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.