"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Temple Prostitution for Lutherans

"I know, I know. Outrageous and offensive. I can hear readers already dismissing the idea out of hand. And I admit that we may not be ready for it quite yet. But please hear me out on this.

"First off, let’s address the common objections. Sure, there are a handful of Bible verses that might seem to condemn the practice. But all the condemnation of temple prostitution involves pagan practices or worship of false gods. The objectionable thing is the idolatry, not the physical act itself. Sanctified, faithful prostitution in service of the true God is a new thing. The Biblical writers never foresaw or contemplated sanctified, faithful, God-pleasing prostitution in the churches and thus never wrote about it. Attempts to find a Biblical injunction against the practice therefore fall short."

I wish I'd written THIS. I hate it when that happens.


G&S Still Loves Dick Cheney

"As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of Sept. 11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.

“He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core Al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society. President Obama’s first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war."

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The Mayor of MacDougall Street

You've never heard of Dave Van Ronk, but Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, and Joni Mitchell did.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Prophets of Baal

First Kings 18:28-29: "So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention."

Associated Press: "Shiite Muslim worshippers, stained by their own blood from self inflicted wounds, hold knives during the festival of Ashoura, when faithful show their grief over the 7th-century killing of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein, in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009."

Ecclesiastes 1:9: "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."


Emo Vamp v. Kick-Ass Slayer

What happens when Buffy meets Edward? The usual.

h/t to Insufficiently Emotional Girl

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Finally, a Bone-Chilling Hockey Stick Graph

From Calculated Risk. Talk about lose/lose: the housing market continues to suck, and taxpayers are on the hook for all the stinking-fish dead mortgages.

Remind me again why I'm supposed to want these same guys to decide if my kid needs surgery?

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obama Administration Responds to Undi-Bomber

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Looks Uncomfortable

An ABC Exclusive!


Monday, December 28, 2009

"Why am I . . . "

We're hardly the first to notice some odd output from Google's "search suggestions." That's the creepy feature that finishes your search-terms for you when you begin to type an inquiry. The software consults Google's Great Database, and helps you out with suggestions of common searches based on what you've already entered. What we didn't know, however, is that (according to Google's Help page for "Query Suggestions,") the "suggestions" are not based solely on searches by anyone and everyone, but also "are drawn from searches you've done." This means that the suggestions are not merely a guide to the great composite persona of those drifting in cyberspace, but are more . . . personal.

We find this pretty scary. It means that -- to an undisclosed degree -- you're looking at what the Google AI has learned about you.

Ever willing to sacrifice our dignity and privacy for the amusement of our readers, we nevertheless felt a certain amount of anxiety as we typed into the Google search box "Why am I" and waited for the suggestions. They were:

. . . so tired

. . . always tired

. . . always cold

. . . tired all the time

. . . still single

. . . not losing weight

. . . here

. . . depressed

. . . so ugly

Which is really, really odd, because we're SO not depressed.


All Israeli Ambassadors Called Home

Nothing to see here, folks; just move along, nothing to see here.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has called home all ambassadors and consuls-general for a week-long conference beginning yesterday. The foreign ministry "explained":
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs . . . will host a conference next week (27-31 December) for Israeli Heads of Missions. At the conference, Israel’s ambassadors and consuls general serving throughout the world will discuss broad diplomatic and strategic issues.

This is the first time a conference for all of Israel’s Heads of Missions has been held. The idea is to facilitate direct dialogue with the country’s leaders, mutual updates on major diplomatic issues, and a discussion of action plans to deal with the challenges awaiting the State of Israel in the international arena in the coming year, including the Iranian threat.

A major part of the conference will be devoted to examining Israel’s integration and potential contribution to items on the world agenda such as the environment, renewable energy, water and sewage treatment, and new technologies. The participants will discuss how to develop and promote Israel’s foreign relations and its image as a country that contributes to creating a better future for everyone. They will also talk about the rise of new global powers and how to deal with them.


Foreign Minister Liberman will open the conference. Other officials invited to attend include Prime Minister Benyamin Natanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, and senior officials of Israel’s diplomatic and security community.
We're confident that the Minister of Defense, and the head of Intelligence, not to mention Bibi himself, will have some nifty ideas respecting "the environment, renewable energy, water and sewage treatment, and new technologies."

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The Country's in the Very Best of Hands

The world's greatest deliberative body: witnesses believe alcohol may have been a factor.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

All Government, No Health Care

Mark Steyn:
Looking at the millions of Americans it leaves uninsured, and the millions it leaves with worse treatment and reduced access, and the millions it makes pay significantly more for their current health care, one can only marvel at Harry Reid’s genius: government health care turns out to be all government and no health care. Adding up the zillions of new taxes and bureaucracies and regulations it imposes on the citizenry, one might almost think that was the only point of the exercise.

That’s why I believe America’s belated embrace of government health care is going to be far more expensive and disastrous than the Euro-Canadian models. Whatever one’s philosophical objection to the Canadian health system, it is, broadly, fair: Unless you’re a cabinet minister or a bigtime hockey player, you’ll enjoy the same equality of crappiness and universal lack of access that everybody else does. But, even before it’s up-and-running, Pelosi-Reid-Obamacare is an impenetrable thicket of contradictory boondoggles, shameless payoffs, and arbitrary shakedowns.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

O Katzenbaum, O Katzenbaum . . . . .


Friday, December 25, 2009

Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI - 24 December, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

“A child is born for us, a son is given to us” (Is 9:5). What Isaiah prophesied as he gazed into the future from afar, consoling Israel amid its trials and its darkness, is now proclaimed to the shepherds as a present reality by the Angel, from whom a cloud of light streams forth: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11). The Lord is here. From this moment, God is truly “God with us”. No longer is he the distant God who can in some way be perceived from afar, in creation and in our own consciousness. He has entered the world. He is close to us. The words of the risen Christ to his followers are addressed also to us: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). For you the Saviour is born: through the Gospel and those who proclaim it, God now reminds us of the message that the Angel announced to the shepherds. It is a message that cannot leave us indifferent. If it is true, it changes everything. If it is true, it also affects me. Like the shepherds, then, I too must say: Come on, I want to go to Bethlehem to see the Word that has occurred there. The story of the shepherds is included in the Gospel for a reason. They show us the right way to respond to the message that we too have received. What is it that these first witnesses of God’s incarnation have to tell us?

The first thing we are told about the shepherds is that they were on the watch – they could hear the message precisely because they were awake. We must be awake, so that we can hear the message. We must become truly vigilant people. What does this mean? The principal difference between someone dreaming and someone awake is that the dreamer is in a world of his own. His “self” is locked into this dreamworld that is his alone and does not connect him with others. To wake up means to leave that private world of one’s own and to enter the common reality, the truth that alone can unite all people. Conflict and lack of reconciliation in the world stem from the fact that we are locked into our own interests and opinions, into our own little private world. Selfishness, both individual and collective, makes us prisoners of our interests and our desires that stand against the truth and separate us from one another. Awake, the Gospel tells us. Step outside, so as to enter the great communal truth, the communion of the one God. To awake, then, means to develop a receptivity for God: for the silent promptings with which he chooses to guide us; for the many indications of his presence. There are people who describe themselves as “religiously tone deaf”. The gift of a capacity to perceive God seems as if it is withheld from some. And indeed – our way of thinking and acting, the mentality of today’s world, the whole range of our experience is inclined to deaden our receptivity for God, to make us “tone deaf” towards him. And yet in every soul, the desire for God, the capacity to encounter him, is present, whether in a hidden way or overtly. In order to arrive at this vigilance, this awakening to what is essential, we should pray for ourselves and for others, for those who appear “tone deaf” and yet in whom there is a keen desire for God to manifest himself. The great theologian Origen said this: if I had the grace to see as Paul saw, I could even now (during the Liturgy) contemplate a great host of angels (cf. in Lk 23:9). And indeed, in the sacred liturgy, we are surrounded by the angels of God and the saints. The Lord himself is present in our midst. Lord, open the eyes of our hearts, so that we may become vigilant and clear-sighted, in this way bringing you close to others as well!

Let us return to the Christmas Gospel. It tells us that after listening to the Angel’s message, the shepherds said one to another: “‘Let us go over to Bethlehem’ … they went at once” (Lk 2:15f.). “They made haste” is literally what the Greek text says. What had been announced to them was so important that they had to go immediately. In fact, what had been said to them was utterly out of the ordinary. It changed the world. The Saviour is born. The long-awaited Son of David has come into the world in his own city. What could be more important? No doubt they were partly driven by curiosity, but first and foremost it was their excitement at the wonderful news that had been conveyed to them, of all people, to the little ones, to the seemingly unimportant. They made haste – they went at once. In our daily life, it is not like that. For most people, the things of God are not given priority, they do not impose themselves on us directly. And so the great majority of us tend to postpone them. First we do what seems urgent here and now. In the list of priorities God is often more or less at the end. We can always deal with that later, we tend to think. The Gospel tells us: God is the highest priority. If anything in our life deserves haste without delay, then, it is God’s work alone. The Rule of Saint Benedict contains this teaching: “Place nothing at all before the work of God (i.e. the divine office)”. For monks, the Liturgy is the first priority. Everything else comes later. In its essence, though, this saying applies to everyone. God is important, by far the most important thing in our lives. The shepherds teach us this priority. From them we should learn not to be crushed by all the pressing matters in our daily lives. From them we should learn the inner freedom to put other tasks in second place – however important they may be – so as to make our way towards God, to allow him into our lives and into our time. Time given to God and, in his name, to our neighbour is never time lost. It is the time when we are most truly alive, when we live our humanity to the full.

Some commentators point out that the shepherds, the simple souls, were the first to come to Jesus in the manger and to encounter the Redeemer of the world. The wise men from the East, representing those with social standing and fame, arrived much later. The commentators go on to say: this is quite natural. The shepherds lived nearby. They only needed to “come over” (cf. Lk 2:15), as we do when we go to visit our neighbours. The wise men, however, lived far away. They had to undertake a long and arduous journey in order to arrive in Bethlehem. And they needed guidance and direction. Today too there are simple and lowly souls who live very close to the Lord. They are, so to speak, his neighbours and they can easily go to see him. But most of us in the world today live far from Jesus Christ, the incarnate God who came to dwell amongst us. We live our lives by philosophies, amid worldly affairs and occupations that totally absorb us and are a great distance from the manger. In all kinds of ways, God has to prod us and reach out to us again and again, so that we can manage to escape from the muddle of our thoughts and activities and discover the way that leads to him. But a path exists for all of us. The Lord provides everyone with tailor-made signals. He calls each one of us, so that we too can say: “Come on, ‘let us go over’ to Bethlehem – to the God who has come to meet us. Yes indeed, God has set out towards us. Left to ourselves we could not reach him. The path is too much for our strength. But God has come down. He comes towards us. He has travelled the longer part of the journey. Now he invites us: come and see how much I love you. Come and see that I am here. Transeamus usque Bethlehem, the Latin Bible says. Let us go there! Let us surpass ourselves! Let us journey towards God in all sorts of ways: along our interior path towards him, but also along very concrete paths – the Liturgy of the Church, the service of our neighbour, in whom Christ awaits us.

Let us once again listen directly to the Gospel. The shepherds tell one another the reason why they are setting off: “Let us see this thing that has happened.” Literally the Greek text says: “Let us see this Word that has occurred there.” Yes indeed, such is the radical newness of this night: the Word can be seen. For it has become flesh. The God of whom no image may be made – because any image would only diminish, or rather distort him – this God has himself become visible in the One who is his true image, as Saint Paul puts it (cf. 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15). In the figure of Jesus Christ, in the whole of his life and ministry, in his dying and rising, we can see the Word of God and hence the mystery of the living God himself. This is what God is like. The Angel had said to the shepherds: “This will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12; cf. 2:16). God’s sign, the sign given to the shepherds and to us, is not an astonishing miracle. God’s sign is his humility. God’s sign is that he makes himself small; he becomes a child; he lets us touch him and he asks for our love. How we would prefer a different sign, an imposing, irresistible sign of God’s power and greatness! But his sign summons us to faith and love, and thus it gives us hope: this is what God is like. He has power, he is Goodness itself. He invites us to become like him. Yes indeed, we become like God if we allow ourselves to be shaped by this sign; if we ourselves learn humility and hence true greatness; if we renounce violence and use only the weapons of truth and love. Origen, taking up one of John the Baptist’s sayings, saw the essence of paganism expressed in the symbol of stones: paganism is a lack of feeling, it means a heart of stone that is incapable of loving and perceiving God’s love. Origen says of the pagans: “Lacking feeling and reason, they are transformed into stones and wood” (in Lk 22:9). Christ, though, wishes to give us a heart of flesh. When we see him, the God who became a child, our hearts are opened. In the Liturgy of the holy night, God comes to us as man, so that we might become truly human. Let us listen once again to Origen: “Indeed, what use would it be to you that Christ once came in the flesh if he did not enter your soul? Let us pray that he may come to us each day, that we may be able to say: I live, yet it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20)” (in Lk 22:3).

Yes indeed, that is what we should pray for on this Holy Night. Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, come to us! Enter within me, within my soul. Transform me. Renew me. Change me, change us all from stone and wood into living people, in whom your love is made present and the world is transformed. Amen.


Wesley & Mendelssohn


Thursday, December 24, 2009

This is the Best We Can Do

From the impenetrable forests of Germania in the North, to the endless African desert in the South, from Gibraltar and Mauritania in the West, to Syria and Judea in the East, the civilized Western world is one. Roman judges dispense Roman justice. Roman laws govern commerce. There is the peace of order and law.

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus has brought order to the world. His accomplishment is without precedent, and has never been repeated in the history of Man. This is the best we have ever done. This is the best we can do.

The World is not expectant. The World does not anticipate. This is the best we can do.

There are no gaily wrapped presents under decorated trees. No midnight Mass. No carols. Dickens has written no stories, Wesley has written no hymns, Handel has composed no music.

No Resurrection. No Crucifixion. No ministry. No wedding at Cana. No stilling of the storm. No healing. No Beatitudes. The Holy Spirit has not descended at Pentecost. Paul has not written to the Churches. Athanasius has not swayed the Council of Nicaea. Attila has not been turned back from the gates of Rome.

The World groans under the curse of death and sin. Mankind knows no way but the rebellion begun in Paradise. The World is crushed by the accumulated debt of every sin since The Fall, and the slaughter of every ox, bull, sheep, and dove on Earth cannot hope to pay it. This is the best we can do.

But Our Mother is among us, the second Eve. She has already freely given the simple assent that heralds our unlooked for freedom from death: “And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’”

And now the days have been completed for Her to give birth.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"If there were such a thing as a speech-capable squirrel . . ."

. . . and if you could imprint every known Marxist text upon that squirrel’s brain, and then if you set the squirrel on fire, it might sound something like" THIS.


Hope & Change

It took George W. Bush eight years -- two full terms -- before 43% of Americans told pollsters that they "Strongly Disapproved" of the way he was performing as President. Eight years of difficult wars. Eight years ending in an economic crisis. Eight years of having to make tough -- often unpopular -- decisions necessary to keep the country safe. And, not incidentally, eight years during which every "mainstream" media outlet reported daily on contrived missteps and manufactured scandals. Good fathers, good priests, good leaders are often unpopular with those they've sworn to protect and guide.

Comes now Barack Obama, sworn in as President of the United States just about 11 months ago. A Rasmussen Poll released yesterday shows that fully 46% "Strongly Disapprove" of the way he is performing his role as President. I think we've been short-changed. No joke.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

And Speaking of Santa

Here we've got a guy with a beard, no passport or driver's license, no known address, obviously wearing a disguise -- and with lots of packages that the TSA would NEVER let you take on the plane to grandmother's house. Jack Bauer will get to the bottom of this:


Denominational Santa?

I'm troubled by Santa.  I really am.  The zeitgeist tells us that this Thursday evening -- Christmas Eve -- Santa will emerge from his North Pole Fortress of Solitude, and fly magically about the world, bringing toys and gifts to all the good little boys and girls.  He makes a list, he checks it twice, and he knows who's naughty, and who's nice.  "Nice" little girls and boys get nice gifts, while "naughty" ones get . . . coal?  Something like that.  But Santa is all about Christmas, the second most important Christian Holy Day.

Oddly, everyone seems to have pretty much the same idea about Santa, and how he operates.  At the same time, there are a boatload of Christian denominations that can't agree with each other about a long list of things, from justification to vestments to the propriety of Crucifixes.  And they all disagree with the Catholic Church about something or other.  So if Christianity is not the same thing to all denominations, then why the heck should they agree on Santa?  I think they're just covering up.  I think that, as a matter of fact, there are as many Santas as there are denominations, and I think Presbyterian Santa is as different from Fundamentalist Santa as Presbyterians are from Fundamentalists.

We've done some research just in time for Christmas Eve, and think you should share the results with the little girls and boys -- naughty and nice -- in your home.  Else they're bound to be disappointed come Christmas morning.

Catholic Santa brings toys to all the little girls and boys who wrote letters to Mrs. Claus, because her appeals to Santa are particularly efficacious.

You never know to whom Anglican Santa will bring toys, because he suffers from multiple personality disorder. But Anglican Santa always wears the coolest Santa suit.

Pentecostal Santa delivers a great abundance of truly inspired toys. Sadly, they make no sense to anyone else.

Presbyterian Santa delivers presents based on his own inscrutable election, and not on account of any merit; but niceness is evidence that the person is one of the Elect, so we do expect to see presents going to the nice -- but only because they're elect, not because they're nice.

Fundamentalist Santa stays home on Christmas, because toys are of the Devil. Besides, he knows that all children are totally naughty and deserve only coal.

Society of Friends Santa sits passively in his sleigh on Christmas Eve, waiting quietly for the Holy Spirit to inspire him to deliver toys.

Baptist Santa delivers only commemorative plates on which are depicted actual toys, because good little Baptist girls and boys don’t believe in the real presents of Santa.

Episcopal Santa is a lesbian trapped inside a man’s body. He delivers no toys at all, but leaves pledge cards for the Save the Whales Foundation.

Conservative Lutheran Santa warns the children not to accept toys from other Santas because he is the one true Santa.

Liberal Lutheran Santa issues a statement apologizing for his past complicity in the injustices of private toy distribution, and urges government control of toy production and distribution.

Muslim Santa? Well, just don't let him park his sleigh too close to your house.

[This was the joint effort of a cradle Catholic, a recent Catholic convert (like your humble and obedient servant), a serious Lutheran, and our Theology Professor. Thanks fellas and gals.]


Final Snow Total: One Border Collie


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Tidings We Bring to You and Your Kin . . . . .

Tired of hearing about snow yet? Me too. In years gone by, we've posted videos of particularly impressive Christmas lights with accompanying music and computer controlled displays. That's sooooo '00s (oughties?). So herewith a different kind of Christmas wish displayed in lights. Don't be impatient, my droogies, the boring plastic Wise Men are just part of the setup.

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Did it Snow?

The National Weather Service says 21.8" in Opal, 20.5" in Warrenton, 18" in Bealeton, and 21" here in beautiful Marshall. I'd be content to just sit up here until Spring, but, alas, The Boy insists he must get back to Penn Law by Wednesday for exams or something similarly trivial.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Everybody Panic! Blizzard in DC!

Here at the foot of my mountain in Fauquier County, all is calm and secure. There's 20 inches of snow on the ground, but the power's on, the Internet works, and we dusted off the DirecTV dish.

And our intrepid in-town reporters have begun to check in:



Snow? What snow? That's a SQUIRREL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Caturday Morning

Friday, December 18, 2009

Apocalypse DC

If you know anything about the way our nation's capital copes with snow, then you know that panic has already set in. I, on the other hand, have plenty of firewood, plenty of Cap'n Crunch, and my Jeep parked at the top of the hill (facing downhill, of course).


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A G&S Challenge

We challenge our readers to view the following Reading from alGore, and fail to laugh, snort, groan, or eye-roll. Can't be done.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We Knew That

Science Daily reports that "megathrusts" may lead to "tremor swarms."


December 16, 1773


Talk About Feeling Conflicted

We have good news, bad news, and equivocal news.

The good news is that there's a woman in your backyard;
The bad news is that she's waving a sword;
The good news is that she's naked;
The equivocal news is that she's screaming, but we can't figure out what she's saying.

You can't make this stuff up.

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Black Power

Lieutenant Colonel Allen West (US Army, Retired), is running for Congress in Florida's 22nd Congressional District. Florida 22 is a slice of the Atlantic coast of Palm Beach & Broward Counties, from Jupiter in the north, down through Boynton, Del Ray, and Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale in Broward County. It's an odd district, including cinder-block houses with tin roofs and rusty cars in the yard as well as beachfront compounds for the super-rich. His rhetoric will scare the beachfront condo set into dropping their Mah Jong tiles and crapping in their Depends, while the rusty truck crowd will have to contend with voting for someone who "doesn't look like them." Our check is already in the mail. He is one uppity sonofabitch.


Monday, December 14, 2009

EVERYTHING Goes Better With Zombies

  1. Really smart techno-nerds with too much time on their hands:  cool.
  2. Google Maps: cool, but creepy.
  3. Zombies: creepy, but cool.
The intersection of underemployed techno-nerds, Google Maps, and the Raging Zombie Hordes:   Awesome.

p.s.  Yes, we noticed these guys are a tad unfamiliar with D.C. geography, but there's only so much of the real world you can see from the basement of your mom's house.


There'll Always Be an England

Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, has his doubts about anthropogenic global warming. But as a Peer of the Realm, he is, well . . . . very English.

Here Lord Monckton discusses AGW with a Greenpeace sympathizer who, it turns out, really doesn't know very much . . . but feels very strongly:

Nobody expects the English Inquisition.

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Sorry, We Can't Tell Anymore

Christmas gifts for black people? This is a joke, right? Has to be:
Somali fashion, do-it-yourself henna kits, children's books that draw inspiration from the lives of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor: it's not hard to find gifts created for and by people of color this holiday season. Here are some possibilities.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaudete in Domino Semper: Iterum Dico, Gaudete.

"Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice."  Today is "Gaudete Sunday," one of the two Sundays of the liturgical year for which the color is rose.  Not pink, but rose.  In lieu of rose the standard (Advent) purple may be used.  But what fun is that?


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Guys With Guns

Among the many tedious teachings with which my sons have had to put up is my periodic warning that if you annoy The Suits too much, sooner or later guys with guns will show up to talk to you. We're not talking about armed rebellion, just refusing to get into line, or to shut up when our self-appointed masters command it. You'll be deemed troublesome, disruptive, uncooperative. My sons roll their eyes and listen patiently.

Exhibit 187 for the prosecution:

Note that Professor Schneider does not say, "I've not read the material myself. If it is as reported, and if the information is accurate, and if there is no broader mitigating context, then this is a scientific scandal of epic proportions." He doesn't say that because for him, and the rest of The Suits, the question isn't whether 2 + 2 = 4, but is instead whether the Secular Magisterium is currently teaching authoritatively that it's 3, or maybe 5.

More at Big Government.


Caturday Morning

Christmas Gift Ideas

Let's see how long it takes for ABC to pull this. H/T to Uncle Michael, who stays up late so we don't have to.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Ice Hockey

AGW: Anthropogenic Global Warming.  The question of the day.  But it's a two-part question.  First question: is the Globe Warming?  Second question: is it our fault?

The first question would seem to be entirely a matter of fact.  By it's structure, it is the sort of question that should have an answer.  But reliable thermometers -- let alone reliable records -- have only been around for about a century-and-a-half.

But there exist much longer "data sets."  People who have spent a lifetime studying such things tell us that the amount of ice laid down in a glacier in any particular year is in large part dependent on the mean temperature that year.  And in Greenland and Antarctica there exist glaciers that have been around since considerably before 1850.

Here's a graph of the inferred temperate data extracted from a Greenland glacier (click to embiggen):

Uh oh. Even worse, the slope goes even further up after 1900. While this hardly answers the question of whether this is all our fault, it certainly suggests that the earth has been warming in the last 150 years or so, at least as compared to what was going on between 1400 and 1850. It's that fricking hockey stick.

I hear you desperately asking if there might just be similar data for BEFORE 1400. An excellent question. Glad you asked. Here's the data from the same source, plotted all the way back to about 3,000 B.C.:

Those of you who know a bit of European history will observe the Medieval Warm Period around 1,000 A.D., followed by the Little Ice Age, which explains why the Tudors wore all those warm clothes. You'll also notice a rather precipitous decline between about 500 A.D. and 800 A.D. And you always wondered why Europe was so backward after the fall of the Roman Empire, while North Africa thrived.

If only there were data going even farther back. As it happens, there are ice sheets in Antarctica that have been there for more than 400,000 years. Here's their tale:

Our readers are all of them smart enough to draw their own conclusions, and take appropriate steps to protect themselves, their children, and their grandchildren. After all, it's all about the children, right? We know what we're going to do. We're going to practice hunting mammoths.

All of this information comes from Andrew Watts' website "Watts Up With That?" DO NOT fail to read his recent articles on problems with and adjustments to temperature data.

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The Long Black Veil

Mantilla Friday?


National Public Radio

I know, I know, but just calm down for a minute. The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, the old networks, I know they're hopeless. In fact, they're worse than hopeless, because sometimes they tell us 2+2 equals 5, sometimes it equals 3, and sometimes it equals both at the same time. But there are glints of dissent. Jon Stewart, for example. Or, incredibly, NPR. This is long, but that's part of the point. It's NPR:


Thursday, December 10, 2009

If the Holy Mass be Disturbed by Gunfire . . . . .

Father Z, strict liturgist extraordinaire, claims to have received the following inquiry: "Suppose during a EF Mass ["Extraordinary Form," i.e., in Latin, for you Presbyterians], a gunman or threatening person enters the church, and opens fire. What can be done within the rubrics . . . ."

The good Father responds:
Lemme get this straight… what rubrics are followed in case of gunfire...?

I believe there is a little known rubric which calls for the deacon and subdeacon (who in any event should be packing) to take out, reverently, their .9mm and return fire. As I read it, they are to recite the Maledictory Psalms while firing. At the change of a clip/magazine, they may bow, or duck.

In the case of, probability actually… of the mention of the Holy Name, it is still necessary to uncover.

If one crosses the sanctuary, however, honorifics are not to be observed.

In the case of an incapacitating wound, it is permitted for the priest celebrant, or one of the sacred ministers, or any priest in choir, to give the assailant, et al., last rites.

Any bishop present ought immediately place himself in the line of fire between the assailant and the priest celebrant and then begin to remonstrate with the attacker, invoking the help of St. Michael. He is to wave his arms and shout: "in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum". [Lk. 23:46, for you Anglicans.]

At the conclusion of the gunfire, it is permitted to sing the Te Deum.... unless it is Good Friday.

Mass (or the service) continues afterward from the point it was interrupted, though it is not necessary to start in the middle of a word; going back to the first word of the sentence is sufficient.

Alternately, if the sacred ministers are not packing, there is no reason why a group of religious could not be formed as a sort of liturgical militia against such an eventuality.

I believe in this case, the gun stock must have a ribbon of the color of the days.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

But Why Would You WANT To?

"How to Slice a Bagel into Two Linked Halves"

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"To Sing is to Pray Twice"

Sometimes. Sometimes not so much. From public access cable:


I'll Bet Aunt Millie Doesn't Have One of These

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Murder, Viagra, You Say Tomato, and I Say . . . . .

I agree with the distinguished senator from Nip/Tuck: let them eat ginseng.


Hey, Big Guy . . . .

Is that a gecko in your shorts, or are you just trying to save 15% on your car insurance?


"I'm Winston Wolf. I solve problems."


Christmas Gift Ideas

We noticed a recent uptick of incoming junk mail, which always signals the approach of Christmas Hanukah the Holiday Season The Celebration of the Winter Solstice. And with this season of officially mandated good cheer we look forward with joy to cranky children dragged through malls, parking lot fender-benders, broken toys, flaming Christmas trees, and drunken reveling. But central to the annual anxiety swamp that is December is the problem of mandatory gifts. And no mandatory gift is more perilous than that purchased for the wife/girlfriend/significant other. Sometimes cruise tickets, jewelry, a little something from Victoria's Secret, or the latest toaster oven touches the little lady to her core. Sometimes the very same gift is only the latest evidence of your devotion to Moloch. So it goes, so it goes.

So we were excited to see that the CBS television network has produced a series of public service announcements to help the unimaginative among us:

Because NOTHING says "I love you" like a cold speculum.


"Progressives" Throw Like Girls

But we knew that: "The tomatoes missed Palin by about ten feet. They bounced off the stage and hit two Bloomington police officers who were providing security."

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Monday, December 07, 2009

HO . . . Ho . . . ho . . . .


Things Once Seen Cannot Be Unseen

If you value your sanity do not -- we repeat DO NOT -- watch Jersey Shore on MTV.


"I don't want to have to kill this man, but i'll kill him graveyard dead . . . . "


Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Second Sunday in Advent

Agnus Dei XVII, for Sundays in Advent & Lent, Vocals by Matthew J Curtis from St Antoine Daniel on Vimeo.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

First Snow in Fauquier County, Virginia


Having Fun Getting Nowhere


Friday, December 04, 2009

Damn! And We Were SO Close!


Down Under News

"I'm a jealous wife, his penis should belong to me. I just wanted to burn his penis so it belongs to me and no one else ..."


Another Morning


More Racism


No Comment Necessary

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Marley Was Dead: to Begin With

Looking over the Shoulder of the Creator of "A Christmas Carol"


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sol Iustitiae

A new sun of truth and righteousness has risen over the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.



Yes, We're Sure

With great confidence we say that we've NEVER before encountered the phrase "a mist of pig brain tissue." We'd just as soon have kept it that way.


The Dating Game

Please don't misunderstand: we don't mean to minimize the difficulties that might be encountered by a man of a certain age in search of a good woman. But perusing John's website one finds helpful hints of the root causes of his current singlosity. He dropped out of college, it seems, and currently lives with his dogs, one of which is named "Katiepie." He "invented" something better than plywood to put over your windows when a hurricane comes ashore. It appears to involve his mailing you some sheets of plastic. This is his favorite song:

And John knows what he's looking for:
I’m looking for a single, attractive woman from the ages of 33 to 45 for a serious, long-term relationship. I would consider exceptional women with ages on either side of that range. Non-smokers are a must. A woman with a terrific sense of humor is very important, as well as a woman who likes my sense of humor. I would also like a woman who is romantic and appreciates a romantic guy. She must love dogs and be cool with dogs on the couch (or in bed) as those are preferred places for my Katiepie and Edison. Shape-wise, I prefer women sized 6 to 14. I would consider exceptional women with body sizes on either side of that range.

I get asked all the time if I want kids. I honestly don’t think I’d like to have kids, but if I did, they’d be smart, creative and handsome (like their future daddy). A woman with kids is fine as long as she has time to date during the week.
Good luck, my man, good luck.


Mad as Hell?

A new Rasmussen poll shows that 71% of Americans are angry "about the current policies of the federal Government." This includes 46% who describe themselves as "Very Angry."

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