Thursday, May 31, 2007
That's really what the Bishop's position boils down to. Again and again, it's "We're stupid, and because it's our dumbed-down, race-to-the-bottom, soundbite culture, we're proud we're stupid!
Welcome to Ignoramus Pride Day!
Not to mention Celebrate Comatose-Lazy Week!
Can't Be Bothered to Get Off My Dead Pew-Ass to Learn Affirmation Month!"
Wow--now that's some gutsy leadership. Better to be satisfied with flawed, mediocre worship texts than to do the hard work of teaching.
Pastoral, adj. Of or relating to the imperative to avoid unpopularity or bad press.
Except, of course, when it's inclusive language--then, well, let the consciousness-raising begin! Bust out the electric cattle prod and move the benighted herd into the shining day of enlightenment.
The one consistency in this position is that the liturgy--and by extension, the Church--has to follow culture, and not shape it, much less preserve her Tradition in the face of it.
That's not the idea.
(1) Does anyone have any insight into why a Muslim cemetary might refuse to bury a deceased infant whose parents are Muslims?
(2) What is the status of grave markers in Islam? I know the elaborate stuff is forbidden.
Again, thanks in advance.
I hate to phrase it that way, but outside of a knot of regulars, I frankly have no idea of the religious affiliations of those who visit this blog.
(1) How does Orthodoxy canonize saints?
(2) Where can I find a good list of post-1054 Orthodox saints?
Thanks in advance.
The Rev. Dr. Michael L. Pfleger, proud padishah of the biggest cult of personality in the Windy City, threatened a local gun owner. Reading it in full context, I'm not remotely convinced it's a death threat, unless his messiah complex has developed to the point of putting the Illinois legislature to the sword. Possible, but not very likely.
Perhaps the most disheartening thing is that he does a lot of good work in a rough area. But it could easily be done without the trappings of demigodhood.
Good luck on that letter writing campaign. When the Rev. Dr. can host Louis Farrakhan without consequences, I'm putting my money on your letter getting the "we'll call you" treatment.
[H/t to Kathy Shaidle for the link.]
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
But some things are too melancholy to post about. May 29th was the 554th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks after a two month siege.
May 29, 1453 was also a Tuesday, which is why Tuesday is still considered the unluckiest day of the week in much of the Greek-speaking world.
Constantine XI, rest in peace.
Namely, a commentator at a new blog argues that it's wrong to acknowledge Memorial Day inside the Church, or indeed to call our troops "our" troops, and broadens into a full fledged condemnation of patriotism, all from a putatively Catholic perspective.
Details are here. Victor's rebuttal in the comments is especially helpful.
The most charitable comment I have for this line of thinking is that it is blinkered. More importantly, it is not particularly Catholic, as the Catechism demonstrates:
The duties of citizens
2238 Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts: "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution. . . . Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God." Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.
2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.
The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way."
I also can't imagine leaving my children alone in a hotel room while I went to a restaurant.
Madeleine McCann disappeared May 3 when her parents left her and her 2-year-old twin siblings alone in their hotel room while they went to a restaurant in their hotel complex in Praia da Luz, a resort town in Portugal's Algarve region.
I'm praying for Madeleine McCann's safe return, and for her entire family.
However, this is a textbook example of a preventable tragedy, if there ever was one.
Dad tackles perverted photographer.
Fine: allegedly perverted.
I'm thinking that high-tech photographic methods haven't been an unmixed blessing for our culture.
Interesting trivia: the dad is former Congressman Bob Dornan's son. Looks like Rusty raised him right.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
People who believe in the Semtex Fairy are not welcome here.
Someone once said 9/11 trutherism should be added to the DSM-IV. I think he has a point.
Here's a wake-up call, Fairy fans: you have somehow managed the difficult feat of sounding even dumber than all those shortwave radio morons who said Clinton bombed the Murrah Building.
My wife is not sure which airborne division her father was in. She knows it was disbanded before Vietnam, but has no other info (other than obviously it was neither the 101st nor the 82nd). He discarded his military gear after his honorable discharge (roughly 1958, if memory serves).
My late father-in-law did two tours of duty in the 1950s, and was stationed in Germany during this time. She says he reported dealing with the Danes on a regular basis. I'm a little puzzled by that one, as I thought northern Germany was British Army of the Rhine territory, and that our guys were in the central and southern FRG.
Any help you can provide would be appreciated.
We studiously avoided the wildly-popular Our Body exhibit, the most popular presentation of any kind in the history of the Center.
I'm not going to slag on the Center, which runs a great operation and has been overtly friendly to homeschoolers like ourselves.
So what's the problem with the exhibit? The introduction given to the crowds heading up to the presentation acknowledges that the cadavers come from China, but assure the viewers that they come from "voluntary donors."
Um.....Our Cold War instincts served us pretty well. They reminded us that, in addition to a monstrous propensity for bloodshed, Communists had a less-than-nodding acquaintance with the truth. We've lost those instincts, unfortunately. Sadly, the memory of Tiananmen Square, with tanks literally crushing peaceful protesters, has also faded. In other words, there is ample reason to be skeptical of the term "voluntary." What better way to rid yourself of some irritating non-conformists and rake in a little hard Western currency in the process? I'm sure Kim Jong-Il is kicking himself sideways at missing the boat. Nevertheless, the Center still has plenty to offer, and makes it easy to avoid the exhibit (save for the advertising).
We went to the Detroit Science Center on Sunday afternoon with the Siekierskis. There's a lot to do there for families, including live presentations every two hours where some scientific principles/concepts are explained in a fun way. Sunday's show was about the Solar System.
Madeleine was geeked. So geeked, that when they called for volunteers to participate in a quiz show, she sprinted toward one of the podiums before being called. The staffers remedied that by calling her up to Podium Number 3. Maddie was the youngest by two years of the three kids participating. You had to buzz in to answer the questions, too.
Six questions were asked. Final score? Madeleine 3, the tall kid 2, and the other girl 1.
I'm not proud or anything.
Thanks to Matt for the photo. The young chap intently watching the proceedings in the foreground is The Boy.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Brother Theocrats of the Wolverine Cabal:
"Sleep dulls even the fangs of the cobra." Decode using the New King James Version, Pocket Edition, Book of Habakkuk, Chapter 2.
Stay on message this weekend, Brothers: emphasize opposition to the burka in discussions with the Secular Herd, but do NOT--NOTNOT--gaffe it up and admit that "it's only because we are jealous that the followers of Mahomet came up with it first." Got that, Brother Agent 841?
Speaking of the womenfolk:
Brother Agent 349: your helpmeet was observed shod in the kitchen whilst gravid. Correct this immediately.
Brother Agent 703: we have reports that your wife was seen reading alone during her "down time." I cannot emphasize enough that unsupervised reading invariably leads to voter registration. Address this immediately.
Brother Agent 182: Smoking cigars from Castro's godless hellhole is not the equivalent of "burning their crops." Cease and desist. Besides, the Dominican stuff is better.
Brother Agent 1025: Zefferelli's Jesus of Nazareth is acceptable viewing. Not "all Eye-talians are commie homos." Our latest research indicates that such individuals constitute a bare plurality.
Brother Agent 594: We still need clarification on how the whole "websurfing for pictures of Jessica Biel" project advances our goal of a Godly Theonomic State. We expect a report by the 30th.
Brothers, that is all for now. But I leave you with this good news: members of the Empire State Cabal have again successfully hidden Andrew Sullivan's car keys, ensuring yet another incoherent, self-contradictory rant which can only succeed in winning sympathy to our cause--oo-rah!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Not only is Spain home to the reigning pope, I am delighted to report it is also home to the legitimate Byzantine Emperor: Theodoros IX Lascaris Comnenus. This is the family seal:
The dynasty is the brainchild of Eugenio Lascorz, a Spanish laborer who obviously spent too much time delving into things Byzantine. The genealogy listed in the Theodoros link is Eugenio's third crack at it.
Visions, delusions of grandeur and the determination to make them come to life--that's Spain.
I mean, I like Byzantium, too, but you have to give it a rest some time.
Unless that little guy at the bed & breakfast was actually part of a supernatural vision hailing me as Basileus to put paid to the pretender Theodoros....
The cool part? The donor, Robert W. Wilson, is an atheist.
Wilson, 80, said in a phone interview today that although he is an atheist, he has no problem donating money to a fund linked to Catholic schools.
"Let's face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization," Wilson said. "Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent. Keep in mind, I'm helping to pay tuition. The money isn't going directly to the schools."
The article also reveals that in raw numbers, Mr. Wilson is the 12th most generous donor in the country. He's also heavily involved in the arts--the Whitney, the Opera, etc. Many more like this gentleman, please.
[H/t to Kathy Shaidle.]
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
--My shorthand description of the participants at the new Catholic Restorationists group blog. The more I ponder it, the more I think it fits.
Come on over and take a look.
Many thanks, too, to Mark for the nod.
Big props, too, to the The Artist Formerly Known As Evil Steve for the grunt work in getting this spruce goose off the ground.
There are plenty of forthrightly good guys in the American Muslim community--they just don't get the coverage.
In fact, some members of the American media are all too happy to suppress moderate Muslim viewpoints.
Just something to keep in mind. I've been trying to add some balance to my reading about Islam lately, as a perspective check.
Oh, and an ironic note about the Bektashi Muslims mentioned in the first article: Bektashi was very popular with the Ottoman Sultan's elite Janissary corps. In that Victory of the West book I'm reading (among about 100 other things at the moment), Capponi says that this was the result of the fact that the Janissaries came from Christian backgrounds, and Bektashi borrowed from Christianity. It also appears that these syncretic borrowings helped ease the conversion of the Christians still living in Turkish Anatolia after the 12th Century. Here endeth the lesson.
CourageMan weighs in with a powerful post about the spiritual struggle, leavened with insightful quotes from St. Josemaria Escriva. My favorite St. quote:
"A Christian is not a neurotic collector of good behaviour reports."
Here's a handy insight of mine into the male psyche, as I near 38 years sans umbilical cord:
Men are instinctive Pelagians. We don't want help, we don't need help.
I can solve this.
No big deal.
I can do this just fine, thank you.
I'm OK, really.
I'll manage: I always do.
If I wanted your damned "help" I'd ask you for it, now go away and leave me the Hell alone!
There's a stubborn pride in that, and it often serves me well. But in the wrong situation, it can be a killer. There's going to be a lifetime spent learning this. Moreover, I couldn't learn it at all without grace--no matter how hard I might try.
25% of American Muslims think suicide bombing is acceptable. The percentages are higher amongst younger Muslims.
More bad news: 60% of those surveyed suffer from some form of un-trutherism.
The good news?
I don't have any good news: just bad news and the weather. Gonna be in the upper 80s here in Detroit today.
OK, fine: I couldn't resist the Get Fuzzy reference.
Yes, American Muslims are far, far more reasonable than their brethren worldwide in a variety of issues, starting with the existence of Israel, identifying with America and so forth. So there's heartening material to be mined here.
But I somehow doubt that the media lead on this story would be given such a positive spin if it revealed that 25% of Catholics approved of abortion clinic bombings, or 25% of Evangelicals approved of violence against homosexuals. Especially if the figures were trending upward with the younger generation.
But maybe that's just me.
The culprit may be a substance called chitin, found in everything from shellfish to molds.
I have it, and Maddie has a (much milder) case of it than I do, despite my requests to God that they avoid it altogether. I guess I'll settle for milder. Plus, I've pretty well outgrown my case, and I was able to play football in my youth, so it wasn't crippling. At least attack time gave me the opportunity to read.
So this study is of great interest to me, especially an intriguing finding that common harmless bacteria can break down chitin:
So what are we to do—live knee-deep in bacteria to prevent allergies and asthma?
"That's a big question, and a loaded question since it's tough to say, 'Go out and get dirty!'" Locksley says with a laugh. "If there really is an association with chitin, maybe the response is not so much to worry about the bacteria in a household, but to worry about the chitin. One approach might be to develop ways to break down chitin in the environment."
Amplifying his point, Locksley cites a compelling example of bacteria and chitin at play.
"The snow-crab industry is a big part of a seasonal industry up in Alaska and Canada," he begins, emphasizing that the shells of crabs are a rich source of chitin. "College kids come in and they work in these crab processing plants. It's the food industry, so the first thing they do is get all the bacteria out of the environment by using microbicides. Then you’ve got these kids in there pulverizing chitin shells for hours on end.
"The attack rate for new onset asthma in that industry is something like 25 to 28 percent per year," he says. "It's now a major cause of disability in Canada."
Monday, May 21, 2007
And then let the punishment begin.
The Cutty Sark, the last existing China or "Tea" clipper ship, was gutted by a suspicious fire today. Many of the relics and much of the planking had been removed for a renovation, but the damage is still heartbreaking.
Yep--the gas prices are officially ridiculous. We've decided to pass on our usual Memorial Day trip up north, instead only going up for the Great Annual Vacation at 26 Pines.
Gonna be a long summer if this trend holds.
Guess it's not all bad the DIA is going to be closed through Thanksgiving. We were there Saturday, and there wasn't much out if you weren't going to the Ansel Adams exhibition. I am slightly happy to report that the Byzantine collection has grown some in the past six months, if not to huge proportions.
Specifically, to the Amazon.com fora for B16's Jesus of Nazareth book (I am reliably informed that my copy is somewhere in Ohio, wending its way north). I'm hashing it out with a couple of ex-Catholics, one rather decent, the other an ignoramus whose argument skills were honed on a Catholic elementary playground. And atrophied quickly thereafter.
But he has the proverbial "12 years of Catholic school," so I'm supposed to wonder how he never made the shortlist for Doctor of the Church before he unpoped.
The renowned military illustrator died yesterday at age 76.
If you're familiar with his work, you'll understand the world has lost a great talent. If you aren't, you need to take a look.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
To everyone who prayed, posted, commented or emailed their concern for Heather over the weekend. There are no words for this sort of generosity, and there is no way to repay it. I suppose that makes it grace. It was stunning, and an invaluable source of strength to all of us.
In fact, I am convinced that the things that kept me going by last Saturday afternoon were the grace coming from the prayers and the gift of responsibility for the rest of the family. The peril never really sank in, and I still had to get things done. Duty means there's no time for self-pity--thank God.
I will always question the benign diagnosis, not out of distrust for our GP, but simply because it doesn't account for the effectiveness of the Heparin shots. A bullet snapped past, uncomfortably close, but missed. That makes budget woes and the housing market fade to deserved insignificance.
Again, thank you all.
"As often happens in history, fault is born an orphan and dies a spinster."
--Italian historian Niccolo Capponi, in Victory of the West, p. 106.
Great book so far, BTW. Alas, he doesn't appear to quote Chesterton anywhere in it, but no book is perfect.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
(1) Maddie was reading Dr. Seuss' Hop On Pop this afternoon, and breezed through until the end. The next to last pages have the following rhyme:
My father can read big words, too.
Madeleine came up to Heather and said (I kid you not):
"I know Constantinople, but what's this other word?"
(2) The Boy™ likes to watch me play Rise of Nations on the PC. As I was trying to decide which nation to play, he asked "Are you going to play the Romans?" The cursor happened to be highlighting Rome at that moment.
I've never doubted in the slightest they were mine, I just never expected confirmation like this...
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
He has three medalists so far: (1) Carpathia, (2) Quo Primum, and (3) La Real.
Here's a late entry from me: Confitemini Domino, from the Latin title to Psalm 106 (Douay numbering). Some went down to the sea in ships...
Whoa. I have to admit, he always was ambitious. I just didn't see the Big 3 angle--
Wait: it's Cerberus?!?
Good Lord, man--that's even worse! What is American capitalism coming to, anyway?
Look. As far as policing the combox goes, I act like the alpha male of a lion pride: I sleep 22.5+ hours of the day. The remaining time, you don't pays your money, you takes your chances. I have been especially distracted the last 72 hours or so, and this blog is very low priority right now, having seen my wife hospitalized and all.
For the uninitiated and/or forgetful, here are The Rules.
Number 1 is especially important to me, given the fact that the email addresses are revealed to no one but my own self, the Basileus of This Blog. Anonymity/odd nicknames are fine. But I need proof that there's someone at the other end. Genuine email addresses display an acknowledgement of accountability and willingness to take ownership of one's words.
Number 4 is also important, and Franklin sent me an email properly apologizing for the language and his conduct in the exchange, in addition to the apology left in the combox. Zach Frey and his family I know in person. As in he's a dear friend. As in Rule 6.
Look: Franklin used insulting vulgarity and has manned up by apologizing for it. INS: Reciprocity, even given the fact you were truly wronged, would be appreciated. Another one of those infamous trad foibles is an ultramontaine sense of one's own infallibility. Irony....
Monday, May 14, 2007
I made dinner, treated her to a book purchase (in addition to the present and card I gave her at the hospital on Saturday evening. While I'm at it, remember in your prayers her fellow patient, Margaret, who is waiting for a liver transplant.
Heather reports here.
There is a follow-up appointment with our GP at 11:15am today. She's still having some pain, which she claims is diminishing. We'll go with the Doctor's recommendation on what to do next.
Again, thanks for the blog posts, comments, prayers, good wishes, kind e-mails, the lot. They mean more than you know, and I'll respond as soon as we get unwound here.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Just got word a couple of minutes ago. The internal medicine specialist reviewed the test results, and it is definitive: there are no more clots. We're going to pick her up right now.
More later, but thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts. It's been overwhelming, really--and in the best possible way.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
She's not coming home today. The pulmonary and internal medicine specialists have determined that she needs more evaluation, though they are certain it was a clot. The phrase "life-threatening" was used at some point, and I distantly filed it away.
Heather is in relatively good spirits, except for the fact that she misses being at home. I'm taking her CD player and some music later. The heparin helped quite a bit, but she's still hurting in the same area (she compares it to a bruise, as opposed to yesterday's agony). She underwent a scan that the doctors flatly admit may not reveal anything. If it doesn't, then we have to consider either (1) a spiral CT scan, with a shield for the baby, or (2) anti-clotting shots every day until she delivers. Our ob/gyn will give her input on (1), as there is at least a theoretical risk to the child by using it.
We'll have the scan results later.
Some good news. Heather can have Hepryn [sp?], and it won't hurt the baby. She was given a shot of it late last evening. The pain diminished quickly, which pretty much confirms a clot.
I couldn't stay with her (semi-private room), but that made the kids happy. Mom and Dad spoiled them rotten with pizza, popcorn and cartoons.
A pulmonary specialist will be visiting today to see if it was an embolism. The specialist has to visit before any other tests or scans will be done. The long and short of it is that she may--may--be coming home today.
Finally, a huge thanks to the head of ER for Mount Clemens Regional Hospital, Dr. Saad. He was certain it was a clot, and was determined to have her admitted. The first two doctors demurred, but he found one who authorized admission. Thank you very much, Doctor.
Friday, May 11, 2007
The short of it is that they think Heather has blood clots. She can't draw an even moderately deep breath without serious pain, and she has pains on the left side of her chest even without breathing deeply. They are doing a scan on her legs right now to see if there are any clots there, which is why I was able to get home for a moment. Heather has always been healthy, isn't remotely overweight, takes care of herself and has no history of health problems, so this is right out of the blue. They're going to do another scan on here that will reveal clots in the chest (if any), but the best case scenario is sometime tomorrow, and if not then, not before Monday. Consequently, Heather's being admitted for a minimum of a day, quite probably longer.
Big, huge impossible-to-quantify thanks to our neighbor Shelly and her family. Shelly took Heather to the hospital and is watching the kids until my mom and dad get here. God bless them all.
Now the scary part: treating blood clots with thinners does no favors for the baby. So, yeah, we're both scared, not sure what is going to happen here. I'm staying with her tonight at the hospital.
Thanks for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts. This woman means the world to me.
Franklin Jennings has a fun request:
I don't suppose you'd be disposed to inviting your readers to suggest names for boats? I'm in the earliest stages of designing a small motorcruiser and I thought since you have the funniest bunch of guys on the planet, I'd like to get some suggestions for boat names. I'd prefer some sort of funny or witty name that suits a small yacht built by a trad. An in-joke for Catholics or something in Latin. That sort of thing.
Since this is the home of the funniest guys on this orb, let's pony up, shall we?
English: The Barque.
Carpathia (just looking for a good vibe).
Latin: Beatus Vir.
Res Ipsa Loquitur.
Beatus Navis Bellarium.
Let's not let the man down, lads and lasses.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Steve Skojec's very good idea is off the ground and running at his new blog. Yes, I am a member, but I have to do things with my template to get the code to work. Always a twitchy time, but be patient--it'll appear soon.
Come on over--all the cool kids are joining up.
Because, you see, it's my board. And yes, I am Dale Price, and I am painfully easy to find if you have a Michigan phone directory. Bonus info: I, like the rest of my family, adhere to an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, too. I find it ironic that an untruther gets all snarky about questions, but your mileage may vary.
But s/he left with a panicked squirt of pixels. OK, I had the nightstick in hand, but still. Note the pontificating blather with which s/he attempts to baptise his/her otherwise inexplicable passivity in the face of a hellish regime, and the long indictment of American society's (real) moral failures. Which are, of course, a shared concern for the Catholic untruther's hard-left associates.
You know--the ones driving untrutherism. You can lie down with whatever dogs you like. Just don't expect a big hug from the rest of us afterwards.
Here's the crux of the jib:
I find the ignoring of facts when they are presented to you in an open manner to be contemptible. Others are willing the talk over the points. What's the problem?
Ah, the truth. The "facts." Well, of course--who better to trust than anonymous folks who aren't expert in the relevant fields? Trouble is, what was offered weren't really "the facts." They aren't even tested theories. They are hypotheses fueled by unreason, conjecture and a corrosive irrational distrust coupled with a deficiency of real critical thinking skills. It ain't pretty. Want to see real critical thinking in action? Zach Frey manages it in one sentence:
An administration so competently evil as to pull off 9/11 as a Reichstag fire would surely have "found" a few more WMDs in Iraq as well.
I'll toss in a few more examples: the discovery of the wiretapping and CIA prisons by the New York Times. The massive conspiracy that a staged 9/11 requires would have far more people involved, and yet not a one has talked? Okay.
There's nothing to discuss. The illogic behind untrutherism is worthy of a Chick tract. No, wait--that's not fair to Mr. Chick. Some things are so absurd as to deserve no serious discussion. And I could really care less if--allegedly--the Ground Zero workers thought there was a government conspiracy involved. The truth is not subject to overturning by a majority vote. Likewise if veterans of the 4th Armored Division suddenly started saying "maybe there wasn't a Holocaust after all." The Holocaust happened regardless of what the ballot returns at Hutton Gibson's poker night are. Sadly, there's no point in having a discussion with untruthers, as they have demonstrated that their faith is not subject to disproof.
The facts are readily available to all, shiny-eyed and infidel. Leave it to my beloved late grandfather's favorite magazine to respond with this magisterial piece. For a broader treatment of the 9/11 claims in general, go here. The way critical thought is going, you probably ought to get the book-length version. For an examination of the functional insanity of conspiracy thinking, I strongly recommend this essay. [Big h/t to Mike Inman.] In short, there is a point where continuing to "ask questions" constitutes bad faith and culpable ignorance, and is corrosive of the very concept of objective truth.
Especially so when the questions have been definitively answered by witnesses and people in the know. Irrefutably so when the questioner's position depends upon a farrago of conjecture, fantasy and, yes, flat out lies ("melting steel," for God's sake). And metaphysically so when the questioner doesn't have the courage of his shoddy convictions to actually do anything about it except to anonymously to emit carbon dioxide. When the questioner is a follower of Christ...words fail.
Vegans get life sentence for starving their six week old baby son to death.
Sacrificing their helpless child on the altar of their selfish, odious, patently-brain-dead-yet-oh-so-trendy beliefs. Here's hoping that what they say about the fate of babykillers in prison is true.
Too harsh? Tell me if you think so after hearing the sperm-donor wallow in self pity:
When the judge told the defendants they could ask for a new trial, Thomas hung his head low.
"I'm dying every day in there," he said, "and that could take three years."
No, you stupid, whining, self-centered asshole, your son--your helpless little gift that depended entirely on you for love and protection, a gift millions far more worthy than your worthless self plead with heaven for yet mysteriously never receive--your son, damn you--is the one who died. In helpless, uncomprehending agony.
May you linger, many, many years.
Nicholas Sarkozy, the French President-elect, reminds us that France wasn't always the butt of cheese-eating surrender monkey jokes. I'll check the translation with my French-speaking wife.
The right man, in the right place, at the right time? We'll see, and let's hope.
And pray. I assume his security detail is razor sharp.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The [expletive deleted] is going to Constantinople (it was called that during Ottoman times, too) in a few weeks.
Envy. Emerald-green envy.
Maybe Heather will let me buy some books as consolation.
And maybe the horse will learn to sing.
Whoa--someone needs to tell Thomas Sowell to get a grip.
When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.
Yiiiikes. The only good thing I can say about this is that at least he said it while a Republican was in office.
Stop wondering. By its very nature, a coup means that the nation's end has arrived. Leaving aside the insuperable moral problem, there is also a pragmatic one: in a continent with a widely dispersed population, a coup attempt buys you a civil war. Which, given the fact we are the most technologically-advanced nation in human history, means destruction on a hellish scale. Think Espana 1936, with the full goodie-bag of American military hardware at the opponents' disposal.
Oh, wait--that gets you back to the "insuperable moral problem" again.
Deep breaths, Dr. Sowell.
Yes, the country is filled with a dismaying number of non-thinkers with grievances inversely proportional to their capacity for logic. Yes, the nation is culturally fissiparous, with pockets of selfish, stupid, navel-gazing hedonism that makes Cabaret look like a celebration of Calvin's Geneva.
But that's no reason to look for a shining man on horseback, come to save us all. Look what all that "solution" has done for Latin America, Southern Europe, Africa, Eastern Europe, etc. throughout the ages.
Consider: (1) the non-thinkers really don't mean it. Take, for example, the 9/11 un-Truthers.
Please, dear Lord, and soon.
In the case of the un-Truthers, it boils down to a lazy mental pacifier used to medicate the pain of defeat at the polls. They don't mean a word of it, deep down. People who really believed this crap would do something more concrete than, say, posting hit and run anonymous comments on blogs. I mean, if you really believed the Chimpy McBushitlerburton Regime blew up the WTC, you wouldn't shrug and go home every night to watch Futurama reruns on Adult Swim. Not very Founding-Fatherish, when it comes down to it.
Ditto climate change alarmism. If Sheryl Crow were as terrified of global warming as she claims, she wouldn't travel with a retinue that would make an Ottoman Sultan pull up short.
"Hey, Sherry, that's a little over the top, don't you think? Four buses? Less is more, hon. Less is more. Except when you're talking 'harem.' Hi-yo! Speaking of which: How would you like to join? Lately, I've had a hankerin' for 'clueless' and 'bony.' Whaddaya say?
(2) Selfish hedonism solves itself in the medium term. People who are too busy surfing for the latest Thai animal p**n are not going to be movers and shakers on the political scene.
None of this is to deny that there are serious problems in the culture and the body politic. Nor is this to say that one shouldn't take steps to protect himself and his family from the cancers in both. I'd argue it's a duty, and the steps involved may be extensive.
But a counsel of despair is self-defeating, and just as destructive in the long term. After a decade and a half of hippies, the country elected Reagan. The electorate that swept the Dems to power in 2006 did so only after the Democrats promised to govern like adults and even tossed some counter-cultural pro-life candidates into the mix. Their actual record in power isn't particularly encouraging, but there are still grounds for hope.
Hoping for a coup? Come on. That's a declaration of surrender.
For some reason, my mind flashed to The Untouchables when I saw this picture, appended to the story(1) of the wholly-justified faculty revolt at the Ave Maria School of Law.
Your mileage may vary.
(1) Yeah, it's the News.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Some things just bring out my inner Ash:
Having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a 4x4 car and failing to reuse plastic bags, according to a report to be published tomorrow by a green think tank.
The paper by the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.
John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London, said: "The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. An extra child is the equivalent of a lot of flights across the planet. The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child."
Of course, Mr. Guillebaud could cut 100% of his personal carbon dioxide output simply by dropping dead. But like a Palestinian imam who encourages suicide bombers, his moment of personal sacrifice never quite comes around.
[Above image used only because I couldn't find the immortal "I'll swallow your soul!/Come get some" battle scene.]
The Freckled Beckenbauer scored three more goals in Saturday's scrimmage. I tried to get him to pass--honestly. He was up against another Mia Hamm (the girls are really more advanced at the same age) who beat him in athleticism, but not in sheer heads-to-the-storm determination.
Yesterday he helped me with the lawn. The show business part, as I call it--scouring it for dog poop before I mow. He scooped it up and even grabbed the cat litter bucket we use to "store" it in. I showed him how we use charcoal ashes to neutralize the smell in the bucket. He found that interesting.
Maddie's ballet recital is in a little over two weeks. She's excited about that, but was more excited about a visit to the last surviving one-room schoolhouse in the area. She's wanted to go since March, and has been disappointed we couldn't make it. Speaking of school, Maddie is now in the second quarter of the first grade in most of her subjects, and the first quarter of the first grade in the others. Remember, she's the girl the experts wanted to place in a two-year kindergarten program. Grrr....
As to the schoolhouse (the Bunert Road School), it's located in Warren. It was used from 1875 to 1944, and the Warren Historical Society lovingly renovated and restored it, ultimately moving it next door to a local high school. It's loaded with artifacts from the era, including a couple of books donated by a student of the last class. Heather's probably going to donate her globe from the 1930s. The school is only open on the first Sunday of the month, but it is packed when it is. Heather spoke with one of the volunteers, and when asked about school informed her that we homeschool. She responded, "I thought so. I could hear the patience in your voice."
Rachel is a tomboy with a love of dressing like a princess. She gets the dress-wearing from Maddie and Mama. Yesterday she wore the pink gown-like dress I bought her for Easter (I had to coax her out of wearing a dress suited for an 18 month old. She still scraps like the offspring of Laila Ali and Wyatt Earp.
They all had a ball at the banquet hall following the first communion of my nephew Greg and baptism of my newest niece, Ruby. Yeah, a full day. But a good one.
The newest addition has an ultrasound this Thursday. Our Ob/Gyn is taking no chances this time. She's a good one, and has four sons herself--in fact, she was eight months pregnant when she delivered Madeleine. And yet she is remarkably sane.
More about the ultrasound on Thursday.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
Housing starts are at a 25 year low.
All of which means that we are going to have to take money to the closing. Selling the house for what we paid for it is, to quote our realtor friend, a "pipe dream."
That's an eye-opener.
My reaction? It explains my exclusion from his blogroll. That, and my overheated rhetoric, probably.
More seriously, there's nothing to react to--the issue's closed, as he says. Authority issues from the previous weeks are cited, but I have the same reaction to that as I do to Rod Dreher's doctrinal arguments--not really convincing. Then again, if they were convincing, I couldn't, in good faith, be Catholic. He's always been an honest man, but there's more going on here, and hints of that show in close reads of his recent postings. Further I won't speak.
That's because the man remains a decent human being with a family, and some members are in shock right now.
In other words, don't be jerks about this.
Prayer is in order.
An Orthodox bishop in Chicago has responded to the Weigel column of a few weeks back.
The main point is a fair one:
While [the] Orthodox may be more conscious of the lack of communion with Rome, this may not be so negative as Mr. Weigel implies. This means, at least, perception of the problem. Perhaps the thought of "how one stands vis-à-vis the Patriarch of Constantinople" and other Orthodox primates should be on the minds of more Roman Catholic sisters and brothers. Perhaps then the absence of "one lung" will be recognized as a debilitative condition, while the necessity of communion and reconciliation with Rome's sisters will be felt to be a serious need. Without the perception of brokenness, there can be no change of mind. Without the perception of need for change, without the desire to fill the absence, reconciliation will not occur.
[H/t to Rich Leonardi, who kindly sent this to me.]
Remember, I root for the Detroit Red Wings--who, until the '98 Cup triumph, were the Atlanta Braves of Hockey.
Speaking of sports: has anyone heard from commenter Gerard lately? I haven't seen a recent comment by him in any location, and the good Philadelphian always rises like a dolphin to chum for sports posts. Hope he's well.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Steve Skojec and Jeff Culbreath have good posts on finding safer places and building on them. I especially like the idea of integrating into a healthy existing community and going from there. Trying to build one up from zero is a recipe for failure (sorry, Ave Maria Town residents). There's something inorganic and hopelessly utopian about such endeavors, and I can't help but think that circular firing squads are inevitable.
I'd also like to put in a plug for small towns far from the madding 'burbs, especially for those of us (coughmecough) who can't picture themselves trying to grow anything on a regular basis. Most of the benefits and better livelihood prospects for most of us.
OTOH, Bob Mould's It's Too Late cues up when I think about the getaway, but YMMV. I go through life accompanied by a black dog that I end up scrapping with on a regular basis. The good news is that it has more scars than I do, so feel free to ignore my bleak notes.
I have to admit, I like this Iraq proposal from the Dems:
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) indicated that the next bill will include benchmarks for Iraq -- such as passing a law to share oil revenue, quelling religious violence and disarming sectarian militias -- to keep its government on course. Failure to meet benchmarks could cost Baghdad billions of dollars in nonmilitary aid, and the administration would be required to report to Congress every 30 days on the military and political situation in Iraq.
Makes a lot more sense than wholly artificial timetables. If the Iraq government is going to be a Shia bludgeon, why bother?
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Because I know the suspense has (not) been killing you.
It's Solomon, and it is from the St. Joseph's book Great Men of the Old Testament. Together with Great Women of the Bible and Great Men of the New Testament, it presents the best art of the St. Joseph series, which can be very uneven.
As you can tell, it leans heavily on depictions of film stars from the 60s and 70s (Jesus is Jeffrey Hunter, to a T).
Despite (because of?) that, it is very good stuff, as two more samples show:
[Congrats to commenter Bill, who posted the correct answer as I was working on this post.]
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Keep this in mind: ratings have been up since this certified ignoramus started braying on Teh Voo.
Because if there was any hope left for this nation, ABC's offices would have been surrounded by mobs demanding the immediate firing of the simpleton months ago.
Oh, and nice job there, Ricki Lake: "Because of a ineducation." If she's right, then she should be thanking her lucky stars there's no draft.
Then again, anyone looking to Lake for political insight has probably also received a diagnosis that uses the terms "vegetative" or "irreparable."
That goes double for O'Donnell fans.
Remember: Fire can't melt steel.
We still think about him. It still hurts, even with the so far, so good news about our newest addition. Good Friday was particularly tough, as the loss came back with raw, gouging force.
We call the one we lost Edmund, because in my guts I know he was a boy. I see him playing with his doting older brother, barrelling around the house like a two-legged wrecking ball.
But it was not meant to be, for reasons which will remain mysterious while we dwell in this vale of tears. The dreams died.
So the recent discussion of Limbo has hit home, with the usual suspects left and right using the theologians' work as a chance to score rhetorical points in the Catholic civil war.
I have no particular objection to Limbo. But I don't see a problem with the theologians' work, which simply says that parents of unbaptized children have hope.
Not a certainty, not a free pass, not happy-clappy sentimentalism and definitely not an excuse to put off the sacrament or to convert it into an ultimately-meaningless initiation ceremony, but hope.
I don't see where this is a problem, not when there is baptism of desire. Yes, I know that the article says only adults can have the desire for baptism. But the Tradition also demonstrates that the parents can ask of Christ what their children cannot.
There are three telling episodes in the middle of the Gospel According to St. Mark which stand out: the raising of Jairus' daughter in Mark 5, the exorcism of the Syrophoenician woman's little daughter in Mark 7 and the exorcism of the boy after the Transfiguration in Mark 9. In each case, the parents begged Christ in faith to heal children who were incapable of asking for His help on their own. In each case, Jesus delivered the child. We would have baptized Edmund, as we have all of our children, but that proved impossible. Now we have to ask Christ to do what we could not--in fact, to do what only He can do, whether the recipient is born or unborn. And we have hope that that will happen.
Hope is enough.