The Lord is My Mentor…

Well, having lived through it once, I have to say that the new Mass translation isn’t so bad; isn’t so bad; isn’t so grievously bad. Of course, I’m not speaking here as a Latin scholar. I already managed to tackle one language — Russian — where nouns come in an unnatural variety of genders. Frankly, [Read More...]

A Cardinal’s Brutal Homily

My mother lives on the second floor of a high-rise apartment building on West End Avenue. Back in the 1990s, she and her boyfriend bought themselves a bird feeder built in the style of a Swiss chalet, and hung it outside their kitchen window. One of the first regular diners was a resplendent male cardinal, [Read More...]

Pepper-Spray Cop and the Humor of Despair

Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams thinks very highly of the “Pepper-Spray Cop” internet meme, which in its various forms spoofs UC Davis police officer John Pike. Last Wednesday, Pike was captured on video, pepper-spraying a row of demonstrators, who were sitting with limbs interlocked to protest the removal of their tents. Now, thanks to Photoshop and [Read More...]

Autism: The Result of Math Whiz X 2?

If you’re Jenny McCarthy, you blame autism on vaccinations. If you’re Michael Savage, you blame it on a decline in Yiddish Billingsgate among fathers. Now, if you’re Cambridge University professor Simon Baron-Cohen — yes, cousin of Sacha, the genius behind Ali G., Borat and Bruno — you believe it might result from interbreeding among members [Read More...]

Tomorrow’s Sex Ed: Better than Porn?

My father learned about sex — the theory, that is, not the practice — from reading Irv Shulman’s Amboy Dukes. Published in 1947, two years before the old man was bar mitzvah, it billed itself as “The Toughest Novel Ever Written About Juvenile Delinquent Gangs.” Several years later, my mother learned the facts of life [Read More...]

Aging and Single, Self-Reproachful and Relieved

You know you’re in extremis as far as marriageability goes when you find yourself composing sonnets to the memories of women you met and knew — against your own wishes, exclusively — through social media: The first “Like” after each posting is mine; A blogger self-promotion makes or breaks. Far more than talent, moxie’s what [Read More...]

Andrew Sullivan: Model of a Modern, Bearded, Gay, Tory Blogger

I don’t read Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish on a daily basis, or even on a weekly basis. (God knows nothing I’ve ever written has turned up in it.) But most of what I’ve seen, I’ve liked. Sullivan was one of the first to recognize the musical “Book of Mormon” as a backhanded salute to faith [Read More...]

Ode to New Contact Lenses

Reader, today I have a follow-up appointment with the eye doctor. Hopefully, I’ll crank out something substantial after getting back. For now, here are a few lines of hastily written verse to explain how my life has changed. I suspect a few of you will be able to relate. If seeing is believing, Then, mama, [Read More...]

Would You Like Some Precious Blood with That, Sir?

I’ve found at least one advantage in having the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted as my prelate and prince. The man has a rep. Over the past eight years, since he first succeeded the Most Reverend Thomas J. O Brien as bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, his stern approach to governance has given rise to a [Read More...]

Spambots Say the Darndest Things

On the day the tech guy upgraded my blog, the following comment turned up in my queue, posted under the name “Daily Deals” : Outstanding weblog here! Additionally your web page loads up quick! What host are you currently employing? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink for your host? I wish my website loaded up [Read More...]

Mr. President, Tax These Trees!

When I was very young, before we moved to Manhattan from the Newark suburbs, my mother divided people into two categories: those who put up real trees on Christmas, and those who went artificial. Without explaining exactly why, she made it clear that artificial tree-buyers were beneath contempt. All of her friends put up natural [Read More...]

The Sound of Sweet Idiocy

Kvetched Emily Dickinson: There’s a certain slant of light, On winter afternoons, That oppresses, like the weight Of cathedral tunes. Well, duh. Afternoon winter light is supposed to be depressing, reminiscent of death and — so to speak — all that sort of rot. It’s only when the sound of “The Sound of Music” can [Read More...]

Herman Cain: One Freaky Dude?

After some impressive displays of loyalty, a segment of the Republican base is losing patience with Herman Cain. A Reuters/ipsos poll conducted several days after the media reported allegations that Cain had sexually harassed former employees showed the percentage of Republicans who viewed him favorably had dropped to 57% from 66%. A 53% majority of [Read More...]

Between Heaven and Mirth…and Snark

I’m proud to report that my patron and heavenly protector, St. Francis de Sales, delivered the best one-liner in Church history since Jesus did his bit about the egg and the scorpion. On seeing his friend St. Jeanne-Francoise de Chantal, a consecrated celibate following her widowhood, in a decolletee gown, he advised, “If you’re not [Read More...]

Lego Advent Calendar

All right, you happy culture warriors, keep your powder dry. Wait until Thanksgiving before you start kvetching about how Christmas is turning back into Saturnalia. Better yet, wait until you check out the Lego Advent calendar. It’s fun, it’s liturgical year-friendly. One sells on Amazon for $38 — almost exactly what a carton of Pall [Read More...]

Herman Cain: the Candidate Who Cried “Liberal Racism”

Apparently, Iowans don’t give a hoot whether or not Herman Cain has ever sexually harassed anyone. A Washington Post poll reports that Cain’s popularity nearly matches Mitt Romney’s, at a rate of 23 percent to 24 percent. Meanwhile, 70 percent of Republicans have stated that the allegations will make no difference in their choice of [Read More...]


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