Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, USA

If there's a holiday on the calendar we haven't siezed as a chance to stuff ourselves to the gills in a national display of gluttony, it would have to be one only the government celebrates. President's Day, perhaps. Or MLK Day.

Not my intent here to wish you any stomach trouble or guilt, or to eat one bite less. But before you enjoy yourselves, take a moment and say a prayer for all who have fallen in defense of our country. To help you reflect, here's John Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen", from the movie Saving Private Ryan, and Michael Kamen's "Band of Brothers Suite Two (Instrumental)".

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another reason to start working again

Summer's here, and that means it's time for Mike's Hard Lemonade!

Why Mike's Hard Lemonade? Because you can't get McGillivray's Two Dogs around here anymore!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm still standing

The last few days have been a little crazy. 

My younger brother, who's disabled due to a host of problems stemming from type 1 diabetes, cracked his kneecap a few days ago; due to the neuropathy in his legs, he didn't realize he'd done major damage until a few days later. Saturday night we took him to the hospital; when he was released, he had a splint on the right leg and a crow boot (he has Charcot foot, another lovely present from diabetic neuropathy) on the other. As a result, he can't even get out of his room without help ... let's just leave it at that.

So anyway, this is just a post to say I'm still here and still writing. Let's let Elton do the talking.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still here?

Alas, so am I. So much for the "post-rapture" looting party.

A friend of mine posted me on Facebook to tell me the rapture has been postponed to 6:00 pm EDT. Tick, tick, tick .... 


Friday, May 20, 2011

From the "Blind leading the blind" department ...

Moron #1: Captions a satellite picture of South America "Europe: Truly the worst country."

Moron #2: Says, "Fail: That's africa you ass-hats." No, it isn't.

Moron #3: Says, "Double Fail: Africa is capitalized, dips***s." Right. And there should have been a comma after "Africa" in Moron #2's comment, and Moron #3 should have put "Africa" in quotes. But the picture is still not of Africa.

Quadruple Fail: Not identified, because Moron #4 was apparently trying to make room for his comment.

Moron #4: "Dude ... Europe is a conernent." If you forgive the blatant misspell, he's right; Europe is a continent, not a country. But the picture still shows South America.

Moron #5: "Its Spelled 'Continent'". Yes, and the contraction of it is is spelled with an apostrophe ... "it's". South America is a continent too, by the way. And don't get me started on the single quote-double quote issue. (I'll let him slide on the capitalized middle word.) And the picture of South America is still not correctly identified!

And I probably would be calmer about the whole matter if it didn't remind me so much of combox debates. The original poster gets an issue wrong. One respondent gives an incorrect correction. A second pounces on a minor flaw of detail while missing both the original error and the mis-correction. A third makes another correction that misses the point of the first post; a fourth corrects the third without correcting anyone else. And someone who may have spoken perfect sense somewhere in the midst of it is completely ignored.

Tell me again about the wonders of the Information Age?

Seven Quick Takes Friday! (Vol. 2)—UPDATED

Tom Crowe posted an excerpt from Melissa Clouthier, who has a child born prematurely with autism, on In the combox, he directed at the first respondent a question that sent a chill down my spine: "One of the concerns, ... since I have read a number of your comments I'm sure you've read about this, is the response if geneticists think they've identified a 'gay gene.' ... How many more babies will be aborted because they are 'pre-disposed' to have same-sex inclinations?"

Aborting your kid because he may grow up to be gay. Yikes. That may be the correct approach if you're a serious disciple of Darwinism and eugenics — after all, no point raising a child who won't pass on your genes — but from the real Christian standpoint, that's wrong on so many levels.

I have a nephew with autism, too. If you don't live with Colin, you might never notice; he's a quiet, attractive kid with his mother's smile and a sly sense of humor. He's a great kid, and my sister and brother-in-law are fiercely proud of him. (And speaking of nefoos, my oldest, David, was accepted at George Mason! So okay, it's not Nebraska or Creighton, but it's a darn good school!)

Frank Weathers at YIMCatholic sent me an invitation through FB to post-rapture looting on Saturday. I got a good giggle out of that ... and then invited the Crescat ... who's having a yard sale this Sunday. This apocalypse is a gift that keeps giving.
Of course I don't own this ....

I tried to work up an analysis of the reactions to the USCCB study, but my heart wasn't in it. Tomorrow it'll be forgotten; the modern MSM reminds me of the dog in Up — "Squirrel!" Just too easily distracted by the Next Big Thing ... "Ooh, shiny!"
Speaking of the Next Big Thing — why is Pippa Middleton (left) all over the glossy mags? Do we not have enough people who are famous for no particular reason other than they happened to step into the cacarazzi's camera lenses at the right time?

So okay, I'll let you in on a secret: I really was rooting for Ralph and Karina. But even I could tell that this last Monday wasn't good enough to get them into the finals, and I could be the guy Phil Collins, Tony Kaye and Mike Rutherford wrote "I Can't Dance" about!

Speaking of which:

If you're one of those people who has the discipline to avoid the Internet on your weekend, do enjoy! I'll probably have some weekend chores, but I should be able to get a couple things out regardless.

Update — later the same day
This blog has passed the 10,000 hits mark as of today! Woo-hoo!  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marine Corps diplomacy

This story was forwarded to me by a friend. Probably apocryphal, but as Mr. Nightlinger said in The Cowboys, "If it ain't true, it oughta be."

I do not own the copyright.
In addition to communicating with the local Air Traffic Control facility, all aircraft in the Persian Gulf AOR are required to give the Iranian Air Defense Radar (military) a ten minute "heads up" if they will be transiting Iranian airspace.

The following conversation was heard on the VHF Guard (emergency) frequency 121.5 MHz;

Iranian Air Defense Radar:  “Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.”
Aircraft:  “This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.”
Air Defense Radar:  “You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!”
Aircraft:  “This is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter. Send ‘em up, I’ll wait.”
Air Defense Radar:  (total silence)
♫♪ From the halls of Montezuma ... ♪♫

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So help me God

Poor Michael Newdow. Seems this is one atheist the courts don't take seriously.

So far, he's lost challenges to the words, "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, to the words "In God We Trust" on our coins, and an injunction against SC Chief Justice John Roberts from prompting Pres. Obama to say "so help me God" at the end of his oath of office. (Those four words aren't required by the Constitution, but have been added by every president since George Washington first spoke them in 1787.)

Now SCOTUS has refused to hear his latest appeal in re Newdow v. Roberts (10-757). Why? 2009 is moot, and he doesn't have standing for 2013 or 2017. In fact, it's a common refrain he's heard in most decisions — he simply didn't have legitimate grounds to file or be part of the suits.

What makes his case even more pathetic is that he's won awards from humanist associations for his windmill-tilting. "Wonderful thing, you're doing, old chap, to advance the secularist cause — wasting all your money on frivolous legal action." And he has actually made a religion out of science: the First Atheist Church of Truth and Science (FACTS).

Sometimes attempting parody is little better than lily-gilding.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Impractical Movie Critic

This afternoon, I received the following e-mail:

Dear Mr. Layne,

I found your blog online, and I’m writing to invite you to a pre-release leadership screening of “Courageous,” the new film on Fatherhood from Sherwood Pictures, which produced “Fireproof,” the top independent film of 2008.

Here is a link to the trailer for “Courageous” —
Like “Fireproof,” “Courageous” is set against the background of public service – this time, however, it’s law enforcement. Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes and the fellow officers willingly stand up to the worst the world has to offer. Serving and protecting seems natural to them – much more so than the challenges of fatherhood.

Viewers will find themselves laughing, crying and cheering – sometimes simultaneously – as they experience the inspiration of everyday heroes who learn to be the kinds of dads who make lifelong impacts on their children.

The screening is June 7 in Plano. [Registration link follows.]

Thanks for your time and consideration. We hope you can attend!
Timothy J. (Tim) Lilley
Director of Communications
The Maximus Group
Anthony S. Layne, film reviewer? Steven Greydanus shouldn't look to his laurels just yet; this is probably a one-shot deal.

Anyway, as Lilley mentioned, Courageous is produced by Sherwood Pictures, which is connected with Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia (which is also where all four of their films have been shot so far). Alex Kendrick, associate pastor, directs and stars, as well as sharing writing and production credits with brother Stephen, senior associate pastor. The film also stars Ken Bevel, Ben Davies and Kevin Downes.

Here's the trailer for it:

I'm looking forward to this opportunity. My hope is that, if I'm hired to work before then, I'll be able to get the time off. More on this as developments warrant.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The return of the Latin Mass?

I don't own the copyright.
Many traditionalists are more or less pleased with Universae Ecclesiae, the instruction released yesterday on the application of Summorum Pontificum. While it does have a couple of loopholes through which bishops resistant to the Latin Mass can escape — "Ah, well, no real pastoral need" — in general it reinforces Papa Benedetto's desire that the TLM be celebrated as much as people wish.

However, Steve Kellmeyer over at The Fifth Column has declared, " ... Rome has essentially announced the end of the Novus Ordo and the eventual full-throated return of the Mass of the Ages." It's not so much that I think he's wrong; rather, I think he's looking further down the road than I can. 

Put it another way: unless I demand the EF in my will, I believe my funeral Mass will most likely be celebrated in English.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday (First Attempt!)

A Facebook "friend of a friend" is having trouble thinking of a Star Trek reference for a vanity license plate ... all the more obvious ones (such as my lame-brained first attempt, NCC1701) are likely to be taken. Perhaps GALILEO? METRON? FIZZBIN (you'd really have to be a hard-core fan of ST:TOS to get that!)?

Read one of Mark Shea's quickie posts over at his personal blog, Catholic And Enjoying It! Talks about the bishop of Tripoli begging the UN and Our Glorious Leader to stop bombing them. "All I can think of," Mark muses, "is the grim warning: 'Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country.'" I love our troops; I support our military ... but I plotzed when I read that!

Okay, now I'm putting in applications at QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Walgreen's and various QSRs (translation: fast-food restaurants). That's how bad it is. Time to talk to Saint Jude.
My friend Kate at Australia Incognita is considering getting out of blogging altogether, which is sad because: 1) she's good, and 2) she's getting more prominent down there. How about paying her a visit?

Please say a prayer for Trista at Not A Minx ... lift her up while she goes through a rough patch.

There are times when I wish all of life came with a backspace key or an "edit" button ....
It's odd having a couple of minor celebrities in the family. I should just say, "My cousin Steve's wife, Laura, should be giving birth any old day now, and we're all looking forward to it." I want to say, "My cousin, DC UNITED GOALIE STEVE CRONIN, and his beautiful wife, MODEL LAURA KRISTI, are expecting ...". Yeah, like I had anything to do with their semi-fame and meeting! I suppose it's the same kind of ego that led me to blogging ....

*     *     *
So there you have it. Check in over the weekend to see if anything else has popped up. And say a prayer for your local Ordinary ... God knows, he probably needs it. Gratia Dei vobiscum.

Reason 11 why the culture of life will win

Yesterday, on her blog I Have to Sit Down, Simcha Fisher wrote a thousand-word apologia/lecture reaming out critics and haters of large families. I've already posted somewhat on this over on The Other Blog; I also linked it on my Facebook status.

Today, she released her promised pregnancy announcement on the National Catholic Register (not to be confused with the National Catholyc Distorter/Fishwrap), which to my sorrow recycled her announcement of Child Number Eight. In the supportive comments was a gem of a conversation a father of four had with a pretentious critic:

Officious, unknown dolt in mall: “HOW can you have so many kids?”
Father of 4: “Because I believe in Darwinism.”
OUDIM: “Wha…what?”
FO4: “Yes. Survival of the fittest means actually reproducing, so your offspring dominate the future. I don’t understand why so many people who believe in Darwinism really, really $uck at following it.”

This was so good I posted it as a comment on the FB link. Stacy Trasancos of Accepting Abundance loved it: "That was so funny it got me to thinking and I 'defended' my large family...TRUCK in my Catholic Free Press article this week. Haha! I read the Darwin comment to my husband over the phone. So funny!"

But it got me thinking ... and then I ran into Marcel LeJeune's post on Aggie Catholic, "10 Reasons Why Pro-Lifers Will Eventually Win".

Reason Number Eleven: Contraception + Abortion + Homosexuality = Geno-suicide. 

People who honestly and fervently practice the "culture of death" meta-religion are contracepting, aborting and buggering themselves out of the gene pool. Those who actually have one or two kids and teach them the "culture of death" story are reducing the chances that their genes will survive. 

Social conservatives who have large families, on the other hand, are playing the long game (if you play chess, you know what I mean). We're already seeing signs of impending triumph: More and more First- and Second-World nations who have adopted the CoD mentality have birth rates that have dropped below replacement levels. The more children you have, the more likely it is that not only your genes but your values will survive to future generations!

Yep, the numbers favor us in the long run, as pro-life people — especially faithful Catholics and Mormons — outbreed the CoD folks. The funny thing is, all the people who are drinking the CoD Kool-Aid consider themselves more intelligent than those blinkered, dumb-bunny conservatives who hang on to outdated religious prescriptions. 

Especially the Brights who sneer at Catholics because they "don't accept Darwin".

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If I could tell a story ...

... I think I'd write a sequel to Atlas Shrugged. In my novel, I would explore what would happen in the real world if all the Talented People "went Galt".

Namely, it would stumble a bit, right itself, and go on without them just fine, thank you. 

Some lesser lights would appropriate their places; some Talented People whose ability to achieve was repressed by the absentee talents would finally get a chance to make their marks. Some would find their fortunes in jeopardy, diminished or embezzled because they weren't around to exercise due diligence. Some would be able to recapture their positions only after an exhausting, costly struggle that, in two or three cases, would prove to be Pyrrhic victories. Some would discover how much of their privileged positions depended on the assistance of other people exercising their own unique skills ... people no longer available to them for different reasons. And some would have missed at least one crucial opportunity and find themselves unable to regain their momentum. Only one or two would be able to step back easily into their positions and resume their lives as if they'd never left — leaving them to wonder exactly what their absence accomplished (other than a long vacation).

The protagonist, and maybe three or four others, would be capable of enough growth to understand the moral of the story: In the real world, no one is entitled to their position, not even by talent.

A more realistic novel than Atlas Shrugged would be premised on a virus, administered by agents of a hostile power, that simultaneously struck down administrative assistants, personal assistants and chiefs of staff in key businesses and agencies. The absence of these generally underpaid and overworked geniuses would create an unholy chaos that would threaten to destroy the nation, as the Big Wheels they serve struggled to find critical information and reconstruct their business and social calendars.

Well, it would at least be more realistic than the self-same Big Wheels simply walking off their jobs and disappearing into some strangely uncharted land, to enjoy a nice vacation full of cocktail parties and ego reinforcement while the nation totters helplessly without them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I don't know what I dread more ...

... the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, or the Lord pointing to certain episodes of my life and asking rhetorically, "What were you thinking?"

Monday, May 9, 2011

From the "Paging Noah Webster" file

If you watch this video from the UC-Irvine/USC-Long Beach Genocide Awareness Project display, near the end you'll see a pro-choice protester throw a nutty:

"You are killing women. You are literally killing women. ... You wanna see pictures of women dead from back-alley abortions? That's a genocide!"

No, actually, it isn't. It's negligent homicide, committed by the abortionist in the process of murdering the unborn child in the first degree (first degree because it's intentional ... "with malice aforethought"). The military would call the death of the mother "collateral damage".

Our would-be spokesperson  isn't only fuzzy on the meaning of "genocide", she's also fuzzy on the meaning of "literally". The folks from GAP would only be "literally" committing genocide if they were physically and intentionally herding pregnant women into back-alley abortion clinics; connecting the dots between abortion and other examples of genocide hardly qualifies.

Now, you may be laughing and shaking your head in disbelief. But here's the kicker: 

This young woman is a college student.

Somebody's not getting their money's worth on the tuition.

[H/T Creative Minority Report]

Friday, May 6, 2011

A shameless plug ...

... for my Café Press giftshop, Outside the Asylum:

Now, see? Isn't this a cool mug? And doesn't this just about say it all. (Well, I could have said, "The Anglicans have tackier liturgical garments.") 

I thought about using the old joke: "Q: What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist? A: You can negotiate with a terrorist!" However, that's been overdone ... and Fr. Z already has "Brick By Brick" and "Say the Black Do the Red".

Actually, though, I've been working on another slogan.

Chesterton once wrote, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting: it has been found difficult, and left untried." People want Heaven their way, the way of least discomfort and maximal self-indulgence. Strictly speaking, Catholicism doesn't require asceticism; it simply requires avoidance of sin. However, there are sins people don't want to avoid; if they can't be baptized into virtues, at least they can be written off as "no harm, no foul", right?

"If any one would follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Mt 16:24-25 RSV).

And thus, the design at right. The caption reads: "Step up. Man up. Cowboy up [that's a big one here in Texas]. Put on your big-boy britches and deal with it." And then, "TAKE UP YOUR CROSS!" (If I could put a logo on back, I'd also put on Colossians 1:24: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings ..., and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church ....")

Why go through all this megillah? Because while I appreciate any support you can give this blog (and this blogger), I'd rather you got something tangible for your money. And frankly, right now I'm not wild about posting advertising at all, let alone advertising I can't control, which is all Google gives me right now. (Besides, I don't think I can fit much more on the sidebar!)

So feel free to visit the shop. If you have any suggestions for designs, I'll gladly take them under consideration. Again, thanks for your support!

Your help is greatly appreciated!

SNAPpy comebacks to irrelevant whining

Arch-whiner David Clohessy
On the Catholic Herald website, Fr. Andrew Pinset has a remarkable list of all the contributions members of the Catholic Church have made to Western civilization starting with the sciences. While the list is by no means exhaustive, it's representative enough.

The whole point of the article was to remind people that Catholicism has given a lot to the world, and built the intellectual and cultural foundations from which many people attack it today.

How annoying, then, when David Clohessy, the ethically-challenged director of SNAP, left this piece of irrelevancy on the combox:

It's sad that Fr. Pinsent can't even bring himself to acknowledge, in even one sentence, the church's horrific and on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis.

The next person wrote: "wow the article was not even disc. the abuse scandal and well ... of course you got to bring it up ... Are you hounding teachers and baptist ministers etc in all thier articles as well, no matter if it has anything to do with the topic?"

 Let's ease up on Davie, now. I mean, it's not like anybody else is talking about the scandals. It's not as if people are constantly beating us over the heads with it in the comboxes and the MSM or anything. I mean, heck, if Davie didn't bring it up in posts that have nothing to do with the scandals, I'm sure everybody would forget that it ever happened. Right?

Although I'm not sure why Davie wanted Fr. Pinset to mention it in a column about all the good things the Catholic Church has done. We are all agreed the scandals are a bad thing, yes?

Now, before you all get sarcastic, be sure to beat your breasts for at least thirty seconds in remorse. After all, we're Catholics, and we're all about perpetual guilt.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Telling Rome to get stuffed"?—UPDATED

I'm not a canon lawyer ... but I play one on TV. (If you're anywhere near my age, you may get the reference.)

Phil Lawler over at brings up a very good set of questions over the recent ousters of Bps. Jean-Claude Makaya Loemba and William L. Morris. He refers us back to a post by Dr. Edward Peters written April 1 over the former's privation of office/removal, which is worth reading but doesn't give us any clearer answers ... because he doesn't have full possession of the facts any more than the rest of us do. (His difference — and I applaud him for it — is that he says so, and refuses to go beyond the known facts.)

One thing that struck me in my reading of Bp. Morris' relief and resignation is the comment one Brisbane priest made: according to The Australian, he said "Bishop Morris had brought about his own demise because 'you can't keep telling Rome to get stuffed'."

The style of Bishop Morris's departure [The Australian further notes] is unprecedented in that he has made his disagreements with the Vatican so public. In previous years, bishops who fell from favour have usually resigned on the grounds of ill health, or no reason has been given for their departure.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ask Tony: Monsignors and cardinals

Growing up an “Air Force brat”, ranks and titles of different kinds interested me. I accepted the existence of monsignors and cardinals as much as I accepted the existence of captains and colonels. But what are monsignors and cardinals all about? We know where bishops, priests and deacons are spoken of in the New Testament; where did these ranks come from?

Technically, no one is really “appointed a monsignor”. Rather, there are three kinds of papal honor conferred on priests who either hold specific ministries within the Church or whom their bishops feel are specially deserving; generally, a monsignor is thought to have “a leg up”, so to speak, when the Congregation for Bishops are looking for episcopal candidates; however, bishop candidates don't have to be monsignors. The three kinds of papal honor, in descending order of precedence, are:

  • Protonotary apostolic, which are split into
    • de numero and
    • supernumerary;
  • Honorary prelate; and
  • Chaplain of His Holiness.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nine and a half years later ....

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has his body, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.
U.S. President Barack Obama was to make the announcement shortly that after searching in vain for bin Laden since he disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Saudi-born extremist is dead, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Details of the death were sparse. A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke with the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said bin Laden was killed in a ground operation in Pakistan, not by a Predator drone. The official said it happened last week.
CNN and Reuters reported that the al-Qaida leader was killed in a mansion outside Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.
It is a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team, having fulfilled the goal once voiced by Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, to bring to justice the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
 Was it worth it? After 114 months and change, hundreds of billions of dollars spent and so many civilian and soldiers' lives lost? I want to say "yes", but ... if the SEALs had gotten him on September 12, 2001, I would still wonder if justice had been satisfied. Sometimes it just seems out of our feeble grasp.

Update: May 2, 2011
My friend Suburbanbanshee from Aliens in This World apparently attributes ObL's demise to the recently-beatified JP2:

Is There Anything Blessed JPII Can’t Do? :)

Frees his country, starts the breakup of the Soviet Union, gets beatified on the same day Communists used to make merry (and which belonged to Mama Mary before they tried to steal it), and spends his heaven getting a prince to quit shacking up and a bad Saudi to meet his maker.
Either that, or somebody Polish-American was feeling particularly festive today. :)

 Here's a video popout from MSNBC on the SEAL/CIA gun battle that took ObL out. His compound was in Abbotabad ... and as soon as I heard that, I heard in my mind Lou Costello yelling, "Hey, Abbotabad!" [I corrected the earlier misreport that he'd been killed by a USAF drone.]


Photo essay from showing the celebration and reflection near Ground Zero. Alas, as Subvet (below) predicted, Our Glorious Leader is already picking up some political brownie points, though his only real contribution to the matter is keeping our troops over there.

BTW, despite my conflicted feelings, I'd like to express my gratitude to the SEALs and CIA counter-terrorist forces who participated in the op: OOH-RAH!

Later than that:

Okay, so the US doesn't have his body; it's been buried at sea. Apparently the Saudis refused it, and US officials were concerned about a landside gravesite becoming the focus of a martyr cult.

Even later:

 How many people made this mistake?

Beate Johanne Paule, ora pro nobis!

Was it worth staying up until 4:00 AM? I could have just gone to bed at my usual time and plugged everything in later. But yes ... much more interesting than watching Will and Kate get hitched.