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Friday, August 31, 2007

Attention, Keira.

This is what a Hollywood actress should look like:



As Mr. Anderson notes: "Curves." Besides, the late, great Anne Baxter's performance in The Ten Commandments is brilliant all over. Her depiction of love curdling into bitter vengeance is a chilling wonder to behold. All that and va-va-voom, too.

Please note that I accept Gina Lollobrigida as a valid alternate answer.
Compare and contrast.

[Vulgar language alert.]

I like to think I understand how reasonable, decent people can be atheists. Weighing the claims of the particular religion, the findings of science, looking at the incomprehensively vast, howling and apparently lifeless waste that is the cosmos, and considering the often-bloody record of religion across the pre-history and history of mankind, I can see someone saying: "Sorry. Can't buy it. Too big a leap, thanks."

All right--I can respect that.

What I can't respect is the sophomore bullshit that focuses on Christianity as the locus of evil in the Western world. The atheists who essentially spray "F*ck Christianity" on the wall and proceed to mock and indict it for every failing in civilization, as though the purging of Christendom from the veins of man will usher in Utopia. The same cavalcade of juveniles also seems to think that all the good things of our modern world somehow winked into existence at the time of the Enlightenment and owes nothing to the Western Christian past:

"There were enlightened Greeks and Romans, sixteen hundred odd years of Dark Age idiocy brought on by Christianity, and then, voila, Voltaire, Rousseau, Darwin, Einstein and now X Boxes, eBay and iPhones and soon enough, embryonic stem cell research that will end the twin scourges of erectile disfunction and saggy titties. Sweet!"

That's pretty much Sam Harris' entire schtick, to use the parlance of our times. Exhibit A, his junior varsity attempt to pull a Weekend at Bernie's with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. What is remarkable about this alleged paladin of reason is that he is remarkably incurious about how the Western world, which marinated in the "contemptible history of religious atrocity and scientific ignorance" the jackhole shrieks about, nevertheless birthed "biology, meteorology, medicine, physics, and a dozen other specific sciences" he now waves as totems against the Christianist horde plotting to take away his porn stash.

"Well, the scientific method...um, just sort of spontaneously generated. The end."

Well, no. It didn't. Without a Catholic Christian worldview that preserved the tenuous findings of antiquity and gave an honored seat to reason (albeit precarious at times), you aren't reading this today. Our culture, as worn out as it is, is the offspring of the Christian West. You rip out the Christian superstructure, and Sam Harris, if he's lucky, is saddling up his mule in response to the muezzin call from a minaret.

Actually, no, that won't happen, what with Islam also drawing a good deal from a Christian well. In all likelihood, Sam Harris' world of annulled Christianity finds him scratching out a living from a field tilled for the benefit of a lord who holds the power of life and death, while he hopes that the rain god will favor his toil. He and his would live in a static dark age far darker than the candlelit one he shakes his fist at.

In other words, you can't get here without Christianity, as much as Harris fervently believes otherwise.

Fortunately, some atheists do recognize this. For that, I give you this fascinating read about the late, great Oriana Fallaci and her friendship with an Italian bishop over the last year of her life.

Fallaci's credentials as a non-believer were never in doubt. She once defined Christianity as "a beautiful fable," and wrote: "I'm tired of having to repeat, in writing and also orally, that I'm an atheist. In addition to being a secularist, I'm also profoundly anti-clerical. Priests don't sit well with me, just as they didn't with the anarchists of Lugano." (That's a reference to a city on the Swiss-Italian border where 19th century anarchists were chased out because of their opposition to the ultra-Catholic Hapsburg Empire.)

* * *

A colleague of Fallaci and a fellow non-believer, Italian journalist Vittorio Feltri, summed up their position during the Tuesday panel: "All of us have been shaped by a Christian culture. Facing a threat from the outside, and we all know where it comes from, we have to rally around our culture, which is the culture of Christianity, even if in the end we can't bring ourselves to believe in God, except perhaps, every now and then, at night. This was Fallaci's argument, and I share it from the first word to the very last."


A "beautiful fable"? That I can understand. A recognition that the West was formed by Christianity? Good--that's actual reason at work, as opposed to some fetishized rationality that can't rise above flinging turds like a red-assed baboon. Sam Harris, take note.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Well, that's a huge noggin. That's a virtual planetoid. Has its own weather system."

What the hell's happened to Keira Knightley? She gets any thinner and she's going to implode.

What a shame. Eat something, woman! Photosynthesis is for plants. Definitely not for Englishmen.

"I'll just have a salad."

"No, you'll have the dressing--if I have to run it through an IV."

Seriously--does anybody find the refugee camp look alluring? Yikes.
OK--guess I'm blogging again.

Not sure what I'm going to do with the blog, but eh--going to use it, I guess.

During my "down time," I've managed to replace the leaky kitchen faucet (not to be confused with the previously-replaced disintegrating bathroom sink faucet). After, of course, mangling my hands as part of the effort to fix things. And while I don't normally do product plugs, I'm thinking of adding "Moen" to the impending one's list of names. The faucet arrangement was sane all over.

I also finished up the edging, a task that I look forward to contracting out next year. Sorry, Mike--no before pictures. But I'll get the after. In addition, the minivan's "flappy" passenger window was fixed, so Rachel no longer risks exfoliation every time we go to the car wash.

We're enjoying the quiet, restful period between house repairs right now.
Hmm. Where'd I put the phial of Galadriel?

And Sting. Definitely need to find Sting...

A story just for my beloved Heather....Giant spider web engulfs 200-yard stretch of park trail.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Arrivederci.

Call me disruptive,
Say I break your concentration.
Familiar pattern,
Like the waves that break too fast.
What do you when it's so brand new
That it kills you?

Came on too strong,
Couldn't stand it slow,
And now I know
She can knock me back like a champ

Disembodied ringlets,
From hair that looked like yours.
Call me the looming shapes
of winter's dusk impending

She barely fits inside my head
But I feel something
Every element but one is in my thoughts

Stop traffic as I lie down in your footpath
Like a simile
I paint suggestive pictures
Of me and you.

Disembodied ringlets,
From hair that looked like yours
Call me the looming shapes
of winter's dusk impending

Call me freaky
Call me childish
Call me Ishmael
Just call me back
Call me back
Call me back
and I'll follow you around

I forget
What my friends look like
And they forget why they like me
But it's an old hat
I'm so happy
I'm so happy
How do you write about that?
How do you write about that?

Disembodied ringlets,
From hair that looked like yours
Call me the looming shapes
Of winter's dusk impending

Disembodied ringlets,
From hair that looked like yours
Call me the looming shapes
Of winter's dusk impending.


--Harvey Danger, "Old Hat"

See you in a week or so. More likely than not.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I just couldn't pass on this piece of USDA Certified, Grade A hypocrisy.

Saint Bill Moyers is at it again, this time bringing the brimstone against the Left's Antichrist, Karl Rove. I'm pretty sure I've never blogged about Rove. Frankly, I don't care much for the man, and his elitist crappola about trying to save his son from an honest day's work was repellent. I'll even concede that, on balance, he's been a negative force in American politics.

But for Bill F.N. Moyers, of all people, to get worked into a lather about evil politicos...well, that's...staggering.

I suppose I should give the man a hearing: he's certainly an expert in cutthroat politicking.

But this argument is just too fraudulent for words:

Using church pews as precincts, Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat -- a battering ram, aimed at the devil's minions. Especially at gay people. It's so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber. And if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew in politics to bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion.

Blow it out your ass, "Reverend":

Only a few weeks before the 1964 election, a powerful presidential assistant, Walter Jenkins, was arrested in a men's room in Washington. Evidently, the president was concerned that Barry Goldwater would use that against him in the election. Another assistant, Bill Moyers, was tasked to direct Hoover to do an investigation of Goldwater's staff to find similar evidence of homosexual activity. Mr. Moyers' memo to the FBI was in one of the files.

Yep. Preach on, Brother Bill. But take a moment to remove the Sequoias from your pupils first.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You know, one of these days....

I'm going to quit this thing.

Maybe sooner than you think. Maybe even sooner than I think.

Just the way things work.

This isn't some kind of threat or anything. I won't be putting out a tin cup to rattle. And, after all, this is a blog, not some Important Project That Will Stand The Test Of Time. A lot of them go belly up without any fanfare (right, Jim?). But the fact is, right now the tank is a whole lot closer to "E" than to "F."

Consider this your heads up.
Happy Birthday, Brennen!

My brilliant nephew (one of The Boy's heroes) turns 9 today.

Which means that I am now officially older than dirt.
Family reunion.

We spent the extended weekend up north. The Prices had a family reunion at my mom and dad's on Saturday. I spent most of the time attempting to separate beloved relatives from their money in cutthroat poker games. Alas, I merely broke even and my uncle Norm walked out with pocket change to last a lifetime. The kids had fun chasing panfish with their second cousins. Heather was congratulated on bearing up with the Newest Addition. Heather also witnessed a miracle yesterday: me spending an hour in a bookstore without buying anything. It even spooked the weird cowled guy riding a white horse down M-59. Kept checking his wrist and muttering "Am I late?"

We returned late yesterday, so I'll be trying to catch up.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Man vs. toilet.

Victory is mine.

And I only smashed my head into the well-anchored medicine cabinet three times during the three hours I worked on it.

Which included a trip to Home Depot for a replacement part that wasn't part of the kit (nor should it have been, btw).

Another bequest from the Three Dollar Renovator.

The system works better than it used to, to no one's very great surprise.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bored convicts. Free time. Access to a law library.

What could possibly go wrong?
How apologies are done.

Ryan Sager, a writer for the New York Sun, was lambasted for a misleading quote of Sen. Sam Brownback on the campaign stump. Called on it, Sager agreed, and issued a full apology and correction of the original piece.

That's how it's supposed to be done--no qualifiers, no "sorry you were offended but I'm not admitting I'm wrong"--just a complete mea culpa followed up by efforts to repair the damage.

This is admirable, and seen all too infrequently. Something I can file away for the inevitable future reference.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Man vs. Lawn.

The edging is 60% done.

Ibuprofen is my friend. Nay, my boon companion.

Still, I wish they sold codeine over the counter.

If I composted, I'd be set for quite a while.
Man vs. house.

Checklist for blog host:

1. Put new door closer cylinder on back door.

Check--unnervingly easy. Waiting for it to explode.


2. Put new edger to work on sidewalks.

About one third done. Difficulty level--insane. We have a corner lot. It's quite evident no one's ever run an edger on the property since the sidewalks were poured in the'50s. The edger attachment is top-heavy to boot. In a word, it's sodbusting. Ouch. What I have completed does look nice, though.


3. Install new toilet float, pump and seal.

Requires removal of cistern and installation of new mounts. Because this has the potential to be a slapstick classic, I'm saving it for next to last. Why, yes, I do have a wet/dry vacuum.


4. Install two pieces of metal carpet trim.

Saving the least challenging for last. Measure and cut with hacksaw. Something tells me I'll be looking forward to it after number 3.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"No, seriously--Envoy Magazine is back."



Some unexpected good news--my much better half told me we got a copy of Envoy in the mail today. I'd had a subscription, but with the magazine's money woes, it "expired" prematurely.

Or so I thought. Turns out, someone else remembered that subscription. Looks like I can expect more issues.

Welcome back, Pat & Co.!
The latest pics of the new one.


Louis in profile.

Yes, the confirmation of manhood is right there for all the world to see.


His feet.

To my eyes, this was one of the rare ultrasounds which provide good detail.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Overheard in a Lone Star Steakhouse in Toledo, Ohio, yesterday evening.

"How can you call this a 'Lone Star' when you don't have any Texas beer?"

"Bonnie Prince Charlie was a lot sharper than most people give him credit for."

"I'll have another Heineken."

"The Jacobites and the Confederacy: you really have a thing for lost causes, don't you?"

"Except for the Palestinians."

"There are times when a Bud Light is a perfectly acceptable beer."

"His mama named him 'Cassius Clay,' right?"

"Rocky Marciano only accepted cash and only paid with cash."

"I'll have another Heineken."

"His real name was 'Rocco Marchegiano.'"

"'A Clockwork Orange' is a very moral film."

"Muhammad Ali got his showman's persona from watching Gorgeous George. He noticed that even though not everybody liked GG, his matches were always sold out."

"I'll have another Heineken."

"And so he declared all foods clean."

"I don't want to see a blond James Bond."

"You're not finishing your ribs? That's sacrilege!"

"A film featuring a scene where one guy pees on another was probably not the best way to introduce an aunt to French cinema."

"Five in five years. Yeah."

"I'll have another Heineken."

"Roger Moore was to James Bond what Basil Rathbone was to Sherlock Holmes."

"You look like Cameron Diaz."

"Sounds like the DirecTV guy was there a suspiciously long time."

"Don't call them 'Quebecois'--gives them more respect than they deserve."

"They found the marijuana in stuffed in single-serving kids' cereal boxes, and the boxes professionally wrapped in cellophane.

"I'll have another Heineken."

[Many thanks to the roundtable participants. A good time was had by all.]
It's a boy!

The ultrasound went well--no problems noted, and Heather's blood work confirmed good health as well. So, sometime in late December, we will be welcoming Louis George Price into the world. Named for his maternal grandfather, Louis already has one ecstatic fan--his big brother. Dale's delighted to see a long-overdue redress of the estrogen imbalance in the household.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Prayer requests.

My sister-in-law (Doug's wife) is having health problems and will be undergoing a series tests. Prayers for her health and the peace of mind of all of her family (us included) and friends is much appreciated.

Today is THE ultrasound. Because Heather is considered a "high risk" pregnancy, the whole process will take two hours. I don't know if it's one of those 4D uber-sounds, but I have my doubts. Heather is very nervous and hasn't been sleeping particularly well, so prayers/thoughts are also appreciated here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Where do your loyalties lie?

Strange Maps has the US and Canada political map broken down into MLB nations. The unobstructed version is here. Pretty good as far as the Tigers go (it properly includes Toledo), but I'd shove the line into western Ontario, too. Not as far as I'd go for hockey, but definitely including all the Ontario counties on the border.

Fans of other teams are welcome to chime in.
While gazing cautiously at my cell phone...

"It's a little like hearing Heather say it was 99% likely she wouldn't attempt to maim me while I slept."

The reassurance lacks that certain je nais sais quoi.
An absolute disgrace.

That's the only way to describe what's happening to Prof. Steven Safranek at the Ave Maria School of Law.

Details here and here.

Full disclosure: I was a student at the University of Detroit School of Law when the three signatories and Prof. Safranek were professors at that institution. Professors Murphy and Falvey were my Torts and Trial Practice professors, respectively, and exacting ones at that. Ironically enough, Bernard Dobranski was also Dean during part of that time, and his departure was a blow to the school.

Obviously, I don't have all the details, but from what I know of the persons involved and the dreadful treatment of professors at AMSoL (Charles Rice) who don't get with the Florida program, I'm siding with the professors.

That, and there's nothing remotely Catholic about tearing away the livelihood of a husband and father of seven. Few of the people I have criticized on this blog have done anything remotely as rancid. When a public face of "orthodox" [sic] Catholicism does things like this, no wonder people flinch away from it. And rightfully so.
Prayer request.

For an expectant mother in Heather's homeschooling group.

Thanks.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Is it haunted?!"

My reaction to learning from our neighbor Shelly that a two bedroom house a half a block away is being offered for $29,000. Comes with garage and double-sized lot. Looks OK from the outside, albeit a little old and set on a slab.

No, I haven't misplaced a decimal nor have I transposed a number.

$29,000.

Seven years ago, you could have gotten $35,000 if the property were on fire and/or sporting a sewage geyser.

Michigan: Going Straight to Hell Faster Than Any Other State in the Union--and There's Not a Damn Thing Anyone Can Do About It!

OK--now back to my busy silent running mode.