Archives for June 2006

What’s consoling

…is to speak to someone whose faith has caught fire, for whom prayer is sweetness, evangelism an easy account of friendship, and daily life an adventure in trust in the divine will.

A little jealous-making, too – especially when they talk about it just being done for them after following the tiniest promptings of the Spirit…


I was over at Pajiba reading the review of Nacho Libre and the comments that followed, and was therein reminded of something that has struck me more than a few times over the course of my pop-culture meanderings: the use of “abortion” as a deep, deep pejorative, as in “this abortion of a film,” or “this back-alley abortion of an album.”

If you asked me about the general attitude of pop-culture regarding abortion, I would say that pop-culture is almost universally supportive of a woman’s right to abort the fetus in her womb. But again and again, “abortion” is used to name something that is really, really awful – film, album, article, whatever.


Love makes you stupid.

I am not, to say the least, mechanically inclined. I have no great love for motorized fun, and have no deep desire to instill such a love in my children. So when I saw the home-made go cart for sale by the side of the road, why didn’t I just keep driving? When I heard that it needed some work done on its lawnmower engine, and new brake lines, why didn’t I walk away? What was I thinking?


A Prairie Home Companion

Death comes for us all
Keillor sings as she draws near
A jowly stoic.

Sinners Welcome

A Korrektiv Alphabet

A is for arsy varsy the wrong way on a one-way street,
B is for bunyip, your brains It will eat,
C is for cryptomnesia, your invention’s a repeat,
D is for dockwalloper, a seaside deadbeat,
E is for eructation, a forced-air bleat,
F is for farkleberry, inedible treat,
G is for grackle so dark and discrete,
H for hot cockles like poets who beat
the I for inexpressibles right on the seat.
J is for Jack-a-Lent, hit him like a skeet,
K is for Kevin who Kate he did mistreat,
L is for long bowls and lob, the skittle and receipt,
M is for Modo, the Prince of Deceit,
(Or muleman on the hoofbeat)
N is for necktie crafts, both large and petite,
O is for orse, for example: escheat.
P is for palinode, go back and delete,
Q is for Qualfredo whose life’s a double-feat,
R is for remainderman, waiting for Alma to complete,
S is for saltate, hop like an athlete,
T is for turnipy, effete aesthete,
U is for Ultona, device with a downbeat,
V is for Verrière the opposite of preheat,
W is for walpurgisnacht, replete with clubfeet,
X is for xformer and xtal on xmas on the offbeat,
Y is for year’s mind, memory’s heartbeat,
Z is for zoösemiotics, drooling on the spreadsheet.

Sinners Welcome…

…is the title of the latest collection from Mary Karr, celebrated poet and memoirist and professor at Syracuse University (30 minutes north of the hometown), who appeared on Fresh Air a couple of days back and discussed her decision to enter the Catholic Church. A good listen.

Today in Porn, Email Edition

…well, not exactly. But I just tried to forward an email from my dad about a conversation he had with a man whose last name was Hooker. The email bounced back, caught by the spambot. I’m thinking it was the name – the rest of the email was about music. A body can imagine all sorts of difficulties arising from this sort of snag.

Next up, Charlie Brown pitches winning baseball game, Snoopy gets Red Baron…

…Trix Rabbit gets to eat Trix, Opus finds his mother, Team Rocket captures Pikachu…

Oh, I’m done. This is sad.

Saw Da Vinci

…for semi-professional reasons.

Chief reaction: Tom Hanks’ face looks like warm saltwater taffy.

That chick is the blankest slate I ever done seen. Good thing, too, since Hanks and McKellan do so much blasted writing upon her. “And tip to this, little Missy…technically, the audience is not here, so you’re just gonna have to listen on their behalf…”

I can’t believe Ian McKellan actually said, “That’s what they want you to believe.”

Terrifying list

It struck me as I was driving about the other day just how many Phil Collins hits I can recall.

Two Hearts (Living in Just One Mind)
Another Day in Paradise
Invisible Touch
I Can Feel it Coming in the Air Tonight
Against All Odds
Land of Confusion

Oh, Lord, the list goes on and on and on. I have no idea how this happened. (Granted, some of the songs are from Genesis, but still.) So…add your own in the comments.

Bookmark, Holmes edition

“It was a masterpiece of villainy, and he carried it out like a master…But he had not that supreme gift of the artist, the knowledge of when to stop. He wished to improve that which was already perfect…and so he ruined all.”
– Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

That quote, recited to me by a friend in conversation, and applied to another matter entirely, is what got me finally digging into Holmes on the page, as opposed to Holmes on the screen or the radio. I grew up listening to recordings of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce playing Holmes and Watson for a radio program sponsored by Petri Wine (“The proudest name in American wine”). And there’s a fellow here in town, Folk Arts Rare Recordings, I think, with reel-to-reel recordings of all sorts of things – he also has all kinds of vinyl. For $10, he made me a tape of Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud as the immortal duo. But I am grateful to my friend for getting me to open the book, an edition of which sat on my brother’s bedside bookshelf throughout our room-sharing childhood.

Additional petty delight: Holmes is tipped off that the alibi in The Adventure of The Abbey Grange is bogus when he notices that only one of the three wine glasses at the scene of the crime contains sediment:

“What then, do you suppose?”

“That only two glasses were used, and that the dregs of both were poured into a third glass, so as to give the false impression that three people had been here. In that way all the beeswing woudl be in the last glass, would it not? Yes, I am convinced that this is so. But if I have hit upon the true explanation of this one small phenomenon, then in an instant the case rises from the commonplace to the exceedingly remarkable, for it can only mean that Lady Brackenstall and her maid have deliberately lied to us…”

Why You Get Married in a Church

Half Catholic

“Bono’s always talking about how he’s half Catholic and half Protestant. Now we know which half is Catholic.”

— Ali Hewson (wife of U2’s Bono) Dec. 17, 2000, commenting on being pregnant with the couple’s fourth child

What’s Frightening

That sin can, over time, dull the conscience to the point where it doesn’t even feel like sin.

Avian Flu Update

Korrektiv Newsflash
June 11, 2006

An outbreak of avian flu has just been discovered at a trailer park in South Florida.

Waking KSRK

I was counting on Quintilian to run the Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub ball into the endzone during lent, but instead he got off on a lenten tangent of his own; and throughout the easter season the out-of-season reading club slumbered lifelessly. Klub members turned away in droves to find bookish solace in other literary communities or, more likely, in drink.

Well, now I’ve picked up Kierkegaard’s Stages again and embarked, finally, on the final section: Frater Taciturnus’s “Epistle to the Reader,” which serves as an epilogue to “Guilty?/Not Guilty?” aka Quidam’s Diary — which in turn is the third and largest section of this tripartite book, formerly used as a doorstop and a thing to drop on spiders.

At the outset of his epistle, Frater T. makes the following prognostication, which should be of not a little interest to reading club book selection committees considering Stages as their “what if everyone read” book:

I make public the peerless prediction that of the few readers of the book two-thirds will fall away before they are half way through, which may also be expressed in this wise, that they will stop there and throw away the book for boredom.

Following that, it would seem the frater tries his best to drive away the remaining third. The epistle is tough going, but far from boring. Interestingly, the frater owns up to being the author of the diary: “The girl I have represented quite generically (as a special characteristic I have only let her lack religious presuppositions), and this I have done intentionally, in order that she might the better illuminate him and teach him to exert himself” (363). This is a curious move within the maze of authorship SK develops for his pseudonymous works. It’s as if he wants to distance the reader from the notion that the diary is a literal account of a real engaged couple. That the move seems in part an attempt at self-protection becomes a clearer a few paragraphs later: “Fortunately my hero does not exist outside of my thought-experiment. He cannot be exposed to ridicule in real life.” (367)

From there, the frater considers the question of unhappy love and how the category has dropped out of circulation in modern times, being replaced with the category of “tolerably happy love.” The general accusation is that we have lost our passion. And in that context, here is something to consider in light of the current iPod craze:

To take away passion from the lines of a play, and to make up for that by letting the orchestra scrape a little, is a prostitution of poetry and is comic, just as though in real life a lover, instead of having pathos in his breast, were at the decisive moment to have a music box in his pocket. (369)

Every Sperm is Precious

A friend passed along the lyrics to Monty Python’s quasi-classic song from their Meaning of Life…

Every sperm is useful
Every sperm is fine
God needs everybody’s
Mine, and mine, and mine

Let the pagans spill theirs
O’er mountain, hill and plain
God shall strike them down for
Each sperm that’s spilt in vain

In light of the Church’s recent reaffirmation of its teaching in these matters, I was happy to be reminded. Also worth noting: in the same film, the Prot husband lectures his wife about how he, unlike a Catholic, could, if he so desired, head down to the druggist and order up a condom. The wife is clearly delighted at the thought of the sort of activity a condom usually signifies – but the husband never goes. He just talks about how he could.