Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Special: The United States Redneck Special Forces

Again, via Kathy. God bless our fallen servicemen.

To win the war in Iraq [go here to see hilarious pic]

The Pentagon announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called

The United States Redneck Special Forces.

These Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, West Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas boys will be dropped off into Iraq and have been given only the following facts about terrorists:

1. The season opened today.
2. There is no limit.
3. They taste like chicken.
4. They don't like beer, pickups, country music or Jesus.
5. They are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the death of Dale Earnhardt.

The Pentagon expects the problem in Iraq to be over by Friday.

BTW, I have my own theory about "hockey hooliganism" . . .

. . . something along the lines of, the more you take the fight out, the less "polite" Canadians can displace their interior aggressions onto the game, and the more angry and violent Canadian society becomes. Need to flesh it out more, but you can see where I'm going. I mean, the violence is half the fun of it, right? If it was still the old "I went to see a fight, and a hockey game broke out", then would we have quite the "hockey hooliganism" problem? --Or, is it just North American society in general? My husband points out that there were riots in Vancouver when the CFL B.C. Lions won the Grey Cup a couple of years ago. But I still think I have a point here. Football is much more boring than it used to be, too. Loose the helmets, in both sports! That would help a lot! ;^) (Though, I'm not sure how serious I'm being here, and how silly . . .)

Q: Are Edmontonians extremely, perhaps even over-enthusiastically, excited about their team making it into hockey's Stanley Cup final . . .

. . . even to the point of drinking far too much (especially at the popular bar down the corner from you), wearing hockey sweaters at all possible times and not just on game days, becoming extremely (instead of somewhat) superstitious (for fear of jinxing the Oilers), having 3 or 4 (instead of 1 or 2) team flags on their cars, hollering "Go Oilers Go!" apropos of nothing while dressed in business clothes on Jasper Ave in the middle of a workday, displaying lots of untrimmed facial hair (see: superstitious), forgoing sex in order to lend the Oilers their "mojo" (I'm not kidding - overheard this), seeking to catch the flu going around "to relieve the team" (still not kidding), setting fires and having a mini-riot on Whyte Ave (of course), and yelling, while inebrieated and at the top of their lungs, quite rude exclaimations about the Anaheim Ducks and their mothers under your window at 4:45 in the morning?

A: Yes.

Indigo screws up again

Not just screws up, but gets caught in multi-culti kerfuffle with liberal American mag: (h/t Kathy Shaidle via Nordish, which shows Spiegelman's drawing)

Indigo pulls magazine over Muhammad cartoons

Canada's largest book retailer has pulled all copies of the June edition of Harper's Magazine from its shelves.

Indigo Books and Music made the decision to remove the magazine from its 260 stores because it contains reprints of 12 cartoons that sparked outrage in the Muslim world earlier this year, according to a report in The Globe and Mail.

In the Globe, Harper's publisher shows how little he (like most American liberals) knows about Canada:

Harper's publisher John MacArthur said he was “genuinely shocked” by Indigo's action, in part because two large U.S. chains, Borders and Waldenbooks, are selling the issue.

[Telling bit: - Meg] (Three months ago, both chains yanked a small U.S. publication, Free Inquiry, when it reproduced four of the Danish cartoons. That Free Inquiry issue with the cartoons is currently on sale at Indigo.)

“I'd expect an American company to do this, not a Canadian,” Mr. MacArthur said yesterday. “Even though you have tougher libel laws than us and your own versions of political correctness, to my mind [Canada] has always been a freer place for political discourse.”

The U.S. news media have become “terribly prone to self-censorship,” especially after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, he said. “There's a more wide open debate [in Canada] than in America.”

Canada Post screws up again

You know, like most Americans, I used to complain about the Post Office. Well, let me tell you, after two years of living in Canada, not anymore! I love the U.S. Postal Service!!! And it's stuff like this that tells you why:

Canada Post reviews rural route delivery

FREDERICTON -- One of the most familiar symbols of rural life -- the mailbox with a flag at the end of a country driveway -- could soon become just a memory.

Canada Post is reviewing the way it delivers mail to rural areas as a result of a growing number of health and safety complaints from the drivers who put mail in rural boxes.

Health and saftey complaints? Huhhhh? Yeah, me neither. Well, read on:

Canada Post spokeswoman Avril Vollenhoven said Monday delivery to rural mailboxes has been cut off in several areas across the country, including a number of routes in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, because drivers have complained that road conditions are too dangerous or they are suffering repetitive stress injuries from loading the boxes.

"Since November, 2005, we have had over 200 drivers refuse to deliver the mail,'' Vollenhoven said in an interview.

. . . Drivers most often complain about heavy traffic and poor visibility as making conditions on the roads unsafe.

That's right, whiny rural route drivers in the Maritimes (and Quebec, naturellement) are complaining about unsafe rural road conditions and (classic) repetitive stress injuries as reasons to not show up for work. So Canada Post abruptly stops delivering the mail in the affected areas. What a great solution!

Interesting that the Postal Workers' Union itself, which the rural drivers apparently only joined a couple of years ago, is against eliminating rural delivery - darn right! Why don't they get right-hand drive vehicles like American postal drivers use? That seems like it would help a lot here.

Frankly, the biggest problem is that Canada Post is a crown corporation waaaaay too enamored of its profit to make decent service improvements - what American liberals fear the U. S. Postal Service would become, I guess, if it was solely driven by profit motive (ironic, I know). Remember, a national government has three main responsibilities: Defend the borders, maintain diplomacy, and deliver the mail! (Health care, not so much.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

John Zmirak on why not to take "The DVC" so seriously

My Lunch with an Old Friend of Dan Brown Proves Revealing About The DaVinci Code

If you know someone gullible enough to take a pulp airport novel as “evidence” that Jesus Christ was not divine—but rather a horn-dog rabbi eager to “hook-up” with a former hooker, in order to father a race of bumbling French kings…do you really think the answer is to argue with him? Using, you know, reason? You might just as well pick up the book, smack him on the nose and say “No! Bad! No! Very bad!” That’s likely to be more effective, and a heck of a lot more fun.

As P. J. O'Rourke once said, it's hard to accuse some people of thoughtcrime, as that would presuppose thought in the first place.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Play-doh: Eau de childhood!

Thanks to the folks at Demeter Fragrance, you can now buy that strange, funny, but unforgettable scent of salt, floury paste, and . . . metallic something-or-other . . . to bring back all those great, sensual memories. Of childhood. As their blurb says:

Got a hot play date? Spritz on 'eau de Play-Doh', a new creation from Hasbro and Demeter Fragrance Library, the perfume purveyors behind such singular scents as Dirt, Tomato, and Thunderstorm.

The limited-edition ode to the distinctively odiferous modeling compound - it's a smell for 'highly creative people', says Hasbro's publicity pitch - costs $19 (for one ounce) at


(H/t to Babygadget)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A different view of "hot"

Growing up in North Texas, "hot" was 38C+ (upper 90sF), when you just wanted to stay in the air conditioning all day. Well, I've discovered a new definition of "hot". It's a lot further down the thermometer - "only" 30C (85F), but, because we have no a/c and everything here is built to retain heat (and our apartment has no repeat no cross-ventilation) it's also 30C inside. Nor does it cool down much at night. Don't mean to whine, it was just a surprise last summer, and this is an early heat wave this year. Hope it cools down soon!

A DVC movie complaint

Have you seen the pics of Paul Bettany? Does he even look like an albino? I don't think so. He just looks really, really blond. C'mon, you could do better than that!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New episcopal appointments: Wuerl to Washington, Sartain to Joliet

American Papist has 'em both covered: Wuerl and Sartain. I think most folks in St. Blog's, like me, have mixed feelings about Bishop Wuerl, but I also think he's a fair sight better than Ted McCarrick! Consensus seems to be he got it b/c of his involvement with Catholic U and his strong pro-life stance (unlike, um, other cardinal-archbishops of Washington we could name, ahem). Seems kinda sad he's only got nine years at the helm, though. Hope he makes good use of it, with God's help.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A new one on me: Korean"Nigerian" e-mail

A new scam e-mail to me. Y'know, it's just me, but I wouldn't go around claiming to be Noh Tae Woo's brother, if I was in Hong Kong -- wouldn't that be like going around Mexico City claiming to be Michael Corleone's brother - i.e., a little too close for comfort? Anyway, sorry if my heart doesn't bleed for you . . . "Don't cry for me, South Korea . . ."

Greetings from me and my family.
Getting your contact was not an easy task [I bet] because since I am not computer literate, I ordered my son to seek a partner very far away and he went to the institute of International Business to apply and he paid them the charges. My name is NOH DAE-JUNG, The brother of GENERAL. NOH TAE-WOO, the former President of South Korea who ascended to power through a popular electoral victory in 1988 to 1992. After serving duly, he was accused of mass embezzlement which ran into billions of won because of the GREAT OLYMPICS 1988 which brought Korea to the world lime light, and was arrested but released after long years of incarceration and now under scrutiny.
Before my brother's was overthrown, I secretly siphoned the sum of 30 mil United States Currency out of Seoul and deposited the money with a security firm that transports valuable goods and through diplomatic means.I am contacting you because I want you to deal with the security company and claim the money on my behalf since I have declared that the consignment belong to my foreign business partner. You shall also be required to assist me in investment in your country. I expect you to declare what percentage of the total money you will take for your assistance. When I receive your positive response I will let you know where the security company is and the payment pin code to claim the money which is very important.we do not want the government of my Country to know about the money because they will believe I got the money from my brother while he was still in office as president .Once you confirm the receipt of the money ,I will come over with my Children to your Country or any Country in Europe to start a new life with my Family. As soon as payment is effected, and the amount mentioned above is successfully transferred into your account, we intend to use our own share in acquiring some estates abroad. For this too you shall also be our overseas manager of all our properties and you will be paid based on a certain percentage agreed on by both parties. For now, let all our communication be by e-mail because my line is right now connected to the South Korean Telecommunication Network services therefore we can not take the chances of being heard.
Thank you in anticipation of your cooperation.
Yours faithfully,
Col. Noh Dae-Jung.

Really brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Nigerian e-mail: What's the harm?

I like to make fun of "Nigerian" e-mails (and by "Nigerian", I mean any scam-type e-mail) because they seem so pathetically obvious to me. However, not everyone feels this way, especially if they haven't received one (or twenty) yet. Via MacCompanion, here's a good article from a real, live attorney on what the problem is with "Nigerian" e-mail, what it looks like, and how to minimize your exposure. It's from 2004, but I think it still holds up.

Nigerian Email Fraud

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette: Two great tastes that taste great together???

(Please note: "Marie Antoinette" is the style Columbia's going with Stateside, although the movie is listed in the IMDB as "Marie-Antoinette", so -- take your pick.)

Normally, I would be excited by the prospect of such a film, but Hollywood has a million ways to muck it up, and . . . well, I think my head says it all about the director. I understand she's going with the Antonia Fraser bio instead of more recent, better-researched books . . . that's like doing a movie on the Princess of Wales based on those Andrew Whasisname books, instead of real biographies that will come out once everyone's dead. Please. And, while I think using her muse Kirsten Dunst is fine, Coppola nepotism once again rears its unpleasant head in the casting of Jason Schwartzman as Louis XVI. What the heck??? Okay, you couldn't get Alain Delon, but the only other young actor available was your cousin? Who doesn't even look vaguely French? Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Okay, you're not even trying here. Well, at least the movie will look pretty. Will somebody pass me some Sofia champagne?

marieantoinette 1
Jason Schwartzman and Kirsten Dunst in "Marie Antoinette."
Photo © Columbia Pictures.

marieantoinette 2
Mary Nighy, Kirsten Dunst and Judy Davis in "Marie Antoinette."
(I think they are at Mass.)
Photo © Columbia Pictures.

This is about the only real article I could find on the film out on the 'Net, from a Dutch site, published last September. I've translated it here with the help of BabelFish -- any errors are my own, obviously. I tried to contact "Dave" but was unable to; if he has any objections to my translation or usage, please let me know!

Trailer: Marie-Antoinette, a new film by Sofia Coppola

After being overloaded with prizes for “Lost in Translation”, Sofia Coppola traveled to France to film the life of French queen Marie-Antoinette. Coppola could have polished her knowledge of French history considerably for this ambitious project; she nevertheless claimed to the press that she knew the tale of the young queen well and was fascinated by the fact that Marie-Antoinette was forced by circumstances into playing such an important role in history.

Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793) was one of the numerous children of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresia of Austria. In 1770, she married Louis XVI, who ascended the throne five years later. During Marie-Antoinette’s years as queen, Austrians criticized her for not using enough influence in France. However, in France, because of her foreign origin she became the source of derision. Although the queen interfered little with policy, she was considered a hostile influence because of her Austrian origin. Her name was connected with many scandals and appeared frequently in negative leaflets. Her popularity reached the absolute nadir.

At the time of the French Revolution the queen was incarcerated. Attempts to save her led to nothing. On 16 January 1793, Louis XVI was executed. In October of that year, the trial against Marie-Antoinette began, in which among other things she was accused of conspiracy and incest with her son. The queen was found guilty. On 16 October she followed her husband to the guillotine.

Kirsten Dunst is playing the role of Marie-Antoinette. Dunst worked with Sofia Coppola for “The Virgin Suicides”, Coppola's debut film. I do not find her appealing, but many directors remain faithful to the actors with whom they started. Here you can see the first pictures of the film with this rather bizarre but surprising musical trailer.

The music choice is strange, but that provides immediately another discussion point for this "costume drama". Visually, everything you see there is staggering in any case. However, what to me is worrisome, at first sight, is the cast. To start with: Louis XVI. This role is cast with Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, and Sofia Coppola’s cousin, Jason Schwartzman. We know Jason from teenager films such as “Slackers”, “Spun” and more recently in “Bewitched” and “Shopgirl” [and, duh, "Rushmore"!]. He is funny . . . but casting him as the King of France?

The Count Mercy d'Argenteau is played by the television comic actor Steve Coogan. I have less and less against the use of TV actors, because the quality of TV shows has greatly improved; but, again, Steve is not exactly an actor whom you cast in an 18th-century drama. Neither are Rip Torn (King Louis XV), Asia Argento (Madame du Barry) or Molly Shannon (Anne Victoire).

I hope what we see with this film doesn’t give us a bad impression for “Lost in Translation 2”.

The film set to release in October of 2006.
09-12-2005, 15:59:36 © Dave

Rip Torn as Louis XV? That is an act of the imagination. Oh, Sofia.

Public service advisory: Please think of the neighbors

It's springtime, and nice and warm, and in this part of the world few folks have a/c, so the windows are all open. That's great, you get to air the place out and get the air circulating after having things shut up all winter, BUT . . . please remember that when your windows are open, any sounds coming from your home will go right out the windows and into your next-door neighbors', and that goes double (triple?) if you are in an apartment building. Yes, any music, any loud talk, any argument, and, uh, any, uh, sounds of passion. And, believe me, your neighbors do not want to hear it. So, please, could you just close the window before you . . . argue? Your neighbors thank you in advance.

Louis Rukeyser, R. I. P.

When I was young, I always looked forward to Fridays . . . because that meant Wall Street Week! (And I couldn't have been too nerdy because Mr. Rukeyser was way too cool!) Opinion Journal has a remembrance here.

. . . he had faith in the ability of ordinary folks to play the investing game alongside the pros, albeit with a set of wise rules. He was both a proponent and an exemplar of the rise of the middle-class shareholding society--the "opportunity society," long before it became a political slogan. Many Americans who followed his show were richer for it, whether they took the stock picks of his guests or merely honed their own instincts.

. . . The best advice on the show, notably conveyed by Rukeyser and long-time guest Julius Westheimer, was the basic message to pay down debt, save for retirement and not get greedy on a story about some sizzling stock.

We'll miss you . . . and that crazy theme music . . .


That's what Will Saletan of Salon is calling Patrick Kennedy's latest fracas. I agree with James Taranto (who has the lowdown here): "Still, you have to wonder why these people don't just hire a driver. Surely they can afford it." Seriously.

Blueprint: I like it

I got my copy of Blueprint and finally got to read it once I got the husband off to a conference. I have to say, I like it (as I thought I probably would). It starts with the girl on the cover (in a C. K. Bradley skirt!) and ends with a Curtis Sittenfeld essay, and in between there is just lots of fun stuff. Whether or not they actually did -- it seems like the editors and staff must have had fun (and hard work, but fun) putting this together. There are several things I want to try out, which is always the mark of a good mag for me. We'll see how the next few numbers go, but this is a good start.

It's official: I'm a Southerner

Well, I could have told you that, but . . . I got marks off for not actually living in the South at the moment, I'm sure. (I actually do know the taste of honeysuckle, we used to pick it in the spring during recess when I was in elementary school, and why there aren't more honeysuckle-flavored comestibles has always been a mystery to me . . .)

Dixie Royal
You are 93% true Southern!
You are pure belle or gentleman! You know your Jones Soda, Nehi and RC colas, your Moon Pies and sweet potato pie; you'd absolutely die without air conditioners in the summer, and you've seen Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes (or read the book!). Your grandmother lives in an antebellum home and has a cook who makes the best fried chicken and asparagus casserole and summer squash and everything else in the world. And you know the taste of honeysuckle and the feel of grass between your toes. You are blessed.

My test tracked 1 variable -- How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 94% on Southerliness
Link: The Southern-ness Test written by gwennykate on Ok Cupid

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Why do committees exist in a world that supposedly is ruled by an omnipotent, loving God?"

From Ironic Catholic (be sure to get your daily Iron-y quotient!):

Dear Communion of Saints,
I am on numerous committees through my work and parish and never found any of them productive or life giving in any sense of the word. Indeed, the banality of the work rivals the lowest depths of Dante's Divine Comedy. Hell hath no fury like a committee. Why, then, why do they exist in a world that supposedly is ruled by an omnipotent, loving God? Do they have a purpose in the divine plan?

Anxiously awaiting an answer while in a said meeting, Joe

St. Augustine responds:

Go to Ironic Catholic for the answer!!!

Curt Jester: St. Catherine of Siena USB drive

Following up on the actual USB drives being given out by the diocese of Graz, Austria (brought to our English-speaking attention by Gerald Augustinus), the Curt Jester goes one better (of course!).

Tour d' Canadian bishops begins

The ad limina visits of the Canadian bishops have begun. First up (naturellement): Quebec.

VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:
- Twelve prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Canada-Quebec, on their "ad limina" visit.
- Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal, with Auxiliary Bishops Anthony Mancini, Lionel Gendron, Andre Gazaille and former Auxiliary Bishop Jude Sainte-Antoine.
- Bishop Gilles Lussier, from Joliette.
- Bishop Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., of Saint-Jean Longueil, with Auxiliary Bishop Louis Dicaire.
- Bishop Gilles Cazabon, O.M.I., of Saint-Jerome, with Auxiliary Bishop Donald Lapointe.
- Bishop Luc Cyr, of Valleyfield.
- Archbishop Bertrand Blanchet of Rimouski.

This afternoon, the Holy Father will receive in separate audiences three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Canada-Quebec, on their "ad-limina" visit.
- Bishop Pierre Morissette, of Baie-Comeau.
- Bishop Jean Gagnon, of Gaspé.
- Archbishop Roger Èbacher, of Gatineau.

The Chinese Ordinations

To say the least, the Vatican is not happy:

The Holy Father has learned of the news with profound displeasure, since an act so relevant for the life of the Church, such as an episcopal ordination, has been carried out in both cases without respecting the requirements of communion with the Pope.

It is a grave wound to the unity of the Church, for which severe canonical sanctions, as it is known, are foreseen (cfr. canon 1382 from the Code of Canon Law).

According to the information received, bishops and priests have been subjected to - on the part of external entities to the Church - strong pressures and to threats, so that they would take part in the episcopal ordinations which, being without pontifical mandate, are illegitimate and, besides, contrary to their conscience. Various prelates have given a refusal to similar pressures, while others were not able to do anything but submit with great interior suffering. Episodes of this kind produce lacerations not only in the Catholic community but also in the internal conscience itself.

We are therefore facing a grave violation of religious liberty, notwithstanding that it is sought to present the two episcopal ordinations as a proper act to provide the pastors for vacant dioceses.

. . . [The Holy See] considers that now it is her precise duty to give voice to the suffering of the entire Catholic Church, in particular to that of the Catholic community in China and especially to that of those bishops and priests who were seen obligated, against conscience, to take part or to participate in the episcopal ordination, of which, neither the candidates or the consecrating bishops want to carry out without having received the pontifical mandate.

If the news is true that other episcopal ordinations are to take place in the same manner, the Holy See would like to underline the need for respect for the liberty of the Church and for the autonomy of its institutions from whatever external interference, and sincerely wishes that such unacceptable acts of violence and inadmissible constrictions are not repeated.

The Holy See has, on various occasions, stressed her willingness for honest and constructive dialogue with the competent Chinese authorities for the purpose of finding a solution that would satisfy the needs of both parties.

Initiatives such as the above mentioned do not favor such dialogue but instead create new obstacles against it."

It's really very sad all around. I don't know how you would reconcile the Patriotic Church to the Vatican, but it's definitely not by doing this.

Hedy Fry throws her hat into Liberal ring

Hedy Fry has decided to enter the Liberal leadership race. Well, at least she's a "real" Liberal, unlike some former Ontario premiers or Nova Scotia MPs we could think of. Eh, it's a long time until December.

The Answer to the Immigration Debate

Cam Edwards has it here.

New clothes from Gap

Gap has some cute stuff on sale. I stocked up on Favorite T's (my casual shirt of choice) in pink and blue. Then there was this cotton/cashmere cardigan in green - you can't see, but it has a bright-green-and-white-check ribbon facing, very cute. I just got it Friday and I've worn it maybe three times already. I also got this cable pullover in a nice lime color which isn't shown on the website. Then there is this super-cute skirt - I only got the green/pink one, but the blue/green one is appealing, too. "Spring" colors are the best colors for me, so it's no wonder I like to buy things this time of year, and that I'm not tempted to spend too much in other seasons of the year. Anyway, if you're here in Edmonton, check out the Gap at the City Centre, it's not near as picked over as the ones at the malls, much better selection.

Prodigy like me

If you went to concerts at all when you were young, surely you also must have dreamed of being the next Yo-Yo Ma or Midori or whoever was the prodigy of the day. It was probably almost enough to entice you back to piano lessons . . . well, turns out we non-prodigies did not miss that much. I hope things are better in general for the kids these days.

The Perils of Child Prodigies
It isn't easy being Mozart