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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Four Days.

I was going to stay with the cryptic approach, but it began to strike me as a real cheddar-gobbler, so here it ends.

There are four days left until this event occurs.

I will be there, and I'll have a full report for you on Sunday.

Oh, and unrelated: I'm getting a fisking queued up. Watch this space.
To Quote Homer Simpson:

Nnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrdddddd!

That just had to be said.

Pledge Allegiance to Red Sox Nation.

So goes the header for today's column by Bill Simmons, ESPN's invaluable Sports Guy.

I think I might be getting it now--Boston fandom, that is. In a recent phone conversation with Bryan, one of my best friends, an occasional commenter and full-bore BoSox fanatic, he mused about what would happen if--wonder of wonders--Boston actually managed to pull it off and win it this year. What could possibly replace pulling for--living and dying with--the eternal Greek tragedy that is the Boston Red Sox?

Mulling it for a moment, I said: "How about Poland?"

Really--he's suggested that I may be gravitating toward rooting for Boston, given the consistently dire play of Motown's Tigers. But, he warned--beware: rooting for Boston comes with a heavy toll. Sure, you're part of a nation of true believers stretching across a continent, but oh, the agony. The litany of glory almost within reach, but lost through the intervention of the Furies, Fates, or dark gods of baseball.

Simmons captures this brilliantly:

You couldn't ask for a more insane week. Now they're only two and a half behind the Yanks. Who knows? And yet, with October looming ... I mean ...

I'm just not sure that I'm ready to go through this again.


Nobody is. And that's the rub. It's the best Red Sox team of my lifetime, a well-rounded machine with quality pitchers and big bats, a good defensive squad with a deep bench, a likable group of guys who care about one another. They deserve the benefit of the doubt, a clean slate with a fan base that won't panic every time something goes wrong. It's just that we can't help it. Last October nearly broke us. You can only heal so much.

During that Deja Vu game against the Yanks on Friday, even before the gut-wrenching eighth, you needed Leatherface's chainsaw to cut the tension at Fenway. Ever attended a wedding where the best man was hammered beyond belief? Remember that peculiar tension after he grabs the microphone and starts rambling, when everyone pretends to enjoy the speech -- a seemingly captive audience -- but deep down, they're dreading the eventual F-bomb or inappropriate story about the bride, so they're hanging on every word?

That was Fenway on Friday night. When Pedro yielded that bullpen shot to Matsui in the eighth, it was like the best man dropping that F-bomb. The place went silent, save for a few brave Yankee fans, everyone else paralyzed by the moment -- even the manager, who inexplicably left Pedro out there for a few more batters, losing every Red Sox fan for life.
This wasn't just another loss. People were crushed. Everyone filed out of Fenway like we were leaving a wake, and maybe we were. It was happening again. My Dad and I had tickets for Saturday night's game ... I'm ashamed to admit this, but we gave them away. Neither of us wanted to go. We just weren't ready to go back to Fenway. It was too soon. We ended up seeing the Shawshank Redemption -- which was playing downtown, a limited two-week re-release -- the cinematic equivalent of Keith Richards having his blood changed. Three hours later, Andy and Red were hugging in Mexico and we were ready to continue following the 2004 Red Sox. You know, because hope is a good thing. And no good thing ever dies.
(Well, unless that good thing is being managed by Terry Francona.)


Like I said at the outset--I think I get it now.

And the reply is: no, thanks--I already have a sports albatross, and it is called the Michigan Wolverines football program. Last year I compared the Sox to the Red Wings as a sign of hope, but that comparison doesn't really work. No, the Wolverines are more like it--
a whole passel of mythical championships before 1948, tilted toward the first quarter of the 20th Century, and bupkis since. But 1997...? Wait for it, it's coming.

You see, my first clear sports memory involves sitting in the finished basement of our old house with dad and one of his pals, watching happily as Michigan whipped up on Ohio State in 1976. My second is crying after Michigan lost to USC in the Rose Bowl, less than two months later.

I was being initiated into Wolverines fandom, with all that entails. It's been more agony than joy since the bronze age of Fielding Yost--
a deadzone in the fifties and sixties with two bowl victories and growing mediocrity. Then the 1970s, a revived program led by Bo the Woody-Chopper, which is where I joined up. The Wolverines managed to beat the Buckeyes more often than not, but fell flat against more agile opponents, and endured routine bowl humiliation. The kind that cost you National Championships.

Sure, the occasional major bowl win was nice, but it never let Michigan grasp that brass ring--the Best in the Land. National Champion. Because they'd tripped up along the way before getting the bowl win.

And the horrors--like Charles White "scoring" the decisive touchdown in the '79 Rose Bowl against UM despite securely depositing the ball on the two yard line first. Steve Smith getting his shoulder wrecked in the '83 Rose Bowl, leaving a superior team rudderless. Another superior team blowing a 12 point lead to ASU in the 1987 Rose Bowl. Blowing leads against Miami and Florida State in defining contests in 1990 and 1991, wrecking seasons early. Inexplicable losses to the Freakin' Irish. The 1994 game against the Colorado Buffaloes, watching Kordell Stewart heave a desperation pass with five seconds left...
The BS losses to Sparty in 1990 and 1999, the pass interference and Longest...Second...Ever games.

And the piece de resistance: the early morning hours of January 2, 1998, watching ESPN like a meth-addled lab rat following Michigan's victory over a tough Washington State team, cementing a perfect season and an undisputed National Championship--Joshua, We Have Crossed The Jordan!

Only to watch as a sack of brain donors (a/k/a the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll) decided to give Tom Osborne's Police Blotter U. team a share of the title.

Funny--they didn't do the same favor for JoePa in 1994, or Lou Holtz in 1991. What should have been perfect joy, now forever tainted.

And nothing close to it since, nor, I'm afraid, does it look likely to come around again for a long, long time. If ever. Because I still refuse to watch sports news or read the paper after a Michigan loss on Saturday. [Notre Dame--GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!] Can't stand it.

If I barely function with that, why would I want to add the admirable BoSox to my portfolio?

Still, BoSox fans, FWIW: I'll root for you against all comers, especially the evil Yankees.

But I won't get emotionally involved.



Friday, September 24, 2004

The Cuomo Argument, Revisited and Refuted.

Lost in the disastrous Democratic Presidential campaign of 1984 (a/k/a "Mondale's Charge") was a significant political moment, especially for those of us who profess to be mackerel-snappers. At the 1984 Democratic Convention, the then-Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, gave a speech attempting to reconcile the pro-choice actions of Catholic politicians with their professed faith convictions. Not least of those politicians was Mondale's running mate, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro. Nevertheless, the speech had reverberations beyond 1984, and remains the standard article for the equally pro-choice politicos of our day.

Kenneth Woodward, Newsweek's former religion editor and a current contributing editor, eviscerates the logic in this month's Commonweal:

A whole new generation-including Senator Kerry-has come of political age since 1984, when Cuomo’s speech was seen as a defense not only of his own prochoice politics but also those of Geraldine Ferraro, a Catholic congresswoman from New York who was that year’s Democratic candidate for vice president of the United States. Since then, Cuomo’s apologia has been enshrined in books by and about him, highlighted in recent histories of American Catholicism by John T. McGreevy and Peter Steinfels, and echoed by the forty-eight members of Congress who recently asserted that “As Catholics we do not believe it is our role to legislate the teachings of the Catholic Church.” It is, then, a kind of benchmark statement that is worth revisiting to see what his arguments were and whether they hold up.

Woodward convincingly demonstrates that Cuomo was not really opposed to abortion, despite the obligatory disclaimer. Not even close:

At this point it is worth noting what Cuomo did not say, as well as what he did. Never once did he say that abortion was evil, intrinsically or otherwise. Never once did he say-as the bishops had, as he himself could have-that opposition to abortion as a matter of public morality is a defense of the human rights of the unborn. Never once did he say the abortion dispute is a disagreement over the scope of social justice. He did not say these things, and never has, I believe, because doing so would make his position difficult if not impossible to defend. He did not say these things, and never has, because, as I think his record makes clear, he does not believe them to be true.

In his book, A People Adrift, Peter Steinfels has cautioned against twisting Cuomo’s argument “into the crude formula, ‘I am personally opposed to abortion but I don’t want to impose my view on others.’” In fact, Cuomo’s argument strikes me as even cruder than that. It says that his reasons for thinking abortion “sinful” are not only “private” but sectarian as well. Thus, while formally rejecting the notion that Catholic opposition to abortion on demand (another phrase he avoids) violates separation of church and state, Cuomo advances a rationale (the church has told him so) that bolsters the case for advancing just such a charge. It was, withal, a carefully crafted speech. Cuomo sought to defend both his docility toward church teachings and his right-indeed, his duty-to act against them.


* * *

This teasing way of letting his listeners know that he was aware that this argument and option were open to him was, in fact, Cuomo’s way of telling them the option was merely private-a “prudential” judgment that no one could make for him. But his words led not a few in his audience to assume that he would use his influence to modify his party’s embrace of abortion on demand, should the opportunity arise. God knows, he had his chances.

In 1988, the Democrats dropped from their platform a mild statement recognizing “the religious and ethical concerns which many Americans have about abortion.” Cuomo said not a word of objection. At the 1992 convention in New York City, where the Clinton forces proclaimed the Democrats the party of “the big tent,” Cuomo again stood by as the Clintonites silenced the prolife Catholic governor of Pennsylvania, Robert P. Casey. Casey, who was at least as liberal as Cuomo and far more effective as a governor, had asked to read a minority report challenging the platform’s endorsement of abortion as “a fundamental right” deserving of government funding. Instead, in introducing Clinton to the convention, Cuomo twice denounced Republican opposition to abortion. I was standing just behind Governor Casey’s empty seat when Cuomo brought the delegates to their feet in extended applause with this line: “We need a leader who will stop the Republican attempt, through laws and through the courts, to tell us what god to believe in and how to apply that god’s judgment to our schoolrooms, our bedrooms, and our bodies.” Stripped of the overheated partisan rhetoric, is this god he so derides not the same god who privately instructs Cuomo the Catholic that abortion is “sinful”? Here we see the whole intent of Cuomo’s Notre Dame speech-the spurious justification of a Catholic politician who wants it both ways.


RTWT--and Cuomo's response. Note that the Governor doesn't even attempt to rebut this part of the argument, and doesn't effectively answer the rest of it.
Here she is!

Pictures of Rachel, here.

Interestingly enough, she's displaying four of the fingers she has her father wrapped around.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

"Nazi Bot Sadistic."

The above was the alleged internet moniker of a Metro Detroit wannabe Harris/Klebold, Andrew Osantowski, stopped by an alert teenage girl and her police officer father in Washington State before his plan went into action. The paraphenalia and gear of young Mr. Osantowski proved diverse and interesting:

Among the items seized by police at the Osantowski home in Clinton Township:

AK47 7.62-caliber semiautomatic rifle
Mossberg 12-gauge pump-action shotgun
Legacy 12-gauge pump shotgun
Several boxes of shotgun ammunition
Numerous large-capacity magazines for the AK47
Two gas cut-off saws
One SDS-Max hammer drill
One Hilti laser kit
One bolt cutter
Several knives
Several Nazi-related books, including "The Threat of the Hitler Cult," "Adolf Hitler" and "The Neo-Nazis"
Several homemade videos, including one of Andrew Osantowski pretending to fire weapons
One Nazi flag
Pipes and pipe-bomb material
Two propane canisters
Aluminum nitrate and other chemicals

Nazi paraphenalia in the hands of a young man of Polish descent. All righty, then. I strain to understand how one can idolize the murderer of one in six of your ancestral countrymen. Forgive and forget, I guess--especially with all those cool black uniforms. Maybe he thought of himself as one of those "salvageable Aryan" Poles that the paperhanger decided to reclaim as fully human, and not a member of the Slawen sind Sklaven.

Or maybe he's just a deeply screwed up young suburban idiot desperate to find meaning in a reprehensible cause that offers discipline and answers in the face of adults unable or unwilling to provide either. See Lindh, John Walker. The latter sure can embrace the former. It does so easily, these days.

Good morning, America! Oh, nothing to worry about here--just keep hitting the snooze bar, and I'm sure it will all go away. Yes, I'm starting to have some pity for the kid, even as I hope for a lengthy prison term.

And, because it's so relevant to the charges, the elder Osantowski's religious affiliation is described:

He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and a founding member of a local Catholic church.

Well, you know how those "Knights" organizations are--Columbus, Klan, same diff. Now you know where all that Tootsie Roll money really goes. No, here's a better indicator of the problem:

Osantowski wrote about the Chippewa Valley High School police liaison officer, saying: "Now, I'm not even worried about getting into a gunfight with her because it doesn't matter. Now, I'm more than ever determined to blow her head off."
The teen apparently targeted the liaison officer because she handled a case in which he and his father were accused of stealing three golf carts from Fern Hill in May. Both were charged with receiving and concealing stolen property and were arraigned Thursday morning, only hours before their home was raided on the terrorism tip.


Remember what I said about "adults unwilling or unable to provide discipline/answers," above? Let's just say there might be some evidence that dad might be abdicating his God-given role. That, and apparently there was some inkling on Mom's part that the kid was not exactly profiting from his Hitlerjugend reading list.

"I think he's just been brainwashed by this Nazi stuff he had."

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllloooooooo! Anybody home? WHY DID YOU LET HIM KEEP THIS CRAP, THEN?

[Sound of head repeatedly pounding into computer keyboard.]

Oh, and the final interesting fact: Heather graduated high school with Mr. Queentry, the younger Osantowski's alleged explosives tutor. Local clamor caused his bond to be raised after he was initially released.
Speaking of Florida...

If I lived there, I'd be wondering if there might be some kind of message in this sort of thing. Mind you, I'm not saying I understand what the message is. But whatever it is, it sure is being said very, very loudly.

After this year, you'll never hear me complain about the Wolverine State's weather. There's a reason my parents decided to retire to northern Michigan, folks.
"Lying adulterer wins court fight to kill incapacitated wife."

--What the news would be like if Dale wrote the headlines.

The Florida Supreme Court strikes down Terri's Law.

Because Michael Schiavo and his brother said that Terri Schiavo-allegedly-made a couple of offhand comments in the 80s saying she wouldn't want to live in a coma, she will now die.

[Update: Post edited for incendiariness while I digest the opinion. Gut reaction: something's missing in the analysis of judgment finality, especially with regard to a largely-unanswered argument made by the Gov. and the various amici.]
Thanks, everyone!

The prayers, kind words and well-wishes on the occasion of the birth of Rachel Hannah were and are much appreciated.

Mother and baby continue to do well. Details will be over at Domestic Bliss II during the weekend.

In fact, Rachel is easily our quietest, most mellow baby. I have been getting intermittent sleep the past week, but not because of the youngest. My boy, unfortunately, has not taken well to being displaced as the baby. He doesn't take it out on little sister (a fascinating creature, from his behavior), but he refuses to sit with daddy while "Yaya" (his designation for me) is holding Rachel. We're making the effort to direct some D3-only attention his way, and hoping that works. Maddie has been perfect with the baby, and not a hint of resentment. We're trying to get her some Maddie-only time, too.

Thanks again--and yes, pictures will follow.


Friday, September 17, 2004

Welcome to this place, I'll show you everything.

Rachel Hannah Price was born at 4:03pm, Thursday, September 16, 2004. At 8 lbs., 5 oz., and 19", she is--believe it or not--the runt. Both her siblings were bigger at birth.

Mother and infant daughter are both doing very well.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Day. Still.

Never to be forgotten.

It still hits me, every year. This time, it was the sight of a folded flag in the hands of a Notre Dame band member in full kilt, marched across the football field. A small detail, the triangular flag, but seen at every funeral for the hundreds of police officers and firemen, nearly three years ago today. It still wounds.

I don't have much to add to last year's reflection. Except that they continue to happen, other nations the world over now have their Days--from Bali to Madrid to, most horrifically, Russian Ossetia, where the bastards decided schoolchildren were sufficiently daunting foes. Pieta. Proving once again, the shahids are not students of history--the Rodina is known for much, but proportional responses and concerns about civilian casualties are not the hallmarks of the Russian Steamroller. Shock and awe in Moskva come with endless kilograms of rock salt for the planting.

And--lest we forget--beleaguered Israel has a Day about every month. And, always, always--the world over--the strikes are against those unable to fight back. The innocent, the vulnerable, the unsuspecting. Toddlers, like my daughter and son.

Meanwhile, for our various media, the only war being mentioned is Vietnam, and the only records worth discussing are those of the candidates from thirty odd years back. Interesting.

Does this ring any damned bells? Maybe not, given that there is a virtual embargo on 9/11 images these days. The only, only war that merits discussion is the one we are in, right now, and the only records that count are those that bear on this war, right now.

Discussing Vietnam during this election is the very definition of "idiotic." The closest analogy I can come up with would be a hypothetical 1940 British election wherein the media powers that be decided that the real issue was Churchill's conduct during the Charge at Omdurman in 1898. [Trust me--I don't regard either candidate as worthy of comparison with Sir Winston right now, though you can probably guess which one I think comes closer.]

The killers are still out there. It would be nice if we could remember that, three years later.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Yet another religious order loses its way.

The Michigan-based Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary [sic] offered up $200 to Emily's List.

$200 no doubt obtained from co-religionists operating under the misapprehension that the SIHM (SITH?) was actually a loyal order of Catholic nuns.

Oops.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters, the blue-robed

On what planet do the SIHM currently go about "blue-robed"? These Sisters appear to have kicked the habit.

So to speak.(1)

nuns who have educated legions

Legions?

of Catholic children

Oh, those legions.

Though, speaking as a battle-scarred catechist for sixth and seventh graders, it can be very, very difficult to tell the difference sometimes.

in southeastern Michigan, donated $200 to Emily's List, which raises money for Democratic female candidates who support the right to have abortions.
Despite the church's teachings against abortion, the IHMs made the donation in August 2003 to promote electing more women into office, said Sister Mary Katherine Hamilton, IHM vice president.
"We weren't making a political statement in terms" of abortion, she said.


I'm not sure that anything on earth makes me angrier than someone who presumes I'm a giant drooling idiot, and proceeds to treat me as such.

Patronizing me is the one sure-fire way to set me off. Colloquially: don't pee on me and call it "rain," sister.

EMILY's List has one--one--ONE purpose, and that is to promote pro-abortion women candidates.

You want to know how I confirmed that? I took 30 seconds out of my day and went to the group's website. It's not like the statement of purpose was hidden or ambiguous, either:

EMILY's List, the nation's largest grassroots political network, is dedicated to taking back our country from the radical right wing by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local office.

That's just the first frigging sentence. More, from the same page:

...our grassroots network has helped elect 56 Democratic pro-choice members of Congress, 11 senators, and seven governors.

* * *

The Bush Republicans have launched a sustained assault on the right to choose...

* * *

To win this fall, EMILY's List is supporting an exciting group of pro-choice Democratic women candidates...

Enough.

There are two possibilities here: one, the SIHM are lying through their teeth, a tragic example of yet another decaying, dwindling Catholic religious order (average age: 70) that has lost its way and soul since the Council and has caved in to the culture. Or, more hopefully, the SIHM collectively suffer from a level of heedless, clueless stupidity usually described with such terms as "institutionalized," and the problem can be rectified by appointing a receiver who can ensure that such endearingly rustic folk never handle cash without adult oversight again.

Charity forces us to embrace the latter.

Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman Ned McGrath


Mister Dissent never hangs around/
When he hears this Mighty sound/

"Here I come to save the day!"

That means that Mighty Ned is on his way...

said archdiocesan officials are puzzled

Must...resist...

about the IHM's donation,

[Sorry--the spirit is willing, but the flesh...]:

As they are about a great, great many things, alas.

which they learned about from the Free Press.

Disturbing the contented slumber of many downtown, no doubt.

At least temporarily...

McGrath said Cardinal Adam Maida, who has repeatedly spoken about "the moral evil of abortion," would be "prepared, if necessary, to address what happened with the appropriate pastoral response." He declined to elaborate.

True enough: Maida says, and on occasion even decisively acts, on life issues.

But never against the various orders, and never publicly.

Remember--the pro-abortion editorial from four Detroit priests in 2002 drew no public response whatsoever. Rumors that one of them got a stern talking to and temporary removal bounced around, but that was it. Since this doesn't involve archdiocesan employees, expect even less.

Take this to the bank: You will never hear a public statement from the Archdiocese on this situation. Never.

I would love to be wrong, though.

"Supporting legitimate causes for the advancement of women is one thing," said McGrath. "Support for Emily's List, with its defining litmus test for abortion rights, is quite something else."

Well, he got it in one--an irrefutable point, in soundbite form--which is all the Free Press is ever going to give you. He's usually not this good, so I have to salute him for this one.

The Monroe-based order, known for its social activism and running Detroit's Marygrove College and Birmingham's Marian High School, donates about $25,000 annually to causes -- ranging from overseas missionaries to the League of Conservation Voters and Common Cause.

I might spend my money differently, or almost certainly allocate it differently, but the above three are pretty unobjectionable.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a longtime Vatican observer and Jesuit priest who edits America magazine, said the sisters' donation falls into the parameters of Catholic doctrine.

All right--Fr. SpeedDial's here! And, as always, he's applying a prodigious dose of ether to the increasingly-deformed consciences of the Faithful.

Fr.'s omnipresence on "Catholic issues" these days is becoming legendary. As a result, I'm beginning to think the "editor" title on the masthead is more honorary than the inkstained elves at America are willing to let on.

That's especially true after the Vatican's Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said it's OK for Catholic abortion opponents to support pro-choice candidates if they agree with the candidate's other stands.
"I think the same principles that Cardinal Ratzinger articulated on voting would also be pertinent in terms of donations to support a candidate," Reese said.

And, because he's a Jesuit, Fr. SpeedDial's managed to gunk up the works quite nicely. Actually, those principles do no such thing, especially since the sole purpose of the gals of EMILY is to promote abortion. The only exception is where there are proportionate reasons to support the pro-abortion stance--and the situation where that exists is vanishingly rare:

"The sticking point is this - and this is the hard part," said Burke. "What is a proportionate reason to justify favoring the taking of an innocent, defenseless human life? And I just leave that to you as a question. That's the question that has to be answered in your conscience. What is the proportionate reason?"

"Honestly--it's rain," said the giggling Fr. Reese.

Five minutes before being treed by the angry mob.

Sister Hamilton said the nuns made the contribution to Emily's List because many of its endorsed candidates share the IHM's positions on issues such as human rights, the environment, the economy, children and education.


I supported John Breckinridge because I share his positions on the tariff and support for American agricultural products in international trade.

I contributed to the NSDAP because Schicklgruber shares my beliefs on transportation policy and the importance of maintaining order and national self-esteem.

The IHM donation to Emily's List was in a database of Michigan donors compiled by Dwight L. Morris & Associates of Virginia.
Paul Long, executive director of the Michigan Catholic Conference, denounced the IHM donation to Emily's List. He said there are other ways to advance women in politics, without "contributing to an organization that solely promotes the destruction of human life."

The Catholic Laity--Acting When The Hierarchy Prefers Inertia.

The 600-member IHM order has taken on some confrontational causes -- running an AIDS hospice in South Africa and buying Detroit Edison stock to attend stockholders meetings to protest against the Fermi nuclear plant.

Go back to doing that--at least you can make sensible, honorable--even lead-pipe cinch--Catholic arguments in favor of those activities.

-------------------
Footnote:

(1) I'm not necessarily someone who demands that sisters and brothers in religious life always wear the garb (though I'm not fond of priests who shirk the uniform). I know one very devout sister who is choked-fury indignant about the casual way some of our parish EMEs handled the "Precious Blood" (her words). Nor is wearing the garb an amulet against heterodoxy or bad behavior (witness Fr. McBrien's collared TV appearances). Likewise the decision to wear street clothes does not mark the individual as a hell-bent dissenter. But--I do admit that my behavior tends to be a little better around those in uniform. The same was true before I was Catholic, and watched the Mercy Sisters of Alma going about town. Even this Methodist knew you didn't talk smack around nuns.

Alas, because of that Methodism, I don't have any Sister Margaret Flagrum Mean Nun Stories™ to tell you, though I certainly know a few Catholics who claim to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder from The Dark Days Before Vatican II. You know--brutal wrinkled women just off the boat from Slobovia, their teeth filed to points, making the children memorize the Baltimore Catechism and lashing with their six foot rosary belts those poor urchins unable to regurgitate the Canons of the Council of Trent on demand.

Or something like that. Anyway, such stories seem to be the psychological background for Why The Tabernacle Now Belongs In The Maintenance Locker, or Why Middle Aged Women In Spandex Simply Must Flounce About the Altar Like Charo On Crystal Meth During The Singing of The Responsorial Psalm.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Where the hell are the singing cats?

Jim Cork has moved to new digs. Update your bookmarks.

Also, make sure to vote in his Favorite Rush Studio Album poll.
Speaking of Zach...

He has a great post about Rich Mullins and the Eucharist here.
Catholic Newspeak.

Jeff Culbreath offers a catalogue at El Camino Real.

Most of them are truly doubleplus ungood.

I've piped up with a few of my own there, too. I'll repeat them here:

Eucharistic celebration.
Sacred meal.
Gathered community.
Presider.
Writer (deployed before the biblical readings of the Mass to deny the traditional ascription of authorship--e.g., Paul didn't write the Pastorals, etc.).

Any Catholic parish that identifies itself as a "Catholic Community" on the sign in front.
Collaborative
In the Catholic tradition
Shared ministry
Ministry
Hospitality--not because I'm opposed to it, or because your average parish doesn't usually fail miserably at it. Hospitality is something done, not advertised. Taking a cue from the secular world: Restaurants that brag about it raise expectations they usually disappoint.
Uses of terms like *the* Eucharist or *the* Church without *the* definite article. Brings out my inner duelist.
I'll dissent (!) somewhat on two items. First, "universal call to holiness"--I've never seen this term used by the left, though I can see how it could be abused. The second dissent is "abundant life"--Johnette Benkovic would be a tad irritated by tossing the Lord's words into the mix.


I'm sure Zach Frey can offer us some wackier examples, speaking as a former member of a community in the Episcopal tradition. Something involving "reconciliation," no doubt...
FYI.

Heather is very, very tired of being pregnant right now.

I've seen her "ankles"--I think she's serious.

That, and her increasingly sardonic use of the terms "the glow, the glory, and the grace" every time she has to try to roll over are another hint.

Trust me. She's ready for Rachel to move out.

Words of encouragement/commiseration in the comment box would make her week.
Model approaches to poverty that the Church would do well to emulate.

Just so you don't think I'm avoiding the conversation below.

I suggest Focus: HOPE. Founded by Fr. William Cunningham (God rest his soul) while the ashes of the Riot were still smouldering, Focus: Hope tries to break the poverty cycle through job-training and education initiatives, as well as support systems for families who need both parents to work. F:H does a superb job of working with private employers and donors to get the job done, and is an excellent example of innovative thinking on the issue.

No, it doesn't apply strictly to the question of insurance, but that isn't insoluable with a little thinking, either.

Speaking of which.

Another model which impresses me is at work in the Upper Peninsula's Marquette County, where a nonprofit organization has creatively addressed the lack of health coverage through the voluntary participation of area doctors and dentists. All doctors (and dentists, I think) who participate in the organization agree to offer no less than ten free office visits per year (many do more). In addition, the medical offices have created an ad hoc pharmacy from pooling together their free manufacturer's samples of assorted medicines. I'm happy to report that most of the area's health care professionals have joined up to help an area struggling to adjust from the death of the UP's mining industry and closure of military facilities.

There. I can be positive.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Arnold, what is best in life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!

Oh, if only he'd used that line.

Lileks is typically indispensible:

8:55 PM: just turned the sound up to see what these energetic young people are playing, and the answer is: very bad music. “I’ve Got the Music in Me.” Please, keep it there. The singer is so dreadful she simply has to be Karl Rove’s daughter; there is no other reason for her to be there. And she is wearing a poncho. At the end she reached for a high note like a toddler getting up a chair to touch a lightbulb. Now a band is playing “Signed, Sealed and Delivered.” Shot of Bush 41 sitting next to Maria. Her hair looks fabulous. And aerodynamic: Given the right draft, she could probably fly forty feet in the air.

Big banner: “A MORE HOPEFUL AMERICA.” Lame. Why not “FLUFFIER KITTENS” or “BRIGHTER LAUNDRY.” I want A CHAIN-MAILED FIST CRUSHING THE FORCES OF JIHAD! But you can’t have everything.

* * *

Now the line about trusting the US more than the UN. Raucous applause. Chants of USA, which will strike Europeans as the modern-day sound of a Nuremberg rally. Well, they’d know.
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Technically, it was yesterday, and it's not like he's big on the internet, either.

But so what? The sentiment still applies, from all of the Daytwa Prices.