Archive for March 2007

See Ya Tuesday

March 30, 2007

I’m heading to Tallahassee for the weekend. I’m excited about this for a few reasons.

One, we’re going to see some of our best friends.

Two, the route I am planning to take involves about ten miles total of US 231 and zero miles of I-10 while completely avoiding Dothan and ending up as about the same distance as the usual I-65 to US 231 to I-10 route. It ought to be much more scenic, too. I just hope the roads are paved.

Three, the purpose of the trip is my first century of the season, and my buddy’s first century ever. It’s gonna hurt, but it will be fun.

Have a good weekend, I’ll be back on Tuesday.

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Religion And Booze

March 30, 2007

Here’s my earlier post about Baptists, beer and crawfish. Now some related jokes I have recently heard.

1. The difference between a baptist and a methodist is that the methodist will speak to you in the line at the liquor store.

2. Why do you take 2 baptists fishing with you instead of one? Because if you only take one he’ll drink all your beer.

3. A presbyterian is a methodist with a drinking problem that can’t afford to be an episcopalian.

4. Do you know how many Episcopalians it takes to change a light bulb? Three. One to mix the drinks, one to call the electrician, and one to talk about how much better the old one was.

5. The Catholic dictionary:

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.
BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.
CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.
HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY
HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range.
RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.
INCENSE: Holy Smoke!
JESUITS: An order of priests known for their
ability to find colleges with good basketball teams.
JONAH: The original “Jaws” story.
JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.
KYRIE ELEISON: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava.
MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.
MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn’t covered by an HMO (The Bible’s way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)
PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.
PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.
RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.
RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when to sit, kneel and stand.
TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.
USHERS: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew.

These all popped over the last couple of days on a listserv I regularly read. Which brings me to the funniest one of all:

Please remember the intent of the listserv is to share ideas relating to the practice of law. We want this forum to be open, but we ask all members to be thoughtful of others before making a post.

Some listserv members have found the religious references made today highly offensive.

The listserv is a powerful tool for good but it can be abused. Please stop the religious jokes.

Doesn’t want to offend anyone. Must be a Unitarian.  

Stuff About Which I’ve Meant To Blog

March 30, 2007

Here’s some random subjects that I wanted to use for full posts, but for whatever reason never did.

First, in a case I previewed here, Scotus heard oral arguments this week on whether or not to destroy T.J. Max.

Second, in this post, I slammed B’ham Councilor Roderick Royal for his asinine refusal to recognisethat principles of equality do apply to people other than African Americans. Alabamian makes a much better argument than I did:

One councilman’s remarks were telling: “I’m concerned with the lobby for gay and lesbian rights that somehow or another this group insists on equating their movement with the movement for civil rights. This is not to say that their movement is not legitimate, but it is to say that to equate it with the noble movement of civil rights does not compare.”

In other words, the argument is that the gay rights movement is somehow in competition with the 1960s civil rights movement. And that would be logical if there were a zero-sum pool of civil rights in which one minority group’s gain was another minority group’s loss. However, that not being the case in the real world — where fair treatment of gays doesn’t detract in any way from fair treatment of blacks — that idea simply makes no sense.

On a lighter note, I saw this headline last week and wondered who, exactly, was insulted:

A first-term congressman from Michigan who compared parts of Iraq to Detroit . . . defended the comments Thursday.

Moving on, like the Tuscaloosa News points out here, saying teachers ought to be paid based on merit is easy, but deciding how to measure merit is hard.

Next up: Roy Moore v. James Madison. First, everyone’s favorite theocrat:

There is a dangerous trend in recent religious freedom cases: claiming victory in self-inflicted defeat. City councils criticized for having official prayer at their meetings are often changing their policy to keep prayer—but only as a private exercise before the official meeting begins. . . .

Nevertheless, such actions designed to avoid a lawsuit are in reality a dangerous concession and a regretful compromise of a basic principle: the public acknowledgment of the sovereignty of Almighty God.

Next, the Father of the Constitution:

Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In the strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation?

The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles . . .

If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals, singly, or voluntarily associated, and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents shd discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expense.

Most of the founders, I think, would be condemned as crazy radicals if they lived today.

And finally, on the subject of radicals, if this is how most folks who call themselves conservative actually thought, I would gladly call myself a conservative.

So What Are We Supposed To Eat?

March 29, 2007

Thanks to the WorldNutDaily we already know soy is a “devil food” that turns kids into homosexuals.   

You may be thinking “Who cares? Real men would never eat soy, anyway.” But it turns out that the manliest of manly foods is also damaging to manliness: “Beef May Cause Lower Sperm Count.”

Visit Shelby County: Relax In Traffic, Inhale Fresh Exhaust Fumes, And Gaze At Stuff-Marts!

March 29, 2007

Whether local political offices make people delusional, or are somehow attractive to delusional people, I don’t know, but the inability of local politicians to accept reality never ceases to amaze me

Alabaster Mayor David Frings on Wednesday challenged Shelby County mayors to work together to promote the county as a tourist destination.

“We don’t have the Gulf Coast beaches, we don’t have the Great Smoky Mountains, but we do have a lot to offer,” Frings said.

Like what? Congested freeways? Gridlocked secondary roads? Sprawl Marts on every corner? A bulldozer for every tree? Local cuisine like TGI O’AppleTuesday’s?  Homogenous, treeless, lifeless, rows of McMansions?

That isn’t to say there is nothing nice about Shelby County. But by and large the county is as aesthetically pleasing as a warm pile of puke and it’s a major pain in the a** to drive in. So even though I live in the next county over, I rarely go down to ShelCo even to visit what is otherwise one of my favorite places in Alabama: Oak Mountain State Park. 

BTW, if you want to see how developers come up with names for subdivisions in Shelby County and similar hell holes locations, go here.

We’re Not Allowed To Enjoy Life, So Neither Can You

March 29, 2007

Good lord I am so glad I am Catholic:

When Christians in Ozark work together to protect families, things happen.

Recently a group of Ozark citizens persuaded the City Council to reconsider its decision to allow alcohol to be sold at the Lower Alabama Crawdad Festival, held March 24. . . .

Jim Hill, pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Ozark, and Bill Hart attended the March 6 City Council meeting to speak out against granting a liquor license to an establishment across from a Methodist church in Ozark and ask the council to rescind its decision to sell beer at the crawdad festival.

“Some people wanted to allow alcohol at the festival because they said beer and crawdads go together,” Hill said. “But family and beer don’t go together any more than beer and crawdads do.”

As a result of their efforts, the Ozark City Council agreed to ban beer from the crawdad festival. Local pastors then encouraged their church members to offer their full support and attend the festival.

I don’t which is dumber: The idea that beer is inherently anti-family; the ridiculous non sequitur that just the sight of someone like me have a beer with my crawfish is somehow going to harm someone else’s family; or saying crawfish and beer do not go together.

No, I do know, it’s the separation of beer and crawfish. Crawfish without beer would be like cereal without milk, or cobbler without ice cream, or pancakes absent syrup, or – dare I say it? – the wafer without the wine. I suppose you could have one without the other, but you certainly would miss out on the full experience.

Look, if you’d rather have plain cobler, communion in one kind, or dry pancakes, that’s your choice. And it’s fine by me if you prefer coke to beer with your crawfish, though I disagree with your opinion: Beer tastes better and, contra coke, is good for you. But to say beer does not go with crawfish at all? That’s anti-reality.     

I Agree With B’ham Councilor Roderick Royal

March 28, 2007

This is what he said yesterday in voting to reject a non-binding resolution that would have condemned discrimination on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation:

“I’m concerned with the lobby for gay and lesbian rights that somehow or another this group insists on equating their movement with the movement for civil rights,” he said. “This is not to say that their movement is not legitimate, but it is to say that to equate it with the noble movement of civil rights does not compare.”

No it does not compare. It was never a crime to be black. Blacks could at least marry each other. And if the argument is that gay people choose to be gay, and therefore bring their problems on themselves, well, then, black people chose to remain in the segregated south and so brought their problems on themselves. Idiot.

Not just an idiot, but an ungrateful, selfish, hypocritical idiot. I am sorry, but I would much prefer an across the board bigot to a person who intones about principles of equality when his own group is being attacked, but then tosses those principles aside the minute anyone tries to apply them to a new context.

(Get more reports on the resolution here, and here.)

Update: Even though Roderick Royal, Joel Montgomery, Miriam Witherspoon, and Steven Hoyt are ignorant homophobes, and this resolution was just a non-binding statement of principles, I still think they should have supported it. Why? Two reasons.

First, Even if you think homosexuality is an “objective disorder” you cannot deny the positive impact gay people have made to communities. I know my neighborhood would not be anything close to the wonderful place it is today were it not for the large number of gay urban pioneers who began renovations during the 1990’s. No matter whether being gay is good, bad or indifferent, these folks are generally a benefit to their cities. Yet our City just told them they are second-class citizens.

Second, we all know about the so-called creative class, a group B’ham has actively tried to recruit:

The distinguishing characteristic of the creative class is that its members engage in work whose function is to “create meaningful new forms.” The super- creative core of this new class includes scientists and engineers, university professors, poets and novelists, artists, entertainers, actors, designers, and architects, as well as the “thought leadership” of modern society: nonfiction writers, editors, cultural figures, think-tank researchers, analysts, and other opinion-makers. Members of this super-creative core produce new forms or designs that are readily transferable and broadly useful—such as designing a product that can be widely made, sold and used; coming up with a theorem or strategy that can be applied in many cases; or composing music that can be performed again and again.

Beyond this core group, the creative class also includes “creative professionals” who work in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries such as high-tech sectors, financial services, the legal and healthcare professions, and business management. These people engage in creative problem-solving, drawing on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. Doing so typically requires a high degree of formal education and thus a high level of human capital. People who do this kind of work may sometimes come up with methods or products that turn out to be widely useful, but it’s not part of the basic job description. What they are required to do regularly is think on their own. They apply or combine standard approaches in unique ways to fit the situation, exercise a great deal of judgment, perhaps try something radically new from time to time.

These are the folks who will make the money, write the books, sing the songs, and do all the other things that make a community a great place to live.

And the four juvenile a**holes on the council who rejected the resolution just told the members of this class that B’ham does not want them:

Talented people seek an environment open to differences. Many highly creative people, regardless of ethnic background or sexual orientation, grew up feeling like outsiders, different in some way from most of their schoolmates. When they are sizing up a new company and community, acceptance of diversity and of gays in particular is a sign that reads “non-standard people welcome here.”

So what does our sign now read?

Sure it was a non-binding resolution. And sure some of the councilors were scared they might have gotten AIDS if they had voted for it. But supporting it would have been a wonderful way to dissasociate Birmingham from our past and from Alabama stereotypes. It would have been a way to declare to the creative folks in the world that this is a town that values everyone, that hopes to be a place where people accept each other, that new ideas are welcome here.

Instead, we just told the world that gay folks do not matter. That’s bad enough by itself. But it also alienated a whole lot more than just gay people.

Udate II: I apologize for calling the opposing councilors “juvenile a**holes.” Most juveniles would have behaved in a much more respectful manner, and reached a much more sensible conclusion, than did Royal, Hoyt, Witherspoon and Montgomery.