Thursday, October 31, 2002

You should be watching Do Over.

Well, happy last 'blog post of Halloween! I just finished watching tonight's Halloween episode of Do Over which Jackie taped for me. THAT SHOW IS SOOOO GOOD!!! Seriously, it's the best 1/2-hour sitcom on television today. And it's even better than that. The writers really understand the bonds of friendship and family and the way they craft each episode to teach Joel the moral lesson of the day... it's brilliant. And funny. It's poignant and meaningful, too. If you have parents or friends or were a teenager once, you should be watching this show! It's on Thursday nights at 8:30pm on the WB.
Hallmark Greeting Cards: Maya Angelou Life Mosaic

I saw these Hallmark greeting cards at Kroger the other day and almost died laughing at the irony of it all. I almost bought one to take home and use to wipe my butt but they were still, like, four dollars.

Ha! That's not really a giant scary crow in your computer, it's me scaring you! I got you again!

Anyway, there's always been something sinister-looking about the man (and it's not just what appears to be the original Apple "Lisa" on his piano, either!) in this advertisement for a Perfect Pitch program which runs every month in Keyboard magazine.


Well, a Halloween search for images just now confirmed my suspicions: my apprehensions all these years were grounded.



Hope I didn't scare you! Well, here are a few Halloween Treats for you.

It's been a while (like two years) since I checked in on the Flash animation adventures of Radiskull and Devil Doll. I stopped watching after episode 3 and now they're up to 8! Anyway, episode 2 "Hella Weenie" is the Halloween episode.

If you have RealPlayer you can watch a short movie about the jack o' laterns at my parents' house last year:
JackOLanterns.rm (for dial-up)
JackOLanternsBIG.rm (for broadband)

More "Spooktacular" Halloween Treats to follow!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

So two Russians and a Belgian go into orbit on a rocketship. Well, they aren't in orbit for very long before the Belgian starts talking about how great and strong his Belgian beer is. "That is nothing, Comrade," say the Russians. "In Russia our beers are so strong, they will rip your head off!" "What?" asks the shocked Belgian. "Yes," reply the Russians. "Strong Russian beers. Grrrr!" And then the Russians wave their arms over their heads. "Oh," laughs the Belgian. "Bears!"

Ha ha ha. Funny joke. I go to sleep now.
Wired News: Dear Saddam, How Can I Help?

This is either the best urban legend to come along in a long time or else Saddam Hussein's Iraq is not the technological superpower some people must think it is. I really can't imagine an administration (Hussein's) that secures it's email account with a username and password which are the same 5-letter password has the capability to launch (accurately) intercontinental ballistic missles.

Anyway, the article is probably the most interesting thing I've read today: even more interesting than the story of the French woman, in town for a family wedding, who stripped to the waist in protest of being searched at the airport. Gotta appreciate anyone who's response to conflict with such a bogus authority is to get naked. The only crime I see here is that under the new freaky laws she could be facing three years in prison.
This is pretty cute... An Anti-Daschle Flash Animation.

I have to wonder about the Republicans, though: the Dems turn a memorial service into a 3-hour-long televised campaign ad and all the Republicans can come up with is a (albeit cute) Flash animation?
European Union shows its anti-market stripes: BBC News: Nintendo fined for price fixing.
I'm glad I'm not the only one having that password prompt pop-up on my screen. My guess is that someone locked the images directory over at 'blogger by mistake. The situation will probably be rectalized in just a short while, but I'm going to take away my 'blogger button (just for the time being -- don't spaz!) until it's fixed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Unless Fr. Ken's words were mangled utterly yet again by the 'Freep (which, knowing The Detroit Free Press, is entirely possible), Fr. Ken now shows his true colors as as HMS 'blog reports. Turns out he just didn't like the headline the 'Freep put over his editorial.

Call me an embittered cynic and say that I have serious trust issues but when someone offers an apology which directly contradicts something they've had published in the paper (which has attracted considerable attention, including that of one's superiors), I tend to believe that that individual's sympathies really lie with their original statement.

Which is why I haven't come out over the past few days and said that Fr. Ken was a "helluva guy" who "admits when he's wrong" as I hope someday to be able to do with each of the Detroit Four. I'm just not holding my breath.
Tank Blown Away -- by the Wind
Realistic Internet Simulator - by Rob Manuel /

Stuff like that could put us all out of work.
Here's a fun T-shirt idea! ThinkGeek :: Capsaicin Molecule

One word of advice, never touch a habanero and then use the restroom without first washing your hands thoroughly...

Ain't that the truth!
Keith's Pumpkin Portraits

"All my life I've dreamed of carving a watermelon with Popeye's face on it, so now I can rest..."

These portraits are pretty well done and the techniques you can pick up from viewing them you could even try your hand at carving those special portraits of your children into pumpkins this year. A photograph is just a photograph but a pumpkin is forever!

I mean, a pumpkin is until November. Technology | Reuters accused in Web privacy case

An interesting case: if you find information by just poking around on someone's webpage -- not hacking it, just typing in random URLs -- are you able to be held liable for "stealing" any "secrets" you find?
DOD's ugly bungle boggles buglers.

Too many veterans dying each day + not enough military buglers to play "Taps" at their funerals = a cone-shaped playback device you insert into a real bugle so a non-bugler can "fake" it.

Bugles Across America is not amused. (Is it just me or does the acronym "BAA" bring to mind "MOO (Mothers Opposed to the Occult)" for anyone else?)
I'm expecting a package to arrive today. Since we don't get packages all that often, this is a comparatively exciting event for me. Everytime I hear a low rumble in the neighborhood I dash down the stairs to see if its the UPS truck -- seriously: it's worse than the bell on the microwave in that respect.
It's a shame the WidgetSleeves page for recreational engineers appears to be dead -- not updated since May. Oh, well.
Fr. Ken, of the Detroit Four, offers another apology this time at length to his Parish. It's a pretty good apology -- better than the last one.

Speaking of long overdue apologies, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer from this past week actually didn't suck -- though the fact that it was pre-empted in the usual UPN style by a Detroit Pistons game until this past Sunday did suck. But the episode itself was good: they actually did something with Anya aside from keeping her on the sidelines as they've done for the past year. I especially liked the grainy 1960s-Swedish-film-style flashbacks they did (in Norse, with subtitles) for Aud and Olaf's 11th-century years ("She has wide, load-bearing hips like a Baltic woman. You, you have narrow hips, like a Baltic woman from a slightly more arid region!"). I couldn't tell you the guy's name, but I've been a big fan of the actor who plays Olaf since he played Larry Kubiak ("Eat now?") on Parker Lewis Can't Lose in the early, early '90s and through his ER years, especially when he blew up the ER with a grenade launcher. KA-BOOM!

Monday, October 28, 2002

Check out the Obsolete Computer Museum (now museum, now you don't!) for some of my old friends, including the Commodore SX-64 (which we never owned) and the Sinclair ZX-81 which we did own (because K-Mart sold them for $20 at the end of their life-cycle). Note to the site's maintainers, though: the TRS-80 100 is not obsolete. Many of those portables are still in active field service, and much sought after, today.
You can tell I'm evil in this picture of the bridal-party dance because my eyes are red. More pictures to come as my friends upload them.
Detroit News: Catholic social teaching divides Michigan women

Anne Doyle has stormed down the center aisle of the church and out the door when the priest launches into a pro-life homily. She has talked back during pro-life sermons and corrected the priest in public when he uses gender-specific nouns like "man."

First off, I want to know where retired Ford executive Anne Doyle goes to Church where she hears pro-life homilies. Secondly, she must be an absolute joy to have in Mass: contrite heartness, thy name is Anne Doyle (not!).

Read the article for even more reasons why you should start praying tonight for Anne Doyle. You should also read the article to hear the powerful statement of faith by those women who oppose the sort of pathetic, whiny, self-important, completely lacking in charity, mealy-faced, know-nothing, arrogant, muddle-headed, and un-Christian arguments of Doyle and those like her.

Oh, and then there's this person:

"We are missionaries," says Colleen Pobur, 43, chief operating officer of the Granholm campaign and mayor pro tem in Plymouth. "Our mission is to help people understand what Jennifer's positions are. There are 75 people working in this office. These are the missionaries. I haven't heard one Catholic here say 'I'm struggling with my faith and the campaign.' Not at all. The idea that somebody would jump off the campaign because of their religion is too odd."

They're missionaries for something, all right. I guess "Missionaries for Moloch" just doesn't have that certain ring to it, though.
This man really, really loves his organ.

No "manual" jokes here, please.
Ever since I was a kid (well, in High School, anyway), all I ever wanted was a Wurlitzer electric piano. Now, it looks like the whole VST virtual instrument thing has advanced to the point where you can download a piece of software which will acoustically model the parts of the electric piano -- mallet, fork, and pickup -- inside your computer, complete with wah effect. It sounds pretty realistic, as the sound samples on the Lounge Lizard demonstrate. Check out the Amazing Grace track (the first one in the sound samples section of that page).

Sunday, October 27, 2002

I wonder what Queen Latifah is working on these days?

Spent the evening watching a rather sloppily-written episode of Andromeda (though compelling, I guess) and a kinetic episode of Angel (Cordy's back! Nice touches: reading the Sunnydale High yearbook from four years ago and flipping through the photos of all of the different hair-styles Cordelia's worn through the years). Not really up for much else after the extreme partying of this past weekend. We went to Mass at St. Ann's in Fremont, OH, which was remodeled last year. While the altar is on a raised platform closer to the center of the Church, the stained glass in the 100-year-old (likely older) Church is still intact as is the statue of the patron. Very nice touch were the new (?) classcal-style paintings on the ceiling, one each of the 8 beatitudes (or as I hope to never hear them called again the "be-attitudes") featuring a different saint, most of whom I could not recognize, due entirely to my lack of Church history as the renderings were quite good, I'm afraid to say. The "choir" (two singers and a singer/guitar-player) neutered God in the Psalm but the homily was fairly solid -- and the priest actually mentioned that this coming Friday is a holy day of obligation. I guess Fremont, OH, is a big Lutheran town; the wedding was at the Lutheran church quite literally across the street from St. Ann's: one of the intentions at Mass this morning in the Catholic Church was for "all the Lutherans on this Reformation Sunday" (or as I would call it, if I'd ever heard of "Reformation Sunday" before in my life: "Revolt Sunday: Now, Where's My Ex-Nun?". Ha. Just kidding).

I feel a little guilty for my toast last night at the wedding reception. The Lutheran pastor, Pastor Joel, came up to me and said it was the first time he'd ever been "harpooned in a toast before." But he seemed to have a good sense of humor and I don't feel too bad about it because the comments weren't intended to detract from his homily but to illustrate how appropos it was for the particular couple (my best friend Britain and good friend Abbey).

Anyway the reception was a blast and I was able to get my groove on (my freak, however, remained in the off position for the duration of the evening). On the way back home today we stopped at the Cabela's store in Dundee, MI which could be uncharitably be described as an amusement park for the sort of folks who "outfit" their $40,000 off-road Dodge 4x4s with gun-racks and those black taillight covers. Cabela's itself calls the 225,000 square-foot store a "massive and spectacular omniplex dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor sportsmen and women worldwide!" A great deal of actual widlife is concerned within the store itself which was probably the main attraction for us: they have a walk through aquarium stocked with some HUGE freshwater fish and about 200 "stuffed animals" including a real live (well, dead) elephant and rhino, as well as every conceivable form of goat, bird, and wildcat. If it can be shot and mounted, it's inside the store: the taxidermy and presentation of all is first-rate. You can also eat deli-sliced elk, bison, and caribou sandwiches inside the cafe-style restaurant within the store. There was also more guns set out for display and purchase than I'd ever seen in any one place in my life -- and that includes the "we need guns -- lots of guns" scene in The Matrix. Since it was "Whitetail Weekend" this weekend, there were a lot of hunters there buying -- er outfitting themselves -- with the latest gear. Having been raised in the People's Republic of Ann Arbor I actually felt kind of guilty being there -- for about two seconds. I found the make and model of gun that the beltway sniper used... and yeah, .223 calibre is not really any larger than a .22 calibre long rife bore so I guess it's the high-powered part of it that makes it so deadly. They also had a REALLY COOL shotgun, (a Mossberg Marine model, I believe) but it was $505 and that's a lot of money to spend what's essntially a metal tube with a hammer at one end -- heck, you could make your own for probably 1/40th of that.

Anyway we made it home safely and the grandparents filled us in on 'Xander's latest achievement which is the ability to walk a few steps on his own. He also learned, tonight, how to clap his hands. We actually didn't teach him this -- he started doing it on his own and was pretty impressed with the noise it made. So it's good to be back. I just need to sleep for about 100 hours and never touch a glass of wine again for a little while.
Back from the wedding! It was a blast, most everyone got plastered, and we made some new friends! Oh, and I got to wear a tuxedo -- everyone looks good in a tuxedo, I think. So that was cool. It's all on tape. I'm really really sleepy now, but we're both very happy to be home and with 'Xander again.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

It was only through a series of miracles, great and small, that I made it to Fremont (the wedding rehearsal) then to Sandusky (the rehearsal dinner was in Cedar Point) and then back to Plymouth today (home, where I went grocery shopping after my busy day). But somehow I managed to survive the onslaught of the insurance company, a blown headlight, and torrential downpours (reducing visability on the turnpike to about 700 feet -- at 70 m.p.h. with those triple-trailered trucks they allow in Ohio changing lanes right at you, that gets pretty exciting).

The wedding is tomorrow -- wish us all luck!

Friday, October 25, 2002

There shall be only light 'blogging this weekend, starting just about now. My best bud Britain and good work friend Abbey are getting married tomorrow and I've got to skedaddle down to Ohio for the rehearsal today. I get to deliver the toast tomorrow! Not 100% sure if anyone will understand the words coming out of my mouth because I haven't really finalized what I'm going to say. But that's only secondary to the actual wedding itself of course... Congrats, Britain and Abbey!

For those of you not going to a wedding rehearsal this afternoon, there will be an encore broadcast of "Do Over" on the WB tonight sometime. It's the one where Joel, the 34-year-old from 2002 who's popped back into his 14-year-old body sometime in the 80s (the show's intro says 1980, but that would make him only 12 -- trust me, you have no idea how much this frustrates me -- I think, though, the actual year in the 1980s isn't as important to the producers as being able to do a bunch of early-80s cultural references: in one episode Joel and his friend Pat dress up as the Blues Brothers and do the entire dance to "Ain't Gonna Turn You Loose" -- sounds kitchy but it actually was funny and rocked), ruins the Star Wars trilogy for a bunch of folks camped out to see The Empire Strikes Back. I think. I never actually saw that episode. Jackie taped it for me and said it was really funny and I said "Feh! Who wants to see a show about a 34-year-old going back in time?" but then I started watching other episodes and its really funny. In each episode he has to "do the right thing" or "make things right" (usually including keeping his parents' marriage together) usually at some great personal cost to himself. In addition to having a good moral message more often than not it's also really funny.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Nihil Obstat rightly takes me to task for my innumerous (ha!) spelling and grammeretical errors. You, yourself, may've noticed my uncharacteristic disregard for the mother tongue lately. Well, yes. There's really no reason for it. That's it.

"Si, El Nihil. I would say I have a plethora of penumbrae."
"Do Over" which you can watch on the WB network at 8:30pm on Thursday nights has got to be my favorite "30-something gets transported back in time to his high-school years" (in this case 1982) show ever. It's funny and very clever and very well-acted (Joel's friends, sister, and parents are all hysterical), and I think that's about the highest praise I can give a sitcom.
This is the strangest thing I've read in a long time. I don't know what to make of it. You'd think that infection or something would've kicked in at some point and took the old lady out...?
You've probably seen this link elsewhere -- I got it from Zorak's 'Blog, which you must read -- but it's soooooooo funny.

Black People Love Us!

Trust me. It's not as bad as it sounds only it is.
Greg Popcak's take on Fr. Ken going all Yoko Ono on his buddies is quite good. Go read it.
Doug Sirman, of Sirman on the Mount has received a reply to a letter he sent to one of the Detroit 4, Father Ken (aka The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Kaucheck, Pastor, St. Anastasia, Troy, MI). And it's a bit of all right! (Note to Doug, though: remove those carriage returns from the emails you post and your friends will thank you).

It turns out Fr. Kaucheck doesn't endorse Granholm, believes fully in the Church's pro-life teachings, and expects to be fully disciplined by the Cardinal for the embarassment the letter caused.

So what the blink happened? Well, that the article appeared in The Detroit Free Press (a publication which makes the Pravda of the 1970s look like it was penned by a 19-year-old member of the College Libertarians Club -- the new Pravda is quite readable, by the way) could be our first clue. Fr. Ken says there were "many points (sentences and paragraphs) removed from the article". Yeah, okay, I'll buy that... to a degree. One would have to assume that there were also many points (sentences and paragraphs) removed from the article Dr. Janet Smith, et al. wrote, but the moral message of their missive comes through loud and clear. And I, for one, didn't feel there was a great deal of ambiguity or room for interpretations (other than the obvious) in the Four Slops' loosely-written editorial. Certainly, The Freep would've had to have cut an awful lot and, indeed, have rearranged words and, even, have added in others to wind up with the final product, had anything other than the pro-Granholm sentiment been intended by at least the majority of its undersigned.

So believe Fr. Ken or don't believe him. At the very least he should learn from this experience how to write (or co-author) on such severely important moral issues far more clearly.

"Precisioned", by the way, is still not a real word.
The Detroit Free Press also doesn't like Chevy's endorsement of the "Come Together and Worship" shows.

This alone tells me it probably has to be a good thing.
Guardian: Critics Blast Chevrolet Campaign

`This is surprising - a real blurring of the lines between the commercial and the sacred,'' Phyllis Tickle, an expert on religious marketing for Publishers Weekly magazine, told the Detroit Free Press for a story Wednesday. ``We know that church and state are never supposed to meet, and I think it's also a bad idea for church and Wall Street to be meeting like this.

Yeah! Keep your God and your ethics out of the board room! Let us run our companies any way we want! Oh wait... Enron... WorldCom... Hats off to Chevy and to Britain, who is not only getting MARRIED on Saturday, but who also sent along this link.
"And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than money, you know. Don't you know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day."
- Frances McDormand in Joel and Ethan Coen's Fargo

FoxNews: Man, Stepson Held in Sniper Case
I'm still laughing at the entries to the caption "contest" below. If I call it a "contest" in the "scare quotes" I don't actually have to give out a "prize". Unless someone out there "tracks me down" and "makes me". Anyway, I'm going to have to do these on a more regular basis. The contests I mean, not the quotes. Those are soooo Dave Barry 1986. The quotes I mean, not the contests.
Yes, Americans, it's the new Whirlpool Polara Refrigerated Range!

The hot stays hot and the cold stays cold. Why, I dare say this is the McD.L.T. of the appliance kingdom!

Or, wait. Does the cold get hot and then refrigerate itself again so you can come home from work to instant leftovers? Is taking food out of the refrigerator and moving it a whole three feet into the oven really that big of a hassle? If Emeril gets one of these for his show does that mean it'll only wind up only being 15-minutes long instead of an hour ("First, we put the ingredients in the Polara... G'night everybody!")? Now, you take something like that Advantium oven -- now there's a concept. Did I ever tell you folks that one night I dreamt that I had invented the invection oven? It was a real comedown to wake up from that dream, let me tell you. But for one all-to-brief moment I knew what it felt like to have made a difference... what it was like to really matter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - Clinton aide slams Pentagon's UFO secrecy

The truth is out there. It's just ironic that a Clinton aide would be the one wanting it revealed.
Emily Stimpson feels so bad for us Y-chromosomal types, in regards to all the nekkid-women advertising we're subjected to on the internet. I don't know -- you either get used to it or desensitized after a while. The real shame, of many shames of course, is that all of those exceptionally rare moments when a young man would have stumbled upon naked women quite unexpectedly in the past (National Geographic magazine, Canadian broadcast television, that time at camp when Suzie Minsk's swimsuit wasn't on quite as tight as she thought) have been cheapened forever in the present onslaught of flesh.

There's also the point to be made that exposure to all of this smut has been shown to lessen the male sex-drive, not increase it, which, coupled with all of the birth-control hormones being urinated into our common water supplies, is probably not doing much for male fertility rates or the nation's birth-rate on a whole. Though, as Mark Twain is rumored to have said: "It is no small wonder that a young man, having witnessed labor and childbirth, should ever again endeavor to engage in the marital arts!" (I believe this bon mot appears in the book Twain co-authored with A. A. Milne, When We Were Slightly Older).
Wow. In an effort to raise the cabbage for this recording project I'm working on, I've put a few of my old SEGA Genesis games up online. I figured, hey, a few of the more rare ones, the RPGs, could probably go for 20 or 30 bucks, assuming there are still some real old-school fanboys out there. A few years ago, you couldn't give Genesis cartidges away. Well, I just checked my auction and one of my auctions is up to seventy-six dollars!!!! For a game that's 11 years old! I mean, I'm into the whole rare collection thing, don't get me wrong, and retro-gaming, too (I'd give anything to be able to play "Mappy" again) but seventy-six dollars!!!! And there's still two days left in the auction....

And, yes, baby did really need that new pair of shoes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Click On Detroit - Vandals Reportedly Hit Golf Course

Now THIS sounds like a bachelor party!
Click On Detroit - Thieves Use Front-Loader To Steal ATM

What our area Detroit theives lack in flair and creativity they more than make up for with resourcefulness and determination.
FORTUNE: Brain Scans: Why Women Should Rule the World

Former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell demonstrates once again why I love Canadians and Feminists and especially Canadian Feminists so dang much: their thought is so completely unfiltered by anything approaching reason or sense; such that whenever you wave a micropohone in front of them you're bound to wind up with a bona fide fruit of such undiscerned idiocy as this quote from the article linked above:

Campbell warned that "lest you think that all we aspire to for the world can be accomplished by male-dominated organizations, I have only to say to you: Enron, Taliban, Roman Catholic Church."

Of course the one thing Ms. Prime Minister Campbell doesn't do, at least in this short article, is provide any organizations or World Governments which are run by women and are just the cat's pajamas; the ol' example of "the coven of witches who ran the lost continent of Atlantis and let everyone ride equally on their zero-emissions flying cars powered solely by estrogen" doesn't count becuase it didn't exist. One could imagine Ms. Campbell suggesting NOW, Planned Parenthood, and the reign of Elizabeth Tudor as examples, but that would only prove my point: her comments make no sense.

Now, if I were a cynic I might say that this is only because a little corruption is necessary for the functioning of any worldly organization but then I'm no cynic. Roadside crosses: using public property to endorse religion?

Yes, Virginia, he is a jackass.
If you watched Buffy, The Vampire Slayer last week -- the one with the hopelessly doomed pre-cog Sunnydale student -- you might appreciate this site, Cassie's Poetry and Paintings. Reportedly, Mutant Enemy Productions put it up after the end of last week's episode.

If you didn't see the episode, don't bother checking out the website.
Here is a 'blog with a They Might Be Giants-esque name, which is cool. I appreciate what they had to say about "The Ring" (which I have not seen) and about foreign films being remade in America -- they usually don't work and are far worse than the original. This is, by and large, because they're being made for Americans, I think. Can you imagine an American remake of "Shall We Dance" or "Run Lola Run"? I hope we never have to endure such trials.
Mel, in the comments section below, has a great new idea for a contest! Take a look at the man smiling with the cel phone in the post, two posts down, and come up with a caption for that photo. Here are Mel's. I can do no better, myself, but I anxiously await your submissions -- that is if you think you can top Mel's which you probably can't. The winner gets my copy of The New Oxford Review where they call Dr. Scott Hahn a lesbian. If I still have it around here someplace. I don't think they actually call him a lesbian, though.

Here's that picture again:

"Hey look, a new index finger"
"My tricorder says - "your not intelligent life"
"Hey, matching cell phone hair"
"I'm just a model, pointing at a cell phone, look'n happy"
A reader -- we'll call him "John S" -- passes along via email some interesting email about the "Fab Four" dissenting priests (well, three priests and a laid-icized doctor of sexual libertinism) here in Michigan. Along with supporting a gubernatorial candidate who is flamingly pro-abortion (and, incidentally, told Detroit minorities that she was in favor of paying reparations to the decendants of former slaves and then telling the white suburbanites that "reparations" means "affirmative action" -- if I can believe what I've read) they, collectively, also tend to believe women should be ordained and have invited men on overnight trips to hotels (which is, of course, all backwards).

Anyway, the real standout of the bunch is, as you may have guessed, Doctor Tony Kosnik -- formerly Father Kosnik, in those days before he wed the psychologist (Dr. Margaret Stack, if your particular agenda includes taking names in addition to kicking butt) who screened vocations. Talk about a seminarian's nightmare: "So, Thomas! Tell me about yourself! Have you had any crucifixion fantasies lately? Oh, shoot... Pager. I bet that's Father again. Yep. Booty call, gotta go. What's that? No, I don't think you have anything to worry about here at The Ecumenical Seminary and Hot Tub Gardens. I think you're gay, probably -- either that or your hopelessly rigid and not cut out for the priesthood -- but we can discuss that later: Kosnums gets cranky if he doesn't get his pre-Lauds bling-bling, know what I'm saying?"

Oh, no -- it gets worse. But you don't have to take my word for it. "Hi! My name is Michael Rose and I just wrote a book!" Er, sorry. Lapsed into "Reading Rainbow" mode there for a moment. Here's what Michael Rose has to say about Dr. Kosnik, both in his book Am-scray, Straight Peeps and here, within this on-line op-ed:

Another controversial sex-ed textbook used widely in US seminaries was written by a Detroit priest, Father Anthony Kosnik. Published first in 1976, "Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought" takes the same desensitizing approach to sexual morality as the textbooks used as the Dallas and Oregon seminaries. Although billed as a “handbook for confessors,” it more accurately amounts to a broad attack on Catholic Church teaching. Father Kosnik’s book even endured the wrath of the Vatican, which formally denounced it in a rare statement issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Of the countless criticisms of the book, perhaps the pithiest came from Msgr. Hubert Maino, former editor of The Michigan Catholic, who said on a local radio talk show that it was “soft on bestiality.” Father Kosnik, who taught at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Michigan until 1982, maintained that Catholics must jettison the view that holds fornication, adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, and bestiality to be intrinsically evil acts. He also wrote that priests must understand that “God is surely present” in homosexual relations that are marked by “sincere affection.”

I'm guessing that when you die and are called before the Throne of Judgment -- the Happy Place on one hand and the Sea of Fire on the other -- the issues on which you'd better not have appeared soft are going to be relatively few in number. At or near the top of this list, in the penumbra of issues which relate to the the whole "corrupting of the least ones" topic, I'm imaginging one will find bestiality. Bestialtiy, contrary to what any laicized theologians may think, IS NOT FUN FOR THE GOAT! The goat does not want, the goat is not capable of loving you like that. We "human-beings" have a term for taking sexual pleasure in anyone who is unable to escape it and this is called "rape". So you'd better pay that matter some considerable thought before it's too late. I'm not certain, furthermore, but the St. John's Seminary mentioned above may be the same one right here in town which saw its class of semiarians (and I hear you can actually walk the halls and look at the class photos of each of the classes and see this played out over the years so horrifically well) dwindle from full classes of 20-30 robust farm-boy-looking priests to a handful of anemic-looking Nancy sissy-boys -- until it finally closed-up shop as a seminary and reopened as a (successful!) golf and conference center.

So, there wasn't really any point to this post except to say that if you (as a gubernatorial candidate or otherwise) welcome with open arms the support of anyone who would appear to think that "God is surely present" in the "sincerely affectionate" relationship you're having with the neighbor's black lab -- well, you're either a first-rate sicko or you're a "pro-choice" Catholic politician pandering for votes in every way imaginable. Or else you're both.

Monday, October 21, 2002 Police investigating the Beltway Sniper attacks publicly urged the person they believe to be the killer to "call back" on Monday.

This picture has nothing to do with the story. I was going to make some Sprint PCS "What he really said was 'The point is moot, I like to cipher'. Turns out it was just bad cellular" joke but the man in this picture just looked so happy with his new phone and I thought my 'blog could use some happiness today.
Garry Who?

Don't you dare say that Garry Trudeau is stuck in the 1980s or otherwise no longer relevant. Why, he even has a comic strip about weblogs. How biting and insightful -- if this were 1999, I mean. Even better? Click on the "previous strip" button and you'll see a comic about the immediate and pressing current issues of global warming and the homeless!

Why do I get the impression that Trudeau's career ended the day Reagan left office?
Granholm digs the Four Dissenters' "very thoughtful" letter to the editor.

This is from Granholm's weekly newsletter which is sent out to anyone who cares to subscribe to it. I, myself, do not subscribe to the newsletter (I have my hands full reading all the material I get about Human Growth Hormone supplements every week) but a reader does do. Here is the relevant excerpt:

Catholic Priests defend Granholm. The extreme right has been trying to make people think Jennifer cannot be Catholic she is -- and that Catholics can t vote for her. A very thoughtful piece by a Catholic theologian and three Catholic priests in Saturday s Free Press sets the record straight. See the story Priests Defend Granholm at

I guess that's a new milestone for this 'blog. I've been called a member of the "Extreme Right". Coupled with the "Loony Left" comment someone made a few weeks back, I guess I've got just about every angle covered. Further, it seems that it's only in the mind of a heretic (cough! King Henry VIII! Cough, cough!) that the support of three priests and a theologian counts as "setting the record straight" -- especially when there's over 2,000 years of records (4,000 years if you count the code of Hammurabi, which also condemned abortion) which state otherwise. Unfortunately for Cardinal Maida, in Michigan today we don't so much need a Thomas Wosley as we need a Sir Thomas More.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Where's Yul Brynner when you need him?

So I was watching FoxNews (Fair. Balanced. What was on.) and they were showing this special about this really nasty amphetamine sweeping through the streets of Thailand. I think it was called jabba but I'm not really sure because a) I can never remember, exactly, anything I see on TV and b) when I do a search on FoxNews' website for "thailand methamphetamine" all I get is a link to eBay (no joke): "Look for thailand methamphetamine at eBay - Find it at eBay - Try it, you'll love it!"

Anyway, this stuff looks pretty dangerous -- much more dangerous than the crystal meth a lot of kids in this country take because they're bored and their parents never hugged them (or something). When you start off taking it you feel all powerful and sexy (kind of like how I feel when I eat a lot of garlic) but soon the drug takes hold of you and you begin to get really paranoid. Everything happening around you -- honking car horns, people walking down the street -- has sinister meaning aimed directly right at you. Many people freak out and take little children as hostages. Most are reduced to a vacuous life of ceaseless paranoia. You know, in effect, this sounds quite a bit like the Green Party!

In regards to the Fearsome Foursome (we're talkin' priests here), Amy Welborn demonstrates with her writing that God never allows an evil without also introducing a greater good. In other words, Amy Welborn is a treasure of the Church and we're lucky to have her. You know, this Internet thing might not be all bad. Sure, it introduces a lot of temptation and sickness and what-not but think of it: we have such easy access to those words which can lead and guide us minute-by-minute, day-by-day, towards holiness.

I can't speak for this election, 2002, but the tide is changing. Information ain't always Truth, but it's a whole helluva lot better than outright ignorance which is what sophists and rhetoriticians (and damned poor ones at that) like the Rev. Paul Chateau, the Rev. John Nowlan, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Kaucheck, and Herr Doctor Anthony Kosnik seem to be counting on, on the part of their readers.

Note to the undersigned of that Godawful letter: people aren't as stupid as you seem to think they might be. Nor are they as idiotic as you have demonstrated yourselves, collectively, to be. I'm saying this as a favor to you, and because I love you: wake up and smell the toast burning. The times are changing and your lies are not welcome among the members of my generation. Or, in the words of Prince and the New Power Generation: "I hope they bury your old ideas the same time they bury you."

And don't look at me! You're the ones who just dug your own graves, ideologically speaking. I'm only here to kick the dirt in on top of your metaphysic's dead ass when you finally gather up sufficient courage and insight to crawl right on in. And by all means, take your time. Relatively speaking (which seems to be the only manner in which your ilk is capable of speaking) me and my friends will be here long after you're gone; and we've pledged to do our best to undo all the harm you've caused.
The Underground Grammarian

Kevin Miller of "Get on de Virtuti Bus" 'blog" has some thoughtful things to say in response to the Four Priests' editorial, a few posts down (and thanks to Matt Bowman for sending along the editorials in the first place!). My favorite truism from Miller's 'Blogging: "Funny how attempts to defend the indefensible seem quickly to lapse into hypocritical dishonesty."

I mentioned to my dad yesterday that there was this guy, Nihil Obstat, who was running around correcting the poor grammar and spelling on everyone's website. "Poor grammar is a moral condition," my dad said and then he proceeded to tell me about The Underground Grammarian, his generation's version of Nihil Obstat. The UG, it seems, was a scholar of some note who would deliver devastating reviews of the books being written in acadamia just as the first wave of postmodernism was washing over it -- though no one knew who he was (at the time). "Everything he wrote," said my dad "was so tight, cogent, and full of meaning that everyone but the most ignorant and stupid was shamed into silence by it."

Makes me wonder where The Underground Grammarian is today and whether or not we ought to be thanking Nihil Obstat on a more regular basis.

And part of me wishes I could live in that earlier time. Check out the first edition of The Underground Grammarian newsletter (Volume 1, Number 1), which was written in 1978, at the site linked above (which includes all of the newsletters and books written by Richard Mitchell):

"The Underground Grammarian does not advocate violence; it advocates ridicule. Abusers of English are often pompous, and ridicule hurts them more than violence. In every edition we will bring you practical advice for ridiculing abusers of English."

For example: "This month’s target is any barbarian who says advisement. We can advise, or give advice, or even do some advising. Advisement permits nothing beyond what we can already mean with the words we have."

Wonderful. And does this sound like anyone else we know? If Nihil Obstat isn't Richard Mitchell, he (or she) is obviously one of his disciples.

You can all thank me by signing my guestmap in return for "finding" the UG's site for you and for all of the quotes you're likely to pull from it and put up on your 'blogs (I know I'll be doing a fair bit of this in the next week or two).
His collar is bigger than yours!
I suspect that SkipD once owned (or typed-in) a copy of Compute! (or would that be Compute! Gazette?) magazine's "Sid Player" program for the Commodore 64. His MIDI arrangement of "Lord Of The Dance" (you know: "I danced in the morning when I had my tea, I danced in the evening with no shorts -- just hangin' free, I danced and I danced and I danced 'til three, I am the Lord of the Dance said He" -- that song) led me to this conclusion.
Hmm. So Iraq just released a lot of its death-row inmates. Does this mean that Saddam Hussein is more pro-life than President Bush? Or just really, really desperate and getting goofy because of that desperation? This was also rather interesting: "The exception, the statement said, was for murderers, who would be released only with the consent of the victims' families." Not sure if that's something which can be universalized (if the victims' families forgive you, you can go free), however.
Assimilate me!! PLEASE!

What's that? Sony VAIO Digital Studio Desktop with Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.53GHz
Retailers Face Make-Or-Break Holidays

I was going to read this article and then comment to the effect that the retailers really can't count on us this year for a great deal of support but a herd of sheep ran across the page and went "Baaaaa!" (I think it was part of the ING advertisement, but I am unsure) and it was so disconcerting that I forgot to read the article.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Pastorally Evil and Intellectually Idiotic Priests Defend Granholm, while Professors who actually Know a Thing or Two Refute Her

The Granholm situation here in Michigan (i.e. she calls herself a Catholic but promotes abortion in all of its flavors to such an extreme that she has the full support of arch-pro-abort group Emily's List) has taken a turn for the weird, as the October 17 Detroit Free Press (which itself is "free" in much the same way the Bolsheviks wanted to "free" Russia) bears witness.

Exhibit A: An editorial written by two professors of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and one from Ave Maria Law School in Ann Arbor. You'll want to read this because one of those professors is Dr. Janet Smith. And why is abortion the defining moral issue in this country right now, above all others? Why does it matter so dang much? "The welfare of society depends in large measure on the singular issue of how all of us treat human life in its earliest stages. If the unborn do not have the most fundamental right -- the right to life -- we make a mockery of all the other goods, such as work, education and health care, that we legitimately promote as a compassionate society." Hear, hear!

(Maybe I should apologize in advance for this next bit. Maybe not. Either way, this is the part of the job I hate... the skull-crackin' part).

Exhibit B: In refutation of Dr. Janet Smith and the other profs (I dunno 'bout you, but I would never want to be debating any issue opposite Dr. Smith... that alone is a recipe for loser quiche) four local Detroit-area priests step in and defend Granholm. I guess they didn't understand all the big words and phrases the professors used in their editorial (phrases like "natural law" and "the Church") because their reply is the worst piece of garbage I've read in years. What's interesting (but only in the same sense that watching an insane man cut geometric shapes into his own flesh with a sharpened-spoon is interesting) about their reply is that they attempt to refute the biological individuality of the newly-conceived baby FROM A THEOLOGICAL STANDPOINT. Er, hello...? WRONG! If you want to argue that the newly-conceived baby is not biologically a human being, you have to do it from a biological standpoint (the Church since even before the time of Galileo knew this). And do the Four Bad Shepherds even offer any "theological" evidence that the newly-conceived baby is not an individual human being? Uh, no. They don't. They wave their hands at "the carefully precisioned words of Vatican II" (and too bad "precisioned" isn't even a real word, you morons. Perhaps you meant "precisely written" -- or is that whole concept completely alien to you as well?). Which words? Well, the ones that wiggle between the terms "fertilization" and "conception" -- as if these four priests could tell you the difference between the two -- or even the difference between their collective ass and a dank, dark, dumb, and festering hole in the ground.

Here's the money quote: "An authentic respect for life must embrace a whole spectrum of issues affecting life including respect for freedom, housing, employment, education, nutrition, health care, etc. It is clear that in this decision Jennifer Granholm has chosen to follow her conscience. This is perfectly compatible with her responsibility as a Catholic and as a good citizen." Hrm. Did Hitler follow his conscience when he gassed the Jews in order to employ, house, educate, and feed the rest of the Germans? Guess so! Guess he had an "authentic respect for life" after all -- four outta five on the whole "spectrum of issues affecting life" ain't half bad! He was a model citizen (and Catholic)! Guess history's been all wrong about the guy.

In short, I will go on record as saying that the priests' statement is the most intellectually sloppy, morally dishonest, biologically wrong, and pastorally harmful thing I've EVER read -- and that includes Fr. Doc's befuddled missive from August 4th. They had better hope that Christ is as merciful as they seem to think He is because if I ever see any (or all) of these gentlemen crossing the street ("Abbey Road" style) against a traffic signal it may take me just a few seconds too long to convince myself to slow down -- though, I don't suppose they'd see anything wrong with me "following my conscience" and hitting the throttle instead, now would they? (Yeah -- but I would see something wrong with it, no matter the intellectual satisfaction I'd get from removing four more equivocating, muddle-headed idjits from the world. This is because I know the difference between right and wrong -- and I'm not even a professor emeritus of "ethics").

Better yet: instead of hitting them with your car (note: under no circumstances ever hit anyone with your car -- unless they are a zombie and you have proof), after you've read their piece, why not drop them a line and let them know what you thought of it? They'd be happy to hear that you chose to "follow your conscience". Hell, it's your responsibility "as a Catholic and good citizen"!

The Rev. Paul Chateau Pastor, Our Lady of Fatima Oak Park
Oak Park, MI 48237

The Rev. John Nowlan Pastor, St. Hilary's Detroit
Redford, MI 48239-1406

The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Kaucheck Pastor, St. Anastasia Troy
Troy, MI 48085-3559

Dr. Anthony Kosnik Professor Emeritus, Ethics,
Ecumenical Theological Seminary Detroit
Detroit, MI 48201

Or, even better: call Cardinal Maida's office at 313-237-5816 or fax him at 313-237-4642. I happen to know for a fact that he never gets tired of hearing about the latest dumbass thing his priests have said (or had printed in the local paper with a circulation well-over a million readers) -- especially when it directly contradicts the letter he had read at all the Parishes in the Archdiocese at all Masses two weeks ago.

Oh and Jackie says I need to watch my mouth... turns out my exclamation of surprise and fury when I read the (so-called) "priests'" editoral wasn't only just shouted in my head. If 'Xander starts cursing like a sailor at 10 months, we'll know why.

Friday, October 18, 2002

It's okay to laugh

In this post over at HMS 'Blog Mark Shea challenges Duncan Maxwell Anderson to a duel over some issue on which they disagree; weapon of choice: assault rifles at 500 yards. Frankly, challenging Duncan Maxwell Anderson to a duel with any sort of firearm or bladed-weapon is probably something you never want to do unless you either owe a substial gambling debt to the mob (and have a generous life-insurance policy) or unless you've found yourself recently cuckolded (and as Anderson notes in this post, among other things, that if you can hit anything with an assault rifle at 500 yards, you're a better marksman than anyone who has ever lived -- in the same sense that anyone who can drive a Ford Tempo at 300mph through downtown Detroit is a better driver than anyone who's ever lived).

Anyway, the point: Mark soon apologizes for his "tasteless joke": "I do not, I assure you, think what is happening near Washington is funny".

A couple of things in response: first off, Mark, never apologize -- it's a sign of weakness. Hee. Just kidding. I had to work in a quote from Swimming With Sharks somewhere (myself, I apologize all the time). Second thing, though: as long as the joke reflects honestly and accurately the reality of the situation, which I believe Mark's did, no matter how tasteless it is, it is valuable. Consider (and I do mean consider) the following two well-known thoughts, at least one of which may be attributed to Kierkegaard:

"All humor is gallows humor" and

"There is no laughter in heaven."

In other words, human beings are the only creatures which are both bound for death (as in their existence in this world is only temporary) and which are at least dimly aware of this fact and its implications. As such, human beings are the only creatures which have need of humor. Laughter is the reaction to confounding of the expectation that our existence in this present state of affairs is permanent. Why do babies laugh when you swing them over your head? Because they didn't expect to be able to fly at that particular moment, used, as they were, to sitting on the ground; it's funny! And why is Peek-A-Boo funny? Because one minute Mommy is right there in front of you and the next minute -- she's gone!

So too when we joke about snipers. One minute Joe is at the gas station, thinking he's about to drive home, eat dinner, retire, and live to be 78 or 80 and the next minute he's gone from us forever. This in itself is not at all that humorous, I will hasten to admit. But how do we react to this? If Joe is suddenly gone forever, reduced from a unqiue individual person to 200lbs of rotting meat in an instant by someone he doesn't even know... couldn't the same thing happen, contrary to all of our expectations, to us? In fact, it seems certain to most of us that the same thing will, indeed happen. And how to react to that? When we're reminded, through a joke or witty turn of phrase, that our existence here is transitory -- however much we might expect to be here tomorrow, there is always that tomorrow which will never come for us -- there is nothing to do but to laugh. That is the value of humor: to remind us of this fact. Here today, gone tomorrow: Peek-A-Boo!

It is my contention, then, that the only people who find absolutely no humor in so-called "tasteless" jokes about death and dying are those same people who fully expect to be around on this planet for all ages and epochs; in a word, they're in denial about the metaphysical (and physical) realities of their existence and this denial makes them unable to find the humor and laugh at their own transitory nature. Too bad for them.

Finally: the important thing to remember, of course, is that, as in Peek-A-Boo, there will come a time for the faithful in the next world when Mommy will re-appear. And our reunion with her there will not be a cause for laughter, but for tears.
The Washington Post has a rather inspiring and harrowing account of the fight to save the youngest sniper victim's life. His condition (the victim's) has been raised today from critical to serious, praise God.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

For those of you who watch This is Spinal Tap! and wish you could be Ian:
Electronic Musician: "Rock Manager" makes game of music biz.
Snopes: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Crime (Sniper Tips)

Good advice, but they left one off the list:

"If you are confronted by a sniper, the best thing to do is to run at the sniper, zig-zagging and jumping to the right and to the left. When you are close to the sniper, look at the ground and fire your rocket-launcher. This should launch you high into the air. When you reach the apex of your rocket-jump, equip your plasma cannon and fire directly at the sniper. You should be able to get off enough rounds to kill him. Pick up his sniper rifle and ammunition and continue on to capture the flag."
Looks like The Yankee 'Blogger finally found a job. Thank goodness! Personally, I don't know how many more "pity me but damn my enemies to Hell" posts I could take. Ah, but I kid the Yankee 'Blogger. I kid! Really, he does have a very fine 'blog. And now also a job. Many people still do not. Don't ask me how I know. But many people who are unemployed have still managed to read their Epictetus. And turn to Jesus. Anyway; Congratulations!

A new musical/recording project and the need to raise cash to buy a new recording program and audio-interface has led me just this morning to pull out a couple of boxes from the crawlspace. These particular boxes contain my Sega Genesis and a boatload of games from the early 1990s. Some of these games, like Phantasy Star II and III, go for quite a bit of money (well, up to $30 anyway for a title like "Warsong", which I own and is still a really great game) on eBay. Perhaps the most amazing thing I discovered was that the battery-backup feature in some of these games (the feature that allowed you to save your game) still worked. I had expected the batteries to have died a long time ago -- some of these games are 12 or 13 years old! Anyway, I spent a few minutes getting to know some old friends and was amazed at how much I still remembered from these games (mainly the music.. the correct path through the final dungeon of Phantasy Star II -- the path to Mother Brain -- has long been lost to me). So, anyway, if you wanted any old Sega games (and I have a fair bit of Sega Master System games -- Sega's system from the mid-1980s -- too) let me know before I try and sell them. Or just buy them on eBay.

And Toe Jam & Earl, in case you're wondering, is just as fun now as it was 11 years ago. Or it would be if any of my darn controllers still worked. And if I had time to play it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

You know what's getting really annoying? That stupid blinking yellow "Check Engine" light on the IP. Yeah: she's running rough. I know this. I'm working on it. Tell me something I don't know already or just shut up.
Speculation now is that Miss Cleo is the Beltway Sniper: she always knows where the police will be and leaves a Tarot card behind.

"Call me now or I'll shoot ya deed!"
DARPA has a new logo!

Designed, apparently, after watching "Star Trek: First Contact" one too many times. Maybe that's not the Borg pyramid, though. Maybe it's a panopticon. Or maybe it's proof that the Illumniati really do exist. Either way, gotta love that last line: "Semiotically speaking, this is the most inept administration in years. Either that, or its art department is trying to tell us something."
Wah, wah, wah!

In the comments section below, some have taken umbrage (well, actually only two people, but that can be taken as a consensus for dissent around here -- and actually, I really dug Zorak's comment, but I digress) to my "now you know how the Pope (or President, or average resident of Sudan/Palestine/Rwanda/etc.) feels. "But you don't understand! The Pope has the Secret Service and that bullet-proof Pope-Mobile to protect him!" Yeah, well you have your police and now your military to protect you. You have anti-crime legislation and easy access to the lawmakers right there in case you need more laws.

So why don't you feel safe?

Could it be because nothing is certain in this world, including your continued presence in it, and all you can do is live your life from day to day as best as you can because you never know when that next bullet is going to have your name on it? I don't think people are afraid of snipers so much as they are of the reality of their own existence. You can thank our culture for that one. The reason the Pope's not afraid, of course, is not because he has a bulletproof Pope-Mobile or the Caribineri to protect him: he's not afraid because he's cool with his own mortality. Be not afraid, suckas.

(And as an aside: considering how many millions of people live in the Washington area, and how dangerous the roads are there, statistically speaking, if you drive I-95 on a daily or weekly basis it is far more likely that you'll die painfully in a horrible car wreck than you will quickly from a sniper's bullet. But car wrecks don't make headlines unless you're a Princess).
One more sniper-related thought for the folks living out in Maryland, VA, and DC: now can you imagine how the Pope must feel everytime he steps out of his Papal Apartments?
Cal Thomas gets a case of the major wiggins.

He thinks, judging by the headline "No Safe Neighborhoods", that there are no safe neighborhoods. Well, our neighborhood is safe. If it wasn't I wouldn't live here. But everyone on our street owns either a dog or a gun or both and so far the only crime we've had around here in the past few years was some 19-year-old who tried to break into someone's garage but was caught by the police before he got very far (lucky him: he wasn't shot or mauled).

And if any one did decide to become "The Motor-City Sniper" you can bet that before the body of his first victim cooled there'd be gangs of vigilantes in every suburb roving around (in their Lincoln Navigators, natch) looking to go all Deer Hunter on anyone even remotely matching any sort of vague witness description.

That's just the way we Michiganders are.
Jeff Miller sends along this link to the TechTV story about RoboRats, rats wired up with electrodes and power-packs -- turning them into cyborgs, intelligent robots, ready to serve their human overlords.

I first heard about this some months back and thought it was pretty cool at the time. I mean, most human beings treat animals (and other human beings) as mere objects to be used as far as their utility allows -- why not at least be honest about it? I'm a little less cynical now, however, and think we should respect the rats' ratness. Let the rat be a rat. To turn a rat into a cyborg tampers with the rat's nature, forcing it to live inauthentically, and I don't think that's very nice at all.
This morning when I woke up I thought I heard, faintly, the sound of bagpipes. But when I opened my eyes, they were gone.

Thank goodness.
Rumsfeld OKs military assist in sniper hunt

Not to be too cynical here, but one wonders if the military would still be getting involved if the sniper was terrorizing Duluth, Minnesota, instead of Washington, DC.

This conjures up images of a gathering of the Washington elite for tea, circa the late 19th century:

"Oh, Rummy, darling! You simply must do something about this awful Beltway Sniper. My dear Eustace was simply just too mortified to go outside of the house yesterday afternoon to tell Chauncy that the rose bushes needed a second trimming!"

"Rest assured, my dear Lady Hatherway. I have already this morning ordered the AWACs into the air and my newly-comissioned Neo-Tech Urban Assault team is sweeping the city in a manner not unlike your man Timmons brushing the mane of your prized Miss Nibs with a stiff bristle brush. I dare say that the poor buggers will have nought a place to hide!"

"Oh, Rummy, please! You are in the presense of a lady!"

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

FoxNews: Ninth Sniper Victim

Franklin, a 47-year-old mother of two grown children, was killed Monday night as she and her husband loaded packages into their car outside a Home Depot store.

That's just about the most horrible thing imaginable.
Mariah on Fire: Exclusive Report on New Album

Maybe there is some hope for this country after all.
I, for one, am looking forward to Benigni's Pinocchio.

I really enjoyed the French/Russian (I think) version that came out a few years back with Martin Landau and the Stevie Wonder songs in the soundtrack.
Budget-strapped NaNoWriMo participants take note:

WegenerMedia: Parts and service for iBooks, and all Mac Powerbooks
#461 on the List of Ways To Get Tackled By Your Religious Ed Class: Fire Bible

Thanks for the link!'s review of Take 6's Beautiful World.

Note to deconstructuralist prog-rock fans: the DEVO song does not appear on Take 6's CD. However this, their most recent CD, does have the right balance between contemporary R&B and Take 6's unique a capella stylings -- something we've not had on their more recent albums (Join The Band still being one of my favorite CDs).
America: People are just dying to get in.

May the Lord grant unto them eternal rest and may perpetual light shine upon them. Requiescant in pace.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Okay, it's official: The Bookworm Game is the most addictive java game I've played.
Surrogate Earth-Dad of Alien Anti-Christ: New name. New responsibilities.

This is the scariest pop-up ad ever. That picture. It doesn't so much make we want to get life-insurance as it does make me want to grab the nearest shovel.
Dust in the Light - 10/14/2002: "Bin Laden Makes First Television Appearance Since Tora Bora"

I knew it!!! No one who fraternizes with monkeys could be completely kosher!

Thank you, Justin Katz, for finally making it possible for me to laugh at Carot Top.
Acme Klein Bottle

Need a zero-volume bottle?
Searching for a one-sided surface?
Want the ultimate in non-orientability?

And don't forget to check out the engraved portraits of Gauss! Supplies, as they say, are finite.
Very well. I don't suppose I can put this off any longer. It's awfully chilly out there and snow (!) is predicted for later on this week. So the storm-windows (those which remain; in years past I thought installing the storm-windows from inside the house was the way to go as it saved me the trip up the ladder, until experience and a few broken windows convinced me that the reasoning behind that particular process was faulty) must go up. This morning. Before work. So up a ladder I shall go.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

UPDATE: Rolie Polie Olie's dad had gotten into my computer and re-attenuated my attenuator. I've sent him and his toolkit packing back to the round planet and so things should be getting back to normal now.

Oh, and lest I surrender completely to the Playhouse Disney fall lineup, let me state for the record that tonight's episode of Angel kicked butt (even if the new Gwen character is a little too borderline X-Men). That show has become the show Buffy fans wish Buffy could still be, someday. But Buffy will never be as cool as Angel because while Buffy has surrendered to the teenie-bopper UPN crowd, Angel has become the show adults can watch and not walk away completely insulted. Does anyone else think it's just totally cool that Wes has his own new gang now? Rock. And that sequence where they showed Angel's lifeless heart starting to beat again featured some pretty neat CGI.

Andromeda was pretty good tonight, as well. Not as completely bonkers as last week, that's for sure. Still, the show's already done one "mythical treasure hunt" episode and a "framed for a murder he didn't committ" episode (as was brought up in the episode tonight). That aside, this show featured some really cool Harper scenes, though it would've been nice to see the hoverboard make an appearance towards the end and save the day. Next week's looks much better. Hey, Sci-fi fans: it's a much more intelligent show than Enterprise or Firefly and since Babylon 5 and ST:DS9 aren't on anymore, if you like your science-fiction and your action put together in a thoroughly-watchable package (and I'm not talking exclusively about Lexa Doig's "Rommie" outfit here -- though I like how the website keeps up with her hair-style-o'-the-week), you could do worse than to pick up the Season 1 DVD sets (yes, they're selling the first season in three separate sets and yes, this is a bad thing).
Sirman On The Mount is a St. 'Blog's blog overflowing with hyperkinetic energy. I have no idea what that means (something to do with cussin' up a blue streak?), but it's a rare thing to find a St. 'Blog's blog what ain't all stodgy. I suppose I should mention here for purposes of establishing some frame of reference that I consider khakis to be stodgy. So Sirman On The Mount is a much-needed breath of obscure indie-band t-shirts and cut-off shorts for St. 'Blog's Parish. Am I making any sense here? I don't think that I am. Let me fiddle with this thing some more.
I Predict

I've finally done some reading on "The Beltway Shooter." It's pretty horrible what he's doing. I predict that when they do find this guy that he either a) plays a lot of Grand Theft Auto: III on the Playstation 2 or he b) is pretty active in the whole First-Person Shooter genre online (possibly a Half-Life Counterstrike junkie, or whatever the latest Half-Life game is). In fact, the authorities could probably go online into some of those rooms where people hook-up for such games and start asking around: who has a name like GodBoy77 and always talks about the Death Card? It'd take a team of about 30 individuals but they'd find him.

How do I know so much? Call it the Father Brown effect: I've been a gamer for a long time and in years past I knew how much fun it could be to pick up that virtual sniper rifle, throw it into zoom mode, target your enemy's head, and watch him crumple to the ground (don't worry: everyone got regenerated seconds later). Whoever is on this killing spree knew that feeling before he started but couldn't tell where the game ended and real life began (as cliched as that sounds). This sort of thing wasn't an issue before but games of that nature have gotten too course and too realistic these days. I'll stick with my Mario and Animal Crossing, thank you.

As for me: I don't play First Person Shooters (FPS) anymore. They've always made me queasy and gave me headaches. Something about the motion, the way they move. I've finally realised this and so, as enticing as TimeSplitters 2 sounds -- especially since it's coming out on the GameCube -- you won't find me there. I may make an exception for Medal of Honor: Frontline, though. That's historical!

I still don't know what to make of that white-panel truck, though.
ABC News: Anti-Bullying Program or ‘Gay Agenda?’

Gay Agenda!

Gee, that was easy. Next question? Really: "there is clear evidence his program is promoting a gay agenda. [Kevin McCoy, president of the West Virginia Family Foundation] cites the project's training manual, which recommends that teachers: Wear a 'LesBiGay positive' button or a T-shirt with a 'Straight, But Not Narrow' slogan or a pink triangle." Let's see those same teachers try to get away with wearing an "Abortion kills" t-shirt and we'll find out just how anti-bully the school really is. I'm guessing not very.

The handbook also wants teachers to "identify the contributions of homosexuals in history, literature, art, science and religion and expand libraries to include books related to sexual diversity." You know, this is something you hear a lot: the broad reference to "contributions made by homosexuals in history, literature, art, science and religion." To which I always reply "BE SPECIFIC!" And what sort of books would the libraries have to include at this point? "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers"?

Here's your anti-bullying program: get your kid some Tae Kwon Do classes. My anti-bullying program consisted of my dad telling me when I was very young that sustained fury in a fight can overcome any advantage your attacker may have in terms of skill. Also, the fact that I was 6'-tall and 200lbs in Jr. High didn't hurt either. I remember being attacked in the locker room by a bully who tried to tackle me repeatedly and eventually gave up after a few minutes when it became clear that I was more or less ignoring him (while slamming him into the row of lockers). So feed your kids some vitamins while you're at it, too.
Nearly a Third of Adults Rated Obese

Maybe this is just me: if a full third of us are obese, shouldn't we just re-adjust our understanding of what obesity is? Create a new "ideal" body weight? Tip-the-scales (as it were) a bit? I'm all in favor of that.
I have been lax in my reporting of the Jennifer Granholm gubernatorial race. Fortunately, though, there have been others to take this on. Most notably:

Check that site out. It's got a wealth of information there. Most interestingly (and thank you for the email!) is this story about a recent incident which apparently involved Mr. Jennifer Granholm (Dan Granholm Mulhern) as he was leaving Our Lady of Good Council Parish in Plymouth, MI. Mere minutes after he presumably received Jesus into himself at Mass in His Eucharistic form, Dan Mulhern drove out past the protestors (one of whom was holding a sign which read "Granholm Supports" over a poster with a picture of a live-born 16-week-old baby explaining all of the things a baby at that age can do -- including being legally killed). Mr. Mulhern (according to the story) didn't like the poster and shouted at the protester holding it that she was "a goddamned liar." The protester cautioned Mr. Mulhern against such profanity as one's leaving Mass and Mr. Mulhern repeated himself (twice): "Yes, I'm Mr. Mulhern and you're a goddamned liar."

Honestly, one would expect more poise from a man who is a lawyer himself. I guess one can assume from this incident that the protesters are doing their job out there and having an effect -- honestly, I can't imagine someone of Mr. Mulhern's ilk ever being confronted with the true implications of his (and his wife's beliefs) were it not for these protesters. Let's just pray that he can move past the anger and towards reflection.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

"Fried ice cream is a reality!"
--George Clinton
IBM flushes restroom patent

Although I think a better headline would be "IBM Withdrew New Loo Queue from Review after Patent Coup Grew" but then I don't write such things.

Thanks to RC for the link!
Experts Suggest Ways To Avoid Being Target

"If a sniper already has you in his sights, there is not much you can do, but there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a target, according to firearms experts and law enforcement officials."

Alternately, you could pick up a copy of any of the Medal of Honor games and learn everything you'd learn from the article -- and you wouldn't be leaving your house for a while either, which is probably the safest thing for you to do if you live in that area.
One shining beacon of hope which brings joy to my otherwise black heart is that a company called Metro3D has begun to re-release all of my favorite Cinemaware games (from back in the Commodore-64 day) on GameBoy Advance. Most notably: Defender of the Crown which just shipped this month. I guess you had to be an adolescent in 1986 (when DotC came out) to appreciate just what a momunmental title it was: you could catapult dead horses into the Norman castles (I think the game only let you play as the Saxons... oh well) to make them sick, have sword fights, joust, and woo women won (I wonder if they kept that part in the GBA version?). It looks like the graphics have been slightly updated, but it all appears to be there intact in portable format. Now I hope two things: that they release Rocket Ranger on GBA and that Santa reads my 'blog....
That's Smooth with a V

If you're looking for some smooth sounds (and though it took me a long time to realise it, we can all use some smoov every now and then), I can recommend new recordings by Philip Bailey -- Soul on Jazz (his best solo-effort to date) -- and Take 6 -- Beautiful World. Philip's take on Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" (with the Mark Murphy lyric) is alone sufficient to put you in a state of mellow alpha-waveness as is Take 6's version of Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands".

And since it's all about love, Bailey's contemporary version of "Compared To What?" (an R&B classic I never in a million years thought I'd hear Philip Bailey sing) has changed the unfortunate abortion to a somewhat better statement than in the original (and I notice that since he's also a gospel singer he took out the "Church on Sunday/Sleep and nod/Trying to duck the wrath of God/Preacher filling us with fright/Teaching what he thinks is right" line which was in the original).

Anyway, if you need some smooth in your life, pick up either one of these though for sheer melting-into-your-seat factor you can't beat Philip Bailey's take on Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me A Bedtime Story". I look forward to spending more time with these recordings in the future.
My baby she may not a-look
Like one of those bunnies out of a Playboy Club
But she got somethin' much greater than gold
Crazy 'bout that girl 'cause she got so much soul

I said she got the kind of lovin', kissin' and a-huggin'
Sure is mellow, glad that I'm her fellow and I know
That she knocks me off my feet
Have mercy on me
'Cause she knocks me off my feet
There is no girl in the whole world
That can love me like you do

My baby when she walks by
All the fellows go 'mmmm', and I know why
It's simply 'cause that girl she looks so fine
And if she ever leaves me I would lose my mind

Everybody in the neighborhood
Will testify that my girl she looks so good
She's so fine she'd give eyesight to the blind
And if she ever leaves me I would lose my mind

Baby, yeah, you got that soulful feel, yeah, it's all right
Mercy, mercy, mercy

Lyric courtesy of the Cannonball Adderly Rendez-vous.
Rebekah Faith (if that is, indeed, her real name) has a very nice website. And, on a somewhat related note, now I remember why I shouldn't drink wine and read poetry all in the same evening....

Friday, October 11, 2002

Britain sends along this very entertaining site dedicated to all of those immediately-identifiable character actors we all know and love so darn much: Hey! It's That Guy! Perhaps the most encouraging thing about this site is that it illustrates how even some character actors (Bob Balaban and Gary Cole, I'm thinking of here) can suddenly have their careers rejuvenated and seem inappropriate on Hey, It's That Guy's roster. And as a long-time Jon Polito fan, it pains me to see him on this site. But who am I kidding.

They have a very nice tribute to John Rhys-Davies on that site. Indeed, all of their writeups are quite charitible and amicably written:

It's ... tempting to imagine one man -- one actor -- trying to resurrect the British Empire for himself the only way he knows how: by making sure that at least one man from every nation under the sun gets played, at one time or another, by John Rhys-Davies. One envisions a globe bristling with thumbtacks in Rhys-Davies's study, where "Rule Britannia" and "God Save the Queen" are playing on a permanent tape loop.

Kenneth Mars and Brian Blessed and Stanley Tucci are all conspicuous in their absense, but perhaps they're just before H,ITG's time.
Meet Thermy!

(Or should that be "Meat" Thermy?) Remember, kids, do like Thermy says: "It's safe to bite when the temperature is right!" Remember, parents: it's probably not a good idea to have your six or seven-year-old do the poultry cooking in your house.

Check out the page for cool freebies: coloring pictures, magnets, brochures, 9"-tall talking Thermy toys (though one could conceivably question the wisdom in handing out a toy to elementary-school-aged kids which is essentially a 9" shiv), and the like. Be careful, though, or you may stumble, as I did, upon this picture of the live-action Thermy. Is it just me or did he steal Morimoto's pants? Shame on you, Mr. Meat Thermometer.

Up next, perhaps? A Thermy comic book. Episode 1: Thermy Meets the Digital Probe Thermometer. The Digital Probe Thermometer kicks Thermy's butt with its ease of use and reliability and Thermy is soon back out on the street where he gets picked up by a heroin addict who then uses him for freebasing. Er, sorry. That was awful dark. Never mind that. Episode 2 finds Thermy back on top, though, when it's discovered that he's really a candy thermometer and is soon put to work in Ming Tsai's kitchen. Kindly old Chef Tsai can see Thermy's true worth and the comic book ends with the two of them singing that Randy Newman song from the latest Disney animated film, "If I Didn't Have You (To Shove In My Meat)".

Thanks, Britain! And I'm already working on that toast!
If HMS readers ran the world, this is how women would dress. And what a sad, sad world it would be.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

List of People Who Aren't Necessarily Comedic Geniuses But Who Probably Deserve Wider Recognition
  1. Kenneth Mars

Hmm. For some reason I thought there'd be more. Oh well.
From what I hear, this is actually not sucking: Godzilla®: Destroy All Monsters Melee -- A first for a Godzilla videogame.
Kairos has a funny post -- the funniest thing I've read all week -- You Might Be A Catholic 'Blogger If.... And I'm guilty of at least 80% of 'em!
Randomly generated product ideas!

Design #3954492602: "It's like a normal robot, but it fetches help in the event of an emergency."

Thanks, Britain!
MY HORROR FIND AFTER ORDEAL OF ABORTION: Woman left to discover jar containing her baby.

She said: "I fell apart. I couldn't believe anyone could be careless enough just to leave it lying there. That image will live with me forever."

I guess that headline could just as easily read: Man horrified to discover that the hitman he hired to kill his wife left her body in the trunk of his car, sues Mafia.

"I literally wigged out! I mean, I thought I'd hired a professional! Geesh. Now how on earth am I going to get rid of the old bag? I figure my pain and suffering and mental anguish from this whole ordeal is worth 20 million quid easy!"
Miss America permitted to belt chastity message.

Thanks to RC for passing along this link. If you ask me I think the editorial staff of the Washington Times should be allowed, or legally obligated, I guess, to burn down the offices of the Washington Post.
We don't follow the trends, we just set them!

#1 et cetera reader Richard Chonak has a comment to my baby names post but comments aren't working (hit reload two or three times and wait for 90 seconds... sigh....). Anyway, RC writes me to say that "Xander" made it into the list of top 1000 boy baby names at #934 (well, actually, a tie for #930).

Of course 'Xander's complete name (as one could easily discern by the apostrophe in front of 'Xander) is Alexander (at #20). There's quite an amusing story behind how 'Xander got his name. Perhaps I should tell it sometime. But for those who ask, yes, it was influenced by the Buffy TV show... NOT BY THE VIN DIESEL MOVIE "XXX"!!! Because that movie wasn't even out when he was born. And because Vin Diesel is just creepy. I mean flaming creepy. Check out that fur coat he's wearing in the "XXX" commericals. And the hairy armpits with a shaved chest? Come ON! Also, Commander (now Captain) Worf's son is named Alexander. But he's a wuss. He didn't even want to go to Klingon boarding school -- not even when the him from the future came back into the present and tried to kill him as a boy.

Okay, here's the story: Jackie didn't like the name I picked out: Hieronymus (Jerome) Constantine Lams. So we went to the local bookstore a few blocks from our house and picked up a book of baby names and thumbed through it there in the store. "Hey," I said "We could name him Alexander and call him 'Xander for short. 'Xander's cool." "Yeah," said Jackie. And the name just sorta stuck. Oh, and I also had a great-grandfather, a Polish calvalryman who fought the Cossaks, named Alexander -- and how cool is that? But the really cool thing about the name "Alexander" is that if 'Xander doesn't like 'Xander he can still be 'X-ander (like X-avier), 'Xan, Al, Alex, Alexander, or Lex (I guess).

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Duncan Maxwell Anderson exists in a state of continuing rockness.

Thanks to Mark Maier, I now have access to a fun tool for expectant parents and writers struggling to find names for their characters. Very cool. Turns out there are at least five other 2-syllable boy names which begin with X.
God Bless Duncan Maxwell Anderson!

This is the best thing I've read all week. I think he'd be a great guy to have as a drinking buddy.
Miss America Silenced for Talking About Chastity

"Hey... Let me tell you about the great abstinence I had last night. Hoo!" Is this like a weird bizarro world we're living in or what? Presumably she could get away with talking about how great it is to be promiscuous -- just not the benefits of abstinence? I mean, how can you be silenced for talking about not doing something (unless you're talking about not paying your taxes, of course)? And it's a sign of just how pathetic "the establishment" (i.e. those in the media with the pursestrings who make their living by promoting sexual libertinism) has become, of course, that in the year 2002 she, as a woman, actually has to fight for her right to speak out publicly against it. And, hey: I thought women had a right to choose what they did with their own bodies? I guess that doesn't include abstinence.

Good for her for sticking up for herself.

(Link garnered from Miss Emily Stimpson, HMS Blog).
Gun Nots

Some of us can disagree with this post over at Mark Shea's 'blog and not be considered a gun nut (if I'm nuts about anything, it's our baby!). Right. So not is only gauche to advocate for the unrestricted ownership of firearms by the citizens of this country it's also apparently "Un-Catholic".

Now, I can't dispute that one is surely able to practice Catholicism in a country where the people are left defenseless by their overlords (I'm thinking mainly of Imperial Rome and Communist China, here) as Catholicism can exist just about anywhere, but it sure as heck becomes a lot easier (not to mention more enjoyable) to practice your religion -- any religion -- when there is something which keeps those in power from busting down your door in the middle of the night and incarcerating your bishops, priests, and laity -- or simply executing them. Ask your local Chinaman or Imperial Roman about that. Heck -- just ask your local Polish Pope.

If I may be permitted to go out on a limb here: this is a problem a lot of American Catholics (and I guess European ones too) seem to have, as opposed to even other Christians; that they're too willing to surrender authority merely to those who possess power. Part of the responsibility of the good Catholic (and the good American and the good Platonist) is to discern who actually has authority and merits obedience and who, on the other hand, simply has power over you. And, then, of course only to render unto Caesar's what is Caesar's -- that is give to those in power only as much obedience as their authority (not their power) merits. The fact that the majority of Catholics, nowadays, are indistinguishable from the rest of the dumb, fat, happy, and silent! American mob should tell you, among other things, that we have surrendered authority in areas which -- and to powers whom -- we should not have. For could one actually call the actions of our Federal Government, especially those which have the assent of the largely de-Christianized American masses -- by-and-large moral actions and in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ?
I gotta get me a copy of this record.

Seriously: a solo-piano version of "Planet Rock" -- how cool is that? Actually, I don't have any Jason Moran records, so I'll probably have to pick them all up once my fiduciary ship comes in to port. I did hear the "Planet Rock" cover on the radio and it was like nothing I'd ever heard except on that radio which plays in my own mind 24x7. He uses all parts of the piano, not just the keys, and does some pretty cool (has to be) multitrack and post processing.

Okay, and Ann Arbor isn't mentioned on the list of tour dates. Jason, if you read this, COME TO ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN. Ron Brooks will hook you up at The Bird and we'll all be straight.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Non-blacks thrown out of racism conference.

I guess it makes sense. If you're going to practice writing at a writing conference or practice dancing at a dancing conference you might as well practice racism and dehumanization at a racism conference.
Movie Combinations that were Never Meant to Be...

Some of them funny!
Can blue men sing the whites?

Laugh all you want, but at least he hasn't died of anthrax!