Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

"Very fun." -- J. Bottum, Editor, FIRST THINGS

"Too modest" -- Elinor Dashwood

"Perhaps the wisest man on the Web" -- Henry Dieterich

"Hat tip: me (but really Cacciaguida)" -- Diana Feygin, Editor, THE YALE FREE PRESS

"You are my sire. You give me confidence to speak. You raise my heart so high that I am no more I." -- Dante

"Fabulous!"-- Warlock D.J. Prod of Didsbury

Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

E-mail me

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Via Confirm Them.


Is Miguel Estrada a Gryffindor?

Monday, September 26, 2005
CNN: Coalition sends more troops to Anbar
Additional U.S. and Iraqi forces have been deployed to Iraq's Anbar province [Hi! *Wave*] to deal with the stubborn insurgency in the Euphrates River valley, a U.S. Marine commander told CNN.

"The buildup is driven by the fact that intelligence pulls us where the threat is," said Col. Stephen Davis, commander of the Marines Regimental Combat Team 2. "We always go where the intel drives us."

Military officials believe more than 1,000 insurgents operate in the 30,000-square-mile region bound by the Euphrates River and the borders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, Davis said.The insurgents comprise "homegrown" elements, tribal groups and foreign fighters -- many affiliated with terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Davis said....

U.S. forces operating in western Anbar had been stretched thin, Davis said, playing something of a "cat and mouse" game with the insurgency. He said U.S. Marines and Iraqi forces have driven out insurgents only to have them return once troops had left town.

"Presence equals security equals stability equals success," Davis said of the buildup. "The reallocation of forces allows us to further our campaign of carrying out this formula. This will allow us to pursue our strategy: get into the cities, provide a presence of Iraqi and U.S. forces and give the cities back to Iraq."...

Sunday, September 25, 2005
We've heard from Jonathan Lee. He arrived at Camp Victory, Kuwait, earlier today, after a stopover and plane change in Frankfurt. His unit is spending the night at Camp Victory, and fill fly to Al Asad, Iraq, tomorrow.

OK, it now looks official. CWN reports, and many secular sources do too, that "Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document indicating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained as Catholic priests."

Parameters of the debate

The debate among orthodox Catholics is between a strict or a less-strict rule. Let's divide the relevant universe into people with opposite sex attraction (OSA) and people with same sex attraction (SSA), and also into Catholic doctrine acceptors (CDAs) and Catholic doctrine rejectors (CDRs) (meaning, doctrine with regard to homosexual conduct; there were also those like the late Prof. John Boswell who accepted Catholic doctrine on Christology, the Trinity, etc., but dissented on sex.) So we have:

OSA/CDA: your basic continent unmarried person, or faithful married person
OSA/CDR: your basic playboy or party girl, or perhaps simply your average person in today's world
SSA/CDA: David Morrison, who carries the burden of being everyone's example; your basic Courage-type
SSA/CDR: From Andrew Sullivan on out

Rule of law

I think all orthodox Catholics accept that all CDRs, whether OSA or SSA, should be kept out of seminaries and the priesthood. All accept, too, that an SSA/CDA could be a fine priest, and that many SSA/CDAs are, have been, and will be fine priests. The debate is over whether the rule should be framed so as nominally to exclude all SSAs (CDAs as well as CDRs), or whether it should be framed so as to let in the SSA/CDAs and keep out the SSA/CDRs, with, of course, appropriate screens so as to figure out who's which.

Well, first of all, I'm not aware of any such screen. Amy Welborn asserts not only that there is one but that it's easy to apply:
But should the man who struggles with same-sex attraction and seeks to live chastely, who buys the whole package of Catholic moral teaching, be put into that category [i.e. rejected for seminary]? Absolutely not. To me, that's insane, and truth be told, it's not that difficult to tell the difference.
It must be rough, being around so many insane people, beginning with the Pope. But my real question is: aside from italics and rhetorical intensifiers like "truth be told," what reason is there to think that there is any test or metric that seminary officials can use fairly, consistently, and on (let us pray) a large-scale basis?

In theory, the Church should do everything in such a "personalist" way that thorough, accurate, and reliable assessments could be made of every individual applicant. But if the Church could do everything so "personalistically," she would have no need of Canon Law, since law assumes a need for general rules that can be applied with some degree of predictability, which conduces to fairness. Since at least the rise of the Canon Law system a thousand years ago, the Church has implemented the rule of law; a system of endless, individually focused exceptions is antithetical to the rule of law.

Thus, where Mark Shea sees "an approach that does not see the person, but thinks only in broad insurance company terms," I see an approach that prefers generally applicable rules to infinitely various and inevitably invidious distinctions; I see the use of the rule of law by the institution that, some say, bestowed that value on the modern world.

Cacciaguida's Constant

But what if the Church could lay down specific, law-like criteria for distinguishing SSA/CDAs from SSA/CDRs? The strict rule and the less-strict rule are both rules, aren't they?

Yes -- and the first argument usually made against the strict rule is that it is easily circumvented by lying. OK -- but why is that any less true of the less-strict rule? Given a willingness to lie, and some competence at it, why is it harder for an SSA/CDR to claim to be an SSA/CDA than to claim to be an OSA/CDA?

This leads us to Cacciaguida's Constant: The extent to which any rule will be enforced, measured in percentage terms, is a constant less than 100. I'm not particular as to what the constant is; I'll even concede that it might not be strictly a constant: since different rules have different capacities for enforcement, Cacciaguida's Constant may not be an actual constant, but a range (say, between 50 and 80), depending on how much resistance a rule generates. But since "Cacciaguida's Constant" sort of rolls off the tongue, I'll retain it as my name for the fact that a stricter rule will lead to a stricter set of outcomes than will a less-strict rule, ceteris paribus.

There is plenty of room to discuss whether the rule will be enforced at all. As Diogenese says at CWN:
Those disposed to enforce it have already been doing so unbidden. Those who are hostile, lazy, or weak will make the linguistic policy adjustments needed to feign compliance while continuing to turn a blind eye to the sordid realities.
But unless Cacciaguida's Constant = 0 (meaning, no rule makes any difference at all), the strict rule will lead to fewer SSA/CDRs in the priesthood than will the less-strict rule.

I haven't forgotten what I said a minute ago -- that, for liars, the content of a rule affects only the content of that lie needed to get around it. It would follow that if all men with SSA are liars, then it makes no difference which rule is applied, since the constant will be 0. But I assume that not all men with SSA are liars; that most, in fact, are not.

It will take more than just this

So, what's good about having fewer SSAs in the priesthood? Less clergy sexual abuse, obviously. Most victims have been teenage boys. Duh. But -- that's not the end of the matter. If Church officials were to conclude that the imposition of the strict rule means that's the end of that, then David Morrison would be right to say that "
the whole point of this policy is to scapegoat all men with SSA for the misbehavior of those who have been bad priests and those who have formed them." And David is (not would be -- is) right to point out that there's a grave problem of "seminary staff who have not formed seminarians to seek and to strive for chastity and who have undermined their faith. " (N.B. Buy David's book!)

If that problem isn't cured, then you could have the straightest student body in history, and all it would mean five years or more down the road is that it's the girls and not the boys who have to watch out. (To some extent this is already the case: not all the victims have been boys.)

Furthermore, because of Cacciaguida's Constant, men with SSA will still end up in seminary. What I hope for from the strict rule is that more of them will be SSA/CDAs, and fewer of them will be SSA/CDRs. The less-strict rule would, in practice, let in more of both.

An excursus on sanctity and clericalism

David also says:
[A]t its deepest roots the teaching of the Catholic Church on same sex attraction refuses to be reductionist or deterministic. The Church's teaching steadfastly declines to look at a person living with same sex attraction and see only the SSA and it refuses to state that someone living with same sex attraction cannot follow Christ, cannot be virtuous, cannot live chastely - until, perhaps, now.
Correct -- except for the last three words. I see at work here a tinge of the clericalism that is rampant in so many other opinions I've seen on this issue (and also on women and the priesthood): the notion that there is a fundamental identity between priesthood and sanctity, such that ineligibility for priesthood means ineligibility for first-class sanctity.

If this were true, then priesthood would be the fulfillment of every Christian's baptismal undertaking, and a non-priest would be a failed or second-rate Christian. Fifty years ago you could find Church officials who thought like that, but one really hoped that one of the effects of Vatican II was to correct this error and proclaim the universal (lay folk as well as priests and religious) call to sanctity.

David has eloquently described the way the Church deals with SSA/CDAs in the confessional and in spiritual direction. The fallacy lies in assuming that the same framework applies to candidacy for the priesthood. That would be true if all Catholic men were called to the priesthood as an inherent stage in their sanctification; but they're not. We're all called to be saints, and SSA is no automatic bar to getting that job done. We're not all called to priests or monks or nuns, and certain things may be bars to those particular roles that are not bars to sanctity itself. I'm not running down the importance or venerability of the priesthood: I'm only pointing out that Our Lord in the Great Commission did not say "Go forth and make clergy of all nations."

Ergo, the Church is not necessarily departing from her existing spiritual framework for men with SSA if she imposes less personalistic, less individually-tailored rules to men seeking the priesthood.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

From Gathering Goat Eggs: Why can't Supreme Court confirmation hearings be more like this? --
You've said you're a devotee of P. G. Wodehouse. Of the current justices, who is most like Jeeves?

Clarence Thomas.

Who's most like Bertie Wooster?

All the rest of them. Except Scalia, he's Aunt Agatha.

Would it be a violation of Lois Lane's so-called right to privacy if Superman used his X-ray vision to look through her clothes?

No. Superman has been reorganized as an subagency in the Department of Homeland Security, and is authorized to use all available superpowers to combat terrorism without obtaining warrants. And if Nan Aron doesn't like it she can eat my shorts.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
CBS News reports:
The U.S. government has told a Texas court that Pope Benedict XVI should be given immunity from a lawsuit accusing him of conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian, court documents show.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Peter Keisler said in Monday's filing that, as pope, Benedict enjoys immunity as the head of a state — the Vatican. He said that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would be "incompatible with the United States' foreign policy interests."

There was no immediate ruling from Judge Lee Rosenthal of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston, who has been presiding over the case. However, the Supreme Court has held that U.S. courts are bound by such "suggestion of immunity" motions submitted by the government, Keisler's filing says.
I quote this because Mr. Keisler has a great future and deserves one.

Time to move further on from yesterday's "Conversation chez Cacciaguida." (I'm learning what to post about if I want lots of comments, and one of them is Harry Potter!)

So I thought you might like my take on

What John Roberts said about Griswold et al.

Some conservatives are alarmed because Judge Roberts uttered the words "Roe" and "Casey" without spitting on the ground and pledging to overrule those decisions at the first opportunity.

I'm glad the implacables are there, but I'm afraid they risk devouring their own value. No Republican judicial nominee is going to say what they want to hear, at least not until the Senate has not only 55 Republicans, but, say 85, of which 55 are Tom Coburn. If your minimum threshold for acceptability is that high above what your are ever going to hear, your dissatisfaction will not be very weighty. (Fifty-five should be plenty to confirm a conservative nominee to the other seat, but that's a separate post.)

No, I am satisfied, and I'll tell you why in detail.

When Roberts said that he accepted Griswold v. Connecticut, the predecessor-case of Roe, he did so characterizing its holding as being about "marital privacy." That is both the narrowest possible reading of Griswold, and a perfectly tenable one based upon what the Court actually said. It was seven years later, in Eisenstadt v. Baird, that the Court first unhooked Griswold from its anchor in marriage and took its "privacy" doctrine into sex entirely apart from marriage.

Not that Griswold isn't a problem in itself. It's blatant judicial lawmaking, and its "privacy" concept always had the potential to develop in the way it actually did. But it was Eisenstadt that first pulled Griswold in that direction, and Roe followed quickly after Eisenstadt.

So what did Roberts endorse? Griswold itself, under the narrowest possible reading. He specifically and carefully avoided endorsing any of Griswold's sequelae (the word "progeny," often used in constitutional law to describe cases that follow from a major precedent, seems somehow inapposite here). In every instance, he attributed those later decisions to "the Court," and did not personally approve them. The structure of his answers to this line of questions was (and I paraphrase for illustrative purposes): "I accept Griswold's marital privacy doctrine, and then later the Court did this or that [Eisenstadt or Roe or Casey or whatever]."

I'm not saying he was speaking in code for the benefit of those who can decipher the signals. He was speaking like a careful lawyer who has won many appellate arguments (including, on one occasion, two in one day), or like a judge who, in drafting an opinion, wishes to acknowledge a line of precedent without strengthening it.

He's a cool customer, no doubt about it, but I think he's going to be mighty fine. has sent out an e-mail announcing a Rally To Honor Military Families, on the Mall in DC, this Sunday, Sept. 25, 12-3 pm, at 4th St, near the Air and Space Museum. (I endorse the event, but not the expression "Support the Troops." Jonathan Lee says: "I am not a troop.")

Sponsoring organizations include Operation Iraqi Hope and Military Families Voice of Victory. The latter was "was conceived by a family with three sons actively serving in the Marines and U.S. Army." Wow, their Thanksgiving dinner during mutual non-deployment periods must need at least two turkeys, one to eat and one for the Marines and the Army guys use against each other as manually propelled edible missiles (MPEMs) .

Monday, September 19, 2005
Conversation chez Cacciaguida: what to wear

ELINOR: *sorts through clothes quickly so as not to be late for medical appointment*

ELINOR: Wait a minute, what does it matter what shirt I wear to a mammogram?


CACCIAGUIDA: That is so on the blog!


Ratzinger! Your personality reflects that of the
shy but friendly Benedict XVI. You prefer
thoughtful, refined themes in your music and
liturgy, and a smaller, purer Church.

Where do you fall on the Wojtyla-Ratzinger Continuum?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Mixolydian Mode.

This quiz consists of a rather perceptive set of Wojtyla-Ratzinger dichotomies. Some were hard, but then I know how to play dichotomies: pick one and move on!

On at least one question, I made what I'm sure is the Wojtyla choice: Saints and blesseds -- "the more the merrier," over "draw attention only to the most important." True, when it comes to founders of obscure religious orders, we have beatifications and canonizations out the wazoo, but we need more in two other areas: martyrs (and that's happening -- several more Spanish Civil War martyrs are being beatified soon, I've heard), and lay people, especially married ones. Re the latter, the be-at/can process isn't nearly fast or productive enough.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Peter Signorelli, RIP. Just someone I knew. Thanks to Fr. Robert Connor for the obit, and reflections on death.

Introducing the NEO-CONverts!

Yes, I thought it was time someone coined that term, so, plink, plink. Among the NEO-CONvert blogs (besides this one), I count:

Musings of a Pertinaceous Papist (Philip Blosser)

Against the Grain (Christopher Blosser, for the Ratzinger Fan Club)

Regnum Crucis ("Dan" -- not sure he's a convert, though...?)

Catholic Just War ("Christopher" -- Chris Blosser, is that you too?)

All are now blogrolled here, under either "Beneblogs," "Crusader's Corner," or "Catholic Blogs," as appropriate. Anyone who knows of still more -- please sling 'em my way.

Thursday, September 15, 2005
MCB Camp Lejeune's website says the base is "back to normal" after being pounded by Hurricane Ophelia for two days. The webmaster has left up, for now, all the "Ophelia releases," numbered 1 through 9 (the current one as of this writing), and if you click through them you can see that they were pretty hunkered down yesterday.

As a student of rhetoric, I'm impressed at how these annoucements manage to take the storm seriously while not admitting that Marines are going to be knocked off mission in any significant way. Note that the hurricane is officially a "destructive weather condition," a term broad enough to include hurricanes, sandstorms, plagues of locusts, etc.

Good job Jonathan Lee had to report back on Tuesday; by Wednesday, cars not belonging to essential base personnel -- that would include mine, in which JL was riding ("Marines: driven!" -- tell me about it!) were no longer being admitted to the base.

The posted announcement reads in part: "All family housing residences are requested to immediately begin yard debris pick up." Additionally, all writers of Marine announcements are requested to cease splitting infinitives immediately, but MCB Dad will understand if you need to finish fighting the war first.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Concurrence, without reservation, in both parts of this post by the Old Oligarch.

Paleo-Con Wingnut Watch: "Culture Wars" goes over the edge (some time ago, but the blogosphere has only just noticed)

Long ago, a fellow named E. Michael Jones edited a fairly good Catholic magazine called Fidelity. At its best it was very good at showing the anti-Catholic impact of numerous secular ideologies. At its worst, it just needed some editing. Interestingly, several Jewish converts wrote for it.

Then, a few years ago, it mutated into something called Culture Wars -- and started to go crazy. Last time I picked up an issue randomly, it had a long article about how Jews supposedly control the pornography industry and Israel is using pornography against the Palestinians. Fidelity/Culture Wars was always highly attuned to the sexual dynamic of modern decadence; but perhaps there is such a thing as being too attuned to it.

And now, apparently, it has carried an article about how all us converts aren't really Catholics at all. We can't be, see, because we support the war in Iraq, and that means we're part of the Jewish conspiracy that has taken over the Bush Administration and the conservative press, etc. etc. etc. Read more about the controversy here at Against the Grain (the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club blog), which, be it noted, is as disgusted as I am.

For the record, it was some time in the late 1990s that I noticed that The Weekly Standard had outstripped the still-venerable National Review as the best conservative journal of opinion, imho. I concluded this mainly because TWS has consistently covered the pro-life, anti-euthanasia, and pro-marriage causes, along with its more "signature" issues such as "American greatness"; while NR has put those social/moral issues more or less on the middle-to-back burner so as to leave more room for its ugly and obsessive campaign against immigrants. (To be sure, NR is more active on the web side of things, with NRO outstripping The Daily Standard as a variegated and eye-appealing site.)

(And feel free not to leave comments about how being anti-immigration isn't the same as being anti-immigrant. It is. Anti-immigrationism is also anti-life, because it's neo-Malthusian. But that's another post.)

I am now -- and I guess I have been for years -- a proud neo-con, or else a paleo-con of such paleosity that I regard Lew Rockwell and Albert Jay Nock as dreadful nouveaux, and prefer instead the old-time politics of Pope Urban II.

As for being part of something Jewish, I'm proudly that too: viz., the family I was born into. I doubt even Culture Wars can call me anything that my dad didn't hear while growing up.

Link adjustments. I've moved Catholics in the Military up to the Crusaders' Corner; long overdue. Also, the link to Lauren now works.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Dropped Jonathan Lee off at Camp Lejeune this morning; he and his fellow SURC-mates and other Marines will go over to Iraq, via Kuwait, by chartered jet in a few days. To my earlier manifesto, I feel like adding only this:

"....Haven't you noticed how irresistible and unbeatable spirit* is, so that its presence makes every soul fearless and invincible in the face of everything?"

"Yes, I have noticed it."

"As for the body's characteristics, it's plain how the guardian must be."


"And as for the soul's -- that he must be spirited."

"That too."

"Glaucon," I said, "with such natures, how will they not be savage to one another and the rest of the citizens?"

"By Zeus," he said, "it won't be easy."

"Yet, they must be gentle to their own and cruel to enemies. If not, they'll not wait for others to destroy them, but they'll do it themselves beforehand."

"True," he said.

"What will we do?" I said. "Where will we find a disposition at the same time gentle and great-spirited?..."

-- The Republic, II, 375b-c

* Note by translator (Allan Bloom): "The word here is thymos, and it expresses one of the most important notions in the book. Thymos is the principle or seat of anger or rage. It might well be translated by that pregnant word 'heart,' which mirrors the complexity of the Greek. It will always be translated [in this version] as 'spirit' or 'spiritedness.' Its use should be carefully watched."

Monday, September 12, 2005
Yesterday we had a visiting priest who was evidently a Navy chaplain with Marine experience. Jonathan Lee was wearing the dress delta uniform. He didn't actually meet Father, but somehow a laminated card made its way around to him, bearing the following:

PSALM 23* (USMC Version)

The Lord is my Supreme Commandant;
There is nothing I shall requisition.
Fresh and green are the fields
Where he gives me rack time.
Near restful shores he leads me,
To boost my low morale.

He marches me along the right trail;
He is Semper Fidelis to his name.
If I should charge into storms of lead,
No death would I fear.
You are there with your map and compass;
With these you give my liberty.

You have prepared the chowhall for me
In the sight of my foes.
You anoint my head with high-and-tight;
My mug is overflowing.

Surely fair winds and following seas
Shall follow me all the days of my tour.
In the Lord’s own camp shall I stand easy
For ever and ever.

-- Chaplain Vincent A Salamoni

* Psalm 22 Vulgate-Douay, of course.

Knew these guys were there; just hadn't found them yet: Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and its related blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2005
Jonathan Lee's pre-deployment leave ends on Tuesday, Sept. 13. God willing, we expect him back some time next spring. Only the dead have seen the end of war.

In the meantime, since access to e-mail varies widely among Allied units in Iraq, I've prepared a top-ten list of pre-packaged messages, suitable for sending by number.

10. Saw SURC, sailed same.

9. I don’t know who they were, but the jihad will have to go on without them.

8. How fast can you get to Ramstein? The corpsman will now finish this e-mail....

7. I enclose several pre-addressed “Wish You Were Here” cards; please mail them out.

6. (Christmas Card) I tried to sign up, but there was heavy competition for the “Wise Men” billets.

5. Closed with the enemy; administered wedgies.

4. The Book of Revelation is right: Babylon the Great is fallen. But there’s still clean-up to be done.

3. Will write later – just at the moment I’m feeling “one with Nineveh and Tyre.”

2. A warm neener-neener to Andrew Bacevich, and tell Eliot Cohen we’ve got a place for his son in the sandpit.

And the #1 pre-packaged message for Jonathan Lee's use is a song:

The SURC Song (tune: “Mr. Ed”)

A SURC is a SURC, you jerk, you jerk,
And nobody knows how a SURC should work,
Unless of course they took the course
That I took at Camp Lejeune!

Get right in that boat and help them vote -
A new constitution will float their boat -
And Hadithah will say hurrah
'Cause I came from Camp Lejeune!



Saturday, September 10, 2005
Soldiers of the new Iraqi Army are sending donations to Katrina victims!

I love these people: the Iraqi Army, the election workers who risk (and often lose) their lives so that the first Arab democracy can take further shape; the purple-finger folks; even the Sunnis who rejected the draft Constitution but who are registering to vote in the constitutional referendum because it has hit home with them that the way to say something politically -- even if what you want to say is no -- is to vote and not to bomb.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Happy tenth birthday, Weekly Standard! Click here to subscribe, here for tune to "See the Conquering Hero Comes."

Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother!

Recent searches

"graduate cliff notes on la vita nuova": Is that really necessary? Maybe the key word is "graduate": merely reading VN won't give you at the Foucaldian, Lacanian, race, class, and gender angles. And for those, no underlying work of literature is necessary, or even welcome.

"felt template advent calendar santa claus": Can't help you, but there's a trailer park down the street, you might try there.

"ridiculous religion cases": Oi, someday I should make you a list....

"how do u say every marine is a rifleman in latin": Good question. Since the Romans didn't have firearms, some creativity will be required. Anyone want to take a crack at it, so to speak?

"reflective dog leash alain": Not a clue.

"harold bloom chesterton underrated": Yeah, probably.

"fr. haley": So, what's he up to now?

"emilio garza" + "usmc": Woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Happy Birthday to Elinor!

Here, she reports on my theory of The Magic Flute Code.

Actually, this only came up because she insists on whistling the entrance aria of Papageno, a widely beloved character who -- sorry, I can't help it -- has always struck me as the most pathetic sexual price taker in all of opera. (But C.S. Lewis, in The Four Loves, prefers Papageno and Papagena to Tristan and Isolde, and, *sigh*, I daresay he had a point.)

Conversation chez Camp Lejeune

CACCIA DI GREGORIO: *Ascends to Jonathan Lee's barracks to help him with his luggage*

A MARINE: Hey, this guy's not one of us -- no, wait, he's with Morris.

CACCIA DI GREGORIO: How did you know?

MARINE: 'Cause you look friggin' exactly like him.

Bob Denver, RIP

Did you know he had four kids?

No actor sets out to get owned by a role, the way Gilligan owned Denver or Rodgers and Hammerstein's King of Siam owned Yul Brynner (or, in opera, Salome owned Ljuba Welitsch). But Gilligan wasn't such a bad role to get owned by. From the linked article:
Denver's signature role was Gilligan, but when he took the role in 1964 he was already widely known to TV audiences for another iconic character, Maynard G. Krebs, the bearded beatnik friend of Dwayne Hickman's Dobie in the "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963.

Krebs, whose only desire was to play the bongos and hang out at coffee houses, would shriek every time the word "work" was mentioned in his presence.

Gilligan, on the other hand, was industrious but inept. And his character was as lovable as he was inept. Viewers embraced the skinny kid in the Buster Brown haircut and white sailor hat. So did the Minnow's skipper, Jonas Grumby, who was played by Alan Hale Jr., and who always referred to his first mate affectionately as "little buddy."

"As silly as it seems to all of us, it has made a difference in a lot of children's lives," Dawn Wells, who played castaway Mary Ann Summers, once said. "Gilligan is a buffoon that makes mistakes and I cannot tell you how many kids come up and say, 'But you loved him anyway.'"

Monday, September 05, 2005
Dorothy's ruby slippers stolen. Says Leno: The perpetrator is believed armed and fabulous.

Bush switches Roberts nomination over to Chief.

Tomorrow's headline: "'God is dead,' Bush reads; Moves swiftly to fill vacancy; taps Roberts." (Says Elinor: "At least it's not the creepy friend of his from Texas.")

Seriously, a good move. Now, to fill the once-again-vacant O'Connor seat....

"Do you know how many times I've been
first-runner-up? C'mon, Bush people,
get on the stick!"*

*Made up. Judge Edith Jones didn't actually say that.

Sunday, September 04, 2005
Jonathan Lee is back with us for a while, and he's now a Lance Corporal! His position on the SURC (Small Unit Riverine Craft) is aft-gunman. Read all about it.


Hail to this Chief!


Rockin' commentary here.

Friday, September 02, 2005
Blogging Ex Ephedra

I've just found, via The Curt Jester, a strange new blog called Blogging Ex Cathedra. Its contents are (as of this evening) sound enough, but it claims to be authored by one "Bishop Leo Clayton," who claims to be "Bishop of Norfolk, Virginia." For the benefit of my readers, I copy here a comment I wrote on his blog:
Ummmmmm, readers do know, do they not, that there is no Diocese of Norfolk, Virginia, in the Roman Catholic Church; that Norfolk and its environs are part of the Diocese of Richmond; and that the Bishop of Richmond is His Excellency Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo?

No doubt "Bishop" Clayton is a well-meaning if envelope-pushing pseudonymous blogger. Or possibly he runs some schismatic para-Catholic group, or possibly (what amounts to the same thing) he is one of these peel-me-off-the-ceiling high Anglicans who thinks he's being polite by overlooking Apostolicae Curae.

This comment will appear as a post on my own blog, lest "demand" for "space" in "Bishop" Clayton's comment boxes prove as intense as he claims, though this does not yet appear. (Fyi, comments, like blogposts, are made of electrons and take up very little room.)
The more I think about it, the more the high-Anglican theory appears probable. While some high Anglicans are bitterly anti-Catholic ("anti-Roman," they would insist on calling it), others seem to live in a fantasy world in which they are "really" Catholics without actually joining the Catholic Church.

The sadly degenerated New Oxford Review, back when it still had two neurons to rub together, had among its frequent letter-writers an Anglican clergyman who, whenever the mag would use "Catholic" to mean "Roman Catholic" (as it did, rightly, about a bazillion times per issue), would write in to say tut, tut, we're Catholics too! When the mag wrote about the effects of Vatican II, this chap would write in and say "we were affected too!" Affected, he certainly was.

Want to know the capper? This fellow's name (he said) was Father Steven Roman. I am not making this up.

Anyway, "Bishop" Clayton's claims to follow and be affected by the doings of the USCCB strike me as of the same stamp as poor "Father" Roman.

Military sources say most of the area is now pacified, though there are pockets of resistance by insurgents.

But enough about New Orleans....

Seriously, what interests me as a medievalist is stuff like this:
Col. Henry Whitehorn, chief of the Louisiana State Police, said he heard of numerous instances of New Orleans police officers — many of whom from flooded areas — turning in their badges.

"They indicated that they had lost everything and didn't feel that it was worth them going back to take fire from looters and losing their lives," Whitehorn said.
So, with the legions departing, we'll just wait for the new barbarian nations to name their kings (more shooting may be needed before that's determined with certainty), and then maybe the Church can send missionaries, seeing as tomorrow is the Feast of St. Gregory the Great, who did that favor for the Angles and Saxons.