Monday, December 24, 2012

What are you doing here?

Close this window.  Shut off your computer.  Go hug your family, sing some carols, eat too much and open your presents.  And don't forget to go to church some time in the next 24 hours.  Have a blessed, blessed Christmas.
 
 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What if the world had come to an end yesterday?

Well, that was awkward, too ....

So ... apparently the magic apocalyptic decoder ring doesn't work so well with either Christian scriptures or Mayan calendars.  If it were me, I'd put it back in the Cap'n Crunch box and send it back to General Mills.

Send them your copy of The Prophecies of Nostradamus, while you're at it.  And I'm still waiting on my Jetsons car and Dick Tracy two-way wrist TV.

I can't rag these people too much.  After all, I'm prone to fits of the-end-is-near prophecy as well.  I'm still convinced that the economy will irretrievably tank by 2030 (I qualify for full SSI benefits in 2031, of course), triggering the second collapse of Western civilization.  If it's not inevitable, I find it a lot more likely than Ray Kurzweil's "Singularity" and the childlike belief that advances in medicine will help "us" (read "the rich") achieve "actuarial escape velocity" (yes, in 2045 the most happy state will arise).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Re-doing the math

Bill O'Reilly gets on my nerves.

Okay, I understand that the pressures of the instant media make it difficult to do a lot of research before one has to put on makeup and get in front of the camera for a thirty-second thinkpiece.  Which is one reason why these segments should be rotated between two or three people, no more than one segment per day (through the miracle of recording, it can be replayed ad nauseam), so the commentators can have plenty of time to look up the facts for their next piece.

But Bill O'Reilly illustrates well exactly what Alexander Pope meant by the poem, "A Little Learning".  Consider his December 6th rant on "entitlement spending":


Right now an estimated 66 million Americans are receiving food stamps and/or Medicaid. In addition, there are 21 million folks working for the government.  That means that 87 million people in America are being subsidized by we [sic] the taxpayers.  But there are only 109 million Americans working in the private sector.  Doing the math, it's impossible for 109 million workers to support 87 million people. It can't be done. No matter how much you tax the workers.

Hold on a moment, Mr. O'Reilly.  The 21 million people working for the government aren't being "subsidized" ... they are being compensated. The money and benefits they receive are wages in return for labor, and is their just due (and just to make it clear, that 21 million covers all government workers — federal, state and local).  Ironically, they too get taxed; who in the private sector contributes to his employer for his own wages? We can certainly talk about whether each and every job done by a civil servant needs to be done.  However, if they work for us, then we're obliged to pay them fair, honest wages.
Next issue is the 109 million in the private sector: this seriously misrepresents the number of people paying taxes out of their income.  As of November, 143.3 million civilians were employed, along with about 1.4 million men and women in the armed forces.  While these numbers include government workers, as I pointed out above, they too pay taxes.  And, by the way, so do many of the people on food stamps and Medicaid: the government giveth, and the government taketh away.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wake up, sleepyheads!

© 2012 Sarah Webb/Catholic Standard and Times
If a Catholic "Great Awakening" can happen in France, it can happen here, too.

That, at least, is what the US Conference of Catholic Bishops believes, and is trying to get moving.  San Francisco's new angel, Abp. Salvatore Cordileone, says that the USCCB's new five-part pastoral strategy is "not meant to be another program but rather part of a movement for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, which engages the New Evangelization and can be incorporated into the Year of Faith.”

Talk about engagement:  The plan, as currently laid out, envisages five ways to participate that, taken together, constitute a pretty thorough spiritual workout:

  1. Host or attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour (an hour spent in prayer and reflection in a chapel in which the Holy Eucharist is displayed;
  2. Pray a daily Rosary;
  3. Include prayers for life, marriage and religious liberty in the Prayers of the Faithful at daily and weekly Masses;
  4. Fast and abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year;
  5. Participate in the 2nd annual Fortnight for Freedom (June/July 2013).

 Not all the details are completely worked out, but they're forthcoming; see the USCCB website here for further details, and be sure to bookmark the page!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Attempting the impossible

Watch the following video.  If you don't at least get a little misty at about 3:54, check your pulse, then go to the vitamin store for some empathy supplements.



Now, my resident cynic wants to convince me that, in putting together the clip (and the forthcoming documentary), Diamond Dallas Page, the former professional wrestler turned yoga instructor, was drumming up a little business for himself.  If that's the case, though, it's brilliant marketing, because DDP actually shows up only once in the clip; director Steve Yu doesn't allow him to take over Arthur Boorman's story.

Frankly, this video doesn't so much inspire me as make me feel ashamed, like a whining, feckless crybaby.  While I don't have much sympathy for people who whine and kvetch all day about their personal problems without doing anything to correct them, when it comes to my weight and the health problems it's created for me, I can kvetch with the worst of them.  And I'm not suffering any mobility problems, either.

"The Lord helps those who help themselves," we say to each other.  And regardless of how or what you think about God, He certainly requires some effort from us on our own behalf.  "With God all things are possible" (Mt 19:26); for man, maybe not so much ... but you don't know how much you really can do until you attempt the impossible.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The next quixotic quest: halting "Christmas creep"

First, a blessed Thanksgiving to all ... or, at least, to all who still bother to celebrate it.  In another five to ten years, if the stupidity doesn't halt its increase, Thanksgiving may be completely forgotten, wiped away by "Black Thursday".

This is no longer a series of holidays.  It's one large commercial season.  Merry Hallothanksakwanzmas Time!  It's all part of Satan's plot from Hell.

Although I stubbornly (perhaps foolishly) maintain that humans do in fact have free will, "Black Friday" was already a serious enough challenge to that premiss.  Watching "Christmas creep" slowly munch its way through the calendar, defecating annoying TV ads that convert the carols you like the least into clamorous jingles (I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against Target for what they've done to Handel's "Hallelujah"), has its own creepy fascination ... it's like watching a live-action rendition of Christmas in the Valley of the Dolls.  Watching people line up like lemmings awaiting their turn to jump off the cliff at insanely early hours of the morning on Black Friday for 50% off an item that was marked up 30% three weeks before — well, it's unsettling at the least.  Pavlov's dogs were penny-ante poker compared to this mess.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A fourteen-page hot mess

Abps. William Lori (BAL) and Salvatore Cordileone (SFO)
For every non-Catholic who has felt the Catholic Church focuses too much on sexual issues, it must have seemed a sweet irony.

According to Religion News Service, a special committee was supposed to produce "a short reflection" on the economic crisis for consideration at this year's bishops' conference in Baltimore.  What they got — and they didn't get it until after they'd arrived — was a fourteen-page hot mess "dominated by spiritual terminology that ignored the roots of the economic crisis and did not suggest solutions provided by Catholic social teaching."

Entitled "The Hope of the Gospel in Difficult Economic Times", reported David Gibson included this critique:

The first draft gave short shrift to a century of social justice encyclicals from the popes, including those of Benedict XVI, and did not even mention the USCCB’s landmark 1986 pastoral letter, “Economic Justice for All[link mine], which has been hailed for challenging economic injustice in the U.S.
Moreover, there was criticism that the document repeatedly highlighted the church’s opposition to gay marriage and abortion and its support for school vouchers in ways that distracted from the economic issues that were supposed to be at the heart of the message [bold font mine].

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What happens when you assume

Meme making its way around Facebook.  Rather than just show the picture, I'd like to tell the story in my own best Reader's Digest fashion:

The British Airways flight had just landed at Orly and pulled up to the terminal.  Amidst the usual arrival bustle, an aged British gentleman was searching his carry-on bag for his passport.
A fellow passenger, a stern French woman, noticed his search, and asked, "Have you been to France before?"
The man, still searching, quietly replied, "I have."
"Well, then," the woman sniffed with stereotypical Gallic hauteur, "you should know to have your passport out and waiting, sir."
"The last time I was here," the Brit shrugged, "I didn't have to show my passport."
"Impossible!" the woman snapped.  "You British have always had to show your passports to go through here!"
Whereupon the Englishman stopped his search, stepped close to the lady, and whispered to her, "Well, when I landed on the beach in Normandy in June of 1944, I couldn't find any f***ing Frenchman to show it to!"

This story, like many good urban legends, must have been circulating some time, because if the Englishman were 83 today (which was the age quoted in my source), he would have been awful young to make the landing at Sword Beach ... fifteen, more or less.  Not impossible, and not unheard-of — I know of one lad in the American Navy who 'fessed up to being underage just before the landing — but unlikely nonetheless.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baa, baa, baa ...

Am I depressed over Tuesday's results?  A little bit.

We had a choice over how we wanted to start the Great Depression 2.0 — "Would you like higher taxes or budget cuts?" — and opted for at least two more years of legislative dreadlock (as my cuz Greg calls it).  Already, firms that were threatening to send out WARN Act notices to their employees "dependent on the outcome of the election" (read "if Obama is elected to misrule for another four years") are making good on that threat, while other workers are receiving not-so-good news about their health benefits — increasing premiums, increasing co-pays, decreasing HSAs, etc.

But more to the point, the election demonstrated as stunningly as possible the fact that we Catholics are not all stupid, mindless sheep blindly obeying our bishops.  The majority of us are blindly following the liberal mainstream media.  

Honestly, in almost forty years, even in the depths of the Watergate trial, I have never seen the major news outlets so uniformly, nakedly biased in a single direction — to the left.  (Don't tell me FOXNews disproves the rule; FOXNews is a joke even among Republicans.)  Romney joked about it at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation fundraiser: "I caught a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines: OBAMA EMBRACED BY CATHOLICS; ROMNEY DINES WITH RICH PEOPLE."

After four years, the unemployment rate is still higher than when Obama took office, and the rate itself hides hundreds of thousands of Americans who have simply dropped off the radar.  Not only has Obama not gotten us out of the Afghan quicksand, he added to the defense bill by involving us in Libya's revolution (violating the War Powers Act in the process).  The nation is $16 trillion in debt, and is on the path to economic shutdown by 2027.  Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in specific face their direst threat in American history from the Obama Administration, as it chips away from the First Amendment here and there in the name of "progress".  The Democrat National Convention was an intergalactic flippin' freak show, with Joe Biden's wandering, emotive blather, not to mention Sandra Flake's invocation of hordes of misogynists waiting to push women back into the kitchen (while outside the venue women dressed in vagina costumes eked out the lunacy within).  The campaign finished up with ads that ran from the fatuous to the obscene.

And somewhere along the way, American Catholics went "Squirrel!", forgot everything that went before, and voted for Obama again!  For which the Obamination will thank us with full enforcement of the misbegotten HHS mandate.

By Friday I should have some further thoughts posted on The Other Blog about what needs to happen in the next four years.  Right now, I still need some time to reflect.  And drink.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Too dumb to go to college? Stoopid! (UPDATED)

Blame it on auto-correct? I think not.
My friend (and fellow wardog) Frank Weathers found this funny little exchange and shared it on Facebook.  Suffice it to say that, while I agree that English is a tough language to learn, one should be fluent in written English before one tries to insult others in it.

However, I need to point out that Garret Herschel's comment is not the first example of the "too dumb to go to college" trope I've seen this month.  Where it comes from I'm not certain; I suspect it's being handed down like an heirloom from senescent hippies to their quasi-liberal grandkids.  Anyway, like heirlooms and hippies, this meme is outdated.  It's also unbelievably bigoted.

Once upon a time — many, many years ago, before TVs, telephones and political action committees — it was true that there were no special intelligence or education requirements to join the Army or Navy, see the world and kill people. Even after the foundations of the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) in 1802 and the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis) in 1845, both of which have always been premier engineering colleges, for many years afterward you didn't absolutely need a college education to have a long, satisfying and successful career.

Perhaps the last example of this fact still living is Brig. Gen. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, USAF (Ret.), who was promoted to warrant officer and then lieutenant when the Army Air Force changed its policies during World War II. [The original version had him promoted on the retired list to major general; while this was backed by Pres. George W. Bush and authorized by Congress, the Air Force hasn't acted on it.] To say his service record and fame were built on a high school diploma is to overstate the case a bit; he also had specialized education as a test pilot, which by his own account was a tough slog without the math and engineering background other test-pilot candidates had. Still, the closest he came to a university was the Air War College, a military professional education program that doesn't confer a traditional degree. [On the other hand, aviation pioneer Gen. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle earned his master's and doctorate in the then-new field of aeronautical engineering from MIT on the Army's dime (at the time, the Air Corps wasn't a separate service).]

Today, it's a whole new ballgame. If you don't have the intelligence, discipline and motivation to succeed in the military, most likely you'll end up dropping out of college, too.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sad news ... and an Action Alert—UPDATED

Elizabeth Foss of In the Heart of My Home has some saddening news for us here in the Catholic blogosphere:  Barbara Curtis of Mommy Life, a teacher, writer and recent convert to Catholicism, had a massive stroke on Sunday, Oct. 28, and is not expected to regain consciousness.

You can go to Elizabeth's page and read her and others' testimonials to this formidable woman.  For my own part, I read plenty of her columns whenever they appeared in New Advent (and you could count on at least one a week appearing there; in fact, Kevin Knight in a fit of possessiveness calls her a "New Advent blogger" in his link to Elizabeth).  I always found her sane, sensible, often amusing and with the enviable ability to not take herself too seriously.  We'll miss her voice and her wisdom; she was a true Defensatrix Fidei.

While you're there: Barbara was trying to raise $5,000 to send her daughter Maddy, a promising opera star, back to Catholic University for the spring semester.  Elizabeth has the hat (or the PayPal button) out for that worthy cause; please take the time to make a donation and help launch a potentially brilliant career.

Fac nos, Domine Iesu, sanctae Familiae tuae exempla iugiter imitari, ut in hora mortis nostrae, occurrente gloriosa Virgine Matre tua cum beato Ioseph, per te in aeterna tabernacula recipi mereamur: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy Holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into Thy everlasting dwelling place: Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.

Update — October 31, 2012
According to Elizabeth, Barbara Curtis passed away yesterday afternoon, surrounded by her family.  Her funeral Mass will be held Saturday at St. Frances de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, VA at 12:30.  Elizabeth is still accepting donations for the Curtis family, particularly for husband Tripp and to send Maddy back for her senior year at Catholic University.  I wasn't aware that Maddy had been a contestant on American Idol!  Here's a clip of her singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your first time: a love story

I've found a new love.

Oh, I still have a warm place in my heart for Norah Jones.  And Halle Berry.  Oh, and Penélope Cruz.  (However, they won't return my phone calls.)

But this is it.  This is real.

World, meet the love of my life: Julie Borowski.


I know the odds are against us: a young woman and an older man, a loud-'n-proud libertarian and a reticent independent.  But if we could meet, I just know we'd fit each other, like yin and yang.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rape is a horrible, detestable crime

Today on his blog on the National Catholic Register site, Jimmy Akin posted a post-mortem on the political comments of his non-relation, Todd Akin of Missouri, and Richard Mourdock of Indiana.  Election season is the most common time of year for cases of foot-in-mouth syndrome, especially for the males of the species Politicus dufus; and T. Akin and Mourdock provided us with a couple of doozies on the subject of aborting children conceived through forced sex.  Back in the days before sonar and radar, the British submarine service had a saying: Never mind your enemies, watch out for your friends.

J. Akin's advice to pro-life politicians can pretty much be summed up in the old salesman's slogan KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Per Murphy's Law, anything that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood, particularly when it's contracted to a three-to-five-second soundbite, and most people simply don't have the patience to read or listen to such things carefully ... especially if they're on the opposite side to begin with.  In T. Akin's case, it comes with the rider that one should not introduce questionable scientific claims into the argument.  The important points to hit are: 1) Rape is a horrible, detestable crime; AND 2) We should not punish the child for his/her father's crime ... "AND" because neither point is more important than the other.

My initial reaction, I confess, was impatience.  Why is it not taken for granted that Candidate Joe Schmuckatelli holds rape to be a horrible, detestable crime?  Why must we men be made to feel that if we don't say, in so many words, that rape is a horrible, detestable crime, we must therefore believe that rape really isn't that bad?

HOWEVER ...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Now what was all that fuss about ...?

In the week or so preceding the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation fundraiser dinner, I got messages from the American Life League, ChurchMilitant.tv and a couple of other organizations fussing over the invitation Cdl. Timothy Dolan extended to Pres. Barack Obama to speak at this event.  Very little was said regarding the invitation Gov. Mitt Romney also received, though his pro-life street cred is almost non-existent.

That Cdl. Dolan would invite both candidates to the dinner is nothing odd; at least every other presidential election cycle the two leading candidates speak, beginning with Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon in 1960.  Candidate pairs since then include Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (1976), Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (1980), George H. Bush and Michael Dukakis (1988), veep candidates Al Gore and Jack Kemp (1996), George W. Bush and Al Gore (2000), and Obama and John McCain (2008).

Moreover, the night is hardly devoted to full-fisted politicking or the conferral of honorary doctorates.  The Foundation awards grants to several charities and institutions around the Archdiocese, and the Dinner brings out a lot of the 1%, who pay unconscionable sums of money for overdone chicken and underdone steak, to be entertained by people who don't often get a chance to show their lighter side.  Because while the chicken and steak may be cooked, the candidates get roasted ... first by Al Smith IV (who, I notice, is making sounds that make me concerned for his health), then by each other, then finally by the Archbishop.  I'm sure His Eminence was particularly looking forward to zinging Obama in a venue where the President couldn't fire back.

Look, guys ... just lighten up, would you?  The invitation to trade quips and barbs with Gov. Romney in front of a couple hundred insanely rich people for charity is hardly on a par with the invitation to Notre Dame; you really have to work hard to make an endorsement of either candidate out of the event.  (Though Romney, satirizing the MSM, stated that the headline would probably read "OBAMA EMBRACED BY CATHOLICS; ROMNEY DINES WITH RICH PEOPLE".)  Watch the clip, have a laugh, and for Pete's sake get a grip!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A kid, a Marine, and a magical moment of grace

© 2012 CNN/Ben Kruggel.
I'm sure by now most of you have heard the story of young Ben Baltz, an 11-year-old boy with a prosthetic leg and a whole lotta moxie, and the bad break which turned into the Kodak moment of the week (as well as the kind of PR for the Marine Corps that you just can't buy).  But in case you did just break free of a Turkish prison, or have emerged from a hermitage for a bidecadial convention of anchorites, let's go through it again:

When Ben was six years old, he lost his right tibia and fibula to cancer.  However, Ben is one of life's chargers; he has two legs, one of which is adapted for sports such as soccer, basketball and children's triathlons, such as Florida's Sea Turtle Tri Kids in Pensacola, which took place last Sunday (10/7/12).  Ben was "in it to win it", not just to be a token or a mascot; reporter/photgrapher Joel David, who found himself focusing more on Ben over the course of the events, said Ben "had an inspiring look of determination and I wanted to capture that emotion in a photo."  (For David's photos of Ben competing, the link is here.)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Obama Speaks Truism, Conservatives Dismayed

You know the campaign season is just about over when the two sides have to scrape stuff off the sidewalk to get angry about.  So here we go:


(Source: The Weekly Standard)


Okay, here's the line that causes the fuss: "We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country."  Even read apart from the rest of the paragraph, it's nothing.  Obama, darn him to heck, is right: we don't believe people are entitled to success.  People are free to work for success, to earn it; you don't get to succeed just by showing up and showing your birth certificate.  And that's what Obama says: "But we do believe in opportunity.  We believe in a country where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, and everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules."

Look, you know I'm no fan of the President, and that I have no intention of voting for him next month.  His presidency has been a disaster from Day 1, and I say this as a very vocal critic of his dumb-bunny predecessor.  But do you have to get worked up about everything that falls out of Obama's mouth?

PRES. OBAMA (recorded): "So I took a shower this morning ...."
RUSH LIMBAUGH: "Can you believe Obama said THAT?  Has he got something against taking baths, for Pete's sake?  Is that something only the capitalist élite do?  He's too good to sit down in the water with his washcloth and bar of Zest?  I suppose he has one of those effeminate poofy things you pour [mocking tone] 'body wash' onto.  How did this wierdo get elected President?"
 GET A GRIP!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some warm food for a rainy fall day

Saturday, as promised by the forecasters at Accuweather.com, the remnants of TS Miriam sat over the D-FW metroplex and dumped rain on us for over 20 hours.  Actually, as I watched it come almost straight down from the sky, it did remind me of the rainy days I had seen as a child at Clark AFB, near Angeles City on "the big island" (Luzon) in the Philippines: warm, soaking and consistent, enough to put some water in the ditches and arroyos without creating white-water rapids or causing flooding concerns.

Just the perfect kind of day for a bowl of hearty soup, with some salad and bread on the side.  Homemade soup is dirt-simple to make (in most cases) and cost-efficient; I once heard someone from a large family describe his mother's welcoming attitude for when his siblings brought friends home for dinner: "Just put another bowl on the table and throw some water in the soup."  A good soup recipe will stretch quite a bit before it loses its taste and ability to fill you up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sadistic choices

One of the times I miss my old home town — Omaha, Nebraska — is when I'm driving to/from work.

My last job there was two miles from my front door straight down Blondo Street; with clear traffic, it was seven minutes door-to-door.  In rush hour, twelve.  And Omaha's not exactly a teeny-weeny burg, either: population 415,068 by last year's estimate, with just over 877 thousand in the eight counties comprising the metropolitan area and just over 1.2 million people within a 50-mile radius.  So while it's still possible to get from one side of the city to the other in twenty-five minutes, the roads have to be relatively clear and you have to be able to use the I-680 loop.

Not so here in the D-FW metroplex.  I live in Denton and work in Carrollton.  If I leave at 6:30 am, I can stop at BK for a Croissan'wich, stop at QT for a refill on my coffee and still be at work before 7:30 strikes.  If I leave at 6:45, there's every possibility that I won't even be able to glance at QT as I scream by to get to work just fifteen minutes late.  Does anybody else wonder why we fill our megalopoli with huge, multi-lane, limited-access freeways in order to pile them up with cars going 10 mph?

Monday, September 24, 2012

From the "Vapid Transit" department


http://images.starpulse.com/news/bloggers/10/blog_images/lady-gaga-163.jpg
This dress just screams, "Take me seriously!"


Lady Gaga shares her stunning insights into politics and religion with Europe 1, and On Top Magazine breathlessly reports the words of the oracle:
Lady Gaga has criticized Pope Benedict XVI's opposition to gay marriage, saying that his views don't matter.
On Friday, Benedict called on Roman Catholics in France to “defend marriage,” telling a group of French bishops that the institution would harm society.
Lady Gaga made her comments on Sunday in an interview with Europe 1.
“I think that gay marriage is something that is going to happen, it must.   We are not truly equal part of humanity if we are not allowed to freely love one another.” [Because we all know that sex = love, right?]
“What the pope thinks of being gay does not matter.  It doesn't matter to the world.   It matters to the people who like the pope and follow the pope.  It's not a reflection of all Christians.  It is not a reflection of all religious people.  It's a point of view of one person,” Lady Gaga said.  [You think maybe it will occur to her that she's one person, too? ... Na-aaa-ah!]
Wait a minute, wait a minute ... here's the good bit:
“And to all the gay people here. May you live and love each other until the end of time. And I hope you will have the human right to breed as an entirely equal, valuable and special member of society.”
 Apparently, she was so wrapped up in appealing to her fan base that she forgot her well wishes might be biologically challenging.  But then, I recently was in a combox debate with another person who said, in full sneering earnest, "Who says sex has anything to do with reproduction?"

Oh, please ... just make the stupid stop.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From the "Compounding ignorance" department—UPDATED

Get ready, this extract from NBC News' Cosmic Log needs to be quoted and fisked at length:

Reality check on Jesus and his 'wife'

By Alan Boyle

 A fourth-century fragment of papyrus that quotes Jesus telling his disciples about "my wife" has set off a buzz among scriptural scholars — but this is no "Da Vinci Code" come true.  Rather, the "Gospel of Jesus' Wife"  [a bit of an exaggeration; more like the "Fragment of Jesus' Wife"] is just the latest discovery to suggest how the early Christian church took shape.  [You always start the spin right with the lede.] 
Fans of the Dan Brown thriller are already familiar with the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a husband-and-wife relationship.  The basis for such speculation lies in Gnostic gospels that came out in the second and third centuries, but were left out of the standardized scriptures — texts such as the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Mary and the recently reconstructed Gospel of Judas[Poorly written; none of these books were "standardized scriptures".  Boyle should have inserted this appositive phrase right after "Gnostic gospels" rather than at the end of the sentence.]
Even though only a few phrases can be read on the papyrus fragment that's just come to light, those phrases are consistent with the Gnostic view of early Christianity [error: the Gnostics weren't Christians (more below)] — which tended to give a more prominent role to women, and particularly to Mary Magdalene.  The text, written in the Sahidic Coptic dialect, includes the phrase "Jesus said to them, 'My wife...'" as well as references to a woman named Mary being "worthy of it," and to a woman who "will be able to be my disciple."  

Monday, September 17, 2012

One hundred fifty years ago ...

If a soldier hadn't found three cigars wrapped in paper lying on a field, Abraham Lincoln might have issued the Emancipation Proclamation many months later than he eventually did ... with who knows what effect on history.

File:LostOrdersCramptonsGap112611.jpg
Copy of Special Order No. 191 (Wikimedia Commons)
A few days before, on Sept. 9th, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee, having not long before whipped Maj. Gen. John Pope and the Army of the Potomac at Second Manassas, decided on a strategy to take the pressure off the South.  Lee knew that the Confederacy could never win a strictly defensive war; outpopulated by the Union, attrition would eventually whittle away rebel forces until surrender became inevitable.  On the other hand, President Abraham Lincoln was under pressure from two sides: Radical Republicans, unhappy with his less-than-successful prosecution of the war and slowness to strike a blow against slavery, and pro-Southern, anti-war Democrats ("Copperheads"), unhappy with the federal government's intervention in state affairs and the Administration's suspension of habeas corpus.  

 Unknown to him, and to most people, Lincoln had drafted a preliminary proclamation a couple of weeks before.  However, Secretary of State William Seward convinced him to shelve it at least temporarily, telling the president that, in the absence of martial victories, the measure would appear to be "the last shriek on the road to defeat".  Lincoln reluctantly saw the sense in this and put it away for a better opportunity.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

One facepalm after another, laissez les mauvais temps rouler!

So okay, yeah, this post is a little behind ... but I'd started writing it before my imternet service went out of commission a little over two weeks ago.

So the good news is that Oakland Bp. Salvatore Cordileone, the incoming Bay City archbishop, is going to face no ecclesial penalties for Saturday night's [9/1/12] DUI charge.  Of course, this is no comfort for the Catholic Church's detractors, who would just as soon impale a bishop's head on a stick for jaywalking as for treason, murder, grand larceny or opposing gay marriage.

READERS:
"Huh?  Bishop who?  That's old news!  Let's get to what you have to say about that no-good, dirty, rotten *#&!$ Fr. Benedict Groeschel!"

Frankly, there's really nothing I can say.  For one thing, the National Catholic Register took down the interview with Fr. Groeschel, so I can't read the quotes in context.  According to Bill Donahue, Fr. Groeschel "hypothesized how a young person (14, 16 or 18, as he put it) could conceivably take advantage of a priest who was having a nervous breakdown."  I don't know, though, because I can't read or judge it for myself.

Does it matter, anyway?  The narrative has already been hammered into place; indeed, it was forged ten years ago, long before the Penn State scandal and the accident that injured the 78-year-old Franciscan's head.  As far as the world's concerned, Fr. Benedict was defending predator priests.  Period.  Paragraph.  End of revelation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ask Tony: What does the Catholic Church teach about drinking?

Wherever the Catholic sun does shine,
There's laughter and music and good red wine.
At least I've always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
Hilaire Belloc 

So of course the Web is humming with the news that Bp. Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop-elect of San Francisco, was arrested on DUI charges Saturday night.  Neither Bp. Cordileone nor the San Diego police have revealed just how far over the 0.08% limit; officer Mark McCullogh, who was at the scene, said that the ordinary of Oakland "was obviously impaired but he was quite cordial and polite throughout ... He was not a belligerent drunk at all ... There were no problems with him throughout the night."

One DUI does not an alcohol problem make.  As Fr. Thomas Reese of Georgetown put it, "If he is an out-of-control alcoholic who can't function, that would be an issue, but obviously he has been the bishop of Oakland all these years and he seems to be able to function.  Nobody knows if he has a drinking problem or was one fraction over the (blood alcohol) limit."

Since Bp. Cordileone is taking over as archbishop of the Gay—er, Bay City, home of the embarassing quisling Rep. Nancy Pelosi, this is hardly the way to impress the natives.  But we're hardly into "hypocrisy" territory.  (People can fall short of their own expectations without our necessarily concluding that they don't really hold such beliefs; true hypocrisy involves deliberate deception, not mere error.)  Nevertheless, it does bring up a good question: What does the Catholic Church teach about alcohol?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Old school meets school kids in Texas

Roman "fiddleback" chasuble
Yesterday morning, my mother had some gastric troubles, so we decided to go to the 4:00 p.m. Mass rather than our usual 11:30 a.m. attendance.  I'm glad we did.

You see, I'd forgotten that a young man my Knights of Columbus council supported while he was in seminary had agreed to come say Mass at our parish, which he had attended while earning his bachelor's degree at UNT. Father Justin, 30, was ordained just three months ago at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Fort Worth and celebrated his first Eucharist at St. Mary's in Longview.  Incardinated in the Diocese of Tyler, he will be serving at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception there.  I was a little startled to see him  processing up the aisle ... but not as much as I was surprised by his vestments.

The new kid was completely old school.  His alb had lace; if it covered an actual cassock, I wouldn't be surprised.  Instead of the usual bell-style chasuble, Fr. Justin had gone with a Roman or "fiddleback" chasuble.  And on his left arm — wait, no, was that a maniple?  Oh, my dear boy, you will make Father Z so very happy ....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

From the "no such thing as a stupid question" department

where babies come from graphics Pictures, Images and Photos Just over two years ago, I wrote a long, rambling post titled "The fall of the Western Empire ... redux" on The Other Blog.  It was a rather futile attempt to articulate my concerns about the future, not by looking at just one aspect (the economy, population trends, education, etc.) but by looking at everything as interconnected.

Okay ... it was really a rant.

One of my concerns is "demographic winter".  Liberals, still vested in the "population bomb" meta-narrative, pooh-pooh the fears provoked by falling birthrates in much of the First and Second Worlds by engaging in rather fascinating exercises in point-missing.  

For instance, Antonia Zerbisias, writing for the Toronto Star, sneers, "Never mind that the human population expands by 78 million a year, with one in three doomed to live in slums without clean water, plumbing or electricity."  What do you mean the electric company's gonna shut off our power at midnight?  The air conditioner's still running!  (The point is that the demographic slide is going to begin sometime between 2030 and 2050; to object that the world's population is still expanding now is hardly a prima facia rebuttal.)

But wait! it gets better:

Screened by right-wing think tanks and pro-life organizations, [the documentary Demographic Winter, which I haven't seen yet] argues that the only way to combat the disappearance of homo sapiens — as if we aren't already killing ourselves by fouling our nest — is by bringing back "the intact married family," eliminating extramarital sex and banning contraception.
It always comes down to confining women, doesn't it?
It always comes down to reflexive second-wave feminist paranoid fantasies, doesn't it? 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Something New Atheist trolls should think about

Any resemblance to Marc Barnes is purely coincidental.
Here's something I'm sure every Catholic writer who's had some "freethinker" mindlessly parrot the "Catholicism is against science" canard in his/her combox has either screamed or wanted to scream:

"If I'm so anti-science and anti-technology because I'm Catholic, how is it you're posting this opinion ON MY FLIPPIN' WEBLOG!!!??? Don't you think that if I were such a blinkered Luddite I'd be printing my apologetics on parchment with wooden blocks, you arrogant dolt!?"

Sorry.  Had to get that out of my system.  Carry on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coming to an online journal near you!

Okay, so this guy pretty much goes away for two whole flippin' months without posting so much as a whistle, then almost as soon as he remembers he has a couple of blogs to attend to, he gets a THIRD soapbox?

Not quite.  Stacy Trasancos, besides writing her own blog Accepting Abundance, also edits Catholic Lane.  Last week, she asked if CL could reprint some of my posts from The Other Blog, especially from the Apologetics Toolbox.  And, with all due humility, I said, "What, are you kidding?  Of course! Reprint away!"

Of course, hopefully in the future I will be able to crank out new material for CL, just as I expect to add on to the Toolbox fairly soon.  Meanwhile, the first reprint is up: "Matthew 6:7: Vain repetition or babble?"  Read the rest of the journal while you're there; it's an honor to be posted alongside of writers like Louis Verrecchio, Patti Maguire Armstrong, J. Matt Barber and poetry from the mystical Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Again, thank you, Stacy, for all the support and encouragement you've given me over the last year and change!

And yes, my last name is pronounced just like that.  Like "Wayne", but with an "L".

Sunday, August 5, 2012

CEO censors free speech, fires CFO for being a jerk


So okay, this guy, Adam Smith (believe it or not), is a world-class jerk. Ordering a free water, then going on to berate and humiliate the employee at the window (who, to give her props from a man who spent far too much time in the QSR industry, never gave in or broke her composure). Then, when she determinedly wishes him a nice day, he says, “I will. I just did something really good. I feel purposeful.”

If that was the sum and glory of your life, Mr. Smith, yours must be a truly pathetic existence.

Nevertheless, I've spent the last week or so spouting off about the First Amendment. I've said distinctly and clearly that people do not lose the right of free speech by going into business. That, alas, pertains to Adam Smith as it does to Dan Cathy. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall put in the mouth of Voltaire, so I say of Adam Smith: I disapprove of what he says, but I will defend his right to say it.

For once Roger Vogel, the CEO of Vante, a Tucson medical manufacturing company, saw this video, he fired Smith, his CFO.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Them's fightin' words ....

I gotta admit ... the cow was a nice touch.
My buddy Brandon Vogt posted on FB, "Count in the Vogt's! We'll be fighting the dictatorship of moral relativism tonight by enjoying delicious fried chicken." To which someone replied,

"So not allowing certain individuals rights based on a religious viewpoint is not dictatorship?"

No. It isn't.

Dictatorship refers to autocracy, rule by a single individual, particularly if that rule is marked by caprice, malice and a police state. (Ironically, the only Roman dictatorship whose rule was so malevolent was Sulla's.) It's comprehensible in the phrase coined by Pope Benedict, "dictatorship of moral relativism", because moral relativism can give no rational grounds for preferring one moral principle over another without contradicting itself.

No, the usual term preferred for rule by religion is theocracy. A theocracy is not necessarily run by a single person, nor is it necessarily repressive — but that's an issue for another time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What is that pig doing up in the air?



Friend of mine posted this story on Facebook, and I thought I'd share it with you. It comes from Patrick Hoban at Newsmax:

ACLU Backs Chick-fil-A Against Rahm Emanuel's Threatened Ban

Chicago and Boston might want to keep Chick-fil-A out of their cities but that doesn’t mean they have the right to do so, according to the ACLU.
...
Legal experts said the cities’ push to stop Chick-fil-A doesn’t stand a chance because barring Chick-fil-A over the personal views of its owner is an “open and shut” discrimination case, Fox News reported.

“The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words,” Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union [Gottenyu!] of Illinois, told Fox News. “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.”
The ACLU “strongly supports” same-sex marriage, Schwartz told Fox, but said that if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage.
“But we also support the First Amendment,” he said. “We don’t think the government should exclude Chick-fil-A because of the anti-LGBT message. We believe this is clear cut.”
Picture me with my jaw on the floor and my eyes bugged out of my head.  The ACLU? Did I read that right ... the Anti-Christian Liars Union, actually sticking up for a corporation owned by an unapologetic Christian?  Did this same ACLU just admit that Christians have First Amendment speech rights too?

Can Satan cast out Satan? What's next ... will Nancy Pelosi finally admit she has to decide whether she's Catholic or pro-abortion? Or will Kathleen Sebelius announce that the HHS mandate will have to be taken back to the drawing board?  Not that I'm holding my breath here, but ....

Saturday, July 28, 2012

When journalists were heroes

I'm sure by now most of you have either seen at least one episode of The Newsroom or this particular clip from the pilot.  "The most honest three and a half minutes ever"?  Perhaps, though I wouldn't rank it above the classic "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" from Network.  If anything, it gives substance to Mary McNamara's complaint that the show's drama is "weighted too heavily toward sermonizing diatribes."


Yet every once in a while somebody in Hollywood manages to write an effective rant, and this is one of them; in fact, I'm surprised it isn't being delivered by Al Pacino.  Because for once someone has gotten behind the parrot-talk and the left-wing/right-wing demonizations to enunciate the frightening truth we've been hiding from at least since 2008 (and more like since 1968): We have completely lost our way.  America is a good country, but it's not a great country anymore; we're a rusty mechanical giant, stumbling and fumbling near a precipice while suffering from a hangover from massive materialist self-indulgence.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A little night music

Every time I start to think I know something about music, I hear a fugue and it reminds me I'm a rank amateur.  Even something as relatively simple as this "Little" Fugue in G Minor is a mystery to me in how Bach constructed it like a Swiss watch.  Compared with a piece like the "Kyrie" from Mozart's Requiem, even a wonderfully textured and inventive rock classic like Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is painfully basic, almost paint-by-numbers.

But rather than inflict a rather extended reflection on the electric soullessness of modern musicon you, let me simply put ol' Johann Sebastian on the speaker:


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Just when you think our racist past is healed ...

Another reason Facebook needs a "Dislike" button.
... something like the Travon Williams shooting comes along and pulls the scab off.

These are all comments I took off of Facebook along with the picture on the left:
It took 2 F***ING WEEKS to arrest Travon's killer...but IF Travon was WHITE and his killer was BLACK...he would have the FBI, SWAT, LOCAL, STATE, the Coast Guard, the Army, Navy, Air Force AND Marines outside his door within an HOUR to HAUL his BLACK A$$ in! The ONLY REASON they even arrested that dude is because they didn't want us to RIOT!
it took 6 weeks dumba$$! Go ahead an riot and we can add you a spot on this gameboard..lmaooo U mutha f***as aint happy either way!! Justice or no Justice! Zimmerman was arrested on 2nd degree murder !! U happy yet b****????? Or U still wanna whine like lil' b****es???? FYM !! GO TO JAIL DUMBA$$ >>lmaooooooooooooooooooooo
In all reality alot of people might feel like they're talking about their life...it hits home...kind of true...police don't want to see alot of people passing go they want them to go straight to jail...it's really unheard of when you get more time for selling drugs than murder...in this crazy world...in my young jeezy voice..lol
What's white Monopoly look like? All Free Parking?
Dear God.  How long will it be before all the anger, the distrust and the hostility subside?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Questions that answer themselves

Catching up on my email this morning, I read a quick note from my old friend Steve, a cradle Catholic like myself, who sent me a link to the Slate story on the Vatican's attempt to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, along with the following cri de coeur:
No argument over whether the Vatican has the authority to do what they’re doing, but is this really worth the knocks the Church will take over this?  I mean, how many people outside the clergy really pay close attention to the groups being targeted for re-education?  Now I can pretty well guarantee they will get much more coverage than they ever would have absent this crackdown.  I’m not saying the Church should let it all slide, I’m just saying there has to be a better, more compassionate-looking way to address the issue.  Not very good for recruitment, either, if we’re even interested in the female vocations any more.

Well, there are several ways to address such a question, such as pointing out that the second orders represented by the LCWR have already done everything necessary to make themselves irrelevant and unattractive to faithful Catholic women, and that part of the reason for the reform is precisely because we're interested in the return of female vocations.  But the irrepressible Father Z has uncovered some information that truly illustrates the need for LCWR reform.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When motivational posters go over the top ....

"Too ... many ... jokes .... Must ... mock ... author ...."
I ask you to read the motivational poster to your left, and reflect on its pretentiousness.  This is the kind of thing you see on the Internet that just begs for smart-ass captions like, "Now quit your bitching, flap your arms and fly, dammit!"

I saw it on Facebook; a husband sent it to his wife, a friend of mine from high school, with the ever-so-sweet comment, "I saw this and I thought of you, baby."  And my friend is truly a risk-taker who is bringing a dream to successful fruition; she deserves recognition and support for her endeavors, and I freely, gladly give mine to her.  So on her Facebook status update I maintain a reverent silence on this overwritten tomfoolery.

Nevertheless, it is overwritten tomfoolery.  Impossible is a fact.  It can be easily discovered by people who want to build a house of cards by tossing the deck up into the wind during a hurricane.  It can be discovered by people who want to use a three-iron to make a mile-long golf shot in Earth gravity.  It can be discovered by people who want to suspend themselves in mid-air by holding on to their belt loops.

That's how we know a miracle when we see it: the natural universe, left to its ordinary workings, could not have produced the result.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I wish I'd passed this on to you earlier ...

When I was a child, Mom had a great way to deal with all the hard-boiled Easter eggs that had been colored, hidden and found:  Goldenrod Eggs for breakfast!

In concept, Goldenrod Eggs is fairly simple to make if you have a few basic skills.  The base is a simple bechamel or pan gravy; the latter is better for a more home-style flavor.  I can't give you a precise recipe, because (if you have little to no experience with gravy or sauces) everything is pretty much done by eye.

The first step is to shell and prepare the eggs — figure about 2½-3 eggs a person.  Separate the  yolks from the whites; using a food processor, chop up the yolks into a rough crumble.  Then chop the whites; you can either use a food processor or a chef's knife for bigger pieces.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

© 2007 angelfire7508.

There were solitudes beyond where none shall follow.  There were secrets in the inmost and invisible part of that drama that have no symbol in speech; or in any severance of a man from men.  Nor is it easy for any words less stark and single-minded than those of the naked narrative even to hint at the horror of exaltation that lifted itself above the hill.  Endless expositions have not come to the end of it, or even to the beginning.  And if there be any sound that can produce a silence, we may surely be silent about the end and the extremity; when a cry was driven out of that darkness in words dreadfully distinct and dreadfully unintelligible, which man shall never understand in all the eternity they have purchased for him; and for one annihilating instant an abyss that is not for our thoughts had opened up even in the unity of the absolute; and God had been forsaken of God.[1]

Saint Paul wrote, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:17-19).

And yet this moment, this terrible cry from the agony of the Savior, is a challenge to faith that precedes the Resurrection.  Indeed, if there were any truth to the claim that the Gospel’s records of miracles and signs were mere retrojected embellishments, then it’s amazing the synoptic authors took no care to excise this most paradoxical of Christ’s utterances.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A year's service for a philosophical question?

Bink stayed the night.  He found he rather liked the castle and its denizens; even the manticora was affable now that the Magician had given the word.  "I would not really have eaten you, though I admit to being tempted for a moment or three when you booted me in the ... tail," it told Bink.  "It is my job to scare off those who are not serious.  See, I am not confined."  It pushed against the bars, and the inner gate swung open.  "My year is almost up; I'll almost be sorry to have it end."

"What question did you bring?" Bink inquired somewhat nervously, trying not to brace himself too obviously for flight.  In an open space, he was no possible match for the manticora.

"I asked whether I have a soul," the monster said seriously.

Again Bink had to control his reaction.  A year's service for a philosophical question?  "What did he tell you?"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Atheists "celebrate" reason with sophomoric mockery of religion

On Sunday, 8,000-10,000 atheists showed up in Washington, DC at what was billed as "The Reason Rally" — a display of unity and strength meant to "Celebrate Living without God"!  And how did this remarkable collection of supremely bright, intellectually superior people trumpet the unquestionable, impregnable reason of atheism?

By obscenity-laced mockery of religion, of course.

From comedian(?) Eddie Izzard's jeering because "God never comes down [when He's called]" (and what was He supposed to do ... play banjo? juggle? make a few cutting remarks about idiots who don't believe in Him?)  to Tim Minchin's extremely creative musical refrain, "F*** the motherf***ing pope", to Richard Dawkins' trademark exaggerated incredulousness and calls to relentlessly mock religious people (atheism, my dear Dr. Dawkins, also makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiatiated), the whole thing apparently degenerated into a massive display of juvenile name-calling.

If you're gonna claim to be more rational, it would lend credibility if you acted more rational.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

More gender silliness in Miami, Ohio

Wow ... two weeks without a word here! I apologize for the prolonged silence.

As soon as I saw the headline for the Creative Minority Report entry, I had to check it out: Transgender Student Files Complaint After [Being] Banned From All-Male Dorm!

Transgender Ohio Student
Ms./Mr. Kaeden Kass
Kaeden Kass is genotypically and phenotypically female.  But in the alternate-universe thinking of "queer theory", that doesn't matter — she says she identifies as a male, and therefore must be treated as a male.  Confident that the world must bow to her self-identification, she applied to be a resident assistant at a male dorm at Miami (Ohio) University.

MU, oddly enough, paid no attention to her self-identification and rejected her application, offering her instead an RA berth at a female dorm.  “The problem is, I’m a male-identified person,” Kass told CBS Cleveland, who posted her story (and used masculine pronouns whenever the story referred to her). “As soon as I’m in a space that is all female, my identity gets erased.”  And so she has filed a complaint against MU ... with whom, the story doesn't mention (I presume some university board empowered to make changes in the name of diversity and inclusiveness).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Memento mori

Today would have been Bob's 44th birthday.

All told, it's been about six months since Bob passed, and the grief is mostly settled.  Mostly settled ... I had a memory of Bob at our niece's wedding, when we managed to turn David Lee Roth's cover of "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" into a reference to Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein; a memory that brought a grin only slightly touched by melancholy.

As I've said before, grief keeps its own schedule, and will be neither denied nor rushed.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Calling BS on Sandra Fluke's testimony

Perhaps her pants are on fire?
Okay, I'm going to copy some things that I said over on The Other Blog.   It's not that my creative well is running dry — um, at least it's not all that — but rather that, in that other piece, I was headed in a different direction, so the first couple of paragraphs were merely a set-up.  Now, I want to stare directly at the sun.

Right now, there’s a lot of guffawing and name-calling over Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke’s testimony before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Monday.  Among other things, Fluke estimated that “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.”

Over a three-year period, that’s about $83 a month and change.  A quick browse through the Internet got me a range of prices on generic estrogen-progestogen pills going from $49.52 for a 3-month supply (≈ $16.51/month)[*] to $25.99 for a 1-month supply of Levora or Lutera.[†]  Craig Bannister figured it out at $1 a condom … largely for laughs.  [According to Prof. Janet Smith, "These are the costs given on the Planned Parenthood website: Depoprovera costs $35-75$ and last 3 months, the pill at about $15-20 a month; Norplant costs $400-$800 but lasts up to 3 years."  And CVS lists a box of 12 Trojan Extended Pleasure condoms at $12.99.] Yet unless the braniacs attending Georgetown Law still don’t know how to go generic, or the Safeway Pharmacy on Wisconsin Avenue is deliberately ripping the rich kids off, there’s still quite a gap between $25.99 and $83.33 a month — Ms. Fluke’s numbers refuse to add up.

But besides the two explanations I've given above — that either Hoyas are spendthrifts or the local drugstores are taking advantage of them — there are a couple other explanations that don't have GU Law students spending more time in their bedrooms than in their classrooms.  One is that Fluke is great at public speaking but lousy at math.

An equally simple and more likely explanation is that Sandra Fluke deliberately exaggerated the costs of contraception.