Thursday, April 30, 2009

Appreciate me!

It seems Mairin has nominated me for a Cannonball Award as the Best Underappreciated Blog over at The Crescat. Vote early, vote often!

(If I win, does that make me no longer underappreciated? My brain hurts.)

Ignorant Jesus freaks to be re-educated

Oh, goody. Our moral superiors are going to teach us the True Way™.
Before an Albany crowd of about 2,000 gay and lesbian advocates of marriage-equality laws, the governor and other supporters lashed out at opponents of expanding marital laws as they stepped up efforts to have New York join several other states where gays can legally marry...

“Where were these leaders of faith when college students of gay and lesbian orientation were beaten and often brutalized for expressing their feelings to each other?” Paterson said... He then vowed to help in an effort to change the mind-set of New Yorkers on the marriage-equality issue.

“We’re not only going to change the laws of New York, but we’re going to change the culture of how people treat each other,” Paterson told the crowd.
[Emphasis mine]

Okay, let's get a few things straight (you should pardon the expression) once and for all.

1. I don't know of anyone who has ever "beaten or brutalized" a gay person as a function of their religion. There is the occasional story in the news about yahoos getting a snootful and beating up on a gay bystander, but that's hardly a result of their faith.

What the governor is trying to pin on us is a very flimsy causation: Person A believes that homosexual practice is wrong. Person B assaults a practicing homosexual. Therefore, Person A must have caused Person B's behavior. Doesn't hold water.

The other undercurrent that the governor is trying to slip past us is the assumption that any negative attitude about homosexuality is tantamount to assault. Which is equivalent to my claiming to be "brutalized" every time someone speaks ill of Christianity. Anyone whose skin is that thin needs to wrap himself in Kevlar and hide under the bed.

2. Beliefs about the nature of marriage are not a personal value judgment. Look, I don't believe that the relationship between a man and his Buick can be a marriage, either. Doesn't mean I hate either Buicks or those who love them. In fact, it has nothing whatever to do with my attitude toward either one. It just means that the word "marriage" means something specific, regardless of who's involved.

3. My opinions are not the result of ignorance, hatred or bigotry. I can't claim to have a lot of gay friends, simply because of where I live and the social circles I usually move in. Nevertheless, those that I've known, I've usually liked. Just like anyone else.

Governor Patterson apparently genuinely believes that if I were as smart as he is, I would naturally see the light and share his beliefs. What's more, if I continue to refuse to see the light, he has every intention of forcing me to see things his way. Which says nothing about my actual opinions, but does mark him as an arrogant buffoon. Dictators and tyrants throughout the ages have broken their teeth trying to force believers to abandon their faiths. Christians have outlasted other brownshirts and bullies; we'll outlast this one too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This is fair

It looks like there's some common sense in Connecticut after all.

Here's the deal: My church doesn't control the government. Frankly, I wouldn't want it to. There was a time when it had a heavy influence in politics, and we got no end of grief from it.

But at the same time, the government not only shouldn't control my church, but it's expressly forbidden to in the Constitution. My church has always had a definition of marriage that is different from the state's. Up till now it hasn't been an issue, for reasons I got into here. (I'd like to go on record again as believing that if the state recognizes same-sex marriages, it has no reasonable basis for prohibiting polygamous ones. Marriage equality isn't just for social liberals.)

But what happens when a gay couple decides to sign up for a Church-sponsored Marriage Encounter, for instance? Or when they demand the use of Church facilities for a blasphemous ceremony?

Yeah, yeah... it'll never happen, right? Let's be realistic. How long do you think it will take before some activist couple decides to make a test case out of the Church's marriage stance? Long enough for the ink to dry on their state marriage license, if we're lucky.

(Side note: Other churches will probably have to deal with this problem to a lesser extent, but the Catholic Church is apt to be the biggest target, simply by being (a) the biggest church out there and (b) one where people still consider themselves members even when their beliefs no longer fit the Church's teachings. So there are plenty of actively gay people in the Catholic Church where there are probably very few in, say, an Assembly of God congregation.)

The Connecticut clauses eliminate that danger, making it possible for the state to have a definition of marriage that churches (and individuals whose consciences forbid it) are not required to adhere to. I am free to believe that a gay couple is simply a very committed unmarried couple, while they still have all the recognition of the law as married. Win-win.

I hope so, anyway. Here's where the rubber meets the road. Will proponents of same-sex marriage accept a compromise in which everybody wins, or is it essential that the Christians lose? In other words, is the goal equality, or dominance? I'm up for equality if they are. We'll see what happens in Connecticut.

Happy birthday, mom!

How many birthdays does this make? That's a very good question.

Let's just say that she would clearly recall most of the things listed here:

(Go ahead and click the image, then start the video.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky

Ninety-three years ago today, a group of patriots (or terrorists, depending on your side) rebelled in Dublin against the most powerful empire in the world. That the Easter Rising actually failed, and due largely to the comedy of errors that passed for a plan among the conspirators, is actually sort of a reflection on Ireland itself. Whatever is chaotic and untamed in the American spirit is perhaps a reflection of the Irish influence on our own culture. We broke free of England's yoke after less than a century of high taxes and lousy government; they took seven centuries of vicious abuse before they finally managed to kick the Saxons out. All the while fighting among themselves as only the Irish can do.

This is also an excuse to post a video of the opening of one of my favorite movies. When she died I waxed on about Deborah Kerr's performance in this film, and now I have a chance to give a glimpse of what she was like. Not the matron of The King and I, not the over-sentimental but underplayed Terry McKay of An Affair to Remember, but a young, vibrant, adorable Irish girleen Bridie Quilty, whom I fell in love with by the end of this little clip. You will too.

Double points to the writers for using the word "unbesmirched." It's a fun word to pronounce, isn't it? Go ahead and say it out loud: "Unbesmirched." The father, W. O'Gorman, doesn't seem to have any other credits at IMDb, but he's the most quintessentially Irish actor I've ever seen. So is the singing of "The Boy from Killane," which marks the hour clearly as closing time at the pub. (See if you can make out a single word of their singing.)

Behind all the humor is the incredible bravery of the rebels, many of whom were executed with the most summary of trials. Ireland may have its troubles today, but the fact that it's a nation to have troubles at all is due to "those fearless men but few." Every nation needs bumbling, passionate rebels, so there will always be a free country for girls like Bridie to love and defend.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hats off, gentlemen

There are men, and then there are men:
You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you’re not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn’t seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He’s not Medi-Vac, so it’s not his job, but he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come. He’s coming anyway...

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

A little something to tide over my loyal readers

All two and a half of them.

I know I've been a half-assed blogger lately. That darned earning-a-living thing has been sucking up all my blogging time. (I gotta get my priorities straight.) Frustratingly, all the comment-worthy stuff seems to happen when I'm toiling away at the job(s). Hopefully I can resume sounding my barbaric yawp sometime next week.

Meanwhile, just for the heck of it, a video from my childhood featuring Morgan Freeman back before he became a serious actor:

He's still excellent, but I liked him even better this way.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gay brownshirts on the march!

Nobody may hold a positive position in the public eye, however trivial, unless they first speak the shibboleth of gay marriage. Nobody, do you hear?

There is no honest difference of opinion. There is no excuse for divergent belief. You will approve. Or you will be crushed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An abomination unto the Lord

... or at least unto the rest of us. Mark Shea's son apparently created this atrocity with some text-to-animation software. One suspects that he also spray-paints his initials on priceless works of art in his spare time.

I don't know whether to weep or set fire to my computer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh, to be a Texan

Just so I could vote for the Kinkstah!

But.. but... this can't be!

These aren't embryonic stem cells! So it wasn't actual, Obama-approved science that produced this breakthrough. Probably a hoax.

I'm sure diabetics who believe in scientific purity will piously refrain from availing themselves of this tainted technology.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christ is risen!

Easter songs like this are kind of funny - if you're not a believer, they just sound silly. But if you are, they can bring you to tears, and other people won't understand why.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday

They day between Good Friday and Easter is sort of neither fish nor fowl. It's no longer mourning for the Crucifixion, and it's not time yet to rejoice. Fortunately, my Lovely and Brilliant Wife found this poem about what was happening that first Holy Saturday.

Friday, April 10, 2009

All there is to say

And can it be that I should gain

An interest in the Saviour’s blood!

Died he for me who caused his pain!

For me who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be,

That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Amazing love! How can it be,

That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

If I tried to add anything to Wesley's words or Dali's painting, I'd just ruin the point. Good Friday always renders me speechless.

(Reposted from last year.)

Monday, April 06, 2009

More swingin' goodness

My buddy Ken posted one of the best musical clips out on the web, so I think it's my bounden duty to do the same. Here are the same Andrews Sisters of blessed memory (plus Laverne, who's still alive and kicking at 92), along with Harry James of the Golden Lip, and the brilliant but underappreciated Shemp Howard, being quintessentially hilarious without his Stoogian brethren. I don't know how many people have ever actually seen this classic in film form, but within three notes you'll name that tune.

(I blogged the entire movie here. One of the best musical vehicles in the Internet Archive, and historically interesting as well. Sorry about the autoplay.)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The most nauseating thing I've ever read

And that's saying something. I dislike questioning another's Christianity - being Catholic, I've been on the receiving end - but I do question her humanity. I don't want to share a species with this creature.

Abortion is a blessing the same way that the Holocaust was a blessing to Aryans. Someone innocent still has to die so you can feel blessed.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Film Day: Reefer Madness

The worthy Spider reminded me of this classic. I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't actually seen it yet. I plan to rectify that as soon as the little people who keep pounding on my door either get tired or starve to death and leave me in peace.

Someday I may blog about my single experience with Satan's lawn clippings. It involved three other guys, a badly abused Fiat and a snowy gravel road. Oh, and a lot of teenage stupidity. I can't believe we survived.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

My object all sublime

I'm with Ricki. I think this is entirely fitting.

All it would take is once or twice, and parking lot miscreants would be a thing of the past.

Oooh, Mister President!

Okay, I know a lot of women voted for Obama at least partly on hormonal grounds. (Hey, it works both ways; Sarah Palin had more going for her than just domestic policy!) But this puts a whole different spin on the phrase "Lincoln Bedroom":
Artist Justine Lai's new project is a set of oil paintings of her having sex with every president of the USA, in order.

"In Join Or Die, I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives."

This calls up a whole bunch of questions. Who really wants to see her in flagrante delectable with, say, Richard Nixon? Or Honest Abe? How will she handle James Buchanan, in light of his rumored proclivities? When she gets to William Howard Taft, will we even be able to see her? And don't even get me started on the potential for "Millard Fillmore" or "Franklin Pierce" jokes.