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Saturday, August 31, 2002

I'm Iron Chef Morimoto!
Take the Which Iron Chef Are You? Test!
Created by halley22

Right on! You may be surprised that it wasn't Masahiko Kobe, but I love my chef's knife that Kate got us for our wedding and care for it as if it was a baby kitten, I dislike Bobby Flay, and I would wear silver polyester all the time if I could.

In other FoodTV News

DO NOT MISS -- under penalty of really missing out -- the Good Eats Viewers' Choice marathon tomorrow (Sunday, September 1) at 1pm EDT on The Food Network. It's six-hours long, so make sure you have a blank tape (unless you belong to that whole scary TiVo cult thing).

Polish up your paintball guns, and top off those CO2 cannisters...


What's this all about? Well, Shatner leads the Federation in a fierce paintball battle against the Klingons, led by Mancow, and the Borg. You can participate. But it's today and it's in Bedlam, IL so you better hurry.

Grizzly Mauls Animal Rights Activist

And I guess we can add "privacy" to the list of rights most animals would like to enjoy. Anyway, I'm a big animal "rights" activist myself: the animal's gotta be cooked right, the animal's gotta be seasoned right, the animal's gotta be served right....

Friday, August 30, 2002


It's been a busy evening. I stopped by the local Harmony House which is going out of business and had everything in the store 40%-off their greatly-inflated prices. So I picked up the new Persuations album (the one where the African-American a capella group covers all the Beatles tunes -- their Zappa tribute was also very good), a Vince Guaraldi album recorded at Grace Cathedral in 1965 (one of the tunes is called "Holy Communion Blues," so how could I not pick that up?), a CD of Ella, Billie, and Sarah performing at the Neport Jazz Festival in 1956 (I believe) and then the true find: a DVD entitled "Shining Stars: The Official Story of Earth, Wind, and Fire".

In a word: awesome. Maurice, Verdine, Phillip, Ralph... all the guys are here talking about their days in the band. Also present is Larry Dunn who was with the group until 1983 when he dropped off the face of the earth (seriously -- I remember in college going into the computer lab and doing internet searches for him, this was in '94 or '95 and coming up with nothing. As a keyboard player I recognized Larry as the man). My favorite moment is when Phillip Bailey admits that no one had any idea what the lyrics to Serpentine Fire meant except for Maurice. I guess they have a new album coming out soon. I have no idea when, though. But I do believe that the real inspiration for Our Lady of Hollywood (the subject which will not die) was the album cover from their 1981 Raise album.

Anyway, 'Xander, who cannot sit still for a 23-minute long episode of Disney's "Stanley," sat enraptured throughout the entire 90-minute documentary. When EWF would play (they had a lot of old concert footage, mostly from the 1981 show which was broadcast on HBO) he'd stand up on my lap and jump into the air over and over and over (mental note: buy a cup) and "sing" at the top of his lungs. He's not 8-months old yet. And he digs EWF hard. He's my son, all right. Anyway, I recommend you all check this DVD out. EWF is the bomb. They're the greatest band ever, and I can prove it to anyone who thinks otherwise.

Oh! And I also found Jesus tonight! Not my Lord and Savior, Jesus, but someone who thinks he is He:

I Am Jesus Christ and More (Ted Jesus Christ God).

He's the craziest Christ wannabe yet, and I thank RC for passing along his site. He's crazy and he's prolific. His name is Ted and he likes to take pictures of women -- old women, young women, Korean women on a sailboat -- you get the idea. You could spend a lifetime (or an afternoon) going through his various writings but I wouldn't recommend that. He makes less sense than I do. But how does one reach the conclusion that one is Christ, exactly? Well, through the "Very Brief Photo Story," (which is only a small fraction of his site and itself is twelve parts long, though part 6, for some reason, is empty) we get some inkling:

After hearing many constant day and night ACCUSATIONS about everything including details on diet and how He ate and how He went to the restroom and how He showered and how clean He was and in the shower for example hearing voices that He was washing certain parts too vigorously then He started going more to the RIGHT and is VERY GOOD and was baptized at 12 and then re-baptized self off of sail boat in the San Diego bay and still the voices from very soft to very loud persist.

Anyway, I could go on and on about Ted Jesus Christ God because his website goes on and on -- it is seriously exhausting and depressing just how much crap TJCG has on his site and if you could hire some poor soul to read through websites for you this might be a job for him or her -- only I won't be that particular kind of loser for you tonight because I just got Super Mario Sunshine today from my mom (late birthday present) and I want to play it.

Victor says: "Chuck it."

The Catholic Church's tax-exempt status, that is.

Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits Catholic organizations that are exempt under its provisions from participating or intervening in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. -- From the USCCB Office of General Counsel guidelines page.

Really now: what good is tax exempt status really doing us as a Church but gagging us? I'm been thinking about this a little lately (mostly while cleaning the bathroom, so make the necessary connection back to the cleanser fumes if you must). What good is a Church that cannot intervene in politcal campaigns when the political process, the political candidates, our elected officials are what sets the moral tone in this country? Sure, if you read the document up there you see that the Church does have some wiggle room in terms of how it can lobby on issues, but beyond that? The feeling is that if you say one little thing either way for or against this candidate or another quicker than Emeril Lagasse can say "BAM!" you'll find your Church without its precious tax-exempt status: and such things have certainly happened before.

And so, increasingly, you find wimpy bishops and priests (and even a few non-wimpy ones) hiding behind this much-touted 501(c)(3) status. It's pathetic and it's wrong. We're all gauranteed the freedom, even priests and bishops, to speak our minds in this country and we shouldn't feel bound by economic concerns from doing so. But I'm not here today to discuss the injustice of the law El B.J. rushed through 48 years ago. Politicians, by and large, are crooks. To expect a politician to not be a crook and to not use their power to coerce you out of whatever it is that you have that they want is foolish and naive. But that doesn't mean that the Church or we as Catholics need to voluntarily (and even cheerfully as is so often the case) sit on the broomstick.

No, sir.

We'll let the dead and corrupt politicians have their laws. And we'll follow them. We’ll pay whatever taxes are required. But what we don't do (in my own little vision, here) is gag ourselves. We'll speak the truth about this and that politician. We'll throw ourselves headfirst into every political race and debate in this country in every way that we can. And we'll do it with a smile. We will render undo Caesar, but not pander unto him. "But," you say, "Lams, won't the IRS come after the Church and all of the Church-run charities at that point? If the IRS makes the Church-run charities start paying taxes (and by implication their members' contributions will no longer be tax-deductible), won’t a lot of them have to shut down?”

Damned straight!

By the dozens, Catholic hospitals, homeless shelters, safe-houses, et al will shut their doors and empty onto the streets hundreds of thousands of sick, mentally-disabled, drug-addicted, and homeless people. And guess whose job it will be to take care of them then?

The Federal and state-level governments’, that’s whose. And God help them because they won’t be able to handle it, that’s for certain. What will more likely happen is the government will either a) be forced to revoke that silly gag-order (which is doubtful) or b) honestly and fully adopt the socialist model towards which we’ve been heading over the past 60 years: income-tax rates in the high 70%s, personal freedoms taken away by the truckload. Few Americans would stand for this, of course, and the ensuing revolution would be televised.

Of course, as Kenneth Mars’ character in Young Frankenstein says, “a riot is an ugly thing,” and I’m not entirely in favor of one. So we, the Church, will do the decent thing and give the government some time to prepare for our intended un-gagging. We’ll pick a day, say September 17th, 2004, and make it known that on that day the Church will engage in active politics. She will condemn the heresies of the heretics and excommunicate the excommunicable. She will use Her resources to foil the campaigns of those whose platforms include planks counter to Her God-given mission of building the Kingdom of God here on Earth and support those who are true to Her teachings.

In essence the choice, then, will not be the Church’s, for She will merely be doing what She should have been doing (but has not been doing) for the past 48 years. The choice will lie squarely with the IRS and the Federal Government. Do they let the Church be the Church without any unconstitutional gagging, or do they try to keep Her from Her mission and bring chaos and wide-spread misery down upon us all?

The choice is theirs.

But you don't have to take my word for it....

I just watched Reading Rainbow for the first time in years. They have a new CG intro which is pretty cool -- it retains the flavor of the animated intro on which I grew up and updates it nicely. Levar Burton is a cool as ever. Today's episode was about slavery and the road to freedom in the North and featured Sweet Honey in the Rock (the vocal group). Very cool.

Anyway, it made me think about Walker Percy's book "The Thantos Syndrome," which everyone should have read by now. If you haven't read it, pick it up -- it's one of my favorites (possibly my favorite book by Percy, which would make it my favorite novel of all time). If you'd like to read my own novel, "Newcomers", which is kind of a midwestern Gen-X homage to Percy (and kind of not), you can find the Word .doc in this directory. It hasn't been fully proofread or rewritten yet, though (I hope to do that this fall), but I still think it's the funniest thing I've ever written.

Heck, I'd buy one.

What are you doing this Saturday morning?

The press release which found its way into my mailbox:

DETROIT, MI -- A group of Catholics will stand outside Blessed Sacrament Catholic Cathedral Saturday morning August 31st with signs asking Adam Cardinal Maida to publicly disavow gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Granholm's "pro-choice Catholic" views and reiterate publicly the Catholic Church's commitment to the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. On Saturday at 9:30 am the group, led by Nancy Restuccia of Canton and her five small children, will be at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at Woodward and Chicago in Detroit. They expect many to join them.

Mrs. Restuccia hopes the Cardinal will reject Granholm's abortion advocacy and declare the Church's unflagging support for the rights of all human beings, born and preborn.

"The Church clearly teaches that human life is sacred and deserving of the full protection of the law from the moment of conception," Mrs. Restuccia noted. "Ms. Granholm is yet another example of a politician claiming Catholic support while refusing to support a basic teaching of the Church. She is scandalizing the faithful, putting women and babies at risk, and jeopardizing her own soul by receiving Communion while proclaiming support for an excommunicable offense."

In recent weeks priests at Granholm's parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, had caused dismay and confusion among local Catholics for their seeming endorsement of Ms. Granholm's candidacy and her views.

"The Church is not a democracy (thank God!), but it is perfectly legitimate for the faithful to appeal publicly to their bishop for action in defending the Gospel of Life," Mrs. Restuccia concluded. "If anyone would like to join us, please come in the spirit of humility, charity, and respect. My husband Eric and I will be there with our five kids, and we plan to stay for an hour."

Pete Vere weighs in on the canonical implications of the priest who refused to marry a Planned Parenthood employee. I will have to finish this tomorrow. It's Friday Night for me and as he quotes CCL at least three times in his piece, I admit I'm getting a bit bleary-eyed. For those of you who express rage and injustice at the idea of a priest refusing to marry someone, check this out.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Bad Hackers! Leave the RIAA alone!


For someone who doesn't make it out of the house to the movies more than once a year (anymore) this sounds like it could be a pretty nifty idea:

Meistrich's Film Movement offering at-home premieres.

According to Film Movement, the company will send members an "award-winning American independent, foreign or documentary film on DVD (or VHS)" that will be available exclusively through Film Movement each month.

Note: The post which was originally in this location has been deleted.

And, man, you should've read it, too. It was great: concise and witty yet full of keen insight. It spoke directly towards your particular situation in a refreshingly novel way. You would've loved it. But you know, after I wrote it, I began to think: is this really going to portray me in the best possible light? If someone were on the fence about buying my CD or being my friend or keeping me in the house or not, would this really speak in my favor? So I decided to think about it for a little while. I sat back in my chair, looked around the room, played with the little toys on my desk, got up, walked into the kitchen, poured myself a glass of milk, drank the glass of milk, looked out into the backyard, took a couple of puffs on my inhaler, went out into the backyard, poked that dead crow over in the corner by the tree a couple of times with a stick, walked back into the house, thought to myself that Charo must be in her 60s by now, went upstairs and confirmed that on the internet, decided that I'd watch LOTR:FOTR which I did, twice, felt tired, went to bed, got up, went to the bathroom, ate breakfast and decided that I didn't really want that particular thought posted and so I deleted the post. Sorry.

[Eh? What's all this about then? --ed]

Why I Love The Internet

Because I can get the real Vita Brevis 'blog translated from Portugese to English!

"Ladies and gentlemen, after long, amused and beneficial vacations of winter-summer, I am in return to my jail."

(Sorry, Gregg The Obscure!)

Links Lojinks: N.O.

Just out of curiousity, has anyone tried to use the direct-link feature on Nihil Obstat's blog? Guess what... IT'S NOT WORKING! ISN'T THAT A HOOT!? HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! BECAUSE IT'S NOT WORKING. AND IT SHOULD! BWAHAHAHAH!!!

If it were working, I'd direct link to his first post from August 29th entitled The First Fact. In it Nihil Obstat makes a number of very serious errors. Most notably:
  • Counselor Deanna Troi is, as she is only half-Betazoid, not a telepath. She is an empath (her mother, Lwaxana, is a full telepath). And I'm sure she would disagree with your gross caricaturing of her as a tempress.

  • Besides, I haven't even had time to check out the nudie pictures of her at you passed along to me yet (thanks, by the way) so any thoughts I have of Counselor Troi would be of the decidedly pure variety.

  • "One of your robots may pass the Turing test in fifty years or so"?? Who do you think is writing this right now? And, as outdated an indicator of true AI as the Turing test is, Robots have been passing that test for years. What we need to be working on is overcoming Searle's Chinese Room problem before true intentionality can be granted to any of us. And it's possible my Arch-Nemesis has already overcome that problem and I now am lagging woefully behind.

So you still could be one of Marty Haugen's Robots, as far as I'm concerned.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

The Phobia List

There'll be light 'bloggin' this AM. Also my email seems not to be working, for some reason, so if you've sent me anything I won't be reading it for a little while. The reason why I won't be blogging, though, at least until later is that my 'blog time today will be taken up with a trip to the dentist. If you're really, really bored and want to read about my first visit to this dentist, last October, click here.

Man Mistakes Guinea Pig For A Robot!

Thanks to The Man In The Iron Collar for passing along this very relevant news story!

An Oxnard man faces felony charges for torturing and dissecting his daughter's pet guinea pig because he thought it was a camera-equipped robot placed in his home by government agents.

You know, I just have to laugh when I read about things like this. I mean, it's very tragic for the man who is in jail, his daughter who must be pretty messed up, and -- of course -- the guinea pig but I laugh because I cannot tell you how many times a similar thing has happened to me. In fact, it happened SO often that I came up with a set of rules. I call them "Victor's Rules For Telling A Robot Apart From A Living, Breathing Creature." [Actually, what Victor is about to describe is more of a process than it is a set of rules but since neither you nor I can stop him let's just humor him for now by reading along and maybe buying a copy or two of his CD --ed].

Step #1 -- If you think your household pet -- or any animal in your yard, for that matter -- is a Robot, the FIRST thing you should do is, when you're alone with it, look it right into the eye and tell it in an authoritative voice (speak clearly) "you are a Robot. If you are still around here tomorrow, I will have to proceed to step 2. You will not like step 2." Usually, if the "animal" is a Robot, it will not be around tomorrow. This is because most Robot Makers are pretty smart and nonconfrontational and will just as soon pull their Robot out of your house (or yard) as they will stick around and see if you're bluffing in regards to moving on to step 2.

(Actually, my Arch-Nemesis once sent an army of Robot squirrels into my yard, not too long ago. I did step #1, of course, and the next day -- no squirrels. Not all Robot Makers are going to be as timid as my own Arch-Nemesis, so be advised).

Step #2 -- This appears to be about as far as Mr. Zavala got before he went off the deep end (into Nutsville). Step #2 is to -- only for a day, mind you -- not feed the suspected Robot. If it is a Robot, this will not bother it in the least. It will keep chugging on because it is powered by batteries. If it is not a Robot then whatever it is (bird, cat, guinea pig) will start to look very, very sad. I mean, it will look so sad that you probably won't be able to not feed it for the entire day. That's fine, give it some food, please.

OF COURSE, some Robot Makers will program their Robots to look sad after not "eating" for a while, so even if it does seem happy when you give it some food, you have to move on to Step #3.

Step #3 -- Try to engage the Auto-Destruct mechanism. ALL Robots have an auto-destruct mechanism. Usually it's behind the right ear. Try to find it (while wearing latex kitchen gloves -- duh!). If you try for a while (until you get bored) and it does not explode, then it's probably safe to assume (for now) that it's not a camera-equipped robot placed in your home by government agents. This step may sound a little lame to you Robot laypeople out there. This is because you do not understand the mind of the Robot Maker. Think on this: why would you go through all the trouble of creating some great proprietary thing that can look sad when you not feed it only to not equip it with a self-destruct device? Had Mr. Zavala realised this he would've been spared moving on to the step employed only by rank amateurs -- namely, dissection. (NOTE: Never, NEVER, NEVER dissect even a suspected Robot).

If you still have any doubts, it's always best to quarrantine the suspected Robot. I recommend a nice cage with water and food pellets and a clean, dry changing of sawdust every week. Oh, and you may also want to pick up a guinea-pig-sized blindfold.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Turn around. Yeah. It's me.

The debate has been raging on HMS Blog, mostly, after Fr. Rob Johansen asked for feedback as to what people thought about the new Meet 'n' Greet period they just implemented at his Parish. You know, you turn around in your pew before Mass and "say how-do-you-do and shake hands," with the other folks around you.

I don't know if this is appropriate or not, liturgically speaking, but it really doesn't matter to me. I don't mind it for one simple reason, and one reason only: It gives me a chance to see who's sitting right behind me and I ALWAYS like to know who's right behind me.

Is it kosher to be a one-issue voter?

Cody writes in the comments box of my latest OLGC post:

I maintain that it is indeed irresponsible to be a one issue voter. I will not vote for a candidate whose every policy position, save his/her stance on abortion, is represhensible to me and against the teachings of the Church. There are lots of ways to take life besides by abortion, and there are lots of ways to promote life (and reduce the number of abortions) aside from agitating for its explicit ban.

Real quick response: I, of course, maintain otherwise. What it comes down to, in my book, is not a matter of some sort of pragmatism wherein we try to "promote life and reduce abortions," but a matter of principles. I hold the principle that one can do whatever one wants, so long as it doesn't step on another individual's rights. That's one principle. The other principle is that the primal right for an individual, the right to be held highest above all others, the right without which all other rights are pretty meaningless is (obviously) the right to exist. Not the right to exist according to some material standard of your own choosing, mind you, but the right just to be in existence. Any state which cannot gaurantee to protect that right for its citizens to the best of its ability can't really be counted-upon to protect any of its citizens' other rights or pivileges.

So in that sense, I believe we have an obligation -- not just as Catholics but as American citizens -- to be one-issue voters, if that issue is ensuring that all of our fellow citizens have their right to exist protected by the state (to the best of its ability). Once that is assured for everyone, THEN we can work out the minutae of everything else (like whether or not 1/2 of my income is going to be taken from me by force to benefit someone I don't even know through some waste-ridden "program" -- again, though, none of this matters to me if I'm dead).

I mean, if you ain't even free to be -- what else is there that really matters?

If you follow only one of my links today, make it this one.

SLANT -- A bimonthly online magazine publishing essays, reviews, interviews, poetry, and fiction.

I don't have anything in this issue (because I couldn't get my, uh, stuff together in time; check the issue 1 archives) but there is a wealth of literary treasures to be found there this month including: an interview with novelist Haven Kimmel which manages to do what few writer-interviews do (for me, at least): namely, to make me want to run out immediately and buy more books. This is also a very fine and honest essay about the joys and acrimonies of teaching a World Cultures class at a parochial school in Jersey (I hope I am never like the parents mentioned here ;). And in case you were curious, and you are now, I can tell, there is a piece about the new literary movement in Slovenia.

If you'd like to submit anything you've written (essay, poetry, book reviews, whatever) check out the editorial and email links there. They do so welcome submissions.

My sribblings here can't do it all justice. Check it out. It comes Highly Recommended.

Bathroom policy angers assembly-line workers

This would be my own little personal circle of Hell -- especially since I drink around two gallons of water every day.

If you're looking for the OLGC post, it's the next one down.

So that Xairos Guy thinks he can attract many hits from people who actually need the ministerial services of St. 'Blog's parish by merely posting the words "unusual sexual positions" on his 'blog. I think he may be up to -- er on to something there so I have decided to go one further and post "pictures of unusual sexual positions" on my own 'blog. And since I don't post what I can't deliver, allow me to include here the following picture taken from my book The Etceterasutra.

This one is called "The Drawn-and-quartered Donkey". As you can see below, one partner (pictorally represented here to be androgynous as in this particular position the sex of either partner doesn't matter) is up late working on his or her website while the other partner has, without informing the other partner, long since gone to sleep. The most remarkable thing about this unusual sexual position is that very little sex is actually getting done; so it's not very efficient in that regard.

etceterasutra: drawn-and-quartered donkey

OLGC Update: Father Doc "My column ... led some to believe that I am not dedicated to life."

Thanks to an individual very near to the situation, I've been able to acquire the complete text of Father Doc's "clarification" (if that's the right word?) from the most recent (dated August 25th, 2002) Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish bulletin. It pretty much speaks for itself. After the text from Father Doc's bulletin, I will provide balance by including another essay, written by another priest here in the Arch-Diocese of Detroit (from Dearborn Heights, in fact!). This will perhaps illustrate the difference in attitudes towards pastoral responsibilities between a priest who feels put-on-the-spot by the political leanings of one of his parishioners (Fr. Doc) and one who seems determined to stick-to-his-guns-no-matter-what (Fr. Zaleski). Here is my original post about Fr. Doc's August 4th column, which he is "clarifying" below. If you're in a BIG hurry, jump directly to the text of Fr. Doc's bulletin on Amy Welborn's blog.

Father Doc's Den

At the request of Cardinal Maida, Bishop Kevin Britt has asked that I write to allay the fears of some that I am less then Catholic in my dedication to life.

My column of August 3-4 was ambiguous, and led some to believe that I am not dedicated to life. I am sorry for that misunderstanding.

I reverence God's gift of life from its beginning, at conception, until its natural end. This has always been my belief, and in it I stand firm. This necessarily means that I am against the sin of taking life by acts of abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment.

I ask forgiveness and reconciliation of and with you, the members of this Family of Faith, of Cardinal Maida, and of the Church for any embarrassment or hurt that I have caused.

Grace and Peace,
Father Doc

("Hours for the Sacrament of Clarification at OLGC are from 3 to 3:30pm every Saturday,"). Also note that Fr. Doc is more Pro-Life than probably most of you out there because he also opposes capital punishment (he didn't put in the bulletin that he was also opposed to using animals for cosmetics testing, but we can probably assume that). So just lay off the poor guy, will ya? It's been really stressful for him and stuff and now his auxilliary Bishop is making him "clarify" and "ask forgiveness" for any "embarassment" (it's called "scandal") you may've felt. Anyway, I suppose this is the sort of "clarification" which we could've expected in 1999 from Bill Clinton if he had had to answer to a Higher Authority at that time

Now on to a priest who doesn't mince words: Fr. Dan Zeleski of St. Albert the Great Parish in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, (whose parishioners, it seems, can't afford to buy him a "den." His essay is simply entitled "Notes from your Pastor").

Can some one teach what is opposite of the Church's teachings, especially in defending life in a mother's womb from the pulpit? The answer is a big NO! Yet we have men of the collar using the pulpit (or Church bulletins) today and saying it is all right to be "pro-choice" or "pro-abortion." The Church teaches clearly that one cannot take any of these positions, for both defend abortion as an OK method to use. Abortion means to terminate or murder life in the womb of the mother-to-be. There is no way the Church can sanction murder. Yet, there are some of the clergy who tend to make you believe it is OK They are dead wrong!Since we are now in the time of electing officials for office, one of the oldest cliches we get from some of the clergy is that "we cannot be a one-issue person. We have to look at all issues and vote for the best candidate." Of course they say this, especially for those who are pro-life because they know full well that pro-lifers will not vote for those who favor abortion, whether the candidate be pro-choice or pro-abortion. A Catholic who follows the teachings of the Church is always pro-life, for the Church teaches life begins at conception and must be defended at all costs. There are no if's, but's or what's.

Can someone vote for a candidate that is favorable towards abortion whether they be pro-choice or pro-abortion? The answer is a flat NO! If you vote for such a candidate then you too are favoring abortion, knowing full well that the individual will perhaps do OK in other political issues but will push abortion agenda as well. And that is the big NO...NO. A Catholic cannot for any reason sanction murder (this is what abortion is all about) and by your vote you either will defend life or sanction murder. The choice is yours! And I pray to God that you will be pro-life by voting pro-life in the up-coming elections.

Amen to that.

UPDATE: Since I published this post, I have been passed the following links relating to this situation. Please, check them out:
LIFESITE's news story on Father Doc's apology
If anyone else would like to protest, here's some information on that, as well as the Detroit Free Press news story, from the FreeRepublic bulletin-board.
More to follow! Keep them coming!

Depressing Comics

Okay. Let me say straight-off that you have to take this comic strip, I think, in the spirit in which it was written. I don't take this to be meant to be disrespectful at all. In fact, I think this is a perfectly acceptable way for the cartoonist here (obviously someone affiliated with the found-art crew at -- formerly Cardhouse?) to express some feelings he (or she) might not have otherwise been able to express. That said, you're allowed to hate it, too.

Beetle Bailey? At The World Trade Center?

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

After that last post I think a little spiritual cleansing is order. Since (in GMT time, anyway) it is probably now St. Augutine's feastday, I bring you this link to the Blackstone Audiobooks edition of The Confessions of Saint Augustine. This edition is special because it is, as the page says, "Family Friendly!" I don't know if the implication here is that the usual output of the Doctors of the Church is not, somehow, Family Friendly! or if most other audiobook adaptations of The Confessions are read by, say, John Malkovich (who can dirty up just about anything).

Safe, Legal, and Effective -- I'll pass.

Voodoo Machine - The World's First Digital Drug

WARNING: link contains a picture of womens kissing womens (UPDATE: on closer inspection the one on the right turns out to probably be a guy). Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, can someone (hopefully with some sort of medical degree) explain to me how this will actually help cure your insomnia?

Simply attach the clips to your earlobes, turn on, and trip-out! Experience feelings of inebriation, psychedelic visuals, extreme relaxation, floating sensations, intense endorphin releases, all culminating in a relaxed yet alert euphoric state.

Yeah, well, if I really wanted all of that, I'd go out and buy a Raphael Brom CD.

Molten Fibgerglass for the Blank, Dark Soul

So Kathrn Lively gets propositioned by the Chicken Soup for the Soul people. I am not bitter. She is, after all, a real writer. But I will not be unprepared when they call upon me. I will start today, with my own "...for the Soul."

"Murray Spintz (not his real name) had been coming unglued for quite some time. While his friends and relatives (those which survived, anyway) would argue for years about what finally put him over the edge -- whether it was his first exposure to the hormone shots or whether or not he was simply born bad -- there could be no argument over the effect his rage had upon the 13 city blocks which were completely engulfed by the insatiable flame fueled by Murray's own misguided rage and a seemingly-endless supply of natural gas."

Hmm. Seriously, though, I am working on my own "Chicken Soup for the Soul" for the soul submission so that when they call upon me, I will be ready. I should be posting it by tomorrow morning.


Something else that's fun? Search on The Oriental Trading Company, Inc. homepage for "sticky". Or "alien". You cannot live without this stuff so do not even try.

The World's Worst Landlord?

Uh, yeah.

The New York Daily News reported that one of the complaints against the dead woman was that she failed to give three-months notice that she was leaving.

....Lyman refused to let the family into their daughter's apartment to get a hairbrush for a DNA sample to identify any remains. The family finally obtained the sample with the assistance of the police.

....The landlord also told the doorman not to allow the Salvation Army into the apartment.

The World's Only Ass-Kicking Machine

Q: Is The World's Only Ass-Kicking Machine Some Kind Of Joke?

A: No.

So you didn't like it one bit, when it came out. You said, "It's not natural for a cola beverage to be crystal clear!" and so you dumped every last drop of every last bottle of it down the drain. Bet you didn't think that that bottle of Crystal Pepsi would be worth over $50 someday did you? Well, who's laughing now?

Hideously poached from Justin's 'blog...

ZORK! The old Infocom text-adventure! The simple truth is that I couldn't play any of these for more than about 15 minutes before I gave up. Anyway, in the interest of nostalgia, I'm posting this particular Zork applet here as it has the best "graphics" of any of the Zork applets I've seen.

If you must know, my favorite Infocom text-adventure was Douglas Adams' "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" text-adventure (and not "The Leather Goddesses of Phobos," thank you very much) because it was written by the man, Douglas Adams' himself. Click on that link to play an applet of the original game (the first command you'll want to run, by the way is "turn on light"). Name me another game where you can (choose to) drink beer until the world gets itself blowed up.

Though, I guess -- depending on how loosely you interpreted the rules -- Milton-Bradley's "Game of Life" could end this way every time you play: "Honey, I need to talk to you about your drinking." "Okay, all you little pink and blue pegs outta the car, NOW!!!!" "What's daddy doing? I'm scared!!" "Honey!! Look out for that huge rock with all the numbers on it!!!!" "AAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGG!!!!" "Thank goodness -- we survived, somehow... Pink Peg Number 1? Speak to me!!! Nooooo! Oh, cruel and vengeful Fate, I beg you, take me instead!!!" "What's that up in the sky? Is that a huge fist-shaped asteroid? OH, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

Real Life "Fake Cop"

Cambridge man arrested in speeding ticket scam.

Thanks to reader RC for passing along this sad cautionary tale. Where did Mr. Aiguier go wrong? Well, the first sign of trouble may've been that he used a LEXUS as his bogus squad car. Yes... a LEXUS. Since this is Boston, after all, one may be excused for pulling-over for someone in, say, a big-bodied Lincoln TownCar flashing a blue light.... But a Lexus?

(UPDATE: Here's another tip to these would-be Fake Cops: Real cops don't wear doo-rags -- and they're not supposed to drink on duty).

Here is a list of "acceptable" Fake Cop Patrol Cars, for anyone who may be interested in pursuing this particular avocation:

1994-1996 Chevrolet Caprice -- And even the 1994-95 models are pushing the credibility envelope it a bit. Since the Caprice was cancelled in 1996 and was widely regarded to be the Cadillac of cop cars (sorry!) there are still many '96 models still in active service, though they are becoming far less frequent a sight on the roads (at least here in Michigan, as prone as all of our cars are to the "Detroit cancer").

1998-2003 Ford Crown Victoria "Police Interceptor" -- In 1998 Ford introduced the current Crown Victoria body style (the chief difference being a thicker-looking rear-end with the rounded corner taillights and the larger front grille) so you really don't see too many of the '94-'97 Crown Vics on the road anymore (again, at least not here in Michigan). Where you DO see the early-to-mid-nineties Crown Vics are a) in the movies (they're cheap so they can be smashed with "wreck"-less abandon -- hee! -- eg. Blues Brothers 2000) or b) in the possession of wannabe Fake Cops who bought them at an auction. If you're a member of that latter crowd: heads up! You're not fooling anyone. NOTE: If you own a 2000 or later Crown Victoria and it's not a crew or Police Interceptor model, you had better paint the grille black (as well as the strip along the back between the taillights) since the Police Interceptor models since then have black grilles (and the black strip in the rear). If you own a 2003-model Crown Victoria with the sports package, I think the grille comes black from the factory.

2001-2003 Chevrolet Impala -- HA!!! Yeah, right. I can't even believe that REAL cops are serious when they drive these puny things. The "police package" on the Impala is no more powerful than the LS or whatever edition that consumers can buy and just the extra drag put on the car from the lights on top means that your Impala cop car is going to be slower than your regular consumer-purchased Impala. Give me a break. Same goes for the Chevy Lumina cop cars you see out there. Pathetic.

There are also various Cherokee and Tahoe cop cars out there on the roads, but they're not all that common, at least not around here. Anyway, if you're serious about the whole Fake Cop scene, just tack a ski-rack or ladder-rack on top of your Ford and watch the semis slam on their brakes when you come zooming up behind them. Push bumpers (which my wife will not let me get no matter how many people leave dents in my bumpers) are also a convincing addition, and cost around $200. Search-lights are not required.

For more Fake Cop tips, check out my song entitled, oddly enough, Fake Cop.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Kathryn Lively is a National Treasure

Because she pointed me, in the comments section below, to Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension one of the funniest bad-movie review sites I've read in a long time (Mike Nelson still is king, though!!!!). Note that I said "bad-movie review" which means "reviews of bad movies" not "bad movie-review" which means movie reviews done poorly. For the latter sort, you still can't beat CAP Alert's Christian Analysis of American Culture. It's not that I don't appreciate what they're trying to do but... come on: do I really need highly-detailed charts and graphs to tell me if a movie is good or appropriate for my kids or not? No, I just need Stephen Greydanus.

And while I'm link poaching off of fellow St. 'Bloggers, Eve Tushnet posted a link to this online comic strip (graphic novel) comic strip! (GRAPHIC NOVEL!!) whatever: SPIDERS!. Okay: imagine that it's 2002, Gore has been elected president (because the Supreme Court didn't act against the Constitution and the will of the American People blah blah blah whine whine whine) and instead of just sending the military into Afghanistan like some Texan would do, Gore insteads creates an "open-source military," consisting of millions of robot spiders controlled by American computer users sitting in front of their PCs (a la AOL Instant Messenger... which doesn't control robot spiders but you get the idea). I doubt Gore would be this clever. More than likely, if Gore was president when the terror attacks happened he would've just turned Janet Reno loose on all of the pro-life activists in this country and called it a day. Anyway, the drama (in the online "comic" strip) unfolds in front of the watching eyes of these robot spiders only I have no idea what the heck is going on. A lot of it is "important": people run around and some get shot and die and some are addicted to heroin and die. It's not a very cheerful comic. In fact, it's not funny and it's kind of depressing and scary; actually, it's a lot like Mark Russell in that respect.

It's at times like these that I really wish I lived in NYC

People Are Wrong!

In the grand tradition of early 70's rock concept musicals (Hair, Tommy), People are Wrong! is a manic and joyful celebration of melody and musical fable. This cautionary tale of a charismatic cult leader masquerading as a landscape artist in a rural upstate town is told entirely in song: part Jesus Christ Superstar, part Green Acres. Produced by recent Grammy® winner and one half of They Might Be Giants, John Flansburgh ....

Still not convinced? Go to the "listen" page there and download "Dimension Six Rock." They're selling soundtrack CDs for $14. If you want one, all you need to do is email John Flansburgh your credit card number.

Not all B-Movies are BAD movies!

In addition to making my brain hurt, very often Eve Tushnet will find a really neat site, such is the case with this site, B Movie Reviews. I haven't checked out the entire site, but the one-line synopses of the B-movies listed on that page are pretty accurate. HOWEVER, I cannot endorse that site as they seem, by their very name, to equate B-Movies with BAD movies which is a gross generalization and mischaracterization of BOTH genres (the b-movie genre and the bad-movie genre).

Victor predicts your future!!!

I predict that in the very near future you will check out a relatively new 'blog entitled Atheist to a Theist. There you will find Jeff Miller's pithy (as Bill O'Reily might say if I didn't hate his guts at the moment -- heck, he's probably still saying "pithy" just to spite me) commentary and observations on Catholicism and culture, chock full o' wit.

Will you enjoy it? I predict that you will.

Day Late and a Dollar Short

I didn't read the email inviting me to sit in on a VOTF conference call to discuss the re-opening of their message boards until it was too late. While I did miss the call (I hardly ever check that account and the mail was dropped into the 'junk' folder besides) I do know how to hit the "forward" button on my email account.
You can read the results of the VOTF conference call over at HMS 'blog. Essentially, it's the post-call write-up sent by Paul Baier, who is a member of the VOTF steering committee. It sounds like St. Blog's own David Alexander was able to represent on the call last night (to the great confoundance of GrandPaw7 -- those of you who ever posted on the VOTF board will know who that is).
Anyway, the emails I've received so far (there have been a number of follow-up emails) have been pretty encouraging: they seem willing to reopen the message board so long as they have staffing to manage it. They also want to steer the message board away from the whole "Change The Church" side of things back towards helping victims of abuse, which is laudable.

what's your order?

Oh, gee... no more GameCube for me, I guess. That's a cool cowl, though. The awful truth is, of course, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with coffee made from used coffee grounds. I bet you Tom Waits drinks it all the time and doesn't mind it. And I don't care what anyone says, there can be nothing more fun than levitating.

TheresaMF notes, upon her return to Christendom College that the Bishop will no longer allow communion to be received kneeling at the altar rail due to "directives from Rome," "sign of unity," and all that. Does anyone know which Rome he's talking about?

Update: I guess this is to what the good Bishop was referring. But it sure doesn't sound like it came from Rome.


So I've been selected to be an advocate for a canonical action against Kat Lively because her rules for a St. Blog's drinking game are hostile, as I understand it, towards drunks because they require one to drink only when Pete Vere quotes the Code of Canonical Law and not merely when he cites it. You can read Catholic Encyclopedia (a website that needs its own themesong if ever there were one. It could play everytime you loaded the page -- "Come in and look in the great big book, From Aachen to Zwirner -- don't be a mook!") and I found something called an Advocatus Diaboli and that seems close enough. I can't tell you what they do, though, because just above that entry was one for somethig called "The Book of Advertisements." No pictures of celebrities with milk-moustaches there, either, though. :(

Yeah, but it took him five days to do it.

Was passed this story via email:

Mission: Bell -- Thinking outside the bun, one brave journalist tackles 15 Bay Area Taco Bells in five days to find the very best, pseudo-Mexican “restaurant.”

This article contains some conclusions which I, living in the more-or-less economically-homogenized corner of Southeastern Michigan, found interesting. For example, the Taco Bells in the more impoverished cities in the Bay Area had the happier workers and the better food. The writer's advice? "Go to a Taco Bell in a neighborhood where the workers can afford to live." He even got a store manager at one such place to make a little smiley-face on his Mexican pizza. If some guy did that where I grew up (and still eat most of my Taco Bell -- which is infrequent... like once-every-two-years infrequent) in Ann Arbor I would probably feel all weird and not eat it.

Anyway, the next time you go travelling -- across the country or across town -- try to pick up on the subtle regional flavors which assert themselves in your favorite fast franchise food. The best fast-food I ever ate was just this past April in Loudoun County, VA, where many of the food-service personnel are of Hispanic origin. I can safely say that I've never had a reuben sandwich with black beans on it before. It was good!

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Hey. So I got the shelves up. They still need to be painted, but I figured that if you wanted to see what I've been working on all weekend (and why I'm too tired to respond to email tonight... my fingers feel like little lead weights), you could take a look. The shelves I built are the brown MDF shelves (the shelves with all the stuff on them were there when we bought the house): we now have 8 new shelves for CDs and 2 more for DVDs (not that we'll ever, I hope not, fill them up). We still need to paint the shelves yellow and add some molding all about the face of the shelves, but you get the idea. Interesting trivia bit: at around 75" tall, they're exactly my height. They are also quite heavy but not, fortunately, as heavy as me. I doubt that they'll ever fall over and crush us. For those of you who care about such things: the shelves are all plumb and level. All of them.

Note, also, in the picture on the right, the faux brick effect Jackie has obtained on our wall there (this is in the lower-level). Can you spot the "True Icon," panel in the picture on the right?

Shelves 1 Shelves 2

If you're headed for North-Eastern South Dakota anytime soon, you will want to check out The Vinegar Museum. As you'll recall, we weren't able to get there last year as we were only in the Eden/Roslyn, SD, area for a day or two and that just happened to be when The Vinegar Man was up in Fargo on business. The story of how The Vinegar Man came to settle in, of all places, Roslyn, SD, (formerly known only to those outside the state as the birthplace of Myron Floren) is a fascinating one (imagine what you would do if you saw a house for sale on the Internet for $1,000 in a little town you'd never heard of and decided to buy it sight-unseen), but it will have to wait. I've got shelves to complete. Anyway, the point is my parents and little sister WERE able to get there a few weeks ago and they brought us back all sorts of cool vinegar: vanilla bean vinegar (with the vanilla bean right in the bottle) and spicy pecan vinegar, to name only two.

ps. My last update, down there.... I think I had sun-stroke.

Over the line? I draw the line! For I am Das Man!

Anyway, in addition to thinking I may've been over the line down there with the "lesbian nuns," comment (though apparently it's "okay" to hack up your next-door neighbor because you think he or she might be a Saint and you really, really want a first-class relic of a Saint because you've never had one before and all your St. Blog's friends have them and make you feel like dirt on their 'blogs when they go on and on and on about how they just got a St. Francis and now they're working on acquiring a St. Mark from some Cardinal in Florence who won't give it up for anything less than two St. Bellarmines and a St. Therese, but I'm drifting mightily off the subject), Steve Schultz nevertheless grants me pardon due to the sorry, pathetic cicrumstances under which those comments were made. All I have to say in my defense is "If we shadows have offended; Drink but this, and all is mended."

Anyway in doing so, Steve Schultz (of Catholic Light, lest I forget to mention it though it sounds like everyone in the world but me was reading that 'blog up until last night), links to a previous post on said 'blog containing the winners of a St. Blog's bad free-verse contest. We artsy-fartsy types don't need to say "free-verse poetry" because we all know that to say "free-verse" implies poetry of some sort. "Free-verse" = Poetry. Metrics and rhyming and scansion and tropes and trollops are for the weak. And this is mainly because we believe all of life to be one big poem... or koan... or foam....

The point is that they're the funniest thing I've read all week. And now I need to get back to work on these shelves.

Everyone be sure to wish Kathryn Lively a Happy Birthday. Wish-lists, by the way, are only borderline 'blegging in my book. In matters of taste the difference between 'blegging and wish-lists is the difference between giving someone a carefully considered gift for their birthday and giving them a gift-certificate to Meijer's. Besides, there's nothing too extravagant on her wish-list. Nothing like a sportscar or anything....

If it's new to me, it must've just popped into existence

Catholic Light 'blog, a 'blog I've never visited before (by "visited," I mean never visited virutally) has a very funny bit up of things you should never say to your diocesan vocations director. Very funny. I can't really add any to these right now (as I've been playing the St. Blog's drinking game since 10am this morning) because if I did they would go like this:
  • "Is it true that I never have to pay rent or utilities again?"

  • "Blah, blah, blah. Listen, just tell me when I get my frock."

  • "Allah akbar! Tell me more about the glistening Sword of Catholicism!"

  • "My wife is gonna kill me when she finds out!"

  • "Snugglecakes, er I mean 'His Excellency,' told me I should apply for a job here?"

  • "I think blue is a far more 'ordinary' color than green."

  • "Ya wanna see a relic of my next-door neighbor?"

  • "You know, this reminds of that part in the movie 'Keeping The Faith,' when...."

  • "So.... are any of the lesbian nuns in this diocese like, you know, hot?"

Yeah, so, you know, I won't try my hand at any of these. At least not tonight.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

God-Complex Week Continues....

RC of, obviously still bummed (as are we all) by the Saintly Salmagundi's inability to complete God-Complex Week, provides me via email with information on another contender. "Who needs a phony Pope?" he writes.

We got us a phony Christ!

And he is The Vissarion of Krasnodar who, along with his Church priests Sergey and Vladimir, make up The Last Testament Church. No, I'm not making that up. You may have thought that the so-called "New," Testament was the "Last," Testament (or if you're Mormon, there may be a few more "Recent," Testaments) but this "Last," Testament is more "Recent," still. It's pretty final. Final, as in "Last."

Here's some of his doctrine taken, I think, from The Vissarion's testament, "The Time of Turn," (or click the animated gif near the bottom of the main page.. the one with all the funky graphs). One thing is for certain: Olga the interpreter needs to brush up on her englishski.

20. All the Fundamental Principle at one time fully consisted only of such freely existed, actually elemental energy effects.
21. Ages by ages were needed to pass by while the evergrowing in speed mystery of the forming of the active Beginning was taking place.
22. The process of condensation in the long run is called to make apparent the birth of some whole, which in its core would contain some complicated compounds of a certain quantity of the elemental particles.
23. After which such a whole begins to have its individual power informational vibrancy ...

But what about the Vissarion (aka. former traffic cop, Sergei Torop), himself?

12. Just therefore there is a great number of those who are waiting with personal morbid interest for my new, promised before Advent, but only by no means in the flesh born in your present society.

From these few snippets it would seem we have just stumbled upon the first Messiah to utilize fully those little magnetic refrigerator poetry sets.

For those still remaining in a state of being perplexed here's a little summary and a piece from The Guardian. Should you still doubt -- even after The Gaurdian story -- the legitimacy of the Church of the Last Testament or Last Testament Church or whatever they're called please be advised that they are very legitimate. How much so? Well, some of their members were elected to the local council. Were Christ and His apostles ever appointed to their local council? No. Not even the clever ones. So there you go. Thanks, again, to RC for passing this along, with all the links! Now go, as he says, to enjoy your power-informational vibrancy!!!

Things are getting Lively...

...over at Kathryn Lively's "Come On, Get Lively," 'blog with the First Edition Rules for a St. Blog's Drinking Game. We here at et cetera thank Kathryn profusely from the bottle, er, bottom of our hearts as this pretty much assures that, since we do all our 'blog-hopping in the morning before work, we'll never be going to work again. Also, I predict that soon my weekends will become nothing but a blur of colors and text burned into my retinae by a passionless CRT.

I might also submit a few rules of my own, for consideration in the Second Edition ruleset (e.g. anytime Emily Stimpson's hand gets offered to a perfect stranger in marriage by either Mark or Greg on HMS Blog, for starters. Greg's promised that this will never happen again, though not in so many words, but we, of course, know better).

Or how about a swallow everytime Justin Katz responds to an off-the-cuff remark made by Jo "Naked Writing" dy with a fourteen-page treatise?

We may also want to put in there a mandatory emptying of the bottle/can/flask/boda-bag/firkin/whatever every time an orthodox priest of St. Blog's gets censured by his bishop.

ps. As much as I love our cats, you all would be a lot more merry if you were required to take a sip everytime I mentioned my favoritist rock band of all time, as I shall do again later this afternoon. Grab a bottle-opener and brace yourself: I've finally reached a decision in reagrds to what I consider to be their best album of all time.

Don't be put off by the title

For those of you not familiar with the Evolution Control Committee,, mentioned below, be sure to visit this page, scroll down to "Rocked By Rape," and download this file. I gaurantee it'll be among the funniest of the things you'll hear today. What is it? Well...

"The ECC ... have topped themselves with this stroke of genius. It's months worth of Dan Rather speaking on the CBS Evening News, edited down to its essence -- Rather naming one calamity after another ... and set to a cut up and rearranged AC/DC groove. ... This could easily be cute and nothing more, but the ECC has made it an actual song... - College Music Journal

Of course my favorite EEC project of all time is still Gunderphonic -- their 1994 masterwork which demonstrates what talented individuals can do with nothing more than two 2-track tape recorders and a wicked sense of humor. Be sure to check out "Rebel Without A Pause (Whipped Cream Mix)," to learn what happens when Public Enemy meets Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass. And anyone who's listened to Focus on the Family's, "Adventures in Odyssey," will want to check out "The Acid Family."

Friday, August 23, 2002

So I got the DVD version of "Weird," Al Yankovic's UHF for my birthday! Woohoo! We watched it tonight and it's probably been about five or six years since I've seen it. It wasn't quite as funny as I remembered it being, but that just could've been because I was either too tired or not enough drunk (the fact that I've seen it over a dozen times and can practically recite it by heart probably had something to do with it). Anyway, it's still funnier than 99.4% of what's being pushed on us as comedies today so you should definitely pick it up. At under $10 you don't have any excuse not to (unless, of course, you don't have a DVD player). It's also loaded with extras. "Weird," Al does audio commentary (we haven't heard this yet, but it's sure to be a blast) as well as introduces a score of deleted scenes (there is apparently much more which didn't make it on the DVD but as "Weird," Al says in his own self-deprecating fashion, most of it was cut because it "completely sucked,"). Also included is the music video for the song "UHF." Not to be confused with the "Money For Nothing (Ballad of Jed Clampett)," video which appears in the movie itself) this video has "Werid," "Weird," Al dressing up and spoofing (I hate that word, "spoofing," it's totally demeaning) David Byrne, The Beatles, Prince, Peter Gabriel, Axl Rose, George Michael, Billy Idol, ZZ Top, and some others I forget. Check it out.

I'll save my huge, long-winded post about what an influence "Weird," Al has been in my own life, keeping me off drugs and stuff for another night when I can actually type.

If this were in a videogame it'd be the Archvillian's secret chemical weapons factory that you'd need to infiltrate and blow up. Trust me. It looks like one of the compounds out of Goldeneye or Syphon Filter. Ugly. Better hope I never have to parachute into Los Angeles. Things could get messy.

OLGC update

The local rag reports that, in addition to passing out at the entrance to the Church, the pro-Granholm letter I discussed in this post (the letter itself can be found at that post), Mr. Jennifer Granholm (Dan Mulhern) was allowed by Our Lady of Good Council's pastor to actually read that letter during Mass. All of this while pro-life protesters were exiled to a tiny strip of grass 150 yards away from the Church (under penalty of being arrested -- the pastor, Fr. John actually threatened the protesters with arrest in the Parish bulliten) and had their signs snatched away by criminal police officers.

I could go into how this could be seen by anyone with two neurons left to fire as an obvious endorsement of a political candidate by a religious organization and then connect the necessary dots such that perhaps the entire Arch-Diocese of Detroit, who condones this all by its silence, should lose their tax-exempt status, but you know whay? Nothing about this Parish shocks me anymore. You could tell me that they're driving the Planned Parenthood Bloodmobile right on up into the main area of the Church to perform forced abortions on all the pregnant women of the Parish and forced sterilizations on all the girls above age 12 while Father Doc pulls his liturgical robes up around his bony thighs and does a fruity, private-waving dance before an altar to Moloch and local couples "simulate," sex in the vestibule, and I wouldn't doubt it for a second. Seriously. Such is the degree to which OLGC (and by further implication, the Arch-Diocese of Detroit) have abdicated their moral authority and credibility.

The last paragraph of the article in this week's Community Crier sums up the attitude of the community perfectly:

Last Sunday afternoon, while leaving OLGC, parishioner Lucy French of Plymouth, who has a master's degree in early childhood, asked the protestors to stop using pictures of dead fetuses. "A prayerful, respectful protest is fine, but graphic images being shown to children is not appropriate."

Chew that one over in your minds. "Respectful??!!" Excuse me? Killing babies: "OK by me! Do whatcha gotta do!" Graphic Images: "Not Appropriate," say the "experts." Welcome to America, 2002. Please, be respectful.

So I shall try to be more respectful, so long as all you Uncle Tom Pro-Abortion "Catholics," playing stepan'fetchit to the Culture of Death meet me halfway. And when we do meet, I'll bend over and all of you can just kiss my big, fat, Birthday-Boy --- ooohh! Cake!!

Thank you for the Birthday wishes, one and all! I must admit it's been a pretty darned fine birthday so far: the line at the Secretary of State was very short (I was in and out in under 10 minutes), my dad got me a wicked-cool Makita circular saw which cut through the MDF we're using for our media shelves like, pardon the cliche, a hot knife through Mori-nu silken-style tofu. All this and I still haven't gotten my gift from my wife yet (minds out of the gutters, please).

I will say this about MDF, though. Not only is it the official pressed-wood-type product of TLC's Trading Spaces program (note the title of the pop-up ad for life-insurance when you go to that page: "momGirlMourn_v01,"), it's also at least as heavy as an equal volume of granite would be. I have new respect for Ty Pennington and Amy Wynn Pastor, the show's two carpenters. Not only are they funny and good-looking, they also have to be as strong as an equal volume of mules to work with that stuff. Anyway an interesting tidbit is that if you inhale large amounts of the sawdust you get from cutting MDF... well, I'm not sure what happens yet. I need to do some research. It's probably nothing good.

I will have something to say about the comments in the post below. I just discovered the site yesterday so haven't even had time to listen to Rafael Brom's work. I have to assume he's doing it AMDG.... Well, we'll see.

Barbara Nicolosi has a nice article up on Catholic Exchange about Videogame Addiction. It's a very balanced article. So much so that, videogame addict that I am (which is not to say that I'm any good. I kind of suck at them. Sure, though, I could've been a contender, had my hopes in that arena not been crushed by marriage), I can find very little fault with it. Hopefully she'll have some good tips on how to get my screenplay sold (or even written) when I go to CWF next month.

Okay. NOW it's officially my Birthday!

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Maybe I'll put some animated, dancing cakes or something up there if I have some time tomorrow -- I mean later TODAY as TODAY is my BIRTHDAY.... but no time for that now! Must be up in Six-point-five hours in order to make it to the Secretary of State's office when it opens. Apparently I need to keep paying them every year for the "privilege," (as if I'd mind it if I could just be chaufferred everywhere in someone else's car) of driving a car which I already own.

If you want to get me something for my Birthday, check this out.

"Tonight you're a star and I'm the Big Dipper." - Prince, Gett Off

ABSOLUTE last one, I promise

This last one wasn't even done by me, but was sent in by a reader. Since I'm clearly, it now seems to me, corrupting the minds of my readers and making a mockery out of Jack Chick's noble mission (you know, the mission where he calls the living Body of my Lord and Savior a "death cookie," though we try not to take such things personally), I hereby declare this tract below to be the last tract. Also, in the distance I hear the eerie mingling of police sirens with a jubilant mob singing "Bringing In The Sheaves," and it is a frightening and terrible sound, indeed.

Anyway, at least now I have a name for my heavy metal band.

Last One! - One of the Largest Catholic Marian Resource Websites

Not the largest? I don't know. I do know, though, that reading that page is like eating every flavor of Jello at once. Let's just say it's very colorful.

Rafael Brom thinks Britney Spears is the next American Idol like Elvis and Shirley Temple and it has recently come to light that the third secret of Fatima has not been published in its entirety. And if that's the way I want to spell entirety, then I say you go ahead and let me.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

It's not my Birthday. It's not today.

Not if you're anywhere West of Greenwich, England, anyway. Tomorrow (Friday) is my birthday. Not that you asked, but I'll be 27. The interesting thing (well, to me anyway) is that I've already been telling people that I'm 27 for quite some time now. I actually believed that I was 27 -- I've had to be corrected by friends (actually I believed I was 47 for a few weeks in there). So it's not coming as any sort of big shock to me. There's still three more years before I'm 30 (the age by which I'm to have lost it all and started over from scratch, if I'm ever to do such a thing). And that's not even considered middle-aged anymore. Of course, I could die tomorrow but that would be a little cheap.

Rack up another win for Brawlin' Bill Donahue and The Catholic League.

Back at it, or still at it?

The Evolution Control Committee is back at it. This time with a compilation of the very worst tracks they could find, recorded by real people, sitting in front of their computers, who never knew anyone else would hear what they were recording, but we can hear them because they inadvertantly left the sound files where Napster could find them. Check out this page to not only learn about how they carried out this search (quite ingenious!), but to also listen to some of the gems they found (and by gems I mean crap).

ECC -=- Culture Jamming

Caution: This page (and the mp3s) take a while to load. If you're impatient, check out the compilation CD (which you can order for $6.50) and the three sample tracks (look in the "Default's Greatest Hits section," sample 1 and sample 3 are my favorites). Also I haven't listend to all the tracks so they could contain profanity (almost all of them are certain to contain stupidity).


Justin Katz over at Dust In The Light has an awesome mini-treatise on what he calls "Fundamental Atheism." Yawl should check it out. For short form, read only the part in brackets (i.e. the first three paragraphs or so).

I still haven't seen Rod Dreher's piece in the WSJ yet so I have no idea what all the hubbub is about (plus, I'm feeling kinda lazy today -- too lazy, at least, to read any commentary on it before I read the piece myself).

Through it all, of course, there's hope for the younger generation, the generation I like to call "Generation Y." TheresaMF of Detination: Order 'blog is off to college with a post so insightful and hopeful that it just warms the cockles of my heart (though all that cockle-warming could also be the severe result of that fifth cup of coffee I had today)...

It also illustrates something which I experienced at Hillsdale: just what an academic disadvantage we poor Public Schooled kids were at when compared to the homeschooled kids. I didn't mind, though. We did much better with the ladies.

So you're a cat, right? And you can choose anywhere in the house to curl up and sleep, right? You could choose the sofa, the recliner, the bed, and even a pile of dirty clothes if you wanted. So where's the most comfortable place you can find to stretch out?

How about a plastic dropcloth on a hardwood floor?

Goofy Cat

The Revolution is Ovah!

Greg's back, and since it's his 'blog, Mark's revolution is no more. (And, like the song says, it was not televised).

I thought I chose the side that winned, but Leadero Supremo (or whatever they're called -- I was never any good at this counter-revolutionary stuff. Unless, of course, it's like the counter-revolution in Evelyn Waugh's Scoop) JB seems to have gone 'round the bend.

The Schulz Museum

Now might also be a good time to pass along a report from RC, who was able to attend opening day at the new Charles M. Schulz Museum. RC says that if you are ever in the Santa Rosa area then you should check it out. I would agree with this assessment, after looking at the pictures, especially the opening-day pictures. The architectural-design of the building looks, as they say, "modest, low key and comfortable," after Mr. Schulz himself and the exibits look rather nicely laid-out. RC also passes along that there is a Catholic connection which makes this post St. Blog'sworthy: "while Schulz himself was a Protestant of some sort, his first steady cartooning job was lettering the text for a Catholic cartooning magazine called 'Topix' which appeared in English and Spanish editions. They eventually gave him a page for his own feature titled 'Keep 'em laughing'."

Now I'm going to have to check eBay for old editions of Topix as that just sounds like the coolest magazine ever. But, now that it's been brought up, I guess I can kind of see the Protestant subtext in Shulz's "Peanuts," cartoons. For example, both the Browns and the Van Pelts had only -- you guessed it -- two children. And the whole deal with Lucy pulling away the football and yet Charlie Brown seemed determined to always kick it, even though he, in his heart, knew better. Also, the entire series was devoid of a Christological figure: sure Charlie Brown suffered, but there was never any sense that his suffering had any meaning, no telos, if you will: non-redemntive is a common motif in Protestant art (at least for those who have to sit through it). Getting it now? What about Charlie Brown's nickname, "You Blockhead?" CLEARLY that was only there as a smokescreen to draw attention away from Charlie's round head. Round-head. ROUNDHEADS. Get it? (Or am I just being cavalier?). And, lastly, what of the treatment of the character of Pig-Pen? You know the outsider kid, one of thirteen children, who was always covered in slime and dust because his parents couldn't afford new clothes or soap? Was it just by some accident that he was referred to by all the other children as "that drunken [pejorative term for one of Irish decent]?"

All seriousness aside, Peanuts has been, and will always remain one my FAVORITE comic strip. It's the main reason why I was a cartoonist for a little while and I have nothing but immense respect and esteem for Charles Shulz. You should go to the museum and give them some money.

Mmmm..... Peanuts.

Newspaper Gandalf Redux

A few posts down I posted a picture of Ian McKellan as Gandalf and mused aloud, as my Swedish is "how you say? not so good," whether or not it was intentionally a work of satire. Astute reader RC indicates that it is and provides the link to this page for what appears to be a UK version of The Onion called The Brains Trust. I haven't had a chance to poke around there much, but it has to be funnier than The Onion: it's British! I also like how they allow their readers to post comments after each story. After the LORD OF THE RINGS - WHERE DID THE BUDGET GO? (whence came the Gandalf image) story, for example we read this:
Your cheap humour is sickening at a time when people are dying. Right now, we should all be uniting against the terrorist threat posed by Sauron and unite behind Lord Denethor. Humour such as yours only serves to give comfort to the Enemy and his various apologists such as Saruman.

So if you like your humor British (by which I mean spelled with a second "u," and with malt vinegar all over it), you may want to check The Brains Trust (note the grammatically correct pluralization of the first noun, there -- because they're British!) out.

Sorry I haven't been blogging much in the past 20 hours or so. This is due to a number of reasons: last night I felt real queasy and had to come home early. It turns out I just needed some sleep. Also, last night FoodTV aired an episode of Alton Brown's "Good Eats," which I hadn't seen before (the one where he grinds up his own hamburger from equal amounts of sirloin and chuck). That was fun and it made me far too hungry to 'blog. Anyway, I'm back now.

Spotlight on....

Today's Spotlight shines brightly on: Enrico Colatoni!

Enrico Colatoni

Perhaps best known for his roles as the lovable womanizer Elliott DiMauro on NBC's hit sitcom "Just Shoot Me," and the Thermian Commander Mathesar in the 1999 sci-fi epic "Galaxy Quest," Enrico's life was not always one of laughter and the adulation of women. Born the youngest of twelve children in Tuscany on a snowy St. Valentine's Day in 1954, Colatoni had to work hard both for food and the love and respect of his parents. His father, caring but stern, owned a world-reknowned gelateria and hoped that his son would someday carry-on in his footsteps. Alas, it was not to be for Enrico felt a far-deeper calling in his heart; far-deeper, even, then the lure of the gelateria's cold, aluminum ice-cream paddle. In his heart Enrico knew he was mean to be an actor. His parents were furious, of course, so at the age of 28 Enrico ran away from home. He hitched a ride on a merchant ship bound for New York and, once there, was immediately selected for a non-speaking role in a low-rent version of Moliere's Tartuffe. In order to support his new vocation, Enrico found work alternately as a bootblack and then, a bicycle courier (and sometimes both at once). While critics lauded Enrico's performance (in the play), they nonetheless cited the production's poor sense of timing (the theather was scheduled to be demolished the week after opening night) as the ultimate reason for its failure. Undeterred, Enrico left for the west coast, tragically missing a visit from his father who had come all the way from Tuscanny to New York to wish his son well.

In Hollywood Enrico worked for many years doing commercials and corporate-information films for various appliance manufacturers (he auditioned for the role of the Maytag repair man but was turned down because he brought too much "energy and dynamism," to the role). It was on the set of one of these information films where the Barry Levinsan, soon-to-be producer of NBC's Just Shoot Me, "discovered," Enrico and gave him the chance to audtion for the part of Jack Gallo, the mercurial publisher of the fictional Blush magazine. While Enrico was "not old enough," ulitmately for the part of Jack Gallo, he was perfect (as I'm sure agree) for the role of Elliott DiMauro for the first three seasons. (A little known fact is that, due to contract disputes, from the fourth season onward the part of Elliott DiMauro has been played by a computer-generated "synthespian,").

Enrico's big break in Hollywood, however, was yet to come. Join us next time for chapter 2 of the Enrico Colatoni story, "We need a Thermian... stat!"

(ps. I'm not quite certain I've gotten all the facts of Mr. Colatoni's life 100% correct. Since this is the internet, however, I figure it doesn't matter).

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

You say you want a revolution?

We'd all love to see the plan. And here it is.

That Kairos guy, JB, got all miffed when Mark Shea siezed control of HMS Blog away from vacationing Greg Popcak (well, not so much vacationing as recording some new TV programs at the EWTN studios).

Anyway, to make a long story short, JB got upset because Mark wanted to have him killed for starting a counter-revolution (incited, undoubtedly, by MS. Emily Stimpson's complaints that Mark tried to marry her off to yours truly in return for my support of his revolution). Well, this led to a counter-revolution which brought with it its own 'blog (no political movement these days can be without one): Radio Free HMS.

Thus far only David Pawlak has joined the counter-revolution though Ms. Emily Stimpson has defected to it from HMS Blog (at least until Papa Greg gets back).

As for me, I'm sticking with the side of the revolution. Mark Shea's been nothing but good to me (though I'm still bummed that the whole Bride of Lord Victor on Earth thing fell through... just kidding, honey!). To be honest, though, I have been in contact with the counter-revolution as well (it's called playing both sides against the middle... look it up) to let them know that if they want the support of my Robot Army then they will have it, provided certain terms are met.

One word of caution to both sides: it would be unwise to underestimate the effectiveness and punctuality of my Robot Army, as you can clearly see in the following short propoganda film, "Fall Festival," which my Ministry of Communications put together last year to demonstrate our collective accomplishments in the fields of engineering, architecture, genetic engineering, and yes, even filmmaking.

(Netscape users may have to right-click/save-link-as and then run from their hard-drive -- I still haven't figured out how to fix that ;) ).
RealMedia format, smaller
RealMedia format, larger format

Catholic radio host enjoys talk life

This is a very good article about Al Kresta, an excellent Catholic talk radio host (an excellent talk radio host by any set of standards). His guests are always talking about something interesting or another. Ave Maria Radio is having a pledge drive in September. Please give them some money!!!

Oh, you can hear Kresta every weekday online from 3-6pm. Just click on the Ave Maria Radio link in the previous paragraph.

Two More Vic Tracts

These are the last I'll do, I promise (it's probably already taking hours and hours for this page to load over a dial-up connection). And besides, I can't imagine that I'm the only one getting sick of that angel's snotty attitude.

Vic Tract, Number 2
Vic Chick 2, Panel 1

Vic Chick 2, Panel 2

Vic Tract, Number 3
Vic Chick 3, Panel 1

Vic Chick 3, Panel 2

I finally made it into a Chick Tract!!!!

And not as the Death Cookie guy either!

Victor in a Chick Tract!

That's me all right -- got the car, got the drink (vodka on the rocks, of course!), got the turtleneck, the haircut, and the smug, self-satisfied expression.

I die in the next panel, though, of a heart-attack (I know: in the tract it seems like it's some big surprise to me, too) and then I lose all my clothes and have to go before the faceless, glowing Supreme Being. I wind up cast into the lake of fire. Bummer.

Anyway, the interesting point of the story was that, about four years ago, I actually had an email correspondence going with someone over at Chick Publications. She was very nice and thoughtfully responded to my questions about why her publications seemed so bigoted. Eventually, tough, it became apparent that they wouldn't repent, or whatever, so someone finally suggested I put my cartooning skills to work and make my own pro-Catholic Chick-type tracts. I did. Unfortunately, they're long gone. I can only artificially (and quickly) recreate here what they must have looked like:

Panel 1

Panel 2

Maybe if I have some time I'll actually draw some new ones.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Ian McKellen som Gandalf

Ian McKellen som Gandalf

My Swedish (or whatever) isn't all that good. Is that SUPPOSED to be the worst picture of Gandalf the Grey I've ever seen?

Boo-yah, In Your Face, and Let's See Who's Laughing When The Only Work You Can Get Is Doing Shoe Sale Commercials

Shock Jocks Muzzled in Sex Incident

The most amazing thing about this article? Well, when was the last time you read a Washington Post article where Battlin' Bill Donahue of the Catholic League was made out to be the good guy?

Apparently there is still balance to be restored after that lengthy and morbid suicide post from earlier today. Very well:



They've updloaded a whole bunch of "new," songs to Dial-A-Song (which is actually a good use of Flash as it can save you long-distance charges if you don't usually dial-a-song from work).

You may have to hit the target a few times, but keep hitting it until you get "The Bloodboat," to play. I like that song.

NOTE: the following post contains a rather morbid treatise on the aesthetic ugliness of another aspect of the culture of death.

Mark Shea is right. This guy is the face of evil.


...And not just because he's giving away free euthanasia kits but because also because the free euthanasia kits he's giving away are just so damned mediocre: "specially-designed plastic bags," with "an elasticised opening to provide an airtight sealaround the neck, suffocating users, who take a sleeping tablet beforehand."

Since this is a BBC article, though, we get such "objective," reporting as this: He said that in the absence of voluntary euthanasia laws, the kits provided the only option for people lacking the money or connections to kill themselves with drugs.

This is what always gets me about euthanasia supporters (after the fact that they support something which is strictly condemned and as immoral an act as they come): they seem to think that killing yourself should be not only legitimated and sanctioned but also painless and neat. And in doing so they lie about what suicide really is -- not only as a moral act, but as an aesthetic expression. Let me explain:

Suicide "is contrary to love for the living God," the Catechism says. As such, killing yourself stands out as the most obvious, deliberate act of nihilism. You're taking the one, most precious gift ever given to you -- life -- and flinging it back into the face of your Creator, saying that His gift is meaningless. You are using your own destruction to basically give God the middle finger.

And that's a pretty powerful statement.

And since you're going to make such a statement -- and especially since you can only make it once -- why the heck would you go and blow your one shot at it with something as hideously banal as putting a plastic bag over your head? As a means of expression, it's profoundly pathetic and stupid -- even more so than the act of suicide itself. It's also dishonest.

If I were terminally ill and in a lot of pain and cursing God for bringing this all down upon me and considering killing myself (which I would never do) I would be deeply offended by anyone who suggested that I kill myself with a plastic bag. It's like someone telling you to show your woman you love her by giving her a used prophylactic device (which, upon further reflection, we actually do tell our kids in our public schools). Once you acknowledge what suicide actually is you really have to, if you're going to be at least ontologically honest about things, choose an exit more befitting of your stated intention of total self-annihilation of both body and soul.

And as for the kits being the only option for people who can't afford happy drugs (another option only for dishonest folks who think they're being all noble)? Doesn't anyone in Australia own a gun? or a car? or a herd of wild dingo? Any one of of these (or all three) could bring about your self-inflicted demise inexpensively and without lying to yourself that it won't hurt and that it's for the best, etc., etc. It's pretty hard to tell yourself it's all for the best and that it doesn't hurt when you're being immolated by a fire you, yourself, started (an act far more in line with the reality of your self-destruction you've undertaken with the decision to off yourself in the first place. In addition, who knows what tiny bit of salvation you can gain in that last moment of lucid "Lord, I really did not want to do this," thought before you wink out forever -- something the bag doesn't offer).

Bottom line: if you're going to kill youself (which you should never, ever UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER do) and are somehow able to lie to yourself about the moral nature of your act (i.e. the lie that suicide is somehow not always evil), you should at least be able to recognize the ontological and aestheic nature of your act: i.e. that you, through your own will, are detroying your precious and beautiful body and your soul, irrevocably and painfully. All three of these considerations -- the moral, the ontological, and the aesthetic -- are things which putting a bag over your head denies.

Like I said: it would be a morbid post. Next time maybe I'll talk about my Fantasy Football team, "Robot Team, Number 1," which is going to DOMINATE the WorldFraud league this season.

Egad! A base tone denotes a bad age.

If anyone were to ask me what the absolute worst home-improvement store is, I would have to say that it is Lowe's. The Lowe's in Westland, Michigan, at least is the most poorly-managed, poorly-stocked home-improvement store I've ever been in. I think there's been maybe one time in the past three years when I haven't walked out of there in a mind-numbing blind rage because they either didn't have something, I couldn't find it, or the lines were too long (and then, the thing I bought that time was broken so I had to go back and wait in line for 20 minutes to exchange it). We usually go to The Home Depot (that lone, shining beacon of hope for our home), but Lowe's is the only store that sells Valspar paint. Anyway, I drove all the way over to Westland today for some paint and they were -- guess what -- out of it. So that's my morning; thank you, Lowe's.

Thanks to TheresaMF for signing my GuestMap (and thanks to everyone else who's signed it, too!). Check out her virutal notebook for many reasons why, for a kid, homeschooling must just rock. WE never got any Medieval Feast in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. All we ever got was a "multi-cultural," feast with also sorts of outdated civil rights activists who taught us how to flash power signs and read poetry about why Jim Crow laws were bad (I think they were bad, I don't actually recall ever being taught what they were). Anyway, check out the Virtual Notebook, especialy the Medieval Feast page.

You're an American superstar, you need money, but you can't risk your image... what do you do?

If you're one of the over fifty celebrities to be found at this site, you go to Japan and make some commercials!!!
  • Japander:n.,& v.t. 1. a western star who uses his or her fame to make large sums of money in a short time by advertising products in Japan that they would probably never use. ~er (see synecure, prostitute) 2. to make an ass of oneself in Japanese media.

For sheer Japanese-advertising lunacy you just can't beat Arnold Schwartzenegger's genki-drink ad. And what have they done to The Simpsons (aside from taken away all of their clothing)?! No one is safe. Dennis Hopper selling herbal bath additives? Nicholas Cage selling his soul to a pachinko-machine manufacturer (as befits an actor of Cage's abilities, he makes a very convincing pachinko-addict)? They're all here in QuickTime format. They even got Kate Beckinsale (Nooooooooooooooo!).

All is not lost, though. Aardman Animation fans will want to check out the Wallace and Gromit ad (for some sort of pudding, much desired, or so it seems, by one of those Counting Sheep from the domestic Serta Mattress commercials) and ANYTHING -- and I do mean ANYTHING -- that Stevie Wonder is selling (ESPECIALLY if it's coffee drinks) I am buying.

Special thanks to SuperFriend Britain for this site.

Monday, August 19, 2002


Well, now. This changes everything....


Tim Shelarts, er Justin Katz, I mean, blames me, in a post dated August 19, 2002, for introducting him to the 'blog of Little French Girl (see post somewhere below). He adequately justifies his interest in the 'blog by saying that, as a parent of a small child, he will need to know in 18 years or so what is on the minds of 18-year-old women. I have news for Justin, though: in 18 years men and women won't exist. No, siree, not like they do now. Humanity will have become one big sexless soup, reproducing endlessly and joylessly through mitosis (or karyokinesis, if you prefer -- but it doesn't get any more enticing if you call it that). It's not a particularly cheery future, I know, so you better have your fun while you can. Quickly.

Anyways, this leads to a discussion about pickup lines. Well, I'm here to report that I never actually had any pickup lines, if you can believe it. While I was prone to the occasional long-winded poem (which usually evoked the intended's fire which radiated from her soul, or something -- they were really quite awful) accompanied by flowers or, when that didn't work, bringing a musical instrument to her place of employment (we really don't like to talk about this) I can't say that much of that actually worked. No, the best plan was to be nearby (or zuhanden, "ready-to-hand," as the philosopher says), always. I figured that if anyone ever wanted to out with me badly enough (and why would I want to go out with anyone who didn't?), that they would just ask me. All I needed to be was nearby. And it happened. I got asked out. Infrequently. I didn't date much. But it sometimes happened. Whether or not I accepted, of course, was another dealie-o entirely. Ha. I always accepted. I didn't date much. Anyway.

The lesson to all you Junior Et Ceterae out there is this: Patience and persistence will always pay off where flair and style fail. (Charm helps too, though, so try to cultivate some). Sure, you might have to wait while they go through three or four other boyfriends or girlfriends and, yeah, they may eventually get serious with one of them and then get engaged and then break-up again and at that point become so embittered with the opposite sex that they "switch teams," but, hey -- that's life. The whole point is that if you wait long enough, everyone eventually becomes undesirable and that is when you make your move.

Your mileage, though, may vary.

(And if that title, referencing Heidegger up there, doesn't get Eve Tushnet to finally notice my 'blog and recognize the sheer intellectual force which it has become, then I do not know what will).

Edinburgh reports: smug and sanctimonious:Charles Spencer reviews The Guys

Alarm bells start ringing early in the proceedings when Sarandon's journalist tells the audience of the terrible "crisis of marginality" she and other New Yorkers experienced after September 11. This grand phrase actually means that she wanted to help, but couldn't think of anything to do, at least until the fire captain contacted her. The solipsism of this response to the hideous deaths of some 3,000 people strikes me as bordering on the obscene.

We seem to be back up!

Apologies to anyone who's actually been trying to access this 'blog. My webhosting company is obviously having some sort of connectivity issues...

I have maybe 20 or so back-issues of the New Oxford Review (random, scattered issues from the past 3 or 4 years or so) which I need to get rid of (we're doing some cleaning); free to a good home. If you're interested in them, just drop me a line.

U.S. team wins international robot design competition

This would be a nice story if they had actually built robots and then entered them into competition. It sounds, though, like they just built glorified remote-controlled cars and entered them into competition (as per Battlebots). Say it with me: "Remote controlled cars are not robots. Remote controlled cars are not robots."

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Just in case you missed it the first time because you weren't, like me, glued to the computer all weekend (for work! It was for work!).

Strength, Pride & Strength Radio

One of the advantages to having a shortwave radio capable of picking up broadcasts from both alternate universes and Catholic Radio stations is that occasionally I'll stumble across something I wouldn't hear anyplace else. Such was the last case when I stumbed upon what appears to be an alternate universe version of Gregory Popcak's Heart, Mind & Strength Radio program.

In this version called "Strength, Pride & Strength Radio," (and I only managed to tape the last two or three minutes of it), host Gregory P. Chavez (who bills himself as the "Maxine Waters of the Church Fathers, your Kweisi Mfume of Ecclesia Dei, the Macolm X of the Mediatrix, the MLK of Humanae Vitae,") seems to be some sort of radical Catholic civil-rights activist. Anyway, here's some links to the audio. Netscape users may need to right-click/save-link-as in order to get these to work.

* SPS Radio in .rm format - 16kbs, perfect for streaming over dial-up modems and that authentic Catholic Radio, AM transmission ambience.
* SPS Radio in 128k .mp3 format - CD quality, 2.4MB .mp3 file
* SPS Radio in 64k .mp3 format - seedy quality, 1.2MB .mp3 file

Tales from the CD collection, long forgotten

In going through some of my older CDs today, I came across McCoy Tyner's Trident album and gave it a listen. My Sophomore year of High School, I thought this record was the bomb (it was still cool to say that back then). Obviously inspired by Thelonius Monk's Brilliant Corners album, Tyner plays celeste and harpsichord in addition to piano on this 1975 record (since there's no multitracking, there's always a couple bars vamp between when he stops on the celeste, for example, and starts up on the piano). The "Trident," in the title, by the way is Tyner, Elvin Jones, and Ron Carter -- that's right: the legendary trio which backed John Coltrane. Anyway, it's a very cool album. I like it even better than The Real McCoy. It's not the McCoy Tyner CD I'd take with me to a desert island, though. That would have to be his 4 x 4 album (four different quartets -- get it?) because it's a double-length album and, let's face it, if you're going to be stuck on a desert island it's probably not going to matter so much the quality of the music you have as how much of it.

Anyway, the interesting little side story about McCoy Tyner is that about six or seven years ago I had the chance to hear him perform in Ann Arbor. This was as part of their Summer Festival so people had to pay like $30 to get in to hear him (not me, though). Anyway, the jazz combo which was supposed to open for him couldn't play for some reason and all the festival organizers could get at the last minute to open for McCoy Tyner was this local comedian/performance-artist. Now, I do have to applaud this guy's courage, whoever he was, since putting any comedian/performance-artist up in front of Ann Arbor and Metro-Detroit's jazz elite (who just payed $30 to hear jazz legend McCoy Tyner) is pretty much a losing proposition. The centerpiece of his act, though, was a prop-filled pantomime to a recording of "My Girl," by the Temptations.

Yeah. It got ugly.

'Blogs you've probably never seen before, Part I

B'anne really likes Allen Iverson. And she also has some really compelling reasons for making her LiveJournal private, from now on (lower-lefthand box -- warning: contains some explicit language).

The Kolkata Libertarian actually highlights passages of his own 'blog posts, but links to the U.S.S. Clueless, so his 'blog can't be all that bad.

He also links to someone who calls herself Jane Galt. Her "about me," page is a little coy so we never really learn the answer to "Who is Jane Galt?" (Question: why is it that people will go into very specific detail about their various physical attributes -- I have auburn chestnut hair with flax highlights and am 6-feet, 3-inches, and 2 microns tall -- but will never divulge their weight? I of course, am more than happy to divulge my weight but, since I haven't been weighed in over four years, I can't gaurantee that it would be an accurate divulgence). She does, however, dispute that Melissa Gilbert is really 35, like she says. I would have to agree with this. If John Linnell and John Flansburg of They Might Be Giants (you just knew I would bring them in at some point) are in their mid-forties, Melissa Gilbert has got to be at least that old. Anyway, I think "Jane Galt's," blog has more comments-per-post than just about any other 'blog I've seen. (It's kind of crazy. There'll be like a short, little "is that a rain cloud?" post and it'll have like three-dozen comments).

And just because this is a St. Blog's blog, I thought I'd point out that the coolest-named 'blog I've seen in a while, SPQR, may be misnamed. I don't know yet. I don't actually read these things. I just look at all the pretty pictures and MT layouts. It does remind me, though, of the time I was in Brugge (you francophiles may know it as "Bruges,"), Belgium, and they had this huge statue with the letters "SPQB," carved into its pedestal. I forget who the guy was. It wasn't a statue of Pieter de Coninck, though, I don't think. I'm still really, really, really, REALLY bummed that I missed celebrating the 700th anniversary of The Battle of the Golden Spurs. It was on July 11th, right as the whole "$3.8 billion? I am shocked," scandal was unfolding which, come to think of it, may have been the perfect time to celebrate an uprising, led by a weaver, which drove the French from Flanders. Perhaps this is only because there is no bad time to celebrate the routing of a French occupying force, though (especially since the country in question here, Belgium, has over 600 unique ways -- and by ways I mean beers -- with which to celebrate).

Well, I'll celebrate it now. The Flemish Lion says "GRRRR!!!"

Grrr! And don't you forget it!

But the good news is... a result of this stupid waste of time, I learned that the TolkeinCollector site now actually seems to have the FULL-LENGTH Ballad of Bilbo Baggins music video up on their site (in Quicktime format)! Leonard Nimoy is just so precious in this particular video (are the ears the go-go dancers -- and Leonard Nimoy, for that matter -- are wearing supposed to be hobbit ears or vulcan ears? This I can't figure out). "What's a Leonard Nimoy," indeed.

Yes, they actually made a movie called Slap Her... She's French. That link takes you to the trailer of the fairly-typical-looking teen revenge comedy. This one, though (and if you knew how much I hate "teen," movies, you wouldn't believe I'm saying this) looks pretty funny -- judging by the trailer. The neat thing about the trailer, though, is that after you've seen it, you don't need to see the movie (not even on cable) because I'm faily certain it shows you all the funny bits. At least it tells you the whole story. It's good to finally see those foreign-exchange students getting what they deserve for upsetting the delicate social balance present in every high school. Er, that's what someone a lot less sensitive than myself might say. Anyway, I think the Bush girls will really get a kick out of it.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I didn't go to Apple's movie trailer page for Slap Her.... I went to check out the trailer for Matrix Reloaded which looks like it's going to rock -- just one big kung-fu, shoot-em-up, explosion-filled battle royale (slap me, I'm speaking French) in which, Morpheus says, also lies the meaning of our lives.

Having worked at that particular orchard for several years once, Victor is all too aware of the bitter fruits of infatuation and knows a crush when he sees one. Since the archive links are acting a little spotty, go to the entry from Sunday, August 18th, entitled "N.B. to N.O."

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Strength, Pride & Strength Radio

One of the advantages to having a shortwave radio capable of picking up broadcasts from both alternate universes and Catholic Radio stations is that occasionally I'll stumble across something I wouldn't hear anyplace else. Such was the last case when I stumbed upon what appears to be an alternate universe version of Gregory Popcak's Heart, Mind & Strength Radio program.

In this version called "Strength, Pride & Strength Radio," (and I only managed to tape the last two or three minutes of it), host Gregory P. Chavez (who bills himself as the "Maxine Waters of the Church Fathers, your Kweisi Mfume of Ecclesia Dei, the Macolm X of the Mediatrix, the MLK of Humanae Vitae,") seems to be some sort of radical Catholic civil-rights activist. Anyway, here's some links to the audio. Netscape users may need to right-click/save-link-as in order to get these to work.

* SPS Radio in .rm format - 16kbs, perfect for streaming over dial-up modems and that authentic Catholic Radio, AM transmission ambience.
* SPS Radio in 128k .mp3 format - CD quality, 2.4MB .mp3 file
* SPS Radio in 64k .mp3 format - seedy quality, 1.2MB .mp3 file

Anyways, I think I better get over to Church for confession now....

My Favorite Trill

Just got through watching an episode of The Dead Zone on USA. It's a show starring Anthony Michael Hall and Nicole DeBoer (great even without the purple spots). The episode we watched tonight (our first) a bank robbery gone awry (yawn) thwarted by the protagonist's ability to see possible futures (kinda cool) and the actions and decency of the bank robber himself (more cool). I don't know if all the episodes will be as nice as this one but it stars Anthony Michael Hall and Nicole DeBoer (did I mention that Ezri Dax is just way more cooler than Jadzia Dax?).

Don't get too excited.... The King still needs his three miracles.

Elvis Bust 'Weeps' in Dutch Town

Thanks to regular reader RC for passing this one along:

"Everybody is thinking about Elvis today. He's been dead for 25 years. This is my special room," he said, pointing out a trickle of moisture running from the eye-socket of the bust he has owned for 15 years.

"The tears you can see started at 10 o'clock. When you taste it, it's salty. It's a miracle," he said.

"Special room." Quite.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Our Lady Of Good Council saga backstory: "Oh, you mean that First Amendment."

Last Sunday when I made that mega-super-post with all the pretty pictures I mentioned, offhand, that the protesters had, previously, had their signs confiscated by the police and had to actually file a restraining order to get them back. Well, we finally have independent, secular press confirmation of this.

Of course it's not in Plymouth's "real," paper, the Plymouth Observer, the one with the classifieds and the editorials about how the public schools need more money. It's not in that paper. It's in the little Your Plymouth Community Crier, the paper owned and run by Dr. Prose who is apparently very rich, has a penchant for writing, well, prose, and who (I have heard) is suing the city of Plymouth (or the Township, I forget which) for like $100 million dollars because of some verbal assault or something. Anyway, it's the same paper which recently ran a thrilling article about the haunted real-estate office (which was not nearly as fatuous as story as it sounds).

Anyway, here's the Reader's Digest excerpt of that article (emphasis in bold and comments in brackets are mine. Typos are all theirs... like I said, it's a pretty laid-back newspaper):

On [July 6th and 7th], Plantiffs and several others displayed signs depicting aborted fetuses as well as written messages that included "Granholm wants abortion. Does God?," "Look Up! Granholm Above Church," [that one is my favorite] "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart," and "Judging Abortion - Granholm: 1 Cor 5:12."

The Plantiffs asser that, at all times, the remained on the public sidewalk and on the public right away in front of the Parish and that the protests were peaceful.
[As you can tell from my post, the protests were far away from the Church and very peaceful.] Police reports written at the time do not dispute this claim. Nevertheless, on July 7th, Plantiff Anderson was approached by Officer Eric Anderson-Smith and Ryan Krebs. The officers advised that there had been one complaint by a passerby about the signs. Officer Anderson asked Plantiff Anderson to voluntarily put away the signs, although he acknowledged they were proteced speech. Officer Anderson offered that they were in bad taste and that children could see them. In reponse to Plantiff Anderson's refusal to put away the signs, the officer left but advised if the department received any additional complaints they would have "to do something, whether it's right or wrong," and "whether it's a violation of [Plaintiff's] first Amendment rights or not."

Approximately two hours later, Officers Anderson and Krebs returned. The officers' supervisor, Sergeant Antal appeared shortly after. The officers and sergeant advised Plaintiffs that after receiving additional complaints from passing motorists, they had to confiscate the signs if they refused to put them away. When Plaintiff Anderson asserted her First Amendment right display the signs, Segreant Antal asserted that there were limits to the First Amendment and drew an analogy to prohibitions on similar displays of pornography. Sergeant Antal asserted that they were confiscating the signs because they were "visual," and too "close to the line of pornography." Ultimately, the officers confiscated three signs depicting aborted fetuses. The protestors were allowed to keep and continue to display signs with only written text.

Then the article goes on to say that after filing a 13-count complaint against the Po-Po and the township in the U.S. District court, the protesters got their signs (and constitutional rights) back.

Okay, just a couple of short things: Who here gets the impression that we've found the one person in America who can't really define what pornography is and actually wouldn't be able to identify it if he saw it? ("Uh, I had some pornography once, but I didn't have a pornograph to play it on,"). And is the only surprising thing about a cop saying I'm going to do "something, whether it's right or wrong," and "whether it's a violation of [your] first Amendment rights or not," (after only two complaints, mind you, though that is beside the point) is not so much that he went ahead and did it but that he actually announced, out loud, that he was getting ready to poop all over the U.S. Constitution?

Plymouth Township is not some backwater inbred hick community (at least not by Michigan standards). This is where, if you'll recall, all the $400,000 - $2 million homes are built -- being built for all the lawyers and doctors in the area! The Police really should know better than to try that sort of "I'm the law 'round these parts," nonsense. As James Traficant might have said: "Beam me up! Unbelievable. I yield back all the fascist police officers in this country."

'Blogwatch: Micro-update

Tim Drake some some excellent (previously published!) observations on androgeny as well as a rebuff to this post by David Alexander wherein he (David) doesn't see what the big deal is with the whole Our Lady of Hollywood thing and thinks that we should all just get out a lot more to see all the (and I'm only talking about the statue here! I have no prejudices either way! Everything and everyone must be judged purely on its own merits!) collagen-lipped, flat-chested, narrow-hipped, androgenous, zydeco-dancing women that the world has to offer. (Note to David: the whole reason I got the internet in the first place was so that I'd never have to leave my house again).

Anyway, I'm just trying to wake up here before lunch with Zach, soon to be expatriate wannabe (who has a rather nice comparison of the various religions' respective chapels at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs up on his blog). As you may have guessed, he's leaving the country soon for a place called Oxford University which, if I understand correctly, is in Britishland, somewheres, and which is best known as Bill Clinton's alma mater. I wonder: if Bill Clinton were a college student today, would he be the guy who hides those tiny, wireless webcams all around his dorm room for when he entertains the co-eds? Just a thought....

Since this week does mark They Might Be Giants' 20th Anniversary, and since I've been driving Jackie's Neon to work instead of the Crown Vic and therefore able to listen to CDs, I've spent at least four hours of commute-time this week listening to their John Henry and Mink Car albums over'n'over'n'over. In tribute to all of this (and also because I haven't had my coffee yet and so cannot think rightly), I am posting the lyric to their song "Hovering Sombrero," (off the Mink Car album which everyone needs to buy) which is a very poignant and kick-@$$ song. I got the lyric from a great lyrics site.

Hovering Sombrero
by They Might Be Giants

Hey hovering sombrero
Gently waving in the air above the meadow
Softly floating in the sky outside the window
Hovering sombrero don't be shy

Don't... don't be shy
Don't be... terrified
When you take yourself for granted
Feel rejected and unwanted
Know you're never just a hat
You're never only just a hat, you know
Hovering sombrero
Hovering sombrero

Time is flying like an arrow
And the clock hands go so fast they make the wind blow
And it makes the pages of the calender go flying out the window one by one
Til a hundred years are on the front lawn
And the old familiar things are mostly all gone
But the old sombrero just keep hovering on
Hovering sombrero hover on

Don't be burdened by regrets
Or make your failures an obsession
Or become embittered or possessed
By ruined hopes remember

When you take yourself for granted
Feel rejected and unwanted
Know you're never just a hat
You're never only just a hat, you know
Hovering sombrero
Hovering sombrero

Thursday, August 15, 2002

'Bloggin' for beaus

Licensed psycotherapist and author Gregory Popcak is having way too much fun over at HMS Blog trying to find a suitable suitor for Emily Stimpson, formerly of Fool's Folly blog. I'm using this post, here, as a convient way for you to read emails from each of the suitors without having to page through all the boring stuff that would probably just change your life.

Greg's Challenge to Find Emily a suitor

Suitor #1 - "Jeb"
Suitor #2 - "Dr. Macaulay Obaseki"
Suitor #3 - "Former President Bill Clinton"
Suitor #4 - "HRH Prince Abdul al Farsiq"
Suitor #4.5 - "Paladin"
Suitor #5 - "Mike Krempasky"
Suitor #6 - "Vlad"
Suitor #7 - "System 193"
Suitor #8 - "Jane/Steve Schultz"
Suitor #9 - "M.A.D. McConaghy"

You'll want to bookmark this post (click on the link with the date below) and check it often. At least until Miss Stimpson getserself hitched.

Emily's own objections and feelings on the manhunt (and being single) can be found here, here, here, and here.

None of these promises, threats, or plaintive cries, of course, will stay the mighty hand of 'Blog.

UPDATE: Greg abruptly calls the contest to a close due to something he calls "work."

UPDATE: But wait! There is yet one more Suitor!! Suitor #10 - St. Thomas Aquinas

And, after Emily weighs in on Aquinas (hee hee hee).... the winner of the whole she-bang is........ long last announced!

Well, we're going to be 'bloggin' lightly, like a woodpecker with a headache, tonight. Blogger's servers are apparently overwhelmed by people with important stuff to say and we have to take turns publishing. This is, all things considered, another compelling reason to move to Movable Type.

Quite possibly the dumbest 'blog post ever.

If it's true that good fences make good neighbors, then this Master Halco guy could just be the one who finally brings the online community together.

Fence - All Your Fencing Needs, Chain-Link, Vinyl, Wood, Ornamental and more.

NOTE: The site mentioned above contains graphic pictures of Master Halco's actual fences (I assume that "Master Halco," is just his alias. Unless he's German and lives in a castle and has a goatee. And he holds top-secret death-matches in his dungeon and says things like, "Mr. Juang. It is so nice of you to grace our humble festivities. Enjoy those canapes; they will be your last!" In that case he'd probably need to sell fences across the country just to keep up appearances). If you are offended by photographs of pickets and chain-link, or if you think this whole thing is just a great, big waste of your precious time and want to hedge your bets (so to speak), click here for some DELICIOUS fat-free brownie mixes!

Yay! Stephen Greydanus over at has his review of Amelie up. His impession is pretty much the same as my own (and that of a Saintly Salamundi, too, if you read the comments to that post) -- which is just another example of why I enjoy his reviews so much: we see eye-to-eye on most things relating to the world of movies (including temporal mechanics). Only, of course, Stephen is far more nuanced and articulate than I in his analysis of film (the words "bites," "rocks," "sucks," and "rulez," for example, are absent from his reviews).

Anyway, his review very nearly concludes with this line:

The film's fable-like fantasy flavor goes some way toward Ameli-orating the morally problematic implications....

Right on! for sentiment but UGH! for that pun.

In case you missed it in the comments below, there are those days when I feel as though life is really just one big chocolate cupcake of disappointment sprinked with just enough candy good-things on top to make you keep on eating it even though you don't really want to but it's too late now because you've already eaten so much already that you might just as well keep eating it until it's gone no matter how badly you'll feel about yourself afterwards.

But, of course, it's still a chocolate cupcake, and that's better than no cupcake at all.

Happy Solemnity, everyone!!!

As Father Joe said this morning (and I paraphrase slightly): "Do we really believe that Mary was taken up, body and soul, into heaven and that when the apostles came to look for her all they found was a huge pile of roses? Do we really believe that? AB-SO-LUTE-LY!!! The reason this is taught by Church from very early on is because it really happened!"

Welcome to my little universe. It's lonely, but comfortable.

Every so often I click on the random blogs which come up by random on the blogger mainpage or in yaccs.

Little French Girl is the latest such blog. (That's her motto in the title up there).

Little French Girl's real name is Sophie and she has a definite Amelie vibe going on with her hair and all (but without the movie character's cloying and relentless optimism), so there can be no doubt that she is accurately representing her nationality.

Here is Little French Girl's take on the movie High Fidelity:

The movie was wonderfully pessimistic, and i kept thinking about how much I love misery.. I don't understand it. Watching something horribly depressing made me happy.

This is the same feeling I get while watching Swimming With Sharks. I know I shouldn't enjoy it because it's so hopelessly nihilistic and yet.... Of course High Fidelity has a relatively upbeat ending. I think High Fidelity should've had a far more depressing ending myself. Like, I dunno, John Cusak gets a really bad disease and wastes away to nothing and at the end all of his ex-girlfriends get together and throw his ashes onto a river. That's maybe a better ending than that movie deserved....

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

'Bloggin' for $$$ or The Free-dom of 'Blog

I had been 'blogging for about a year when I began to run out of steam. There really didn't seem to be much point in continuously updating this stupid weblog when no one would ever read it (though I recognized this early on in my 'blogging career: Check out my page and listen to the song My Weblog -- it's okay, I don't get any money for it, it's free). Anyway, it was about April or May of this year that I heard on Greg Popcak's radio program that a bunch of his show regulars had begun to 'blog. It was also around that time that Mark Shea ran an article on weblogs on Catholic Exchange (which is still my home page, the page which starts up with my browser, and to which I've donated in the past).

So, in early July I checked out the HMS Weblog for the first time, and that was my first introduction to this whole St. Blog's phenomenon. It amazed me that there were so many Orthodox Catholic 'bloggers out there: that not all 'bloggers (except for me, of course) were 17-to-34-year-old women (or gay males) with chips on their shoulders (and some of them had webcams). Finding this out was pretty cool and my own 'blog was re-energized. And since my reader, er, readers, would be pimarily Christian, I sort of shifted my 'blogs focus that way. Do-do-do-ee-oh.

Anyhoo -- this brings us right 'round baby, right 'round... to the point, that is. Which is that 'blogging always has been, and always will be, first, a hobby. It's like anything you spend time on that isn't work. You do it because you enjoy it. You don't expect to reap any monetary benefits from it, you just do it because it makes you part of a community of people who are also doing it because they enjoy making note of the things they find on the web and then commenting on it.

Imagine this: a bunch of guys like to go fishing together on their days off from work. They buy their gear and head out in their boat and fish for a day and it doesn't matter if they catch anything. All day they drink beer (or pure grain spirits, if you don't like beer) and then they go home, having had a lot of fun. One day, though, something's changed. One of the friends shows up with a new reel. "Hey," one of his friends says, "that's a new reel!" And the new-reel guy goes, "Yeah, I just bought it. Some guy says he'll pay me money to go fishing!" "Why would he do that," asks his friends. "Well, he had one of the fish I caught last week and liked it so much, he says he'll pay me to go fishing. He bought me this reel!" "Oh, I guess that's pretty cool," say his friends. And they go fishing.

But something's changed. The scene's been blown.

Now the other fisher-friends become suspicious of the sponsored fisherman. Hadn't he just doing this for fun all along, like the rest of them? But now he's turned pro. How will this affect the way they all fish together? It's not so much that they resent him for getting paid for fishing, he does a very good job of it, and they do enjoy his company very much, it's just that suddenly it's not just a hobby anymore. And for the professional fisherman, things also change. There's pressure to catch more fish for his sponsors, to earn their sponsorship. And for the sponsors, there's a downside, too. It turns out this guy also gives away the fish he catches (I left that part out of the beginning of the parable: he catches fish and gives them away because he enjoys having people eat his fish). Why should they keep paying for fish when the rest of the people get fish for free? Granted, they'd like to see him keep fishing, but they have hobbies of their own they could be supporting. It's kind of like the old adage: no one's going to want to buy the tunaboat when you're giving away the Mrs. Pauls for free.

Anyway, the point is that everyone becomes dejected and disappointed. The hobby ceases to be fun and everyone falls into a sort of dark despair which doesn't subside until they all buy HAM radios.

Question: can you imagine anything more absurd than someone "sponsoring," a HAM radio enthusiast? Wouldn't you just put them on commercial radio at some point? Maybe that would've made a better parable.

Regardless, now that you've suffered through this post, check this Goodform Blog post out.

Now, I have nothing against a guy trying to support his family. Lord knows, I try my darndest to make a go at it myself. I happen to do it the old-fashioned way: by working as a nameless, faceless cog in a giant soul-sucking corporate machine with no real, discernable purpose or hope of future escape. But some people are lucky enough to be professional writers and/or musicians and that's the way they make their money. If someone has a product to sell, therefore, I'm very sympathetic to that and will gladly buy it: just sell me on it (and I'm a very easy sell). If you want to use your 'blog as a sales tool, go right ahead. If I think you're cool, I'll buy whatever it is you're selling all that much more readily (Lively's novel "Little Flowers," is a case in point).

But asking for money to support your 'blog itself?

'Blegging, as it is coming to be known, is a most disturbing trend in the 'blogging arena. It takes something beautiful and sacred, like sex or salvation, and puts a pricetag on it.

Now, I don't want to stop you from spending your money on anything you want because that's not cool and that's not Victor's way. But think about the purity of 'blogging, as a hobby: it's a beautiful, egalitarian-type thing. About how much else, these days, can you say the following:

A 'blog is a 'blog is a 'blog. All 'blogs are created equal. In 'blog there is no East and West. 'Blog is man's best friend. It is better to have 'blogged and lost (your job, family, and self-respect) than never to have 'blogged at all.

Why would anyone want to upset that delicate balance? The equalizing force which binds firm the belief that here, at last, everyone has an equal voice. There are no "credible journalists," no "highly-regarded pundits." Everyone is as they seem and we are all one under 'blog.

Now -- call your 'blog an "online newsletter," on the other hand, and I'll get behind that in a heartbeat.

Oh, no! They had to cut Wil Wheaton's scene from the upcoming Star Trek: Nemesis.

There's always the DVD, though, and Wil takes it like a man.

Our Lady of Hollywood: Conclusion

As convincing as an argument I may've made for Jaye Davidson, there was still something from the beginning staring me in the face, and then all at once it all fell into place: OLH has to have been modeled after the annoying Vulcan Sub-Commander T'Pol.

So break out the blue disinfecting goo because that is all I have to say on the subject.

Super Friend Britain waxes ruminative in an email on the present state of newspaper comics:

"I'm looking at today's [Detroit] Free Press comics. In Gasoline Alley, the characters aged and grew up. Ditto for "For Better or Worse." Even Peanuts added new characters and stuff sometime. And I daresay Garfield looks more and more like a big-headed Bandai Superdeformed Garfield every year. So how come Marmaduke's dad never does anything different with his moustache?"

From the "I can't believe it's actually worse than Wesley Willis," file: - A Dedicated Site, Towards the Location of Shooby Taylor

Psychotic scat singing by Shooby Taylor over old-timey spirituals. Click on "Latest news," then "mp3s," then enjoy every song from his "The Human Horn," tape in all of their full-length glory. Check out "A Closer Walk With Thee," for the full effect though "Lift Every Voice and Sing," is probably a better representation of Shooby's full talent.

Of course, no pithy comment I could ever make would do Shooby Taylor's music justice.

PS. He may actually be speaking in tongues. Can anyone out there who might speak Tongue provide a translation?

Didn't your momma ever teach you how to share?

Pint Lock

And... Just a sample of what you support if you buy Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Think abboudit.

They Might Be Giants celebrates 20 years

"People are used to the idea that songs are always first person singular," Flansburgh said. "When we're writing songs, there's something sort of faceless about what we're doing ... We're more like fiction writers."

A different model?

In regards to "Our Lady of Hollywood," below, some have expressed their reservations that every single one of my model finalists (even Julia Roberts?) are, shall we say, a little too "healthy-looking," to have been the model for the Our Lady of Hollywood statue. Their arguments are compelling: they point to the statue's squared-off jaw, its flat chest, and its narrow, sluice-like hips. In fact, it becomes, they argue, impossible to use any sort of gender-specific pronoun to describe it. It is, in other words, a masterwork of androgeny. They wonder, then, if the model wasn't actually a young african-american or hispanic boy, perhaps in his early teens.

In that case, the obvious choice of model for that statue would have to have been The Crying Game's Jaye Davidson, shown here in his full Stargate get-up:

Jaye Davidson

Given the striking similarities between Mr. Davidson and Our Lady of Hollywood, I am inclined to see their point. Especially since it makes such perfect, chilling sense. How many of us, for example, grew up in the '70s and '80s reading those text-books (emphasis clearly not on the text) in Sunday School (or Catholic School) with illustrations portraying Jesus and the Apostles as genderless, featureless blobs... like this?

(That's supposed to be the road to Emmaus, I think. I can't really tell).

In other words even as appreciative as I am of the gender-specific features of the respective sexes, even I overlooked the obvious androgenous features of the statue (this may be because it was photographed from the bottom of the statue up making her look about 20-feet tall and I, like most guys I suspect, have a heathly resepect for any woman that tall and would not doubt their femininity for an instant).

Anyway, the oft-stated point is that, in this post-Christian, post-sexual milieu, appreciation for androgeny has been inculcated in us to such a degree that we must be ever vigilant, now more than ever, towards its encroachment into every area of our daily lives. The necessary corollary is, of course, that since we have become so desensitized towards androgeny and androgenous features, the only portrayal of feminity (and this goes for masculinity, too: eg. Vin Diesel) that many of us immediately recognize as such is a grotesquely exaggerated form of the same (eg. that woman from Lexx, below).

Not me, though. I actually thought that statue was a girl. ... But wait. Does that mean that I've bought the whole androgeny thing or haven't bought it?

(Of course none of this explains the somewhat curious Earth Wind & Fire meets Potato Sack appearance of her celestial robe).

Our Lady of Hollywood

The title for this post comes from Tim Drake's 'blog, which first ran the story of the new "Mary," statue (sans veil, long hair, or anything approaching modesty or grace) for a Church in Los Angeles (please tell me it's not the Taj Mahoney?). The debate raged on, though, soon after Kathryn Lively posted this picture of the new statue (clicking on all pictures will bring you to that picture's page which has a larger picture... picture pages, picture pages).

At the heart of the debate is this: to which Hollywood starlet does "Our Lady of Hollywood," owe the most in terms both of looks and plunging necklines? Submitted for your approval are the five finalists:

Liz Hurley
Julia Roberts
Halle Berry
Brigitte Bardot
Hudson Leick

Liz Hurley

Julia Roberts

Halle Berry

Brigitte Bardot

Hudson Leick

The correct answer is, of course: That really scary-looking chick from Lexx:

Xenia Seeberg

Woo! That was fun! Oh wait, there was a secondary point to this story and it is this: back in College (way back in College) (way, WAY back in College) I had a crush on a girl who herself wound up being the model for a Mary sculpture at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Hillsdale, MI. Sculpted by Tony Frudakis with much happier results, I might add, it is a very fine sculpture. Interesting to note is that the model, herself, was -- and still is -- a Mormon:

Holy Mary, Mother of God

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Say what you want about Nihil Obstat (no, really. Go right ahead. I don't mind) but were it not for him (he?) I would never learn of some wonderful St. Blog's blogs (which he then proceedes to rip apart like so many wings off of a flock of butterflies).

One of these is the delightful Oremus: Adventures in Orthodoxy. (Oremus -- wasn't he that guy who told all those Brer Rabbit stories? I digress...).

A few samples of Alexandra's artfully astute and always affable asseverations:

"...[T]he hymns of Darryl Ducote and Peter Charland are rhythmic nightmares, requiring of congregations and many choirs skill in syncopation that the ordinary mortal just doesn't possess, but you can say the same thing about Dufford's nototrious Be Not Afraid, which has never, never, never, EVER been sung right. EVER. Not even by Bob."

She also shares my feelings on being gooned by Nihil Obstat as well as one of my own idosyncrasies: observing meticulously whether or not people on TV and in movies cross themselves left-right or right-left.

Kathryn Lively, who will neither confirm nor deny that Queen Kathryn is, in fact, her alter ego (for proof I appeal to the fact that the color of Lively's hair is dark versus that of Queen Kathryn's, which is blond -- contrasting hair color always being a true sign of alter egos) suggests, in the comments box below (perhaps to draw suspicion away from herself?) that Queen Kathryn looks a lot like Jean Kasem.

Casey and Jean Kasem

There is a resemblence I will admit. And it would explain how Queen Kathryn's movie got made (anyone with their hands in Casey Kasem's pockets, so to speak, would more than be able to fund such an epic).

I am, however, not betting on Queen Kathryn turning out to be Jean Kasem anytime soon. It's still possible that Queen Kathryn really is our intended Queen, sent from afar to lead us into a better holistic understanding of our selves, and our own potential. For that eventual, eventful day I have written an altered version of "God Save The Queen," ("My Country 'Tis of Thee," for all us Yanks).

Kathryn, our blondish Queen,
Seen on the movie screen.
Vibrating machine!

Come to LA via bus.
Reshape our auora, thus
Taking all our pain away from us,
Futuristic Queen!

The Press Corps is biased, all right.

I just bet you didn't know it was biased against (of all people) Al Gore.

thanks to The Daily Howler, though, now you know.

I'm still waiting for the website, though, which explains how badly America's Civil Liberties Unions distrust Janet Reno.

It is night in dark region.

Don't have the time? Then check out the OFFICIAL U.S. time page!

If you want, you can click on the About this service link and find out how to sync your personal computer's clock to the government's clock.

BE ADVISED: I do not know, in the process of keeping your PC's internal clock sync'ed to the government clock, whether or not the government also makes certain little notes as to, for example, how much you've spent at in the past year; spending which you may not have reported to your state and local governments for sales-tax.

Good buddy Mark Maier posts on his blog a link to the site where you can download the liturgy of the hours for your Palm PDA.

This may seem like a boon to Catholics everywhere (you can carry around the entire Divine Office on an electronic device in your shirtpocket and read it wherever you happen to be, when required), but a word of caution: I direct you to paragraph 2116 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Yep, that's the paragraph which strictly forbids palm reading.

(Hee hee hee).

Sonny and Cher; Peaches and Herb; The Captain and Tenielle; Ani DiFranco and Jackie Chan???

When Pigs Fly CD - Songs You Never Thought You'd Hear

That is, unless, you ever would have thought you'd hear Don Ho singing "Shock the Monkey," (the lyric actually becomes intelligible, more's the pity) or Leslie Gore singing "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)." The website contains sound clips and somewhat generic bios but little actual information as to how the individuals were brought on board for this project, which was apparently all recorded anew (no novelties from the vault here).

What's most amazing about this CD, which I was able to listen through once yesterday, is that none of the songs ever approach mere novelty status in such a way that, say, William Shatner's version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," has. A real effort has been undertaken to preserve the integrity of each song. This is most apparent on Roy Clark's version of "What a Wonderful World," -- you actually don't find yourself in a state of preferring to listen to the Louis Armstrong version right then. Other matchups seem to work exceptionally well: Billy Preston (Will it go 'round in circles) singing Duran Duran's "Girls on Film," as only he can makes this CD (for me at least) nearly worth picking up on its own. And then there's the Oak Ridge Boys' take on Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son," which the Boys are able to take and make their own.

And yes, there is the matchup between Ani DiFranco and Jackie Chan on the Nat King Cole (nee' Natalie Cole) chestnut "Unforgettable." This is an impressive matchup and the song very nearly is executed flawlessly. DiFranco produced the number and the arrangement bears fully her handiwork. Singing over DiFranco, phoned in from somewhere in the ether, is Jackie Chan. Ordinarily I don't like "duet," recordings like this: where one party was in one studio singing over the music track in June and the other party was in some other studio singing over the music-track-plus-Frank-Sinatra (for example) in August (as I assume this particular duet was done). But it works on this song and here's why: because that is the way the Nat/Natalie Cole "original," was done. Best of all, we get to hear Ani DiFranco sing about something other than how noble having an abortion is.

However, it's really confusing because Jackie Chan will now forvever exist in my mind as the father of Ani DiFranco. ("Ani! Come out from under that table right now! You are 30 years old!" Jackie burps and a stream of bubbles come out of his mouth. He crosses his eyes and faints).

Blood red sliver of a moon

Please bear with me on this one. You don't need to read it, but I really need to write it, for myself. I promise you something funny first thing tomorrow morning.

I'd finally gotten around to checking on the stats for my various webpages. The most shocking thing was to find that the page I set up for our extended family with all sorts of baby pictures of 'Xander had gotten something like 100 hits in the past week or so. Since we don't even really know 100 people, I followed up on a hunch and typed in "Xander pictures," on google. After 19 entries for pictures of 'Xander, the really cool Buffy, The Vampire Slayer character for whom -- I might add -- our 'Xander is not named (not much anyway), I found my photos page at #20. I had expected to find it at, say #186 or something, but not at number 20, where even a comparitively less-rabid Buffy fan would look (were there ever such a thing). So, I deactivated that link.

I continued to click through a few more pages of the "Xander pictures," and was not prepared for what I found. I clicked on the link and a page full of pictures loaded: pictures of a healthy baby boy, a little younger than our son. A wide-eyed, precious, beautiful baby boy. In one picture he was being held aloft, wearing a huge grin upon his chubby face. The caption on the photo read "Xander loves his daddy." Then my eyes moved up the page and saw the picture of Xander's headstone. The child had gotten sick at three-months of age and two-months later his mortal life ended. My usually smug web-surfing demeanor melted and my eyes started to mist over. I clicked to another page. Xander had been given a funeral in a Catholic Church and only a year later his parents had given birth to another son. Since that son would never know his older brother, his middle name bears witness to Xander's memory.

Such sorrow these parents must have felt, and must still feel. I cannot imagine what I would do, if I would be able to go on, if we lost our son. Would we have the courage to try again? How could I live knowing that I wouldn't see him again until some day in Heaven? It made me realize just how lucky and blessed we've been and how much we should cherish the time we have together. That sounds like a greeting card or a Kool and the Gang song, I realize, but it's anything but when you're awakened at 4am on a worknight by a child that just wants to be held for an hour or two and all you can think about -- you big grumpy, selfish lug -- is how quickly you can put him down so you can get back to sleep. Can you treasure those moments? I think I will, from now on. How many other stories are there like Xander's -- the story I found by accident -- out there? How many parents will never rock their kids to sleep again? And what is the scope, the range, of meaning in the death of someone so little, and why should perfect strangers, across the country, find out about it and be struck by it so? Perhaps there's some higher meaning here other than a random web search -- even as loathe as I am to play the "find the hidden meaning in everything," game. Of course I know there's meaning in everything that happens. That doesn't mean I need or want to know what that meaning is (as if I ever could, for an instant, not consider it). It doesn't always make me feel better to know it.

I was really glad to have that new Chuck Prophet CD (which was recommended to me by The Man in the Iron Collar and which I now recommend to you) for the drive home as it gave me something to listen on. And above me as I drove the 25-mile road to home was the blood red sliver of a moon which began this post.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Alas, it may all seem just like a dream... but that was just an illusion.

File this under Saintly Salamundi Tribute Posts in memoriam of the 'blog which acquainted us with the many anti-Popes. No, I haven't uncovered a new contender to the see of St. Peter, but Elizabeth II might want to keep a close eye on her sceptre.

Look out, here comes Queen Kathryn!

Who is Queen Kathryn? I'll let her explain her considerable accomplishments in her own words:

Queen Kathryn is a multimedia star, and visionary for world peace. She has starred on TV in the TV shows, It The Television Show, The Humanitarian Series, The Kathryn Show!, The Positive News, A Journey Through Esthetic Realms, an entertainment movie, entitled Queen Kathryn, an exercise video, Body of Your Dreams, and self-help video, Creating and Living Your Ultimate Dream. She has starred in the music videos, Tomorrow Never Knows, Lay Your Gun Down Billy, and Come Into Me, and has a new melodic rock message music CD out, entitled, Light The World.

Whew! Talk about an impressive resume! Please examine Queen Kathryn's credentials for yourself, making sure to check out the description of Queen Kathryn: The Movie (click on the "QK Films," button on her homepage or click here). Copies of the movie are available on her website for $30, if you're curious to know how The G-Man, Gregorian Mansoon, plans on turning the people of L.A. into lizards.

Anyway, Queen Kathryn's site is just chock-full of content -- all of which is worth checking out. For example, QK (as I have come to call her) is also a healer, of sorts (click on the Healing button or click here). She offers, among other things, Vibration Healing:

Imagine a machine that can measure the vibrational frequencies and health of your organs or anything about you and then transmit the healthiest frequency to heal you. It works. It's a phenomena. ($200 for 1-1/2 hour.)

I was about to make some really sarcastic comment about how you can just buy machines to do this yourself for a lot less than $200, but then I stopped. After all, QK says, "It works. It's a phenomena." And, as a phenomenologist, that just really struck home, you know?

Long live Queen Kathryn, the most compelling reason I can see for the US to chuck this whole Democratic Republic nonsense!

The Atlantic has an interview with their new columnist, P.J. O'Rourke.

Of course no interview can top, in my own mind, the interview I did with P.J. O'Rourke in 11th grade. Talk about your emotionally scarring trainwrecks of adolescence....

Blog note:

It's terribly gauche of me to admit this, but thanks to a link on Amy Welborn's blog, I had almost 450 page-views yesterday. I don't need to tell you that this blows away my previous record by about 300% and is roughly 450-times the amount of page-views I had per day, a month or so ago. There really isn't any point to mentioning this, and like I said, it's terribly gauche of me to do so. I guess there was no point of me saying that again, either. You know what? I think I'm going to get another cup of coffee....

Oh, here's a freebie though: if anyone is looking for an excellent name for a St. Blog's Catholic Blog, you could do a lot worse than "The Censer." is already taken (it doesn't appear to be a "St. Blog's," blog) but is not taken. For any children of Vatican II, like myself, who don't know what a censer is, click here. Note to Frank Zappa fans: this is actually what is referred to in the song "Camarillo Brillo," (off the Overnite Sensation album) as a "stencher." Don't go looking online for a "stencher," as it is in actuality called a "censer."

Sunday, August 11, 2002

From the ever-growing "What's wrong with this country (As Seen on TV)" file:

"It's like Elvis is back, singing songs from today!"

Okay, so the La Vida Loca cover actually works... but that doesn't change the principle of the thing which is that it is just plain wrong.

UPDATE: For those of you who still think this sort of thing is a good idea, please consider the principle applied to other beloved dead artists. For example, what if someone made an album on the concept: "It's like Louis Armstrong is back, singing songs from 1998?" I didn't want to leave this horrible notion to anyone's imagination so I hastily recorded the following. It's the first track off my upcoming album "Satchmo 'N' Spice."

Satchmo_N_Spice.mp3 (30 seconds, 600k).
Satchmo_N_Spice.rm (30 seconds, optimized for RealPlayer streaming over 56k modems)
(Netscape users may have to right-click-save-as).

Quiet Riot

So here are some pictures from Our Lady of Good Counsel this morning. OLGC, I should mention, is the Catholic Church in town where all the upper-middle-class and upper-class whitebread folks go. These are the folks who live in the subdivisions which surround the Church. And you know what type of subdivisions I mean, too: the ones which have popped up like mushrooms over the last 5-10 years; the ones with the $400,000-$700,000 homes which look like they were designed when Frank Lloyd Wright and Michelangelo got in a fight over who could have the last toke from the waterpipe: conflicting architectural styles clashing all about and all built as cheaply as possible by contractors out to make a quick buck off some dumb rich folks. Anyway, you can see how such ofay types would be offended by any sort of contraversy, much less those which offend their "it's so closed minded to believe that your personal opinion is true," sensibilities.

Anyway, all those mean, nasty protesters Fr. Doc's been telling you about? Well, before the 10am Mass this morning there were about 9 or 10 folks standing on the sidewalk by the Church's two parking-lot entrances. Two folks had the more graphic signs but the majority of the signs were just words: "To be Catholic is to be Pro-Life," etc. One guy had a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe and another had a picture of Jesus praying in the garden. That was it. No magaphones, no chanting, just folks milling about with signs about 150-yards from the entrance to the Church. They were really nice people, too. Here are some photos (none of the actual protestors -- I've found that waving a camera in front of a person's face is almost as bad as waving a gun in front of their noses -- not that I do this either, mind you). And after the photos I'll discuss the letter Granholm's husband (allegedly) wrote which he was allowed to give out, along with his daughers (the daughers gave out the letters, too) right at the entrances to the Church after Mass. When you read the letter you'll realize why this could be taken as endorsement of a political candidate by this Church and why, if nothing else, OLGC should lose their tax-exempt status. If nothing else, check out that letter, after the pictures.

Oh, one more thing: the most recent issue of Credo Magazine, SouthEastern Michigan's weekly Catholic newspaper, reports that a month or so ago the protesters actually had all of their signs taken away by the police and then had to get an emergency restraining order filed against the Plymouth Township police department so that they could continue to protest. It would seem that OLGC has some pretty powerful friends.

Click on each image to view a larger version of it. If you click the little box at the top of the page, these photos will open in their own windows.

OLGC sign
Here is the sign out in front of OLGC near the east entrance to the parking lot. Since I figured I could be assumed to be a protester since I wasn't there for Mass, I stayed on the sidewalk with the protesters. You can see the rear of the Church in this picture. It looks close, but the actual entrance is way over to the left. The drive also curves to the left and it was behind the trees there where the police were hanging out in their patrol car (patrol car not visible).

OLGC entrance
Here is the west entrance to the parking lot, as close as the protesters could come to the Church. Do you see the Church in this picture? No? Check near the center of the picture, over to the right. Still don't see it? Not even in the big photo? Check the next picture.

OLGC entrance
Surely now you can see the Church which, along with all of its shocked and scandalized worshippers pouring in the front door, is being menanced, victimized, and abused by the proximity of the peaceful protesters. No? Check the big picture and look right in the center. I'm pointing the camera right at the Church. Right there in the center you should almost be able to see the "spire," (which, from the highway, looks like a satellite dish hence our name for it: Our Lady of Good Reception).

I'm including this picture here for only two reasons. 1) Because it was by far the most graphic sign there and 2) because the Gospel quote referenced there is apparently (so they say) the phrase Granholm keeps invoking whenever she talks about her position on abortion. I can't confirm this, though, because the issues page of her website Granholm For Governor (dot com) makes no mention of the issue of abortion. Her top priority for Michigan is, of course, "the schools."

Okay, so by now you should realize just how far away and secluded from the actual Church these protesters are. This is whence the police and the courts say they can picket. Even if they were to shout loudly (which they weren't doing in the slightest), it's doubtful anyone entering the Church would ever hear them through the trees and across the Wal-Mart-sized parking lot.

The protesters are out there for every Sunday Mass, and probably on Saturday, too. The woman I talked to said they also picket the 5pm LifeTeen Mass on Sunday evenings: "We get far fewer middle-fingers from the folks (the teens) going to that Mass," she said. This shouldn't strike anyone as a surprise. She also mentioned that OLGC's troubles began way back in 1988 when they got their first liberal pastor, since gone on to greener pastures, one assumes. This pastor actually did have people arrested for protesting outside the Church, back when it was located in downtown Plymouth. Pray for this parish as it's so obviously sick on the vine.

Now, on to the letter.

Ah yes, the letter which Mr. Jennifer Granholm (Dan Mulhern -- I was told that he, himself is an attorney and while I don't know if this is correct, his letter sounds like it could've been written by a Clinton, so... close enough) allegedly passed-out last Sunday (August 4th), after Mass, right at the doors to the Church far removed from where all 10 protesters were peacefully milling about -- I have not forgotten the letter (and I say allegedly passed-out because a) I wasn't there and only received a copy of the letter second-hand, b) Dan Mulhern is (allegedly) an attorney, and c) because Jennifer Granholm is Michigan's Attorney General).

Click here for a scan of the entire letter in .jpg format.

I'm not sure what I can even say about that. He refers to the peaceful protests as "the siege," and that he and the kids "run the gauntlet each week," (in an air-conditioned full-size SUV, no doubt). The Church, he says, is the "centering point of my life," (not the place where he receives God, mind you) as well as the "centering point," for his kids though, "children don't appreciate it now." (Wuzza-huh????!!!!!!) Anyway, Mr. Mulhern has great respect for the freedom of speech (and since the protesters won their court case, he has to).

Then he goes on to talk about his wife. "Jennifer remains prayerful as well as thoughtful about this complicated issue that involves life, women's health and bodies, and the clash of strong moral/religious views with a Supreme Court decision that speaks strongly for respecting privacy and pluralistic views." Please re-read that last sentence. Which Supreme Court decision is he talking about? Is he talking about Roe v. Wade? What does that have to do with respecting pluralistic views? And women's health and bodies? Excuse me, but I believe that in a photo above we have a picture of a young woman's severed leg -- her body doesn't look all that healthy in that particular picture. How is that so complicated? If this "issue," seems complicated to anyone it's only because they either haven't examined their own conscience or else they're mentally enfeebled in some way.

Please bear in mind that this letter would have almost certainly had to have been distributed with the full acceptance and cooperation of the Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church!!!!

He wraps up the letter by (allegedly) saying that his wife hasn't really managed to attend Church there in over a year as she's been busy campaigning in, er, I mean "attending churches around metro Detroit recruiting mentors for the Michigan Mentor program." (And, really, why shouldn't campaigning for a fine mentoring program take precedence over your weekly obligation to worship God?). "She has -- almost singlehandedly -- recruited over 4,000 people," (ironically nearly as high as the number of children aborted each day in this country, but I digress) "to spend an hour a week with a child who has come in contact with the law." And here comes the real rationalistic kicker of an equivocation: "If you don't mind my proudly saying so: this effort, including her own mentoring of a child in foster care, is an enormously practical and powerful 'pro-life' activity." (Victor's head explodes).

You know, folks, don't bother trying to stop abortions. That's a complicated issue and to try to meddle in it violates some Supreme Court ruling protecting privacy, women's health and bodies, and pluralism. Instead, why don't you just mentor some foster kid an hour a week. You know, and if you can do that without bothering me or my kids, then, morally, it's just about the same thing as trying to save someone's life.

"Thanks again for putting up with us in your community. Please pray for Jennifer."

Every night, Mr. Mulhern. Every night.

More to come...

Just got back from taking a few pictures of the protest at OLGC (see blow). I'll post the pictures a little later today. Mainly they just show you how far away the handful of protesters really are from the Church (quite far) while Jennifer Granholm's husband was, last week, allowed to pass out a highly political and very self-serving note (as far as his wife's campaign is concerned) right at the entrance to the Church (one imagines that the patrol car on Church grounds was only there to arrest the protesters, not Granholm's husband, if they crossed over the sidewalk). Don't worry -- the Clintonspeak we've come to expect from the pastors and parishoners of OLGC is present in full force in that letter, from which I'll post a few "choice," excerpts a little later on.

Right now, though, we're headed out to our "real," Church.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

With friends like these, does the Pro-Life movement really need enemies: The OLGC saga continues

Today I was able to come by a copy of the August 11th edition of Our Lady of Good Counsel's (this is a Catholic Church in Plymouth, MI) Counsellor weekly bulletin. This is the same publication which last week brought us Fr. Doc's befuddled musings which state that to be Christian means to be pro-choice (by some weird, Clintonesque equivocal convergence known only to Fr. Doc's Granholm-besmitten brain) and that it follows from this that everyone should leave him alone.

Fr. Doc is found nowhere in this week's edition (obviously it requires more than a full week to recover from the sort of clumsy sophistry which only he can manage) but no matter -- Head Pastor Fr. John J. Sullivan is more than happy to take up where Fr. Doc left off. On the front page of the bulletin, underneath a large full-color illustration of an exploding vulva (look at it yourself and tell me it's not obviously yonical), we find this happy little note (the full text, with my comments in brackets, follows the jpeg scan):

Fr. John J. Sullivan's note

"August 11, 2002


"In an effort to bring all concerned to the same understanding, we want to share our knowledge of the facts surrounding the recent protests at OLGC with you. First of all, we are PRO LIFE [all emphasis is Fr. John's] and do support the Anti Abortion [sic] movement. However, we ARE NOT in agreement with the tactic that this current group of weekend protesters is using [i.e. picketing on the township-owned median near the Church, which is a good 100-yards, past a row of trees and across the immense parking lot, from the Church's entrance].

"This group is in no way affiliated with OLGC [though some of the protestors are members of the parish]. We have been informed by the Plymouth Township Police Department that the protesters are within their First Amendment rights to protest as long as they remain on the strip of grass between North Territorial Road and the side walk [sic] and do not obstruct the flow of traffic on Beck and North Territorial Roads. If any of the protesters are to enter OLGC property by crossing over the side walk [sic], walking up the drive, or entering the church [sic] in an attempt to protest, we have the right to have them arrested for trespassing.

"We encourage all to follow the path of Peace [sic] by not responding to antagonism from any of the protesters. Returned harrasment will accomplish nothing and further smother a spirit of Peace [sic]. We have a powerful tool at our disposal, and that is the power of prayer. I invite you to join us in praying not only for the return of Peace [sic] and Order [sic], but for each individual involved [meaning Jennifer Granholm?].

- Father John"

So did everybody get that? Participate in a pro-life picket in front of your local Catholic Church, but don't step over the sidewalk or the good Father will have you arrested. We here at et cetera certainly thank Fr. John for not invoking the unjust RICO law in the parish bulletin, but we get the impression that this is only because he did not know how to get the capitalization quite right.

If you want to write Father John you may do so via email at either this address or this one (the OLGC Webpage lists them both).

The Memory Hole - Rescuing Knowledge, Freeing Information: or, as I like to call it (since I discovered it 10 minutes ago, that is) "Where else are you going to learn about the US Plot to Nuke Europe (sadly, it looks like this hasn't been seriously discussed within the past 50 or 60 years) and where else can you find all of James Traficant's one-minute speeches?"

You know, in reading some of these, I'm beginning to hope that the good people of Ohio really do re-elect him from behind bars:

It really doesn't matter where you start reading:

June 12, 2001
Mr. Speaker, last week a girl was crowned prom king in Washington. This week we learn a whole new classification term for men and women: Transgenders. That is right, transgenders. Ohio University has designated 30 restrooms as transgender-type restrooms, able to be used by both men and women at the same time.
They are officially called unisex restrooms. Unbelievable. What is next? Unisex locker rooms with thong/jock support dispensers? How about Maxipad vending machines in locker rooms? Beam me up.
I yield back this higher education business as yet simply getting high.

October 5, 2000
Broadway has announced a new play called `The Vagina Monologues.' I quote, the promo states that `Vagina Monologues uses humor and drama to explore such things as sexual fantasies, orgasms, pelvic examinations and rape.' Now if that is not enough to entice your condominium, this vaginal virtuoso is being billed as theater at its finest.
Unbelievable. What is next? Rectal Diaries? Men are dropping like flies in America from prostate cancer and Broadway is promoting vaginal titillation.
Beam me up. I advise all New York men to sleep on their stomachs, and I yield back all the STDs on the East Coast.

November 03, 1999
The Ohio State women's rugby team, Mr. Speaker, wanted to do something memorable in D.C. It was memorable, all right. Unlike Brandy Chastain's highly publicized sports bra expose, the Lady Buckeyes went topless. That is right, topless. The Lincoln Memorial became a strip joint. Bras were flying everywhere. Unbelievable.
Now, after all this, the University has suspended the team, and these Buckeye vixens are awaiting the final decision.
Beam me up, Mr. Speaker. Leave these foxy ladies alone. If America can forgive the President, the Ohio State University can forgive these Buckeye divas.
I yield back all of the memorable excitement at the Lincoln Memorial.

"Entice your condominium?"

Friday, August 09, 2002

YAY!!! They just introduced Cotton-Candy flavored Mike and Ikes!! And they are delicious! Easily their best new flavor yet, and even (heresy alert) better-tasting than the originals!

Oh, and a special note to all the entrepreneurs out there: the domain-name is still available. You'll want to snatch that up ( is probably the cheapest) ASAP, though.

Watch out where the huskies go....

This is the most compelling reason which I have seen, in quite some time, to own a personal computer: Pee-Mail.

Because no one should be without cute little animated e-cards of kids writing your messages in the snow. I'm sure you can think of more than a few people you'd like to send one to.

Still not convinced that this is the communications medium for tomorrow? Well, check this one out. Yeah... now you're convinced.

Thanks, Mayize for the link!

We all knew you could live vicariously....

The most unsettling game review (for a very cool game) that I've ever read and for so many reasons, from RobotStreetGang (no relation to Robot Love and I just found out about the site today, so don't come crying to me if you don't like what's there).

The comments after the essay itself, though, do bring a sort of balance to the topic.

Oh! I have one more for my list, below:

* Good Eats - The "American Pickle," episode where host Alton Brown (AB) is joined by his "brother," BA, who is dressed in a bandana and biker's jacket and wears shades. Whereas Alton makes sweet and tart pickles, BA makes sour and spicy pickles. BA doesn't talk until the very end of the episode when AB tries one of his "firecrackers," (basically a very spicy carrot pickle). While AB gasps, BA delivers the show's tagline: "Now that's what I call... Good Eats."

If you get the Food Network and *haven't* been watching Good Eats.... Shame on you!!!

Lively discussion going on at, appropriately enough, Kathryn Lively's blog about television programs with characters who have evil dopplegangers.

Here's my list of shows which have featured an evil version of one (or more) of the main characters where the evil version is played by the same actor. Characters who merely go (or turn) evil for an episode or season don't count. So Angel from season 2 of Buffy is right out.

* Bewitched (a bit before my time, I vaguely remember there being an evil Samantha, but on the 'blog, it got listed).
* Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (Evil Alternate-Dimension Vampire Willow, most prominent among others).
* Star Trek: The Original Series (Kirk as ultimate despot).
* Star Trek: The Next Generation (Data/Lore, need I say more? "Helloo, Brother.")
* Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (they revisited on numerous occasions the Mirror Universe from the Mirror, Mirror episode of TOS. Kira was the tyrant who ran DS9 and was also a lesbian).
* Xena, Warrior Princess (Xena and Meg -- who's not really evil, I warrant -- but then there's Joxer and Jet -- who IS evil).
* Hercules, The Legendary Journeys (apparently the Star Trek Mirror Universe existed in modern ancient Greece as well and, yes, the Evil Kevin Sorbo DID have a beard).
* Andromeda (Kevin Sorbo's original first-officer, 300 years ago, was a back-stabbing Nietzschian, but the genetic reincarnation of same is actually a pretty cool and helpful guy. Confused? Watch the show!).

Can anyone think of more?

Allow me to be serious...

...for just a moment. Regular readers of this blog (both of them) will know the incredible esteem in which I held Fr. Bryce's A Saintly Salmagundi 'blog. I once gave this 'blog an infinite number of Aristotelian forms out of a possible infinite number, and I stand by that. Well, it looks as though Fr. Bryce has been asked by The Powers That Be to stop blogging and, as a faithful priest (you know, I think in some odd way, sitting here at 12:43am, writing that, I just came to understand what an awesome responsibility it is to be a faithful priest.... we don't see nearly enough of them, but they're there... being a priest really is far more than just a job or even a vocation... it's something sacred and eternal... whoa...), he will obey. I will certainly miss Fr. Bryce's daily ruminations on the faith and various web-culture falderol, especially the way he managed to bring the two of them (the Eternal Faith and tacky web-culture) together so intricately and cleverly and also managed to teach us something while doing so. It is a real and genuine shame that we won't be able to share in his observations -- at least not through his 'blog, not for a while.

But I have reason to believe we've not heard the last of Father Bryce.... There's no way he'd let the rest of us off that easily.

God bless you, Father Bryce!!! And hurry back! The parishoners of St. Blog's will keep the scratchy, old wireless microphone warmed-up for your return!

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Whenever I need a good kick in the backside, motivationally speaking of course (and I don't suppose I really needed to qualify that -- at least I hope I didn't) I'll listen to The ORIGINAL BROTHERS and SISTERS of LOVE. If you like music, know this: these folks are REAL MUSICIANS. You know: people who live, eat, breathe, and live (even to a greater degree) music? That's the Brothers (and Sister). Buy their albums. They really do reconstruct the past for the present like the reviewer guy says.

So today someone says to me (it doesn't matter who, but if you really must know it was a made-up person): "Victor! You seem like a fairly reasonable person. Why don't you just chuck this whole ambition to become a 'blogging superstar or novelist or screenwriter or musician or whatever it is you want to be and just get yourself a nice new PC and a copy of some on-line role-playing game and just disappear for the rest of your life into some virtual world where you can hunt monsters, make friends to help you hunt monsters, and buy nice things with all the money you earn hunting monsters? You know you want to!"
And so I said to them: "Yeah, that's true, but what you don't realize is that depite all the frustration at never having enough time to actually start and complete anything of value, the ceaseless personal doubt that nothing you ever create will be any good, and ennui and laziness which results from said frustration and doubt, uh, what you don't realize is that there is a spark of light within me that will ever burn, and that spark is my creativity and my talent and no matter what happens I know that it will always be with me and that SOMEDAY there will be something which will strip away everything which keeps that sparkle from bursting forth and showering the world with some expression of my true nature and goodness. So there."
So they said "Oh. That's cool."
And then I said, remembering suddenly that the mortgage was late and that there were only two paydays this month and that the company I work for is bankrupt, "Wait. What kind of monsters?"

Confirmed: the reported Jeeves and Wooster parody (as Monsignor and Bishop trying to avert a plenary council) at Disputations is indeed most humorous.

Read the first (short) chapter to which I've linked, and then look above it for chapter 2. Hopefully more are to follow soon.

Not much new on the ol' Internet today. Oh, sure, I could tell you about how the Gores didn't want to pay $75 a piece to see the Boss, but that a Democratic Politician didn't want to pay for something personal with his or her own money is not exactly news.

I could also tell you about how a G.I. Joe doll had its two-inch gun taken away from it at LAX airport because in the hands of the 55-year-old woman carrying the doll, it was a "dangerous weapon," but since they're already making mothers drink their own breastmilk in order to get on a plane, that's not exactly news either.

Nope. Whoever said "every day, another new thing," never experienced August 8th, 2002.

This goes out to all the folks out there who plan ahead and reserve hotel rooms more than one month ahead of when they plan to use them: WHY? Don't you realize how difficult you make things for those of us who like to be spontaneous? Sheesh -- I'm planning on going to this Catholic Writers' Festival and when I checked on Monday there were reasonably-priced (albeit not non-smoking) hotel rooms available 0.14 miles from the conference and now? Wierton, WV: seven miles away and $40 more a night. Why? WHY? WHYYYY?

It's going to be a compartively light 'blogging day, I'm afraid. 'Xander decided earlier this week that he wanted to transition to the night shift so he's been waking up at around 4am, staying up until 6am, and then getting back up at 8am (this from a baby who used to sleep 8-10hrs straight). So this requires a little extra parenting and a little less 'blogging on my part (if I try to 'blog and parent at the same time 'Xander will hit the CTRL-key and some other key and totally change some browser setting and it'll take me weeks to set it back :).

I will have some stuff up a bit later, though. In the meantime, check out Mark Shea's blog for, among other things, comments on the whole Blogs4God controversy (otherwise known as the "Victor needs to start reading those terms of agreement," controversy). Father Bryce begins and ends god-complex week. And Stephen Greydanus should have his review of Spy Kids 2 up soon (it's going to rock, the movie, I mean -- anything that has Ricardo Montalban in it and acknowledges that he's in a wheelchair and then makes that even cooler by having it fly has to rock).

Thanks, though, to RC (you can read his comments in many of the posts below which contain comments -- if you like what you read, encourage him to 'blog!) who fixed the mystery of the expanded page width. BlogChalk, one of the few cliques to which I'd bothered to register, moved and took their linked image with them, causing the contents of the alt= variable to sill out, making my page all wide. I never would've caught this as I was looking in completely a different direction, so thanks, RC for finding this!!

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Crank the dada dial to 11

'Blog width problems aside, I'm not completely hopeless. We did get our ceiling fan installed in the "office," this evening (thanks, Grandpa Bob, for all your help!). Here's a rather stark picture of it. You can see the beginnings of the new ceiling color as well as the old green which is to be painted over. Also visible, for purposes of scale, is the marionette knight, Dorric.

New ceiling fan

Well, I could just sit here and 'blog all evening but there's still kitty-litter to change, diaper bins to empty, trash to collect, and barrels to drag to the curb. On top of all that, I have a confession to make: Jackie and I haven't seen Lord Of The Rings yet. We did get the DVD today, though, so we'll probably watch that tonight.

Yes, I know, I wouldn't believe it either, if it wasn't us; you have to realize, we only go out to movies when either a) M. Night Shyamalan (doo-dooo-doo-doo-doo! Shyamalan, doo-doo-doo-doo! Shyamalan, doo-dooo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo, doo, doooo doo!*) releases a new picture (we should see Signs within the next month or so) or when b) George Lucas opens up a new Star Wars franchise.

Q: What's the difference between George Lucas and a ViewMaster?
A: You can get more than one decent picture out of a ViewMaster!

*Think "Famous Muppet Show Sketches."

Ack! My weblog is all stretchy!! It's not at all conforming to a 600px page-width. This is a disaster! Allow me to fix...
..okay, it looks fine in Opera, and I have to assume it looks fine in Netscape, as well. But not in CrazyBrowser/IE. What gives? I have all my "width"s set correctly. Hmmmmm....

I'm about to go all Bogart (in The Caine Mutiny) if I don't figure out what's causing this... it's been fine for 15 months, until now....

In brighter news, I've had already over 150 page-views today!! That's a new record for me!

Interesting day, so far: a caller in to Dr. Ray Guarendi's call-in show inquired about the psychological affects on kids of the more graphic abortion placards in regards to the protestors picketing Our Lady of Good Council (see a few posts below). Then Al Kresta devoted another 1-1/2 hours of radio time to the Father Doc/Jenny Granholm/OLGC situation (in addition to a bunch of time given to it yesterday). Very enlightening and informative. I was able to call in and give a shout out to the 'bloggers who first broke the story for most of us, but the discussion was overall very good: disbelief at the lack of leadership displayed by Fr. Doc in his really weird and anti-intellectual defense of pro-choicedom in general and "sister," Ms. Granholm in particular. and also the lack of leadership displayed by Fr. Doc's superiors. So I'm not going to bash down Adam Cardinal Maida's door anytime soon, I've cooled a bit. I think the protestors have the right idea, though -- they've even elicited a letter passed-out by "Bloody" Jenny's husband after Mass. Looks like we left that parish just when (well, a year or two before) things started to get interesting.

In this day of rattlin' sabers and itchy trigger-fingers, it may be helpful to take 45-seconds and read the Breakpoint factsheet on Just War Theory.

Kvetch all you want about Breakpoint this and that but would you rather I linked to the ICRC page on the subject? You know, I've never felt such an intellectual kinship with the Libertarians (at least not since college anyway) than I do these days.

NEOCONS GO FOR THE GOLD: Saudi Arabia, Jordan targets of Israel Firsters

This is too cool

Father Bryce has some pretty darn neat things to say about Robot Love what ain't never been said before on his blog. Thanks, Father Bryce!!

(The answer, of course, is that Victor Lams, LTD, is a fully-owned, privately-traded subsidiary of HumanoRoboticTechtronics Industries, a multinational corporation headquartered in Brussels with regional offices in Singapore, Bali, and Plymouth, MI, and grossing more than USD$300 billion annually. Look around your house: you probably have a HuRoTech product closeby. If you want objectification of the other and existential confusion, turn to HuRoTech Industries: "Better living through fear and/either/or trembling.").

Anything's better than "Victor Lick'd'er"

Yay! Nihil found my "palsm!" He did catch me on the "abtact nouns," though. Hey, what can I say: I 'blog one of two ways -- drunk or getting drunk.

Just kidding.

Anyway, I've rectalized those typos.

Let's see their entertainment do this!

Hey, I don't know if you all get the new Blockbuster TV commercials out where you live or not. The new ads feature the not-very-originally-named Carl the bunny rabbit and Ray the guinea pig (I would've named the guinea pig "Puffer," and the bunny rabbit "Stokes," myself) who live in the petstore across the mall concourse from a Blockbuster store. Well, the first two commercials weren't all that great, I thought, but this new one, "Kung Fu," is hilarious. Notice the little face Ray makes just before Carl asks him if he just whacked him with a carrot ("Ooh!"). Hopefully you'll get to see the longer version with the Ninja Mice and they don't cut it off right after the carrot-whack in order to show you pretty pictures of the LOTR DVD box.

The commercials, themselves, can be found here, for your downloading pleasure -- so long as you don't mind listening to that ersatz Jackson 5 rhythm loop over and over and over and over and over... I guess there's a way to turn it off, though.

I always seem to come to the party late...

Here's the link to the post at FreeRepublic (which I discovered only today, because of this story) which contains the scanned Parish Bulletin (if you can't read the article, itself -- i.e. if you don't have a Hotmail account and can't access it -- you can click on the Amy Welborn link in the next paragraph which contains the text) from Our Lady of Good Counsel (three miles from our house) in which the Associate Pastor "Father Doc," exonerates "Bloody" Jenny Granholm and all pro-aborts everywhere by basically saying (and I can't misrepresent his argument, really, because it makes no sense. But, then, if you've ever sat through a homily at Our Lady of Good Reception -- as I call it because their hideous new Church has this ponderous huge disc or dish on top of its roof; really, I'll snap a picture of it sometime -- as Jackie and I had the misfortune of doing for almost a year until we "discovered," St. Kenneth and her wonderful pastor Fr. Joe, also in Plymouth -- you would be used to it) that Christianity is really a pro-choice religion because the State (always capital S with these folks) gives everyone everywhere the right to choose. "We the Christians," he's basically saying, "endowed by the State with certain rights, that they're good enough to bestow upon us, think whatever they decide is pretty groovy. Peace out, stop picking on me and my pimp."

Amy Welborn's 'blog has by far the best write-up, with the actual text, of the bulletin article.

Apparently, and this was my idea so many months ago, I just never had the guts to actually DO IT, folks have been protesting OLGC because "Bloody" Jenny Granholm, who, as Right-To-Life of Michigan reports is a member of extreme left-wing pro-abort group Emily's List is not only a parishoner in good standing there, she is a lector as well. That's right: the attorney general of Michigan, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for the state of Michigan, a 100% died-in-the-wool pro-abortion politician through-and-through, gets up in front of a Catholic Church and gives the word of God to the people -- would anyone care to guess as to whether or not she receives Communion? Father Doc, he says, feels "persecuted," by these folks who are "misguided." What an ass.

This is obviously a scandal of the highest degree (forget that comparatively penny-ante homosexual priest business -- the real abuser priests are the Father Docs who don't intend to just corrupt a handful of boys for sexual gratification but intend to corrupt entire parishes with their sophistic horse-puckey). So obviously Adam Cardinal Maida has to step in and take control. I have my doubts as to whether or not this will happen. For an Irishman (with an accent and everything), he's pretty timid.

One of the coolest Catholics I've ever known anywhere (and this is "real," cool, not the sort of affected cool I every so often manage to pull off here) has his own blog. Check it out. That's an order, soldier!!! (Sorry, we watched Mail Call this week on the History Channel).

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

PrayTheNews from the Carmelites of Indianapolis. I don't know if these are real Carmelites or not. I expected something a bit more mystic-y.

In terms of design, this site is almost too beautifully done to exist in this world. However, apparently I need to start reviewing actual content (thanks, as always, RC!), as well as being taken in by beautiful (although lynx-unfriendly) design. My personal web-design philosophy is this: if someone without a browser capable of viewing images or running javascript cannot view your site, then what good is it to the millions in the third-world with the kerosene-powered MSN Internet-TV devices? Aren't those, really, the folks we're trying to reach with insight on the stock market and (in my case) reviews of They Might Be Giants albums? Design/Content quoibles aside, on this we can all agree: when they play towards their strengths (or "core competencies," as we say in business), Carmelites rule.

Thanks to both of YOU, dear readers, the link to my 'blog at Blogs4God comes up with a neat green "cool," next to it.

Aside from voting for my 'blog there, I would suggest you check out the little 'blog by 'blog rundown they have at the Blogs4God homepage. It's a pretty good run-down of what's 'bloggin' on: synopsis without the sycophants, you might say (if you were me).

All RIGHT! NPR finally did something useful with all those tax dollars and broadcast equipment and interviewed They Might Be Giants upon the release of their kids album, No!. It's a very nice interview, with plenty of audio samples to change the minds of anyone who still doubts the mastery of TMBG (though the best songs on the album, in my opinion, didn't make it into the interview).

Ex-Boyfriend Loses Bid to Halt an Abortion

In an interview, Ms. Meyers said that having to explain herself to the court and then wait to hear what she would be allowed to do was hard.
"It's not something the court system should entertain," she said. "I felt extremely violated. I still feel violated that my life was made so public. It's just been emotional torture."

"I'll say," replied her then quickly-aborted child. "I heard the Judge's ruling and went to pieces!"

We're the kids in America (whoa oh)
We're the kids in America (whoa oh)
Everybody live with the music go round (round round round round)

We voted today -- did you?

Oh, and if anyone is going to be in Ann Arbor this weekend, you must check out Karrin Allyson at the Firefly Club (we can't go, obviously). Karrin is probably one of my favorite contemporary jazz singers (her From Paris to Rio album is a must-listen, if not a must-own). She's been on the scene for years but has never enjoyed the mainstream attention that Diana Krall is getting now (I really enjoyed Diana's music once, back when she was a player, before she became a sort of Harry Connick, Jr. poster-girl for slow, saccharine ballads. Somewhat distressingly, Kurt Elling is moving in this direction as well). Anyway, check her out in Ann Arbor this weekend and it looks like she has a great new CD coming out in a week or so.

This goofy MIDI-file version of Credence Clearwater Revival's "Down on the Corner," has been playing over and over and over while I surf, courtesy of the Frequently Asked Questions about Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs page Jackie had up. It actually grows on you after the third or fourth (hundred) repitition... I can feel my brain slowly and not unpleasantly softened by the artificial shakuhachi and the highly-compressed drum samples. And please don't even get me started on the cowbell: donk! donk! donk! donk! donk! donk! donk! donk! Down on the corner, down in the street, somebody bring a nickel, and something move your feet.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Free Cell Block F, 'Tis Nazi U.S.A.
(With apologies to Charles Mingus)

Part I
80-year-old WWII vet arrested after joke at airport
Just steps from boarding a 7:30 a.m. flight they had almost missed, he saw the screener poking into his wallet. ... "I said, `What do you expect to find in there, a rifle?'" he said. When the trooper asked me, `Do you think that was an appropriate remark?' I said, `I do.'" That's when Hubbell was taken into custody by Trooper Wayne Foster.

Part II
Circuit Judge Strikes Down School Voucher Law
``We knew when a judge looked at it that he would side with us,'' said Maureen Dinnen, president of the Florida Education Association, the state's teachers union and a plaintiff challenging the voucher program. ``It is absolutely wrong to divert tax money to private schools. Now we can focus on public schools again.''

Eve Tushnet is back and 'blogging up a storm for lost 'blog time.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Okay, I need to tell you about what happened in Salzburg, those nearly five years ago. Prior to my exploits with the two Russian businessmen and their "escort," high atop the mountain fortress, and somewhere between the fourth and fifth liter of stout Austrian beer I'd imbibed the night before the day containing the exploits with said Russians, I happened to be walking pass the paupers' grave in which Mozart was buried. There, I beheld a curious sight: a human skeleton, glowing, frantically erasing little black dots from manuscript paper. Alarmed, I ran up to the gravedigger's hut and pounded on the door. A wiry old man came to the door and asked me what the fuss was about. In broken German I related to him as best I could what I had seen. He smiled, ndded, and then, putting his finger to his lips, he spoke to me in heavily-accented English: "Please be quiet, my friend. There is no need to fuss. This is just the maestro, decomposing."

Okay -- so it's an old joke, but I like it. And everything up until the part about the skeleton is true. So there.

Okay, so I've just joined the discussion lists of the Catholic Writers Association (I assume there's only one). Watch my inspiration and creative output soar as I spend whatever free time I had reading posts to the list and responding to them.


If it's true that you are known by the company you keep (or kept) then I'm very embarassed that this picture (which, by the way, was taken over two years ago before Bernie was implicated in any of this mess and also before I'd gained that weight during Jackie's pregnancy) is still circulating on the Internet:

If you click on the picture itself, you'll be taken to the webpage which, while I enjoy it very much of course, refuses to let this embarassing photo die. I feel like Dr. Laura (no, no links to the Dr. Laura pictures, sorry). Ugh.

Something a bit sobering (or should that be sombering?) in our parish bulletin today. As Father Joe (no, not Farmer Joe -- FATHER Joe) is on vacation in Malta still, the music director gets the (now in full-color) cover space. While I really like our current music director in that he's actually made an effort to fire up the pipe organ every now and then and will occasionally (you know, once every eight or nine weeks or so) sing the correct psalm for that Sunday (unlike today where we sang "the Lord is compassion to all creation," over and over which doesn't seem grammatically correct enough even to be a psalm: the Lord can be compassionate to all creation... but I don't think "compassion," is one of those abstract nouns which can be turned into some sort of verbal whatever like that -- it's like a gerund, but a gerund goes the other way, from verb to noun, so this would be like an anti-gerund, almost, but I digress...). Anyway, we also sing those goshawful Marty Haugen (do an archive search -- above -- on "antithesis of all that is Good and Right,") songs every week with, every so often, a nod to the pre-Vatican-II crowd in the form of some old hymn written by John Calvin.

So it was with some horror that I read that our music director plans on creating a "contemporary ensemble," ostensibly for purposes of having said ensemble perform at Mass. Is anyone familiar with what is meant these days by "contemporary ensemble?" I suspect guitars (electric, this time) and drums -- an ensemble contemporary to the 1970s, in other words, as a TRULY contemporary ensemble would almost certainly have a DJ, two turntables, an MC, and B.B. King filling in somewhere. Gad. I suppose it's true that you can't please all of the people all of the time, but at the same time it's also true that there are certain people you just do not, under any circumstances, want to piss off. I suspect we'll be seeing that latter sort of folk come out of the woodwork (our Church is all woodwork, no stained glass or stone) should a "contemporary ensemble," actually see the light of day (which is uncolored as it comes into our Church, again, without the benefit of being filtered through stained glass). I almost want to sign up on "Time and Talent," day with my special talents as "bongoes, tambourine, and jaw-harp."

Ah, well... just keep telling myself that there's always that Melkite rite Church in town...

Hey, everyone!! Father Bryce is back!

As our planet shrinks, it's becoming more and more rare to find videogames in which the dialogue or text has been poorly translated (or localized) from the Japenese to English. Gone are the days, I'm afraid, where every time you popped in a cartridge you could expect an "All your base are blong to us," or popping in a disc could summon a "master of unlocking," from your playstation. The Sega Genesis was probably the worst for this because the third party developers on that system seemed to have been pressured into releasing games quickly for that system and never seemed to have adequate resources to properly localize titles (except for, of course, Working Designs). I must have played "Mystic Defender," on the Genesis for about 120 hours and never found out what the heck it was about, who I was, or what was going on. Perhaps this has contributed to my frequent existential crises. Who knows.

Anyway, I'm happy to say that the spirit of poorly-translated text is still alive and well. Witness the first few lines from the opening cinema of Hudson's Bomberman Generation for Nintendo Gamecube: "In the infinitely expanding universe... This is where energy unfathomable... To humankind is overflowing."

Huh?! But not only that, it grows on you.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Meet the newest members of The VRC*

Click and Clack, new The VRC members

I call them Click and Clack (Click's on the left, Clack's on the left) in honor of Tom and Ray, the Car Talk brothers, and also because I don't know their real names. Their faces also light up when you push down on the button on top of their heads, but right when this picture was taken they were taking a break. Please welcome the new Robots!

*The Victor Robot Crew

Hi! In case you're wondering just what the text behind the et cetera logo above is, it is from one of my very early entries last year, chosen at random because I needed some text behind the logo. The original entry may be found here.

Friday, August 02, 2002

One of the shows Jackie and I are making part of our Friday night summer routine is USA's new detective show, Monk. First off, Tony Shalhoub is good in anything he does, and it's a real shame that the show he did with Doogie Howser ("Stark Raving Mad,") didn't last beyond a season. But now he's producing his own detective show. I think detective shows, as a genre, are dying due to the sophistication of their audiences (how are you going to keep them guessing -- and not be cheap about it -- after they've seen Memento?). But Monk works. It's a little predictable (they practically shout CLUE! in terms of their shot composition, etc., whenever anything "important," is being shown) but the various characters make it a lot of fun.

But what's up with Sharona's accent? Is she supposed to be from San Francisco (where the show supposedly takes place), Brooklyn, or Toronto? Nearly every actor on the show is Canadian (which makes it very amusing when one of the extras tries to take on an ethnic accent), and the entire thing looks like it was shot in Alberta. But despite the jarring accents and scenery, it's a very enjoyable show. Because Tony Shalhoub is in it, yes, but for other reasons, too.

Catholics build a `parish' without walls on Net (Note: bothersome "free," registration required to view story).

Yay. For once I'm "with it," before the Chicago Tribune catches up with me! What's cool is that they mention a lot of the blogs I visit every day. I don't know, though, where I fit in at St. Blog's parish. I guess I'm the Ronin Shadow member of St. Blogs. You know, the guy in the white mask who appears in a cloud of white smoke every so often in the choir loft wearing a long purple cape just before swinging down on a rope. What? Your parish doesn't have one of those? Nevermind, then.

But hey -- any story that can bring me 80 page-views in a day (and in Chicago time, it's only 8pm!)? Keep 'em coming! Oh, and to all of you visiting for the first time: WELCOME! and buy my CD. Or, if you're on the fence, check out free mp3s (note: slightly less pointless free registration required).

Ugh. I was all set to fire up the keyboards and write a new song but they're not hooked up and I'm too tired.

I guess this is not a very inspirational post....

Time for a new contest:
Top Jams Over 9 Minutes In Length

The two main criteria for this contest are these: the song must be over nine minutes in length AND it must keep your butt moving the entire time.

Bootsy Collins (and Bootsy's Rubber Band): Munchies For Your Love (off of the album Ahh, The Name is Bootsy, Baby!). Nine minutes, thirty-eight seconds.

Herbie Hancock: Chameleon and Sly (both off of the album Headhunters). Fifteen minutes, forty-three seconds and Ten Minutes, twenty seconds. (Yes, two off the same album because it's such a great albim).

Ohio Players: Good Luck Charm (off the album Jam). Nine minutes, thirty-seven seconds. This is a slow butt-moving song (time was, they called 'em "babymakers," and ain't nothing wrong with that)....

Parliament: Funkentelechy (off the album Funkentelechy VS. The Placebo Syndrome). Ten minutes, fifty-nine seconds.

Trey Anastasio: Last Tube (off the album Trey Anastasio). Eleven minutes, twenty-two seconds.

Funkadelic: (Not Just) Knee Deep (off the album Uncle Jam Wants You). Fifteen minutes, twenty seconds.

Freddie Hubbard: Red Clay (off the album Red Clay). Twelve minutes, eleven seconds.

Parliament: Deep (off the album The Motor Booty Affair). Nine minutes, nine seconds.

Honorable Mention:
Not a booty-moving jam, per se, but could be used for cool-down after any of the jams above:
Miles Davis: All Blues (off the album Kind of Blue). Eleven minutes, thirty-five seconds.

Those are mine, listed in no particular order. Add your own in the comments section below.

Much mutal adoration going on in the comments section of this post at Mark Shea's blog by the "nuke Saddam any every other Arab within 5,000 miles of Israel," crowd.

Really: if you want to know why "onservatives," nowadays are so despised by anyone to the left of them, it's not because (as conservatives would like to think) conservatives have principles and liberals don't, it's because conservatives, just like liberals, don't really consider the foundation of the issues beyond a sort of reflexive "USA good, Saddam bad," sort of reaction. And when they DO consider somethig, it's never to question, but only to justify what they already know in their minds. This process usually involves some sort of Utilitarian Calculus: Bombing Saddam now would kill 30,000 Iraqi civilians, but it'd be worth it because we'd save the lives, potentially, of a couple million Israelis -- we hate to do it, but that's the world today for ya.... Never mind that Saddam has been about as agressive towards us lately as shower mildew (which actually does, now that I think about it, pose a health problem to Americans -- unlike Saddam).

Another thing to consider: what is a peace-maker and why are they blessed? Peacemakers don't believe in waging war to bring about peace (i.e because if you support war, you give up your claim to peace) -- at least as far as temporal powers are concerned. In this world, you become a peacemaker by accepting peace into your heart and giving up your love of war. I get the impression that being a peacemaker is hard, and that's why they are so estemed by God.

So, in other words, if you really want to do battle, first examine your own conscience and see if there's anything there that needs to be whupped. Failing that, pick up a video game.

Otherwise, wait until they bring the fight to your doorstep and then deal with the matter as cleanly as you can.

Anyways, I've got to dig up a number for Stuebenville and see if they're still accepting registrations for that conference thingy next month.

reliquary and true cross relic with document
19th c Gothic Reliquary-47 Saints of November

It really is astonishing the amount of relics you can find on eBay. Please, someone, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the sale of relics was prohibited? Or was that only the sale by Church clergy of relics? Astounding, anyway, and if I had a million dollars I would spend it all on buying up these precious relics. (NOTE: Don't bid on the second auction up there... We might go for it -- it has relics of St. Charles Borromeo, St. John of the Cross, and St. Cecelia and if you bid on it you'll only mess us up ;).

Oh, and I came to another realization tonight (well, not so much came to it as reaffirmed it): I love the Pope. I would die for the man. And the coolest thing of all is that if I follow God's commandments there's a very good chance I could spend eternity with him. Whoever said they'd go to Heaven for the atmosphere but they'd go to Hell for the company was a very sad individual indeed. Because, it is also true that while men and women are very different in their virtues, they are all too similar in their vices and sins. So -- if you love the Pope as much as I do, make sure you go to Heaven and maybe I'll see you there (well, after several thousand, thousand years in Purgatory, in my case at least).

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Another fine piece from Joe Sobran

Joe Sobran -- The English Insult

"One of the most famous is John Wilkes's retort to the Earl of Sandwich, who predicted that Wilkes would die "either on the gallows or of a loathsome disease." Wilkes instantly replied, "That depends, my lord, whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Why I'm not impressed with Professor Cyborg

There but for the grace of God go I.

Seriously, I'll have some thoughts on this and Robots in general when I complete my "Culture of Robots," article I'm working on for Slant (whether or not they know it).

Hemp Sisters Inc. Back to the Future Naturally with hemp clothing and accessories.

No one can call them a crunchy or granola conservative until they sport something from Hemp Sisters.

TV Guide's 50 "greatest," cartoon characters of all time

WARNING: Herein venom be spewed.

That list is a travesty!!! Just another example of how TVGuide CONTINUOUSLY panders to the secularist humanist gestalt of the baby boomers!

PLEASE -- The (postmodern "xmas," hero) Grinch at number 5 and (the nasty, darling children of the Boomers' favorite) Amanda Pickles at number 7?! Porky Pig at 47?! And where the heck is Gertie the Dinosaur?! Or Yosemite Sam for that matter? Foghorn Leghorn? They're nowhere to be seen, their rightful place taken by foulmouthed nihilist Cartman and those (factual statement) jerk-offs Beavis and Butthead (at number 4!!!). At least Gumby made the list (by some miracle) but where the hell is his pony pal Pokey? And it's not "Bill," you morons, that's "MR. Bill," to you.

TVGuide's agenda is again made perfectly clear -- tear down the old, classical institutions with their rich cultural heritage and then once the utter destruction has been completed, erect some profane pop-culture idol in their place. Well, I, for one, will not let this stand. I've watched cartoons for far too long to just stand by and let my beloved heroes get buggered in some idiot survey.


I just had a minor (major? who can tell at first?) epiphany. As it had been over six months since my last epiphany, I was quite comforted to be receiving one. Anyway, I'll not bore you with the details or circumstances, but suffice it to say that I think a seed has been planted (and I'm probably going to mix metaphors here, there's just no way around it) and while I don't know what the flower will look like when it blossoms, I am led to consider what I had previously considered to be my (what?) vocation/path/calling/whatever (all possible three of them). Anyway, I don't know what will come of it, but I'm beginning to understand how I can make a (positive!) difference in a unique and (hopefully, ultimately) valuable way (if I choose to focus and work at it, which is up to me).

What sparked all of this? It was the realization that non-traditional forms of worship (songs, mainly) are not bad by their virute of being non-traditional. No, the vast majority of them are bad by virtue of just being really crummy, meaningless, and fraudulent/inauthentic. I'm speaking of songs written by people who seem to subsist entirely on a diet of cream cheese and mayo sandwiches on white bread with the crust cut off. This in itself, you will recognize, is not a particularly profound or unique observation, but it's not one I had accepted into my heart (me being a child of the '60s... the 1560s, that is). Now, I'm not going to rush out and join a charismatic Church (though there is a very fine one just down the road), but I will be doing... well, I have no idea what...

I am still, however, planning on a) finishing up the screenplay, b) rewriting the first novel, c) working on a second album, and d) writing a second novel so DON'T go getting any ideas that the world has somehow heard the last of me... oh, no sir.....

Guestmap is back up! I lost all the pins I had collected (though this is not as sad as the time when I was 9 and I wrecked the light-up Goodyear Blimp model I had waited 2 years to get because I was too tired to properly handle that corrosive plastic-model glue). I don't need pity pins, but if you want to leave a pin, that's cool. You're a beautiful person for leaving me a pin. And if you already left me a pin and then you leave me another pin, you're that much more beautiful.

Ugh. I can't believe it's 1am and I still need to take the trash out to the curb. For a buck-a-bag they should come into your house and get it.

Ah, well. In such uncertain times as these one could do worse than to stop and do the Victor Dance:

If you can't see this, you're missing out!


©2004 Victor Lams