Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fantasy Football is a deeply stupid waste of time.

It's also quite addicting. Here's my roster (note that it's a 10 team league):

QBs: Peyton Manning; Aaron Brooks

RBs: Tiki Barber; Clinton Portis; Ronnie Brown (the Dolphins rookie)

WRs: Torry Holt; Anquan Boldin; Steve Smith; Mike Williams (the first time I have ever drafted a Detroit Lion); Plaxico Burress

TEs: Alge Crumpler; Jerome Wiggins

Ks: Shayne Graham; Mike Nugent

DEF: Atlanta

Bottom line: Not bad, but I think my receiving corps is a little weak (again). Holt is the only proven commodity without an injury history. The receivers have been my achilles heel ever year, but I hate using high picks on anybody but a Moss or Owens (and neither one of those guys was around when I drafted). Smith could be great if he's fully recovered--ditto Boldin. But those are big question marks. I'm going to have to look for this year's Brandon Stokely, I think.
SAM is on a quest to find The Playable Wargame.

Rotsa ruck.

Sounds like he already owns The Campaign for North Africa (more detail here).

As a general rule, SPI games were fun to think about and own, but playability could be a bit more difficult. Especially with the monster games like Objective: Moscow or The Next War. But there was still plenty of playable stuff even in the SPI arsenal, and the main problem with the monsters (apart from CNA) was that most folks didn't have the time and space to play--the maps for O:M cover most of the clear space on my living room floor. The mechanics are understandable, but the playing logistics require a spare, unused and uninvaded room.

I can sympathize with the quest--I haven't really found a playable wargame recently, either. Most of them are too complicated and/or time-consuming. It reminds me of the old Avalon Hill Rise and Decline of the Third Reich games we tried to play back in college--after set up, I think we made it to Winter 1939 before giving up.

Some of the older games are worth a shot. Panzer Leader was always fun (right, Bryan?), and Squad Leader was not too bad, either.

A really good beer and pretzels game is History of the World, which can be played in a single night, and offers up a nice combination of military and cultural approaches to winning. Basic idea: the longer your civilizations endure, the more victory points you accumulate. It's especially good for the non-wargamer, which is essential when you can't find fellow geeks to square off against. Britannia is somewhat in the same vein.

Maybe Marcvs has some ideas.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I officially hate the new NHL.

The Wings release fan favorite and local hero Darren McCarty.

The new CBA in action. After all, we have to do everything to keep the hardline brain donors running the small-market teams afloat.

Yes, I know McCarty's skills--limited as they were--were diminishing, and he didn't have a lot of gas in the tank. Nevertheless, he would have retired as a Wing under the old system.

More to the point, he deserved to retire as a Wing. He was an integral part of the legendary March 26, 1997 6-5 slugfest against the hated Colorado Avalanche, both pummelling noted cheapshot artist Claude Lemieux and scoring the winning goal in overtime. That was the most decisive regular season NHL game in the past fifty years--effectively ending the Colorado dynasty-in-the-making and creating the Wings' semi-dynasty. Before the game, the Wings had been intimidated and owned by the Avalanche. Afterwards, it was Colorado that suffered from doubt.

At least McCarty said there was no way he would sign with the 'Lanche.

Welcome to the new NHL--just get used to rooting for jerseys and logos from now on.
"Steve volunteered to investigate the strange noises coming from the basement."

Now he's gone.

It sure seems like a horror movie of late. Again, good reasons, but I don't have to like it. Also, he says he'll come back. I hope so.

Mr. Skojec, you will be missed.
1000th Post.

Blogger advises that this is the 1000th post to the blog.

It's lying. It has to be. I refuse to believe I've blabbed that much.

Also, Sitemeter says I had my 150,000th visit today. Also incredible, but there you have it.

Thanks to all for visiting since October 2002.

Who knows? I may even decide to keep this going indefinitely.

Monday, July 25, 2005

"Till we begin to bore each other..."

[Warning--Rule 4 violation follows.]
Fox News documents the latest in wedding "vows"--the Scripted Annulment, or, if you prefer, the Ripcord Sacrament.

As they say: "Lower your standards--you're less likely to be disappointed."

Exhibit A:

Vows like "For as long as we continue to love each other," "For as long as our love shall last" and "Until our time together is over" are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow — a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure.

Almighty God--just when I thought it was not possible for me to hate personalized wedding vows any more than I already do. To be fair, I've heard two that worked. The rest--bleah. I'd say tripe, but that might get me sued by the American Cattlemen's Association for product disparagement.

You know--it's material that is the fraternal twin of the dreck written for high school yearbooks, college poetry journals, or "Open-Mike Nite" at O'Twitchy's Caffeinhaus. The stuff mercifully suppressed before the literary bacillus sprayed by such patent no-talents can infect the wider world. The cloying, saccharine crap cribbed from a thousand Hallmark cards, so obviously calculated to send the listener into diabetic shock that you can almost hear the smiley faces dotting the "i"s.

No sir--I don't like them much.

But this is even worse--to their very great credit, the "love forever under the songbirds" folks want to make a go at permanent. This narcissistic boilerplate might as well say "Until I find someone with nicer cans" or "For as long as I manage to stave off my midlife crisis," or "Yeah, sure, sounds like fun as long as you don't chunk up."

"We're hearing that a lot — 'as long as our love shall last.' I personally think it's quite a statement on today's times — people know the odds of divorce," said New Jersey wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of "Your Special Wedding Vows," who adds that the rephrasing is also part of a more general trend toward personalizing vows.

Yes, it is quite a statement.

[Sound of toilet flushing.]

But it is not a statement about the odds of divorce. It's a statement about the fundamental incomprehension of what marriage entails. I'm beginning to understand the acceptance of the idea of same-sex marriage. But it's not really support--it's more a shrug. As in "who cares?"

I'm pretty well done with the floss--now you can have it.

More to the point: when this sort of thing passes muster as a government-sanctioned "marriage," there isn't much of an institution left to defend.

Naylor said killing the "death vow" doesn't mean that people don't take their marriage promises seriously.

Yay! Thank heaven for experts!

Experts: Helping Us Embrace Things More Sensible People Found Unacceptable As Recently As Twenty Years Ago!™

Quite the contrary. "People understand that anything can happen in life, and you don't make a promise you can't keep.

The problem is, of course, that you aren't making a "promise" at all. Imagine if you uncorked "as long as it suits me" at a job interview. The prospective employer would be justified in finding your commitment to be less that whole-hearted. Likewise this. The fact that it happens to be mutual does not make it any better.

When people get divorced, they mourn the fact that they said ''til death do us part' — you didn't keep your word in church (if they had a church wedding).

As well they should. This is marriage we're talking about here.

Some people are in therapy because they promised ‘til death do us part' — it is the sticking point in the healing of a broken marriage. The wording can give you a stigma of personal failure."

Reality Check: the death of a marriage--and that's what it is, a death--can be the result of personal failure(s). Obviously, one party often is far more sinned against than sinning--at the hands of an abuser, a philanderer, etc. In those situations, a civil divorce may be the only option, and those people deserve support and understanding. And sometimes certain people just weren't supposed to be married in the first place--again, understanding is in order.

But more often than we like to admit, people can be selfish, fatuous twits who leave a trail of destruction in their wake. In those cases, guilt might just be the sign of a functioning conscience.

This is why Naylor prefers vows like, "For as long as our marriage shall serve the greatest good."

Very Vulcan, that--the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few--Or the one. Live long, and prosper. In fact, I like those better.

But "greatest good"? Which means...what, precisely? What is "the greatest good"? What standard determines it? Who decides?

I'd rather Heather have said "Klatu, Berada, Nicto," thanks. Or "Gimme some sugar, baby!"

"You will promise to be loyal as long as love shall last — you don't want to promise 'when you treat me like crap.'"

Why not? Seriously--at least there's some objective standard behind not treating someone like crap. As opposed to cotton-candy sentiment that positively detonates your average BS detector.

Indeed, actor Brad Pitt caused a stir recently when he said he doesn't consider his marriage to actress Jennifer Aniston a "failure."
"I see mine as a total success ... that's five more [years] than I made it with anyone else," he told W magazine.

Who. Really. Gives. A. S--t.

As a general rule, Hollywood stars are (1) pretty people with (2) good memorization skills. That's pretty much the limit of their competence. Looking to Brad Pitt for marital insights is almost as stupid as asking Tom Cruise for advice about prescription interactions.

But for others, nothing less than forever will do.
Newlywed Dana Novak Ranawat — a Virginia native who married in April, also nixed "'til death do us part" — but she went to the other extreme.
"We changed it to 'For all the days of our lives.' I didn't want us to say 'until death do us part.' I believe in heaven and that we will be together after we die. I kind of went the other way," said Ranawat, who is studying for her doctorate in psychology.
As for people who vow to stay married for as long as they love, rather than as long as they live, Novak said such a mind frame could be a detriment in the long run.
"People think 'we'll continue as long as it works and then we'll end it' — to me, that's going to make it end when it's unsuccessful. For us, this is the only time we're getting married and we'll make it work."

Yes--increasingly un-common sense finally arrives! And she's getting a psychology doctorate, no less!

There may be hope yet.

Dr. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said to his knowledge, these new vows have yet to creep into the Catholic Church. And while an "innovative" priest might allow them,

Paulist Center, anyone? They're pretty flexible about sacramental formulas up there, I hear.

he said they "wouldn't get a sanction from Rome."
"It's a change for the worse. The 'death do us part' vow is really unconditional. Once you change it to 'as long as love shall last' or something of that nature, it's conditional. It's almost analogous to a prenuptial agreement — simply saying 'we hope it works out.' It goes against the grain of marriage."

Bill Donohue dials it down and offers up sweet reason. I enjoy him in Ready...Fire!...Aim mode, but this is really good stuff.

Psychologist Diana Kirschner, author of "Opening Love's Door: The Seven Lessons," agreed with Ranawat and Donohue that promising forever lets the other person know that you're in it for life — good times and bad — and that promising just for awhile can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One of the comforting things about experts is that you usually can find an opposing expert.

"Over time your mate brings out the best in you, but also the worst in you. You have to have a contract that you'll work together to help each other grow. A contract that is this kind of thing —as long as we feel good — there's a guarantee that you'll feel bad, hit a rocky point, where you don't love anyone, you don't love yourself — that's where the rubber meets the road. That's where active love comes through."
But Kirschner said she can understand why some people, especially children of divorce, would find it difficult to promise eternal love.
"I think there is an unconscious belief that love can't last if there is a model in one's family. You're probably going to get what you expect if you have very limited expectations."

No arguments here. The great tragedy is that such children are subconsciously following in the same path.

But given the abundance of broken marriages in the U.S. today, some say limited expectations are simply realistic.
The Rev. Bonnie Nixon, a non-denominational minister in Torrance, Calif., who presides over approximately 1,000 weddings a year, said the specter of divorce is definitely reshaping vows.
"Some people were born in 1970 and they've already been married three or four times. At least half of the couples we marry come from blended families — some say vows to the other person's children. This generation (the one now marrying for the first time) grew up with a lot of divorce in the '70s and '80s. They have two dads, two moms, eight grandparents. They have divorce in mind — they're wary. It's just realism."

No, it's not realism. It's the tragic, fatalistic acceptance of a crisis that has to be addressed--and soon.

Nixon has even heard vows as extreme as "Until our time together is over" a couple of times.

While the hell would any self-respecting minister agree to preside over what is essentially a sham? The correct response is "No, sorry--I'm a minister, and this is a marriage, not some glorified version of going steady with joint filing. We have standards here, and I am going to enforce them. Try a civil ceremony if you don't like it."

Those of you more enterprising than I am can try to puzzle it out of the Reverend's website.

Oh, wait--she does civil ceremonies, too. About as "non-denominational" as they get, I have to admit. So much for standards.

"They don't really want to commit themselves to forever and ever type thing," she said.
In the case of "Until our time together is over," it was the groom's request, and Nixon said he was "leaving himself wide open."
"I think he was trying to be noncommittal in case it didn't work out — they didn't seem too terribly in love."

I wonder why that was? Quite the head-scratcher.

Look on the bright side--at least they got some eats and presents out of it. Who knows--it's possible the marriage might have even lasted longer than the ice sculptures at the reception.

But why get married at all then? Nixon said it all comes down to tradition.
"The white dress — all of us girls were raised with that. We still want to do that and hope for the best. Men I think are going along for the ride. I think a lot of people feel 'We'll probably get 10 years out of it.'"
That's not to say that Nixon doesn't see the blushing bride of yore.
"There are also a lot of very starry-eyed people who cry tears when they say vows. It's very sweet. And we hope it lasts — there are so many outside forces on people today. I always hope for the best, though."

Look, let's give the Rev. Nixon the benefit of the doubt--I imagine it would be very fulfilling to just officiate at marriages, sharing the blessed day with the families and so forth. The problem is that her laissez faire, chuck-a-signed-license-through-every-open-car-window approach is creating messes the rest of us are going to pay for--and the financial expense is not the first cost I am thinking of. Reverend Nixon's Annulment Roadshow isn't doing anyone any favors.

Indeed, Betsy Goldberg, features editor at Modern Bride magazine, said she's heard about the "as long as our love shall last" trend, but it's not the sentiment she's been seeing among her readers.
"The readers we have [are] still going into weddings saying 'this is forever.' The majority of people still want to go in believing forever and intending forever. I think [the rest] make up a small percentage."

One can hope.

Naylor said some people keep "'til death do us part" and other "scripted" vows just to keep the tradition alive.

"They want to say the same words their parents spoke. Things the bride has been dreaming of saying since she was putting the pillowcase on her head. Even in the most personalized weddings, people usually have one element that is very traditional."

[Cry-for-help-bad example of stupid vows snipped.]

Notice the one element missing from this piece?

No mention of kids for the Sure/Whatever covenanters. Which is another monumental tragedy--what happens when the children come into the ripcord relationship? At that point, marriage is no longer about the two of you alone. Odds are, they'll pass the scars on to another generation, and so on, and so on. Inexpressibly sad, and inevitable as long as marriage is regarded as a voidable at will contract with tax consequences.

The fact of the matter is that every marriage will hit very rough spots even when both husband and wife love and respect each other. The last thing you need is to go into it with the mindset that you are going to bail when it happens. That turns the "vows" into a sick, self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyone who gives comfort to this sort of thing has the guilt of broken marriages on their heads.
[Thanks to Jeff for the link.]

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Hallowed Ground.

"Meade will come in slowly, cautiously, new to command... And then, after Lee's army is entrenched behind nice fat rocks, Meade will attack finally, if he can coordinate the army. He'll attack right up that rocky slope, and up that gorgeous field of fire. And we will charge valiantly, and be butchered valiantly. And afterwards men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chests and say what a brave charge it was. Devin, I've led a soldier's life, and I've never seen anything as brutally clear as this."

So speaks Union Brigadier General John Buford, in the script for the classic film, Gettysburg. Fortunately, it didn't turn out quite that way, of course.

When--not if, when--you visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, do not immediately go on the chronological tour. You will have plenty of time to hear of the tragic stand of the Iron Brigade and the death of gallant John Reynolds later.

No--instead, go immediately to the unremarkable but still steep Appalachian spur called "Little Round Top." Look immediately west, down into the daunting jumble of rocks appropriately called the Devil's Den, which is over half a mile away from the crest of Little Round Top. You will come to the conclusion that no foot infantry on earth could have charged through that landscape to victory that day.

Thousands of brave Confederate soldiers charged through this impossible terrain on July 2, 1863, in the miscalculated hope that the Army of Northern Virginia could flank the Army of the Potomac and either destroy that ill-starred force or force it to fight on the ground of the Rebels' choosing.

They failed. By the barest of margins, to be sure. By the empty rifles--by the length of the fixed bayonets--of the 20th Maine Regiment, employing a desperate strategem devised by the Bowdoin College professor who led them, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

[Let us now pause to imagine a modern New England college or university professor leading American troops in combat. Can't do it? Me neither. Such is for the imagination of fantasists, alas.]

Nevertheless, by the thousands, the Confederates were killed and wounded in the uphill climb, stopped by equally brave Union soldiers standing on far, far better ground. The battle was decided that day, with the futile-from-conception charge of the men of Pickett's Division being a gory denoument on the following day.

The insanely courageous John Bell Hood (for whom Fort Hood is named) was wounded leading his Texans in the charge against Little Round Top. As he was being carried in a stretcher to a medical tent, he was met by his superior officer, Lt. General James Longstreet.

Before losing consciousness, he plaintively told his commander: "You should have let me go around to the right..."

The words must have galled Longstreet, who had argued the very same thing from the beginning, recognizing the Union's advantages of terrain and numbers. But he was overruled by Robert E. Lee, who was certain one last push would destroy an army he had crushed four weeks earlier in Chancellorsville, Virginia.

But what if...

What if Lee had decided that Gettysburg was indeed bad ground? What if he refused battle and instead went "around to the right"? Way around to the right, forcing the Army of the Potomac to engage it on ground of his choosing?

Such is the premise of Gettysburg, the first in a trilogy looking at an alternate Civil War based on such a point of divergence.

Now, I know--the first author. Newt Gingrich?! Save it--there's not a whiff of modern politics in the entire trilogy. Besides, as someone has pointed out to confirmed Gingrophobes--wouldn't you rather have him writing fiction as opposed to legislation? Nor, contrary to early speculation, is there any Lost Cause apologetic to be found in its pages.

Furthermore, if the trilogy is any hint of his writing ability, he's got a future in the speculative fiction business. William Forstchen I'm much more familiar with, being a fan of his Lost Regiment fantasy series (fifteen second run-on synopsis: a Maine regiment heading home by ship in 1865 is swallowed up and sent to a world where humans are the slave-entrees of heretofore invincible 10-foot tall nomadic humanoids armed with longbows who prove very...allergic to rounds from a .58 Sharps--highly recommended, but extremely gory (see "entrees," supra)). Albert Hanser is also credited with a "Contributing Editor" role, whatever that portends.

In any event, the fiction is seamless, no small feat for a collaboration. As much as I enjoy Niven and Pournelle's works, there were times I can tell where one is writing the section at hand. I didn't detect that here.

The first installment follows the historical battle as it does in history until the early evening of July 1, when an impatient Lee decides to go to the headquarters of General Richard Ewell, whom Lee had previously ordered (rather ambiguously, but still ordered) to take the Union position on Culp's Hill. Seeing the carnage of the half-hearted failed attack, Lee decides that Gettysburg is not the place to fight, and decides to disengage entirely.

Not to retreat, but to destroy the Union's line of supply and force the Yankees to attack him on ground of his choosing. In order to do that, he has to steal a couple of marches on an Army going through its fifth command change in a year. He does so successfully, setting up a climactic confrontation at Union Mills, Maryland, on July 4, 1863.

Without giving too much away (though the book cover and blurbs telegraph the essential outcome), it's safe to say that Gettysburg makes for a frustrating read for Union men like myself. Whatever else that can be said for the valiant Army of the Potomac, it is clear that Robert Edward Lee had set up shop in the collective heads of most of its too-cautious generalship, who squandered advantages time and again out of worry over what Marse Robert might do next. Not to mention through distrust and flat-out political infighting, which crop up here with profound import.

The book is not composed of long-winded speechifying about tactics, logistics and other impersonalities of war--not by a long shot. Such is the great danger of military fiction of all kinds, and it can kill even the best-intentioned works.

But not here. Forstchen and Gingrich carefully-draw portraits of characters both historical and fictional, and all act with believable, understandable, and all-too-human motivations. The atrocities and moving chivalry of both sides are depicted without bias (for example, a Confederate colonel summarily executes one of his soldiers who bayoneted a helpless prisoner), and one famous officer pleads with his equally famed opponent to "Please surrender, sir, for God's sake!" Being an admirer of both gentlemen, I am pleased to report that the plea is accepted. Indeed, one of the most poignant aspects is the fact that the opposing officers know each other so well, each a member of a proud, generous fraternity ruptured by the sectional divide.

The book ends with the Army of Northern Virginia in an apparently commanding position, with the will of its opponents broken--all save one: that of Abraham Lincoln, whose response is to draft an order giving command of all Union armies to one Ulysses S. Grant, also victorious on July 4, 1863, at a place called Vicksburg.

But more about Grant Comes East later. Gettysburg is a strongly-recommended read, for both Southrons and Union men alike.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Blogging First!

You are viewing the first pictures I have ever uploaded on to this blog.

Great, slobbering thanks to Jamie for both the pics and the tech advice.

The following are from that wedding I mentioned below.

First is a picture of yours truly holding Rachel during her mandatory nap:

The second is a picture of me and Trip, both in approved couture from the George Will Collection (don't get me wrong--I liked the tux--pretty comfortable for a brutally hot day):

Finally, a picture of several partners in crime from Alma High School's Class of 1987. The fellow we're tangling with is on the far left (Ah-ha!), and for some reason is sans kilt and claymore. The groom is second from right, and the other two are known only to the fistful of people with Alma Public Schools affiliation who visit this blog. The gentlemen are Jim Hall and David Ryan, respectively. Good guys.

No, there are no close pictures of Heather--we'll have to scan in our own later.

"Brown Out."

One of the more clever headlines announcing the pre-ordained end of the marriage of Larry Brown and the Detroit Pistons.

Drew Sharp has it right. Memo to self--never play "Chicken" with Bill Davidson.

And columnist/blogger Terry Foster of the Detroit News has some interesting background about player discontent with Brown's antics.

Thanks for the championship, Larry. And have fun in New York.
My favorite Star Trek: TOS character, hands down, was Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott.

Alas, James Doohan has passed away today at 85.

[Update:] Whoa! The Free Press had another, more detailed obituary with fascinating details about the man's life:

At 19, James escaped the turmoil at home by joining the Canadian army, becoming a lieutenant in artillery. He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. "The sea was rough," he recalled. "We were more afraid of drowning than the Germans."

The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.

Then there's the fact he had nine children, the last of whom was born five years ago.
In the public arena, all morality is dictated.

Responding to a comment by Jamie in the comments box in the prior post:

There is no such animal as a values-neutral society. It cannot be built. In fact, it cannot even be imagined--not even by John Lennon. Every act by the governing whatever of every society in history has involved the determination of what is moral followed by the imposition of said morality. Even refusing to act is a moral judgment.

Bluntly, it boils down to whose ox is getting gored.

Make no mistake: the Massachusetts Supreme Court in Goodridge no less than the voters of the State of Ohio last November imposed a moral judgment with respect to marriage upon the rest of the State's citizenry. Those who do not share the moral outlook of the Massachusetts Supreme Court were dictated to just as coercively as those who were on the losing end of the Ohio ballot initiative.

Every criminal conviction in the land is an imposition of morality, whether the crime is serial murder or computer hacking. Ditto the determination of whether something is constitutional or not.

Every legislative act--from the regulation of abortion, to age of consent laws, to alcohol regulation, to revisions of the Bankruptcy Code--involves a moral determination and the imposition of same.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, with its judgment on the equality of human personhood regardless of race, creed, color, sex or national origin, was a sweeping imposition of morality, right down to the regulation of the local supermarket. That it was, indeed, the objectively moral and proper action makes it no less an imposition. The law changed, and hearts followed. Even George Wallace's.

But, for some reason, the 21st Century alarm bells only go off when the banner under which the policy change is advanced is explicitly religious (read: so-called "conservative" Christian). The banner of strictly secular moral judgment, usually emblazoned with "fairness", "equality" or "rights," some of which I can support, and some of which I can't, somehow evades the "you’re imposing your values!" detector.

Odd, that.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Now hear this.

1. I have no opinion on the Harry Potter books. None whatsoever. I haven't read a one of them yet. Some of the criticism strikes me as overheated, as does some of the praise. Apart from that--nada.

2. I have, at long last, updated the blogroll (check the bottom of the 'roll). Position on the blogroll is not indicative of anything other than my increasing despair at the prospect of ever giving the thing some semblance of organization. If I've missed your blog, let me know, and I will do my best to get it 'rolled before 2006.

Especially unctious missives larded with praise for yours truly will accelerate the process.

Unless, of course, I dislike you.
Hilary has left the building.

For good reasons, but that still doesn't make me any happier about it.

Prayers are appropriate.

You will be missed.
Fun with your missalette!

If your parish is typical, it uses the Breaking Bread missalette from OCP. Without publishing the actual scripture readings, it does offer the citations used in the day's liturgy, and brief one-to-three sentence commentaries introducing the readings.

I've noticed something about the introductions to the Old and New Testament readings:

They never, ever refer to God the Father as "he." They use every circumlocution in the book, however awkward, to avoid this, even where the personal pronoun would make for a better reading. Take a look--if you can find a counter-example, let me know.

Fair warning, though--you won't.

Yep-per, the establishment is embracing Liturgiam Authenticam with gratifying enthusiasm.
Stop sending in your submissions...

...because, if the facts hold up, we have our runaway winner for 2005 A--hole of the Year.

This is flat-out evil:

Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, offered one of his players $25 to hit the boy in the head with a baseball, police said. Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the T-ball game because of his disability.
The solicited player hit the boy in the head and in the groin with a baseball just before a game, and the disabled boy didn't play, police said.

If convicted, I hope that he gets sentenced to take a couple of Curt Schilling heaters to the groin before he goes to prison.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Velvet Elvis made with golden thread... still a Velvet Elvis.

Jim Manney posts about the St. John's Abbey illuminated Bible project.

Alas, the project enshrines the most cack-handed, neutered translation currently in print, the New Revised Standard Version. A translation expressly disapproved by Rome, but, then again, that's probably the point.

Oh, to be a cutting-edge religious. What with all the increasing elbow-room in the abbeys, and suchlike.

Why not the Douay, in one of its iterations? The Knox?

Nah--too faithful to tradition.

It's more than a little like someone painstakingly studying, re-creating and applying the techniques and materials of a Da Vinci, Michelangelo or Bernini to preserve "Dogs Playing Poker" for posterity.
Habemus Hockeiam!

As Bryan notes, we have a CBA.


I have seen the future, and it stinks. The Wings will be fine--the management is smart enough to adjust, and the scouting system is one of the best. Still, I resent the hard cap--it rewards the "stop me before I spend again" owners without sufficient neurons to control themselves, and punishes teams with the resources to do more.

And I will not weep for the small market hardliners when they are forced to sell or flat-out contract.

That's because the agreement can do nothing to address this fact:

Hockey is not the fourth major sport--NASCAR is.

Hockey is a sport with regional appeal. That's it. Texas Hold 'Em tournaments have drawn better ratings on ESPN. That doesn't mean hockey is not a great sport--it is. There is nothing like the drama of overtime playoff hockey--nothing. But it will always--barring the arrival of a hockey equivalent of Michael Jordan--be a sport with structural limitations to its appeal. The great levelling of this CBA won't change that.
All-Star Moment.

There are times when my pride in the city of Detroit is untarnished. The cheer for the playing of God Save The Queen at MLB's All-Star Game was one of those times.

Good job, Motown.

And the loud booing of consummate jerk Kenny Rogers was almost as good.

And Beantowners, look up for a moment: Bonderman should have been on the roster, Francona, not Clement. I know, peace in the locker room and all that. Maybe you should have twisted some arms to get Rogers to stay home, at the very least.

Weird feeling: the B-2 Stealth bomber flew over our neighborhood three times during the festivities. Was that some kind of hint?

Still around, still alive. I had an unusually hectic 10 day vacation which began and ended with us scrambling (we got back Tuesday), but was otherwise good.

Last Sunday, I was honored to be a groomsman at the wedding of the smartest man I've ever met, and am happy to report that his choice of bride only confirms his intelligence. Though an air-conditioned chapel would be nice--but that's the fault of the alma mater, not him.

I am still getting up to speed, so continued patience is warranted if you expect a fisking fury or suchlike.

Frankly, I need a beer.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


This explains the lack of content, along with difficulties in using Blogger. More soon--I hope.

If you thought I'd ceased blogging, you're going to have to screw the caps back on the celebratory bottles of Ripple.

No such luck.

And it's November.

  I look forward to making some kind of effigy of 2022 and setting it on fire on December 31.  Things have steadified, to coin a term. My so...