Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm a Backwards Thinker, Too

This is a new kind of wordplay. The closest I can find to describe it is a mix between anadiplosis and palindrome. But that's not quite right. Maybe Ray Gunner has an idea. At any rate, I like the effect quite a bit.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

God is in the Details

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for
one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected
them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth,
the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of
Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.

Printed above is the first paragraph of the U.S. Declaration
of Independence. Select any one of the first 20 words. Count
the number of letters in that word and call that number n. Move ahead n words,
beginning with the word after your selected word. When you reach
that nth word, count its letters and move ahead as many words as
the new letter count. Continue in this manner, counting letters
and moving ahead words, until you stop on a word that's beyond
the fourth line.

On what word did you stop?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's in a name?

First off, thanks to Fr. Barry for giving up this topic for me to post in his stead.

In a bizarre twist of historical artifacts which will surely generate interest in fields as varied as psychoanalysis to genetic biology, it's been determined that the father of President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was the authentic author of a letter written to President Andrew Jackson, threatening to kill him. Truly, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree:

'London-born Junius Brutus Booth was a famous Shakespearean actor and a manic public figure. He had three sons in the theater, including John Wilkes Booth, who later would murder President Lincoln in April 1865 at Ford's Theatre in Washington.

"(Junius) Booth was well-known for acting up, acting out, as well as acting," Feller said.'

Whoa! Check that... His middle name was Brutus? How fitting is that? That my friends, is called an 'aptronym'- when a person's occupation matches his name. Some other noteworthy (and very real!!) aptronyms:

Anger Management
Dr. Richard Madden (Hudson, N.Y.)

Alan Heavens (University of Edinburgh)

Cabinet Secretaries
Margaret Spellings (Secretary of Education)

Jaime Lachica Cardinal Sin, former archbishop of Manila

Ngoc Quang Chu, DDS (Bethesda, Md.)
Dalbert Fear, Jr., DDS (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Ken Hurt, DDS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Kenneth Krowne, DDS (Brookline, Mass.)
Les Plack, DDS (San Francisco, Calif.)
Anthony J. Puller, DDS (Richmond, Va.)
Randall Toothaker, DDS (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Barth, Lacy, and Craig Toothman (Columbus, Ohio)

Food Critics
Jamie Maw (Vancouver magazine)

Football Players
Brian Baldinger (former defensive lineman, Dallas Cowboys, Indiana Colts, and Philadelphia Eagles)
Joey Goodspeed (former running back, St. Louis Rams)
Quentin Jammer (cornerback for the San Diego Chargers)

Angel Colon (Annapolis, Md.)

Dr. Bonnie Beaver (West Hills, Calif.)
Dr. Harry Beaver, retired (Fairfax, Va.)
Sheldon H. Cherry (New York, N.Y.)
Dr. Hyman Meltzer, deceased (Chicago) Too bad it's not Metzger-German for 'butcher'.

Leadership Expert
Jack Christ (Ripon College, Ripon, Wis.)

Leon Billings
Robert Cashdollar

Linda Toote (Flautist, Boston, Mass.)

Francine Prose (New York, N.Y.)

Office Supplies and Equipment
Dean Boring, president, Boring Office Supplies (Lakeland, Fla.)

Dr. Kevin Blinder (Washington University)

David Bird (director, Avian Science and Conservation Center, McGill University, Canada)

Dr. Allen Korn (Washington, D.C.)

John Lawless (Haverstraw, N.Y.)

Dr. Jules Angst, emeritus professor of psychiatry, University of Zurich
Roberta L. Nutt, Ph.D., director, Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program, Texas Women's University

Race-car Drivers
Scott Goodyear
Scott Speed

Rapists, Convicted
Robert Raper (Boston, Mass.)

Ann Greathouse (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Religion, Professors of
Terry Godlove (Hofstra University)

Risk Management
John C. Chicken (author, The Philosophy of Risk)

Sexual Misconduct Researcher
Charol Shakeshaft


Am Rong (Khmer Rouge spokesman, Cambodia)
Tony Snow (Washington, D.C.)
Larry Speakes (Reagan White House flak)

Dr. Richard ("Dick") Chopp (Austin, Texas)
Dr. Dennis Peters (Pensacola, Fla.)
Dr. Alexander Philpott (Wheat Ridge, Colo.)
Dr. Keith Waterhouse, retired (New York, N.Y.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Noble Effects from Ignoble Causes

Spurred by the belief that his economic package might be slowed down due to loss of Republican votes, IT APPEARS as if President Obama has asked Nancy Pelosi and other hyperliberal Democrats to back off the contraception issue in the stimulus package. In point of fact, he is trying to avoid egg on his face for not being able to push this stimulus through as fast as he promised (by Presidents' Day weekend), which would surely be the case if the $200M+ in contraception is included; either because the few conservative republicans out there will definitely vote against the package on principle, or because including the provision would come back to haunt a President who has promised to not waste the money on frivolous expenditures.

House Democrats are likely to jettison family planning funds for the low-income from an $825 billion economic stimulus bill, officials said late Monday, following a personal appeal from President Barack Obama at a time the administration is courting Republican critics of the legislation.

Several officials said a final decision was expected on Tuesday, coinciding with Obama's scheduled visit to the Capitol for separate meetings with House and Senate Republicans.

The provision has emerged as a point of contention among Republicans, who criticize it as an example of wasteful spending that would neither create jobs nor otherwise improve the economy.

Whatever the case, it's certainly 'amusing' that the non-denominational Barack Obama is, in this isolated scenario, acting more in accord with Catholic principles than the Catholic Nancy Pelosi.

God surely works in mysterious ways.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Privation of the Best is the Worst

In describing the difference between man and beast, Aristotle noted that because of his reason, law, and virtue, man was superior to beasts, for they lacked the requirements for these qualities. In fact, man is the greatest of all animals because he possesses the qualities that are greater than all other qualities. But man acting outside of reason, law and virtue is far worse than the animals. Animals are not guilty of crime because law is not available to them. He applies the same principle in other ways, such as describing the privation of the best form of government (virtuous monarchy) devolves specifically into the worst (vicious tyranny).

A more concrete example might be that the best form of musical instrument, the violin, is the absolute worst when played poorly, as can be attested by anyone who's had to patiently wait through an hour long violin lesson with their 5 year old.

This is the idea behind the title of this post. The privation of the best is the worst.

And that was my first thought when I READ THIS ARTICLE about Nancy Pelosi's adamant defense of using more than $200,000,000 of the new economic stimulus package to subsidize birth control.

Yeah. That's right. Your federal government is about to hand out contraceptives to the poor (and even those that aren't so poor) because the burden on the government to help pay for all the prenatal care, those births and post-natal child well-being visits is not worth the cost. So rather than tighten the fiscal belt and help real American families, Pelosi the "Catholic" is advocating eliminating the problem by oppressing impoverished Americanss ability to reproduce. Here's a woman who's religious claim is to an institution who never has and never will allow contraception, and yet she's one of the staunchest supporters of such policy. The privation of the best (Catholicism) is the worst (amoral justification)

This is insane on so many levels I can't even get my mind around them all. But, just because I really need to vent about this, let's assume for the moment that you and I don't agree on the point that contraception is a moral evil. So in order to discuss this, let's leave faith out of it, and take a cue from our new President: he mentioned in his inaugural address that practicality will trump ideology in his administration. OK, so let's apply that.

To promote birth control as a way to stimulate the economy might have a short term positive effect on spending. Less poor people seeking medicaid for paying for births, the less money spent by the government. But what does this do long term? It removes from society a potential taxpayer. Which, if you were a democrat, you should realize is a bad thing since you tax the hell out of everyone and every lost taxpayer is a lost point of income. The initial $10,000 expenditure to generate the new taxpayer yields a net loss of what will be hundreds of thousands of dollars over his or her lifetime in income tax, property tax, and sales tax revenues, etc., and maybe millions if they become an economic success. Penny wise and pound foolish, Nancy Pelosi. Not very practical at all. The privation of the best is the worst.

What about voter bases? Madam Speaker Pelosi gets elected on a voter demographic that is highly weighted on the poor and undereducated side, especially minorities. These are the people that will be most effected by the influx of free contraceptives (and abortions and abortificants). Thus she is eliminating future voters. Not very practical for the continued success of your party, Madam Speaker.

I am truly mystified by this, but mostly I am angry that a woman who dares call herself a Catholic would slap her bishop, Rome, and Christ in the face with such bold-faced axe-grinding. This is a shame on all of us Catholics because she has become, by virtue of being so visible and audible through office and media, the voice of Catholic faith to many Americans and world citizens who just don't know any better. She is taking something that is so beautiful, so true, so good, and turning it into something so ugly, so false, and so bad.

Interestingly enough, not all politicians or governments agree that reducing births will help a sagging economy. Japan is actually ASKING WORKERS to take time off to go home and conceive future workers.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Virtuous Restraint?

I was wrong. I'll admit it. I know it's rare that I'd admit such a thing, but yes, I was wrong.

On Inauguration Day, I OPINED that Obama would symbolically rescind the Mexico City Policy on his first full day in office, or perhaps on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

But no. Mr. Obama showed restraint. He waited a whole day. And apparently, SOME IN THE MEDIA view this as a hat tip to pro-life moderates and conservatives:
Instead, he’s planning to do it Friday – and aides suggest he’s choosing a different kind of symbolism, to show that he’s not always going to do the usual Washington thing, even though his staunch supporters in the abortion rights community were pressing him to do it quickly.

It might seem like a small thing – the difference of a day – but it’s a sign of how Obama at times seems to almost delight in keeping supporters just a bit off-balance.

It’s also a way to send an subtle message to moderate and conservative voters that he isn’t going to wear his support for abortion rights on his sleeve.
Just reread that last line. This spin assumes his 'virtuous restraint' of hyper liberalism is the most important part of this act. And let me spell out exactly what that act is...he's waited a whole day to promote the murder of millions of innocent babies, and the misleading destruction of the souls of millions of suffering mothers, and is trying to use that to appeal to the pro-life community.

Wow. Thinking that it's more newsworthy and valuable to keep your adoring media and staff "off-balance" than to keep your campaign promise to "work tirelessly to reduce the number of abortions" sounds more like "Politics as usual" than "Change".

The only thing President Obama has or will change is redefining "Change" as "Politics as usual". And there's no hope in that.

What a lightweight punk.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Greatest Tom Swifty Ever?

I think this must be the greatest Tom Swifty:

'Geez Doc, I just can't seem to remember anything from the last 24 hours', Tom said lackadaisically.

I'm glad I now have this one, because I had previously not been able to decide which of the following Swifties were my fav:

'Elvis is dead', Tom said expressly.
'The doctor had to remove my left ventricle', Tom half-heartedly announced.

Tough choices, I know. But you can't have two superlatives at the same time in the same respect, as I'm constantly trying to explain to my daughter. And now all is right with the world...

...except that Jim Svejda comes to mind.

The Fewer Kennedy Catholics in Washington...

...the better.

Caroline Kennedy DECIDED to take her name out of the hat for the New York Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.
"I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate," Kennedy said.
Translated to layman's speak:
'I found out that stuff I've done in the past is now known. I'm avoiding the embarassment surely due to me if I take on public office.'
As for what Hillary thinks of all this, Fr. Barry points out that her mind is preoccupied with OTHER THINGS:
"Network news cameras covering Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony Tuesday captured Hillary Clinton silently moving her lips along with each word of the minute-long presidential oath of office..."
And because that's from the Onion, you know it's more likely to be true than if it were from MSNBC.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pardon Me? Oh. You're Too Busy Respecting Life.

So it ends the way it began.

George W. Bush began his presidency with a prolife act. His VERY FIRST ACT as president was to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which denied US funds for use outside the U.S. for the purpose of promoting abortion. (Which was originally instituted by Ronald the Great in 1984 and was rescinded by William the Concupiscent on his very first full day in office. If you don't think the abortion issue is the key issue in the United States, then just take a look at the history of the Mexico City Policy).

As I listened to the inauguration of Barack Obama, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia for Mr. Bush. As Fr. Barry points out, one of Mr. Bush's very last acts as president was to TO INSTITUTE the National Sanctity of Human Life Day, which will forever be January 18th, and clearly instituted on that day to underline the impending anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

What is less obvious, but yet just as symbolic, is Mr. Bush's preference to honor the sanctity of life rather than spend his last few days pardoning cronies and business associates as was occuring the last few weeks of the Clinton administration, at a furious pace. Among Clinton's last acts were the absolution of MARK RICH, as well as other questionable pardons and sentence commutations that clearly lined the Clinton coffers--very ignoble acts indeed.

Of course, this difference in symbolic act is punctuated by the fact that Mr. Bush chose not to pardon Lewis Scooter Libby, which was, in the democrats' minds these last few months, a sure thing.

I wonder what Mr. Obama's first act will be. FOCA? God help us. He'll probably start by re-rescinding the Mexico City Policy. Oh wait. He's already CONFIRMED THAT:
"Officials with the incoming administration of Barack Obama have confirmed that he will indeed overturn a pro-life policy of President Bush on his first day in office. Despite campaigning on the rhetoric of wanting to reduce abortions, Obama will make one of his first actions promoting them globally."
So it begins the way it will end. And so begins the end.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2008 Word of the Year

Please be aware that you ought not pay too much attention to any 'word of the year' picks that include 'skadoosh'. (from Kung Fu Panda-it was a Po choice of words no matter how fun to say).

But 2008's word of the year from the AMERICAN DIALECT SOCIETY is: bailout. Which of course means this:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Disassociation in Communicatory Patterns of Loquacious Assholes

Put away your thesauri, sesquipedalians! There are a plethora of plethoras in your writing. At least this is ACCORDING TO Daniel Oppenheimer, a psychologist at Princeton. According to Oppenheimer, using big words actually lessens the level of intelligence portrayed in your writing. His solution: use small, simple words that everyone knows and you won't sound like an idiot.

It's tempting to pretend you know your professors' own jargon to be considered in the know, but you only succeed in convincing others you're either full of shit or don't want to actually communicate ideas. While your tenured professors are hopelessly long lost and like Gulliver's flappers can only communicate with eachother, please do not try to partake in the isolation of the audience, because you'll just become another one of those jerks that speaks a lot but doesn't say anything. As George Bernard Shaw put it: "every profession is a conspiracy against the layman".

Sorry Kant. This is reason 618 why I hate you.

If you're interested in reading the original paper by Mr. Oppenheimer on the importance of using small, easily understood words, it can be found under this very clearly stated title:
Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reasons to Use an Alias

HERE is reason to use a blogging alias number 427:
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday they have brought civil charges against Joseph S. Forte of Pennsylvania, who is accused of running a $50 million Ponzi scheme.
Seriously, I wonder if there's any distant relation, because almost all my Philly Phorte's are Joseph as a first name and we go by our middle.

Oh, wait. I just ruined the plan. Shoot.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Links to the other boys in this series of portraits here: JAMES, DAVID, MARK, SEAN

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Links to the other boys in this series of portraits here: JAMES, DAVID, MARK, DOMINIC

Friday, January 2, 2009


Links to the other boys in this series of portraits here: JAMES, DAVID, SEAN, DOMINIC

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Links to the other boys in this series of portraits here: JAMES, MARK, SEAN, DOMINIC