Friday, August 28, 2009

Revolution Revisited

In our last episode, Doctor-In-Da-House Howard Dean mentioned something about a reluctance to take on trial lawyers, in the pursuit of health care reform. We all know what a nuisance the system has become. That’s why they’re called “nuisance lawsuits,” right? That’s why tort reform is in everybody’s interests, right? Except if you’re a lawyer, but who gives a rat’s patootie about them, right? So we weren’t sure we heard the good Doctor right the first time. That’s why we need a straight-up guy like Charles Krauthammer to back Dean-o up on the facts.

Or something.
Forty-one years ago this week, The Beatles released one of their last singles, “Hey Jude” to the world. This past 30th of April, the world responded, as 13,500 people sang it together in London's Trafalgar Square. The folks who arranged mass dance-in at Liverpool Street Station, led the huddled masses to believe that they would be dancing. Obviously there was a change of plans. And so it goes for this week’s Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What I Missed At The Revolution

[UPDATE: New video added, with a lame excuse for avoiding tort reform. It seems they cannot afford to upset trial lawyers. Really.]

Last night, Congressman James Moran (D-VA) had a town meeting for health care reform. I wouldn't care much, except that he's my congressman, even though I'd just as soon he wasn't. Nevertheless, I had a chance to go with a buddy of mine, but it would have meant leaving work early, going to the outskirts of town, and waiting in line to end up not getting in. There were also rumors that illegals were going to be paid $250 to carry signs supporting the reform. I wouldn't put it past that bunch of left-wing yahoos, after some of the stunts they've pulled lately.

Jim Geraghty of the National Review provided continual tweets from his BlackBerry, which was the next best thing to being there, if you don't count watching it on C-SPAN. (The first two messages were sent from a desktop or laptop.) The doors opened at 6, and the whole shindig lasted from 7 to 9. And so, without permission or shame, here's what Jim recorded as having gone down, as of about 10pm last night:

50. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., says her constituents tell her they prefer telephone town halls.
about 7 hours ago from TweetDeck

49. Boy, Obama officials love that "keep the government out of my Medicare" anecdote. Ha ha ha, let's all laugh at that confused old person.
about 6 hours ago from TweetDeck

48. Temperatures in the 90s, long lines and buzzing flies: formula for a happy crowd at tonight's Howard Dean/Jim Moran forum.
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

47. Heard on line at town hall: "What if there's another shorter line on the other side of the building?"
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

46. Crowd turning ugly as rumors of a secret, shorter, second line persist.
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

45. If anybody's care is gonna get cut, I say we start with the guys who bring personal loudspeakers to town hall lines.
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

44. Overheard on line: an insistence that any effort on tort reform will lead to doctors amputating the wrong limb without consequence.
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

43. Now the debate is whether the VA is terrible or whether it is a role model.
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

42. See that, folks? The LaRouchies have the Obama-Hitler posters, not the Republicans. The LaRouchies, the LaRouchies!
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

41. Moran's folks will be checking IDs to make sure you're a constituent. Hey, can we try that on Election Day, too?
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

40. Well, I'll say this for the LaRouchies: they don't give off that well-heeled Brooks Brothers phony vibe.
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

39. Brilliant: Guy behind me citing Scientology in argument with LaRouchie.
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

38. @leonwolf Oh, rest assured, I'm wearing Brooks Brothers to the town hall in silent protest.
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

37. Overheard insight on town hall line: "Whatever the situation is now, it's not good, and it has to be made better."
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

36. Our first shouted "that's so much bu******!" between guy walking to back of line and guy on line.
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

35. No injuries to Gadsden flag bearer yet.
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

34. The Marleyians are here. I understand they have questions about medical marijuana.
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

33. My favorite sign so far: "Death panels create jobs for America."
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

32. In the basketball arena, the crowd offers dueling chants, yet the problem with the bill has very little to do with volume.
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

31. I feel like I've got the cheap seats for a basketball game between "HEALTH CARE" and "FREEDOM!"
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

30. New favorite sign: "Don't kill Betty White." Can't we unify around anything in this country?
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

29. [Judas] H. [Priest], people, don't heckle the Rabbi.
about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry

28. I'm told the doors are closed. Arena holds 2500, Moran estimated 500 more standing...
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

27. Moran: "We spent four hours listening to an explanation of the bill's technical language." Crowd: "AWWWWW!" Wow. Mass sarcasm.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

26. Can we get a three second rule for heckling? I want succinct expressions of skepticism.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

25. Now Moran's in trouble with the lefties for talking no coverage of costs less than 2.5 percent of your income...
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

24. What? I'm stuck listening to Moran go on about doughnut holes while mkhammer gets to cover a fight outside?
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

23. We're forty-five minutes in, and special guest Howard Dean has yet to speak a word.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

22. Moran declares that the idea that government bureaucrats will determine coverage is "nonsense."
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

21. Moran blurs "end of life counseling" with panel that would review which medical procedures are cost-effective.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

20. Moran insists end-of-life counseling is "completely optional." Yes, but under the bill, doctors get paid for one option, and not for other.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

19. @TeresaKopec So you trust those infamous tonsil profiteers to not nudge their patients towards end-of-counseling?
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

18. Moran: "There is no rationing of care under this bill." Boy, good thing we don't have a shortage of primary care physicians.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

17. Moran pretty much does the, "you're not paying for abortions, you're paying for a private plan that may pay for abortions" tap dance.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

16. One hour in, and Howard Dean still hasn't spoken. I'm too far away to see if he looks bored.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

15. Is it just me, or has Howard Dean lost a lot of weight? He looks almost lanky, and I thought he was stocky...
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

14. Randall Terry is now disrupting. Awaiting the taser.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

13. Moran offers Terry the first question. Weak, Congressman. You're knuckling under to a heckler. Crowd chants, "kick him out!"
about 2 hours ago from TwitterBerry

about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

11. First Q: My brother had a great experience in France's system. Why are Americans afraid of such a wonderful thing?
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

10. Moran says co-ops are not an acceptable compromise; "it's no substitute for a public option."
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

9. Someone is impersonating questioner "Chris Appleton"! First sign of Moran's temper in his response.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

8. Moran: "85 percent of people will experience no change under the legislation." Crowd, recalling the earlier "overhaul" talk, is skeptical.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

7. Some folks have had all of the health care townhall excitement they can handle, and are heading to the doors...
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

6. Q: Medicare is run by experts; it's 39b in the red. Dean asks who wants to get rid of it. Moran says medicare is "not actually" in the red.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

5. Q: Where's tort reform? Dean: The more you put in the bill, the more enemies you make. That's lame enough to get even me jeering.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

4. Dean says adding tort reform wouldn't add a single vote of support to the bill.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

3. Moran: "If the bill included tort reform, it would have had to go through the Judiciary Committee." Crowd, in mock sympathy: "AWWWWW!"
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

2. Ah, finally, the questioner who wants to give Moran, Dean, and the whole Democratic Party a stategy [sic] lesson. This is our time well spent.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

1. And it winds down... Good night, folks.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

Mary Jo Kopechne (1940 - 1969)

...was a schoolteacher, secretary, and political campaign worker, who was killed one night forty years ago, in an automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island at Martha's Vineyard. The driver, a prominent United States senator, claimed to have made several attempts to save her, but did not report the accident until the next morning, when the car and the body were found. The senator pleaded guilty to "leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury." He received a two month suspended sentence. The Kopechne family has never commented publicly on the incident.

The senator went on to a distinguished career in politics, but for a failed attempt at nomination to run for the Presidency. He died early this morning, after a long battle with cancer. The woman who was never able to live as full or as long a life as he, and whose family received little if any justice, can finally rest in peace.

May God have mercy on that senator. May God have mercy on us all.

[POSTSCRIPT: At least one person of my acquaintance is saddened by today's news. In Washington, you meet all kinds of people, and those who are public figures cannot always be judged by their public legacy -- at least not up close. Some knew a man of uncommon generosity, both to his friends, and to those under whose careers he was a mentor. I was reminded of the latter by one from whom I heard today, a political operative who was helpful in my own career many years ago. I hadn't spoken to my old colleague in over ten years, and all of a sudden, there he was... My convictions remain as they are, yet I am reminded again, that only God knows, what only God knows.]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I would like to take a moment to thank all the little people, upon whom I trampled while climbing my way to the top, to get this Award. I look forward to meeting each and every one of them, on my way back down.

(Look for this near the end of the sidebar in the coming year.)

Will you still need me, will you still feed me...

...when I'm 55?

Because it's coming up in December, and that's when I qualify for some serious senior discounts, like the one at IHOP. Back in 2004, when I turned 50, I already became eligible for membership in the American Association of Retired Persons. Now, they don't like to be called that anymore. They just want to be known as "AARP." As the Nation's largest non-profit, and one of the Hill's most formidable lobbyists, I suppose they can be known as anything they want.

They also want to be known as withholding endorsement of the health-reform plan, the one currently being touted by this Administration. They've got an advertisement on television to get the point across.

You suppose it's the point they intended? What does this say about their real intentions? I really don't know. You tell me. Let's take a look.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Late Passenger

The sky was low,
    the sounding rain
        was falling dense
            and dark,
And Noah's sons
    were standing
        at the window of the Ark.

The beasts were in,
    but Japhet said,
        'I see one creature more
Belated and unmated
    there come knocking
        at the door.'

'Well let him knock,'
    said Ham,
        'Or let him drown
            or learn to swim.
We're overcrowded as it is; we've got no room for him.'

'And yet it knocks, how terribly it knocks,' said Shem, 'Its feet
Are hard as horn--but oh the air that comes from it is sweet.'

'Now hush,' said Ham, 'You'll waken Dad, and once he comes to see
What's at the door, it's sure to mean more work for you and me.'

Noah's voice came roaring from the darkness down below,
'Some animal is knocking. Take it in before we go.'

Ham shouted back, and savagely he nudged the other two,
'That's only Japhet knocking down a brad-nail in his shoe.'

Said Noah, 'Boys, I hear a noise that's like a horse's hoof.'
Said Ham, 'Why, that's the dreadful rain that drums upon the roof.'

Noah tumbled up on deck and out he put his head;
His face went grey, his knees were loosed, he tore his beard and said,

'Look, look! It would not wait. It turns away. It takes its flight.
Fine work you've made of it, my sons, between you all to-night!

'Even if I could outrun it now, it would not turn again
--Not now. Our great discourtesy has earned its high disdain.

'Oh noble and unmated beast, my sons were all unkind;
In such a night what stable and what manger will you find?

'Oh golden hoofs, oh cataracts of mane, oh nostrils wide
With indignation! Oh the neck wave-arched, the lovely pride!

'Oh long shall be the furrows ploughed across the hearts of men
Before it comes to stable and to manger once again,

'And dark and crooked all the ways in which our race shall walk,
And shrivelled all their manhood like a flower with broken stalk,

'And all the world, oh Ham, may curse the hour when you were born;
Because of you the Ark must sail without the Unicorn.'

- C S Lewis, Poems, "The Late Passenger" (1948)

+ + +

Noah's Ark, Französischer Meister ("The French Master"), Magyar Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest. c.1675.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

In January of 2008, over two hundred “undercover agents” went on a mission in New York City’s Grand Central Station. That mission was to freeze in place at the exact same moment. This was the handiwork of the same folks who brought us some other shenanigans witnessed here, for the benefit of our Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

OMG! Peggy Noonan Said Something...

...worth repeating, and it hasn’t happened often in the past year.

Every big idea that works is marked by simplicity, by clarity. You can understand it when you hear it, and you can explain it to people. Social Security: Retired workers receive a public pension to help them through old age. Medicare: People over 65 can receive taxpayer-funded health care. Welfare: If you have no money and cannot support yourself, we will help as you get back on your feet.

These things are clear. I understand them. You understand them. The president's health-care plan is not clear, and I mean that not only in the sense of "he hasn't told us his plan." I mean it in terms of the voodoo phrases, this gobbledygook, this secret language of government that no one understands—"single payer," "public option," "insurance marketplace exchange." No one understands what this stuff means, nobody normal.

And when normal people don't know what the words mean, they don't say to themselves, "I may not understand, but my trusty government surely does, and will treat me and mine with respect." They think, "I can't get what these people are talking about. They must be trying to get one past me. So I'll vote no."

The above is a generous passage, but there's so much more; about how the President can learn from humility, as well as from history, specifically that of his predecessors.

They need to learn that at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, not just the 1600 block. When you insult people's intelligence in large numbers -- and you know who you are, Barney -- they will not react very well. They will not kiss your @$$ and say pretty please while you bus in a bunch of union goons in matching tee-shirts for moral support. They will not stop ranting long enough for you to take a cell phone call. They will not be polite. They don't owe it to you. They voted you in, you big dummy, and they can vote your @$$ out!

Come next year, unless they're as stupid as you think they are, they just might.

Nun Dare Call It Reason

A recent edition of ABC News covered the Holy See's announcement of an "apostolic visitation" for religious orders in the USA. They had the good sense to send a nun, rather than a priest or bishop, to represent them.

There are serious issues of quality of life, and the fulfillment of their missions. Orders which essentially built the health care industry in America -- don't kid yourself otherwise -- and the parochial school system for the faithful, are losing their numbers in droves. This writer has heard first-hand eyewitness accounts, of retired sisters barely living above poverty level, some virtually homeless, because there are few younger members to support them, as was done in the past. On the other hand, orders which follow a traditional charism, wear a discernible religious habit, and engage in apostolates long associated with women religious, are thriving. A new high school in my diocese is staffed by one of those orders, a development unheard of in this day and age.* Why the hell wouldn't someone want to see what's up?

Personally, I just love watching some of these sisters get nervous about being "bullied" by the Vatican. One of them is even quoted as losing sleep over it. I'll just bet they all slept like babies when Sister Mary Lewis was beating the crap out of us in the first grade, scaring some kids to the point of wetting their pants. Maybe the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati should take time out from their Tree-Hugging-Mother-Earth-Goddess worship, to learn a lesson about "sauce for the goose," quit supporting positions that violate Church teaching outright, and get with the program -- while any of them are still left.

But I doubt that will happen. “Officially, Mother Mary Clare Millea is charged with looking into the quality of life of all 60,000 American nuns, but liberal nuns worry the Vatican is trying to reign them in.”

We can only hope.

+ + +

* It's called "John Paul the Great High School." Including "the Great" in the name is absolutely ridiculous, inasmuch as the guy hasn't even been canonized yet -- but, that's another story.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One Minute Theatre: Rory Leydier

This week’s edition of our One Minute Theatre took more time to find than usual. You would like to think that truly creative people can find something other than shock value, to elicit a response from the viewer. But there are some interesting sequences in the work of Rory Leydier, which manage to avoid that problem. He uses pastel on paper and shoots with 16mm film, mixed with short segments of super 8mm documenting the process.

Oh yeah, and it lasts exactly one minute.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Revenge of the Skanks

Longtime readers of mwbh know that we have addressed the issue of provocative dress by young women at inopportune venues, and that we have referred to them as "skanks." It would surely have been clear that the term specifically applied to the manner of dress, and was not an attempt to assign the charge of sexual promiscuity. Nevertheless...

Vogue cover model Liskula Cohen is entitled to learn the identity of the person who slammed her on the blog Skanks In NYC, a judge in New York ruled Monday.

Judge Joan Madden agreed with Cohen that the blog, which referred to Cohen as a "skank," potentially defamed her.

"The thrust of the blog is that petitioner is a sexually promiscuous woman," Madden wrote...

Hah! That may have been someone else's "thrust," but we "thrust" to the beat of our own drummer around these parts. This writer stands squarely behind his writing on the subject.

For the moment.

(h/t to BlondeBlogger.)

Matthew’s Lament

Creative Minority Report may be one of the best things to happen to the Catholic blogosphere in recent years. The brainchild of two brothers, Matthew and Patrick Archbold, joined by an architect identified only as "D Mac," CMR broke significant ground when bloggers with no prior credentials in the Catholic media, not only published a weblog, but did it (and continue to do it) well enough to gain a sizable audience. Having won "Best New Catholic Blog" in the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards, they press on with continual reports on news and features, and excellent writing -- be it on the issues of our time, or the "slice of life" variety -- with a distinctively Catholic perspective. They are not the first to do this, but they are among the few to do it consistently well. Their Creative Minority Reader is a unique supplemental page aimed at highlighting promising writers in the blogosphere -- and when it's a slow news day, yours truly.

The mainstream Catholic press still doesn't give them their due, continuing to limit their focus to authors already established in print, usually by their own publishers. But Catholics with an internet connection know who the staff of CMR are, are tuned into them -- or at least they should be. Alas, such work of distinction may not be enough for Matthew Archbold lately, as he addressed the aspersions cast upon writers who are be dismissed merely as "bloggers":

I don't know why this ticked me off but it did and I just had to write about it...oh wait...I mean blog about it.

His concern is understandable. In fact, it's consistent with what we here at mwbh have been saying for years. I'll give you an example.

Take a guy who writes something really great, something every Catholic with a pulse should read at some point their lifetime, and posts it on his weblog. One of the "big guys" gets wind of it, and provides a link, accompanied by some clever witticism that took all of ten seconds to conjure up. Whose comment box gets filled? Not the guy who wrote the piece, but the internet gadfly who linked to it. His stats take another spike, and he makes one more appeal for the "tin cup" that is his Paypal account. You can bet your boots that the guy responsible for the attention won't see a dime of it.

Some of us may remember a guy who, four years ago, started a blog with a very clever title, that was poorly laid out, and that took forever to load as the artwork was ill-prepared. He did more linking and image uploading than any serious writing. He got two million visitors in three years. Then one day he discovered that fidelity to Church teaching wasn't the weekend picnic he thought it would be, and let that difficulty be known. Within a couple of months, he was gone from the blogrolls, and then from the blogosphere altogether.

So much for all the accolades, all the buzz. He learned his lesson. Fine. Did anyone else???

Good writing is hard. Good writing actually takes time. Good writing requires the ability to assemble coherent thoughts into a line of thought, thus posing something worth pondering for a larger audience. That audience must be adept at more than clever slogans that fit neatly into 140-character-or-less "tweets." People who can do this can have weblogs and be called a "writer" because they actually... er, uh, WRITE. The guy who does little other than get a lion's share of attention from linking everybody else, is not a writer; he is a "blogger."

So there, Matthew, now you know the difference. You also know one more reason why your mother told you that "life isn't fair." Keep writing anyway. The world needs to hear from you and your cohorts. They just don't know it yet.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dawg Days

The month of August is always “down time” everywhere in the States that I've ever lived. Everyone seems to leave town for most of the month. (We could use a few altar servers at my parish through Labor Day. Any takers?) I used to take off about this time of year, but not so much in recent years. And of course, this summer I'm in school, so you can just forget it.

The phrase "Dog Days" refers to the hottest days of summer. The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days: the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather (some of our hottest and most humid days occur after August 11), but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the season of the Nile's flooding so they used the star as a "watchdog" for that event. Since its rising also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all time.

Speaking of school, I just finished my midterm presentation. My grade for the midterm is a B minus. Now all I have to do is actually finish the project. This whole PHP programming thing uses the side of the brain that doesn't always get a workout. So that's a big challenge now. The last class I need to graduate is offered in the spring, and the interim will be spent completing my portfolio.

I don't get out in the sun much. Even though my townhouse community has a pool, I'm getting through a fourth summer without ever using it. "Sal" and I do use the tennis courts, though. She's crazy-go-nuts about badminton, and when she can't get to a game, she stays in practice by using me as a target, as well as some degree of personal amusement. Obviously we don't keep score.

I've got at least three drafts waiting for mwbh. Now that the midterm rush is complete...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Signum magnum apparuit in caelo...

Clear the way for the entrance
of the bold adventuress
who undoes injustice,
who smashes insults.

The sun's rays are her
resplendent armor,
the stars her helmet,
the moon her boots.

On her shining shield
with which she dazzles hell,
a mountain is emblazoned
and golden letters: Tota Pulchra.

Celebrated for her beauty,
feared for her ferocity
she is jaunty and valiant,
and angelic is her beauty...

She dispelled the charms
of the ancient serpent
whose conspiracy
set us under slavery's yoke.

She avenges wrongs
and annuls unjust laws,
gives refuge to orphans
and shelter to widows.

She liberated prisoners
from that prison where,
were it not for her daring spirit,
still they'd await their release.

All hell trembles at the mere
mention of her name.
And they say its very kings
fast on her vigil...

She is the one, whose tread
no demon can endure.
When he sees her feet,
he takes to his heels.

Crowned with glory and honor,
the deeds that brought her fame,
since they cannot be contained on earth,
send her riding out of this world.

As knight errant of the spheres
on a new adventure,
she finds the hidden treasure
sought by so many.

(Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (+1695) was a Mexican nun, poet, dramatist, and spritual writer.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Communicator vs Obfuscator?

Much has been made about the late President Reagan as "The Great Communicator," as political and social conservatives across America honor his memory, and long for a return to the resurgence of their ideals which he heralded. Amidst the victory of a very different Presidency, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner, notes the similarities in the two presidencies amidst the differences -- and one difference in particular.

Like Reagan, Obama came into office during a period of major economic recession.

Like Reagan, Obama has proposed a transformational program of economic change to combat the recession.

But unlike Reagan, seven months into his presidency, Obama's program for change is foundering, while Reagan's was triumphant.

Obama would be wise to ask himself, why?

The answer boils down to one word...

While very pointed in its indictment, this piece refuses to cast aspersions on the current President -- a fresh breeze of civility amidst depictions of political shouting matches. It also betrays the long term contrast between two political philosophies. Which way will America choose to preserve herself?
Hey, kids, those school bells are gonna start ringing any day now, if they haven’t already, and we here at mwbh know that not all of you are homeschooling, so it’s time to get skooled! David Choi and the Far East Movement team up for some handy back-to-school tips. Near the end of this video, you find out why it’s suspiciously tasteful, yet oh so clever. But who cares? Check it out for this week’s Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

I’m out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


He was just a little boy,
On a week's first day.
Wandering home
    from Bible school,
And dawdling on the way.

He scuffed his shoes
    into the grass;
He even found a caterpillar.
He found
    a fluffy milkweed pod,
And blew out all the 'filler.'

A bird's nest
    in a tree overhead,
So wisely placed up so high.
Was just another wonder,
That caught his eager eye.

A neighbor watched his zig zag course,
And hailed him from the lawn;
Asked him where he'd been that day
And what was going on.

'I've been to Bible School,'
He said and turned a piece of sod.
He picked up a wiggly worm replying,
'I've learned a lot about God.'

'M'm very fine way,' the neighbor said,
'for a boy to spend his time.'
'If you'll tell me where God is,
I'll give you a brand new dime.'

Quick as a flash the answer came!
Nor were his accents faint.
'I'll give you a dollar, Mister,
If you can tell me where God ain't.'

[The above was found making the rounds on e-mail. H/T to "Aunt Sally."]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

(Not So) Alarming News

Every now and then, someone decides to explain the obvious. Today, it's political analyst Karol Sheinin.

Meghan McCain has got to go

Dumb as a rock, and with her face everywhere, she, like omg, doesn’t understand why people don’t want her around:

“What do Malkin and the other conservative pundits hope to accomplish by arguing that people ‘like me’ have no place within the Republican Party? And who exactly are people ‘like me’? Young people? Moderate people? Young female people? People with tattoos who go to biker rallies?”

No, people who are morons and don’t know what the hell they’re talking about yet get to be on TV as the token “Republican”. Those people.

She goes on to say that Republicans can’t continue on their path of “hate and fear” because Obama won on the concept of “Yes we can” and Republicans should use similarly hopeful messages.

Wait, hold on...

Unfortunately, we've made a cult of celebrity out of anyone who can muster enough attention, less for who or what they are, than for who they know. In the past week, Comedian and celebrity chaser Kathy Griffin appeared at a television awards event, and her escort was Levi Johnston. You may remember him, the former fiancé of Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin. Griffin is twice his age. What do you imagine they talk about?

Right, no one cares, my point exactly. But it's news, you see.

Wait, wait... I smell another catfight. MEOW!!!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Let There... Be Air!

[I spoke to “Fender Splendor” himself late today, and he is exhausted, but in good spirits. The hardest working man in air business just released the following on Twitter. -- DLA]

paul alexander is the 6th best air guitarist in these united states. thanks everyone for showing up and screaming their faces off. awesome meeting everyone! love my air guitar fam! see you next year!

[A piece on this phenomenon appeared on NBC's Today, and can be accessed here. Paul was awarded a cash prize for claiming the regional title in Philadelphia. The national champion goes on to Finland for the world title.]

Friday, August 07, 2009

Steven Wright is one of the funniest guys I know. He possesses a deadpan cerebral view of the world around him. “I’m living on a one-way, dead end street. I don’t know how I ever got there.” It’s a matter worth pondering for this week’s Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy. [CONTENT ADVISORY: Single instance of mature subject matter.]

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Twitter: The Good, The Bad, The Indifferent

When I heard that Twitter went down today, I thought they were only kidding. I signed up to TweetDeck just this week, and aside from that notice, would never have known the difference. Probably because I work for a living.

But I did learn something interesting about this emerging new medium. John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), the sixth President of the USA (1825-29), may have been the first Twitterer -- or Tweeter, or Twit, or whatever the h@#$ they're called. His collection of short, less-than-140-character journal entries have been found by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Adams was “posting” as he traveled from Boston to St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was to serve as ambassador.

August 6, 1809:
“Thick fog. Scanty Wind. On George’s Bank. Lat: 42-34. Read Massillon’s Careme Sermons 2 & 3. Ladies are sick.”

You can read the full story in The New York Times, or go straight to his Twitter account:

Nothing new under the sun, eh?

The Year of the Priest

Recently, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI declared the "year of the priest," beginning on the feast of the Sacred Heart (the 19th of June this year), and ending on the same observance in 2010 (the 11th of June). Much will be written about the meaning of the Catholic priesthood in the weeks and months to come, some of it here.

But for now, I've received an advert from a group in Ireland, namely Saint Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association, which has asked me to alert readers of two forthcoming Traditional Latin Masses for the coming Holy Year; one in Ballymany on September 4, the other in Rathangan on October 31 (photo at left).

So, there it is. Memento.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

One Minute Theatre: Hiatus

With preparation for midterms at the Art Institute, our regular feature is foregone until next week.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

America: A Dystopian Drama?

“People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.” -- from the 2005 film V for Vendetta

I attended Catholic grade school throughout the 1960s. I saw a lot of changes just during those eight years. But during the early ones, we were consistently taught about the evils of Communism, and of how our Faith and the Marxist philosophy were incompatible. We listened as the good nuns told us of priests tortured and killed in socialist regimes. But they also told us of how children would be taught in schools, to report their parents to the authorities if they found them engaging in questionable activities. Snitching on your mom and dad, the two people who gave you birth, who nursed you and fed you and cleaned up your messes and all that. Can you imagine?

It all seemed pretty outlandish to me, and remained the stuff of half-forgotten memories -- and as I came of age, the stuff of futuristic novels.

Then I read this on the White House website:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Let me see if I understand this correctly. If you publish a newsletter or a political blog, that begs to disagree with the current administration about health care policy, they want me as a dutiful private citizen to rat you out!

Excuse me, someone's knocking at the door.

[THIS JUST IN: A report from The Hill blog: "Sen John Cornyn (R-TX) is worried that the White House will use a new media outreach program to collect the personal data of its political opponents." Gee, who woulda thought...?]

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday Morning Catfight

Readers of mwbh know full well of our distaste for the daytime television program entitled "The View," in which a panel of women, some of whom -- you'll notice I didn't say "all" -- have little to offer society at large beyond fodder for the tabloids, simulate a kaffee klatch for the benefit of bored housewives and other culturally depraved creatures across America. But today's episode stretched its own boundaries (which isn't saying much, but bear with us, please), and featured a guest who appears to have cracked open a book in her lifetime, which is helpful in advance of writing one.

Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist and Filipina-American Jersey Girl, has been on the talk show circuit promoting her new book, the title of which saves us the trouble of an explanation, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. As the first clip shows, she has already left Matt Lauer of NBC's Today at somewhat of a loss, and has also appeared on ABC's Sunday morning talking-head-fest This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Today posed the ultimate challenge. See for yourself in the second clip.