29 February 2008

In the Pulpit: A Different Rowan Tells It Like It Is.

Here's something to set the mood for the weekend. I will be working at the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Annual Convention tomorrow, which should prove very interesting. Very, very interesting.

More later.

28 February 2008

The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture

My wife's day. Every day. As Bill Cosby once said, "I've seen her job. And I don't want it."

27 February 2008

Onto A Greater Firing Line.

William F. Buckley, Jr., the founder of the modern conservative movement, a died today.

National Review remembers.

Be An Angel.

A Soldier's Angel, that is. My fellow Louisiana blogger, Greta Perry, is hosting an event in Mandeville, Louisiana, to collect funds and items for an R&R 'cafe' for a 4thID battalion in Iraq, . According to the press release, she is looking for:

"coffee, tea, specialty coffee machines, tea brewing items, aluminum mugs, board games, DVDs, snacks for a cafe', signs and decorations to make this cafe' complete."

If you want more info on how you can help her out, go here.

Dianetics Uber Alles.

We always suspected Scientology as being a bit of a rip-off, but now it appears it literally was - from a 1934 German treatise.

The original German author of 'Scientologie 1934', one Dr. Anastasius Nordenholz, co-founded in 1904 with Alfred Plotez a periodical called, 'The Archive for Racial and Social Biology, Inclusive of Racial and Social Hygiene'. With thinking like that, it's not surprising his treatise on "Scientologie" would appear in Germany in 1934, considering who came to power in Germany in 1933 with all of their wacky "scientific" ideas about biology and race. The English translator of 'Scientologie 1934', Woodward R. McPheeters, even says of Nordenholz' early writings, "I have since speculated that I was looking at the basic source point for the Hitler theories...."

26 February 2008

The Voice For Chenge.

Remember that Che Guevara flag hanging in the Obama campaign office the other day? Well, someone got creative:

Hattip: Charlie Foxtrot.

And The Winner Is.....

How did I miss this? The incomparable Stephen Green at VodkaPundit "Drunkbloged" the Oscars, and gave probably the best review of this year's over-moneyed, over-indulgent love-fest of lefties, sorry, gala.

Read it all.

The More Someone Uses The Word "Change," The More Things Stay The Same.

Let's see now - a multi-million dollar loan from a corrupt foreign national. Check. Handled by a murky fundraiser currently under invsetigation. Check. Resulting in a sweet real estate deal for a Democrat presidential contender. Check.

Hillary? Not this time - it's Barak Obama, who is in a bit of, um, Whitewater over this questionable scheme to allegedly finance some property:

"A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.

The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.

A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

Three weeks later, Mr Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15."

UPDATE: As of 12:45pm CST, dead silence in reporting this story by the American Mainstream Media. ABC News. Check. NBC/MSNBC News. Check. CBS News. Check. The New York Times. Check. Not like this should surprise anyone.

25 February 2008

Reason 8,658 I Am Glad I Live In The USA.

In the UK nowadays, it appears that protecting your own life is a crime:

"A shopkeeper could be charged with murder after an armed robber who tried to steal the day’s takings was stabbed with his own knife during a struggle.

Tony Singh, 34, described as a hard-working family man who often works 13-hour days, was ambushed as he shut his shop on Sunday evening by Liam Kilroe, 25, a career criminal who was armed with a knife."

And who does the Crown think the "victim" is in this case? This guy:

"Kilroe, of Billinge, near St Helens, who had convictions stretching back nine years, was in breach of bail conditions at the time of his death. He had failed to appear in court to answer charges that he carried out armed robberies at a shop and post office with an imitation firearm. In one raid a postmaster was hit over the head with a handgun but the robbers fled empty-handed. In a second robbery, at a general shop in Croston, Leyland, they forced a woman behind the counter to open the till at gunpoint and hand over £8,000."

Hattip: Samizdata.net

Today's Required Reading.

Bill Kristol unloads on Barak Obama and his incredible sense of self-importance, in of all places The New York Times:

"So we don’t have to work to improve our souls. Our broken souls can be fixed — by our voting for Barack Obama. We don’t have to fight or sacrifice to help our country. Our uninvolved and uninformed lives can be changed — by our choosing Barack Obama. America can become a nation to be proud of — by letting ourselves be led by Barack Obama."

But my favorite line is at the end of the piece:

"Paul Krugman is off today."

Just today??

The Trunk Monkey

Here's a great way to start the week - creative auto dealer ads. I don't know about you, but I'd buy a car from these folks.

22 February 2008

Obama: Army Having To Capture Weapons To Fight.

That's a pretty explosive charge - which doesn't seem to be getting much attention. Were he a Republican saying that about a Democrat President, the Mainstream Media would be all over him to prove it.

UPDATE: It appears that ABC News talked to the officer in question, and says Obama's story is confirmed. But Ace of Spades says not so fast...

Having served, I tend to side with Ace. Units often deploy and operate under-strength, and sometimes (more than sometimes!) the equipment you need isn't there when you need it. But a good officer or NCO knows what to do in cases like that, and follows the old rule: "change, adapt, overcome." If that means mounting the DShK you have if you can't find an M-2 in time, you do it. Then you execute the mission and you move on.

Stephen Ambrose used to say that what made the American military so good was the ability of our personnel to adapt and be creative in a given situation. When we ran into the hedgerows in France in 1944, our soldiers didn't complain that Roosevelt had sent them into battle ill-prepared, they figured out how to weld up teeth to the front of tanks to cut down the hedgerows. And they took the metal for those teeth from German anti-tank barricades.

More than anything, what Obama mentioned illustrated that the ingenuity and level of professionalism of the soldiers in today’s Army remains that of the Greatest Generation. That, and the fact that there are always complainers in the military - even officers.

UPDATE "Walker," a veteran of Iraq in 2004-05, has left an excellent reply in the comments section. Well worth reading.

Friday Afternoon Time Waster.

I can handle 25. You?


Hattip: Locusts & Honey.

20 Years Ago Yesterday.

Jimmy Swaggart admitted he 'sinned' - or, more specifically, admitted he had been caught in a sleezy motel outside of New Olreans with a prostitute.

I was working in Back Bay Boston in 1988 when all this hit the news, and it was my first time seeing a major news event in my home state as others saw it. It was not pretty. But it did gave me an acute awareness of how others saw Louisiana and Louisianaians, and unfortunately how many continue to see us today.

Friday Morning History Lesson.

It's about as accurate as some of Hillary Clinton's history lessons, just a lot funnier. Plus, Eric Idle looks better in a dress.

21 February 2008

Ray Nagin Hates Me.

Well, people like me, actually. From this interview with WWL-TV:

"Well because, your newscast, the local newspapers, are feeding these awful, ugly talk shows that are feeding these blogs. If you go look at some of these blogs out there and some of the stories that come from the paper and you read the comments, it’s some of the most vile, angry, people that I’ve ever seen in this community."

Ray, coming from you I take that as a compliment. Let me state for the record that I am not vile (I wash daily) nor am I angry (I am smiling even as I write this). I am certainly not a bigot. What I am, however, is someone who thinks you are utterly unfit to govern the city of my birth.

And each time you open your mouth, sir, you prove my point.

Clown Communion

For those who thought my link to Trinity Church's "Clown Eucharist" was a joke, watch the video.

They are actually proud of this service.

20 February 2008

Send In The Clowns......

For pity's sake, do not let Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, know about this list of the worst worship innovations. They won't know it's a joke. Really.

My Favorite:

Speed Lent - Combining Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter, all in one hour.

Hattip: The Ontario Emperor.

Thank You, Ronald Reagan.

Back in the '80's, the all-knowing elites billed the "Star Wars" missle defense program as the wacked-out fantasy of a derranged old cowboy that was sure to trigger Armageddon. But if this story is confirmed, it is now a deployable American reality sure to make several leftist dictators world leaders crap their pants.

And if it does, I couldn't be happier.

UPDATE: Confirmed. Shot down by a guided missle cruiser. Let's see Putin's navy do that.

The Ultimate Geek Combination.

After that last post, I think we need to lighten things up a bit:
Star Trek Meets Monty Python.

Pop Theology Meets A Real Question.

And can't answer it. How currently Episcopalian.

Hattip: Stand Firm.

You Have No Right To Defend Yourself.

At least, that's the belief of the United Nations. David Kopel, Paul Gallant and Joanne D. Eisen respond in this excellent article that individual self-defense is not only a human right, it is the most basic of all human rights. I agree.

The article is long and legalistic (it's from a law review journal), but it is today's required reading.

Hattip: Matthew and The Volokh Conspiracy.

19 February 2008

Tuesday Evening Distraction.

Before he played a caustic, drug-addicted doctor, Hugh Laurie did Shakespeare. Well, sort of. And with Rowan Atkinson, too.

Real Live Aid.

Why do we need the Millennium Development Goals (peace be upon them) in Africa when we have..... George Bush. Yes, THAT George Bush. Listen to what Bob Geldof, the Irish singer and Live Aid organizer, had to say recently:

Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.

Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, "has done more than any other president so far."

"This is the triumph of American policy really," he said. "It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion."

"What's in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing," Mr. Geldof said.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats:
Matthew 6:2-4.

This Would Make The Book Of Common Prayer More Fun To Read....

As far as theological innovations go, this is one I could support: A pastor issues a challenge for the couples in his congregation to have sex every day for the next 30 days. Couples who are married, that is - the unwed should refrain from sex for 30 days.

The pastor says this is a way to strengthen marriage, bring busy spouses together, and reduce divorce.

Will it work? Dunno. But I'm willing to try. For the good of the Church, of course.

18 February 2008

An Inconvienent History.

The New York Times - the "Paper of Record" according to our Lefty friends - won't let a few facts stand in the way of some of good 'ol historical revisionism in support of The Queen and her recent coronation efforts. Charlie Foxtrot has details.

Such a blunder (if it was a blunder) getting past a "journalist," with all that professionalism and all those editors, just reinforces why the mainstream media's credibility continues to sink, and more and more people find their news on the wide open Internet. Like me, they like their news "free-range" - not processed and packaged.

Charlie Foxtrot is an interesting milblog worth watching, so poke around a bit. Plus, he seems to be a fan of God's Team, so you know he rates high in my book.

Hattip: Instapundit.

15 February 2008

Was This All "Unavoidable"?

Our recent theological kerfuffle in the Anglican Communion is getting some mainstream attention, thanks again to the earlier comments of Our Gracious Lord Of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams - the gift that keeps on giving.

14 February 2008

Don't Worry; Only His Mouth Is Loaded.

A thousand words of irony. Or disgust. From nola.com comes this classic image of New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and his trusty Police Chief Warren Riley - at a "public safety" press conference, no less - demonstrating how to safely handle some, um.... "assault weapons":

Image by: Eliot Kamenitz, The Times-Picayune

More here. It's usually big-city mayors and police chiefs, like the two above, who most loudly clamor for an "assault weapons ban." I'd agree - but only if it applied to elected officials and their flunkies.

A Fair Exchange.

I think this pretty much sums up the current conflict between Islamic Supremacism and Western Freedom:

"Keep your Burka; I'll keep my Clitoris!!"

Also note how recent comments by Our Gracious Lord of Canterbury get a mention. ++Rowan Williams is, alas, becoming the new poster boy for Western appeasement of Islamism, and the credibility of the Anglican Communion is suffering as a consequence. I think it is time for him to go.

Hattip: Instapundit.

12 February 2008

Here's Looking At You, Squidward.

Want to get right into the serious stuff this morning? Nah, me either. So let's start the day with the Spongebob actors overdubbing some famous movie scenes.

Why Voting McCain Is So Critical.

I'll be the first to say that I'm not wild about pulling the lever for John McCain. But take a look at this video clip from a Houston television station showing the opening of a local Barak Obama office. Notice the image on the flag on the wall.

Now, pick your jaw up off the floor.

UPDATE: Little Green Footballs has still images, and a lame response from the Obama campaign.

UPDATE: How about this in response - a US flag with a stylized Ronald Reagan on it. I'd buy one.

An "Unavoidable" Statistic.

Note to Our Gracious Lord of Centerbury: here is your "unavoidable" shiara law currently in action in the UK:

"Up to 17,000 women in Britain are being subjected to "honour" related violence, including murder, every year, according to police chiefs.

And official figures on forced marriages are the tip of the iceberg, says the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

It warns that the number of girls falling victim to forced marriages, kidnappings, sexual assaults, beatings and even murder by relatives intent on upholding the "honour" of their family is up to 35 times higher than official figures suggest."

An "Unavoidable" Reaction.

Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post weighs in on Our Gracious Lord of Canterbury's recent comments about shiara law - and she is siding with The Sun. Ouch.

Lent: The "Christian Ramadan"

I guess this was "unavoidable", too, eh Rowan??

11 February 2008

Getting Even.

Matthew, I'm buying you this for Christmas. I swear.

I Guess The Surge Is Working.

Some classic military humor.

Michael Yon Reports.

Michael Yon is back in Iraq, and he says that South Baghdad is quiet enough that he didn't need a flak vest and helmet while walking about. That's progress.

He also says to keep you eye on Mosul. Al Queda may be on the ropes in Iraq, but Yon says they have learned from their mistakes and are trying to set up shop now in Mosul. He says another nasty fight could well be looming.

Here is Yon's latest post. Note that hs is on the Dennis Miller Show today, and on NPR's 'Talk of the Nation' tomorrow. So check him out.

Back To You, Matthew.

If you can sit through all of this without chewing off your own leg, the game is yours, sir.

UPDATE: Game Over. He handled my Shattner, and fired back with Hasseloff. I am too stunned to reply. Oh, the humanity.

UPDATE: The best I could do would have been..... this.

The Return Volley. The Ball's Back In Your Court, Matthew.

The Serve.

The First Volley. (A must see, BTW.)

10 February 2008

I'm Beginning To Think The Latter.

Following up on his statement about Islamic shiara law being "unavoidable" in the UK, another article asks a basic question about Our Most Gracious Lord of Canterbury: Dhimmi - or Just Dim? Plus, this bit of British understatement, which so clearly defines one of the core problems confronting the Anglican Communion today:

"The man doesn’t even have the courage of his lack of convictions."

UPDATE: I wonder if Our Gracious Lord of Canterbury sees this type of thing as "unavoidable", too?

Some New Album Art.


08 February 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury Publicly Defends The Faith.

Just, not the one you'd think. Roger Kimbell comments on the very shallow deep thoughts of Our Gracious Lord of Canterbury with respect to the rise of Islamism. Roger's money quote:

"The proper answer to such gambits was formulated in the 19th century by General Charles Napier when dealing with sutte, the Indian custom of burning a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Works for me.

UPDATE: There are now serious calls for Dr. Williams to step down as Archbishop after his comments on accepting the "inevitability" of Islamic sharia law. I hate to say it, but I agree he should resign. Dr. Williams has proven himself utterly incapable of defending the Faith from threats from within our Communion ("prophetic gifts", etc.), or from outside threats such as Islamism. Is the epitaph of Anglican Christendom going to be, "Stood for nothing; fell for anything?"

UPDATE: I'm wondering how long it will be before we see burquas in "the colors of sunrise"...

An Episcopal Bishop In Louisiana Publicly Defends The Faith.

What a novel idea. (The original letter is here.)

Things like this make me wish I lived a few parishes further west.

07 February 2008

Don't Bogart That Song, My Friend.

From The Lawrence Welk Show. I guess this version got cut from Easy Rider.

(Top this one, Matthew.)

04 February 2008

Sorry, I Gave At The Levee.

This Sunday is Episcopal Relief and Development Sunday in The Episcopal Church (tm), and the national church organization is putting on a big push to convince you to give up some dead presidents to the Episcopal Relief and Development organization. To help the poor, of course, and to advance the sacred Millennium Development Goals (peace be upon them). They especially want to help the poor in places where they can help the local Anglican Primate understand how advantageous it could be, dollar-wise, to support The Episcopal Church (tm) in advancing their "prophetic gift."

(My church will likely ignore such agit-prop twaddle this Sunday.)

But remember, my Fellow Episcopalians - there is still work to be done here in America. On the Gulf Coast, for example. So instead of sending your hard-earned cash off to help our Presiding Bishop buy some influence overseas, think about sending it here. Or, here.

UPDATE: A look at the ERD numbers. From what I can tell, in 2005 ERD took in $37,055,150 in contrabutions, handed out $11,562,671 of in aid, and it cost them $4,488,601 to do it. But since I'm no accountant, read it, crunch the numbers, and decide for yourself. Remember, 2005 was the year Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and pocketbooks opened generously for lots of charities.

Katherine of Arrogant.

The leadership of The Episcopal Church (tm) throws a bloody fit at the mere mention of any sort of central ecclesiastical authority in the Anglican Communion, a-la the Vatican, which could discipline The Episcopal Church (tm) for their "prophetic gift." But then, here is our good Presiding Bishop running around acting like an Episcopal Pope:

Last week, she attempted to evict the legally elected Standing Committee of a Diocese she does not like, without any authority given her in the Canons and Constitution of our Church to make such a "finding." (They responded.)

And now, she seems to be backing a putsch within The Daughters of the King, a women's group that has Episcopalians, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics as members, to restrict membership to only Episcopalians. Note that The Daughters of the King is not, as far as I know, an official organ of the Episcopal Church(tm). Not does it appear to have ever come out in favor of The Episcopal Church's (tm) "prophetic gift" or prevented other Anglicans from being members. (The latter may be the reason for her interest in a takeover.)

Most of those in DOK I know have been very apolitical when it comes to the Current Unpleasantness (tm); they tend to focus on prayer and service instead. I think, unfortunately for +Katherine, that may well change. It's not nice to piss off a lot of committed women.

What A Ride!

Well, dear readers, I’m back, rested, and ready (mostly) to practice some architecture. But I did promise you a post on the day’s events last Friday.

The Mardi Gras Krewe I belong to os one of the older traditional Mardi Gras Krewes, which parades at night in New Orleans proper. We do things the “old fashioned” way – with real flambeaux carriers, Krewe officers on horseback in full, traditional costume (I am one of those), and with ceremonial toasts at Gallier Hall and at the reviewing stands for the King and his Court. For a Krewe, the parade is actually just one of a lot of other parties and celebrations that start back before Christmas.

During Mardi Gras proper our Krewe festivities usually begin with the "den party", and then with a formal dinner last Wednesday night. Our ball / supper dance is on Thursday night, but this year I had to skip the ball due to my daughter being ill.

Friday is our big day - parade day - and for Krewe-members it begins around 11:00 in the morning when we drop off our parade gear at the hotel where we dress, and head over to the French Quarter to “enjoy the day”. For the older, more formal, members of the Krewe, that means lunch in a famous New Orleans eatery. For the rest of us, it means spending lunchtime in a rented hall over a bar on Bourbon Street, with a balcony, a buffet (which always has fried alligator), and an open bar. I think you can see why I prefer the latter party. As Bourbon Street begins to fill up with people, we show them our favor by throwing them beads:

image by Red Stick Rant

And some the crowd often return the favor by giving us a, um, “showing”. I will say no more about that, as small children and spouses may be reading. But know that a suit and tie (the Krewe tie is preferred for members) is required for either of our functions, so our behavior must be upstanding and respectable. Well, mostly upstanding and respectable, anyway.

At around 2:00 the “walking parade” begins. Just imagine a gathering of several hundred men in suits wandering through the Quarter throwing beads. A band leads off, the King follows in a carriage, and we follow the King. To be honest, the walking parade is one of my favorite events. You get to see, and talk to, folks on the street, and most are rather taken aback seeing a bunch of middle-aged men in suits tossing beads. And the crowd in the Quarter this year was very pleasant, as pleasant as I’ve ever seen. The walking parade winds it’s way back to the hotel so we can dress.

Let me digress a bit about the costumes. And remember as you read this, I am straight. My parade costume consists of a mustard colored muumuu and matching cape, both edged in faux ermine and liberally accented with rhinestones and sequins, a silver sequined hat with white ostrich feathers sticking out the top, a silver lamy mask, and white gloves. And that’s not the worst of it – for the parade we wear riding boots and breeches; for the ball we wear white majorette boots and white tights. Only in New Orleans can you call up a girl’s dance shop, ask for majorette boots and white tights in your size and have the sales clerk say, in a matter-of-fact voice, “And what Krewe do you ride with, sir?”

Now, there is no way you are going to get into that getup alone. The costume weighs probably 30 pounds and is hot as hell. So when you arrive to get dressed, you get a valet. Really. A real live Jeeves. He has been doing this for years, and can get you in your costume in minutes. Once in your costume, you look like this (the one on the right is me):

image by Red Stick Rant

Once dressed, we are bussed to the start of the parade and get mounted up on our horses. Now, I do not actually control the horse. The horse has been mildly sedated and is led around by a “walker”. So I’m not so much on a horse, as a one-man float that poops.

The horse is doped up for a good reason: a mildly stoned horse is far less likely to be scared suddenly and do something to hurt either the rider, a spectator, or the horse. Unfortunately, people will sometimes try to scare the horse or do something get the rider dumped. In the past I have had bottles thrown at me, throws tossed back at me, people grabbing or swatting the horse, or even trying to grab my throws from my saddle. Fall off your horse in all that costume onto a concrete street, and you are likely going to the hospital. (This year, for the first time, I had no incidents.)

Before we start the parade, we always have the doubloon “collectors” show up. The horse-mounted officers throw a special doubloon (ours are purple), and doubloon collectors crave them. I don’t know why, but doubloon collectors are almost always overweight, balding, and over 40. And, they are rude. This is why I do not give “collectors” anything.

Once we get started, around 6:00pm, it takes about two blocks for the horse to get used to it all. And then, it gets fun! You spend the next 120 minutes tossing doubloons and beads to crowds yelling “Throw me something, Mister!” And for me, it’s personal. When a float passes, the crown is addressing their plea to anyone on the float; but when I pass, I am alone – the spectators are yelling and waving directly at me. I tend to toss my throws randomly, but for small children and pretty ladies with a smile I will throw directly to them. It always seems to make them smile a wee bit more.

Once we are through the parade, we dismount at the hotel and then this once-a-year horseman remembers what sore is! (Personally, I think riding English is some kind of punishment invented by Satan.) We return to our valet to get uncostumed and get something to eat and drink. Because we are on horseback, and have no ability to “go” during the parade (the floats have porta-lets on board), we quit drinking and eating when the walking parade begins in the early afternoon. So by the time we get back we are starving and thirsty. This year we were treated to a buffet of po-boy sandwiches, turtle soup, and, of course, drinks.

We spend the next hour or so eating, getting dressed, getting packed, and swapping stories about the ride. We are all exhausted. But we are all counting the days until we do it again next year.

02 February 2008

The Day After.

Well, I survived yesterday. But boy, am I sore and tired! Will post more on yesterday's events, and maybe some images, once I have had time to recover. I'm not as young as I like to think I am.....

UPDATE: Definition of "Not The Brightest Decision": After yesterday, I spent today doing yardwork. Duh. So now I'm gonna crawl into a hot bathtub, drink something that has the word "gin" in it's ingredient list, and, and finish reading Jonah Goldberg's excellent new book. Until tomorrow, then....