Let’s go Islanders!
UPDATE, 10:29 pm:
That hurts, but thanks for a great year, guys.
So I wander over to XKCD – just for the kicks, you know – and also because I’ve had this comic of his open for almost a week. I’m not sure how he’s doing it, but it’s moving, though like the hour hand of a clock you never catch it doing so. It’s the world’s slowest-moving .gif, I guess, and it’s cool.
And then I hit the “random” button and this comes up.
I think I need a moment here.
It is disheartening, to say the least, to have our President have to constantly reassure the citizens who elected him that he is not an emperor. It’s more disheartening to realize why the questions keep coming up. Obama is wont to order around the Congress, browbeat the lapdog press when they remember their bark, scold people who insist on their rights of free speech and self-defense, and demagogue the most successful members of the society for their incomes.
This last holds a particular sticking point. Obama either ignores or scoffs at any suggestion that his own lavish vacations and 1% perks are a problem. Normally, you’d notice if the guy calling you to the ramparts of the class struggle was well back of the front lines… all the way back at a luxury resort, golfing, and then issuing a denunciation of “millionaire and billionaire corporate jet owners” from the steps of his own private jumbo jet. It should be even more glaring that, unlike the big wigs, the President does all of this on the public’s nickel.
And now we have the latest, that the President-who-is-not-an-emperor nevertheless holds himself to have the authority to order the deaths of American citizens on American soil via drone strikes, without due process or even probable cause. The Constitutional prohibitions on this sort of thing are numerous and stringent. The thing that really gobsmacks me on this is the lack of reaction among the same folks who, ten years ago, saw the hobnailed boot of fascism in every step of the prior President. There was a long and protracted argument about this at the time, I recall… and the debate centered on whether the measures taken then were actual violations, and why. But now we don’t even get the courtesy of that debate, because dissent is no longer the highest (or any) form of patriotism.
How is this even possible? People are not so foolish to hold such wildly different standards based just on the letter behind the politician’s name, are they? And honestly, I don’t think they are. In fact, I don’t think that thinking has much to do with it. The standard isn’t reasonable, in the sense that it doesn’t involve reason at all. The standard is emotional. One group is the Other, and the first group is all that stands against them and all their foul works. So the same exact action (jet-setting to lavish vacations, questioning the motives and actions of the Government) is simultaneously the most shameless of deeds and not a big deal. The standard is not Right vs. Wrong, or Lawful vs. Illegal, but US vs. THEM.
It’s no way to run things. And I don’t think that this is a controversial position. Rule of Law isn’t always popular, but most of the time, most of us from both sides of the political divide agree to it, because the alternative is disastrous. And yet, there’s that us vs. them thing that kicks in when it’s “our guy” getting dinged for acting like a komissar. There’s a list of excuses like “Your side did it first” and “It’s necessary for progress” and “But there’s a crisis.”
And some people just dispense altogether with excuses and do it because They Know Better. And that gets us to CS Lewis, and The Magician’s Nephew. The Magician in question explains to said Nephew that “Men like me who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.”
Digory saw through Uncle Andrew, of course. Quoting the entire exchange would not fall under Fair Use, I’m afraid, but it’s the second chapter, and much of it will sound all too familiar to the reader.
Katie was lost… and then she was found.
(hat tip to Laura’s sidebar at FM²)
As usual, posts happen when you’re not looking for them.
In this case, I was just going to leave a comment at Dustbury about the dreck-infested genre of modern Christian Contemporary Music, when it got away from me. So I rounded it up and dragged it back here where it won’t dig up the neighbor’s peonies.
You see, this is one of the many small things about which I have too much thought invested. As a Catholic, my Sunday mornings are usually spent in an exercise in true mortification: worshiping my God while trying not to hate modern Catholic hymnists. Good Lord, but this stuff is largely unsingable.
Now, take the bathetic, tepid, squishy-marsmallowy of what is laughingly called “worship music” in the modern Catholic Church, turn it up to eleven, and play it on a radio station exclusively devoted to the stuff, and you have Christian Contemporary Music.
Now, hey, if you don’t like it, don’t listen, right? And I don’t. Praising Jesus in song is great, and I probably do too little of it. I probably do too little in all areas of my life, being your typical sinner. But there’s three things at issue here, three thoughts that reveal themselves as flawed attempts at being a better man of faith, and CCM gets right to the heart of them. The first thought is that if I love Jesus, then I will do nothing but Jesus-y things all the time. The second thought is that if I praise Jesus, then the quality of my praise is of no import. The third thought is that to praise Jesus is always a positive, affirming experience.
Last season, in our rec hockey league, we had something of a controversy.
Because there are many games per night to get through, each has to be strictly scheduled. Win, lose, or tie, the next game has to go off on time; run too far behind and the last game won’t finish until well after midnight and nobody will be fit to get up in the morning to go to their jobs.
This leads to our league doing things in reverse from the pros in one important fashion. NHL regular-season games that are tied after overtime go to a shootout. Playoff games just have overtime after overtime until someone finally scores. (Why the important games have real hockey endings while the regular season settles for gimmickry is beyond me.) In our league, however, we have no time to run a shootout that might take an extra ten minutes, so the regular-season games can end tied. BUT ties aren’t an option in the playoffs, so those do go to shootouts, and in the most recent one, there was a key goal scored that probably shouldn’t have counted.
The goalie poke-checked the shooter on this attempt, and got a piece of it, but the ball* kept on towards the goal line. The shooter, seeing that it was going to roll wide, shot it in himself after the poke. The ref let the goal stand despite everyone saying “Wait, what??”
* Ball because this is dek hockey (the official spelling has no C) and we’re all on foot and this is very ghetto but bear with me.
Being that sort of guy, I carry a pdf of the NHL rulebook* around on a thumb drive, and though I wasn’t reffing this one, it came in handy to look up the rule governing valid penalty shots/shootout attempts. (You can read along here.) The two keys: first, the puck (or ball) must stay in motion towards the goal line unless it’s a spin-o-rama move, in which case the move must be made in a continuous motion. Second, no goal can be scored on a rebound – if it hits the goalie, it has to carry in under it’s own momentum or else the attempt is over.
* Except for specific exceptions, we try to follow the NHL rules. I mean, a crosscheck is a crosscheck – why reinvent the wheel?
Our commish decided that “rebound” presupposes “shot” and that a poke-check is not considered a shot, therefore the goal should count because the ball didn’t deflect back the way it came, only changing direction from side-to-side. My thought was that the shooter can’t touch it again after it hits the goalie, because this isn’t continuous motion. I suspect he did so in order to have a reason not to overturn the call; but he’s stuck to it ever since. So I wrote Kerry Fraser’s “C’mon Ref!” column at TSN to get a ruling.
Now, indirectly, I have my answer, thanks to Alex Burrows’ bizarre non-o-rama move against Jon Quick and the LA Kings. Fraser never replied to me (his column is specifically about rulings involving things seen in NHL games), but this section of a recent column of his holds the solution:
… Contact by the goalie with the puck would be deemed a save.
Remember, a legal goal cannot be scored on a rebound so unless the puck slid past the goalkeeper and into the net without further contact by the shooter this attempt would be ruled complete by the referee.
So that goal from our house league should have been waived off, and if it happens on my watch, it will be, and I will have backup. Thanks ref!
The last time we spoke, right before the battle, he made a suggestion I admit I considered absurd. “You should try keeping a journal,” he said.
“A journal?” I echoed. “Do you mean I should write a book?” I know, of course, that Moff Nur has been editing the manuscript of my master Darth Sidious the Emperor Palpatine, whose highly anticipated treatise on the subject of the subjugation of civilizations and the creation of powerful monsters promises to be a bestseller.
“No, no,” smiled Nur. “I mean like a diary.”
“Like a teenage girl?”
“Well, not entirely unlike a teenage girl, I suppose. The purpose is to help you analyze yourself by exporting your thoughts and impressions into a form you can review. Not only can it provide valuable insight as an artifact, but I find the actual process of recounting my reflections cathartic in itself. … I promise you, my friend, it helps.”
And so I have decided to make good on the Moff’s advice, now that he is dead and the confidence of the terrorists swells. I have begun this journal. I do not know how long the experiment will last, but I admit that in the absence of Nur himself I do find it calming to imagine I am speaking to his spirit as I dictate this recording.
Alright, now I feel really stupid.
Well, lots of folks, other than teenagers and Sith Lords, keep a diary. Some people call them “journals” so they don’t have to admit that they have a diary. (The Punisher called his the “War Journal,” which was awkward when you consider all those “Catcher in the Rye” quotes and Good Charlotte lyrics scribbled in the margins.) Your truly has a diary. It’s pretty badly named – “diary” shares linguistic roots with the word “daily,” and all you Friends of the Hive know that I’m not a daily sort of writer – but diary it is. I like to think of it as closer to to the Sith model than the Twihard, as befits a good minion.
You may suppose that a “journalist” would have a “journal” rather than a diary, but having been a journo major way back when, I know better. A lot of these cats are really of the fawning lap-sitting variety. Case in point:
Over the weekend, CNN anchor and reporter Tom Foreman wrote a piece for CNN’s website explaining the genesis of a tradition he has kept for the last four years. … Foreman has been writing President Obama a letter every single day of Obama’s first term. Some letters offered Obama advice, while others explained to Obama why Foreman rarely buys a lottery ticket.
You can call it fan mail, or hero worship, or love letters… whatever you like, but I’ma go ahead and call this a diary. Some people actually have names for their diaries, even if it’s just “Dear Diary.” (Mine just has dated entries. Sith do NOT name their diaries.) Mr. Foreman’s Diary is apparently named “Obama.” And like a diary, Obama is quite unlikely to ever reply.
* No, but seriously, read this whole thing, it’s really terrific stuff.
As a word of explanation: on either side of my family, I’m the eldest of my generation. My mother’s sister got in the next three, and then there’s a gap of eight years or more between me and my brother. From there, the various cousins and siblings range well younger than myself. As a result, sometimes I tend to lapse into “get off my lawn” mode with the youngsters, a situation that annoys all parties, and one I take pains to avoid when I can.
Still, I notice even when I manage to keep it to myself, and what I primarily noticed in the Czar’s Monday missive is the uncanny resemblance to many of my generation. This meant that I wasn’t keeping it to myself this time. The Czar kindly let me ramble, but even that was cut down. My interest was more than abstract. What got me where I live is the part I’m putting after the jump.
I snapped this picture at a local store, and put the poor fellow back on the shelf. My wife came along behind, said to herself, “It’s only four bucks,” and bought it. Then she surprised me with it the night before the lockout ended.
I call him Mottau.
These two tweets just passed by in my feed, back to back:
Obviously Dom’s replying to something Keith said earlier, but for a minute I was trying to connect these two statements as a coherent conversation. I think I even got as far as thinking that “comedians using puppets” was a reference to the NHL and its referees.