Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Louis in the baby warmer, about five minutes after being born. He has a strong grip on my pinky finger in this one.
Rachel holding Louis on the evening of December 19. My baby girl grew a lot that Wednesday.
All the Prices are doing well, including the newest addition. We had a full and delightful Christmas, which was started by Madeleine's singing with the children's choir at the Vigil Mass. Paper ripping on Christmas morning followed, itself followed by the baptism of our baby boy after the 10am Mass. [Pictures of those events will be posted upon development. Those of you who want faster pictures are hereby invited to buy us a digital camera.]
There was much happy gifting for all involved, and Heather managed another turkey triumph (this one a record 16.75 pounds). The only down note is a cold blowing through the home, with me as the most interesting-sounding victim (think Dennis Quaid's Doc Holliday in the underrated Wyatt Earp). But if that's the bad part, there's no doubt we've had a Christmas for the ages. May you and yours have a blessed Christmas season.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
America must need lerts, because The Boy 2.0™ is quite alert. He's also a shameless charmer. Photos to follow.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Verdict after two hours: nope. He's still firmly anchored. Plus, no inductions before 38 weeks.
So we trekked back to the Siekierskis, who had again, with banzai charge courage, taken in and fed our three on a moment's notice. Many, many thanks once again.
Then we headed home, beating the winter storm ("near blizzard conditions") which has, to the moment, dumped about 8" and looks to plop another 3 or so before all's said and done.
So, of course, Louis is going to insist on being born today. Which wouldn't be a bad thing at all.
Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers. Appearances here will be sporadic, as you can well understand.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
But he--and they--still deserve a trip to Disney World, so make sure to vote early and often, starting today.
[UPDATE: Broken link to the contest fixed.]
Like I said--fearless...
...and we sped to the hospital. Well, the labor was legit--sorta. "Early labor," but Heather's only dilated to 1.5, 50% effaced, and The Boy 2.0 has only dropped to -3, which means he's still firmly in place. An hour of walking a circuit around the hospital brought more contractions, but no budging of those figures. So we went home.
So the wait continues.
Monday, December 10, 2007
So, Linda Richman-esque, discuss amongst yourselves.
Christmas shopping; the prospects of Detroit getting a professional football franchise; Who's Goofier: The Tablet vs. National Catholic Reporter; greatest Byzantine emperor; bowl matchups (Michigan's going to get flat-out murdered by the Gators, for the record); best modern country music singer; decisive battles in Western history, favorite conspiracy theories involving the Vatican--really, knock yourself out.
I'll be posting when I get a shot.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Once there's a vote, I can't edit anything. Wouldn't want to poison the integrity of the internet polling process, or something.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Haven't slept for ____ in months, actually, but now's a particularly bad time to be tired. The bright side: Maxwell House's 100% Arabica Beans upgrade is a very pleasant surprise. Good, smooth stuff.
I don't know for a fact that the Michigan athletic department has botched the coaching search, but a fellow Michigan fan suggested that this seems like the perfect metaphor:
Steve Skojec sent me a James Carroll article on the Spanish Civil War which is worth filleting, but no time at the present. Speaking of Carroll, I have a new warning system for posts involving his oeuvre:
Finally, prayers for my sister-in-law (Heather's sister), who is going through a very rough patch at the moment.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Big, huge, unrepayable thanks to our magnificent neighbors Shelly and her son Kazz, who came over at the drop of a hat late Sunday evening to watch the sleeping kids until we got back.
This capped a weekend where we finished getting the room re-arranged for the Imminent One's arrival, bought a nice used dresser for $30 (I know where you can get cheap furniture in metro Detroit, BTW), and put up the Christmas tree and strung lights in part of the back yard.
Yes, indeed--Heather's nesting.
Dad gave me two storage boxes full of lights, some of which are older than I am, I'm certain (fabric electrical cords). It also gave me the golden classical education opportunity to explain the story and meaning of Alexander the Great and the Gordian knot. There's a reason I laugh out loud every single time at the decorating scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: I've lived it.
Oh, and our house sounds like a ward for phosgene gas victims. Maddie is getting over strep throat, Dale has croup and we're waiting for the other shoe to drop on Rachel. Early betting favorite: hanta virus.
Dale received a steroid shot yesterday, which has eased the stridor cough considerably, and is frittering away our remaining sympathy with Binkley-esque complaints.
"My big toe hurts!"
"Did you fall?"
"Did you stub it?"
"Noooo. It just hurts..."
Heather: "Sounds like a hangnail."
Me: "Oh, I don't know, could be more serious. Maybe Etola or toberculosis."
Heather: "Or tolio."
Me: "I think that's it!"
Oh, and the sports news was uniformly depressing as regards the pigskin. Looks like Michigan got pantsed on the Les Miles situation. I still think he might come here in a few years, but Lloyd Carr loathes him and the AD insists on treating this process like it's a debutante ball and not a knife fight.
Memo to Bill Martin: stop bringing a quill to a gun battle.
Oh, and the Lions? Come on, now--you don't stink up the joint for a half century without establishing some inexorable, coach-proofed trends: namely, the knack for getting yourself into spectacular death spirals.
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.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Yep--the Brits are still the reigning champions when it comes to the vicious rapier.
God Save the Queen!
Yes, it's turning into Anglophile week here at the blog.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Gather Us In
Sing a New Church
I Myself Am The Bread Of Life
Gift of Finest Wheat
Here I Am Lord
On Eagle's Wings
Total Votes: 125
Far be it from me to dispute the vox populi, but: WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
1. Familiarity has bred a strong contempt, it seems. As wearyingly banal and overplayed as it is, Gather Us In is far from the worst of the lot. It should instill resignation, not rioting.
"Give us the courage to endure this song...." Gather Us In is to Ordinary Time what The Chicken Dance is to American wedding receptions: a grating but survivable inevitability. As far as music goes, it's somewhat serviceable. It needs a lyricectomy, byt it's hardly alone.
2.-3. Also in the Mostly Harmless category: On Eagle's Wings and Gift of Finest Wheat. Running the lyrical gamut from Meh to Eh. OK, I Guess, these songs are nuked by Muzaky arrangements that suggest they are going straight to an elevator near you. Thought experiment: considered solely as instrumentals, they could be used as atmospherics in commercials by Caring Insurers/Bankers/Tobacco Companies.
4. Of a neither fish nor fowl variety is Here I Am, Lord. It could actually work reasonably well if you forced the cantor, and the cantor alone, to be the Voice of God. "Y'all kindly handle the refrain, folks."
Instead, the Church of Overly-Stroked Ego gets to indulge in a little pantheism--just what we all don't need more of.
Now on to the Most Wanted List, in inverse order of hideousness:
4. Anthem. As the beer commercial famously noted, "there's no 'we' in team." But there are no less than 17 "We's" in Anthem. Join us--we are question! The few, the proud, the quizzical.
3. Sing a New Church. Magnificent tune (lifted from the cosmically-superior Church of God, Elect and Glorious). But the lyrics manage the difficult trick of wedding sedevacantism to the bromides of a mandatory seminar on multiculturalism:
Summoned by the God who made us
rich in our diversity
Gathered in the name of Jesus,
richer still in unity.
Refrain: Let us bring the gifts that differ
and, in splendid, varied ways,
sing a new church into being,
one in faith and love and praise.
Radiant risen from the water,
robed in holiness and light,
male and female in God's image,
male and female, God's delight.
Trust the goodness of creation;
trust the Spirit strong within.
Dare to dream the vision promised,
sprung from seed of what has been.
Bring the hopes of every nation;
bring the art of every race.
Weave a song of peace and justice;
let it sound through time and space.
Draw together at one table,
all the human family;
shape a circle ever wider
and a people ever free
Yes, I know the standard defense: "It's a metaphor."
Here's the thing: it's a crappy metaphor with a room-temperature ecclesiology. Do over.
2. Hosea. Ten (10) votes. Obviously, you people have never (1) heard this one, or (2) read the biblical book after which this one is allegedly titled. Frankly, I call Hosea "Jacques." Why?
Why not? First, the relationship between the lyrics and the title works just as well. Second, Levon was already taken.
Come back to me with all your heart
Don’t let fear keep us apart
Trees do bend though straight and tall
So must we to others call
Refrain: Long have I waited for
Your coming home to me
And living deeply our new life
The wilderness will lead you
To your heart where I will speak
Integrity and justice
With tenderness you shall know
You shall sleep secure with peace
Faithfulness will be your joy
God help us, RefrainHere's the actual book of Hosea. Synopsis for cradle Catholics: God commissions the Prophet Hosea to call out Israel as the ho she is, a sleazy wearer of push-up bras for Ba'al. No, I'm really not exaggerating. Very specific, explicit threats of judgment for this rotten behavior follow. How in the name of the Almighty the lyricist distilled the above out of the text of Hosea is an even greater mystery than the Trinity. Imagine a prophet of Israel actually trying to call the Chosen People to repentance using the lyrics. He'd be the guy after the Michael Palin in the prophet's row scene in Life of Brian.
Chuck in a syrupy tune that resolutely defies instruments starchier than the piccolo and Hosea is one for the Hall of Horrors. As in, shelve the hymnal and watch the pattern of the ceiling fans.
1. Bread of Life by Rory Cooney. Kudos to 28% of you.
I myself am the bread of life
You and I are the bread of life
Taken and blessed
Broken and shared by Christ
That the world might live
This bread is spirit
Gift of the maker's love
And we who share it
Know that we can be one
A living sign of God in Christ
Here is God's kingdom
Given to us as food
This is our body
This is our blood
A living sign of God in Christ
Lives broken open
Stories shared aloud
Become a banquet
A shelter for the world
A living sign of God in Christ
Oy, vey. A greater confusion between Creator and creature you will never see. Cooney windily and inaccurately defended his work before a queasy supporter, citing "Pauline Christology," specifically the idea of the Body of Christ Um. No. NO.
Nowhere does Paul ever identify himself as Christ, nor does he identify himself with the redemptive sacrifice itself, and no amount of eisegesis can change that. But "I Myself" does, with gusto.
OK--as much "gusto" as the sappy tune permits. "We here at Enron care about you and the community...." IMATBOL is high fructose nonsense, served up at firehose strength. The good news is that I hear it less and less often. The queasy flinch of the sensus fidei is slowly winning out. But it's still the worst of the worst--by a mile.
It's not Harold Snepsts powerful:
but really, whose is?
It's a fine 'stache nonetheless. If nothing else, he has an assured future as a cop. More seriously--he's actually due some credit: the unheralded free agent talent has really paid off this year.
Why are they 5-2? The defense has been, two glaring exceptions aside, much better than anticipated. The offense is (sorry Kev and other fantasy leaguers) getting some balance, with the reemergence of Kevin Jones as a feature back. Perhaps most importantly, the cancerous lockerroom has gotten a dose of Marinelli chemo, with the purging of discontented talent. Tatum Bell is the most recent example, having been relegated to inactive status after complaining about Jones getting "his" carries.
Is this team good? Depends on what your definition of "good" is. Ultimately, no, it's not good. Not in the sense of being a legit playoff vehicle. But it is much smarter, more energetic, more cohesive and flat out unembarrassing to watch than anything we've seen since the Gary Moeller Era. I'll take it.
Friday, October 26, 2007
It's that time of year again!
Attention, dumbass: this is not an appropriate Halloween costume for your child. Not on this earth, nor even on the planet where your otherwise useless hatstand frequently dwells. This is really not that difficult: never dress up your children as streetwalkers.
Children? Yes, nota bene: this is marketed by the soulless corporate shitsacks at MGA as a "child costume." Nothing quite like making sure the Raincoat Crowd has an endless masturbatory buffet, I suppose. And yet we're still shocked by the latest Dateline NBC perv sting rustling up rapists rootin' and a'tootin' to get their jollies off preteen girls.
If you'd seriously consider getting your daughter this costume, you're a lousy parent. I'd like to give you credit and say you've been brainwashed by cultural decay, but you can't have a whole lot to wash now, can you?
Do the rest of us a favor by not proving it beyond all doubt by completing the purchase.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Read it for yourself. No excerpt will do it justice.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting...
[Note, Steve, that these would be ideal for your kids, too.]
We started with the Air Game, and Dale got the first hit on me. Unfortunately for him, I got the next four, including the fatal cockpit hit. "I wanted to win!" he wailed.
"So did I," I explained. I also explained that I wasn't simply going to let him win, and when he finally beat me, it would be earned and legit. He appreciated that. He also appreciated the idea that the game was rated at "8 and up," and he was playing it at only age 4. That sank in.
The next one was the Land Game. Tanks! I simplified it by removing some of the playing pieces and the distance targeting array (which is something like Battleship). Once again, he got in the first blast, knocking my second strongest tank out of the game in a slugfest. I finally won, but it was an endurance match.
Earlier this week, we broke out the Sea Game. In an irritating trend, he smote one of my Hornets during my attack run on his carrier, and ended up trashing one of my destroyers and another three planes before I sank it. He had just launched his first Harpoon, and was probably going to get a hit on my carrier, when his sank.
His tactical approach can be summed up thusly:
1. Ignite hair.
John Bell Hood would be proud. And like Hood, it almost works every time. Not to mention making the games rather exciting.
He wants to skip right up to Imperium now. Risk first, lad, Risk first.
And Maddie wants to try, too.
Looks like I got the Gaming Club back together, man.....
The task: First grade Catholicism, as taught by Dad.
The student: Madeleine.
The subject: St. Joseph, his role, duties and merits.
The table has been wiped off, but for whatever reason the leftover pancakes have not quite made it to the fridge.
As we sit there, books open and as I expound upon the Patron of Workers' courage, Maddie's hand strays to the pancake plate, but she continues to pay attention to me. Without taking her eyes off either me or the class materials, she begins to chew on the pancake.
I note this, but since she's paying attention, I let it pass. She continues to take bites off the pancake and it is clear that she's not just eating it--she's trying to shape it into something. But she's still paying attention to me.
Finally, I interrupt and say: "What are you doing, Maddie?"
"I'm making a beard." She then puts the shaped remnant of the pancake over her mouth, and yes, it's a passable Van Dyke.
I blink a few times and respond.
She was absorbing the material, after all.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Our "first kiss," outside Bruske Hall at the 1995 Alma College homecoming. My fraternity was grilling that day. Despite my expression, I didn't think she was icky.
Posing before the Spirit of Detroit, June 6, 1997 (the day the Wings completed their sweep of the Flyers and won the Cup). Yeah, she's a good one--she indulges my sports obsessions quite nicely. Sometimes, she even shares them.
Thank you, sweetheart, for eight years, each one better than the last.
Of course, my old set up was white print on a red border, too. Which could mean that he was imitating me, seeing as he didn't set up shop until 2005.
Not that there's anything wrong with that!
Wheels within wheels.
Be that as it may: it's cool, so long as the current set up is considered more Rupert Everett/Stephen Fry than Rip Taylor/Liberace.
A year before this next election in the U.S., the common space required for civil debate and civilized disagreement has shrivelled to a very thin sliver of ground. Politics requires a minimum of shared assumptions. To compete you have to be playing the same game: you can't thwack the ball back and forth if one of you thinks he's playing baseball and the other fellow thinks he's playing badminton. Likewise, if you want to discuss the best way forward in the war on terror, you can't do that if the guy you're talking to doesn't believe there is a war on terror, only a racket cooked up by the Bushitler and the rest of the Halliburton stooges as a pretext to tear up the constitution.
Now it would be unfair to point fingers only at the loony left here. It wasn't so long ago that conspiracy theories involving Bill Clinton were all the rage, with some whack-jobs claiming that the Murrah Building was Bill-deberger's "Reichstag Fire," to name but one in the litany of his alleged crimes (which, if true, would have left him with precious little time for the ladies). The problem is that the fever wasn't cured, it simply shifted to the left temple, with the Semtex Fairy getting a promotion from OKC to NYC.
But that's nothing to celebrate. I have every confidence that anti-Clinton paranoia will return in full flower should Hillary! get elected. Bank on it.
The question Steyn never quite gets around to asking is "Why?"
I have a partial answer: for the more secular-minded, politics is now invested with the religious fervor that used to go into religion. Politics has become a self-contained system of belief, with its own creed, liturgy, calendar of saints and diabolical enemies with sinister plans. And, as a religion, it is not one of Unitarian stolidity. It is a fighting, evangelistic faith. Check the latest Ann Coulter or Paul Krugman books and you'll see what I mean. Kill all--God will know his own.
I'm not exactly immune to this, but anymore I only get really revved up when there's some Catholic intersection with politics. I dislike Mrs. Clinton, but she doesn't bother me like John Kerry did. Or Rudy Giuliani does.
I even have a preferred candidate for President (McCain), but you didn't know that until just now. If he doesn't pull it off, I'm not going to require a mental health day. I don't have that much invested in him. I try to reserve that commitment for my faith. Frankly, I think that trying to approach politics and religion with anything like the same fervor invariably damages the latter. And for those who don't have much of a commitment to the latter, the former becomes unbalanced.
Unfortunately, I think the problem is going to get much worse before it begins to get better.
Monday, October 22, 2007
The Indians learned that one last night.
Forget the sorta-snafu (I'm thinking it wasn't) by the third base coach--what possessed Wedge to pull Westbrook just as he was beginning to dominate the BoSox? Classic overthinking and refusing to stay with the hot hand. In one fell swoop, Wedge became the Reverse Grady Little.
Oh, and I was sent this footage of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon getting ready in the locker room before and during the game:
Best bud and Sox fanatic Bryan pointed this one out. Admit it, Sox fans--Papelbon does remind you of the post blanket party Private Pyle.
As a result, the visit to the apple orchard went by the boards.
Me? I have what appears to be a sleep disorder of some kind. Tests will occur after Thanksgiving (the earliest they could get me in). I'm "asleep" for 7-8 hours, but not really. The upshot is that I am a zombie far too often. I recommend against acquiring one. Apnea? Possibly, but I don't have any of the symptoms: snoring, breathing interruptions. Instead, I feel like someone is pumping fog into my brain right behind my eyeballs several hours a day.
Friday, October 19, 2007
His debut is especially good.
I don't have a problem with the different country stuff (excluding yodeling), but a lot of what shows up on our stereo sounds an awful lot like power pop. And I listened to Rush and Zeppelin growing up.
I'm just sayin'.
Oh, and another thing: not one of you mentioned George Jones. Not a one.
Come on, people: the man's a legend.
A Picture of Me Without You, White Lightning, The Grand Tour, These Days I Barely Get By, to name but four eternal classics.
Drove a lawn tractor to the bar one night after his wife hid the car keys, too. What more can you want from a country singer?
Again, congratulations to the happy couple!
Note also that Jim and Jessica Cork make appearances, too. Friendly advice to both: don't get too stressed about retirement planning. Liam's going straight to the NFL.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no...no, no, not at all. I- I- I just think that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective."
The two-day event, featuring more than 30 workshops and talks by such luminaries as the Rev. Richard McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame, is expected to draw between 500 and 700 participants, according to the group’s president, Mary Pat Fox.
The number is only a fraction of the 4,200 who turned out for Voice of the Faithful’s first convention at the Hynes Convention Center in 2002, but organizers say that should not be seen as a decline.
* * *
But with a membership that has expanded to 150 affiliates and 42,000 registrants across the country, leaders say the group no longer needs to look to mass meetings to push for reform. Rather, they are engaged in the more difficult and less glamorous task of trying to ensure every parish and diocese has an active pastoral and financial council.
* * *
Topics to be explored in more than 30 workshops: strategies and tactics the laity can use to protect their parishes from being closed; priesthood in crisis, a strategy for collaboration and starting a conversation about issues affecting the priesthood; the election of bishops; dealing with anger and examining ways to transform it; and best practices for preserving parishes in a time of fewer priests.
* * *
Catholic University sociologist William D’Antonio has conducted a study on the Voice of the Faithful and has found them to be an extraordinary lot: their Mass attendance is twice that of other Catholics; they are more likely to be lectors, religious education teachers or Eucharistic ministers. A third of them are also members of the Knights of Columbus, 70 percent went to parochial school and 57 percent attended Catholic college.
Besides Father McBrien, who will deliver a keynote address Friday night, other featured speakers include poet, theologian and writer Edwina Gateley, and Judge Michael Merz, the chairman of the national review board set up by American bishops to help them monitor their response to sexual abuse.
Ah, so now that the rage has been harnessed, people are signing up in droves to set up parish bureaucratic structures.
Naturally, this goal of institution-building is superbly facilitated by having Fr. McBrien in to rant for the 43,208th time about the betrayal of the spirit of Vatican II and Edwina Gateley to...discuss whatever it is she's going to talk about. Not that Gateley's oeuvre appears to be germane to the big gear-up Ms. Fox claims is in progress.
However, Gateley does something that VOTF hasn't--she's actually lived her faith in the world. Specifically, she established a center in Chicago which rescues women out of prostitution and supports them as they rebuild their lives. While there's plenty to be dubious about with respect to Gateley's theology, she deserves great credit for this work.
At one point, VOTF did useful work for survivors of clerical rape. But that's a dwindling fraction of its mission these days.
Now, VOTF is focused on grasping at the levers of ecclesial power--the dread clericalization of the laity which changes "kiss my ring" to "genuflect before my degree." In Rich Leonardi's memorable phrase, it's "the sanctification of the parish basement, not the world." Look at the workshops highlighted in the article: with one exception, it could be the agenda for your local priests council or USCCB meeting.
Here's the complete list. The subliminal message: the clergy are the Church. Despite all the claims to the contrary, VOTF says the crozier's where the action is. Nothing else counts. Living your faith in the world? Pfft. That's for evangelicals. And if you can't smell the northeastern/midwestern mindset, your sniffer's out of service--look at the focus on parish closings. That's a front burner issue in Boston or Detroit. Dallas, Raleigh or Los Angeles...not so much.
VOTF, you're at minute fourteen. And the Church in America doesn't have a constituency for one Call To Action, let alone two.
Here's a fun experiment for those inclined to use evolution as a truncheon against religion in general and Christianity in particular: refute Watson using only evolutionary theories. No sanctimonious moralizing, please. Regardless of whether or not such invocations are derived from blathering about Middle Eastern sky deities or other pre-Enlightenment notions of "morality." Keep your philosophy off the good professor's body, please.
[H/t to Mark.]
[Update: Let me be clear: I believe that Dr. Watson can be refuted by Sola Scientia. But that's a sterile, inhuman response, isn't it?]
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
[Weird synergy: October 16 is also the day John Paul II was elected.]
Over the past year, though, my wife has been bitten by the country music bug.
Her current favorite non-Toby Keith song features these lyrics:
She thinks my tractor's sexy
It really turns her on
She's always staring at me
While I'm chuggin along
She likes the way it's pullin' while we're tillin' up the land
She's even kind of crazy 'bout my farmer's tan
She's the only one who really understands what gets me
She thinks my tractor's sexy
It's still better than Tim McGraw's "Indian Outlaw," which is a stench in the nostrils of God.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Geraldo Rivera, Al Sharpton and Kim Gandy were not available for comment.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I didn't know he was buried in Houghton County.
Classical fun fact: Laurium, Michigan, was named after the Greek city where silver was discovered just before the death struggle with Xerxes. That silver was crucial in building the Athenian fleet that would defeat the Persians at Salamis, one of the most decisive battles of all time. To subreference one more time, Harry Turtledove wrote a chilling short story, "Counting Potsherds," about a world where the silver was not discovered, and the Greek city-states were destroyed by the King of Kings.
All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
The before/after aspects would make for an interesting sociological experiment, but for the horrific human cost. Coming soon to a metropolitan area near you: Chinese and Indian Malay refugees.
Oh, and it's being touted as an anti-colonial initiative? So I guess Islam originated in Kuala Lumpur?
He's also a Michigan State grad who has to go to Ann Arbor for the exam, so remember he'll be under extra stress as he enters the belly of the beast.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I could bounce around the courtroom on a pogo stick.
I could attend garbed in a "Kiss Me--I'm Welsh!" t-shirt, powder-blue leisure suit pants and a derby that looks like it was made out of the fuzzy dice hanging in a '77 Firebird.
I could write my motions entirely in Esperanto.
I could use a horn to object to Spears' attorney's arguments.
And I'd still win. In a walkover.
chun-ga chun-ga chun-ga
"Your Honor, we believe that the custody arrangements are unfair to Ms. Spears--"
chun-ga HONKHONKHONK chun-ga chun-ga
chun-ga chun-ga chun-ga
I've always been more of a Pap Thomas fan myself, but the unbalanced part makes sense. We also apparently patronized the same barber tradition at various points.
Sherman was an average tactician at best, but he understood that industrialized warfare, for all its formidable destructive capacity, is actually an integrated and fragile construct with numerous sinews that can be cut. He chose to cut them with a hammer.
[H/t to Marse Shawn for the find.]
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Conversion to Catholicism isn't all beer and skittles. In fact, in most cases, it usually isn't. Often loved ones and beauty are left behind, with all the pain that entails.
Hirsi Ali may be the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. As such, she is a unique and indispensable witness to both the strength and weakness of the West: to the splendor of open society and to the boundless energy of its antagonists. She knows the challenges we face in our struggle to contain the misogyny and religious fanaticism of the Muslim world, and she lives with the consequences of our failure each day. There is no one in a better position to remind us that tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.
Here's the typically soft-spoken Hirsi Ali in action, effortlessly smiting some smarmy twit from the CBC who reminds me how happy I am to live north of Canada:
And Steinbrenner's yelling/
And Jeter's in teeeeeears/
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Good job, Cleveland. [H/t to AP for the song lyrics.]
That takes care of my cheering for the Indians for the decade. Here's a little somethin' somethin' for the ride home:
And I lost in fantasy football to a twerp who started Brady Quinn. Mull that for a moment.
Oh, and I'll remove the air conditioner from the bedroom window (we experienced record high temperatures this weekend) and take out the trash today.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Just imagine the possibilities when universal health care is instituted.
Yet another in the pile of games to thrash the children in. And, of course, eventually be thrashed. But I'm slowly advancing them up the line. They like Dungeon, where they get to smite monsters for treasure (The Boy™ actually beat all of us in the last game we played, and Maddie came close to winning), but Imperium is a little abstract. Plus, I have to teach the lad that a paper football is not a shuriken.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Again, I didn't see it. I've never been impressed with Cold Case, being especially irritated by the pat music video-style endings. Frankly, Medium is more believable. And Patricia Arquette has a helluva lot more range than the tousle-haired Keebler elf who fronts CC. Shatner had more gravitas in T.J. Hooker.
If it's as bad as the report indicates, well--so what? It's cheap hackwork by bad scriptwriters. Pick an easy villain, toss in a shock crime (yeah, we all read The Lottery in high school, champ--you're so clever) and titillate the perv segment with a little carrot cuffing and a heaping helping of hypocrisy. Christian hypocrisy, natch.
It's the safest formula in the world. It's common, too--Law & Order does it every season. The folks who do it are risking almost certain applause from their peers.
Shrug it off--remember, this is the sort of "courageous" religion puncturing done by a network that refused to air the Muhammad cartoons. Reward it with the bad ratings it deserves.
Beer--especially Hofbrauhaus Munchen--is Deutschland's greatest cultural gift to the world.
Give me a liter fresh from a Bayernische barrel, right outside the HB tent any time.
By the way, I found a case of HB at Costco. Almost as good as I remember it. Like bottled Bavarian joy and sunshine.
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