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Audition Update May 31, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Drama, Family.
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(shivers).

I told you about my audition experience here. The update: The show is Beauty and the Beast. My son was offered the role of LeFou, Gaston’s irritatingly hilarious sidekick (a GREAT role); my elder daughter as one of the girls who swoon over Gaston (a role she really wanted); and I was offered the role of the baker, one of the townspeople who talk to Belle in the opening sequence.

I really wasn’t interested. Hadn’t really wanted to audition in the first place.

But now they have upped the ante, and offered me the role of Maurice, Belle’s father, as the original Maurice had to back out due to a schedule conflict.

Maurice. Belle’s father.

Who sings. (gulp)

Solo. (double gulp, reaches for Pepto-Bismol).

On the one hand, I am honored they want me for this role. On the other, I am seriously intimidated. My singing career consists of out-of-tune howlings (in the safety of my car) in conjunction with the local classic rock radio station, and a handful of chorus pieces on-stage, where my usual eff-ups and off-key disaster renderings can be safely hidden behind the skills of others.

I take on Maurice, and my pleasant but completely untrained voice is out there for the whooooole world to mock.

What to do, what to do. . . .

And that’s three postings in one day. Enough of that.

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Would someone please explain to me. . . May 31, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Mechanistic Relativism, Politics.
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the following:

Why is it that:

-When I speak to a chemical engineer from one of the National Laboratories, he introduces himself as a chemical engineer?
-Or my boss describes himself as a “principal”?
-Or my colleague describes herself as a “teacher”?
-Or one of our parents describes himself as an “HVAC installer”?

Yet:

When you talk to the Apple Software engineer, who lives in Frisco and seems to enjoy the Castro district, when he introduces himself, he announces that he is “gay?”

Why the difference?

The people of the first group identify themselves by their professions, yet that person of the alternative lifestyle (and he is a single illustration of a larger group tendency) identifies himself first by his sexual preference.

Why the disconnect?

Possible theories:
-Insecurity. Best overcome by loudly proclaiming one’s confidence.
-Unhealthy fixation on sex as the primary focus of one’s life. (and I have been around numerous homosexuals for whom this is a fact of life)
-An overweening desire to thumb one’s nose at society-at-large (a hangover from the Freak Generation, so to speak).

Feel free to drop your own notions.

When the MRTs start honking, you know you’re on the right track May 31, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Blogging, Mechanistic Relativism.
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Some people will simply never learn.

It seems that my little post about Darth Sidious being an MRT was picked up by a fellow blogger out there (name and website withheld. The person already gets more traffic than his little alliterative nothing deserves. Readers of this blog can probably guess who it is if you REALLY want to check it out), and he took the liberty of incorporating some of my wisdom into his review of Revenge of the Sith. An excerpt follows:

As I said, there are contingents on both sides that want to parlay this admittedly powerful cultural phenomenon into a propaganda film for their own ideologies and will stoop to new lows to retrofit their backward-ass mentalities into the film’s larger statement. For instance, there’s a small fraction of a human being, who goes by ‘hoody’, who haunts here with his comments while simultaneously banning me from commenting on his pages, who contends:

…In fact, for Sidious, there IS NO EVIL, only power to be used as the power owner sees fit, to use to accomplish his own vision of goodness.

The Jedi focus only on following the good, the truth. For them, the ends never justify the use of evil means. Sidious instead says, in short, that there either is no evil, or evil in the pursuit of what one feels is good is an OK thing. Evil means in pursuit of even a nominal good is fine. Skywalker then gets seduced (as do so many of us) by this simple yet sinister philosophy.

Darth Sidious is an MRT. For him, there are no absolute truths. Relativism is all.

For those of you not tuned in to right wing talk radio, an “MRT” is a “Moral Relativist Tyrant”, so far as I can tell. Our absolutist friend, Hoody, claims the Jedi for Jesus and Pope Panzer, while handing us liberals, us weaklings, us Sithy-boys, the Sith and the Dark Side Entire.

Really, there’s better material for making the point he’s clearly trying to make, but as far as I recall, there was only one line of dialog dedicated to absolutism/relativism. It was when Vader says, “If you’re not my friend, you’re my enemy.” To which Kenobi replies: “Only the Sith deal in absolutes.”

Really, what kind of muscle-pulls and whiplash does one get when they bend and twist as much as one must in order to make such ideological claims?

Now, this “author”, a 41 year-old man with loudly proclaimed “alternative” sexual preferences, spends a great deal of time lurking about weblogs authored and peopled by teens (wallywuzhere, bloghogger) and taking them to task for their orthodox, conservative viewpoints. (One would think that he has better things to do with his time. . .but that’s another story. . .).

When this humble blog started up, he immediately set in here as well, engaging in all sorts of fallacious arguing and name-calling.

For which, he was banned. (As to the exact “why” he was banned, I wrote an extensive post on that topic. . .TWICE. . .only to fall victim to Blogger’s interesting tendency to delete whole blocks of text for minor indiscretions stemming from the use of the “previous page” button on Firefox. After two hours of work were lost, I said “t’hell with this. He’s not worth the effort.”)(But a quick side-note on the efforts made to reach some type of modus vivendi might assist in illustration my frustration level. I have tried logic, arguing, outright name-calling, appeals to better nature, private e-mails asking for understanding [and even forgiveness] and offering/asking for clarification. . .all efforts have been met with the most sarcastic and arrogant responses. . .save for the one time I offered condolences to this fellow when he was undergoing a very sore personal trial. Never did get any thanks, but the stop in the rancor served as notice that he was appreciative [I think].
Anyway, I didn’t want to deal with the same gibberish on my own blog, so I set rules, he very quickly broke them, and I sent him packing. And that’s a long side note)

I then gave up even commenting on his site, as more name-calling and the hurling of ethcial objects of questionable origin were so rampant, I decided that extinction was the only way to go. Stop feeding the monster, and it will die.

I sincerely hoped that my (our) adversary would leap to the same conclusion, as we have been engaged in mutually fruitless acrimony for MONTHS now.

But I gave him too much credit in the intelligence department. He cannot let sleeping dogs lie. He gets too much delight in kicking them awake.

And so, since he can’t name-call on my site anymore, he spends WAY TOO MUCH time and space on his OWN SITE on me, making sure to call me such things as a “fraction of a human being”, who “stoops” to “retrofit” “backward-ass mentalities.”

Really. I’m honored that my small reflections result in such attentive reactions.

And it serves as an illustration that my title as posited is correct. The honking is quite loud, just now. Must have struck close to the nerve center, this time.

Either that, or someone is allowing me way too much ability to get under their skin.

Names May 29, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Sports.
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This is not an involved post, though it may involve some deeper thinking.

I want to toss out the issue regarding team nicknames.

In the past few years, the NBA Washington Bullets becamse the Wizards (going from offending 2nd Amendment fans to the much smaller Male Wicca lobby), the Seattle University Chieftains becamse the Redhawks (going from Native baiting to keeping the Sierra Club happy), and there has been much to-do about the Illini of the University of Illinois, and there have been many cries for the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins to alter their names as well.

Whenever I heard this, I wondered why Catholic priests (particularly the Franciscans) never objected to the San Diego Padres. I mean, isn’t that just as demeaning to the priesthood as the Redskins are to the Native Americans?

Yet the Franciscans keep oddly silent. I wonder why.

I swore I’d never set foot in this argument until my Catholic (or other) sensibilities were directly affected. I have now found it.

This idiot has suggested that the NHL’s New Jersey Devils need to change their satanic nickname and logo. He claims to that it is offensive to Christian sensibilities.

All I have to say is: “WHATEVER!!!!” As far as I am concerned, the Devils have a great nickname and logo. Keep on truckin’ fellas.

Transcript below:

TRENTON, N.J. — What chance do the New Jersey Devils give a proposal that would give the NHL team a less demonic name?

Think hell freezing over.

“I can assure you the Devils name will never change, and I think there are more important things to be thinking about than something that will never happen,” chief executive officer Lou Lamoriello said. “It’s who we are and what we want to be.”

State Assemblyman Craig Stanley is taking issue with a satanic symbol representing the team, which has won three Stanley Cup championships.

“This is an age where symbolism is very important,” said Stanley, a Baptist deacon whose resolution to rename the team is to be introduced in the Assembly next month. A new name would be chosen in a statewide competition.

Stanley’s legislative district includes parts of Newark, where the Devils are scheduled to move into a $310 million, 18,000-seat downtown arena in September 2007, from the Meadowlands sports complex in East Rutherford.

“I’ve always cringed when people say they’re going to see the Devils,” Stanley said. “The merchandise, the paraphernalia is based on the actual demonic devil. Personally, it causes a little bit of an issue with me.”

The team’s mascot is a red, cartoonish figure with horns and a goatee.

However, the team’s name, chosen in a 1982 fan contest, comes from the mythical Jersey Devil, not the Christian symbol of the antichrist, according to Weird N.J., a travel guide to the state’s most offbeat attractions.

The mythical Jersey Devil — with batlike wings, a forked tail and oversized claws — was said to terrorize Pine Barrens dwellers in the 18th century after being born the 13th child to poor south Jerseyans and morphing into a dinosaurlike beast.

Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey agrees that the name should stay as is. Team owner Jeff Vanderbeek gave the proposal a less-than-enthusiastic reception.

“He’s hellbent on keeping the Devils name,” Stanley said.

Returning to the Crime of the Scene. . . over and over. . . May 25, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Drama.
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Took the three middle kids to an audition for Beauty and the Beast tonight. I had every intention of curling up with a good Larry Niven book while they danced, sang and cold-read their way through this.

But I got talked into auditioning (again), and while I eschewed the dance portion (YEEEEEchhh. . .) I did actually cold-read and sang.. . and had fun. Never fails. I can avoid an audition like a career drunk can avoid a boilermaker.

Why, even in moments of near total weariness, do I try to add yet something else to my plate?

And then I answer myself.

Because I love drama. . .have for almost 30 years.

I’m not that bad at it.

And most importantly, now that my kids are in it too, I get to be WITH THEM as well as coaching them in this most fine of arts. That is the bottom line, and why I MAY say “yes” if they offer me a part.

MAY accept it. The spectre of the dreaded HOUSE MOVE still lurks ominously in the background. . .

The Dark Side May 20, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Drama, Mechanistic Relativism.
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WARNING: THE FOLLOWING GIVES SOME VAGUE PLOT HINTS ABOUT STAR WARS EPISIDE III!! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING GIVEN AWAY, DON’T READ THIS POST!!!

Well, we went and saw Episode III last night. Instead of belaboring the pros and cons of this film, I will just briefly say that this is the best of the first three episodes (which is not saying a whole lot), and that the critics, while they have some legitimate beefs with Lucas’s screenwriting and his managing of actors, went overboard in their panning of the film. Nevertheless, Lucas missed a prime opportunity to create an epic legacy for himself and his characters.

But that’s not my point.

Without giving too much away, I wanted to spend a bit of time talking about Lucas’s philosophy of the Dark side, and where the motivations for falling into evil come from.

Anakin is essentially swayed to the dark side for the following reasons (speaking generally for anyone who has not yet seen the film):

1. Anakin has a significant fear that one he is very close to is about to die. After his loss of his mother, he is determined to prevent this. Avoiding death (and pain) at any cost becomes his motto. The ends then justify the means for Anakin.

2. The forces of justice in his universe are then painted as bad guys. Because these forces have also thwarted Anakin in some personal ambitions he has, he embraces this unkust painting of them as bad guys to justify standing against them.

3. And most importantly, Darth Sidious, posing as a more sympathetic character (if you don’t know who this is, you have been living inside a Hutt for the past 5 years) attempting to seduce Anakin to the dark side, suggests to him that the road to true power and knowledge requires the examination and embracing of ALL areas of knowledge. One cannot focus strictly on the truth, as those misguided Jedi have done. Examine and understand evil as well, so that you might fight it and use its power at the same time. In fact, for Sidious, there IS NO EVIL, only power to be used as the power owner sees fit, to use to accomplish his own vision of goodness.

The Jedi focus only on following the good, the truth. For them, the ends never justify the use of evil means. Sidious instead says, in short, that there either is no evil, or evil in the pursuit of what one feels is good is an OK thing. Evil means in pursuit of even a nominal good is fine. Skywalker then gets seduced (as do so many of us) by this simple yet sinister philosophy.

Darth Sidious is an MRT. For him, there are no absolute truths. Relativism is all.

Filibustering May 18, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Liberal Hypocrisy, Politics.
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So, what does one think about the latest nonsense out of Washington?

On the one side, we have the Democrats -who have been steadily losing legislative power (despite the crazed efforts of the MRTs on their behalf) since '94 and the Contract with America- whining that their extended speeches on the floor of the Senate in an effort to avoid up-or-down votes on judicial nominees are about to be removed by a fed-up GOP majority.

On the other side, we have Bill Frist of the GOP insisting that there will be no compromise, and he will put forth a vote eliminating the filibuster on judicial nominees. The Donkeys then insist that this will severely break the "checks and balances" present in the Senate.

Excuse me? Aren't the voters, in conjunction with the Executive Branch (which can veto legislation) and the Judicial Branch (which can overturn bad law) already providing sufficient checks for Congress? This sounds, much, much more like an embittered minority fully intent on flexing its dwindling muscle so that it can confound as much of a Republican's President's agenda as it can before it is succumbs to the high tide.

To me, this sounds a whole heck of a lot like whining from pathetic 1st graders who are losing their playground game. Checks and balances. Horsefeathers. TAKE THE VOTE!!! Therein lies the function of the Senate.

What exactly are the Donkeys insisting on defending? An example: "At 9:51 on the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd completed an address that he had begun fourteen hours and thirteen minutes earlier. " THis was in opposition to the Civil Rights Bill (and Byrd is a Democrat, btw). 14 hours of unmitigated gibberish, simply in a effort to stall a bill that otherwise had overwhelming support. He, like most Democrats nowadays are not interested in carrying out the Constitutionally mandated responsibilities of the Senate. They are instead interested only in thwarting their nemesis, the GOP, as much as possible.

Give the judicial nominees their up-or-down votes. And move the eff on. Grow up, you overgrown babies.

Serendipity May 16, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Catholicism, Family.
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Coming soon (in all likelihood): musings on what it is like to move.

But in the meantime. . . an amusing reflection on Serendipity, and how God can occasionally time things most curiously.

My wife and I have seven children (and to quote Bill Cosby, the reason we have seven children is that we don’t want eight) (though in reality, we have seven children so that we might raise seven strong apologists who might confound Biscuits and his offspring. . .wait. . .he can’t breed. . .hmmmmm), and we live currently in a home with 4 bedrooms. . .which means much bunking and little room for stretching.

We found a wonderful home with five bedrooms much closer to the children’s theater many of our kids are in, as well as closer to my job. . .built in the ’40s (hence the upcoming term, “new (old) home”), lots of character, well maintained. So, we made an offer on that house, contingent on the sale of our own home. There was one caveat: the owners of the new (old) home accepted our offer with the clause that they could bump us 24 hours after they received an offer that was not contingent on the sale of another home. So, if they got another offer with cash up front, so to speak, we would have 24 hours to sell our home, or we would be out of luck in obtaining the new (old one.

Well, our house has been on the market for about four weeks, and we had been getting little action on it, until this past week, where we got a blizzard of showings (and dealt with the attendant headache of cleaning the place up, then vacate the premises while strangers looked at our home. . .) and no hard offers, until yesterday, when a woman from Walla Walla (I’ve always wanted to say that) made a fair offer, and we countered. She decided she wanted to see it again, so we cleaned and vacated again.

We came back to a phone call from our real estate agent, saying that our counter-offer was acceptable. . .and that the owners of the new (old) home we wanted had ALSO received a full cash offer, and were going to put us on the 24 hour clock tomorrow morning.

But it’s too late for those folks with the new offer. Since we now have a solid offer on our home, we are in the catbird seat. If all goes according to plan, we move late in June to this spacious new (old) home.

More reflections on that later. What I wanted to briefly touch on here was the uncertainty that possessed my family: would our house sell? Would we lose out on thie wonderful new (old) home? I was always curiously confident that things would work out as we prayed daily for God’s will to be done (thereby affording a certain amount of peace with uncertainty, peace that is unavailable to various MRTs who disavow the reality of a benevolent God in Heaven). Even as we heard rumors that the owners of the new (old) home were about to hear a new offer, I was still confident, even though we had no offers.

And on the same day, both the owners of the new (old) home and we receive offers on our homes. . .with ours coming just soon enough to insure that we will get the new (old) home. Serendipity.

Serendipity. While Walpole claims that this word comes from an old name from Sri Lanka, Serendip, meaning “silly fairy tale”, I prefer the root “Serene”, coming from the Middle English and Latin, serEnus, meaning “serene, clear”. So, serendipity might mean a “serene coincidence”.

Or, just to stick it to the MRTs, a timely coincidence of God, instilling serenity upon His followers. 😉

Journalistic shenanigans May 16, 2005

Posted by Administrator in MSM.
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Newsweek publishes the article that, among other things, accuses Gitmo intel dudes of flushing a copy of the Qu’ran down the toilet.

Once the riots started in Jalalabad, some questions came to my mind.

1) Did the journalist(s) in question responsible for reporting this think for one second about the wisdom of publishing this amazingly inflammatory story? Answer: No

2) Did they corroborate their sources? Answer: No. No one is surprised, of course.

3)When confronted with this perfidy, why do they not retract the story?

4)Will they take any responsibility for further poisoning relations with Islamic countries? Answer: No. This becomes Bush’s problem to clean-up.

5)WHY did they do this in the first place? Answer: To make the Bush Administration look bad, of course. Now that Newsweek has egg on its face, will it attempt to help Bush get rid of the coincidental egg on HIS face? Answer: Of course not.

Between this, Rathergate, and a host of other media gaffes, how can one still maintain that there is no liberal bias in the media?????

Intelligent Design flap in Kansas May 15, 2005

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Education, Mechanistic Relativism.
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CNN reports here that the Kansas Board of Education is considering redefining science so that it is no longer limited to natural (empirical) explanations of what is going on in the world.

Scientists, as well as certain MRTs who shall remain un-named, are in an uproar over this, and are engaging in the usual intolerant name-calling of the Kansas educrats.

My question is this: Although science has engineered true wonders in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics, what exactly have they contributed to the fields of love, philosophy and psychology? Psych is a field caught betwixt and between; they desperately WANT to be considered hard science, but the brute realities of the unpredicitability of human behavior thwarts them in their desire to be treated on the same playing field as Einstein and Bohr. Science cannot capture the human like it can the atom. For that matter, it cannot even capture the weather like it can the atom, though the recent spate of Chicken Littles proclaiming that the sky is falling (or warming) due to our own efforts (or lack thereof) would have you believe that we can in fact predict the weather, as well as control it.

I fail to see why the hard-line empiricists are getting their panties in a bunch because Kansas wants their students to consider the possibility that the hard science people don’t have a monopoly on truth.

How is this so bad?

I don’t know. But I do know that when the liberals and MRTs start to honk about it, that is a strong indicator that the Kansas educrats are probably on the right track.

UPDATE: THIS JUST IN: Pasty White Moral Relativists find this to be a complete outrage.

So, advise the media that this fine, upstanding author will not, repeat, NOT be moving to Topeka or Kansas City anytime soon. Kansans are said to be hugely relieved.