Saturday, February 26, 2005

Another thing that I saw the other day that set me off was the front page of a recent National Catholic Register. The picture which was so good the Register had to use it for the front of their march for life story was one of a young lady holding a sign saying "Pro life: No Abortion, No Death Penalty, No War, No Economic Injustice".

First of all, twits always annoy me. They just do. If you're a twit, try to keep it hidden. It's like when we do formation PT. When we're all tired from running up a hill and we're all out of breath, why should I continue to sound off to the cadence when the people to my left and right don't. If they want us to sound weak, I'm not going to save them. Similarly, why should I spend a lot of time thinking about something only to argue with someone who hasn't, but is simply jerking their knees at me. Until you have compiled an argument that is at least partly difficult to answer, don't bother trying to argue with me.

Saying you are anti-war is like saying you are anti-chemotherapy. I don't want chemo, but I prefer it to it's alternative. Chemo, like war, will exist and continue to be necessary as long as the causes of it still exist.

However, it's not just that people who are automatically anti-war are stupid or that people who think the death penalty is a mortal sin are wrong, or even that people who decry 'economic injustice' are just blathering vague nonsense in order to sound courageous and upright, that ticks me off. It's that, by listing these things in the same litany as abortion or on the same poster, or constantly bringing them up in any discussion having to do with abortion, is completely downplaying abortion. You're saying that abortion is no more evil than the fact that some people get paid more than others, or that the BTK (bind, torture, kill) Serial killer that they just caught will be introduced to his Maker courtesy of the State of Kansas.

I was thinking the other day about a couple of things that really get under my skin. I was listening to some of my classmates the other night talk about when they went out drinking. They went into minute detail about the various drinks they had, with names like 'red-haired sluts' and 'girl scout cookies'. I was all the while trying to put my finger on what exactly about this just burned me up.

For one thing, it is a subject I take no interest in. I don't drink, but if and when I do, I see nothing about wine, beer or whatnot that absolutely cries out to be mixed with something else, lest it be incomplete. "You ever tried whiskey, tequila, Bailey's Irish cream and Dr. Pepper? That shit strait f--ks you up!" I hear things like this all the freaking time, and my reaction is always the same. "You really need something better to do."

But I think that last sentence really comes to the point of what ticks me off. These are people who are apparently not brain-dead (yet). They have the ability to think about a subject, and I even venture to say, become experts on a subject. Then they waste it on something as momentary and useless (not to mention expensive) as mixed drinks. They could use their brains to better themselves. They could study the way our government, media, political system and electorate work, and thus decrease the number of twits in our voting system. They could do any number of things, but there is no tomorrow. I'm never going to wake up and find that my high school/college days are over. All I want to do with my life is go out tonight and get shitfaced.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ah, Valentines Day, another holiday I never celebrate. It is, I believe, my sole concession to those who claim that various Catholic feast days are in fact pagan holidays with a new name.

A lot of stories circulate about the origins of the day, most having to do with a saint named Valentinus or something like that, who sent his flock love notes from a roman prison or who married couples against the wishes of the emperor.

He probably did exist, but the origins of the feast day go back to pre-Christian times. Roman holidays were typically celebrated on the first or the Ides of the month, the Ides of course being the middle day of every month. There was a Roman fertility festival called Lupercalia, and it was celebrated on the Ides of February. I guess it made sense to create a feast day like Valentines Day on the middle day of February.

By the way, here's an interesting note for all of you sick or recently sick people: February is named after Febris, the minor Roman diety whose office it was to protect people from fevers. Even today, the Italian word for fever is 'febbre'.

"Colla febbre, Don Basilio, chi v'insegna a passeggiar?" "Don Basilio, who advised you to go about with a fever?"

Saturday, February 12, 2005

O xein angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti tede
Keithema tois keinon rhemasi peithomenoi.

I just finished reading Stephen Pressfield's Gates of Fire, a book about what the lives of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae might have been like before, and finally ending in, that famous battle. This book is not for everyone, a lot of people find it hard to read, not because the writing is bad, but because there's an awful lot of bad language and the imagery gets rather brutal sometimes. I've met one or two grown men who stopped reading this book because they found it too much for them, but for my part, I recommend it.
Marines are always said to have a knack for spotting other current or former Marines, and I hadn't read too much of this book before I could identify Pressfield as one. The poorly concealed way he referred to the boys' trainers as "drill instructors", as well as what he described happening to the boys when Alexandros left his shield lying unattended on the ground. He might as well have altered the Riflemans Creed to say "This is my shield. There are many like it but this one is mine..."
The epitaph up top reads "Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to her laws we lie."

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