Monthly Archives: August 2007

He’s got it!

Roe Conn just now on WLS-AM, saying he liked having Bill Clinton lie to him, but not Hillary.  He doesn’t like her, he said, “and you know why?”

She’d be yellin’ at me all . . . day . . . long.

He’s got it about her.  It’s a masculine remark but not sexist.  And it’s her.  That look.

The elegant assassin

This guy has called Toni Morrison’s novel “Paradise” “babyishly cradled in magic . . . sentimental, evasive, and cloudy.”

Check him out at New Republic and (soon) in the New Yorker, as “blood pressure of some of America’s leading novelists” rises, per Boston Globe.

The devil makes them do things . . .

Three reasons why Chicago Bears player Lance Briggs walked away from his crumpled $350G auto at 3 a.m. Aug. 27 on the Edens:

1. He had to go to the bathroom real bad.

2. He had to call his mother to say he was not hurt.

3. He had to call Coach Lovie Smith to say he was not hurt.

These are things Lovie Smith might have said at the news conference where he said Briggs had broken no team rule by having this one accident and rejected any notion of alcohol-related impairment — that which tore it finally for the fired Tank Johnson.

But look, forgiveness abounds. If God forgives in a split second, so can everyone else, because God is perfect and we can do no better than He.

Atlanta football player Michael Vick is sorry for making dogs kill each other and killing dogs himself. He knows how to talk:

“I’m upset with myself, and, you know, through this situation I found Jesus and asked him for forgiveness and turned my life over to God. And I think that’s the right thing to do as of right now.”

We know, Michael. We know. And Internet commentators have hopped on this in an unseemly manner:

* Beth at Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Michael Vick gave a brief statement to the press following a hearing this morning in which he plead guilty to all the crimes he has adamantly denied and claimed were upsetting his mother. . . . . He added at the end of his statement that one good thing had come from this. He had found Jesus [and please don’t take all his money away.]

* Holy Juan has a cartoon, “Michael Vick finds Jesus.”  He’s in the end zone with both hands raised.

* The Brushback.Com has this to say: ATLANTA–In a press conference held yesterday at the Ritz-Carlton in Manhattan, Jesus Christ, savior of mankind, announced he is conceding his throne to the Atlanta Falcons star QB Michael Vick. The ceremonial torch-passing signified the end of Christ’s two thousand-year run and the long-awaited appointment of Vick as the Son of God.

And there is lots more. The question, however, is what would Dietrich Bonhoeffer say?

“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. [It] means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. . . . ”

This is hard talk. Who can believe it?

More to come on the fascination with Jesus at key moments by indicted celebrities. . . .


Furthermore . . .

Look at Chicago Daily Observer for thoughts on Father McGuire, the Jesuits, and the latest accuser.

Mass, the Bible, and Father McGuire

WHAT CATHOLICS HEAR AT MASS . . . Just returned from SSPX territory (Society of Saint Pius X), where mass is Tridentine and the calendar too.  So we had old-style 13th Sunday after Pentecost readings, which meant we heard nothing from the OT, so that I neither heard nor read Isaiah 66 predicting proclamation “to the distant coastlands” of Yahweh’s glory by means of horses, mules, and dromedaries.

Neither did I catch Hebrews 12 with its encouragement to accept trials in life as acts of discipline by a loving father, namely Yahweh, known as God to most of us.  Nor Luke 13 with the narrow-gate warning by Jesus: “Many are called, but few are chosen” in the old translation, and with “Depart from me, ye cursed” somewhat sanitized to read “Depart from me, all ye evildoers.”  The meaning is the same pastorally speaking, but the punch is about half-strength.

However, I did hear Father Michael sermonizing on the importance of frequent confession, even for those who never have other than venial sins to confess.  It’s a sacrament, for one thing, and gives grace.  Here is old-time religion: grace discussed as an aid to doing the right thing.  The word rarely comes up mainstream.  It’s part of discredited old-time theology that once reigned in seminary and pulpit.  Times do change, do they not?

I mention three new-style readings, repeated only every third year, because it’s where new-style beats old, in my opinion.  Why not multiply readings while we’re at it, at mass?  (Maybe to drive home moral points year after year, repetition being the mother of study.) 

What I do not miss, however, is the new-style handclasp or hug of peace, which has degenerated from restrained symbolic action to a festival of meeting and greeting that pokes a hole neatly into any aura of reverence one may have ginned up for devotion’s sake if not God’s.

POETRY, PLEASE . . . . What I did hear at the SPPX mass was Galatians 3, Paul talking about The Law and where it fits into the scheme of salvation, and Luke 17, about Jesus and the ten lepers whom he sent to “the priests” cured.  Of the ten, only one, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to thank and praise him, at which point Jesus intoned one of his most quoted lines: “Where are the other nine?” further asking, “Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” and concluding, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

None of this was seized on by Father Michael, unfortunately, in his well-reasoned but repetitious and somewhat dry presentation.  But “Your faith has made you well” — or “thy faith has made thee whole” — is a line that remains with the listener.  It’s something to conjure with in an off moment, when things look especially bad. 

This is a weakness with the SPPX preachers, whom I appreciate for their practicality in matters spiritual.  They need a little poetry in their souls.  We all do.

DAILY OBSERVER . . . My sole column so far for the weeks-old online Chicago Daily Observer, is “Latin mass, anyone? What’s in store for Chicago?”.

Look for #2 soon — I think, though I haven’t heard boo from the editor, Tom Roeser, since I sent it Thursday. It’s about Rev. Donald McGuire, the Jesuit convicted as a pederast last year in Wisconsin.

Since this column went off, the Wisconsin prosecutor has said he wants McGuire back for imprisonment.  McG has been living in Oak Lawn while his seven-year sentences are appealed.

Think pink to be in the pink

Between woman preferring pink and their being better shoppers, “the connecting theme”

is that in the division of labour that forms the primordial bargain of human hunter-gatherer societies, it is the men who do the hunting and the women who do the gathering

says The Economist in a foray into evolutionary psychology provocatively titled “Sex, shopping and thinking pink.”

Furthermore, “There is a fair amount of evidence that men are better than women at solving certain sorts of spatial problems, such as remembering the locations of topographical landmarks,” says Dr. New of Yale (no Dr. No, he).  Can’t agree more: when I think map coordinates, the lady of our house goes by mostly unerring instinct while picking our way on country roads and city streets.

Dr. No, I mean New, studied performance at a farmer’s market, the nearest thing we have these days to gathering.  He found women remembered better where the most nutritious food was found, in which stall.

Two other doctors, Hurlbert and Ling, of Newcastle U., found “a biological, rather than a cultural, explanation for colour preference,” in this case going for the red stuff, which is more nutritious.

Their ancestors in cave women days got it into their system that red (and pink) is where the vitamins are, and the rest is pre-history.

Writer gone wild

Sarkozy of France as risk-taker who relishes life on the edge, a “human bomb,” in the New Yorker, where Adam Gopnik serves up edgy writing such as is relished by the magazine-reading intelligentsia cum cultured despisers:

This makes his aura in France very different from his aura in America, where no French personality since Brigitte Bardot has been such a projection screen for wishful dreams and onanistic fantasies.

Onan, we hardly knew ye.

Durbin nods

Dennis Byrne caught Sen. Durbin (D.-IL) in a politically correct but factually incorrect statement the other day.  He wrote an EPA official suggesting BP would break U.S. law if it discharged further into Lake Michigan, as Indiana has said it may.

Byrne cited the Clean Water Act allowing exception to the no-more-discharging part, “to accommodate important economic or social development,” which is a key argument.  How important is oil anyway?

Durbin also got carried away in saying Greenland will melt 2 to 5 degrees by 2100 and raise sea level 6.5 to 13 feet, citing a UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projection.  However, says warming skeptic (I should say debunker) Patrick J. Michaels,

The IPCC makes no such forecast . . .  [I]t projects that the melting of Greenland will cause a rise in sea levels of between half an inch and 4.5 inches by 2100.

Even in an Al Gore scenario, sea level would rise 8 inches.

Maybe Durbin has always had trouble with that inch-foot difference, from back in grade school.  In that case, should he be allowed to drive?

Is there a doctor in the house? Yes!

What hath God wrought on the South Side of Chicago?  The St. Sabina web site refers to the pastor as

Rev. Dr. Michael Louis PflegerThe Faith Community of Saint Sabina [Italics, boldface added]

When did this happen?  Why weren’t we told?

Thing is, we were told.  It’s honorary, from North Park Theological Seminary, since May.  Career experience.

Inconvenient but true

Criminal activity among young African-Americans is the poison of cities and of race relations; if [Mayor Mike] Bloomberg can force a conversation about it, he could help reclaim urban America.

That’s Heather Mac Donald in City Journal summing up her story calling for “the truth about black crime rates.”

Funny representative

This from Opinion Journal’s Political Diary, which I again recommend at $3.95/mo., is precious.  This Alaska congressman, defending his “bridge to nowhere,” actually to an island with 50 inhabitants that will experience a boom with a bridge, much to the profit of a senator, governor, or congressman, I forget which, who has bought a large chunk of developable land on it:

Quote of the Day III

“My bridges, if you want to call them my bridges — the state’s bridges — will be built. It’s just a matter of when… But it’s a project that gained a lot of publicity because of Katrina and frankly, John McCain, and they started this ‘bridges to nowhere’… There’s never been a bridge built anywhere that didn’t go somewhere” — Alaska Rep. Don Young, in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, on the “bridge to nowhere” earmark controversy.

Bridges do require two separated pieces of dry land, he’s right about that.  As Nebraska’s U.S. Sen. Roman Hruska said some years back when named the dumbest senator, even dumb people deserve representation.

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