegal immigration, this guy is exactly the sort of citizen we want in this country. I hope someone at the State Department sees this story and works out some arrangement to keep him here.

Here's cause to give thanks

Toddler falls out of a third-story window and isn't hurt. I could so easily see one of mine doing this. It makes my stomach hurt just to think about it, even knowing the boy is all right.

Wish I'd seen this yesterday

Hope everyone had a gluttonous holiday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cheesy Christmas movie!

I don't know if I'll get much chance to post anything over the holiday, but I found this atrocity at the Internet Archive. I haven't actually seen it myself, although I picked up the DVD at Dollar Tree several years ago, but someday I'll get time. From what I've heard, it may cause a stench to emanate from your monitor, so don't be alarmed.

I don't know if the code will work on all browsers, so this is kind of experimental. If it works, then amuse appall yourself with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Update the next day: I actually managed to sit through almost the first half-hour before wanting to chew my arm off to escape. It's pretty schlocky. Now that I know how to do it, though, I think I'll probably post a few more Christmas films from Archive during the Advent season. I have a soft spot for old films, and the Archive has hundreds that would have been on the ashheap of history were they not preserved there. Not exactly Oscar material, but some of them are enjoyable as long as you don't expect too much.

Busy as a one-legged man in a kickboxing match

If the posting has been sparse for the last few days, it's because the beginning of the holiday season is hell on wheels in the newspaper business. I'd apologize, but I'm not sure I have the energy. Got a bunch of things I'd like to post about if time allows, but it's not been very generous so far. Meanwhile, the people in my sidebar have been posting, and there's some good stuff.

You may or may not have noticed that I've added WordGirl to the sidebar. Like me, she's a left-footer by adoption. Her home-to-Rome story is worth reading, and I suspect I may even know the church she was involved with. Even aside from that, I would have linked her just because her sidebar proves she knows where to get good breakfast. But WG, I've been to both and the Hotcake House at Milwaukee and Powell is worlds better. Circulation is overrated.

Also, check out this week's Catholic Carnival. This is the absolute coolest theme I've ever seen on a carnival, bending Aquinas to the occasion. It begins thus:
ST II-II. Q. 190 A. 1

Whether the faithful should participate in the Catholic Blog Carnival

Objection 1. It would seem that none should partivipate in the Catholic Blog Carnival because nowhere in Sacred Scripture is Christ, who is our example and model for Christian living, shown to participate in a Catholic Blog Carnival.

Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher said, "All men desire to know", but some posts in the Catholic Blog Carnival are primarily for the purpose of entertainment, rather than education.

On the contrary, Cardinal Ruini said that blogs can be a means of "showing [the youth] the true Jesus.”

I answer that, as stated above, Christ is our model for Christian living. Did Christ not teach in the meadow, and mountain, as well as in the temple. The internet is the meadow and mountain of the third millenia.

Furthermore, it is impossible for the Catholic Carnival constitute man's happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether; else it would not be the last end, if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, i.e. of man's appetite, is the universal good; just as the object of the intellect is the universal true. Hence it is evident that naught can lull man's will, save the universal good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone; because every creature has goodness by participation. Wherefore God alone can satisfy the will of man, according to the words of Psalm 102:5: "Who satisfieth thy desire with good things." Therefore God alone constitutes man's happiness, but the Catholic Blog Carnival and those who participate in it likewise participate in goodness.

Reply to objection 1. Had the internet existed at that time, it would be fitting for Christ to have participated in a Catholic Blog Carnival.

Reply to objection 2. While it is true that all men desire to know, it is fitting for posts to be of a recreational purpose. Sacred Spripture says, "He once more will he fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with rejoicing" Job 8:21.

Ite, carnivale est!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Prayer update

Julie fills us in with the latest on baby Lauren and her cancer:
She had an exam before her second round of chemo yesterday. The doctors had hoped that the tumor would at least stop growing. Well, it's not only stopped growing, it has shrunk by one third! It's now small enough that they can laser it without risking damage to the optic nerve. She still was given the second round of chemo, to treat the cancer cells that aren't affected by the heat of the laser, but the prognosis is very very good at this point. Thanks SO much for your prayers!

Let's see Richard Dawkins pull off something like this. If he can't, I'll assume he doesn't exist.

Praise God!

Liberty Dollar raid

Will somebody better versed in the law tell me what's illegal about this operation? When you get past the political talk, what it looks like to me is that they issued what are essentially promissory notes backed by their own supply of silver, and those can be used as a means of exchange with any other entity willing to accept them. They're not counterfeiting – there's no pretence that the stuff is issued by the Federal Reserve – and nobody is under any obligation to treat them as currency. If it's all voluntary, private and above-board, what business is it of the FBI? I don't understand.

Answers to the culture quiz

If anyone's still interested, I did some googling and rooted out the answers to this quiz from Monday. They're hidden below the original post.

Update: Ken points out quite rightly that I had the barefoot Beatle wrong. It was indeed the late Paul McCartney walking barefoot across the cover of Abbey Road. If anyone else catches a mistake in my answers, please feel free to mock me mercilessly.

I'd wear his medal

The Queen of the Pro-Life Bloggers links to a heart-stretching article on Dr. Jerome Lejeune in an Irish magazine:
Something very unusual happened at a Special Olympics for those with a learning disability. Two sprinters, both of them suffering from what is called Down’s Syndrome, raced side by side. One of them pulled away, then suddenly stumbled and fell. His companion stopped, lifted him up, massaged his knees, embraced him. Together they shared podium honours. Emotion swept the stands. Spectators had been given a lesson in love.

Down’s Syndrome participants focused on one particular spectator. They smothered him with embraces and kisses. They emblazoned him with their golds, silvers and bronzes. He was the man who had defended their dignity, given them a new name and identity, discredited ‘mongolism’ and ‘Down’s Syndrome’ with their racist connections. The former term came from the belief that their physical appearance denoted a link with the inhabitants of Mongolia. The latter term commemorated the mid-19th century Sir Langdon Down, apparently a believer in white racial superiortity, who described the handicap as “mongolian idiocy”.

Anyone who's ever known a Down's Syndrome child has seen human innocence. What they lack in intellectual capacity, they more than make up for in sheer goodness. I've known several, annd I can honestly say I've never seen one be deliberately unkind to anyone. The Special Olympics story is typical.
But for his defense of these children, Dr. Lejeune was excoriated by his colleagues who saw no monetary potential in them, and hence no reason for them to live. He was passed over for a Nobel Prize because he insisted on treating the incconvenient as human. But if the delightful Dawn is correct, he's up for canonization, which makes the silly thing in Stockholm look about as prestigious as an honorable mention in a grade-school talent show. You go, St. Jerome!

No man can serve two masters

And if that's not a Biblical mandate for celibate clergy, I don't know what is. Unless it's this, which illustrates what comes of trying to juggle God, wife and mammon. I can think of a lot of things I'd rather be than the judge who has to open this can of worms.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I have found me a new hero...

... and her name is Mona. She did what so many of us dream of doing.

H/T to CrimLaw.

Let's play "speed bump"!

I'll bet if the trucks in Olympia got a good, running start, we'd see just how committed these Gandhi-wannabe buffoons really are. Would they give their lives, in the same way as the soldiers – for whose deaths they're lobbying – are giving theirs for what they believe in? I'll bet they wouldn't.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

If he taketh it for Taco Bell, not bloody much, apparently.
Nine years ago, Winnie Shilson stopped a bullet for Taco Bell. Last Friday, the company that owns Minnesota's Taco Bell restaurants emptied the other barrel.

It fired her.

Shilson will be 64 next month, and her story may illustrate how a fast-food society treats workers, especially its most experienced ones. After 30 years working for Taco Bell and the chains that preceded it, Shilson was fired Friday as manager of the Edina Taco Bell, dismissed without severance pay or medical benefits.

"Not even a taco," says her husband, Doug. "They didn't give her a thing."

The whole revolting story is here. So much for hard work and dedication.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Attitude adjustment

I was reading through Kim's blogroll, and realized I hadn't looked in on CoffeeSwirls in quite some time. Apparently I've missed out. Doug offers a self-examination for where our priorities are that I failed miserably:
* Do you gain more excitement in finding your team to be 8-1 than you do in God?
* Do you find that your happiness rests upon your bank balance?
* Would you be appalled if (fill in the blank) were to assume the office of President of the United States?
* Do you ever bargain with God to cover up your own shortcomings?
* Are you ever shamed into silence when you know that somebody needs to hear the gospel?
* Do you neglect the gospel when you are trying to comfort a believer who is grieving?
* Can a broken down car affect your opinion of the quality of your life?
* Are you too earthly minded to be any heavenly good?

I plead "yes" to most of the above. Most everybody knows we've had a tough year financially, and I'm afraid I've let that get me in the bad habit of acting like a permanent citizen of earth, instead of a transient on his way to Australia Heaven. * My priorities are in the wrong place. Thanks to Doug for bringing it to my attention.

Crash and burn, fella!

This is unequivocally the absolute worst pick-up line I've ever seen. I have a great deal of trouble believing anyone actually spoke these words. (Language and vulgarity alert, obviously!)

An officer and a gentleman

Posting a comment on another blog earlier today, the nonsense letters for the verification read SRGTPOUL, which made me chuckle. Sergeant, indeed! He's patently one of the great generals in that army of venerable, departed writers who made the future what it is today.

(As a footnote, I have the issue of F&SF that's pictured on the Wikipedia page. Picked it up for a dime from a bookstore that was going out of business.)

I must be uncultured

I only got 13 of these, and I'm going to have to look a couple of those up to be sure. I'm especially embarrassed not to remember #2, as I think I have a copy of that strip at home. 6 and 8 are also going to cost me some sleep. I should know those, dagnabbit!

Let's see who can do better. Here's David Bayly's quiz for the truly cultured:
1. Tell, within a dozen, how many books P. G. Wodehouse wrote. Shoot, make it within thirty…

2. Name the song playing on the radio when Duke threw the grapefruit into the bathtub containing his Samoan attorney.

3. Fill in the blank, “I love the smell of _____________ in the morning.”

4. Tell what machine Toad fell in love with after being thrown from his caravan.

5. Name the Who’s original drummer.

6. Describe the procedure for trapping a heffalump.

7. Name the Black Panther Party member who went from exile in Cuba to preaching at Wheaton Bible Church before designing and selling codpiece-equipped pants.

8. Name the artist who played harmonica on Keith Green’s 1980 “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt” LP.

9. Tell who said, “The policeman isn’t there to create disorder. The policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

10. Name the movie: “Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.”

11. Name the Beatle with the bare feet.

12. Name the now-dead newspaper columnist who often quoted his friend Slats Grobnik.

13. Tell what color and model car O.J. Simpson was being driven down the Santa Monica freeway in.

14. Name the Chicago Bears defensive tackle who scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XX.

15. Finish the sentence from "Cool Hand Luke": “What we have here is a failure to _____________ .”

16. Name the movie this line comes from: “It's just a flesh wound! Come back and I'll bite your kneecaps off!”

17. Name the song that ends with the drummer shouting, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!"

18. Name the lead guitarist on the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

19. Name the Tom Wolfe book originally serialized in Rolling Stone magazine.

20. Name the television series modeled on the work of a New Yorker cartoonist.

Update: Answers are hidden below. David never did post them, so I googled, and found I was wrong on some of the ones I thought I knew. The ones I got right are bolded.)

1. Wikipedia says he wrote 96 books, although I don't know if that includes the plays and songs.

2. White Rabbit. I was sure this was a Doonesbury reference, but it's from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which I haven't read.

3. Napalm

4. A motor-car.

5. Doug Sandom. (I know, I thought it was Keith Moon, too.)

6. Dig a Very Big Pit and bait it with hunny.

7. Eldridge Cleaver

8. Bob Dylan.

9. Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago.

10. Dr. Strangelove.

11. John Lennon Paul McCartney.

12. Mike Royko

13. A white Ford Bronco.

14. William "The Refrigerator" Perry.

15. Communicate.

16. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (One commenter at the original Bayly post says the quote should be "legs" and not "kneecaps." IMDb verifies this.)

17.Helter Skelter. (And there's debate over whether it was Ringo or someone else.)

18. Eric Clapton.

19. The Bonfire of the Vanities.

20. The Addams Family. (Although a Bayly reader pointed out James Thurber had a short-lived TV show, too. If you knew that, you're smarter than I am.)

Sidebar changes and other cool stuff

I added a couple of things to the sidebar over the weekend that you probably haven't noticed, so I'd better crow about them. First is Strange Maps, which (as the name kind of indicates) features a new map every day. Sometimes it's a new perspective on the world, sometimes it's an old map with some interesting frature, but it's always cool beyond belief. I've been tapdancing through their archives, and it's like a happy hunting ground for a cartophile like me.

I also added Hiraeth under "Prods." I don't know if Kim would really want to be on a Papist's blogroll, but the name of the blog was too good to pass up. In Welsh, hiraeth means "longing," in the sense of homesickness, but much more intense. It's a particularly apt Welsh term, because for the last hundred years or so, Wales' primary export has been Welshmen. Hiraeth is also an appropriate word to describe the Christian's longing for his true home. And personally, I'm kind of enjoying her quotation posts. I disagree with Spurgeon on a lot, but his rhetoric is a joy to read anyway. She's also got the wonderful idea of posting a note of thankfulness every day during November. That's something we all should be doing. Prayer should be more thanksgiving than whining about what we haven't got, yet I keep doing exactly that.

That set me off on a search for the words to the hymn "Hiraeth." Yes, there is such a hymn; I used to sing it at the Gymanfa Ganu. I've got it at home, but couldn't find it readily online. However, I did run across the Book of Common Prayer in Welsh, including translations of the morning and evening prayers my Lovely and Brilliant Wife prays in the Liturgy of the Hours every day. The English version is pretty enough, but I'm convinced that God would rather have written the Bible in Welsh, because no other language is beautiful enough to convey His majesty. I'll have to compare the Anglican and Catholic versions of the prayers and see how much is changed.

I also discovered a translation of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy (presumably the Chrysostom liturgy) into Welsh, in both PDF and MP3 formats. I'll download it as soon as I get home and have a listen. I'll bet it's incredible to hear.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

There are more vets than I can thank in one post, and to try would be fatuous at best. I never served, mostly because the army wouldn't take me, but also because I was a typical 18-year-old with all the wrong attitudes. So I feel a little pompous trying to thank every vet I know in a single post.

But there's one I need to mention. My little brother Justin went into the Marine Corps straight out of high school. He was at Mogadishu, and in Bosnia, and other places where unfriendly strangers were shooting at him, and he didn't bitch about the president who sent him there or try to second-guess the reasons he was there. He'll probably never read this - I don't think he even knows I have a blog - but I'd like it on the record that I'm grateful for what he did, and I wish I had been as good a man after I graduated as he was. Thanks.

And more than anything, kiddo, thanks for making it back alive so my kids could know their uncle. They think the world of you.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good-bye, Hank Thompson

Nobody else could have recorded songs like "The Squaws Along the Yukon" and "My Tears Have Washed 'I Love You' from the Blackboard of my Heart." Country music is the poorer for his loss. Have a six-pack to go, buddy.

That'll teach him

I'm sure there's a story behind this item I ran across in the police reports (not online), in The Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™. This all the paper had:
Reporting party advised of his wife cutting the hose to his sleep apnea machine due to him staying out too late.

I'm due to go out of town tomorrow evening and hang with a couple of friends I haven't seen in years. If my Lovely and Brilliant Wife gives me a curfew, I think I'd better stick to it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Signs and Wonders

Chris Johnson channels Wuzzadem, with a quickie appearance by a couple of St. Blog's Parish's resident wise-elbows. This is absolutely hilarious, especially if you've been following the Anglican/Catholic/Unitarian-wannabe triangle. Put your beverage down before reading. Hat tip to Mark Shea.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Oh. Dear. Lord.

This is almost enough to make me violently ill.
It is time, in my belief, for Stacey Cowles to assume a position of leadership, to physically and dynamically lead us into the future as both end-users of journalism and journalists alike. This should not be done with tersely-worded statements of regret, pithy little acts of contrition really, but with all the power and authority vested in himself as the owner of Spokane's single biggest source of news journalism.

This is my formal call: in print or in the blogs, PLEASE, Stacey, meet us there, and assume control of all our combined positive energies and organize us all into a cohesive force, not just those who work tirelessly at the Spokesman, but an entire community of like-minded citizens. Traditional corporate thinking says that such a thing has never or cannot be done. I disagree. Send the call to the tribes of man, those in our community who are willing to say, "Here I am, Boss. Send me."

I'm not even talking about the abuse of the passage from Isaiah. Given Stacey Cowles' past conduct, I'd almost rather look for leadership from either of the two women below. Not quite, but almost. He's a slimy SOB, and Steve Smith is his faithful toady. If you think the owner and publisher of the Spokesman-Review is fit to lead a pack of jackals to a zebra carcass, ask Kevin Coe..

Hillary in a past life

Lord knows nobody's ever going to mistake me for a Hillary fan, but this is rather over the top. Which doesn't stop me from deriving a certain glee from the comparison.
We know that Shirley MacLaine, and other Hollywood types, believe in past lives. Reincarnation is, of course, a cornerstone belief of the Buddhist religion.

Is there evidence that Hillary Clinton has lived before? We know that the media won't press her on her beliefs. The mainstream media is perfectly willing to press Romney on his religion, and even ask him and his wife whether they engaged in premarital sex. But that sort of thing is off limits for Democrats (it should, of course, be off limits for Republicans too, but the mainstream media has no limit as to the areas in which Republicans are subject to smear, including outright encouragement of religious bigotry with regard to Romney).

Hooever, we don't have to invade the privacy of Senator Clinton. Whether she knows it or not, there is empirical evidence that she has lived before.

"One of the proudest and most cruel women on the face of the earth, and her whole history is a record of blood and deeds of horror." ...."the modern Messalina"; "a terrible woman...possessed by the lust of power and cruelty": so go the descriptions of a woman who came to power because of her former status as "first lady."

If you grant a little license to use "blood" in the figurative sense, do not the above descriptions fit Hillary Clinton? By many accounts, they do. Dick Morris, who knew Hillary Clinton well, would certainly recognize the above descriptions as applying to Hillary Clinton.

But the person being described is NOT Hillary Clinton. It is... And there's a little extra historical background here. Thank God (and I mean it literally) for a constitution that would make it impossible for Hillary to live out the same pattern, if she were so inclined.

All quiet on the Western Front

If I seem to be avoiding the blog, it's because I took a few days off work and we're having a housecleaning binge. I read from time to time, when I have to stop to breathe, but I probably won't be posting much this week.

However (speaking of the Western Front), I ran across this a few days ago, and it's cool indeed. It's the letters that Private Harry Lamin sent home from the First World War, blogged exactly 90 years after he sent them. As of last Tuesday, Harry was under heavy fire at the Battle of Passchendaele. Check thou it out.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I guess it's just as well

Sometimes I get liberals and journalists reading here, and I'd hate to overwhelm them. :)

cash advance

A tip of the hat (and extension of the tongue) to my Reverend Auntie. Who, incidentally, is a retired junior-high school counselor. Where she's walked, Chuck Norris would fear to tread.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'll bet the tithes are interesting

I think I'm going to be ill.
PA, Florida (CNN) -- Some Christian congregations, particularly in lower income, urban areas, are turning to an unlikely source for help -- the Church of Scientology.

Scientologists do not worship God, much less Jesus Christ. The church has seen plenty of controversy and critics consider it a cult. So why are observant Christians embracing some of its teachings?

Two pastors who spoke recently with CNN explained that when it comes to religion, they still preach the core beliefs of Christianity. But when it comes to practicing what they preach in a modern world, borrowing from Scientology helps.

The Rev. Charles Kennedy, of the Glorious Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal church in Tampa, Florida, and the Rev. James McLaughlin, of the Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, are among the theological hybrids.

They say they are not scared off by programs with ties to a church that critics say has aggressive recruiting, secretive ways and rigid theology. As men of God rooted in Christian values, they do not see Scientology as a threat to their faith, but rather as a tool to augment it.

The congregation will please rise and sing "Just as a Clam, Without One Plea."

She's got a point

Several, in fact, neatly packed in a few short sentences. Kathy takes down Fred "Jesus loathes you, this I know" Phelps and his clan of dirty-eared inbreds, in her usual colorful fashion. She also has some choice words for others who could use a good whupping:
Leftists are so stupid they think these guys, with their 75 alleged members, are representative Christians. At least, that's what they tell themselves, so they can have something to bitch about and keep those Law & Order plots comin'.

When Westboro and Bush are both gone, what will liberals whine about then?

If America was the violent nation liberals think it is, Fred Phelps would have been shot in the head 10 years ago. After he'd killed a bunch of people. Didn't happen. If you think an asshole with a dumb picket sign is the biggest threat to your country, you either have a pretty lucky country or a pretty weenie brain.

Phelps is a jackoff, and the progressives who use him as a stick to beat Christianity at large are only slightly better. I don't see much difference between "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers", and the vitriol at or Kos. Can we sue them now?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A success story

Once in a while I wander by The Policeman's Blog, although it's been a while, since I thought PC Copperfield had stopped blogging when he wrote a book and decamped for Canada. Apparently he's been joined by a co-blogger calling himself PC Bill Sykes. This caught my eye, probably because I have a little boy called Dai, too.
A long time ago, I came across a lad called Dai. He was the smelliest junkie-beggar I’d ever seen. His hair was matted and filthy, he sported a massive, unkempt beard that looked like birds lived in it and he never, ever washed his clothes. I had no idea how old he was when I first saw him, but if you’d pushed me I’d have said in his mid 40s.

He used to hang around the shops by us, begging off people who were almost as poor as him. But he was polite, softly-spoken and basically honest, and I felt sorry for him. All the same, I warned him to knock the begging on the head. I saw him again the same week, and gave him a sterner warning. The following week I saw him twice more in the same spot and this time I left him in no doubt as to where this was going. ‘Look, Dai,’ I said. ‘If I see you begging here again you’ll be arrested.’

Next Monday, there he was. I arrested him. I locked him up again on the Wednesday of that week. And the week after. And twice the week after that. He was always the same. Lilting Welsh accent, no trouble, always told you where the sharps were (a main point of etiquette between drug users and those searching them).

Over the months, his condition deteriorated.

One day, after I’d locked him up yet again, we had a bit of a heart-to-heart. ‘You do know you're going to die on these streets if you don’t sort yourself out?’ I said. ‘That's no way to go, is it?’

He’d always resisted small talk, unlike many professional victims who can’t wait to unload their tales of woe. But now he started telling me his story.

He had moved to the city because of a girl. She was beautiful but she had a secret; she liked to play with needles. He joined in, and for a while things were great. The fun soon turned sour, though, and she kicked him out. With nowhere to live, he ended up in a hostel. Being from a small town, and shy, he found himself bullied and robbed almost daily by the other residents.

By now, his drug use had got much worse. He started living rough. Old warehouses, empty terraces, park benches, begging for the money to buy mean little bags of gear from the rat-faced local dealers.

‘I never thought I'd end up in this state,’ he said. ‘But I just can't face going home. I don't want my mam to see me like this. Plus, here I got my methadone script sorted… I’d have to wait for it back home.’ Like I said, he was honest.

‘Look,’ I said. ‘Why don’t I give your mum a call? You can’t go on like this, can you?’

He agreed. I called his mother. She was thrilled to the point of tears that I’d rung. She’d not heard from Dai for two or three years, and had feared he might be dead. She was desperate to see him – literally – and she told me how much his young brother missed him, too.

He wasn’t ready to talk to her just yet, so I kept up the calls, reassuring him that his family didn’t care about his problems, they just wanted to see him and help him sort them out. I also spoke to a housing association and drug workers back where his mum lived, and arranged for them to take him on when he returned home.

Eventually, he got himself on a train back to Wales and that was the last I heard of him.

Until a year or so later.

A Christmas card arrived at the nick. Inside it was a photograph of a lad in his 20s, clean-shaven, sitting near a Christmas tree with a big grin on. It was Dai. He had a job, a girlfriend, and a flat, he said. He was off the gear and had radically reduced his methadone.

His mother added a little note. She said we had given her best present any mother could get. We had given her back the child she thought she had lost. Most of the coppers in my nick had locked him up at some point or other. That card did the rounds. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Once in a while, there's a happy ending.