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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Freeze this moment a little bit longer.

Mostly for Almaniacs, but some of the rest of you might be able to identify.

A friend of mine sent word on that Hulings Hobby Shop is closing. Claude's still running it, too, at age 85, for a wonder.

Yes, it has a wood floor. A wood floor so creaky ninjas couldn't sneak across it. Hulings' also has an upstairs. When I was a kid, upstairs was where the action was: all the gaming stuff was up there. The models, too.

But Claude resolutely refused to let anyone go upstairs without his direct supervision, especially impatient geeky hooligans eager to look at the latest TSR or SPI releases. The friend who sent it to me had it nailed:

"Claude never understood what torture it was for a kid with five dollars in his pocket to have to wait while he dealt with someone buying craft supplies."

Which never took less than forever, of course.

James remembers squandering lawnmowing money on blisterpacks of gaming miniatures. I acquired the D&D releases, along with SPI's Time Tripper and War of the Ring. The latter cost me $12 and required a whole lot of sweating and patience to buy. I doubt Claude ever understood what the fascination was, but he had it on hand nonetheless.

I'm going to have to get there before it closes forever. Here's hoping.
Rodents: Enriching our lives.

Dramatic Prairie Dog:








Monday, June 25, 2007

Her name was Chloe.

Not "fetus."

Her mother, Jessie (God rest her soul), was in the ninth month of pregnancy and had long since chosen to give birth to her. Even by the inhuman calculus of "choice," that mandates Chloe be considered something other than a glob of cells.

Get it right, AP.

An unborn baby, murdered at the same time as her mother, by her father (allegedly).

Chloe.
Rarely have I so wanted to be right.

I'm still mulling the MySpace mass below. I have a post brewing, but the short of it is this: it takes a "perfect storm" of breakdowns in the culture, Church and family to get to something like that.

It's impossible to picture forty years ago--yes, even in the go-go Sixties--a priest or anyone with the Church's imprimatur, saying "We're going to celebrate a Jubilee Mass for the local Franciscan Sisters. I need three young ladies in the parish to dance about the altar dressed in these."

The reaction would have been most unaffirming, I think.

The bad news, of course, is: here we are.

The good news is that all it takes are a couple of broken links in the chain along the way to make sure it doesn't happen again. Of course, it's going to take a lot of hammering to break the links, but it's not like we have much of a choice.

So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Friday, June 22, 2007

You've been punked--OR NOT__UPDATED.

There's been understandable indignation about an alleged example of liturgical dance involving some fetching young things at a "Franciscan Jubilee Mass for women religious."

The only problem?

It's fake. And I can prove it.

Look at the second photo, particularly the priest's left hand, and the outstretched arm of the dancer. (1) Given the position of his hand, how can she be that close to the altar? The quick answer: she can't. (2) The lighting is off when you look at her arm, compared to the rest of the photo. Awfully shiny arm given the way the surrounding part of the photo is lit.

Finally, look at the rest of the Mass--gold chalices and patens, proper vestments. This isn't the National Association of Rebellious Nuns praying to the four winds, folks. If the legitimate parts of the pics are a Jubilee Mass, then we can all relax and be thankful for the selfless service of the women being so honored.

Someone's trying to pull a funny. And it worked.

[Thanks to Paul Borealis at Phil Blosser's blog for kicking my brain into gear.]

[UPDATE, 6/23/07: God in heaven, it's authentic. Mr. Abbott sent me a lot more info including one of the ladies in question holding the chalice. Apologies to Mr. Abbott for going off half-cocked.

It takes a lot to appall me in the liturgical world these days, but this one is off the scale.

A week in the stocks and a rattan caning for those who organized this would be a good start.]
Like I said, they all feel it.


[Photos copyright AP 2007]


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No good deed...

Man saves woman's life, and gets fired because of it.

Because he brought his shotgun to the scene of the crime.

When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg.

Tonnetta Lee survived Tuesday's pre-dawn shooting at her Jacksonville apartment, and her sister and a neighbor praised Bruley's actions. But his employers, the same people who own the Arlington complex where Bruley lives, reacted differently. They fired him.
Bruley, a leasing agent at the Oaks at Mill Creek, said he lost his job after being told that brandishing the weapon was a workplace violation, as was failing to notify supervisors after the incident occurred. He'd worked at the Monument Road complex since December and for the owner, Village Green Cos., since 2005.


* * *

"Colin demonstrated extremely poor judgment in responding to this situation," the complaint said. "Colin's failure to immediately report this incident ... could have serious ramifications to the property, its associates and residents."

So, if Bruley had "immediately reported the incident," rolled over and went back to sleep, he'd still be employed today. And Tonetta Lee would be dead.

But in that scenario, the sacrosanct procedures and exquisite sensitivities of the white-gloved management at Village Green would not have been violated, so that would have been chalked up as an acceptable cost of doing business. At worst, they'd have had the apartment cleaned up and available for rental by August 1.

Remember: Village Green cares. It says so right there on the corporate website.

Join me in expressing disapproval.

[H/t to Steve, who emailed this to me.]
Past the point of no return.

John Allen strikes me as a thoroughly decent man, and a fine, even-handed chronicler of things Catholic, both in America and abroad. He is also a fervent proponent of building a conversation between the factions in the Church in America, and this latest essay is another example of that.

In it, he touts as epochal a speech by Daniel Finn, the outgoing president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. Among other topics, in his speech, Finn lamented the fact that the CTSA had run off its conservative membership and had become a blunt instrument in the hands of progressives in the American Catholic civil war.

My read is that Allen is investing far more hope in this speech than is warranted. First of all, it was given by the outgoing president. It's just as possible the ovation was a send-off for a guy they all liked--gonna miss you, Fr. Finn! More to the point, why did Fr. Finn have to wait until he was going out the door to deliver this? Perhaps because it wouldn't be well-received as a program of action?

More damning to the thesis of hope, why couldn't Allen get the incoming president to say what she thought? He was on the floor, what about a sampling of the membership's reaction? Sounds like it's more hypothetical than real hope at this point.

Still, the speech as reported is, indeed, somewhat cheering. If nothing else it is an honest (and sadly rare) self-diagnosis of a serious problem. And I, too, at one time thought that maybe an official honest hashing out of the differences between self-identified Catholics would be helpful. Alas, no longer.

Allen is right that there's a canyon between the tribes, and the problem is at its root one of trust. But, sadly, he's wrong to think that any amount of discussion and building of "safe spaces" is going to heal the fissure. Only time can do that now.

The fact is, after forty years of conflict and isolation, the tribes have become so divided that they have developed different dialects and attach different meanings to the same words. For example, if I see "Eucharist" without the definite article, or "being church," or like terminology, I either stop reading or recognize that it's going to be a chore to finish the piece in question. By using such insider lingo, the article's trying to take me to Progressiville, and I don't care to go.

There are other badges of division. The most obvious is that both sides gravitate to parishes according to the way Mass is celebrated. Another is that we read different publishers (right down to different study bibles), different academics and go to different schools, admire different thinkers and bishops. In short, we know our opponents by what they are reading, where they went to school and who they admire.

Thus any proposed discussion is already hobbled by a lack of common experiences and common intellectual frameworks. But what kills any such proposal is that there is no common basis for understanding the truth, no mutual recognition of applicable boundaries.

What is the point of such discussion spaces? If it's to feel better about "the other," I dunno--maybe for that limited purpose it would work.

"Well, I guess Richard McBrien/Neuhaus doesn't guzzle embryonic stem cell cocktails/use poor children for skeet shooting after all."

Other than that, what? Feel good about agreeing to disagree? Yeesh. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I fail to see the point of signing up for a chat-fest with co-religionists who undercut the faith I'm trying to pass on in the name of "being prophetic." Or "exercising academic freedom." Or whatever.

["Prophetic" is another one of those code words that each side of the divide attaches different meanings to. For progressives, "being prophetic" means following the Spirit and challenging injustice. For the orthodox, "being prophetic" is just a hopped-up term describing the act of pissing on the common ecclesial rug.

The one that really tied the room together, man.]

Like it or not, progressives have to face up to the fact that they are preceived on the other side as ecstatic about signing the latest surrender accords with the culture, both in morality and with regard to theology. Bluntly, they want to make the traditionally-profane sacred and the traditionally-sacred optional--where they would permit it to exist at all, that is.

To illustrate the pointlessness of the dialogue proposal, consider the CTSA itself. Some of you may have heard of the Rev. Roger Haight, a theologian now infamous for his claim that belief in an empty tomb is optional for good Catholics, which resulted in him being properly hammered by the Vatican for his stylings.

He's still a member in good standing. In fact, he is a past president.

Kyle voice: "Really?"

Yep, really--he's a member. And the guild's reaction to the Notification was to circle ranks and bare its fangs at the Vatican for its temerity in putting the kibosh on the Catholic Press Association's 2000 Theological Book of the Year.

And this is supposed to be the forum for rapprochement? Those who believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ are going to link arms with the "Cameron just might have found his corpse after all" wing? Doesn't sound particularly promising to me. "No boundaries" might be a catchy sales slogan, but it's not a project that the orthodox tribe will want to invest a lot of their time in. Nor does "anything [PC] goes" inspire confidence in the durability of any understandings reached.

Who knows where the Spirit™ will lead next week?

It's something of a shame, because Lord knows that the orthodox need regular reality checks and criticism of our numerous flaws (the ever-popular circular firing squad, intolerance for the messiness of life, and too quick a recourse to iron fist, to name but three). And perhaps, yes, occasionally, prodded to think outside the box.

But we won't take that prompting from self-identified Catholics who, when all is said and done, don't think the empty tomb is all that important.

Prayers for Steve Skojec and family.

His mother-in-law has been missing since the beginning of June.
Remember these men, their surviving comrades, and all the families and friends in your prayers.

Nine firemen die in Charleston, South Carolina store blaze.

My dad was a volunteer fireman for 32 years, retiring as Chief. I remember him scrambling out of the house at all hours to get to fires, and somehow I managed to banish the fear that he might not return. Mom and Doug did, too. You have to, for his sake as well as yours.

When tragedies like this happen, it's a gut punch to firemen and their families everywhere.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Busy.

Went to the Catholic homeschooling conference in Lansing on Saturday. Detroit's newest Bishop, Daniel Flores, celebrated the Mass and gave a superb homily about cultivating a "Marian memory," which offers continuous gratitude to God and bears fruit in a loving service to others. He quoted St. Thomas Aquinas and generally knocked it out of the yard. I'm liking this guy a lot. Some diocese is going to be blessed, indeed.

The conference went well, though the book purchases were limited. To my wife's consternation, I spent all of about $5 on books for moi. I found a political and cultural history of Europe in two volumes that was published in 1936. It covered from the fifteenth century to 1935, and the "modern" chapters were somewhat chilling, depicting a world unaware it was on the brink of a cataclysm. Interestingly enough, Hitler's open anti-Semitism and aggression were obvious by this point, and the author even made reference to "concentration camps" for Jews and other victims of the regime, though the exterminationist agenda was not yet evident at the time of publication.

Sunday was a great Father's Day, with the grilling of mass quantities of bratwurst, the opportunity to be both the vile dragon and the rescuing knight at the treehouse, and generally the BMOC to my kids. Rachel wished me a "Happy Halloween," which is really big stuff if you know about her love for freebies loaded with high fructose corn syrup, and the like.

Nothing's caught my eye lately, and work has me hemmed in a bit, so blogging will be whatever it is. Via Victor, I learned that I got another Washington Times nod in the Culture Briefs section last week. As soon as I get a permalink, I'll post it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.

Today is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Given the tireless work of Ginny Marshall and Tom Fitzpatrick, anything else I do would be gilding the lily.

Their site is the place to be for all your Two Hearts needs.
Wow.

Despite my wife's understandable disdain, every now and then reality TV shines a ray of the true, the good and the beautiful.

Here's my evidence: Paul Potts, a soft-spoken Welsh telephone salesman with a tremendous gift.

Just see it. It's like watching--and hearing--the divine spark blaze into full glory.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Flag Day!

And here's a fitting story from 2003, describing Bataan Death March survivor Lester Tenney's quest to collect historic American flags and display them to schools and community groups.

Lester Tenney and part of his collection.

[North Coast Times, cr. 2003]

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ave Verlander Imperator!




Justin handcuffs the Brewers for the sixth no-hitter in Tigers history, the first since 1984 (a very good year) and the first home no-no since Virgil Trucks in 1952.

Fun fact: his fastball peaked at 102 mph.

In the ninth inning.

Let me also offer rare praise to Neifi "Balsa Bat" Perez, who aspires to one day be a slap hitter.

The man is rock-solid defensively, and if it hadn't been for a beautiful stab at a grounder and backhand toss to start a double play in the eighth, we wouldn't be talking about a no-hitter today. He officially has a free pass on his grim at-bats until September.

Bonus fun: the title refers to a concluding scene in a sci-fi book. A super-secret prize to the first non-author who can guess the book--by Friday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Pope has arrived.

Last night, Maddie and I went to Costco to purchase mass quantities for the Price clan. As promised, we stopped by the book tables.

I did a double take, but sure enough, it was there--two stacks, each fifteen or so copies high, of Jesus of Nazareth.

Boo-yah!
Faaaabulous!

Pentagon considered building "gay bomb."

All right, then.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tagged.

With an interesting meme: Things/People That Don't Bother/Worry Me.

You're supposed to come up with thirty, but we'll see. With some annotation:

1. Protestant fundamentalists. They're on the same side about 85% of the time, aren't pumping the culture full of crap, and I'm comfortable enough to swat them aside when they get up in my face about the other 15%.

2. Seat belt laws.

3. Helmet laws. I don't need to feel the curb running through my hair, thanks.

4. Dishabited nuns. I've met some very orthodox ones, believe it or not.

5. Vaccination requirements. My thought is that this shouldn't be an issue, but it's a strange world getting stranger.

6. Getting asked for an ID when making a debit card purchase.

7. Instant replay. Get the call right.

8. Mitt Romney's Mormonism. Could. Not. Care. Less. Don't buy the LDS narrative even slightly, but that's not the reason I haven't warmed to the guy. In fact, I liked the response he gave at the last debate, refusing to put daylight between himself and his faith. Good for him. That takes clockweights.

9. The New Atheism. Vaguely irritating, but far from bothersome. Just what is new about it, anyway?

10. NHL shootouts. Who likes a tie?

11. Andrew Greeley. Sorry--I've tried to work up outrage at the windy Irishman, but I can't. He's the most likeable--and, yes, constructive--of the Class of '67. He can be (intentionally) laugh out loud funny, too.

12. A certain alleged Roman something or other.

13. The music of John Foley of the STL Jebbies. He had all the talent in that band.

14. The Notre Dame Fight Song.

15. Andrew Sullivan. What a difference not reading him makes.

16. Long memes.

17. Gas grills. Sometimes, you just have to use the Barbie grills in a pinch. It doesn't make you a bad person. For the most part.

18. Vegetarians. As opposed to vegans.

19. George Steinbrenner.

20. Parts of the State of Ohio.

21. Traffic slowdowns. As long as I have my tapes/CDs and a functional A/C, let it ride.

22. Mild-to-moderate profanity/scatology. As long as the kids aren't within earshot.

23. Macro-brew beer.

24. San Antonio Spurs fans. Most of the time.

25. Nuclear power.

26. Blizzards.

27. Waiting in line to get your license plates renewed. See #21, add "books."

28. Non-obscene spam. Click, delete and move on.

29. The French.

30. Very, very long memes.

Tag: it. And it.
And so it ends.

Season Four will be the last for Galactica.

Despite the happy talk, the reason seems pretty obvious: the odds for a fifth season were just about nil.

The good news is that this means the story arc should get the resolution it deserves. Those who remember Seasons 4 and 5 of Babylon 5 know what the precarious renewal status of the show meant for the plot: a hurried resolution of the Shadow War unsettled the remainder of 4 and left Season 5 in the doldrums until the halfway point.

The key word being "should." An uneven Season 3 gives some cause for concern. But nothing focuses the mind quite so effectively as the axe, so here's hoping.

Prediction: they don't get to Earth.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

We interrupt the nonstop Paris Hilton coverage to bring you this.

A rare Saturday post, but worth breaking the silence. Here are three good blogs I've found recently:

The Roving Medievalist--devoted to medieval images and architecture.
Let Britannia Rise--the same, except focused on Great Britain.

Both by Jeffrey Smith, a Toledan with a fine taste in imagery, Catholic and Britannic. His tag is a classic: "Cantankerous middle-aged relapsed Catholic who is hopelessly in love with 'old unhappy far-off things and battles long ago.'" Actually, I've seen TRM before, but I've been dilatory in linking. Here's the overdue correction.

fides et ardor, by a former Anglican priest-turned Catholic in Wales, with a focus on promoting Welsh and English culture, no small task in the era of "Cool Britannia."

Give them a look.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Most brutal one-line review of 2007.

"The Secret is the self-help book for people who found Dan Brown too hard to read."

Ouch.
Michigan: It's a whole 'nother place.

Wheelchair-bound man stuck in grille of semi-truck for two miles, is unhurt.

Ben Carpenter is used to being on wheels. Just not in this way.

Carpenter, 21, who was pushed for 2 miles down a two-lane highway when his wheelchair got stuck in the grille of a semi, said he was helpless. He just had to ride it out.

"I tried to yell for help but no one could hear me," he said Thursday.

The truck driver had no idea someone was stuck in his grille Wednesday afternoon until he turned into the lot of his business and was stopped by an undercover police officer who had spotted the incident on the highway.

The truck, Carpenter said, was going 50 m.p.h. Luckily, he always straps himself into the chair, so he felt secure that he wouldn't fall out. But he was pretty sure he was going to die.

"I didn't know how far he was going," he said of the driver, whose name was not released Thursday. "I think people were looking at me."
Interesting coincidence.

Bear-i-tone properly corrected me regarding the D-Day post and noted that Europe's liberation began with the invasion of Italy, mentioning his father's experience in the Italian campaign.

Just this morning, I had the opportunity to shake hands with an Anzio veteran. A Ranger, no less, and from the looks of him, it was a good bet that he could still break me in half. I thanked him for his service and for "going through hell with Mark Clark."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

St. Blog's Baby Pics.


Courtesy of once-and-future blogger, Terry the Filius Prodigius, who announced the birth of his daughter Elizabeth Claire in the combox.

The first is of Elizabeth Claire at roughly six weeks, the second as a newborn:




Beautiful little girl you have there, Terry. Congrats on the wonderful blessing. And get a grinder and buy your coffee in beans. It's more expensive, but you deserve to taste the good stuff while you're quaffing it by the gallon.
Cutest dodge of the year.

Courtesy of the Michigan franchise of the ACLU.

The ACLU says that the use of student fees at a public university to build facilities for use by adherents of one religion is just okey-dokey fine.

Specifically, the University of Michigan is spending student fee money to build Muslim footbaths.

The Detroit ACLU branch is down with that, and their reasoning wins them the right to trademark the term "casuistry," free and clear for the next fifty years:

The Detroit chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union isn't getting involved, arguing the foot baths are secular since non-Muslims could use them, said spokeswoman Rana Elmir.

They don't make hip-waders strong enough to withstand BS like that.

Thought experiment: imagine using student fees to install holy water fonts outside the "reflection room" at the University. After all, anybody could dip their fingers into one. I suspect you could count on the Detroit chapter being all over that idea like a terrier on a hambone.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Crusade in Europe.

Today is the 63rd Anniversary of D-Day. I visited Sword Beach in 1989. I'll see if I can dig up some of my pictures.

In the meantime, take a moment today to remember the bravery of the men who began the liberation of Europe on that overcast day not so long ago.


[Photo via the Navy Historical Center.]
Prayer request.

Judith Leigh Doloughan, the mother of Hilary White, died last evening after a long battle with cancer.
Christopher Hitchens.

The legendary English barrister F.E. Smith (later Lord Birkenhead) was a dear friend of Winston Churchill until Smith's death in 1930. (Smith was also the master of the devastating courtroom put-down, deployed as often against judges as against the opposing party).

Smith clearly saw the oft-scattershot judgment of his impetuous friend, and remarked:

"When Winston is right, he's absolutely right. When he's wrong...well, my God."

I think that judgment applies to Mr. Hitchens as well. Here's one for the "absolutely right" file, as he destroys Chris Hedges in a religious debate. Look for Hedges' no mas moment at the end.
Haloscan is on the fritz.

So if you aren't seeing your comments in the actual comments box, it's not because of moderator activity. They are taking a long time to show up in boxes (though they are appearing fairly quickly at the sidebar).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

H/t to Peter Bradley for this find.

A fascinating discussion between Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath for a British TV special by Dawkins.

I agree with Peter on this one: Given the topic, both men manage to come across well, and I can now understand how Dawkins has friends. He drops the atheist pit-bull shtick for over an hour, and is genial and thoughtful--if baffled by McGrath's position.

Worth your time.
Show of hands: Anyone else up for persecution of metrosexuals?

It's taking everything I have to chain my inner Spicoli to the floor. First it was man-purses. Then it was facials and pedicures.

Now, it's come to this:

Makeup for "men."

If you're caught wearing this stuff without (1) third degree burns or (2) an engraved invitation to a costume party that evening, your testicles should be put on an organ donor list. You obviously aren't using them.
"Where is your god now?"

So said (more likely roared) St. Boniface, shortly after felling the sacred oak of Thor in what would later become Germany. And interfaith dialogue was never quite the same.
I tried to get Jeff Culbreath to name his farm after Boniface, but he went with St. Isidore for some inexplicable reason.

Today is Boniface's feast day--celebrate with a theme! If you can't manage felling pagan oaks, try a surburban equivalent: hedge-trimming, grass-cutting, or more ideally: chainsawing the weeds/branches trespassing on your lot from your neighbor's parcel. Repeat the Saint's taunt while doing it, and enjoy the fun! Oh, and don't forget kicking back with a good German beer to celebrate a job well done.






Historical P.S.: He was born in Crediton, England, and I'm happy to report the area hasn't forgotten its most famous native son.

Monday, June 04, 2007

"The most decisive five minutes in the history of naval warfare."

--John Keegan.
June 4, 1942.



Dauntless dive bombers at Midway, attacking a Japanese cruiser.

At shortly after noon, local time, Lt. Cmdr. C. Wade McClusky's Dauntless dive bomber squadron from the U.S.S. Enterprise began its run at the Japanese armada during the Battle of Midway. In five minutes of combat, three of the four Japanese carriers present would be destroyed, and the fourth would be sunk two days later.




McClusky in January 1942. He would retire from the Navy as a Rear Admiral.

The reason the Japanese were surprised? The suicidal heroism of the American torpedo bomber squadrons, whose unsupported attack runs in obsolete aircraft failed utterly with great loss--and focused the attention of the Japanese fighter squadrons and anti-aircraft batteries down at sea level.

Ensign George Gay (right), on June 4, 1942, just before going into combat. He was the sole survivor of the U.S.S. Hornet's torpedo squadron, and won the Navy Cross for heroism that day. He was picked up by an American submarine afte his plane was shot down.

By the time the IJN looked up from the torpedo attacks, the Dauntless squadrons had started their attack runs. They would not miss.

Good weekend.

Except for the humidity and condensed humidity.

We went out to a Mongolian BBQ with the Siekierskis on Saturday, and raided the Borders afterward. The gift card was rapidly extinguished. I got this and an encyclopedia on Fighters and Bombers for both myself and The Boy (because, you know, I'm confused about nationalism and whatnot and want to pass the confusion on). Dale thinks it's "cool," even though they're not tanks.

Madeleine has a new book to push her reading level (from the Frog and Toad series, not sure which one). Rachel received The Cat In The Hat Comes Back, which has been read three times since its purchase.

All in all, a restful and relaxing weekend. Which is good.

Excitement I don't need, thanks.
Good answers.

"I'd guess 32. 38? Wow, you don't look it."

"Me neither."

Since neither one of them either owed me money or was soliciting it from me, I'll take them at their word.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Like all good and loyal readers, you're always asking yourselves: "What can I do for Dale?"

Especially with my birthday looming and all.

This would be fine. But consult amongst yourselves first--multiple copies would be wasteful.

The rest can manage some other appropriate tribute.

That is all.
About the flying TB patient.

I'm beginning to feel sorry for Andrew Speaker. In the immortal words of Ricky Riccardo, the CDC has some 'splainin' to do:

"I don't expect for people to ever forgive me. I just hope that they understand that I truly never meant to put them in harm," he said, his voice cracking.

Speaker, 31, said he, his doctors and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all knew he had TB before he flew to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon last month. But he said he was advised that he wasn't contagious or a danger to anyone. Officials said they would rather he didn't fly but no one ordered him not to, he said.

He said his father, also a lawyer, taped that meeting.

"My father said, 'OK, now are you saying, prefer not to go on the trip because he's a risk to anybody, or are you simply saying that to cover yourself?' And they said, we have to tell you that to cover ourself, but he's not a risk."


BTW, you can thank the screwed-up use of antibiotics in prisons for the development of the strain in Russia. Basically, the prison authorities gave enough doses to TB patients to feel better, then stopped.

The Russian approach to problem-solving can be summarized like this:

Keep hitting the problem until it breaks. If it doesn't break, keep hitting. Use someone else's head where necessary.

The thing is, it works more often than not. But nobody uses the words "Russian style," and the collateral damage is usually gothic.