Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dealing With Spilled Milk

I arrived home from the grocery store this morning, and as I was carrying the groceries into the house I lost my grip on one of the bags and dropped the gallon of milk onto the foyer floor. The milk explosion that followed the impact was, thankfully, more or less contained to the front hallway and half-bath.

Dead Soldier

The exploded milk mess was a novel experience for me, and I had to improvise in a quick cleanup to keep the white river from spreading via the rivulets in my tile floor. In case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, keep these points in mind.

Dealing With Spilled Milk

(1) Go ahead and turn off the house alarm first. No the noise isn't going to hurt anyone, but it is a distraction. In addition, in less than a minute the alarm company will be notified, and it would be best to avoid having to explain to the arriving police officer that he had to check on your safety because you were cleaning up spilled milk.

(2) Grab some paper towels to lie down as an impediment in the course of flowing milk. Even an entire roll of paper towels is unlikely to be sufficient to keep the white flood at bay, but it is a quick and accessible remedy to stop the progression until you can grab more serviceable implements.

(3) Remove your shoes and socks. You're going to be treading all over a milky mess in a confined space, which means you *will* be stepping in it. Soiled footwear is just not helpful in any imaginable way.

(4) If you have a yarn mop, you can get busy sopping up milk. I tried to make some headway with my sponge mop, but its business end was too small to contend with the task at hand, so I had to abandon that remedy for number 5 below.

(5) Retrieve several bath towels and lay them down; this will stop the flow and sop up the liquid. Being in a hurry I managed to grab a pair of hand towels as well, so I went ahead and included them in the mix, but they really were superfluous.

The Ratio of 4:1
Body-Length Bath Towels:Gallon of Milk
Worked for Me

(6) After sopping up all the milk with the towels, mop the floor with hot soapy water.

(7) Promptly launder the towels. The reek of spoiled milk is not for the weak of stomach, so you won't want to leave the soiled towels in the hamper until the next weekend. Fortunately for me Saturdays are already laundry days, so I was able to work this task into my schedule in stride.

Hopefully you'll never need to apply any of this knowledge. If the scenario should arise for you, however, you won't be caught off guard.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Safety Decals

Mark is the chap in my office in charge of office tech support, facilities, and local beer recommendations. This morning he sent around a brief email:

"In order to help make the office a safer place to work (for us and for our clients), the Action Team has posted new safety decals in the team rooms."

Mark is referring to the sliding glass doors on several of our office meeting rooms: we've had a few unfortunate accidents involving people careening into closed sliding glass doors.

With the new state-of-the-art safety decals, hopefully glass door smashups will be a thing of the past.

The hand was interposed too late to save the face

Note the astonished look of shock and pain

Grateful survivor of a closed sliding glass door incident

Mr. Tech Support, recovering nicely

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Poor China


The handiwork of Chinese mass murderer Mao Zedong -- whose 65 million dead was more people killed than Stalin and Hitler combined -- is in the news a good bit this month.

Red Party propaganda would have it that Chairman Mao was an oppressed hard working peasant dedicated to fighting injustice. In truth he was a loafer who took a job as a party agent to receive “a comfortable berth as a subsidized professional revolutionary.” It's like being a vagabond with a pension.

Like all secular rulers Mao rationalized the unjust and needless death of millions of innocent people, but he added to the mix a policy of deliberate terror to secure his rule: suspected enemies were tortured, forcibly re-educated, brainwashed, and put to death for the flimsiest of excuses, such as using sarcasm (this blogger wouldn't have lasted ten minutes) or telling jokes (make that two minutes). The official government disdain for human life continues today -- e.g. population control through forced abortions is still allowable policy to be exercised at discretion of the local party official.

It leaves one to wonder why:
* White House Director of Communications Anita Dunn praised Mao Zedong’s political philosophy and called him a great defender of individualism.
* The Empire State Building was lit up in red and yellow to commemorate the birth of the PRC.
* A NY Times columnist described the totalitarian regime as "enlightened."

Then again, no, I suppose one doesn't have to wonder so much after all.

The prevailing sentiment of the age favors secularism, which minimizes and removes spiritual and religious considerations from all public policy. Massive numbers of dead and suffering people is the necessary consequence of the policies implemented by secular forms of government.

In a discussion once I was challenged for pronouncing this conclusion. My critic remarked, "What, you prefer all the horrors of the inquisitor's wrack? What about all the religious wars of the Middle Ages? You have no room to pass judgment."

Well, if we go by body count, one has plenty of room to form an objective judgment. The Spanish Inquisition, which is generally perceived to be the most severe tribunal, produced a few hundred dead over the entire life of the tribunal. And if you take the sum of all people killed in several centuries of medieval battles with their crude swords and spears and bows, you'll still arrive at a far smaller number of people killed in one of our modern civilized wars conducted with its guns, bombs, and weapons of mass destruction.

So yes, give me a form of government that publicly recognizes the right of God to rule over the affairs of men. I much prefer that to modern secular, liberal, brutal forms of government any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.

Libera nos a malo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Colleague's Last Day

The other day a colleague in the Seattle office sent out a note that it was her last day -- she'd accepted a position with another company, it was time to move on, etc.

Lydia and I started on the exact same day a little over five years ago. We worked on a project together when I was in Seattle (beautiful city!) for three weeks. Though we got along great, I felt obliged to point out to her one day that because I was on the east coast and she was on the west coast, being three hours ahead of her I technically had seniority. She took it well.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Natural History

Last week my friend Patti of Minnesota sent me the note below:

"Okay, city boy, time out for a refreshing look at nature.

"For a view alone see:

"And for a learning experience see:

"The first one has a couple of pictures that I got this morning and the second one has an awesome picture of a deer standing on its hind legs, so take a moment from your computer work to see what you think. Nothing like a look at nature to refresh the brain, eh?"

Though I normally describe myself as a guy with a green thumb that can kill kudzu, I will hazard a "yep - delightful" in response.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You Have the Freedom to Do As I Say


The Obama administration on Thursday tried to make "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the White House pool except Fox News.

The Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included; the rules of the news network pool simply prohibited it.

To which I say: hooray the networks!

"I'm really cheered by the other members saying "No, if Fox can't be part of it, we won't be part of it,'" said Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, calling the move to limit Feinberg's availability "outrageous."

"What it's really about to me is the Executive Branch of the government trying to tell the press how it should behave..." he said.

Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said conservative commentators speak more for Americans than the national media outlets that have targeted them for criticism.

"Goaded on by a White House increasingly intolerant of criticism, lately the national media has taken aim at conservative commentators in radio and television," the Indiana Republican said on the House floor. "Suggesting that they only speak for a small group of activists and even suggesting in one report today that Republicans in Washington are 'worried about their electoral effect.' Well, that's hogwash."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crusade, Kolbe, Council

In today's installment I've posted the recent Letter to Friends and Benefactors of Bp. Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society Saint Pius X (SSPX), a traditional Catholic missionary society.




Dear Friends and Benefactors,

The enthusiastic response to the Rosary Crusade we encounter throughout the world fills us with consolation and prompts us to take up this theme once again with you. If we are petitioning Heaven with this multitude of Aves, it is because the hour is indeed grave. We are sure of Our Lady’s victory because she herself foretold it, but the events that have been unfolding for nearly a century -- since this triumph was announced at Fatima -- oblige us to suppose that all kinds of other woes could yet befall mankind before this victory.

Yet the rules given at Fatima by the Mother of God were quite simple: if the world does not convert, it will be punished: “There will be a second war, more terrible than the first.” The world did not convert. And God’s answer was not long in coming. Since the Second World War, the world still has not converted. And if people think Russia has converted, they will have to explain to us in what it has converted, and to whom -- economic liberalism?

Almost one hundred years later, we observe that the world has surely not become better; quite the contrary. The war of the unbelievers rages harder than ever, but it has taken an unexpected turn: the demolition of the Church is being carried out especially by subversion, by infiltrating the Church. Our holy Mother the Church is in the process of being transformed into a pile of spiritual ruins while the exterior fa├žade remains more or less intact, thus deceiving the multitude about its real condition. And it has to be admitted that this subversion acquired an unexpected increase of efficacy on the occasion of the Second Vatican Council. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in theology to figure this out; today it is an historical fact.

What part of the responsibility should be attributed to the Council itself? This is a difficult question, but it is clear that this Council was not without effect, and its consequences have been well and truly disastrous. Because of it, the Church fell in step with the world. “We, too, in fact, we more than any others, honor mankind,” said Paul VI at the Council’s conclusion. And the man-centered orientation of Vatican II was harped on by John Paul II. But this orientation is indeed odd for the Church of God, supernatural in its essence, having received from Our Lord Jesus Christ not only its constitution and means, but first and foremost its end, which is nothing else than the continuation of His own redemptive and salvific mission: “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.” (Mk. 16:15-16).

And now, here is the tragedy: the divine mission of the Church has been replaced by a purely human one. It is a great mystery that leaves one astounded. Salvation now comes second, to say the least.

Few men -- very few men, unfortunately -- understand that the terrible crisis of the Church since the Second Vatican Council is a chastisement more terrible than any other, for this time the catastrophe is spiritual: what is wounded, what is noiselessly killed in the midst of an indifference worse than death, are souls. The loss of grace in a soul is the most terrible harm that can happen to it because it makes no noise, it is not felt. And the voice of the watchmen has fallen silent. The call to conversion, to penance, to the flight from sin, temptations and the world has given way, if not to indulgence, then at least to sympathy with the world. There is a real will to make peace with the modern world.

The mission of salvation has given way to a new sort of humanitarian mission; it is a matter of helping men of every condition and religion to live well together on earth.

There is no doubt that everything connected in the message of the Blessed Virgin of Fatima, what is referred to as the Secret of Fatima, has not yet come to an end. Certainly, what we are living is per force part and parcel of the events that will end one day, eventually, with the triumph of Mary. What will happen? How will we recognize it? In any case, it will at least entail the conversion of Russia according to the very words of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In 1917 at Rome, the foes of God were celebrating the 200th anniversary of Freemasonry and the 400th anniversary of Protestantism with parades of special violence against the Holy See. The demonstrators boisterously proclaimed the reign of Satan over the Vatican and the Sovereign Pontiff. Maximilian Kolbe, still a seminarian, witnessed these painful events and said:

This mortal hatred of the Church, of Christ, and of His Vicar on earth is not just an outburst of misguided individuals, but rather a systematic action that proceeds from the principle of Freemasonry: the destruction of all religion, but especially the Catholic religion... [Pisma Ojca Maksymiliana Marii Kolbego franciszkanina, Niepokalanow, maszynopsis, 1970; English tr. from The Immaculata Our Ideal, by Fr. Karl Stehlin (Warsaw, 2005), p. 39].

Is it possible that our enemies should deploy so much activity so as to attain superiority while we stay idle, or at best apply ourselves to prayer without getting to work? Might we not have more powerful arms—the protection of Heaven and of the Immaculate Virgin? The Immaculata, victorious and triumphant over all heresies, will not yield to the advancing enemy if she finds faithful servants obedient to her command: she will bring off new victories even greater than can be imagined. We have to put ourselves like docile instruments into her hands, employing all lawful means, getting the word out everywhere by the diffusion of the Marian press and the Miraculous Medal, and enhancing our action by prayer and good example. [Testimony of Fr. Pignalberi reported during the process of canonization].

He founded the Militia of the Immaculata just a few days after the October 13th apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, when the great miracle of the sun took place. It was in fact on October 16, with six fellow seminarians, that he consecrated himself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the purpose of leading the whole world to God by the Immaculata.

One cannot but be struck by the affinity between the message of Fatima and the response of the Polish Franciscan while reading his act of consecration:

O Immaculata, Queen of heaven and earth, Refuge of sinners, our most loving Mother, to whom God deigned to entrust the entire order of mercy, behold I, N., an unworthy sinner, cast myself at Thy feet and humbly ask Thee to deign to accept me completely and utterly as Thy property and possession; and do with me as it pleases Thee: all the faculties of my soul and body, my entire life, my death and my eternity. Dispose of me as Thou willst, so that what has been said of Thee might be fulfilled: ‘She will crush the head of the serpent,’ and also, ‘Thou alone hast vanquished all heresies throughout the world.’ Make of me an instrument in Thy immaculate and merciful hands, which serves Thee, in order to increase reverence for Thee as much as possible in so many fallen-away and lukewarm souls. Thus the benevolent reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will spread more and more. For whatever place Thou enters, Thou shalt implore upon it the grace of conversion and sanctification, for all graces come to us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus only through Thy hands. [Scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe, new ed. (Rome: ENMI, 1997), Vol. I; Eng. version, The Immaculata Our Ideal]

Very dear faithful, it is in this same spirit that we launched the Rosary Crusade. But prayer is only a part of it: let us not forget the other two very important elements, penance and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By mortification, we wish to make reparation for the insults given to Mary, and in union with her sorrowful Heart we wish to associate ourselves as closely as possible to the sacrifice of the Cross of our Lord, because by it our salvation is effected. Thus we are at the heart of the message of Fatima: "God wishes to introduce devotion to my Immaculate Heart." Perhaps not enough emphasis is given to this aspect, which seems to us even more important than the consecration of Russia and which is the second condition indicated by Mary to the pope for her triumph: consecrate Russia and promote devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

In this month of October we are going to enter into a new phase in our relations with the Vatican, that of the doctrinal discussions. What is at stake is very important, and we recommend them to your prayers. Undoubtedly that also is a part of our Crusade, and obviously this intention is included in the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary we all desire. That also completely outstrips all our own powers, and it would be folly pure and simple to undertake such an enterprise were it not sustained by the power of the supernatural means such as prayer and penance.

We do not want to conclude this letter without also thanking you for your generosity, which enables our work to develop throughout the world. There is one thing, though, that slows us down: the harvest is abundant, but workers for the harvest are lacking. Our Lord has already said it and has shown the remedy: pray for vocations! How we should like to come to the aid of all the faithful who only have the Mass once a month, or only on Sundays, unable to benefit from normal pastoral care...Yet the good Lord has gratified us this year with 27 new priests, and we expect an even slightly larger number next year. But even that is not enough, so great is the demand worldwide.

You are deeply thanked for all your efforts. May God reward you with the abundant graces and blessings we implore on you all, your families, your children. May Our Lady of the Rosary, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, protect you.

On the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, October 11, 2009.

+ Bernard Fellay

Superior General

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Exorcise the Spirit of Vatican II


Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, IA recently denounced "false interpretations" of the Second Vatican Council.

His Excellency favors what's known in the conciliar Church as the hermeneutics (i.e. interpretation) of continuity, which means interpreting the texts and directives of the Second Vatican Council in light of the constant teaching and practice of the Catholic Church.

The prevailing alternative, Bp. Nickless writes, is the "hermeneutics of discontinuity," which is a radical rupture and departure from what the Church has always said and taught.

Basing his remarks on what Pope Benedict said in
his Christmas address to the Roman Curia in December 2005, Bp. Nickless observes that the discontinuous interpretation treats the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Church as two different churches, warning that "the so-called 'spirit' of the Council has no authoritative interpretation. It is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised if we are to proceed with the Lord’s work."

The rebuttal he urges on what he views as the false interpretation of the Council made by extreme liberals is obedience to Vatican II.

Mainstream conservative Catholics are no doubt glad to have a Bishop asserting what they've been saying for decades. Since the 1960s, the bishops one normally hears from are so-called progressives, individuals whose novelties the media loves to spotlight and quote. The conservative folks are not accustomed to being given much of a hearing.

For my part I'm certainly glad a Bishop finally made a headline for defying the
Puff the Magic Dragon Church of the decrepit liberals who are still mired in a stale 1960s mindset.

Granted Bp. Nickless' good intentions, I respectfully submit that His Excellency falls short in his arguments against the liberals.

The reason is that even the "conservative" interpretation of Vatican II violates what Catholic prelates are obliged to do -- i.e. hold to the truths of the Catholic Faith "in the same meaning and in the same explanation" as the Church always taught. The modern notion of
collegiality that took wing after the Council, for example, is a profound rupture with the past. The "hermeneutic of continuity" line of reasoning -- no matter how well-intentioned -- is simply another form of Modernism with a superficially conservative veneer.

The Catholic Faith is an infallible guide for reaching Heaven. Adhere to it, and you will attain Heaven. Abandon it, add to it, take away from it, undermine it, modify it, and you risk losing Eternal Happiness.

The Oath Against Modernism
Given by His Holiness Pope St. Pius X
September 1, 1910

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

I N. firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (cf. Rom. 1:19-20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our Creator and Lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact - one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history - the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way. I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God...

Further reading:

How Are Catholics to Respond to the Present Crisis in the Church?

Two Interpretations of Vatican II: Myth or Reality? (PDF document)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Orionid Meteors

Orionid Meteor
Just to the Right of Venus


The Earth crosses the dust of
Halley’s Comet twice each year -- the next instance being tomorrow morning. The Comet itself won't be on display again until 2061, but early tomorrow one will be able to see the Orionid Meteor Shower, caused by Halley. When a comet's dust particles collide with the Earth’s upper atmosphere at nearly 150,000 mph, it incinerates in a brief, brilliant flash of light -- a meteor.

In 1909 Mark Twain -- who was born two weeks after Halley's passed closest to Earth -- said: "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'"

The prediction was accurate: Twain died one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth in 1910.

Halley's Comet - 1910

Twain had an elder sibling named Orion Clemens. Judging by the literary advice Hannibal, MO's most famous author gave his brother on how to pen an autobiography, I don't get the impression that Twain thought much of him. Anyway, Orion is also the name of the constellation from which the Orionid Meteor Shower takes its name -- the shower is located near the ancient celestial hunter.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

When is a Haircut Not Just a Haircut?

I got my hair cut yesterday. The little family barber shop I like has a red, white, and blue barber poll, stuffed fish mounted on the walls, and plays oldies music over the intercom.

When is a haircut not just a haircut? When the Hair Technician can't cut your hair without creating a permanent record in the cash-register/computer that includes your name and ZIP code.

At least, that was my experience a few years back when I tried one of the hot-shot haircut chains because it was closer to the house than my traditional spot.

"What is your name?" the well-manicured hair stylist asked, her fingers poised over the register keyboard.

"You don't need my name to cut my hair," I replied.

It turns out I was wrong: she froze in her tracks, and a look of panic popped onto her face. She typed something in, and then asked, "OK, what's your ZIP code?"

"You don't need my ZIP code either."

She blinked her eyes a few times, typed something in, and then resumed her normal routine. At the end of the event I received a receipt, which showed my salon name -- Michaael, spelled with two As -- and a ZIP code.

I haven't been back -- not that I'm so much a mounted catfish fan, but I don't like being hassled for something that I receive no benefit from.

I understand how these matters work: the salon wants my name and ZIP code to better market their goods and services to me; they want to know where I'm from so that they can better gauge what locations need new salons, which products to stock on the shelves, that sort of thing.

My point being that my name and ZIP have value to the salon, which means that I should be compensated for providing that data. The fact that providing said information "costs me nothing," as one colleague put it, misses the point: I have something of value -- i.e. my name and ZIP code -- and if a company wants to get it from me, they need to make it worth my while. The fact that they ask for it is sufficient proof that it has significance.

A happy irony here is that I'd gladly provide my name at my family barber shop: they know how to ask for that sort of thing without being annoying.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't Shout "I Won the Lottery!" in a Crowded Store


Linda Brown arrived at a coat store in a rented limousine and announced she'd won the lottery and would pay for everyone's purchases. She ended up causing a riot when customers realized it was a hoax.

Angry freeloaders who had been duped began throwing merchandise on the floor and grabbing clothes without paying for them, police Detective Steven Nace said.

"Everybody was like, 'I still want my free stuff,' and that started the riot," he said. "It looks like (Hurricane) Katrina went through the store."

Brown was arrested on three outstanding warrants for aggravated menacing, misuse of a 911 system, and causing false alarms. She will also undergo a mental health evaluation.

Still no word on whether the looters and vandals will be charged.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Actionable Suggestions


Jeanette on her Taliban Rising blog wrote this morning that "the past months have produced four major news events that, each in their own way, profoundly ravage the cultural value of women in our country...famous 'voices for women’s issues' are conveniently, grovelingly submissive to the agenda of a greater social destabilization..."

The four issues she describes are:
(1) Revelation of the support of ACORN for child-prostitution and sex trafficking
(2) Hollywood celebrity support of a convicted child-rapist
(3) Public statements of Whoopie “rape-rape” Goldberg
(4) New classification of a “moderate Taliban”

Jeanette added, ""ACORN, Polanski, Whoopie 'rape-rape' Goldberg, and the Taliban are the recipients of this orgy of support by silence...the women who ought to raise their voices against these assaults on girls are too busy shopping for their next pair of Lanvin $540 sneakers, gearing up for their next televised encounter with the 'goddess within,' or gossiping about how much money that little 'upstart' from Alaska spent on her new riffle, I thought I’d take up the fight myself and propose these 'Actionable Suggestions,' for American women."

(1) Lobby Congress for a full investigation of homes purchased with ACORN loans to ascertain if brothels were established with tax-payer dollars.

(2) Lobby for the immediate request for extradition to America of Roman Polanski.

(3) Send a request for the immediate "termination-termination" of Whoopie Goldberg from her position on the View.

(4) The women of America need to rally for the protection and defense of the girls and women in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Premature" Nobel Prize


The Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, called Obama's reception of the Nobel Peace Prize "premature," as well as "questionable" because of his position on abortion and other bio-ethics topics.

The newspaper added, “Analysts have almost unanimously interpreted his selection as a way of pressuring Obama to make pacifist choices as his administration continues forward.” Indeed.

The Vatican daily added that Pope John Paul II "was considered by the members of the committee as too ‘conservative’ in other areas, and they feared that awarding it to him would been seen as favoring the Catholic Church over other religions. Their fears were evidently overcome in the much more controversial case of the selection of Obama.” The selection process is mired in political correctness.

My own view is that awarding Yasser Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 was a travesty, and that the credibility of the Nobel Foundation's selections was not improved with its latest installment.

Prayer for Peace
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


- Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekend with Dad

The Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I spent the weekend visiting my father in the hospital. I think he'd rather be doing just about anything else than sitting around a hospital room for 4-6 weeeks, but he's a trooper about it.

For example, the hospital staff likes him, and yesterday one nurse bragged on him when she told me that Dad was her best patient.

"Wow, you must really have a lot of bad patients," Dad interjected.

You see where I get it from.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scenario to Avoid

From the Words of Wisdom Department (names changed to protect bystanders):

I was talking to Burt one day and he asked, "Hey, have you seen Julie's new baby?"

"What, she had a baby?" I exclaimed. "Wow, good for her! You know I thought she'd been putting on a little weight, but I never would have guessed she was pregnant -- she didn't show it at all."

A momentary awkward silence followed, then Burt said, "Sean, Julie adopted."

"Ah," I replied.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Custom Cars

From Beth in NYC: the next time I have $25K burning a hole in my pocket...I want...No, I NEED my very own Cupcake Car:

Another great deal is the JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank, on sale at Amazon for a mere $20k (plus tax, tags, title, shipping, and handling). Be sure to peruse the photo library and read the buyer comments at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why They Walk

St. Francis of Assisi

October 4th is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor (i.e. Franciscans).

Francis described himself as something like God's jester, and he engaged in deeds of love-inspired impetuosity because he thought God would enjoy such spontaneous, child-like acts. For example, while the men of his day were explaining the Gospel's teaching that love of poverty meant being willing to lose the material things of this world to win the crown of the World to Come (which is true), Francis said, "Yes -- but can't the Gospel also mean that we can really and truly embrace poverty for love of God?" And that's just what he did.

Jongleur de Dieu

I was reading a news article a few weeks back about Franciscans who were walking from place to place about the country as a humble spiritual exercise. It seems that in their journey this group of men in brown robes and sandals made an impression on at least a few of the people they came across: strangers would give them food and money, ask them about their journey, and discuss their own lives with them.

I didn't keep the link to the article I was reading, but I recall that the author tried to make the story seem like a modern tale of self discovery by asking whether the Franciscans walked to find God or walked because they'd found Him. I thought this bit of navel gazing missed the obvious point, which was that of course the Franciscans had already found God -- and in Franciscan simplicity the reason they walked is because Christ walked.