Saturday, January 31, 2009

No wonder they hate her

It seems there's more the the octuplets story:
Angela Suleman said her daughter always had trouble conceiving and underwent in vitro fertilization treatments because her fallopian tubes are "plugged up."

There were frozen embryos left over after her previous pregnancies and her daughter didn't want them destroyed, so she decided to have more children.

Her mother and doctors have said the woman was told she had the option to abort some of the embryos and, later, the fetuses. She refused.

Her mother said she does not believe her daughter will have any more children.

"She doesn't have any more (frozen embryos), so it's over now," she said. "It has to be."

See, the problem isn't that she had children, but that she insisted on treating them as actual humans rather than disposable property. She's going to have a tough time of it raising those other kids, but she went ahead and let them live anyway. Clearly, she must be "obsessed," with its implications of mental illness.

A sane, responsible person, no doubt, would created them and then killed them when they proved unnecessary to her self-fulfillment. But no, she took the coward's way out and allowed inconvenient people to live.

The sophistries of Eichmann.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday film day: The Mighty Columbia River

Except for a long, miserable five years in Seattle and a couple of years in Idaho when I was very little, I've never in my life lived more than a half hour from the Columbia River. That's my river.

This little educational film from Coronet was made at about the time my grandfather was working on the McNary Dam - his first job out of college. I understand (I haven't seen it yet) that there's some good footage of Celilo Falls. I'm not old enough to remember when the falls were there, but my mom does. Strange to think the river looked so different just a decade before I was born.

The first time my Lovely and Brilliant Wife came north to visit, she and the kids flew into Portland and we drove up to Moses Lake. As we wended our way through the Gorge, she commented that that certainly was a long lake alongside us. When I told her it was a river, she flat didn't believe me. No river could be that big.

Ricki, spit out that gum this minute! Maggie, no giggling. Ken, stop dipping the girls' pigtails in the inkwell. Everybody quiet? Lights out and here we go!

Deja Vu in the news

Does anyone else think this smacks of the same kind of hit piece that was done on Joe the Plumber?
(CBS) CBS News has learned that the family of the octuplets born this week outside Los Angeles filed for bankruptcy and abandoned a home a little over a year-and-a-half ago.

Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman says the mother is in her mid-thirties and lives with her parents.

There's been no mention of the octuplets' father, Kauffman observes.

The grandfather, she adds, is apparently going to head back to his native Iraq to earn money for the growing family. He told CBS News he's a former Iraqi military man.

Kauffman reported Thursday, and the octuplets' maternal grandmother now confirms to the Los Angeles Times, that the babies' mother already had six young children.

In order to dig this up in three days since the birth, CBS had to have gotten started digging for dirt immediately. So why would they want to slime this woman? The answer is a few paragraphs down:
"The options," said Henry, "were to continue the pregnancy or to selectively abort. The patient chose to continue the pregnancy."

Dr. Karen Maples, who also helped deliver the octuplets, read a statement from the mother saying, "My family and I are ecstatic about all of their arrivals."[Emphasis mine]

The rest of the article is devoted to various jackals discussing how irresponsible it was for the doctors to allow her to have fertility treatments. None of that talk about how a woman should make her own decisions, and doctors should respect those decisions. If she'd aborted, they'd be full of defense for her "choice."

Expect to see more media oppobrium leveled at her for having defied the liberal axiom that fewer children are better. Just like Joe the Plumber learned about free speech, the fact that it's her right right doesn't mean they'll let you get away with exercising it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Sound of Silents: The Campus Vamp

An early Carole Lombard film, from 1928. I've mostly posted it to see if I can work the autoplay bug out of the video embeds, but there's some historical value to it, too. It's kind of a shock to see the sort of innocence that came with having no foreshadowing of the disaster that would follow the next year. Sort of a dancing-on-the-Titanic feeling.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Homer & Jethro on the Old American Barn Dance

The clowns-in-chief of the country music world, in a TV appearance from 1953. Jethro sure looks like he's having trouble keeping a straight face.

BTW, does anyone know the title of the song they're abusing?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Walk for Life 2009

Finally have a chance to post about the Walk for Life on Sunday. It wasn't a terribly big crowd, probably because the weather was bitter cold. But those who did turn out, turned out with enthusiasm.

It was also a much more Catholic-heavy event this year. I saw very few Protestants out there. Of course, it was hard to tell who was who under the hoods and scarves over people's faces to keep out the wind. But the vast majority of the people I recognized were from our parish. It's a little disheartening, as this is one of the few times when Papes and Prods get to work together.

Moses Lake is kind of a gimme as far as pro-life events go. Lots of Mormons, lots of Catholics, lots of Evangelicals. The nearest abortuary is in Yakima, a couple of hours' drive away. God willing, we won't be saddled with one here anytime soon.
One factor that made a lot of folks come out in the cold was our new associate pastor, Fr. Brooks Beaulaurier. I tell you what, that man is plumb awesome. He's not loud or overbearing, but when he talks, people listen. (That's him in the first picture, wearing a headband.) Part of Fr. Brooks' challenge was a reminder that Monsignor would be there, and if he could do it, we had no excuse. (Technically, that's Msgr. Martin Skehan, but in reality he's too cool for a name. There's only one Monsignor, anyway. For a while we had a fill-in priest with that title, but I couldn't bring myself to call him anything but "Father.") Monsignor is a little leprechaun of a man, 88 years old, and one of the kindest, gentlest men I've ever met.(That's him in the wheelchair.) He has that sort of priestly vagueness about him that makes you wonder if he remembers you from one time to the next. (Believe me, he does.) He's been a priest for more than six decades. His first parish, fresh off the boat from Ireland, was my hometown of Goldendale (motto: "Careful where you step!") in 1949. I'm not sure how long he's been in Moses Lake, but it's not long enough. Oh, sure, he's theoretically retired, but I suspect they'll have to shoot him before he'll quit. He's living at a retirement home down the hill from us, where he still celebrates Mass once a week for the residents. I pity any parish that doesn't have a Monsignor.
Christina and I were there with Visigoth, while the teenagers stayed home in the warm with the other little ones. For a wonder, Visigoth was very well-behaved. We gave him a very simplified explanation of what we were doing ("It's to tell people that killing babies is wrong"), and he carried a sign proudly with the grown-ups. There were a lot of honks and waves from passing drivers. There was also the occasional finger, but that was as hostile as it got. Nothing like the sort of violence that gets thrown at pro-lifers at the big-city Walks.

Looking forward to next year's Walk for Life. It'll be interesting to see what changes in the next year or two in the pro-life arena.

Are you freakin' kidding me?

She was turned down why?
A former Hooters girl who says she's got the right assets - but the wrong accent - is suing the Hawaiian Tropic Zone for crushing her dream of working as one of its bikini-clad beauties.

Melody Morales said she was rejected for a job by a manager at the Times Square restaurant who griped, "You don't speak white" and, "You are ghetto."

The 21-year-old Latina lovely is the latest woman to file suit over alleged shenanigans at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone, where employees in skimpy beachwear parade nightly before diners.

"Not to brag, but I look good in a bikini," Morales said yesterday. "I could have done a perfect job there."

The lawsuit says Morales went with her mother to the restaurant in March 2008 in search of a job. But the suit claims she was told to get lost by a manager, who said, "I am not going to ruin my business with your Latin accent."

No comment from the manager's seeing-eye dog. Does he really think the patrons are there to marvel at her diction? Heck, for all I care, she could be speaking Klingon while she mixes up my martinis.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ach y fi!

You are 86% Welsh.

There's no doubting it - you are a Welshie. You have fire in your heart, songs in your soul, and a nagging inferiority complex.

How Welsh are you?
Take More Quizzes

The kids like to mock me because my Welsh ancestry is scanty and long ago, even though I speak God's Own Language™ better than many actual Welsh people. Well, this should show 'em. After all, if it's in an Internet quiz, it must be true!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

There's a right way and a wrong way to lose an election

I'm a little embarrassed by some of my fellow conservatives' response to the inauguration. I'm not going to link them, but let me say that cheap shots at the First Lady are ungentlemanly and (I think) disrespectful of America. The First Lady is the symbol of American womanhood, and like it or not, Michelle Obama is currently filling that role. I hope she does it graciously, without any connection to politics.

That said, I'm proud that at least nobody did this:

This was the day George W. Bush was inaugurated, for heaven's sake, before he'd even had a chance to be president yet. I'm ashamed to share a country with these yahoos. We may have posted snarky things online, but at least nobody egged President Obama.

Maybe there's hope after all

I guess I didn't pick up on this in the inaugural address. I should have paid closer attention.

25 years ago today

Hardly seems that long, does it?

For a really cool low-down on Apple's early history, check these out: Part 1 Part 2

Who'd've thunk that little toaster of a computer would have come so far? Happy 25th birthday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Okay, I'm scared now

I've been known to accumulate library fines into the hundreds of dollars. Not maliciously, just because I have the memory span of a trilobite with Alzheimer's. But I never thought it would come to this.

If a little gray-haired lady comes around asking questions, you've never heard of me.

Friday film day

pdated Update: The autoplay problem is fixed, using a different videoplayer from the Archive.

Update: My Lovely and Brilliant Wife saw this and pointed out certain... shall we say, relevancies to political events. Honest, I just grabbed it as an example of the genre. Any resemblance to current events is mostly coincidental.

Those of us over a certain age (I never thought I'd euphemize myself that way!) will remember the educational grade-school films that we usually watched on Fridays when we were too antsy for the teacher to make us do anything more serious.

The Internet Archive, where I get the full-length movies from, also has a couple of collections of those old educational films from the 40s on up into the 80s. Countless of us learned about science, history and venereal disease through these films.

These weren't videotapes, boys and girls. There was no such thing then. This was actual celluloid film, 16 millimeter, threaded* through an actual projector and shown on a white reflective screen that pulled down like a window shade behind the map of the United States and in front of the chalkboard. You can ask your parents what a chalkboard was.

The stuff we watched was often 20 years old or more (this one's from 1946, I believe), but it didn't matter, because it was a film! It was almost like watching a movie right there in school! If we happened to learn something from it, well, what the heck? In a time with three TV networks and single-screen movie theaters (and VCRs years down the road), this was a treat.

Can't you just hear the projector clicking in the back of the room, and smell the fragrances wafting down the hall from the cafeteria?

(*Yes, I was the kid who knew how to thread the projector. Surprised?)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Very gracious, all things considered

I think most everyone will enjoy this, but it's especially up Ken's alley.
"I was the white guy with the black Burrberry jacket that you demanded I hand over shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend. You also asked for my girlfriend's purse and earrings. I hope you somehow come across this message. I'd like to apologize...

Read the whole thing here.

Via the formidable SondraK.

Oh, this'll help!

All we need is some bozo ramming his car into an abortuary so the pro-death crowd can point to how violent we are. Expect to see this all over the media for a while.

Unless it turns out that he was targeting the pro-lifers. In which case, it will be a non-event like the rest of them.

Something worth remembering

I thought this was timely, since today is the 36th anniversary of Roe v The Human Race. Three dozen years ago, the human rights of an entire class of people were summarily dismissed on the grounds that their continued existence might be inconvenient.

It looks like the next eight years will be a bad time to be unborn, or disabled, or even in the way. As the health care fields are rendered Katolischenfrei and any alternative to abortion is prevented from being offered, videos like this are likely to disappear down the memory hole. (No, it's not graphic or bloody. Just true. To a pro-abort, that's even worse.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Avoiding Obama Derangement Syndrome

I still don't have time to get a post up about the beginning of the reign of Caesar Obama. But I do think Andy has the right idea. As much as I disliked Clinton, I thought the mouth-foaming from my fellow conservatives was unjustifiable, and it bit us in the hiney after 2000. Clinton hath deranged his thousands, and Bush his ten thousands. Andy's to-don't list is so good I'm quoting it in its entirety:
The only thing worse than bad winners are sore losers, and we’ve had enough of them for the past eight years. So with that in mind, in the wake of today’s historic inauguration, here’s my Handbook For The Loyal Opposition, 2009 edition - a “To Don’t List,” if you will. Or even if you won’t.

DON’T question the motives - question the policy. When you disagree with Obama’s policies, say so, and make it clear why. But remember that President Obama is doing what he thinks is best for the country, as President Bush did. Both men love America and want what’s best for her. End of story.

DON’T make it personal. We don’t need another Derangement Syndrome. We don’t need people doing things like emphasizing Obama’s middle name in a derogatory fashion. How anyone would think that’s beneficial to their cause, or to the country as a whole, is beyond me. Also, it’s not even clever. Neither are smushwords like BusHitler, or sillywords like Rethuglicans and Dhimmicrats. [Joel's note: I guess this means I have to give up "Kleptocrats," too. But I still reserve the right to use "Obamessiah" when the media's treatment of him so warrants.]

DON’T cozy up to and champion foreign dictators and despots. Sean Penn is an ass. No reason to be like him. ‘Nuff said. (Corollary: Don’t cozy up to and champion foreign dictators and despots and then act outraged when people question your patriotism.)

DON’T pretend you’re being brave when you criticize your government. Not while people in other countries actually, y’know, DIE, when they do that.

DON’T use the word “divisive.” At this point, all that word means is “You disagree with me,” and the English language gets mangled enough these days.

DON’T use the phrase “speaking truth to power.” EVER.

DON’T move to Canada.

DON’T say you’re going to move to Canada and then stay here. (I know it’s too late for Stephen Baldwin, but not for the rest of you.)

DON’T apologize to foreigners and say things to them like, “I didn’t vote for Obama,” or “He’s not MY president.”

DON’T say or do everything in your power to drive this country apart and then claim you want unity when it’s your guy in power. This is like the convicted felon who conveniently finds God when he’s up for parole.

DON’T call people un-American one week, and then talk about how “We are not blue states or red states, we are the United States” the next. (This rule may only apply to Tom Hanks, but I put it in just to be safe.)

DON’T automatically think people who disagree with you are stupid or evil. Some of them are, of course. But most of them aren’t, and you might actually learn something if you listen to them.

And finally, DON’T use the fact that many on the left behaved abominably for the past eight years as an excuse to behave the same way. America needs adults. And if it bothered you when they did it, it’s a good sign that you shouldn’t do it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This week's forecast

I watched the inauguration this morning at the office. I might add that nary a phone call came in during that time, so I can only conclude we weren't the only ones.

I don't have time to post on it now, but for the time being, I stole this from SondraK. I'm sure she'll understand.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A triumphant departure

President George W Bush is heading off into the sunset tonight. He's weathered insults, death threats and mockery from his own people, the people he gave his all for, for eight years. Now he finally gets to be a private citizen again, and by gum, he's earned it.

The Anchoress has a good round-up of tribute posts from around the blogosphere. I also want to highlight (left-leaning) British columnist Julie Burchill's excellent summary of the man and the vile treatment he received.
Curiously, and somewhat hypocritically, he has been abused for both imaginary sins and real virtues.

An alleged half-wit (the kind who majors in history at Yale and graduates from Harvard) who reads two serious books a week.

A supposed Christian killjoy who has conquered a hefty drink habit. A crazed warmonger who, quite rightly, did not fight in America’s vile war against Vietnam.

Mocked for being a loyal husband to a smart, attractive wife while his priapic predecessor treated women like dirt...

A sexist, racist Neanderthal who has promoted blacks and women to heights no Democratic administration has ever dreamed of. (The mind boggles when one imagines what Bill Clinton would have tried to do to beautiful, brilliant Condoleezza Rice, but making her Secretary of State wasn’t one of them. Making her his secretary, ready at hand to sexually harass, more like.)
... [I]t was the “homophobic” dastard Dubya who, mysteriously, signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Act which allows the rollover of pensions from a dead gay person to a partner without tax consequences — as has always been the case for straights...

The great Natan Sharansky — who learned a thing or two about humanity during years banged up in Soviet labour camps — once said to Bush: “Mr President, I see you as a dissident. Dissidents believe in an idea. They suffer a lot. But history proves them right.”

It remains to be seen how history will deal with Dubya, but chances are its verdict will be much fairer — and thus far more favourable — from the ocean-going snobs, suck-ups to Islamic terror and all-round hypocrites who have been so eager to transfer all their own weaknesses and demons on to the shoulders of this really rather decent man.

I don't know that I'd call Bush a great president. But he was a good president, because he had that one quality that too many other holders of the office haven't.

He always put his country ahead of his own interests. He never used his office to build up political capital. He didn't compulsively check the polls before taking a stand or a position. And he never backed down to the jackals in the press.

My kids have never had a president who wasn't either a Clinton or a Bush. If the new man can do half as good a job as he did, I'll be proud of him.

Today is the last time I'll be able to say, "Thank you, President Bush."

A question for same-sex marriage advocates

Note: The issue in this post isn't religion. I believe what I believe, and other people may or may not. I'm not interested in arguing the morality or immorality of relationships. The question is meant purely as a political one. If I've caused offense to anyone over the religious angle, I'm sorry. I certainly don't mean anything unkind.

My Reverend Auntie has offered to perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples in her community against the day when the marriages can be solemnized under secular law as well. While I do believe that those relationships are intrinsically sinful, I applaud her willingness to put her clerical authority where her mouth is. Choose your battles and fight them fiercely.

As I've said before, I consider marriage a religious institution, not a government function, and I think the same legal benefits should be available to those couples as long as dissenting religions aren't required to change their own tenets regarding marriage. Which brings up an interesting question I'd like to pose, starting with terminology.

You say "marriage equality," I say "redefining marriage." Potayto, potahto, right?

No, of course not. We may be talking about the same shift in marriage laws, but the two positions come from very different perspectives. And I might add that neither of us have actually malicious motives at heart. Can we agree on that much?

Okay, so here's my question: If your purpose is to pursue marriage equality, so that people can marry whomever they choose (another phrase often used in the debate), then does it follow that you'll fight just as fiercely for these marriages as for these?

The similarities are striking. Both involve relationships that are unconventional, but are between consenting adults. (Yes, the wives in the Bountiful case were over the legal age of consent, and unlike the Arizona Strip communities, the practice is voluntary.) In both cases, the people involved say they want to have the same sort of stable family unit that ordinary heterosexual marriages have. I say they both want to redefine marriage, you say all they want is the same rights as anyone else. It's the same disagreement over terminology, but different context.

Moreover, if the sex of the participants is an arbitrary line of demarcation between a valid and an invalid marriage, isn't the quantity equally arbitrary?

Not necessarily. There's an elephant-sized difference between the two, and that's that one of them is strongly liberal and the other is strongly conservative. In fact, the Mormon Fundamentalists would agree with me that homosexual activity is a sin. They are unapologetic religious zealots. But does that mean they are undeserving of their own marriages?

So that's my question, and I'm trying hard not to sound like I'm goading anyone. I honestly don't want to come across hostile here. But I'm interested to know whether the people who fight tooth and nail for folks they approve of will do the same for folks they don't. And if you see a fundamental difference (no pun intended) between the two that I've missed, tell me what it is.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bless me, Buck Owens, for I have snickered

I was trying to find a video of Roy Clark's indescribable performance of "Folsom Prison Blues," from the Hee Haw that Octopus Boy and I watched at about two in the morning over a bottle of formula and a bottle of Redhook ESB, respectively. Alas, that bit of finger magic wasn't to be found, but I did run across this atrocity:

I feel sort of dirty having laughed so hard, but the impressions were so cute that I just couldn't help myself.

Addendum: I still couldn't find the performance I was looking for, but here's one from 1976 that's almost as good:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Da Buss, St. Peter! Da Buss!

Ricardo Montalban travels in elephants at 88.

I wasn't allowed to stay up very often and watch Fantasy Island, but since I'm not Trekkie enough to think of him as Khan, the image of Mr. Roarke will always be in my head. Interestingly, Montalban thought of Fantasy Island as kind of a purgatory allegory, where people are forced to come to terms with their own flaws and sins. Not quite the orthodox take on purgatory, since not everyone there was to be redeemed, but still a very Christian take on a very worldly show.

His Catholic Christianity seems to have been more than just stained-glass window dressing. he was married to his wife for 63 years. In Hollywood! And this bit I found from a 1978 issue of People was interesting:
Montalban attributes part of the success of his 33-year marriage to adopting the rhythm method of birth control after the arrival of their fourth child. "It's one of the wisest policies the Catholic Church ever made," he explains. "The 10 days of abstinence awakens passion." Their daughter Laura, 32, is an assistant to designer Bill Blass; Mark, 30, is studying anesthesiology; Anita, 28, works in a YSL boutique, and Bill, 25, is a complaint manager for the phone company. A Catholic traditionalist ("The Gregorian chant is more beautiful than a boy and girl with a guitar"), Montalban explains of his marital vows, "I have an intellectual commitment. I play by the rules. Why say 'until death do you part' unless you plan to do it?"

How many Hollywood actors take their Christian faith (if they have any at all) that seriously? Taking a stand, even in his own marriage, for Catholic chastity would result in a blacklist today.
Faithful Christian, faithful husband, active father, hard-working actor. Smiles, everyone! Smiles!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quote of the Day

From PJ O'Rourke:
Bringing the government in to run Wall Street is like saying, 'Dad burned dinner, let's get the dog to cook.'

This is the same man who referred to Hillary Clinton as "America's ex-wife." He's a priceless national treasure who should be preserved in the Smithsonian.

The new American buggerocracy

So apparently Rick Warren doesn't belong at the inauguration because gay people don't like him. Gene Robinson and Joseph Lowery do, because gay people like them. Homo locuta, causa finita.

When Warren was tapped to pray at the inauguration, gay people took to the streets, while liberals of all inclinations wrung their hands at the new president's tacit recognition that a Christian traditionalist is a citizen, too. Now it turns out that there's also going to be a gay clergyman there, which still isn't enough for some heterophobes to stomach. It's not enough that they be represented; the important thing is that we must not be. So does anyone care if Gene Robinson's selection is a slap in the face to the rest of us?

Apparently not. The clear implication is that gay people's feelings matter, but traditional straight people's don't.

This was the same thought I had a couple of weeks ago about the Pope's Urbi et Orbi address, which the media seemed to think was all about homosexuality. (Based on a single passing reference in a very long homily.) Diogenes hits it on the head:
The UPI story is headlined more soberly: "Pope's speech draws criticism from gays." That's accurate, at least; gay activists did indeed criticize the Pope. Still it's telling that UPI felt the criticism was noteworthy. When was the last time gay activists did not criticize the Pope? For that matter, why do we need to know what gay activists think about the Pope's year-end discussions with the Roman Curia? What did the Albigensians think of the Pope's speech? Did proponents of the gold standard have any strong opinions? UPI readers will never know.

The pope wasn't speaking to gay people at all. Let's face it: gay activists are either not members of his church at all, or they're nominal members who have expressed a refusal to adhere to the Church's teachings on chastity. In other words, Benedict wasn't talking to them anyway. Why should anybody care what they think about it?

Getting back to Barack Obama, why should gay activists be the ones to decide who should be welcome at the inauguration? At most, gay people represent ten percent of the population. What about the other 90 percent? Is he going to be our president too, or is the White House the sole property of the gay lobby? Are they seriously going to try to blacklist from public life the Evangelicals, the Mormons, the Catholics, and anyone else who doesn't sign their metaphorical loyalty oath? Gay people deserve a place at the table just like anyone else; that doesn't mean they need to own the table altogether.

Yes, we've elected a liberal president. We knew that. But does that entitle a tenth of the population to turn America into a buggerocracy? In other words, are gay Americans now the only Americans? Or do the rest of us count for something, too? It's looking like the demands for "equality" and "inclusion" were only one-way.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's the Ramblin' Rod Show!

My post of Howdy Doody below prompted Ken to reminisce about his childhood TV icon Sheriff John. That, in turn, brings up fond memories of my own electronic childhood. (Why my generation felt so much more at home in front of a screen than in the real world is a matter for another time.)

I didn't grow up in Portland, but my hometown of Goldendale (motto: "Moo!") was a hundred miles or so upriver, so all our TV was cabled in from Portland. And the great reward of getting up and ready for school early enough was to kick off the day with Ramblin' Rod Anders. Alas, he wasn't as durable as Sheriff John, and Ramblin' Rod went to that great studio in the sky in 2002. His obituary at the Willamette Week has some good points to make about local children's television:
Locally produced kid shows have gone the way of dodo birds and Yugo cars in the years leading up to and following Rod Anders' departure from the airwaves... Meanwhile, kids are relegated to ubiquitous cable TV, with no homegrown options left. What do today's kids dream of for their 15 minutes of fame? Their own Web log? A spot goofing on America's Funniest Home Videos? My guess is that they're lost without a Ramblin' Rod on whom to project their visions of fame. He was missed before he even died.

Someone was good enough to post a clip from Ramblin' Rod during the years I and my friends watched him. Here we gooooo....

There's a simple answer for this

I don't see the ACLU setting up its own charities to take care of these people. Their only intent is to force Christians to give up their civil liberties. If the Church closes the charity, will the ACLU fill the gap? Not bloody likely.

There are atheists I respect, and I mean nothing derogatory about them here, but honestly, when was the last time you saw an explicitly atheist soup kitchen, or a Madelyn Murray O'Hair Memorial Hospice? The mandate to care for those in need is a religious one, and atheism does not in itself have anything analogous. Oh, kind and generous people can also be atheists, but I've never heard of anybody doing unto the least of these because of his atheism.

So, human toothaches at the ACLU, if you're serious about guaranteeing these people their "right" to kill, either take care of them yourselves or shut your frimpin' pieholes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Beyond pro-life

I just read Bill's account of little Grace Elizabeth's brief time on earth. Read this first, for the background. Go ahead and read them both; I'll wait.

Back? Okay. Isn't it... well... amazing?

I love children, and I believe in the worth of all people, but Bill and Rebecca leave me humbled. Forget putting your money where your mouth is; these people put their heart and soul there, too. They have adopted and nurtured babies that both law and society have literally designated human trash. These children are like snowflakes; they should be treasured rather than just shoveled out of the way. A world filled with Donaghys would be one where the worth of a human life was never in question. Pro-life or anti-life would be irrelevant.

May God teach the rest of us to love even a fraction as well as this.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Hey, Kids! What time is it?

It's 1949, is what time it is. I know my Reverend Auntie will enjoy this, and Judy probably will too. And if my mom, who usually is far too dignified to read blogs, sees this, I promise not to tell anyone.

Newfies in Nassau

Ken posted several YouTubed versions of the classic song "Sloop John B," including one I'd never heard. It made me want to post my own favorite version, which is probably a little weird for Kingston Trio purists:

That's a group out of Newfoundland called Kilkenny Krew. They're a fairly typical example of traditional Newfie music. It's not quite Irish, and it's not quite Canadian (they would recoil even at the thought), but it's got a strong flavor of icy salt water with just a dash of belly-roasting whiskey and a strong aroma of cod. Even with the difference in latitude, this Caribbean song seems well at home with Newfoundlander sailors.

(Side note: For about half a year, Visigoth couldn't be put to bed without sitting in the rocker with me singing this at least twice beforehand.)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Montana snorkeler

With very insincere apologies to Paul and my cousin Ken.

Via Miss C.

Author! Author!

I found out today my old friend and erstwhile co-worker Brian Gawley has written a book. I guess you could say I knew him when. We used to spend long summer evenings sitting on the back deck of a now-defunct Jamaican restaurant, drinking Redhook Double-Black Stout and gently cursing the slings and arrows of an underpaid, single newsman's life.

One line I had to quote, that sounds exactly like something he'd write:
I've twice laughed in the face of death, teased its dog, and drank all its beer.

Intrigued yet? Me too. Go and check thou it out!

A good and faithful servant goes home

Fr. Richard Neuhaus now travels in elephants. May he spend eternity basking in the Lord's light and warmth.

Particularly poignant is this essay Fr. Neuhaus wrote back in 2000. I think it touches on an aspect of the faith that doesn't get talked about much. These days, we think of life and death in the same way the culture around us does: life good, death bad. But to the Christian, death is not the boogyman we fear sneaking out of our closet. It's not something to be pursued, but it is to be embraced when it arrives at God's behest, because it has no sting. Fr. Neuhaus' time was ripe, the Lord came for him, and everything worked as it should. Those who are left mourn for their loss of him, not his loss of life.

"He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." For the hopeful Christian, life and death are not opposites.

Akubra tip to Mark Shea.

In the news business, I'd better have been paying attention

You Remember 90% of 2008

You were paying attention during 2008.

And you remember what happened really well.

You'll be able to talk about 2008 for years to come...

Even when most people have forgotten what went down.

I think the one I missed was about the Batman movie I didn't have time to see.

Well, we're off to a nice start

It's been a long year already, and we're only eight days into it. If 2009 was a Jewish boy, we'd be snipping off the end of its john thomas today.

Actually, it goes back a bit farther. First, the paper's webmistress got downsized in November, during the busiest time of the year, which left me the only person in the place who could take over. (With a heckuva learning curve to catch up on, let me tell you.) Then on the day before New Year's Eve, the whole company gathered around the copy machine to hear that we were getting a pay cut, a flat percentage across the board, until at least April. At that, we're better off than most other properties in the corporation, where there have been a lot of job cuts as well. We ended up having a few people laid off here, too, but mostly it's positions going unfilled. Unfortunately, that means existing personnel have to cover those jobs indefinitely. The upshot was that since about Christmas I've been doing three people's jobs, as well as my side job on weekends. And getting less money for it, as well. January being a thin time in this business in general, I'm finally getting a little time today. So what do I do? I share it with you folks. Don't you feel honored?

For the record, I can't complain. I'm fortunate to have a job at all. I expect to weather this recession like I did the one in the early 90's: by being the chap who can and will step in and do anything in the place. Guys like that are always the last to be laid off.

The whole newspaper industry is in a shambles right now; comparatively, we're thriving. The conservative pundits tend to link the decline to lousy journalism, and maybe that's a factor at big papers like the NYT or the Trib. But at small papers like ours, the issue is a little more straightforward. (Cullen knows how this goes.)

See, the news isn't what pays our salaries; it's the advertising. News is just a loss-leader, to get people to read our product. (Don't tell the reporters that; they like to revel in their status as "professionals.") And who are the big-ticket advertisers? Realtors and car dealerships. Those are the businesses who buy full-page, full-color ads, or commission special advertising supplements. Unfortunately, realtors and car dealers are entirely dependent on the credit industry to be able to sell their goods. So when the banks and lenders went in the sewer last fall, their businesses followed suit. And from there, the well-known material rolled downhill to us poor newspapermen. Go on: pick up your local fishwrap and take a look at the automotive and real estate ads. Thin as sweat compared to a year or two ago. It's a temporary situation, but it's still taking its toll at the bottom of the food chain.

So working seven days a week, well into the night more often than not, has put a crimp in everything else. It's past Epiphany, and I still have Christmas presents I haven't sent out yet. Embarrassing.

Today is Octopus Boy's first birthday. (He shares it with some singer, I believe. Can't recall who.) Poor kid is spending it wrapped up like a mummy. Why, you ask innocently? Because Saturday evening the little disaster factory reached up and grabbed Drama Queen's boiling cup of cocoa and dumped it down his front. My Lovely and Brilliant Wife took him to the emergency room with second-degree burns down his chest and arm. By the time I got to the hospital (I was in Othello coming home from the side job), they had pumped some morphine into him and the screaming had subsided into a glassy-eyed look of general apathy. He's healing up pretty well, although his arm still looks pretty unhappy. Drama Queen has been knocking herself out being the perfect big sister meanwhile, even though rationally she knows she's not to blame for it.

You know, by the time you have this many kids, they might as well paint your name on a parking spot outside the emergency room. Been there, done that. I don't think there's a one of the kids that hasn't made at least one trip.

Finally, I put a list of the kids in the sidebar, so readers know whom I'm talking about. Most of the names are different from the ones my wife uses, but what the heck? It's my blog. A note on the second daughter's name: Last Christmas she got creative with the To/From tags on the presents she gave out, and mine said, "To the man with many virtuous daughters, from the one that excellest them all." (If it still doesn't ring a bell, look here.) So it's not to imply any lack of those qualities in my other girls, but just because I think it's one of the coolest things I've ever heard from a teenager. I know I've used the kids' real names on here in the past on occasion, and if some stalker wanted to piece them together, they probably could. In which case I refer them to this. I'm not worried, really.

And that's the way it is. Courage. What's the frequency, Kenneth? Good night, and good luck.

You don't go writing hot checks

down in Mississippi Alabama
And there ain't no good chain gang.