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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Happy Birthday To Me!

OK, so my natal event was commemorated on August 15 but I recently got the last of my presents. My first present was from moi and consisted of a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Steel blue, if you must know. Her name is Frieda and she is a most elegant horseless carriage. My latest present was from my brother. Making his purchase at around 10:30 pm on 8/15 itself, his gift is technically on time even if delivery wasn’t. He picked two books off my Amazon Wish List. Not just any two books, not even the two cheapest, but the first two he saw on the screen. What a guy. One of my new tomes is by this mustachioed guy in a Hawaiian flowerty shirt. Could it be? It is! It’s UFOs of October by none other than Spinster Bob! What a wonderful addition to the big pile of books just itching to be read. Joy.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, August 31, 2003 | link

Football Round-Up.

I was at work for most of it but Alabama won their season opener. They trailed badly for the first quarter and a half but came back towards the end of the first half and really turned it on for the second. Auburn stank up the field their whole game against USC, winding up with a big fat goose egg on the scoreboard. If Tubberville can’t figure out Pete Carroll’s Two Runs and a Pass offense, Auburn should fire his butt. Green Bay sucked all pre-season. The Patsies looked about average. And every sportscaster in the nation breathed a sigh of relief when the Steelers cut Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, August 31, 2003 | link

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Saturday, August 23, 2003

My Main Man.

How sweet it is. The slanders against Pius XII fall more and more to pieces with each passing day. Two new documents have been released by two separate archives, each recording Papa Pacelli’s strident anti-Nazism. One document is from the papers of the US Consul General in Cologne, Alfred Klieforth, and the other from the Joseph P. Kennedy archives. Says Klieforth:

“ ‘He (Cardinal Pacelli) opposed unilaterally every compromise with National Socialism. He regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel but as a fundamentally wicked person. He did not believe Hitler capable of moderation, in spite of appearances, and he fully supported the German bishops in their anti-Nazi stand.’ ”

I really love this next one. This one was suppressed by Joe Kennedy and has only recently become available to scholars with the opening of more of the Kennedy Family archives.

“Sounding beleaguered and perhaps a bit frightened, Pacelli expressed the view that the church 'at times felt powerless and isolated in its daily struggle against all sort of political excesses from the Bolsheviks to the new pagans arising among the young "Aryan" generations.' Nevertheless he assured Kennedy that any political compromise with the Nazi regime was 'out of the question.' ”

Why was that bit of anti-Hitlerism suppressed by Kennedy? Two reasons: the obsessive secrecy of the “old world” diplomacy of the time and the pro-Nazi sentiments of Joe Kennedy. The fact remains that Pius did make his opinions on Nazis very clear from the start.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, August 23, 2003 | link

A-Bove it All.

While Bob’s on vacation, the Babes will play. And playing around I found this great review of The UFOs of October by none other than Robert Bove! Yep, ol’ Bob is an honest to goodness poet and a very good one. Prove it to yourself by going here.


posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, August 23, 2003 | link

Moving on Up!

Alicia the Midwife moved her blog and don’t fret, she lifted with the legs not the back.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, August 23, 2003 | link

Me No Likee.

One of the worst of the pedophile priests, John Geoghan, was murdered in prison today. This was a horrific case all around and this end is fitting by its very horribleness. I am in no way happy about his death and hope he reconciled himself with the Lord before his murder. I would pray for his soul if I were a better person. The response from the Church was merciful and proper. The Archdiocese of Boston said it would pray for Geoghan’s soul and offered its prayers for his family. That’s the only Christian thing to do. Without the forgiveness of sins and the hope of mercy for even the most wretched sinner, Christianity is less than meaningless. One thing does disturb me, well two things actually. First, shouldn’t a prisoner this high-profile and unpopular have been in some high-security lockdown? Why was the murderer able to get to him? That’s the little bothersome thing. The big one is how downright creepy the victim’s lawyer sounded. Aside form near gloating at murder, his only statement was to regret not being able to cause the dead pervert more pain and suffering. Nice to know he’s claiming the high moral ground. I mean, this murder has just happened. Geoghan may have been a monster but his family is not. Isn’t it customary to keep one’s statements to some bland “lack of closure, sympathy for family” bromide, at least within the first 24 hours? Earth to lawyer, you are a paid spokesman, buy some decency.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, August 23, 2003 | link

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

What I'm Reading (finally): The Disaffected Muslim

I check this blog daily, just in case Fatimah has posted. She is always interesting and has a unique point of view. Most blogs about Islam that I have seen tend towards the fundamentalist position but Fatimah has lots and lots of questions. It's most refreshing and I highly recommend it. Fatimah has been unable to post for a few weeks but she's back now. Read early; read often.

What I'm not reading, by the way, is The Devil Wears Prada which was a big disappointment. There really should have been more of a comeuppance than simply a bit of screaming and everyone living happily ever after.

I'm thinking I should make a list of all the books I own but haven't read yet so I can cross them off as I read them. Of course that makes me think of one of the Grimm's Fairy Tales about the nature of eternity: how a little bird came upon a huge glass mountain and started pecking away until there was nothing left but one grain of sand, and that was the beginning of eternity. Making the list and reading one book while adding six more would make this project eternal.


posted by Carol on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 | link

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Sunday, August 17, 2003

What I’m reading: The Devil Wears Prada

I got this at the library as it didn’t seem like anything I would want to read twice and, having read half of it, I’m glad I didn’t buy it. However, after starting off thinking this was going to be a pale rip-off of The Nanny Diaries which was so good I half-way wish I’d bought it, I think I am going to do my best to finish this book. It’s due at the end of the week and I won’t get to renew it since there are still people waiting for it.

This is the tale of Andrea Sachs, newly graduated from Brown University, who gets her first real job as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, biggest cheese at Runway” magazine (think Vogue or Bazaar). Miranda’s main goal in life is to be a spoiled brat and make everyone perform like trained seals for her. Although the book starts off with lots of whining, Andrea finally starts making interesting observations about life at the magazine and starts noticing the horrible effect her job is having on her friendships. Andrea isn’t a total dunce and some of her observations are quite sharp. There’s a plot developing around some writer-about-town that I’m not sure I give a fig about, and I’m tired of Andrea’s descriptions of the tasks she has to perform for Miranda, and I keep hoping there will be more observing and less whining. I think the book jacket promises either murder or attempted murder, or at least plotted murder, so I am going to be optimistic and keep going with it.

Last book: Ann Coulter’s Treason. Just like the last one, I found it largely unreadable. I can only take Coulter in very small, almost eensy, doses. Even a single column may be too much at one sitting. If she would stick to one subject, her vituperation might be half-way to entertaining but, face it, if you raised yourself on Florence King’s invective, Coulter is just sad.

Next up: Free Agent Nation, which I’ll be giving at least a good skimming. Followed by either a Jonathan Kellerman novel which I read for the same reason I read the “Left Behind” series (J. Kellerman isn’t half the writer his wife is and I keep wondering if his main character, Alex Delaware, can get any more annoying than he was in the last book) or Michael Ledeen’s book about “Terror Masters” whose exact title escapes me. It all depends on which one is due first and which one I can renew.

Now I can quit feeling guilty about not having posted since the Blue Angels party without having to resort to dog-and-cat-blogging. I’m sure I’ll have to resort to that at some point, but I’m saving it for a rainy day. Next post: Muslims as Co-Citizens of the West: Rights, Duties & Prospects. Would I make that up?

posted by Carol on Sunday, August 17, 2003 | link

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Monday, August 11, 2003

Twinkling Buttocks.

I thought that would get your attention. Theodore Dalrymple writes a very good piece on the destruction of culture, the lurid porno-philia of self-proclaimed elites, and why D.H. Lawrence is crap. I agree on the first two but can’t fully sign on to the last. I haven’t read enough Lawrence to form a real opinion. I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover in high school and liked it, which may prove his point. But come to think of it, I did think the quality went way down after the major screwing scenes. So maybe Dalrymple is right. In any case, he does a masterful job of explaining the stamping out of every last vestige of civilization in the modern world. Here’s the gist of it:

“A crude culture makes a coarse people, and private refinement cannot long survive public excess. There is a Gresham’s law of culture as well as of money: the bad drives out the good, unless the good is defended.”

But what happens when the people who should defend culture and civilization are hell-bent on destroying the same? The cultural elite, who should want to preserve a sophisticated culture, if for no other reason that to wallow in some kind of superiority, have dedicated themselves to reducing them and us to mere animalism. Consider their war on the mere concept of virtue:

“For example, the boundless prurience of the British press concerning the private lives of public figures, especially politicians, has an ideological aim: to subvert the very concept and deny the possibility of virtue, and therefore of the necessity for restraint. If every person who tries to defend virtue is revealed to have feet of clay (as which of us does not?) or to have indulged at some time in his life in the vice that is the opposite of the virtue he calls for, then virtue itself is exposed as nothing but hypocrisy: and we may therefore all behave exactly as we choose. The loss of the religious understanding of the human condition—that Man is a fallen creature for whom virtue is necessary but never fully attainable—is a loss, not a gain, in true sophistication. The secular substitute—the belief in the perfection of life on earth by the endless extension of a choice of pleasures—is not merely callow by comparison but much less realistic in its understanding of human nature.”

As for Lawrence:

“Yet literal-mindedness is not honesty or fidelity to truth—far from it. For it is the whole experience of mankind that sexual life is always, and must always be, hidden by veils of varying degrees of opacity, if it is to be humanized into something beyond a mere animal function. What is inherently secretive, that is to say self-conscious and human, cannot be spoken of directly: the attempt leads only to crudity, not to truth. Bawdy is the tribute that our instinct pays to secrecy. If you go beyond bawdy and tear all the veils away, you get pornography and nothing else. In essence, therefore, Lawrence was a pornographer, though a dull one even in that dull genre.”

A very good article. A bit scary too.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, August 11, 2003 | link

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Friday, August 08, 2003

AWOL.

Sorry to vanish for so long. But look on the bright side: football season is right around the corner. Soon you’ll get at least one long tirade a week. By the way, did you see the Patsies play the Giants last night? The good news is the defense looked delightfully evil. The bad news is that Bilacek is still calling stupid offensive plays. Can anyone say “two runs, a screen pass, and a punt”? Bilacek said it all night. Brady’s going to have a tough year if he can’t pass.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, August 08, 2003 | link

Welcome Back!

Raw Observations is back! After an employment induced hiatus, it’s time to get Raw.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, August 08, 2003 | link

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Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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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.
Contact the Spinsters at: brodskii@yahoo.com (Gena) calhounista@hotmail.com (Lee Ann)

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