Thursday, November 29, 2007
Naming a teddy bear Muhammad. Gotcha. I suppose seeing it through ninth century lenses helps it make sense.
However loosely you need to define that last word, of course.
Hey, at least they didn't beat her savagely. And it's not like the genocide in the Darfur region.
Now, to be fair, it is comparable to the reactions we Christians have to that whole omitting "Merry Christmas" thing, so glass houses and whatnot.
[Update: her former pupils are supporting her. Death threats also abound, which is forcing the closing of the school in question until things "blow over."]
Update 2: Welcome and scathing common sense from the Supreme Muslim Council of Ireland (emphasis in original):
The Irish Supreme Muslim Council vehemently abhors and deplores the verdict of guilt issued by a Sudanese Court against the British school teacher Gillian Gibbons for allegedly "insulting religion".
The Council believes that a full criminal trial and now custodial sentence over the naming of a classroom toy is abominable and defies common sense.
Indeed it has been clear from the outset that Ms Gibbons did not in anyway desire to malign the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that the choice of name for the teddy bear had come from the children themselves.
The only thing to come from this affair is for the name of Islam to be dragged through the mud yet again by bigots.
For Muslims across the world, education is of paramount importance particularly because the Prophet Muhammad himself commanded Muslims to seek knowledge wherever they can.
Ms Gibbons was indeed a part of such a noble tradition of teaching others and we are appalled by her treatment and note that Sudanese Courts do not speak for true Islam, or Muslims in Ireland and Europe.
We are saddened that the Muslim world is silent on issues such as these and the punishment of the Saudi girl, but they are quick to issue decrees to justify and appease their political rulers.
We call on the Azhar, who does not hesitate to issue decrees to appease Hosni Mubarak, and the Saudi scholars to forth-rightly condemn such unbecoming behaviour.
We also call on the Sudanese regime to resolve the Darfur crisis rather than concerning themselves with teddy bears.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
And I'm going in for some medical testing overnight, so good thoughts and whatnot would be appreciated. I'm going to hate being away from Heather and the kids.
Oh, and Heather thinks this pregnancy's not going another two weeks. I believe her.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Taken today on the way back from Thanksgiving at my parents' house.
Now with 100% more Real Reindeer™!
Earlier today, Heather was trying to get the kids in a Christmas frame of mind. CMT is on in the background, a "Classic Christmas" special featuring Toby Keith.
Heather: "What was the best Christmas gift ever?"
Rachel: "Toby Keith!"
She's going to be a handful, I think.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The anecdotes here and here (scroll to the bottom) also give you something of the measure of the man.
His speech at Bo's memorial service is emblematic.
I expect we're going to miss him more as the years pass.
Thanks, Coach. Enjoy your retirement--you have definitely earned it.
This will not stand, man.
More seriously, this is stupid. Because of packaging, they're going to dump it. Really, Tennesseans, come on now. Or the rest of us are going to have to pull a Ulysses Grant, come on down there and open a barrel of Chattanooga Whup-Ass on y'all.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
[Update, 10:30pm: We're back. Everything's OK, though we have to follow up with the ob/gyn on Wednesday. It may have been dehydration, but there were no signs that it was labor. Cervix is intact, no dilation, and The Boy 2.0™ is, according to all signs, just fine. Thanks for the prayers.]
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Let's start with the supposedly killer closer:
And yes, sure, you can say a man doesn’t have sex if he doesn’t want a child…but let’s discuss this as if we’re living in the real world, ‘kay?
Starting with two critical premises. First, when the child arrives on scene, it isn't all about Mr. Tab A and Ms. Slot B (a/k/a Mr. & Ms. Right Now).
No matter what Tab or Slot happened to tell each other beforehand, no matter how they get the bends at the thought of the admittedly-daunting prospect of parenthood, no matter how their "relationship" is nothing more than a mood-altered one night exercise in mutual masturbation.
It ceases to be All About Them when there's a baby.
Sorry--that is the real world.
Secondly, child support payments aren't a get-rich-quick scheme in this real world. They are calibrated according to formulas which consider the man's earning power, custodial time with the children and the woman's financial circumstances. A friend of ours is getting child support payments from her dirtbag ex for two kids five and under. She's working a minimum wage job and scraping by, and only because she's been taken in by a friend. She is not making any money on this, and it's ludicrous to suggest that most women receiving child support are, the fecund professional athlete like Travis Henry or Shawn Kemp aside.
On to the rest.
A child a man agrees to have is one thing, but should a man have to pay child support when he makes it clear to a woman that he does not want one?
It's really quite simple, and let me use non-religious terms. (A) Don't schtupp her, or (B) assure yourself of the proper -cides/latex/hormonal concoction from the incredible panoply concocted by our equally-terrified-and-unable-to-control-themselves-forebears.
Jennifer Spenner for the Saginaw News and Kathy Barks Hoffman for the AP wrote about a Michigan man who recently challenged being forced to pay child support for his girlfriend’s baby — despite what he alleges were her assurances that she couldn’t get pregnant because of a medical condition, and her knowledge that he didn’t want a child.
He made the point to the court that if a woman can choose whether to abort, adopt out, or raise the child, a man should have the same right, and argued that Michigan’s paternity law violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Matt Dubay lost the case, which he previously acknowledged was a long shot — but should it have been?
Ah, yes, Dubay v. Wells. Actually, Dubay and his backers called it Roe v. Wade for Men, a title which successfully aborted any glimmer of sympathy that I may have had for the cad dad. Dubay was asking for the equivalent of abortion rights, because, after all, his relationship was all about the priapic satisfactions of little Matt. Until, of course, he discovered that Wells' womb was not a rocky place where his seed could find no purchase.
This is his daughter, Elizabeth.
From what I have seen of Dubay, Elizabeth is his spitting image. I haven't a clue as to what Wells told Dubay or whether she "trapped" him or not. I've never so much as seen or read an interview with her. More to the point--it's irrelevant. Baby renders it irrelevant. I know this for certain: he has a beautiful daughter, and he's missing out on her life. More seriously he's doing a great deal to poison that life with his legal tantrum (a paragraph in his complaint states that the birth of his daughter caused him "dismay").
Secondly, Dubay did more than "lose" the case--he was hit with sanctions requiring him to pay the defendants' fees and costs because his lawsuit was deemed "frivolous."
Oh, and about that "get rich quick" scheme: Elizabeth Wells is the recipient of a princely $500 a month.
As I wrote in my syndicated advice column, in no other arena is a swindler rewarded with a court-ordered monthly cash settlement paid to them by the person they bilked. In an especially sick miscarriage of justice, even a man who says he was sexually victimized by an older woman from the time he was 14, has been forced to pay support for the child that resulted from underage sex with her.
Again, prove that a swindle was going on in the Dubay matter. If it was, well, six grand a year gets absorbed in diapers and formula pretty fast.
And what happened to the 14 year old kid was beyond appalling. But that's an argument for a tweak of the law (establishment of a constructive trust docking the abuser mom after the child reaches majority, for example), not "Roe v. Wade for Men."
While the law allows women to turn casual sex into cash flow sex, Penelope Leach, in her book Children First , poses an essential question: “Why is it socially reprehensible for a man to leave a baby fatherless, but courageous, even admirable, for a woman to have a baby whom she knows will be so?”
"Cash flow sex"? She hasn't shown an example of it yet. For the record, it's neither courageous nor admirable.
Dan Quayle thanks you for your support.
A child shouldn’t have to survive on peanut butter sandwiches sans peanut butter because he was conceived by two selfish, irresponsible jerks. Still, there’s a lot more to being a father than forking over sperm and child support, yet the law, as written, encourages unscrupulous women to lure sex-dumbed men into checkbook daddyhood.
This is as close as she gets to acknowledging premise 1.
Moreover, she's dead-on: there's a lot more to fatherhood than those two things. Which, when you get right down to it, is an argument for not letting the li'l head do your thinking for you. He's distressingly single-minded, you know.
This isn’t 1522. If a woman really doesn’t want a kid, she can take advantage of modern advances in birth control like Depo-Provera or the IUD, combine them with backup methods (as recommended by her doctor), add an ovulation detection kit, plus insist that her partners latex up. Since it’s the woman who gets a belly full of baby, maybe a woman who has casual sex and is unprepared, emotionally, financially, and logistically, to raise a child on her own, should be prepared to avail herself of the unpleasant alternatives.
Ah, abortion. There's certainly what the touting of the (often unsafe) abortofacient IUD boils down to. And is Ms. Aklon positively recommending abortion in the last sentence? No dispute from me that the rupturing of organs and crushing of tiny bones is at a bare minimum "unpleasant."
For the record: no one's ever "prepared" for a baby. It's just that the freakout intervals are shorter and less intense with the passage of time.
And here's a crazy idea--skip the casual sex. You can avoid all sorts of unpleasantries that way.
It’s one thing if two partners in a relationship agree to make moppets, but should a guy really get hit up for daddy fees when he’s, say, one of two drunk strangers who has sex after meeting in a bar? Yes, he is biologically responsible. But, is it really “in the child’s best interest” to be the product of a broken home before there’s even a home to break up?
(1) Yes, and (2) yes. Again: everything is not about you, Cartman. Better in a single parent home than dead, discarded and forgotten in some medical waste landfill. Better still, of course, to be in a home with a mom and dad who love each other, but let's work our way up to that.
For all you boys out there, until that day there is actual male choice, don’t neglect the birth control…no matter what she tells you. Unless you’re a sterling judge of character, on the level of secret service agents and clinical psychologists, and unless you’re absolutely sure you’ve got an ethical and/or infertile girlfriend, or you personally watch her get Depo Provera injections…prudent thinking is never believing her when she says she can’t get knocked up, always bringing your own condom, and retaining custody over it at all times…lest it find its way to the business end of a pin.
Here's an even better idea: stop trying to match Wilt Chamberlain in the conquest department, you dumb ass. Try growing up instead. Make it a priority to find a worthwhile woman, love her, treat her like gold and go from there. Believe it or not, the sex will be there, champ. Along with a whole hell of a lot more peace of mind.
Sound cynical? That’s what a lot of guys think — before they write to me about what they can say to persuade some girl to get an abortion, or whether there’s anything they can do to get out of paying child support…short of dying.
No, it sounds brain dead to me. Sounds like 20 somethings whose moral outlooks never developed past age 15. There are a whole lot of you guys, aren't there? That's the only explanation for how a no-talent sack of monkey shit like Joe Francis got rich.
And yes, sure, you can say a man doesn’t have sex if he doesn’t want a child…but let’s discuss this as if we’re living in the real world, ‘kay?
We just did. I recommend the "grow up, already" cure. Solves almost all of the problems associated with Prolonged Adolescence Syndrome.
Friday, November 16, 2007
His wife and children are Catholic, and he was until recently, when he started to attend a local sedevacantist church. Naturally conspiracy-minded, he's glommed onto the seddie lie with the fervor of a lamprey. While I think prayer (coupled with a blow to the head) is the only hope in this case, links to/suggestions of any anti-seddie arguments would be greatly appreciated.
Aside from the irrefutable
Because it's stupid, that's why. If you don't pull your head out of your ass, I'm going to have to assume you enjoy the view, the smell or both.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
After it went into the cart, I scrolled down to the "Customers who bought the items in your shopping cart also bought:" section.
And found this.
I hope they don't mix up the packages, or it's going to be a very awkward Christmas morning in that house.
[UPDATE: James has another funny example of bizarre Amazon mining practices here.]
At 9lbs, 8 oz, it's clear that farm living agrees even with the unborn Culbreaths. No surprise there.
Congratulations again on the newest blessing!
[And is it just me, or does it seem like there's been a run of baby girls at St. Blog's lately?]
2. Went Christmas shopping on Monday, which was fun. The kids will, as they say, plotz on Christmas morning.
3. We finally have, wonder of wonders, a high speed internet connection. Adios, modem. Hello, download times that don't involve geological ages for reference.
4. Posting will occur at whatever pace is feasible.
5. One last bit of Byzantania:
This is from a mosaic at Santa Maria Assunta on the island of Torcello in the Venetian lagoon. Until the course of the river changed, and rendered the waters around it a "dead" [read: non tidal circulating] lagoon, Torcello was a city of approximately 20,000 people. Now it's home to 60, and is off the beaten Venetian tourist path. It shouldn't be. Santa Maria Assunta is home to a 10th Century Byzantine mosaic collection that rivals Ravenna or St. Mark's on Venice proper. The above is the only extant Byzantine mosaic depicting the Last Judgment. The cutoff piece in the blog's right sidebar is from another cycle in the church. It's really one of the most stunning places I have ever visited, and it rendered my Byzantinofever incurable.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
First, there is Church of Hagia Eirene (Holy Peace, and not, as is often thought, St. Irene). Hagia Eirene is the joint work of two Constantines, I and V. It was part of Constantine the Great's initial construction boom in Nova Roma, and served as a sort of co-cathedral with the original Hagia Sophia. Badly damaged in an earthquake in 740, Constantine reconstructed it and decked it out iconoclast-style. In fact, it is the only surviving iconoclast church. For whatever reason, the triumph of the iconodules left this specimen unadorned. The cross is from the reconstruction, and is flanked by citations from the Psalms (though they are hard to see). It escaped the Turkish Vosko treatment after the city fell, and the lack of decor (apart from the cross and some abstract mosaics) is likely a result of neglect and the area's frequent earthquakes.
Second is the underrated Hosios Loukas in Greece (I planted a suggestion in Jeffrey's ear, which he graciously followed up on). From the late "middle Byzantine" period (mid-11th Century), it is nothing short of dazzling. I'll try to scan in a couple more pictures soon, but this gives you a feel of the magnificence of the place.
Finally, he has a picture of the Stavronitika Monastery on Mount Athos. Stavronikita is the "newest" of the Athos monasteries, with this construction dating from the 16th Century.
Thanks, Jeffrey, for this. Great stuff, as always.
Two things bother me: First, that it had to be broadcast this way. A simple statement that he was taking leave and that it was not because of abuse or other moral turpitude would have been sufficient. As the second commenter here puts it, the letter has the whiff of a put-up job. Compare this situation with that of Fr. Real Bourque, a priest with a history of admitted child sexual abuse, who vanished from the airwaves without explanation, much less a letter read on air, and stayed at EWTN until retirement.
Which brings me to my second problem with this story--the reaction. Why the vitriol? He hasn't raped a child, dipped into the parish till or committed any immoral act that can be discerned, yet he's being called childish and the result "diabolical" because he's discerning whether he might be called to that other sacramental vocation, marriage.
Are you kidding me? He doesn't deserve the hammering he's taking. The orthodox Catholic firing squad convenes for yet another "counselling" session.
Marriage is a good, and not a "lesser" good. Period. Comparing this situation to adultery or some other form of moral turpitude is offensive beyond words. My toned down response is "get bent." And let's not forget that the Catholic Church is not of one mind on priestly celibacy, not even in the Latin church (Pastoral Provision, anyone?).
I appreciate, support and encourage the celibate witness. I think it's essential and is an invaluable sign in our unbalanced times. I don't advocate for a married priesthood because it won't. Solve. The. Problem(s). Just because we're in a comparative vocations dry spell now (itself improving) doesn't mean this is the new normal. And, by all means, we have to support our priests and bishops. It's a sacrifice that should be praised to the heavens and we don't appreciate it enough.
But, on the other hand, we have to show mercy and understanding for those who can't carry the priestly calling to the finish line. Especially when he is drawn to marriage, people. Locker room chiding and the like don't cut it.
Tu es sacerdos in aeternam. Whether you like it or not. Even when the title goes from "Father" to "Dad."
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Total votes: 143.
Edmund the Martyr
Alfred the Great
Edward the Confessor
William I ("Conqueror")
Richard I ("Lionheart")
James VI and I
James II and VII
I'm Irish and allergic.
It's a BA, Price. Sheesh.
A mixed bag of gentlemen and ladies, and a mixed vote. First, who's not there: Henry II (The Lion In Winter and all that), Edward III, Henry VII. All worthy and intriguing in their own way, but there's only so much space, both in my memory and for the poll.
Now to the vote.
#2 in the vote: Irish.
You people do realize there's a reason it's called a paddywagon, don't you? I would have been devoutly irritated had that been No. 1. My kids are part Irish, so I suppose this is what I can expect from now on? Thank you, last vote for Alfred.
Now on to the individual results (my votes in bold):
A. Edmund the Martyr. Should have had more votes--one of the most popular English saints, he was a good king and an unlucky soldier. Then again, even good soldiers could be unlucky against the bloody Vikings. Even the next guy on the list.
B. Alfred the Great. If you don't know, learn. He's the only English monarch called "the Great," and for good reason. A just and far-sighted ruler, brilliant soldier, and canny Christian diplomat, he rallied Christian civilization in England in its darkest hour.
C. Canute. I like him if only for the reason that the wave story is always mistold. Canute wasn't being fatuous, he was rebuking yes-men.
D. Edward the Confessor. Another popular English saint, but I've never quite warmed to him. Kinda James Buchanan-ish in the face of a grave crisis.
E. Harold. A great soldier with the potential to be a great king, he fought two titanic battles in three weeks a couple hundred miles apart. The first, Stamford Bridge, repelled the last great Norse assault, and is almost forgotten. He came within a hairsbreadth of winning the second, at Hastings. History would have been changed beyond recognition had he won.
F. William the Conqueror. Give the man his due--the bastard son of a tanner's daughter became one of the most important figures in history.
G. Edward I. Four of you didn't like Braveheart very much. The Hammer of Scots and the conqueror of Wales, his legacy still stands in the latter place, with his great fortresses at Caernarvon and Harlech.
H. Richard I. I dunno--I think the Lionheart is a bit overrated. But he fought Saladin to a draw, which is no mean achievement.
I. Henry V. Immortalized by Shakespeare, and for good reason. A great soldier-king died too young. Even another ten years would have done the hapless Henry VI a world of good.
J. Richard III. Ah, the partisans of the White Rose are still among us! Face it: he had the Princes in the Tower killed.
K. Henry VIII. This is a Catholic blog, you know.
L. Elizabeth I. Gloriana had her undeniable virtues. But I'm a big fan of St. Edmund Campion.
M. James VI and I. Fine, if you like your kings putting from the tee, if you know what I mean. More seriously, a decent king, just not a member of the pantheon of greats. Sure, momentous things happened during his reign--the colonization of America, the Authorized Version--but that was coincidental, not driven. Still, he was smart enough to know the difference between "pick your fights" and "pick a fight." Unlike his son.
N. Charles I. Inflexible and pig-headed, he was a good family man who defended himself and faced death with remarkable courage. In fact, the way he spent the last few months of his life did more to rekindle monarchist sentiment than the rest of his reign.
That, and he irritated equally pig-headed Presbyterians, which has to count for something.
O. Charles II. I like the Restoration in general and the Merry Monarch in particular. Yes, he was a cad, but he loved his wife in his own grossly inadequate way and made sure his illegitimate children were provided for. And he converted to Catholicism on his deathbed. After the grey bloodbath of Cromwell, Charles II was a necessary man.
P. James II and VII. Victor's right--James II was a disaster on the throne.
Q. George III. The first truly English king of the Hanoverian line, he was a model husband and father. King--not so much. Then there's that "years of gibbering insanity" thing.
R. Victoria. We are amused. Or at least like her a lot. When your name defines an age, that says it all.
S. Edward VII. His name at least defines furniture and architecture. And his example means the big and tall types don't have to do up both the buttons on the suitcoat--thanks, Ed!
T. Edward VIII. One romantic fell for the Wallis Simpson fiasco. Sorry, but both of them were godawful twits who deserved to be marooned on Bermuda. He was a dimwitted Nazi sympathizer and she was an airheaded bimbo.
U. George VI. One of those rare situations where the little brother has it all over the elder. Everything Edward VIII wasn't: duty-minded, serious, family-oriented, and stable. Maybe we owe Wallis a thanks after all.
V. Elizabeth II. Her father's daughter. The Queen.
W. Hey, I have to put the history major to use somehow. Might as well show off here.
Saved by the wife--again!
Christian fraternal correction is not done from behind a ski mask.
After reading the twerp buzzing around at Jay's, I now support in principle the legalization of dueling for situations involving anonymous comments.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
But I lied them.
Minimal gloating here, Sparty fans.
It's just nice to be on the right side of a classic for once.
And heaven help Michigan when MSU finally figures out how to recruit these mystical creatures called "cornerbacks."
Oh, and if it's long since been established that Mike Hart is not like lesser men, it looks like we're going to have to elevate Chad Henne to the same Olympian heights.
Throwing with a partially separated shoulder and bum right knee is pure guts.
Throwing accurately with a partially separated shoulder and bum right knee is nothing short of epic.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Where we ran into trouble was with transportation. Good luck finding light rail in Detroit, alas.