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Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Heather:
This is kind of a personal edition, here, and I'm looking for advice.
Regular readers know that for a number of years I had a nodding acquaintance with my faith. I knew the Church's stand on things (abortion, contraception, etc.) but didn't really live by it. I was considering finding another faith there for a while though I didn't know where, really, to go. I suppose this lack of leadership by anyone else left me where I was, so I could find my way back.
Anyway. During those years I did some things... Nothing that I THINK would get me excommunicated, and I have been to confession since; for the record, this is my second pregnancy ever and the result of the first is toddling around seemingly learning new words every day. Yesterday it was "dog" and "shirt."
I'm wondering how to explain this to my children in the future. I'm afraid they'll ask, "Was Daddy your first? Did you wait until you were married? How old were you, if not?" and not having answers I want to give them. I'm afraid to tell them the truth, in other words. I also want to avoid the, "Do as I say, not as I did" line.
Any help would be much appreciated. Even if it's "I was there and survived."

Sunday, November 03, 2002

"I think we're gonna need a bigger boat."

Dale: Repeat after me: a one hundred...pound...carp. That's a whole lotta bottom feeder...

Please note that this is from the Detroit News, a non-tabloid paper.

"Mammoth species...leaps out of water, smacks boaters."

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Great football weekend here!

Dale: No matter what my Lions do.

First, there's Bwa-hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! The Spartans could have had another month added to the clock this year and it wouldn't have helped. Exactly what I was hoping for from U of M: not merely a victory, but the Wolverines playing jumprope with Sparty's entrails. [Ed.: Ewwwww!] My dad and I haven't been this happy for a good year. A mediocre Michigan campaign suddenly got much, much better.

And the Maraschino cherry for my ice cream saturday: the luck of the Irish finally ran out. My conscience is quite clean--Boston College is a Catholic school. And, given that this is the second time in the last ten years that BC has ruined Irish title hopes, it is now my favorite Catholic school. Going to have to get some Eagle gear...
Dale: Never, ever, feed a toddler prunes.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Who needs sleep? Never gonna get it.

Dale: Who needs sleep? What's that for?

Long time, no post here. See my "shiny happy people" side over at this location. Be advised I'm doing this on three or so hours of nonconsecutive sleep.

Maddie was disconsolate last evening. She went down after her bath, but woke up. I marched manfully into her room, and was quickly overmatched by the minutes-long wails of a 14 month old. Every trick in the book, including laying her head on my chest to hear my heartbeat, failed. The wailing only got worse. I set up her new (used) toy, a battery-powered Fisher-Price light projector that plays "Rock-a-bye Baby" while placing a sky full of hearts, stars and a smiling crescent moon on the ceiling. The projector, planetarium-like, moves happy lambs, laughing puppies, and friendly bunny rabbits across the ceiling to the strains of the lullaby. No dice, not remotely interested. Daddy (and his cheap, futile parenting ploys) was persona non grata. Mommy had more success, but Maddie consistently woke up after an hour each time. Finally, at 2:30am, after giving her Baby Tylenol, taking her temperature (which showed a normal reading) and calling our family physician's on-call service, I said we were taking her to the emergency room. We left in such a hurry that I didn't realize until much later that my bed-head hair could best be described as an unhappy marriage between Jim Traficant's toupee and Kim Jong Il's finger-in-the-light socket look. At least I was wearing pants.

After our arrival, of course, she was the belle of the ball and acted for all the world like a happy, healthy, and slightly tired baby. Fortunately, the wait was not long. We were in line behind a guest of the Macomb County Correctional Facility and his two grim, brick-like sheriff chaperones. One of whom, of course, briefly dropped his businesslike mask to grin and wave at the Belle. We're just hardwired to respond that way, I guess. Someone should try the baby approach with Her Majesty's Horse Guards, placing a happy waddling toddler in front of them who wanders around saying "Hiii," "eckss," "beets," and "oops." If that didn't work, you'd have to check to see if the guy had been installed by the staff at Madame Toussaud's.

Anyway, Maddie got another toy, this one a doll from a friendly EMT and father of two who empathized with the bleary parents. The doll was a big hit. We were processed in, and quickly saw a doctor. Maddie's happy demeanor and normal temperature were unable to fool medical science--the quick diagnosis was an ear infection: "really inflamed." She got a dose of amoxicillin and we were given a prescription for the same. Maddie also received "oh, how cute!" accolades as we passed the nursing station on the way out. She was falling asleep by then. We stopped at the 24 hour pharmacy, and had the prescription filled while we waited in the drive thru. The pharmacist, also probably a dad, helpfully included a measuring spoon. A nice touch, especially at four in the morning. Maddie was fully conked out when we got home, not stirring when Heather removed her from the car seat, nor when the one piece snow suit was removed. Despite the circumstances, the evening was a good reminder of how decent and considerate people can still be.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Heather: You know what this world needs? A good feminist-Catholic treatise on Mary. Seriously. I'd even sort of compromise and say Christian, so as to include Luther, Calvin, and Wesley's opinions on her, but I don't think the general Protestant population gives much thought to that lady in the stable. That's my impression, anyway.
That thought has been brewing for a while. A couple friends of mine inspired it. One of them, raised Lutheran, has said to me, "I don't really have any problem with Catholicism but I don't understand the big deal about Mary." Then in the next breath, she calls Catholicism too patriarchal. Um, did you just listen to yourself?
The highest ranking mere mortal in Christ's Church is His mother. Last time I checked, she was a woman. I'd say that shows a certain degree of respect for the feminine half of the human race.
While I was incubating this idea aloud at Dale, he pointed out you could also bring in the other women of the Bible, specifically Ruth, Esther, Rachel and Rebekah. I thought of Judith as well. Mary Magdalen, and Mary and Martha too. They could lay the foundation of the Christian aspect.
If I had a year that I could take off, and the kids were more self-sufficient, where I could do the research that would be required for a good insightful book, I would write it myself. But I don't have the Biblical knowledge and expertise necessary. It would probably help to know Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, too. I wouldn't want to use secondary sources
I do have some insight into the feminist movement, but not the full history that would be necessary to give the work justice. Susan B. Anthony would be one to start with, or even Mary Wollstonecraft. The original ideas and goals of feminism and how they are exemplified in the Virgin--I think the two dovetail quite nicely, if I do say so myself.
Anyway. If anyone is aware of such a book that already exists, please let me know. I'm between books right now and that would be wonderful to have on hand.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Dale: No. Really.

I just got two pecks on the cheek from a disheveled, stubble-faced stranger with a heavy accent. Me and my beguiling charisma.

So, how's your day going?

Heather:
Be nice to Dale today.

He had four days in a row of hanging out with Maddie and had to go back to work today. There she was, rolled over on her stomach but nestled next to him, when I came back in to get dressed. She was OUT, too. He was cuddling her and stayed while I got dressed and then while I got my cereal. It seemed painful for him to get out of bed from his cuddle time.
I could identify with that feeling. It's really easy for me (and him) to get used to being at home playing house. Sadly, however, someone has to join the world and contribute to the GNP.
So be nice to him today; he's adjusting to being without his daughter for the day.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Heather:
Yes, it's a boy. I can believe it as I was part of the (incorrect) majority last time. It was that dream about caring for a circumcision that pushed me over the edge. Now I'm just willing to believe the technician.

I had a point to this. We'll have a girl and a boy; there are those that would say, "Why have any more? One of each is enough." One of my students expressed this when I announced the upcoming arrival's gender. The subtext is, "Any more would be redundant." Like a second son or daughter would be just like the first, so why would one bother? Apparently cloning is already a reality for them. Should those expecting a second son or daughter trade with another couple to have "family balance?" After all, the younger one wouldn't provide a different parenting experience so it wouldn't matter.
I'm a second daughter. Since my folks already had a daughter, I guess to those "family balance" proponents would have skipped me to go right ahead to my younger brother. We're 10 1/2 months and 15 months apart, respectively, which I suppose would had fuel to the argument.
My older sister and I are as different as chalk and cheese. Part of it I know is conscious and intentional, one goes left and the other right. But a larger part of it, I'm sure, is just that we are two different people with different things to offer the world. The idea of having only two and being done because "more would be redundant" is one of the more depressing beliefs I've happened to encounter.
Dale: It's a boy!

And I was sure it was a girl.

According to Dr. Ultrasound, our next child is a son, and he's still due on March 9, 2003.

Thanks be to God. I still haven't gotten my head around it yet.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Heather:
A little housekeeping is in order.
1. I didn't ask Dale to start his own blog to vent his politics. But I appreciate it. We had discussed it before, but this is supposed to be about things that are important enough to us to share with the rest of the world. His political viewpoints and opinions are important to him--that's what I came to grips with. I blog about nursing and that kind of thing; though he has a LOT of experience with it, it's all secondhand. He has expressed no qualms, though.
But hey, I'm not going to fight him on this. It is kind of nice to know that I'm important enough to him that he doesn't want to make me seem like a rumored sidekick.
Yeah, I got a good one.

2. About the beer. Of all the reader mail, I've gotten more about my low-carb beer comment than anything else. My thoughts were of those supposedly health-conscious individuals out for a night of carousing saying to themselves, "Ooh, if I drink the low-carb beer it will be healthier! Hooray! Maybe I'll even lose weight with it! Or cure wrinkles and warts too!"
However, those on a medically regulated low-carb diet who enjoy an occasional beer--THAT makes sense. You should be able to enjoy an adult beverage (in moderation) as is your wont. I've been told--though I personally disagree--that nothing tastes better with pizza in front of a football game, and you are entitled to indulge.

3. About 9/11 and all of the intelligence et cetera...
Let me start off by saying I don't believe for a second we deserved to have civilian airliners crashed into buildings. We don't deserve to have military ones involved in that kind of attack, either, so please don't read into that. We did not deserve such evil.
That being said, I think we (meaning our government) MIGHT have been able to see SOMETHING like it (though not nearly to that scale) coming. Doing the right thing (supporting Israel's right to exist) can and does often tick off the wrong people (Osama et al). The same way defending the new kid in school from the school bully can tick off said bully--what's right isn't always what's popular, and the defied often find a way to retaliate.
In defense of our government and its intelligence gathering, I have to wonder how much information those folks have to filter through every day/week/month. I'd bet money--not my children's lives, mind you--that, if you had gotten all of the right people in the right organizations together we'd have had all of the puzzle pieces of information about 9/11 in advance. The same way an infinite number of monkeys, given typewriters and enough time, will come up with every line of English prose in existence.
Which, coincidentally, is about how likely I think it would have been.
So I guess I'm letting those CIA, FBI, etc. folks off the hook.
WAS there a single group or subgroup whose sole job was to watch Osama and his winged monkeys and their cells and spawn and offshoots? How many cells, spawn, and offshoots were they watching? How many people were in that group and how easy was it for them to communicate? How much other extraneous information did they have in front of them, obscuring the mission?
I don't have the answers to those questions and frankly, I avoid the news when I'm pregnant. It's a tip I picked up from my sister. If the American public has the answers to those questions, I'll bet a (low-carb) beer that I'll hear about it.

Anyway. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Dale: No More Playing Hockey in the House.

In the interests of maintaining a balance in this blog, which is generally supposed to be more home and family commentary, I've decided to create a new blog. You can still send love letters to the old e-mail address. I'll still post here, but it won't be material that looks like Bill O'Reilly with rabies. IOW, the end of the Norway saga will be posted at the new link.

Without further ado, I direct you to Dyspeptic Mutterings.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Dale: Winding Down the Norway Thing, for Bjorn and Matthew. Part I

I have to finish this up, before Heather kills me. First, thanks to Matthew and Bjorn for their fair-minded replies. Especially for recognizing the exaggeration in the first post. Not everybody picked up on that.

Second, I need to relate a couple of stories to give you a little perspective on where I came from on this. The first comes from one of my best friends, a painfully fair and honest man who should trademark the title "America's Only Liberal Marine." He told me about his experience during Arctic warfare training in the Kingdom. He and his unit were shipped up north of the Arctic Circle [Bodo, I think--can't do the slivered-o character]. He said that the only thing colder than the climate was the reception from the locals, who repeatedly berated the Marines. The main gripe he heard was with the "militarism" of the Marines, some of whom had painted skulls on their equipment. This seems to be an awfully "Emily Post-ish" bitch for people who at that time lived within a couple hours drive from Russian forces who would have been much ruder "guests", but for the presence of American forces like the USMC. Indeed, one of the locals advised that the Russians would have been better behaved. Why, of course they would have.

On the positive side, my friend said the beer was excellent.

The second story comes from when I was 9 or 10. My friends and I frequently played "war," running around the neighborhood with toy guns, whipping up on either the Russians or Germans, depending on how "modern" we wanted the war to be. During one of these games, we almost literally ran into one of the neighbors, an old man with a heavy accent. The man, who introduced himself to us as Mr. Szastik, smiled sadly and asked to talk to us. We did, and he pulled out a worn black and white picture, which he said he always kept with him. Mr. Szastik showed us boys the picture, which had seventy serious-looking young men staring out from the photo, in military uniform. He pointed himself out, a determined, handsome black-haired man of about 20 or so. You see, Mr. Szastik was a Polish cavalryman, and the picture was taken in mid-1939, just before the start of the war. He paused, and then said that of the seventy--friends, brothers all--exactly seven survived the war. But they had fought bravely, which he said with understandable pride. He then let us go, telling us to remember that when we "played" at war. I did, but perhaps not exactly in the sense he intended. [I later found out that he had met his future wife at a German prison camp, and promised to marry her if they survived. At least his war had something of a happy ending.]

Ever since then, my benchmark for resistance to the Nazis is Poland. Carrying on a hopeless fight, with no help, against both the Nazis and the Soviets. After the surrender, the Poles didn't get a home-grown lackey puppet to govern them--they got the butcher Hans Frank. Pretty much everywhere there were Nazis to fight, you found Poles. I think of the remnants of the Polish forces escaping under long odds to re-form their shredded forces in the West. I think of the fact that at one point in the Battle of Britain, more than 10% of the RAF's pilots were Polish. I think of the Polish destroyer Piorun, in a real mouse-vs.-python moment, charging at the Bismarck, firing away. I think of the Polish troops who successfully stormed Monte Cassino, after American and British attempts had failed. I think of the Polish First Armored Division, coming ashore on D-Day, and then closing the Gap at Falaise. I think of the courage of the Polish Airborne Brigade at Arnhem. Then there's the 100,000 men of the Polish Red Army who defeated the Nazis in battle after battle on the Eastern Front. And, lest we forget, there's the 400,000 strong Polish resistance--the KA (Home Army), and the heroic doomed rebellions of Mordechai Anielewicz and Tadeusz Komorowski. The cost of the War to Poland? One in every six Poles alive in 1939 was dead in 1945.

Despite this cost, Poland's fighting spirit lived on, refusing to submit to the Soviet occupation, finally culminating in liberation in 1989.

Perhaps this is not a fair comparator for Norway--indeed, the two countries' situations were markedly different. Perhaps it's not a fair comparator for any other occupied country, but it has become the standard.

More in Part II.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Dale: "All Norway, All The Time!"

A respectful, thoughtful rebuttal by Matthew Wagner. "Blogging: Where Equal Time Is a Reality."

"I encountered your blog the other day via a link from Instapundit, and I'm afraid I must take issue with a few of your central points. In brief, I agree with your assessment of this last Nobel Peace prize...but please don't take out your aggressions on the Norwegian people due to the actions of five idiots who happen to live there. I would have thought that the number of intelligent right-of-center Norwegian blogs out there would have at least offset the effect of these five in your mind. I'm afraid also that your assessment of Norway's participation in WWII is rather short-sighted. Most of my knowledge on the subject comes from an unabashed pride of my heritage, so I readily acknowledge a bias, but I feel that the facts do back up such a pride. (I apologize for only providing the one link, but as it's a subject very few people care about, and I've never really had to back it up before, I don't have a comprehensive source.)

The link.

There's no debate that the German invasion was assisted by insufficent, even incompetent response on the part of the Norwegian forces. However, that's far from the entire story. Contribution of the Norwegian merchant navy (third largest in the world) to the Allied war effort provided essential shipping services in all arenas of the war. Further, the resistance within Norway to the German occupation hindered the German governance at every turn, and required the stationing of an absurd number of German troops within the country to merely maintain the occupation. One particular incident (told to me by my Grandfather) comes to mind: When the German troops first established their occupation force, they pressed the Oslo bus drivers into providing occasional transport for their
troops. A short while later, entire busloads of troops started going missing. This proved to be quite the mystery until one of the missing troops turned up. The soldier reported that the bus driver, while driving the full busload of troops to their station, had simply driven off the side of a fjord, plunging a hundred feet down to the icy waters below, killing everyone on the bus (excepting this soldier who had managed to swim free).

Further, I would hope that the actions of the squad of Norwegians who twice managed to sabotage the heavy water plants in Vemark might counterbalance the idiocy of five holier-than-thou intellectuals.

In short, the source you quote, giving 15,000 volunteers for the Axis and 11,000 for the Allies, ignores the contributions of the merchant navy, the 44,000 underground resistance soldiers, and counts only those who A) managed to get to another country where they could enlist on the Allied side and B) couldn't serve the effort better as part of the merchant navy. (It is evident that the merchant navy numbers aren't being counted, as your linked article lists only about 1,000 dead in combat, when the merchant navy losses alone were 4,000.)

Am I saying that Norwegian troops were key in the course of the war and centrally responsible for the eventual defeat of the Axis? No, of course not. However, I do feel that their contribution was to the greatest extent they could manage, and thus deserve better treatment than to be dismissed as capitulators and people with an "appeaser mentality." (This last comment was what prompted my little missive, as I felt it was particularly unjust.) The main lesson to be learned from all of this is that a country's people are not the same thing as their armed forces or their intellectuals. Despite the capitulation of their armed forces, the Norwegian people fought back, and, we hope, despite the moral capitulation of their only world-visible intellectuals to the forces of simpering anti-Americanism, I hope that the citizens of Norway aren't nearly so knee-jerk as those who would "kick us in the leg." At the very least I'd hope that Norway remembers that neutrality in the face of a dictator means very little.

I know you were overstating your case merely for the sake of emphasis and to make a point, but it still struck me as rather unfair. I hope you'll take this little note into consideration. (You're welcome to reproduce any of it that you like.)"

[I'll respond when I get a chance. It's my day off, and I have yet to do the family's grocery shopping. Maddie slept for three and a half hours today, so that's why I'm slow off the mark. I was able to watch Lord of the Rings again while she was out cold.]333.......00 --Baby found the keyboard again.


Dale: Our Second-Ever Installment of Reader Mail.

Organized by Topic:

A. Norway/Norwegians.

1. I stand corrected.

"Humbly beggin' yer pardon sir, but I think the simile

"folded up like a cheap suit"

is slightly off. I believe it is either 'folded like a bad hand' or 'unraveled like a cheap suit', though in any case, it does describe a country that makes France look like it really should belong on the Security Council."


2. "I was steered to your site this evening by Rod Dreher at The Corner, National Review Online. Your comments about the nautical rabbit/Nobel Prize/former president connections were on target, as were your observations about Norway, cradle of Scandinavian arrogance. I once worked for a Norwegian company and was required to travel to Oslo. Older Norwegians were friendlier and many spoke English. The younger Norskes were not nearly as friendly and rarely spoke English in our presence, unless required to do so for business reasons. Hospitality, we soon learned, was to be found on the other side of the North Sea. One thing that I noticed particularly was how many Norwegians in my company referred to themselves as vikings and to us Americans as cowboys. This was back in the 1980's, but it does not seem that things have changed much. Quisling, the label, has dropped from cultural consciousness, apparently. A viking would "kick (us) on the leg", whereas a quisling would only bite us on the ankle. Hey, hey, yah, yah! An observer at the time of my travels, and I wish I could recall his/her name, noted that the Norwegians sent their socialists to Oslo to run the country, but sent their kroner to Wall Street. I do not believe that has changed much. Your comments about Norway and Norwegians brought back some memories, and I thank you for that."

3. This one was sent in large point bold.:

"Norwegian patriots working with British Intelligence (and against overwhelming odds) destroyed Hitler's heavy water project just before it reached fruition. See, eg, Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War 1941-1945."

4. "I liked your Norwegian writeup, too. I have friends and relatives in Sweden and have visited them a dozen
times. They seem to treat Norwegians like Michigan Trolls treat U-Pers, or New England treats people from
Maine."

B. Light Beer!

1. "You may know all about this, but the first lite beer was made and marketed by the Peter Hand Brewery here in Chicago. They had the same trademark logo that Miller uses today. They were struggling to save their brewery so came up with the idea of selling more beer to women with the argument that 'it wouldn't make them fat.'

Well, that campaign went nowhere, and what was left of Peter Hand was bought out by Miller. Miller took a long step back and thot way out of the box and came up with the concept, pitched directly to men, forget women: `If you dring our lite beer you can drink more
beer and not get any fatter than you already are.` The rest is history."

2. "I'm on a low-carb diet, and also like the _occasional_ beer, so I was pleased to read an article about Michelob coming out with a low-carb beer. It also mentioned that Miller Lite is low carb. A bottle has 2 or 3 grams of grams while on the diet I'm allowed at least 20 grams a day, so it's not a big deal. I give Michelob credit for picking up on this trend in dieting. Very few other mainstream food suppliers (e.g. restaurants) have."

C. Richard "What's a little fondling between rationalists?" Dawkins.

1. An excellent blog from Espana, by Xavier Basora.

2. "I am, however, more interested in the comments of Richard Dawkins, alleged religious thinker. Should Dawkins turn out to be the resolute rationalist that he represents himself to be (atheism = rationalism), then he should understand that he is not an atheist but an agnostic. His case of disbelief is serious, but not terminal. If Dawkins does not know everything that can be known (and I am not aware that he asserts otherwise), he allows for the possiblity that one of the things that he does not know is whether God exists. The mere possibility of God's existence becomes the rational view. Hence, Dawkins is an agnostic, for an atheist could not concede the existence of such a possibility."

3. "I found your weblog from a link on Instapundit. Normally when I follow a link to a weblog I haven't seen before, I like to scroll down and read a couple of days worth of entries. I was surprised to read what you said about Richard Dawkins. I had seen a link to the story a couple of days ago, but I didn't read it because Dawkins' opinions on religion are, shall we say, predictable. But surely history has proven that no world view or ideology has a monopoly on violence. People have committed Christian-inspired murder as readily as any other kind. It is ultimately not religion or its lack that cause murder; it is human nature."

As a Catholic, I could not agree more.

This sucker's long enough. More later.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Dale: "Am I Serious?"

Speak of the devil, Bjorn Staerk's responded to my Norway spleen-venting.

First, his historical challenges. The point about the Norwegian Navy is well-taken, but this is a distinctly different issue than the volunteer question. If there's a problem with the volunteer figures, that's the Nuav website's calculations, not mine. It seems like a reasonably well-done website without an axe to grind. However, if anyone shows me that the figures are inaccurate, I'll be happy to remove the reference and the link.

With respect to Norway's struggle in the north, it should be noted that the British began landing troops in central and northern Norway within a week of the German invasion. With all due respect, that, plus the commitment of major Allied naval and air assets, was the reason for the prolonging of the fight there.

Second, to answer his question in a lawyerly fashion, "no" and "yes." "No" in that I don't intend for it to be a blanket condemnation of every single Norwegian, nor indeed to deny Norway's contribution in Afghanistan.

And yet, yes, it is serious because it is part of a broad and growing trend of Western European thought since 9/11, one perfectly in keeping with a decidedly chequered history of responses to totalitarianism. Hence the references to the appeaser/collaborationist background of the target nation of my blog post. Sadly, the same applies (more so) to most nations on the continent. This makes the moral standing of the incessant tedious lectures against the U.S. dubious--to put it mildly.

The Nobel committee is appointed by the Norwegian government, frequently former ministers and parliamentarians. Like Mr. Berge. Consequently, it is not an unreasonable supposition that the Nobel Committee represents mainstream government views. You don't get prestige posts by rocking the boat with your colleagues.

So, when faced with the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize, what do Norway's best and brightest do? Why, they trash the ideals behind the Prize and make a puerile political statement. They attempt to kick America in the shins by giving the award to the most inept, flatfooted moralizer ever to occupy the White House--a man often star-struck by totalitarian regimes. No wonder they like Carter. They share the same interests.

This decision is a perfect example of elite Western European views on the war: at once feckless, relativistic, moralizing and inane. America is again in a death-struggle against totalitarianism and rogue regimes, and the appeasers--epitomized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee--are in full opposition, sniggering at their own cleverness.
Dale: Welcome Mark Shea, Corner and Instapundit Readers!

Well! Certainly wasn't expecting the comparative flood of mail we've gotten on recent topics, so bear with us.

While you're here, if you can drop me a line on how to fix the template and archives, I'd be grateful.

Norway-related e-mail total: 3 to 1 in favor of anti-Norway commentary. Although one of the "anti" writers was of Swedish descent, which means it's not exactly from an unbiased source, if you know what I mean.

The "pro" writer pointed out that the Norwegian resistance (along with British Intelligence agents) was instrumental in destroying Hitler's heavy water project, which is true. I'd forgotten that. "Operation Gunnerside," February 25, 1943. That contribution should not be underestimated. And, hey, Bjorn Staerk's blog is always worthwhile.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Dale:

Jimmy Carter, the first (and only) American President ever to be attacked by a swimming rabbit, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today. The former President's foreign policy ineptitude, both in and out of the White House, has been well-documented by others, so I'm not going to dwell on that.

Actually, I don't think President Carter and his administration get enough credit for their pivotal roles in ending the Cold War. After all, his four years in office ensured Ronald Reagan's landslide election in 1980. Moving on.

No, what drew my attention today is the reasoning behind the decision:

"Gunnar Berge, chairman of the Nobel committee, said giving the award to Carter 'should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken. . . . It's a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States.'"

As you may know, the prize originates in the insignificant Kingdom of Norway (don't feel bad if you can't find it on a map--it truly does not matter). Norway is a country best-known for whale-killing and giving the English language the noun "quisling." In World War II, like all parts of Western Europe not entirely surrounded by water, this country folded up like a cheap suit once a platoon full of Germans got within firing range. They even provided willing help to Hitler and his jack-booted legions after the occupation. In fact, more Norwegians volunteered to fight for the Axis than for the Allies.

Indeed, they were so enthusiastic that the last fighting of the war involved an SS unit with Norwegian volunteers.

With that background, you can see that the appeaser mentality is deeply ingrained in the Norwegian psyche. Here's hoping they don't send volunteers to Hussein, but you never know....

Okay, that was a little harsh. There probably won't be any dictator-fawning volunteers this time around--unlike Germany or the Russian Front, Iraq's a little too warm for your average Norwegian. In reality, Norway's power in the modern world is limited to this: The spiteful awarding of a trinket and some prize money to a washed-up American statesman. Oooh, scary. Memo to Norway: You can't "kick us in the leg" when you don't even reach our instep.

That is all. Plaudits for Peter Singer to follow...
Heather: I don't have any deep and profound thoughts, really, so this is going to be kind of Larry King-ish in style.

I just read about the mom who emailed Bush, requesting he send her surviving Marine son home from Okinawa. His twin brother was killed in Kuwait this week. I think not only should he be sent home, he should have a limo ride for the trip if not a chopper to place him safely on the front lawn.

I pass a billboard selling low-carb beer on my way home. Let's think: if you're drinking beer, are you REALLY that worried about carbohydrates?

Madeleine's newest word sounds a lot like "Socks." She says it when holding the offending garments, so I think it is.

Buenos días en España! We have a reader in Spain! It still kind of stuns me that we have interested readers at all, let alone transatlantic ones.

The upcoming Price is making his/her presence felt. It's possible to tell from the outside, though not as obviously or as often.

It's Friday. If I don't plan for Monday now, I'll have to do it after school and I'd rather have a short blog and a longer weekend.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Dale: If Richard Dawkins was any dumber, you'd have to water him.

This is dumber than a box of hair. [Thanks to Doug Sirman for that turn of phrase].

No, really. If Dawkins applied the same intellectual rigor to the study of science that he does to religion, he'd be a phrenologist. Or he'd be waxing flatulent about the glories of phlogiston or alchemy. Or he'd be touting whatever two-bit flavor of the month version of scientific huckerism that happened to be on the ascendant. Hmm. Come to think of it...Nah. Another day.

Once again, he demonstrates his consistently anencephalic "insights" into religious belief. Here's my favorite excerpt:

"The word atheism sounds negative; let me call it rationalism. It is a rational view of the world where you stand up proudly, in your humanity, you look life straight in the face, you look the universe straight in the face, you do your level best to understand it, to understand why you exist, what the universe is about, you recognise that when you die that's it, and therefore life is very, very precious and you devote your life to making the world a better place, to leading a good life so when you die you can say to yourself I have led a good life. Now, that seems to me to be a worthwhile goal to put in place of the medieval superstition which is religion. Belief in God doesn't have to be a bad thing, but I think it's a very demeaning thing to the human mind to believe in a falsehood, especially as the truth about the universe is so immensely exciting."

Sure it is. What's a "good life," Dick? Who's your yardstick--Charles Manson or Mother Teresa? Probably the former, since he managed to liberate himself quite effectively from Christian brainwashing...

Yes, Dick, a nihilistic world view in which nothing matters is "so immensely exciting" I need to empty my rapidly-filling kidneys. This is such nonsense it's not funny. Truth be told, the rationalist worldview's attitude towards human life sits on the spectrum running from irritated impatience to Belsen and the gulags. Human life is valuable only so long as it has utility, isn't a burden and doesn't get in the way. Drs. Singer and Kevorkian will be happy to explain it to you. Stalin and Hitler have better ideas for the lives of workers and Herrenvolk. Not to mention the kulaks and untermenschen. Good old Joe and Adolf! Two more enlightened souls liberated from the brainwashed prisons of Orthodoxy and Catholicism! Yay! Over 50 Million Served! Right into their graves.

We need only to look at the secularized West for a foretaste of Dawkins' utopian vision. The preciousness of human life is nowhere present. Abortions by the million, families shattered by the quest for self-fulfillment, parents shuffled off to die--all of this follows in the wake of the great "liberation" that has occured since the collapse of Christianity in the last half of the 20th Century. The last thing the "liberated" want to hear is a dull sermon from a preachy atheist. "Make the world a better place", hell--I'm gonna get me some while I still can. Once around the ride, baby! Eat, drink, buy and fornicate with as many fine people as I can afford to. And if I can't afford to, well--let's just say there's many immensely exciting ways to acquire the funds--from Enron to knocking over the local party store.

The fact of the matter is that we are religious creatures. Humanity will attempt to fill the God-shaped hole--it has no choice. It will try Islam, the New Age, Buddhism, consumerism, sex, the class struggle, or even the adoration of the Master Race. The craving is there. And it's safe to say that it will not fill it with the ignorant sanctimonious prattlings of an "intellectually fulfilled atheist."

Monday, October 07, 2002

Heather: Lunch blog for me.
Dale can reach links, so maybe this evening he'll link up to the story. Here goes: there's been yet another shooting in the Washington area. This time, a 13-year-old boy being dropped off at school was the victim. Last I saw, he was critical, so maybe this one will be different from those others. Too soon to know if it was the same gun as the others.
I admit a little bit of callousness toward the other shootings. A grocery store, a gas station... None of those folks were doing anything wrong. This one, at the school, though...
I mean, you hear about robberies at gas stations and grocery stores are open to the general public. Schools, though, are almost as sacrosanct as churches in my mind. It's where there are far more children than adults and should be some of the very safest places in the world. And here we are, a sniper picking off a random child.
What makes that child any different from the ones I have in front of me? The ones I discussed nouns with this morning, and will discuss adjectives and verbs with tomorrow? (side note: I teach French and Spanish and have learned that they sometimes need to learn a little about their mother tongue before learning about another.) What about the ones that got the 10 sentences to translate into French? Maybe one of the kids that will see the end of their movie today will be the next target. Or one of those that will learn how to ask questions this afternoon.
I know, that's what terrorism is supposed to do, immobilize through fear.
There was a cartoon a few years back of a teacher saying, "Good morning, class!" Each student was wearing a T-shirt proclaiming their particular problem: Alcoholic Parents. Worked Until 2AM. Drug User. Divorced Parents. ADD. Sexually Abused. Homeless. I try not to think about that cartoon, knowing statistically I've dealt with all of those problems and not known most of the time. Now, on top of those problems as well as the myriad of others, I get to look at them wondering which might be the target of a sniper.

I really, really, really need to say a Rosary. Or something like that.
Dale: Lepanto and Afghanistan: "Don Juan of Austria has loosed the cannonade!"

Two dates in history, and I believe they are related.

One year ago, our nation began to strike back against Al Qaeda and its national sponsor, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Four hundred and thirty one years ago, a combined Spanish-Venetian fleet inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ottoman Turks--the first defeat the Turks had ever suffered at sea. Here are two accounts: the first by Chesterton, and the second a somewhat more sober telling.

Is it coincidence that our attack was launched on the anniversary of the sledgehammer defeat of the most powerful Muslim state to ever exist? Not likely. Consider this: if you recall, the U.S. was under some pressure to give diplomacy a little longer, and the difference of a day or two would not have been significant. Except in the historical sense...

Second, and directly related, we are dealing with people who remember every real or perceived slight ever suffered by a Muslim since the Seventh Century A.D., right down to the failure to receive exact change. Al Qaeda members are acutely sensitive to history, and do not forget defeat (hence bin Laden's droning on and on about the loss of the Spanish Muslim state of Andalusia in 1492).

In short, they remember Lepanto. Well, those who are still alive today do...

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