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Quote Of The Day.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

The Dark Side.

Welcome back, my British sister, to the top of the food chain.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, January 30, 2003 | link

A-Bove It All.

Robert Bove has set his sights on the New York Times and the Gray Lady takes a good hit. While not Bove’s most tightly constructed effort, this one is smart slap at the Times’ sneering cultural idiocy. The Times tries to stuff punk into a standard-issue box and Bove is having none of it:

“Simply put, the punks of the 1970s were the heirs to the youthful rebellion of several generations, a rebellion long indulged by successive generations of commerce-minded elders who had learned to exploit nihilism. Yes, puking onstage was somewhat innovative, but no more so than Christine Aguilera’s latest stage antics—nor more, for that matter, than the early Bloomsbury crowd’s antics on the printed page, directed, like pop musicians’ efforts, at the generation of publicity and not art. The options are rather limited in this sphere, and the acceptance of skillfully repackaged rebellion depends on any given generation’s ignorance of a world outside themselves in time and/or space. Each upcoming generation, for example, has to believe it invented, if not sex, then the coolest way to approach the act. It has to believe that it has no musical antecedents worth embracing; otherwise, it might not buy enough ‘now’ music to keep the industry afloat. And, most of all, contemporary youth should shun philosophy, for which it is unsuited anyhow, lest it should see that the Bacchanal of libertarian nihilism it believes it originated has been going on unabated since prehistoric times.”

Hey ho! Let’s go!

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, January 30, 2003 | link

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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Sacred Politicos?

A minor brouhaha over Catholic politicians has come to my attention. Larry the Wise, from Kudzu Acres, asked me my opinions on the recent release of guidelines for Catholic politicians issued by the Church. The Church basically said that Catholic pols should abide by the teachings of the Church, both in their private and public lives. I agree with the Church here and for reasons that are obvious when you think about it. All Catholics are supposed to abide by the teachings of the Church and to realize those teachings in their lives. I, as a laywoman, am just as beholden to the rules as a politician is. Yet no one is complaining about papal conspiracies influencing my blog. The crux of the matter is the conjoining of the words “Catholic” and “politician.” If you hold yourself to be a Catholic politician, as opposed to a plain old politician, then you have to live up to that moniker. Many politicians, like Fat Teddy or Gray Davis, play the Catholic Card when it suits them but then turn around and burn the Church when it really counts. What the Church has done with her recent pronouncements is to put her foot down and refuse to be manipulated.

Larry also makes mention of wondering “when the Catholic Church would finally use the tools it has to enforce its doctrine.” My guess is that the Church had to wait for a more orthodox generation to rise up to support her. The dominant generation in the Church has been the Boomers. Boomers objected to any doctrine that interfered with their “self-fulfillment.” In other words, inconvenience, dedication, and faith were out. A bishop who followed the Magesterium faced a near mutiny in the pews. That was then, this is now. Younger Catholics are far more orthodox than the older generations and are salivating at the chance to get some real, honest Catholicism back into the American Church. The Church now has the support she needs to clean house. Fat Teddy and the Catholics of Convenience are toast.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 | link

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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The Literarium.

The Literarium has been updated. There is a big post on The Atlantic Monthly's article by RFK Jr about how his poor innocent cousin Michael Skakel got railroaded for the Martha Moxley killing. RFK Jr gets fisked.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 | link

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Monday, January 27, 2003

Propaganda Alert.

There is a new film out that repeats the same old tired lies about Pope Pius XII. The film, Amen, is based on the play The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth. So every word in it is a lie, but that’s been proved so many times it’s boring. Anti-Catholics don’t care if it’s true or not so long as it supports their hatreds. Here, once again, is the best takedown of the whole anti-Pius argument. What really burns me is that this bit of propaganda is going to be given eternal life in our universities once this film is released. You see, there is something at college called the core curriculum. Part of that core is a freshman writing/ English Composition class. What the class consists of is learning how to write and reason at a college level. Remedial English if you will. You learn the basics of the reading and writing requirements of various disciplines like English, science, or history. I both took and learned to teach these classes.

As a student, you get an article or other reading from the featured discipline and write an essay on it. As a teacher, you assign them the reading and help them learn to “think” the discipline. So in the science block you assign an essay from a science magazine and make them analyze the scientific reasoning in it. The problem starts with the fact that teachers of these intro courses are specifically told not to assign “too much reading.” More than two articles or essays count as “too much.” Most of the course teachers are English majors. They want the semesters reading to be in English. Assigning non-English related material would put them over the word-quota. What’s the solution? Show a film and call it History. So JFK gets shown as “history.” You’ll get something like The Lion in Winter or the latest multiculti flick if you’re lucky. Unfortunately, the English major who teaches the class knows nothing about the real history of the events of the film.

So Freshman English professors everywhere will latch onto Amen and assign it in their required classes. The film will be seen as proof the professor is “daring.” The sublimated anti-Catholicism of the American campus won’t hurt either. The allure of presenting a film that “challenges conventional beliefs” or deconstructs authority figures will override any interest in the historical veracity of the film itself. The professor won’t know and won’t care that the film isn’t history. The freshmen won’t know the truth and will assume the film to be historically accurate. The university wouldn’t show propaganda, right? So whole generations of students will be indoctrinated with the anti-Catholic lies of Amen. They will absorb the message of the film without really thinking about it and will never question it enough to find out the truth. When the Church in WWII comes up they will repeat the lies they have been taught and will be highly skeptical of anyone who presents them with the truth. I mean, they learned the lies at college; they must be true. That’s why I hate this film and its makers.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 27, 2003 | link

Ars Derbica.

Derb on the glories and horrors of nomenclature. I love names. They are fascinating. It’s neat to find out the history of specific names and what they mean. Naming traditions are cool too. I buy name books at thrift stores, which always makes the check out girls look at me funny.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 27, 2003 | link

A Question.

Here’s what happens when an Iraqi seeks help from our vaunted UN protectors. They hand him over to Saddam’s thugs. Can we add the UN to the Axis of Evil? At least the Axis of Weasels?

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 27, 2003 | link

Football Roundup.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won the Super Bowl. This means that the melodious phrase “Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots” can no longer be uttered. Mores the pity. It had such a ring to it, such a charm. To appease myself for the loss of the ability to say “Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots” I watched last year’s game on tape. There are advantages to this; no pre-game, no commercials, no half time show, and no doubt that Good would triumph over Evil. Oh yes, back to the Bucs.

First, this year’s game was boring as all get out. For the past several years the Super Bowl has been very exciting. Down to the last play exciting. The 80’s and early 90’s era of blowouts seemed over. Nope. I was about to turn the game off at the end of the third, but the Raiders started mounting a comeback. They were within reach when they threw about 3 interceptions. I can’t say how many because they all started running together. I was surprised. Not exactly that the Bucs won, though I had picked (sorta) the Raiders. I thought the game would be very close and that Gannon would just have more arm than Johnson. He might but the Bucs had more defense. Not to take anything away from Brad Johnson. I completely overlooked him this season and so did most everyone else. He’ll get overlooked next season too. He doesn’t deserve to be. He ran a very smart, very professional offense.

I was very shocked that the Raiders played as badly as they did on offense. Their defense played well, but couldn’t keep up with the Buc offense. They got tired after being on the field most of the game. With Gannon and company going three and out on every series, the defense never got a break. The Bucs defense won the game. And a defensive game makes for boring football. Except for three blatantly bad calls by the refs. I think the league will be making some statements on the calls. First, during a kick return the Tampa player was tackled from behind and was on the ground reaching the ball forward when he lost it. The refs called it a fumble. Too bad the runner’s knees were both on the ground before the ball came out and he was thus down by contact. Which was obvious during the real-time playing of the game and in every replay. The call was overturned on challenge and the Raider coach didn’t even gripe about it. Second, there was a very questionable holding call that should not have been called in a championship game. It was a borderline hold and is usually ignored in the post-season. Third was a Buc pushing the Raider receiver out of the back of the end zone during a 2-point attempt. According to rule, if the receiver catches the ball in the air in the end zone and is then pushed out of bounds, the catch stands as a touchdown. So if a player has both feet in the air when he catches the ball and would have come down in bounds without the push, he gets the touchdown. That’s what happened and the ref ignored this rule and called the catch incomplete. His fellow refs even protested this one. Unfortunately, the play was not reviewable. The right call would have resulted in 2 points for the Raiders. They would still have been 11 points down and would still have lost, but fair is fair.

Second, the commercials this year were nothing special. The Osbournes Pepsi Twist commercial was the best one. Too bad I hate Pepsi. The yearly Clydesdales play football commercial was pretty good, with the ref being an actual zebra. My personal fave was the Bud Light commercial with the Bob Marley dog. The other ads were nothing special. I did notice a hint of the “gross-out” mentality in many commercials. It wears thin after a while. Even the Bimbos Fighting in the Fountain is pretty stale now.

Lastly, the half-time show. Oops, the Anthem. I turned the station when Celine Dion bellowed “God Bless America.” I get sick of her histrionics and I have come to hate that song. Give me the Star Spangled Banner any day. The Dixie Chicks sang SSB. They did all right but got too operatic at the end. It’s a beautiful song. Just sing it. Now for half-time. Shania Twain lip-synced her standard radio hits. Nothing offensive but her music always reminds me of the ‘generic pop hits’ used in Scooby Doo cartoons for a soundtrack as the meddling kids ran from a ghost. No Doubt was next. Gwen Stefani actually sang her own song. I like the song she sang, “Just A Girl,” but I couldn’t understand a word she said. Then Sting came out and sang a duet with Stefani. The song served as a public service announcement reminding you that Sting is old.

Maybe next year teams I care about will get into the playoffs.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 27, 2003 | link

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Saturday, January 25, 2003

Engel of the Super Bowl.

My favorite Limey Idiot, Reporter Engel of the UK Guardian, is back. Instead of being stupid about the South, Reporter Engel has decided to be stupid about football. Without further ado, Engel’s Stuper Bowl:

“Every major national sporting event is in some sense a reflection of the country's character, but there is nothing quite so in-your-face about it as the Super Bowl, the apogee of Americanism.”

The Super Bowl is very American. It’s the biggest and the best. Thanks to parity, it is the most exciting. People actually pay attention to it, like America. Europe would be more like the World Series, ignored in the hopes it will go away.

“Part of this is very obvious indeed: there is the obsession with both violence and money, and the exploitative eroticism represented by the cheerleaders.”

I take it the game being played has nothing to do with it. ‘Hey Bob, come on over to watch the gaudy spectacle of the American obsession with violence and money play out on TV!’ ‘Hoohaa! Would you look at that victim of erotic exploitation shake her ta-tas!’

“It is presumably the same unexpected phlegmatic side of the American character that both enables them to shuffle obediently into line at airports and to endure the constant interruptions of an American football game.”

Leave the phlegm out of this. Go ahead and not shuffle obediently at the airport. Then tell me what the food tastes like in jail. I guess we should be like the British and start airport riots. We’d miss our flights, but we wouldn’t shuffle obediently. I grant the point about the commercials. Point after, commercial break, kick-off, commercial break? What’s up with that? Still, there’s more action on the field than off it, except at the Vet.

“There is the uniquely hierarchical nature of the sport, which elevates the quarterback, ex officio, to unique importance on the field and reduces everyone else to the status of helots and bodyguards.”

And lo, in the days of old, there arose a mighty warrior and Brady was his name. He gathered unto him the youth of the tribe and they swore obedience unto his name. He raised them up to be helots and to wield the mighty oblong. In the fullness of time, the mighty Brady unleashed his fearsome helots upon the people of the land. Yea, they smote the people of the land.

Reporter Engel obviously does not watch football. Coaches panic over the loss of their kicker more than the loss of their quarterback. The Eagles lost their first and second string QBs to injury and won 6 games with the third stringer. That doesn’t sound very unique. As for reduced status, I guess the Limey has never heard of wide receivers and tight ends like Keyshawn, Schockey, McCaffrey, Rice, Brown, Freeman, etc. Their status and salaries rival any QB in the league. Can we stop now or do I have to talk defense? Go ahead, call Gilbert Brown a helot. I dare you.

“The game is also an outlet for the nation's verbosity. The referee in last week's play-off between Oakland and Tennessee explained his decisions far more coherently, rationally and at greater length than President Bush explaining his reasons for war. It seems very bizarre; imagine a British referee trying to tell the crowd why the whistle had gone.”

Football is a far more complex game than soccer and it can be difficult for a layman to remember all the rules. There would be no point to explaining soccer as the fans are all busy beating the crap out of one another and would be too drunk to understand anyway.

“Above all, though, the Super Bowl is a tribute to American marketing genius.”

Willy Loman, I salute you.

“And when the Oakland Raiders play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in San Diego on Sunday, even those who don't care much for the sport itself can just sit there and marvel.”

A nation unified in fun and good fellowship. What hath Satan wrought?

“For the contest between the football teams is merely part of the show. This is the Super Bowl for advertising: not only the most expensive night of the year - an in-game advert costs $2.1m (£1.3m) for 30 seconds - but also a showcase. It would be very naff indeed for a company to run a routine ad; they are expected to confect something bespoke and classy, or look pathetic.”

This cretin whines about American verbosity. Okay Limey, do you seriously expect the most watched television event of the year to sell ads like it was MSNBC? Let’s ignore the fact that most advertisers want to avoid pathetic ads in any show, what is so bad about pulling out all the stops at exactly the moment when absolutely everybody will be watching you?

“In comparison, the pressure on the players is secondary.”

Yup, those million dollar bonus clauses in their contracts mean nothing. Getting spanked on national TV in the most watched game of your career? Cakewalk. One kicker, 48 yards, and 7 seconds between you and victory? Yawn.

“American football is so weirdly socialistic, with all the game's regulations rigged to ensure that last year's losers have the advantage the following year, that no one expects to win the Super Bowl. If it happens, it is a lucky break. Nike and Coke do not organise their corporate affairs on that basis.”

Socialistic? With the quarterback lording his unique ex officio over the helots? Everybody gets a fair shot to get out of the doghouse and that’s a bad thing? Total dominance equals boring games. Boring games equal no fans. No fans equal no league. The Nike and Coke reference is weirdly out of place. The ad references come and go like Reporter Engel had two columns written and then merged them. This is distracting and beside the point. The NFL is a business but it is also a sport. Comparing a sport to a soft drink is dumb. Different raison d’etre, different business model. That’s Economics 101 for us verbose types.

“It is that national genius that has enabled an event without deep historic roots to become quite overpowering. The Super Bowl began only in 1967, when two competing leagues merged. At first the competition was lopsided, but in 1969 Joe Namath, the New York Jets quarterback, ‘guaranteed’ an upset victory over the Baltimore Colts and then delivered it, and so the legend began.”

So what if the Super Bowl tradition has no deep historic roots. Roots grow, they don’t just pop out of nowhere. Does Reporter Engel perhaps think that the vaunted traditions of the Sceptred Isle sprang from the sea along with the cliffs of Dover? Maybe God created the Earth with British traditions intact? Creationists have similar ideas about fossils.

The weird socialism that Reporter Engel whines about started in the 1990s to end the dull lopsided games that nearly killed the Super Bowl. Legends are born, thrive, and become traditions, unless they are those British planted-in-the-Earth-at-the-creation-to-freak-out-the-Darwinists-type traditions.

“Super Bowl XXXVII does look like a promising addition to the annals, partly because it pits the league's best offence (Oakland) against the best defence. Oakland are the favourites because irresistible force always seems more compelling in sport than the immovable object.’ "

Thank you, oh Wise One, for allowing we poor, violent, verbose Americans an excuse for why we are watching erotically exploited pom-pom girls.

“The Raiders' owner, Al Davis, took a conscious decision to forgo long-term objectives and buy short-term success and glamour; old English soccer fans might recall the way Stoke City once gloriously built a team round the ancient Stanley Matthews.”

The point of football is to win the Super Bowl. Al Davis hired veterans who could get him to the Super Bowl. What’s the problem? He also traded his coach to another teams for a slew of draft picks, so the Raiders can easily rebuild if he has to junk his veterans next year. Sounds pretty crafty to me.

“The Raiders' quarterback, Rich Gannon - the league's MVP this season - is 37 and was presumed to be on the scrapheap. His wide receiver, Jerry Rice - a legend across the bay at the San Francisco 49ers - is 40 and ditto. The safety Rod Woodson and linebacker Bill Romanowski are also old Super Bowl hands.”

They also trounced all those young bodies on the other teams. It’s called conditioning. Welcome to the future Limey.

“The one old hand not on Davis's side is his former coach, Jon ‘Chucky’ Gruden, who left Oakland last season for the more downbeat setting of Tampa Bay.”

Traded, actually. The Raiders got $8 million, 2 first round, and 2 second round draft picks for him. Kudos on knowing the ‘Chucky’ part. A jar of Marmite says he doesn’t know what it means.

“But he discovered, to his surprise, that he had a credible quarterback, Brad Johnson, and a remarkable set of defenders. And by the time he had imparted something of his own intensity and attention to detail (he is said to get up every morning at 3.17am) he had a bunch of winners in a city whose teams have never done anything. In contrast, his successor at the Raiders, Bill Callahan, is about the lowest-profile man in Oakland.”

Well what do you know, Chucky woke up one 3.17am and what do you think he found? A winning football team! Maybe Santa Claus brought it. By the way, Reporter Engel, if you had done any research into your subject, you would have known that Tampa Bay has long been famous for its bone-shattering defense. They never won because their previous coach could never field an offense.

“It looks like being quite a night. Tentatively, the prediction is for Gannon to maintain supreme aerial and passing accuracy to ensure a narrow Oakland win, and for Pepsi to beat Reebok for the most innovative ad. We do have a tentative winner in the traditional preliminary: weirdest media question of the week. Teenage reporter from Nickelodeon to Woodson of Oakland: ‘Who has the worst breath on your team?’ ”

The bad breath question is no weirder than a Limey who has constructed perhaps the most incoherent, semi-informed Super Bowl column in history.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, January 25, 2003 | link

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Friday, January 24, 2003

The Literarium.

The Literarium has been updated. The major movements have been in the Injured Reserve and on music.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, January 24, 2003 | link

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Thursday, January 23, 2003

Check It Out.

I was poking through the First Things archive and came across this interesting nugget from George Weigel. It is from an article in which Weigel proposes John Paul II as the emblematic man of our times. The whole article is well worth reading, but this jumped out at me.

“Freedom untethered from truth is freedom’s worst enemy. For if there is only your truth and my truth, and neither one of us recognizes a transcendent moral standard (call it 'the truth') by which to adjudicate our differences, then the only way to settle the argument is for you to impose your power on me, or for me to impose my power on you. Freedom untethered from truth leads to chaos; chaos leads to anarchy; and since human beings cannot tolerate anarchy, tyranny as the answer to the human imperative of order is just around the corner. The false humanism of the freedom of indifference leads first to freedom’s decay, and then to freedom’s demise.

“Similarly, on the economic front, unless a vibrant public moral culture disciplines and directs the explosive human energies let loose by the free market, the market ends up destroying the culture that makes it possible. In what Zbigniew Brzezinski nicely described as the ‘permissive cornucopia’ of the future, a society of unprecedented material wealth and equally unprecedented license, the virtues necessary for the market to work—self–command, the willingness to defer gratification, the talent for teamwork, the skill of prudent risk–taking—atrophy. MTV, not the Federal Trade Commission or the International Monetary Fund, is the true enemy of the free economy.”


I have encountered these ideas before but Weigel ties them up neatly and takes them further towards their logical conclusions than I’ve seen. The unlinking of rights from responsibilities is the bane of modern society. Sure, everyone throughout history has wanted to do that but we are the only ones who really and truly have. Eliminating the moral basis of society has short-term benefits: freedom from obligations to family and community, sexual license, and the suppression of criticism of one’s conduct. But those short-term benefits have long-term consequences: when you are in need your family and community are under no obligation to assist you, sexual disease, exploitation, and alienation, and the negation of any meaningful debate about anything. The worst long-term consequence is the fatal undermining of the society that allowed the moral decay. Once that society loses its foundation and becomes vulnerable, it is subject to the depredations of outside forces. Whether an invading nation (as of old) or from an interior rebellion. The interior rebellion would be an outside force because it would take its core values from a source over against the society it sought to overthrow. In the end, the decayed society falls to be replaced by another society in full vigor. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing the moral basis of the new society. It might be a beneficial moral force, like Christianity, but it usually is a force of amorality or evil, like Islam. The point is that moral vacuums get filled.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, January 23, 2003 | link

Depressing Week.

First Maurice Gibb, then Bill Mauldin, and now Nell Carter. I like the BeeGees and it’s sad that Maurice died. If you haven’t seen their Live by Request on A&E, you really ought to. Bill Mauldin drew those amazing cartoon from WWII of unshaven GIs. That’s a pretty poor description of a very evocative artist. Mauldin drew cartoons that you just can’t help but stare at. See for yourself. As for Nell Carter, I remember her from Gimme a Break. It’s so weird her not being around. I’ve heard her sing and she could belt out a tune, let me tell you. She had two young boys too. In all, a very bad week.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, January 23, 2003 | link

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Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Carter’s Pill.

Yippee! Jimmeh Carter is off to screw up yet another country! How much greater his legacy of failure will be after this one.

Carter has volunteered himself to solve the crisis in Venezuela. Perhaps knowing Jimmeh’s track record, Chavez the Leftist Bully is thrilled while the Opposition is not. Carter has two solutions, both of which call for the Opposition to surrender and give Chavez more time in power.

The first solution is to “to allow the country to vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow early elections, cutting the presidential term from the current six years.” How nice. Of course, Chavez illegally extended his term after he forced his opponents out of the legislature. The date of the elections isn’t clear, so Chavez would have time to gather his militias and use his office to intimidate his opponents. Have elections now, before the economy completely fails.

The second idea is to “to wait until August - half-way through Mr Chavez's mandated office - when the constitution allows for a binding referendum on the president's mandate.” Huh? Chavez has repeatedly cast aside his nation’s constitution and has stolen control of the legislature. What does he care about mandates? Communists don’t care about mandates because the people never vote the “right” way.

Carter will undoubtedly make a nice-sounding agreement that ends up giving as much power as possible to the leftist Chavez while screwing over the people themselves. That’s Jimmeh’s modus operandi. Here’s a hint Jimmeh, when the people launch a 50-something day strike and shut down the whole country, they don’t want to let the strongman stay in his palace. Chavez has resorted to sending his Bolivarian Militias, i.e. his political brownshirts, to shoot up Opposition marches. Once again, Jimmeh has shown his devotion to the wrong side of history.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 | link

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Monday, January 20, 2003

Football Roundup.

Well color me surprised. The Bucs beat the Eagles. I’m not shocked, but I had the Eagles to go all the way. The game was a battle of the defenses. I had thought it would be but that the Eagles would be able to eke out enough offense to win. Wrong. Donovan McNabb played pretty poorly. The Bucs were the ones to put on some offense. They were solid and accurate all day. The Eagles put no pressure on Brad Johnson and they should have. They also ran far too often against a defense that was as impenetrable as a tree. The Bucs go to the Super Bowl. Oddly enough, it was a pretty dull game. It wasn’t dull like a blowout is dull, it was dull in a “battle of the defenses” way. Great offenses make a great game. Neither team had one.

Intermission: Some actress named Heather Headley or some such sang the national anthem before the late game. She was quite good. She sang the song straight without too much fancying up. The half-time entertainment for both games was dreadful. The first game had Ja Rule and Ashanti while the second had LL Cool J and some chick. I couldn’t watch more than a minute or so of the first show nor more than 2 minutes of the second. At least now I know that rap has an equivalent to the “pop tart” phenomenon. Ja Rule lurched about the stage growling to a generic “hip hop” percussion while Ashanti sang a repetitive chorus and wore tacky clothes. It was formulaic and mass market while still being plain old bad. In the second performance, LL Cool J strutted about the stage shouting while the chick sang a repetitive chorus and wore tacky clothes. I really like LL’s earlier work and this performance was a definite decline. On the whole, the day was a musical wash.

What’d I tell ya ‘bout da Raiders! Tennessee played well until the final seconds of the second quarter. The Raiders and the Titans were playing dueling touchdowns until the Titans cracked about a minute before the half. The Titans turned the ball over twice in 30 seconds. They never recovered. They didn’t choke or even stink, they just couldn’t get back into rhythm and couldn’t catch the high-flying Raiders. The Raiders played smart and tough. Romo lumbered ominously, Jerry caught anything in the air, and Gannon sorta meandered the team into the end zone repeatedly.

As for the Super Bowl, it loses some of its luster now that the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots won’t be in it. Still, a Pirate Battle should be amazing. The Buccaneers are on a roll and the Raiders know that it’s now or never. The Notorious G.U.P., who had the Titans in this game, now says the Raiders will beat the Bucs in the Super Bowl. I am not sure, but I think he’s right.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 20, 2003 | link

Read Me.

Theodore Dalrymple on Macbeth. As if I needed to say more.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 20, 2003 | link

Feminist Failure.

Yes, I know. Be more specific. Well, how about the silence of the Feminists when confronted with the utter barbarism of Islam? Surely our Sister-Protectors could spare a word in defense of women and children raped, mutilated, and murdered by the men who own them? Nope. Why not?

“But look more deeply into the matter, and you realize that the sound of feminist silence about the savage fundamentalist Muslim oppression of women has its own perverse logic. The silence is a direct outgrowth of the way feminist theory has developed in recent years. Now mired in self-righteous sentimentalism, multicultural nonjudgmentalism, and internationalist utopianism, feminism has lost the language to make the universalist moral claims of equal dignity and individual freedom that once rendered it so compelling.”

How do the Gender Feminists respond:

“Too busy celebrating their own virtue and contemplating their own victimhood, gender feminists cannot address the suffering of their Muslim sisters realistically, as light years worse than their own petulant grievances. They are too intent on hating war to ask if unleashing its horrors might be worth it to overturn a brutal tyranny that, among its manifold inhumanities, treats women like animals. After all, hating war and machismo is evidence of the moral superiority that comes with being born female.”

What about the Postcolonial Feminists?

“Postcolonialists, then, have their own binary system, somewhat at odds with gender feminism—not to mention with women’s rights. It is not men who are the sinners; it is the West. It is not women who are victimized innocents; it is the people who suffered under Western colonialism, or the descendants of those people, to be more exact. Caught between the rock of patriarchy and the hard place of imperialism, the postcolonial feminist scholar gingerly tiptoes her way around the subject of Islamic fundamentalism and does the only thing she can do: she focuses her ire on Western men.”

How about World-Government Utopian Feminism? Arguing for women’s rights in Muslim countries might result in Muslim women exercising the right to disagree with the Utopians:

“ . . . the utopian is less interested in freeing women to make their own choices than in engineering and imposing her own elite vision of a perfect society. Indeed, she is under no illusions that, left to their own democratic devices, women would freely choose the utopia she has in mind.”

Feminist where art thou? Too busy congratulating themselves on how bravely they wallow in pampered self-indulgence. Good thing the Marines are there to pick up the slack.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 20, 2003 | link

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Thursday, January 16, 2003

I Slam Islam.

This post is from an email exchange with a certain Intrepid Freedom Fighter from a Certain State in the Pacific Northwest. We were discussing Islam and its less than peaceful manifestations. I commented that Islam’s lack of a doctrine of Original Sin, the idea that man has a will to Good and a will to Evil, created a lack of personal responsibility within the Muslim psyche. In other words, without a theological centering of responsibility for action completely within actor, Islam gives rise to a fatalistic mentality that places all responsibility for ones actions outside oneself. Or, if I do something wrong, it’s your fault. She stated that the problem with Islam is its lack of a controlling hierarchy to prevent loons from deciding that some obscure hadith gives them carte blanche to slaughter infidels. Below is my response which she stated was bloggable. So here it is:

“The problem with Islam is the Koran. I admit I haven't read all of it but I've tried. It is repetitive, bossy, and mean. Allah thinks his creation are idiots and need to be told how to live absolutely every second of their lives. Now I'm Catholic and am used to rules and regulations that vary from the insanely logical to the absolutely inexplicable. If the Pope says fish isn't meat, then it isn't and no two ways about it. But Islam is more intrusive than even the most stereotypical Catholic noodge. There is no thinking for yourself at all. There is an absence of personal responsibility to go along with the lack of original sin.

“The other thing about the Koran is that it has only one author, Mohammed. With the Bible you get lots of authors at different times and as a whole you get God's own voice coming through all the various writers. Authorial interference is limited because there are so many authors. The Koran has one author and Allah sounds a whole lot like Mohammed with a bully-pulpit. Funny how the whole revelation of Allah is to glorify old Mo. Oh yeah, it also gives Mo access to lots of hot babes. For a guy who allegedly loved his wife, Mo constructed a religion that would put every woman on earth under his thumb, or by proxy under some other man's thumb.

“If the Old and New Testaments are Allah's distorted revelations before everything got cleared up by old Mo, why were the revelations made? Surely Allah had to know his revelations would get distorted by the evil Jews and Christians. Why would he entrust his word to people he knew would screw it up? Did he not know? Is he really Allah if he's not omniscient? Did he deliberately lie? That sounds pretty evil. Does he just not care? Yup, that's the god for me.

“And why would Allah make such big historical errors in his revelations. In his rewriting of the Bible, Mo makes several alterations that end up at variance with the historical record of the Ancient Near East. Mo changes biblical records of historical events (which are surprisingly accurate) and ends up having events happen in the Koran hundreds of years off when they really happened. Allah-zheimers?

“Things like that bug me. Maybe I ought to suck it up and try one more time to slog my way through the stupid thing. Islam seems to appeal mainly to people who can't handle freedom and responsibility. Kind of like long-term prisoners who thrive in jail but can't make it on the outside.”


There you have it, my big ol’ Islam post. Polite responses, ideas, comments are welcome.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, January 16, 2003 | link

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Monday, January 13, 2003

Football Roundup.

Go Titans! Whine all you want Bill Cowher-d. Coach Chin choked like he always chokes. I so despise Cowher. He ruined Kordell Stewart. He chokes in the big games and then whines about the officiating. The refs in the Titans-Steelers game were good. Not perfect mind you but better than the refs have been this year. When the head ref wasn’t sure if a call was reviewable, he asked the league representative in the booth. He didn’t guess like that idiot in the Packer game, he asked. There were some bad calls but they all went the Steelers’ way. A Titan got called for unnecessary roughness for a helmet to helmet hit that wasn’t. The Titan hit with his shoulder. Yet a helmet to helmet hit that knocked Eddie George out of the game drew no flag. The Titans take the game into overtime and it all came down to a field goal. Cowher tries to get cute and call a time out at the last second. It worked and a good field goal got called back. Now the heat is really on because nobody told the stadium guy and he sends up the fireworks. Everybody in the city thinks the game is over and the Titans victorious. Talk about pressure. Then the Titans kick again and miss. Oops, a Steeler defensive tackle rolls into Nedney, the Titans kicker. Re-kick. Cowher tries to get cute again but signals a time out just a hundredth of a second too late. The kick is good. Titans win.

Does Cowher congratulate the Titans head coach? Nope, he’s too busy whining to the officials. Later at the press conference, he lies about the circumstances of the running into the kicker call. Says Chin: the kicker took two or three steps and my guy barely touched him. Truth: Nedney, the kicker, had kicked, followed through, and just put his kicking foot down. He had turned almost completely around, spinning on his plant foot, and had his back to the defense. The defensive tackle leapt to block the kick, came in too late, and rolled into Nedney’s leg. Nedney goes down and draws the flag. A good clean call. Yes, Nedney did later make a joke about going into acting after he retires, but so what? He’s a kicker! Kickers are all actors. They are taught to hit the deck at the slightest whiff of contact. How do you think they get flags for roughing and running into the kicker? That’s standard for all kickers, and for all players for that matter. Ever see a wide receiver trying to get an interference call? Kickers are like fainting goats, the slightest thing happens and they’re on the ground. For you urbanites, kickers are like the slutty girl in high school, the slightest touch and they’re flat on their backs. As for the last hundredth of a second time out, don’t wait until the refs have turned to watch the kick before signaling. Sorry Cowher-d, choke again next year.

Intermission: Natalie Cole should lose her citizenship for the absolutely hideous mangling of our national anthem she forced me to endure. I could shoot her and plead the “she needed killing” defense. Her voice was well-trained but flat. She tried to “gospelize” or “soulify” the national anthem. First, that kind of hammy over-singing is to Gospel what Larry Flint is to sex. Second, beautiful songs like the Star Spangled Banner have their own soul. Vocal acrobatics and self-aggrandizing solo howls are the antithesis of soul. A great singer can sing a song; they don’t need vocal stunts.

So where are your Buccaneers? Under my buccin’ hat! The Bucs trounced the Niners. Garcia blew it. The Bucs had his options covered and brought his hurry-up offense to a dead stop. Interception after interception, tackle in the backfield after tackle in the backfield, and sack after sack. The Niners scored no touchdowns and only two field goals. The Bucs did everything but punt on second down to keep the score in the mid-thirties. Brad Johnson played a great game and picked apart the Niner defense so easily it was embarrassing. Brad got a laceration over his eye and I was thus subjected to the horror that is Rob Johnson for a series or two, but Brad came back before I started screaming “Flutie! Flutie!” at the screen.

Philly apparently forgot to get steamrolled by the Mike Vick public relations machine. The Eagles won handily. Vick managed to get the ball into his hands but could do nothing else before he was hit, hurried, or sacked. If Donovan McNabb was rusty, I’d hate to see him healthy. The Eagles had both their offense and defense in sync and they dominated the game. No blowout, just total domination. Philly is Super Bowl bound. They play the Bucs next week, but I don’t think Tampa has the offense to overcome Philly’s defense. The Eagle offense and Bucs defense are pretty evenly matched. The difference will be how Brad Johnson responds to pressure. Here’s a hint: not well.

J-E-T-S! Jets! Got! Smoked! The Jets flew into the Black Hole and never flew out. The first half of the game was tight, but that was because the Raiders decided to “establish the run” instead of using the League MVP, Rich Gannon. In other words, the Raiders were going nowhere and slowly at that. The Jets had a couple of good drives but couldn’t sustain anything. The second half was a different story. The Jets had gelled as a team in the last few games but they ran out of fuel. They were playing on fumes for the second half. Pennington could get nothing started. The Raiders, however, unleashed Gannon and headed for the end zone. They must have liked it there because they kept going back. Next week could be dicey, though. They play the Titans. It will be close, but I think they’ll squeak through. The Notorious G.U.P. says Titans all the way.

Super Bowl? Eagles and Raiders. Philly takes it.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 13, 2003 | link

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Friday, January 10, 2003

No! No! No!

This is so wrong. First they try to pass off Al Bundy as Joe Friday, now they want me to believe Ving Rhames is Kojak? Who loves ya, baby? Not me. Okay, so I never watched Kojak, but it is still wrong. Some roles are definitive. This is one of them. As for the new “Dragnet,” if it ain’t Jack Webb you can stick your facts where the sun don’t shine. I loved Dragnet. While I can make many serious, intellectual arguments for why drugs are bad, when I make them I am replaying that episode where the hippie-dips leave their baby in the tub and drown him because they were busy smoking dope. Badge 714 is taken. Go back to the nudie bar, Al.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, January 10, 2003 | link

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Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Heroes Always Win.

Mario “Motts” Tonelli died Tuesday. He was a standout fullback at Notre Dame and for the Cardinals when they played in Chicago. He was also a survivor of the Bataan Death March. During his years in the Japanese prison camps he went from his playing weight of 215 pounds to only 90 pounds at his liberation. He went back home and still played for the Cards. He died from an infection he contracted during the war. That’s a long time to suffer. That’s a long life of courage.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 | link

Hello, I Love You.

I love this man. He’s a retired general explaining some facts of life. Check out fallacy number 2, “Violence only begets more violence.”

"Here's the truth, which you know in your heads and hearts already: Ineffective, unfocused violence leads to more violence. Limp, panicky, half-measures lead to more violence. However, complete, fully-thought-through, professional, well-executed violence never leads to more violence because, you see, afterwards, the other guys are all dead."

It just gets better.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 | link

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Monday, January 06, 2003

Peace Any One?

Another great achievement from the religion of peace. I’ll bet you can guess what the story’s about. The genocide bomber killed 22 this time. Israel could save a lot of lives and create some real peace if they’d just declare war against the Palestinian Authority. That would limit the casualties among innocent civilians and give the Palestinians the fight they want. Sure, Palestinian casualties would be big but I said innocent civilians. Live by the bomb; die by the bigger bomb.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for the heartfelt condemnation of murder from Muslim moderates. Hey, maybe that’s their plan! Maybe they want us infidels to hold our breath waiting for the Muslims to develop a conscience! After we die of asphyxiation, they will take over the world!

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 06, 2003 | link


Clone Rangers.

This is honestly one of the best commentaries on cloning I’ve read. Here’s the gist of it.

“A desire is not its own justification: not every human desire is worthy of fulfilment, and life should not be lived as if it were an existential supermarket in which products such as human clones were to be picked off the shelf at the drop of a whim. No one has the right to a child, much less the child of his choice, and any society that forgets that human life is a gift held in trust, not an object for the self-gratification of individuals, is one which is in very deep trouble; for egotism could go no further.”

We tend to forget that part. “No one has the right to a child.” The child has the right to himself. A child is not an object or a possession. He is a human being with equal rights to his parents. Cloning is the denial of the idea of human rights. What “human right” do you really have if you don’t even have the right to your own existence in and of yourself? A clone isn’t himself, he’s a copy of someone else. A made-to-order copy at that. I hate that this whole cloning debate is centered on the “rights” of the parents. They have no right to another human being.

The cloning debate should be centered on the rights of the cloned child. His right to his own Self. His right not to be a product whose value is dependent on the whims of his “parents. What about the clone’s right not to be experimented on? Where do these “parents” get off conducting what is essentially human experimentation on a nonconsenting child? A child resulting from cloning has a right to the recognition of his essential humanity, a right cloning in its essence negates.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 06, 2003 | link

Can It Happen Here?

No, but try Britain. Theodore Dalrymple makes a frighteningly good case that the social breakdown created by the British welfare state has created a populace ripe for totalitarianism. As the state takes over more and more aspects of people’s lives, the psychological ground is prepared for the numb evil of murderous bureaucracy.

“Hedonistic egotism, fear and resentment form the character of a large proportion of our population, and it is a character that is ripe for exploitation. They have made themselves natural slaves.”

Now combine this fearful, resentful character with the dehumanizing inevitability of bureaucracy.

“Every public service has been weakened by the ethos of obeying centralised orders. Doctors, teachers, the police, social workers, prison officers, crown prosecutors, university dons have all been emasculated by the ‘need’ to obey orders that they know are fatuous at best, and positively destructive or even wicked at worst.”

This next paragraph sums up the way evil infects an entire culture by seeping through the systems that undergird society.

“The organised lying that results from centralised information-gathering not only blunts critical faculties and makes it impossible to distinguish true information from false, but also morally compromises those who participate in the process: everyone is made an accomplice of the central power, and so less and less does anyone feel able to make a stand. The more state employees conform to the rules laid down, the more helpless and degraded they become, which is the ultimate purpose of these rules”

In fine:

“We, too, are now creating a cultural context in which great state crimes are possible, though perhaps not yet inevitable. When I see the routine inhumanity with which my patients are treated by the state and its various bureaucracies, often in the name of obedience to rules, I think that anything is possible in this country.”

Read. Memorize.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 06, 2003 | link

Football Update.

Alack, alas, oddsfish, and ee-gads. The Packers sank like the Titanic. Stunk like toe cheese. Sang like Roseanne. Swam like a brick. Thought like Alec Baldwin. If they were a movie, they would be Ishtar. If they were a song, they’d be MacArthur Park. If they were a country, they’d be France. Admittedly, they lost 4 key starters by the third quarter. They lost Terry Glenn to a concussion. Donald Driver, their only reliable receiver, reinjured his shoulder making two heroic catches. Gilbert Brown, who has his own gravitational field, injured his hip. Ahman Green bruised his leg and ran with all the grace of Al Gore. On top of that, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had the stomach flu and was ineffectual as a pass rusher. The defense couldn’t have tackled a Falcon if he were covered in glue. Favre showed the judgment of, well, Alec Baldwin. He was playing hurt and threw some beautiful passes to the wrong team. I am actually glad they are out of the playoffs as it would have been embarrassing to go to Tampa Bay and start the entire practice squad. Still this is the first time Green Bay has ever, and I mean ever, lost at home in the playoffs. I give Favre 3-5 more years before he retires. Aging bodies and salary caps spare no man.

The Falcons played great but enough about Mike Vick. Ooh, a running quarterback. A revolution of the position. Never seen that before. Except for Steve McNair three years ago. Or Kordell Stewart five years ago. Remember Slash? What about Steve Young before that? This revolution arrives every three years and every three years teams draft more speed on defense. So much for revolutions. Let’s see how good Vick is when a defensive ends blows out his knee. Don't get me wrong, Vick played a great game. But the Vick hype is almost as annoying as the Jeremy Shockey craze.

The Colts are out, slaughtered by the Jets. The Jets have a good shot to go all the way. The Browns are out after the refs handed the game to the Steelers. The refs called a good playoff game until the last half of the fourth when flags flew like confetti. Funny how the calls always benefited the Steelers. The Browns wasting time on run plays didn’t help. Now the Steelers will go to Philly. I hate the Steelers because of their idiot coach. I hope the Eagles vaporize them.

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! Now the Giants have choked too. Every team I hate is advancing. What did I ever do to deserve this? The fourth quarter was a disaster. Terrell Owens got two, count ‘em two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Why wasn’t he ejected along with the punching Giant? The refs also blew the pass interference call on the last play of the game. There were offsetting penalties and the down should have been replayed. I hope the Niners get buried next week. Oh, and fire Fassell. He made absolutely no adjustments after the Niners went to the no-huddle offense. You had your chance Jim, get out.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, January 06, 2003 | link

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Friday, January 03, 2003

Check Them Out!

I am adding some new sites to the blog roll. World News, Online Newspapers, and the News Directory are exactly what you’d think. News sites. I cover them 2 posts down. The other two are religious blogs.

Catholic Blogs is a listing of Catholic blogs. I know. You're shocked. This site is also known as St. Blog's Parish, but if that means anything to you, you already knew it. There’s lots of good stuff here. Browse to your soul’s content.

Catholic Blog for Lovers. I love this site. It has everything! Prayers, poetry, recollections, pictures, you name it. Dang, you gotta love a Lover.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, January 03, 2003 | link

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Thursday, January 02, 2003

A-Bove It All.

Now he’s done it! That infernal writer fellow hath gone and wrote some poetry. You know what that leads to.

Of the two poems I prefer the second one. The first, House Hold, is just too disjointed for me. It doesn't seem to have gelled and I am more distracted by the syntax than encompassed by it.

The second poem, Road Scape, is more my style. There is a great rhythmic flow to it and it evokes a definite mood. It’s earthy with a touch of darkness. I like it. I can see it. I like the physical sense of the poem.

“If the wind blew right
the smell got to you
a good mile before
you had to brake for those barn-sized
four-legged things
whose steamy bodies
threw out a cloak
that glowed gray-green
in moonlight”


The rural landscape is alive and I entered into this poem pretty easily. Interesting notions of escape here. If you follow the links to Bove’s website you’ll find more poems. I haven’t read them all, but I read two I liked very much: “Poem at Diaphanous Hotel” and “To A Dancer.”

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, January 02, 2003 | link

The Literarium.

The Literarium has been updated. There's a Lewis Grizzard and a magazine. The magazine is a travel mag and the best part was a listing of useful travel information and news sites. Here's the list, as I think it is a valuable one.

Travel and News Sites! Here are English language news sites from Turkey, Germany, and Spain. The Times of India is pretty essential. Two online directories of news sites are Online Newspapers and Newsdirectory. Those two list tons of links to various news outlets in several languages. You can also try the International Herald Tribune and the World News Network. There are also the old standbys, the US Bureau of Consular Affairs and the US State Department Overseas Security Advisory Council. Another good site is the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which is like the US sites but does not alter its advisories for diplomatic reasons. In other words it’s a little more honest.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, January 02, 2003 | link

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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
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