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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Whacking Hitler.

Much furor over this piece by Michael Ledeen in NRO, which argues that British soldier Henry Tandey would have made the world a much better place by shooting a wounded and effectively disarmed Hitler in a trench. The furor can be located over at Mark's.

Count me among the skeptics doubting that a merciless Tandey would necessarily have made the world a better place.

Most of us can imagine a better world. Far fewer take the time to consider our present world as a better alternative.

Yes, it could be worse. Building upon a comment by Patrick Sweeney, here are my thoughts:

"Mercy has unforeseen consequences that God alone sees."

Indeed--which is the point Ledeen is missing with his capping-the-wounded-Hitler rumination.We cannot know--and indeed, will not know this side of eternity--the consequences of Tandey shooting Hitler. It seems inevitable that the consequences would still be cascading through history, and not, contra Ledeen, necessarily for the better.

As desperately hard as that may be to believe.

British author and actor Stephen Fry wrote a book about the subject of a Hitlerless world called Making History. Eccentric, often obscene, and even more often irritatingly discursive (rather like the likeable Fry himself), the premise is this: two men--a student and a university physics professor stumble across time travel and decide to go back in time to prevent Hitler from being born.

Not being monsters, they don't want to kill anyone, so instead they hit upon the idea of lacing the well water in Hitler's parents' village with a contraceptive ten months before Hitler was due to be born, thus preventing the birth of said paperhanging SOB. When they get back to the present, they find a world locked in a cold war between America and...a Nazi Germany that dominates Eurasia.

You see, the men stopped Hitler, all right, but instead got a far craftier, more strategically-adept and even more charismatic substitute for the Austrian corporal named Rudolf Glober. Glober lulled the world to sleep with conciliatory rhetoric, developed the atomic bomb, destroyed Russia, occupied Britain and conducted a more thorough Final Solution. Oh, and America is a darker and more authoritarian place, too. Needless to say, the men desperately want to change history back...

Yes, it could be worse. And I remain mindful of a comment increasingly used by one of my favorite sci-fi writers, S.M. Stirling: "It is amazing how often mercy has practical uses."

Err on the side of practicality. Because the alternative could be far, far worse than you can ever imagine, for both yourself and others.

Sometime last month...

This here blog turned two years old. According to the archives, October 16, 2002 was the adventus dyspepsium. Per today's count, there have been 94,000+ visits and nearly 114,000 page views since May 2003. Many thanks!

Like they always say:

"Time flies when you are emitting greenhouse gases."


Monday, November 22, 2004

Ain't no riot/Like a De-troit riot/'Cause a De-troit riot/Don't. Stop.

Or so goes the swelling chorus about the truly shameful melee at the Pistons-Pacers game last Friday. The Volokh Conspiracy offers typical insights. While he makes fair points, it would, however, have been nice had the commentator noted a cardinal rule for athletes saddled with unruly fans:

NEVER, EVER GO INTO THE STANDS. EVER. FOR ANY REASON. EVEN IF YOU'RE HIT WITH ARENA BUDWEISER THAT RIVALS CHANEL NO. 5 IN PRICE.

THIS MEANS YOU, RON.

But more about that later.

Accounts of the brawl literally imitate the Hanson brothers' offensive into the stands in Slap Shot. Media reports indicate that Pacer forward Ron Artest greeted the first fellow five rows up with "Are you the one who threw it? Did you do it?" in between a rain of blows. The fellow, approximately 5'8" and wearing glasses that made him look like Mr. Whipple without the advanced MPB, said "no" and video footage confirms that the only thing he was guilty of was being the first guy Mr. Artest got his hands on.

I smell a quick settlement.

I have considerably less sympathy for the dumbass in the Pistons jersey who confronted Artest on the court. The only regret is that the Pacer forward was unable to land a telling blow on the idiot, who was interviewed later and had no credible explanation for why he went down to the floor.

Kiss those season tickets goodbye, buttercup. And rightly so. Actually, the Oakland County Prosecutor and Auburn Hills police are probably very interested in addressing your behavior, from all accounts. As of Sunday, 90% of the rotten fans had been identified, including the first beer thrower. Here's hoping the day's news brings word of "fan" arrests.

Moving on to the centerpiece of this post....Speaking as a transplanted Detroiter who works in the City, I humbly offer the following suggestion to those inclined to pen blanket descriptions of "Detroit fans":

(1) Take a deep breath;
(2) Stick a thumb in your mouth;
(3) Make sure your lips form a good seal around the thumb; and
(4) Blow it out your tailpipe.

We've been carrying the burden of the riot following the 1984 World Series, immortalized by the photograph of Kenneth "Bubba" Helms holding up a pennant in front of a burning vehicle (Helms tragically committed suicide in 2001). Since then, Detroit teams have won three NBA and three NHL championships, the region has hosted several games in the 1994 World Cup, an NCAA basketball tournament regional in 2000 and this year the Ryder Cup. Total number of violent incidents since 1984 as a result of major sporting events?

Bupkis.

That's "zero," "zip," or "zilch" to the Yiddish-impaired.

Anybody besides me remember that someone got killed in the rioting--as in police-using-tear-gas rioting--following the Red Sox triumph over the Yankees this year? Has it been turned into some metanarrative about What Is Wrong With Boston?, or ruminations about The Condition of Beantown's Soul? If so, I missed it.

Anyone recall the two drunks attacking the Royals' first base coach on the field at a White Sox game in 2002? [If you said "yes," you're lying.] I can't recall hand-wringing essays screaming J'accuse! at the Windy City.

How about the riots following the second Colorado Avalanche championship in 2001? Which were rather like the riots following the first Avs title in 1996, alas. Should I bring up the Larimer Square unrest following both Bronco Super Bowl wins? Denver: Stain on the Nation? Can't recall that column.

In none of the cases should such essays have been written, of course. Because unruly fans are, and always have been, a feature of all the major team sports. They come with the territory, unfortunately.

But somehow, if doofuses (or is that doofi?) toss beer and get into scrums with athletes at a Detroit game, well, that's different. It's "Detroit, Punk City."

Get a grip. The fans deserve to be punished, but the players escalated the situation into a brawl--a brawl that says more about Mr. Artest than it does about metropolitan Detroit. I'll let Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz have the final word:

Human nature being what it is, people now will quibble about the specifics of the penalties, scream that Wallace started it and the fans got out of hand.
Here is what we can't forget. They went into the stands. What Artest and his teammates did was patently unforgivable. We may understand their reaction on a very human level; who wouldn't confront some clod who douses them with a beer? But dealing with abuse is an unfortunate part of the job.
At some level, the Pacers have themselves to blame, because they're the ones who continued to keep Artest rather than trade him. They knew he was a time bomb. They knew his peculiar brand of madness might undermine his team. But they knew he could play, and they stayed the course, no matter how many times he ran afoul of the rules.
This is not a time for Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird to be looking at Stern. This is a time for them to be looking in the mirror.
As for Artest himself, the time has come for him to use this opportunity not to promote his music, but to get himself well. The press pass does not entitle us to reach conclusions about another man's physical or mental health, but the body of evidence has grown to the point where it's apparent his problems go beyond simple immaturity and eccentricity.
A normal person does not do the things he's been doing for years.
Of course Stern took Artest's history into account with this verdict. How could he not?
The last thing Artest needs now is for people to turn him into some kind of martyr, telling him he was done wrong by the powers-that-be. What he needs now is for people to tell him he does, in fact, need some kind of help.
He's not just a talented basketball player, but he is, by all accounts, a good-hearted person. These days do not have to be wasted. These days could, in fact, prove to be his salvation.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Two questions.

What are these "altar rails" I keep hearing about?

and

Where can I go see them?

[Link courtesy of Amy Welborn.]

A sure sign that you are tired.

You find yourself bolting down your prize breakfast java like it was half-skunked Meister Brau or Milwaukee's Best.

Two toddlers with ear infections.

Just imagine the possiblities those five terrifying little words entail. That may explain why my co-workers have taken to greeting me with screams of "The dead live! The dead freaking live! Kill it! Kill it!"


I'd rather be hunting.

Michigan's firearm deer season opened on Monday.

And I was not in my all-new, reinforced, plywood and plexiglass deer blind at 6 a.m., cradling the Winchester Model 94 .30-30 that proved so successful last year.

Then again, numbers may be a little down this year.

But still, deer camp.

Would that I were at thee...

It's looking good for the day after Thanksgiving, though. Here's hoping.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I've avoided the news outlets since that ancient terrorist assumed room temperature a few days ago.

The wholesale whitewashing of a thoroughly-repellent murderer is not my idea of must-see-TV. MSM's willingness to engage in hagiography-for-Hitler is one of the more disgusting trends of our age.

As Mark Sullivan timely reminds us, his victims are those we need to mourn.

Victims like five year old Gal Eisenman, who died with her grandmother at the hands of one of Arafraud's bombers in 2002.

A little girl who looked remarkably like my eldest daughter.

Nope. No tears for that bastard in this space. He faces the perfect justice of almighty God, which is as it should be.


Buy this book!

It's good. More importantly, my child-bride is prominently quoted in it.

Even better than that--her blowhard husband isn't.


You may have heard this one before.

Oswald Sobrino addresses an argument you hear occasionally from the Correct Catholic circles: Jesus' presence in scripture and and His presence in the Eucharist are the same thing.

It's also often combined with the hypothesis that Jesus is equally present in the gathered community at Mass.

Oooookay. Not that there isn't truth in both comparisons, of course. But Jesus said things about the Eucharist that He didn't say about His presence in scripture or in gatherings of His faithful.

An instant refutation comes from application of the hypothesis to a hot-button issue still confronting the Church, post-Kerry--denial of communion to pro-abortion politicians. Confront the proponent with a real world application:

"OK, sounds good. Actually, it's great! Your argument neatly solves the problem of denial of communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. After all, if Christ is equally present in the Word (and the gathered community), then we deny the politician nothing by refusing him the Eucharist. He is still able to "receive" Jesus equally well in the proclaimed scriptures and the presence of the eucharistic community. Simply catechize him or her with this understanding and this thorny issue will be history. No more theatrical fretting about confrontations at the (almost certainly nonexistent) communion rail--Senator/Congressman/Representative Kissling will still be getting Jesus. Right?"

The certain refusal of the proponent to be persuaded by the logical conclusion of his own theological freewheeling will be the finest refutation you could ask for.

The Eucharist is different. Even those who try to deny it know this, in their heart of hearts.

An axiom to live by.

"If you have nothing to say, don't say it."


Friday, November 05, 2004

One of the Sleepy Mommies is about to get even sleepier.

Pansy Moss had a boy on election day!

Congratulations to mother and child!


Thursday, November 04, 2004

The funniest blog link I've seen in...maybe forever.

It's simply entitled "wardrobe malfunction," but don't worry: it has nothing to do with Janet Jackson. [Yes, there's bad language, but it's still painfully funny. Especially for parents.]