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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Letting your kids win?

My post over here at Catholic Dads.

Good food for thought from the commenters. Feel free to comment there or here.

BTW, I will be scarcer than a passenger pigeon for the rest of the week. Best to you and yours.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Let's Go! Constantinople, 1200 AD.

If you've ever wanted to see the Queen of Cities in its last years of greatness, Byzantium 1200 is your website. A Turkish project, Byzantium 1200 is an attempt to recreate the city using CGI and archaelogical findings, along with providing a series of tour guides to some of the lesser-known Byzantine monuments still in the city.

Check it out--looks like a very worthwhile endeavor that's still in its infancy.

Madeleine Price, iconoclast.

We were having Maddie's religion class this evening and I was explaining the importance of the Bible, how God inspired its books, the varied types of subject matter and so forth.

Heather, bemused, chipped in: "And how many Bibles do we have here in the house?"

Before I could say anything, Maddie jumped in:

"We're Catholic: we're supposed to have a lot of Bibles."

That's my girl!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rodents of unusual size.

Posting will be light for the next couple of weeks. You don't pay me, after all.

So, I will leave you with quick hitters.

Like 1 ton prehistoric rodents.

Story problem: How much D-Con would it take to bring down Uber-Mickey here?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Any good movies out right now?

As in recently-released, either on screen or DVD?

That I don't have to go the the Main Art Theatre to see, that is? Though, yes, Victor, if it's great enough, I'll make the trek for an indy flick.

Suggestions welcome in the comment box.

Shock and jaw.

Why, yes, we do live in a hotly-contested primary state.

We have been called by the following campaigns: Romney (2x), Huckabee, and most endearingly, a winsome supporter of Dennis Kucinich, who was obviously calling out of her home (no delay when I answered, and no buzz of a phone bank in the background).

She was the only one I really wanted to talk to, actually. Though the Romney electronic poll was refreshingly non-pushy, and over quickly.

Then there are the mailers and TV spots. Mitt's most recent commercials have been pretty effective, and convey his affection for his home state well. If he wins, those spots may be the margin.

It'll all be over at 8pm Tuesday....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mac is back!



I and my two eldest went to the McCain townhall in Warren, Michigan (capital city of the Reagan Democrats) this morning. A salute to Maddie and Dale--they were perfectly well-behaved--not only could I have asked for better behavior, I wouldn't have dreamed of it beforehand. Dale III was interested in a pilot who flew planes off aircraft carriers, and Maddie was impressed by the whole refusing-early-release-after-capture story.

The townhall was held at Andiamo's on Fourteen Mile Road, and was a packed house. My sandbagging son, who attempts to hide the fact he's reading just fine for his age read the McCain sign on the marquee outside. Because of the overflow crowd, we parked at the McDonald's across the street, bought snacks for the kids and coffee for me to assuage my guilt, and then went on over.

There really wasn't a bad seat in the house as they'd set up a theatre in the round experience with the Senator in the middle. We waited a while, the kids munched McNuggets (cheers to Andiamo's for indulging people bringing) and I recognized a mom from our homeschooling group there with 2 of her daughters (thanks, Marcy, for the post-birth feast you dropped off!), all of them appropriately bestickered. It was a pretty good mix of Macomb County folks, heavy on local pols (including some more Dem-oriented) and enthusiastic veterans, but also well-leavened with yutes and several families like ours.

After a delayed arrival, the Senator arrived to cheers. He looked fit and energetic to me. If I work very hard, I'll be in that good a shape when I'm 71. He spoke on three points before he took questions. (1) The economy. "Just like the textile jobs in South Carolina, the auto jobs here aren't coming back." "But we are a Judeo-Christian society, so that means we don't leave anybody behind." He then spoke about revising our displaced worker laws ("we have six, and none of them are working"), improving retraining and investing in technology. A little vague, but a nice specific acknowledgment about the utter failure of displaced workers' laws. My brother-in-law's factory closed with no notice whatsoever, despite the alleged protections of the WARN Act.

(2) The War in Iraq. He thumped the fact that he was the first politician to criticize the Rumsfeld "light" strategy and called for something like the surge. It's good being right. But he also emphasized that political improvement has to happen, and is happening, mentioning the law permitting Baath party members to participate in public life that was passed this week. He also called for the reinstitution of an "honored American tradition," namely that political battles must "end at the water's edge."

(3) Foreign affairs. He mentioned the incidents in the Straits of Hormuz, Vladimir Putin's Soviet tendencies, Pakistan's instability and other cheery notes. Enough said.

The townhall part of the meeting was really interesting--it was a truly open forum. I tried to ask about ESCR, but being in the Uker seats kept it from happening. Given the lighting, I don't think he saw that far out. The questions ranged from the comical ("How about Lou Dobbs for your VP?" "No.") to the fawning ("Beef up your Press Releases with more good stuff!") to the incisive ("What are you going to do to address the subprime mortgage systemic failures, such as the role of credit agencies in the collapse?"). This last prompted him to cede the floor for a time to the former chair of Hewlett-Packard, one of his economic advisors. "I don't know everything, but I'll get the best people to help me." The former CEO gave an intelligible, direct answer, which made sense. Contrary to the ready portrayal by his opponents, his first thought was to give the voluntary measures in the mortgage industry a chance to work, then evaluate it for further remedies, if necessary.

Abortion came up, and the boilerplate about overturning Roe and getting better justices was the response. It's been the response of the GOP and in 2007, it finally started working. I should expect more, but I'll take it.

Yes, he brought up CAFE and climate change, right in the belly of the Big 3 beast. Say what you will about the man, he's not shy about stating his viewpoints anywhere. However, he did a nice job of linking both to the war and our $400 bn annually spent on foreign oil, "much of which eventually ends up in the hands of those who want to kill us." Why not wean ourselves off it, then?

A lot of conservatives accuse liberals of engaging in 9/10 thought patterns. Guess what--conservatives have their own problems in this respect. Yes, Payne (the Detroit News' editorial cartoonist) actually uses "war leader" as derogatory. Sounds an awful lot like someone who desperately wants to take another holiday from history.

Down that path lies madness.

There is a war on. And if there appears to be exactly one candidate in both parties who's acting like it, then the problem lies with us.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

If you like pina coladas...

Polish man finds wife working at brothel.

I imagine that was awkward.

Life with baby.

He's settled in nicely, and has his days and nights correctly arranged. He also has sometimes-gothic "evening fussies," which is a polite way to describe intermittent screaming fits that may or may not involve intestinal discomfort.

(1) He already has a pecking order of favorites:

1. Heather. Yeah, I know--duh. But he tracks her like a laser pointer and dislikes having her out of sight when he's awake.

2. Me. He dislikes being handed over to me by Heather. He develops a shocked look, as in:

Louis: "What?!? You are giving me into the care of this epsilon?! What is wrong with you?"

Thereafter, he studiously avoids looking at me, preferring to stare at something somewhere past my shoulder. Until, of course, I start playing Ferris Wheel and "Louperman," both of which involve me lifting him into the air while I'm sitting down and whooshing him about. Then I get that "Epsilon!" look again. I have been able to calm him down when Mom can't, so I have that going for me. I start calling him "Clovis" when he freaks out, too. Not sure if that one will take.

2a. Madeleine. He is generally comfortable being around her, and won't react badly about being placed with her. She, of course, adores him. But gently.

3. Rachel. It's a distant third, as in "We don't have a bronze medal for this event." She, too, adores him. But she's more energetic about it, both with hugs and decibels. If he avoids making eye contact with me, he turns his head as far away as possible from her. "Give me back to the epsilon--forthwith!"

Incomplete: Dale III. He adores his baby brother, and is the soul of gentle caution. So much so, in fact, that he doesn't want to hold Louis for fear of hurting him.

(2) He is a baby of many faces. My personal favorite is the Loulander, where Louis mimics the "various" model faces of Derek Zoolander, all of which (save Magnum) look like this:


"Hey, it's 'Blue Steel'! Look, Heather!"

Speaking of being studiously ignored...

And this is news...how?

Joy Behar says something deeply stupid about Catholicism.

The View: It's like an ignorance energy drink every weekday!™

Thanks, Joy. We're all the dumber for having heard that.

The people have spoken!

Expect multiple posts about Byzantine knitting techniques in the coming days. Oh, and the other thing? Bear with me: I'm scrambling to learn Polish.

One more item. Yes, Virginia, there are coloring books about Byzantium:

Byzantine Costumes and Byzantine Fashions.

Gotta start 'em early--at least one of them has to want the book collection when I pass.

Interesting.

I really think respected character actor Henry Gibson could play Ron Paul in a movie about this campaign:

Ron Paul
Henry Gibson

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dan Rather would approve.

After all, he was fond of saying "Courage" at the end of his broadcasts. And regarding the Texas ANG investigation fiasco, he proved to be as stubborn as a hot fiddle string in a sandstorm(1). But that's not important right now.

The really important thing is that we were pleased to entertain a Catholic blogosphere guest for Christmas. A very gracious and generous one who, in addition to entertaining the kids, gave us the princely present of five Detroit Red Wings tickets for the January 18 game against Vancouver. "Thunderstruck" pretty well sums it up at our end.

Despite a shameless effort to steal Heather away, the Nativity was well spent in CM's company. Ditto Boxing Day, which involved innumerable Borat references and the viewing of a few eps of The Man Show. Oh, and of course, a visit to John King Books, a/k/a the Disposable Cash Vortex in the company of the far more mature Matt Siekierski.

A good time was had by all, and we're hoping to make it a tradition in these parts.


-------------------
(1) Feel free to substitute your own nonsensical cornpone Texas aphorism here. Lord knows Rather was inordinately fond of them at election time.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Varia.

1. Ahem. Not enough of you are clicking on one of the categories in the BlogPoll. Go ahead. Play dumb.

2. A new blog for your perusal: Free Mark Steyn! Join the fight against Canada's Orwellian Human Rights Councils.

Contemporary Canada is what the U.S. would look like if every adjunct sociology professor banded together and successfully staged a putsch. Mandatory hyper-sensitivity training, gothically bad television and governments that regularly compose bizarro world glosses on the Constitution.

Followed, fifty years later, by sharia.

3. Louis eats like a hobbit. He's 8 pounds and has grown an inch in two weeks. At this rate, Heather will be nursing a four footer come next December.

4. Speaking of new blogs--any I'm missing? Anybody care to pi--promote a link to a/their blog in their comments?

5. Blogging will occur with more frequency in the coming weeks. Including, yes, a fisk or three. Which are invariably lengthy, take a lot of time to compose and earn me bupkis, so there you have it.

6. You want politics? Quick hits on my misgivings about the Republican field:

a. Huckabee: Watching the economic conservatives run around screaming "the sky is falling" has been very instructive--and fun. One serious concern: foreign affairs keep happening, whether the President likes it or not.

b. Romney: We're not voting for National Spokesmodel. Yeah, that's harsh--but Romney's enthusiasm for some of the things he's espousing is a bit...newly-minted for my taste. It's also caused Hugh Hewitt, a thoughtful commentator, to lose his capable mind. If Mitt set his hair on fire, Hewitt would praise it as a brilliant plan to appeal to bald voters, burn victims and pyromaniacs.

c. Thompson: Is there a there there? I used to be excited about the prospect of a Thompson candidacy. I'm not sure Fred himself is.

d. McCain: Temperament a concern, but he's my guy. A grown up with the gravitas to lead. And the only chance the GOP has.

e. Paul: A lot to like, but gives off too consistent a whiff of Eau d'crank.

f. Hunter: A substantive, standup guy, but he never caught fire. Veep?

g. Rudy Giuliani. No sale.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Schembechler Era Comes to a Close.

It began on a frigid November day in 1969, when a rookie coach led his little-regarded Michigan team to an astonishing upset over the defending national champions in an epic, program-defining game which reverberates to this day.

It ended nearly forty years later in another remarkable victory by an unheralded Michigan against the defending national champions, this time led by that rookie coach's last heir, coaching his last game. It may also herald a new era for Michigan, as the team displayed a version of the spread offense that is the new coach's specialty, to very good result.

I didn't think the Wolverines had a chance. I was in good company.

But still, it's college football and my team, so I watched all of it.

I am delighted to have been so wrong. They came out flying and never stopped. As the clock hit "0:00," the last son of Bo Schembechler was carried off the field triumphant, coaching a masterful game where the final score failed to reflect how complete the victory truly was.

Well done, Coach. Thanks for one for the ages.

[Photographs copyright Eric Seals and Kirthman F. Dozier.]

Tuesday, January 01, 2008