Archives for October 2009

The Biggest Con…

…is the one where you lure people in with what looks like a globetrotting caper flick and winds up being the most religious movie of the year. God had to die (in St. Peter’s Burg!) to set humanity free from the devil! Incredible. I do love me some Rian Johnson.

On Catholic voters, a new New Deal, and the term "single-payer"

Regarding Angelo Matera’s article in the NCRegister referred to by Rufus last week, especially the “the natural home for many pro-life, pro-family voters, just as it was during FDR’s New Deal”, what happened to individuals just voting their conscience? Let the politicians figure out that they need to campaign and vote accordingly.

I’m no Ayn Randian, but something about “the common good” troubles me. The comparisons to FDR’s New Deal really trouble me, as we might well be on the verge of a New New Deal. Which will be a very big deal.

There is a fair-to-middling chance that some form of a Health Care Reform bill will be passed in the next 8 months. The Democrats have the necessary votes, and while the short term political fallout could be costly (Republicans would make gains in the 2010 elections), the potential long-term benefits may prove to be too tempting.

How could it be costly in 2010 but advantageous in the long term? Although they would certainly lose seats in both houses of Congress, they will once again establish themselves as the party that delivers on “social justice”. Consider several important components of this legacy itself: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. All of these are popular welfare programs – none of them are going away – and all of them are financially unsustainable.

An incrementally nationalized health care industry is something else entirely. Politicians will be forced (as in many ways they are already forced) to seek votes by delivering more and more in terms of “social justice.” A system operated under the aegis of 300 million citizens acting (more or less) responsibly for themselves will be handed over to 500 politicians and attendant bureaucrats. Perhaps this happens gradually, but it happens certainly – look at Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – and as it happens, the relationship between citizen and country will change, perhaps irreversibly. No longer will people be acting more or less responsibly for themselves. They will expect the state to act on behalf of them, and they will in turn act on behalf of the state. This doesn’t seem so bad – in fact, it seems pretty good. It will certainly seem safe, and secure, and at first it may well be.

But health care is expensive. Whether citizens pay for it out of their own pocket or out of an insurance company’s pocket, or out of the pockets of government, it’s expensive. No pockets are so deep as to take away that expense. How will costs be cut? Who makes the decisions under each of these different systems? While I’m increasingly suspicious of the terms “the common good”, I think the term “single-payer” to describe socialized medicine reveals how laughable these various collective schemes are. How does a “single-payer” system for a nation of 300 million individuals make any sense at all?


About 8 minutes in, the Pythons allow a 10-year-old girl to come up on stage and perform The Spanish Inquisition.

No no no no no no no no.

“And in a subtle, daring, but thoroughly effective move, Jonze has Max fearfully avoid the nameless, near-silent bull, who often appears alone and in the distance, unremarked upon.”

Bull is the only one there with any wisdom, the only one there who can get a read on Max and understand that he needs to go home. Not that anybody asked.

In other news, I’m taking my own wild things camping. Happy weekend, everyone.

I wrote a story!

Baseball night in San Diego:

“It’s six o’clock in the evening on July 21, and the brilliant blue of the late-afternoon sky over San Diego is bleaching at the edges as the sun moseys toward the horizon, throwing the downtown buildings into gray relief as I speed toward them along the 94 west. Once I reach downtown, I turn left on Tenth, find a parking spot just shy of Market, and begin hoofing it toward the visible sliver of Petco Park, passing under banners hung from streetlamps and declaring the 40th anniversary of our home team, the San Diego Padres. The Franciscan Friar who serves as our mascot is, true to history, clad in brown; the banners, like (some of) the team’s current uniforms, are strangely, tastefully navy. I head south toward the park, on my way to see the home team take on the Florida Marlins, a .500 team mired in the middle of the National League East. It’s a beautiful night for baseball…”

Funny Papers

I don’t remember how I discovered Bloom County. But when I did, I fell for it, hard. It did a lot to shape my sensibilities, maybe even moreso than Peanuts. My grandfather used to cut the dailies out of the New York Daily News and send ’em to me every week, up there in lonely old Upstate New York, where the newspaper was still carrying Henry, but not Bloom County. He always included a little note, usually something along the lines of, “These guys sure get into a lot of trouble!” I was so grateful.

Naturally, I bought all the collections as they came out, and now I’ve passed them along to First Son, just as the Nostalgia Machine kicks into gear and starts re-releasing the Collected Works. To mark the occasion, New York interviews Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed here, and again here:

New York: With the exception of Dilbert and The Boondocks, there hasn’t been a culture-conquering newspaper strip in years.

Breathed: When the three of us [Larson, Watterson, Breathed] quit, it coincided with bad things happening in newspapers in general, and then the culture was suddenly awash in competitive humor. It siphoned a lot of the talent away. The future great cartoonists aren’t sending their stuff anymore. They rightfully are working in graphic novels, or doing something else. It’s funny, you never hear anybody talking about it. People loved the comics over the last 100 years. They were hugely influential in popular culture, and they’re dying. They’re going fast. And nobody talks about it — it’s like they’re not even noticing. Along with newspapers, it’s this huge creative institution just disappearing into the ether behind us.

So Cubeland Mystic visited the other night…

…and brought with him the fatted calf. Several of them, actually.

And yet, the thought that popped up the next morning was about how much a man is defined, not only by what he pursues and embraces, but also by what he renounces.

"In some ways she was quite neurotic."

Friend of Godsbody Lindsay passes along this account of the hubbub surrounding the Little Flower’s relics during their visit to London. I like it for several reasons, one of them being that there’s not a lot of post-Christian hangover. The author is clearly not a believer, but he’s not there to scoff. Christians are just one more curious set of people to be reported on, and I think that’s a good thing. Christianity as dominant cultural paradigm seems to have had its day; perhaps now it will go back to being a movement with a message.

Help Banu write his paper on Percy

I am Banu. Can someone throw some light on Percy’s stand on being a Southern- as regards the religion,and being white.

From the percy-l


TRULYMADLYDATING.COM is Conde Nast International’s first dating site, supported by GLAMOUR.COM and GQ.COM, and created to unite glamorous girls with fashion-conscious GQ-reading boys to create matches made in style heaven.

Dear Conde Nast: you might want to take a look at this:

Just sayin’.

Today in Porn, "The goggles! They do nothing! My eyes!" Edition

SIGH. this news about Marge Simpson appearing in Playboy is depressing enough that I don’t really have much to say, except yeah, Warming Glow is right on this one: “But the Internet trumped Playboy in a big way here. Go ahead, Google “Marge Simpson naked” or “Simpsons porn.” You will find a vast and disturbing tableau…” [NOTA BENE: He’s being rhetorical there. Or at least I am. Please please please don’t actually Google “Marge Simpson naked.”] I don’t usually include links to profanity on this here blog, but it’s kind of hard not to feel like this guy.

The last in our series on the sit-down pee

(via Godsbody)

The Sit-Down Pee: Extenuating Circumstances

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Dear Alena

Thank you for your interest. Alas, alack, I am required by my spiritual advisor to wear one of these, and your presence would make – indeed, makes – me uncomfortable.

Fond regrets,


Friday Mailbag

Hello Quinn!!!

My name alena. I live in Russia. I studied many profiles, and have stopped on your profile. You seem to me very good man, and I especial like your knowledge of Kierkegaard and your Catholic existentializm. I am assured that you the decent person I very much would like to get acquainted with you more close, I wish to learn you better.

So if you not against ours with you of acquaintance write to me back only to my personal e-mail.

I will wait for your letter.
Sincerely, Alena


Me: Where’s my Tom’s of Maine lavender deodorant?

The Wife: Oh, just use that other stuff I bought.

Me: Speed Stick Alpine Force? Have you smelled this stuff?

The Wife: It’s a very masculine scent. I think you can pull it off.

Me: Thanks a lot.


Third Son, a few minutes later: Dad, you smell weird.


So I went here last night to see The Maltese Falcon on the big screen under the stars, and it was wonderful (as was the slice of pizza I got here after the show). Sat with The Wife in a jolly comfortable loveseat, and everything was hunky-dory until this exchange:

Sam Spade (to Joel Cairo): “When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it!”

The Wife (to me): I’m going to use that line on you.



“To digress for a moment: lecturers at Oxford, and doubtless elsewhere, could be divided into the hard and the soft, like cops. The hard men gave you information, usually about language. Old and Middle English, strong verbs, vowel shifts and fearful old poems like The Dream of the Rood and The Owl and the Nightingale, and what they gave you was likely to reappear in the relevant parts of the final examination. The hardest lecturer I ever heard, and the worst technically, in delivery and so on, was J.R.R. Tolkien, but you sat through him because his explanation of the anomalous form of ‘hraergtrafum’ was likely to be called for as the answer to a ‘gobbet’ on the paper. The soft men offered you civilised discourse with perhaps some critical interpretation and ideas about the past. The only reputable hard-soft merchant was C.S. Lewis, also the best lecturer I ever heard…”