Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa

Past Posts of Note
Substantative, in chronological order
The Sunday obligation and illness: question, research & my answer

Denial of personhood: Dei Filius & Terri Schiavo

On Modesty 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Differing with Dulles 1 & 2 on pro-abort politicians

Mad About Manuals 1 & 2

Absinthe recherches early, required reading, 2, 3, 4.

First time at an abortuary

The Maundy

TPOTC impact & analysis and more

Contraception reflections 1, 2

Meiwes, propheta, übermensch

Headship Loggerheads 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Matrix: Revolutions

Matrix: Reloaded
1, 2 & 3

Terrorist Attack Preparations, and follow-ups 1 & 2 & 3


Casuistry of Drinking

Review of Auto Focus

Parish Review 1

The Power of Shame

Biblical Hermeneutics

Ayoob on Guns

Against the Ordination of Women

Two Cents on Braveheart


Thematic Meditations

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Blogging hiatus until Nov. 7th. A daunting set of exams ahead. Pray for me.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/18/2004 06:31:00 PM | link

"Among the items is a T-shirt with the slogan, "Asexuality: it's not just for amoebas anymore."

Apparently the existence of 1 in 100 people who report being happy without sex surprises scientists, and spawns a new "Asexual-pride" movement in those who fetishize and celebrate every "orientation" and sexual permutation possible.

How about: "Unbridled Concupiscence: It's not what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner anymore." (Ok, so that doesn't really ring.)

Or, "Celebacy: It's not as weird as you'd think."

Or, "Just say no: To venery."

Or, "I apologize for my lack of fornication. It's a biological problem. (Scientists are working on it.)"

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/18/2004 06:19:00 PM | link

Outbreak of election-inspired double dactyl at Sarah McMenomy, via Cyntyr.

Also, the best persistence-of-vision based optical illusion I've seen in a while. I now accept responsibility for the ensuing man-hours of lost job productivity from all you work-a-day readers.

Here's my favorite dactylic dimeter:

    by Anthony Hecht

Juliet Capulet
Cherished the tenderest
Thoughts of a rose.

"What's in a name?" said she,
Save that all Montagues
Stink in God's nose?"

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/13/2004 05:53:00 AM | link

Jack Orchulli: Why the Republican Party in Connecticut is going to hell

I voted (absentee) today in Connecticut, my home state. I try to review carefully those candidates whom I don't know before I vote. Jack Orchulli, the candidate for Senate, was unknown to me. Turns out, he's a perfect example of why I am so frequently depressed about the direction of the Republican Party.

The summary: Pro-abortion nominal Catholic; moral nincompoop in general; socially libertarian where convenient; economic moderate libertarian where convenient. Jack is what I call a "Couch Potato Republican" or a "Philippians 3:19 Republican."

Jack's pro-abortion and pro-homosexual stances are consequences of his libertarian perspective. The pro-homosexual position may be consistent, but the pro-abortion view is not: In defending individual rights, he fails to defend the right of the unborn person against another's "choice." A libertarian attitude is not a blank check around the abortion issue. No responsible politician can dodge questions about who "counts" as a person. This question is prior to "choice." (E.g., If a slave isn't deemed a legal person, then he doesn't get to exercise his individual rights, now does he? Likewise, the fetus.)

Yet, despite his stance that "Jack believes in the power of the individual, not the government, to make the best choices in life," Jack has nothing to say about gun rights and has pandering remarks about the environment and civil rights, whatever the latter may entail. (Position summaries here.)

What accounts for this inconsistent libertarianism? I think we may safely conclude: Where libertarian principle comes into conflict with what is socially less acceptable, Jack prefers to garner the consensus that inevitably amasses around the indulgence of vice and ducking hard moral questions like abortion, rather than preferring to fight for the principled, robust forms of liberty that require disciplined self-governance in areas such as gun rights, care for the local environment and state infrastructure. On these issues, Jack is ready to take federal funding and to hide from the stigma that gun-control groups will attach to any ardent Second Amendment defender.

What ought we conclude? His statements of principle are facades. He's not a libertarian or a Republican, if the latter term even has coherent historical meaning anymore. He's a demagogue, whose strategy for vote-gathering involves the promise of maximal liberty for the sake of self-indulgence. On the other side of the aisle are demagogues who court a different socio-economic class with similar enticements, based on the redistribution of property.

But it gets better. Check out this "statement of principle":

"I believe in the inherent goodness and moral compass of all Americans. I believe in everyone's God-given right to have the freedom to follow one's dreams and live a life that is free of unfair prejudice and government control. Let's not focus on what the individual can't do alone, let us focus on what individuals can do together, and unleash the tremendous capabilities that are within each of us."

The inherent goodness of all Americans? You've got to be kidding me! Manson? Clinton? Al Sharpton? John Gotti? All equivocally good? How about American fundamentalist Muslims like John Walker Lindh? All in possession of a compass? What utter bosh! How about the one million Americans in jail? Have our court systems made a massive oversight concerning their goodness? Or how about everyone who deeply believes in the principles of Chris Dodd, the candidate's opponent? Please. The only reason Jack Orchulli can say this is because his vision of morality is so radically deficient that no one fails to meet the bar: Are you exercising your freedom the way you want to? Is anyone preventing you? No? Ok, you're good. Are you impeded? Does that frustrate you? Yes? Ok, you're good.

To complement this "theory," here's the "practice," which I call Orchulli's "Couch Potato" statement:

"I am running for the United States Senate because Connecticut needs a Senator who will fight for us, for a change. A Senator who will work to improve our quality of life. A Senator who will work to keep the American Dream alive for all of us. A Senator who will represent us, not the special interests. That's what I will do in Washington, and that's why I'm running."

Read as follows: I must keep this statement as vague and as non-controversial as possible. I will make your life comfy. In particular, I like comfy transportation and lower taxes. For why he likes comfy transportation, see further below.

Chris Dodd is even worse, so as a voter I am left with only one choice:

Timothy A. Knibbs, from the Concerned Citizens Party, which is a Connecticut branch of the Constitution Party. They've been in Connecticut for a while, and run a few candidates in every major election. Factoids on Knibbs.

In general, I rue voting for a third party. But when the Republican Party candidate stands for NO traditional values, one has no choice but to defect.

Here is a statement from the Constitution Party -- all statements of principle:

"In 1992 a coalition of independent state parties united ... with the common goal of limiting the Federal Government to its constitutional boundaries and restoring civil government to the principles our country was founded upon."

"The Constitution Party is the only party which is completely pro-life, anti- homosexual rights, pro-American sovereignty, anti-globalist, anti-free trade, anti-deindustrialization, anti-unchecked immigration, pro-second amendment, and against the constantly increasing expansion of unlawful police laws, in favor of a strong national defense and opposed to unconstitutional interventionism."

I am undecided about the free trade issue, but everything else suits me fine. They have a Presidential candidate, but that's wasting a vote in a critical election year. I'm definitely voting for Bush. But isn't the Constitution Party's statement of principle refreshing? And save for the economic isolationism, isn't it something you might expect from the Republican party?

Orchulli's a Jersy boy who lives in Darien; this reflects his special interest in getting the trains running to NYC and Jersey and I-95. Knibbs seems to be a long-time CT resident, and resides in the part of the state which is more authentically Connecticut, and not surplus housing for New Yorkers and Jerseyites.

God help the Republican Party in Connecticut. The congressional candidate John Halstead, seems like a saner fiscal conservative. (bio.) Let's hope fiction isn't a cryptobiographical side interest.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/10/2004 02:40:00 AM | link

Today we celebrate five happy years.

You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love,
comely as Jerusalem,
terrible as an army with banners.
-- Cant. 6:4

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/09/2004 11:42:00 PM | link

Tidbit from a book outline I made of DeLubac's Medieval Exegesis. One wishes he expounded some of his historical sidenotes like this at length in a book on the history of Christendom. C.p. also DeLubac's fascinating remarks about the conflict between academic and monastic exegesis elsewhere in Vol. 1 of that work.

c. Thus we find the cultural "renaissance" of Charlesmagne, driven by a conception of culture and learning profoundly centered on theologia = interpretation of Scripture, grounded in tradition and the four-fold sense.
i. A revival of classical learning that was superior to the humanists of the Renaissance.
ii. 15th and 16th century humanists wanted a retreat into a pre-Christian world through archeology. Greco-Romanism as anachronistic escapism.
iii. The leading lights of the Carolingian age, however, earnestly belived in the possibility of a "Christian Athens," where classical traditions would be further developed and blended with the ongoing development of Christian Europe. A more authentic classicism.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/06/2004 03:58:00 PM | link

Provide your own caption to this photo essay

This single page from the FSSP website (presented without its side bar) leaves the reader wondering exactly what these rad-trad priests are doing in "Raid Saint Michel".

Laying siege to a European chapel before it is wreckovated by polyester-clad liturgical goons?

Burning a heretical theologian, then escaping into the wilderness?

They have some great shots of the old practice of tonsure (now abrogated with the rest of the minor orders). Or you can browse all the photos, or read their whole website in Latin.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/06/2004 01:51:00 PM | link

Zorak, catching up with a Yale Dean (she is visiting New Haven):

Zorak: My husband wants to teach at a Catholic school someday.

Dean: Perhaps one of those Jesuit schools? Those aren't too bad.

Zorak (pauses, not sure how to explain).

Dean: Then there are those others schools that are really Catholic.


Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/06/2004 01:35:00 PM | link

Finally, a movie which dares to tell the truth about that
polyamorous, interracial trio that dominated the gridiron
and won its decisive victory on April 20, 1945.

Or so thought I when I saw the advertisement.

Ergo, I've been living in the DC area (and in modernity) too long. When I see three guys holding hands and confronting a vast crowd of onlookers I automatically think: the gay movement.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/05/2004 01:22:00 PM | link

Hoch Habsburg!

Blessed Karl, Holy Roman Emperor, taking the coronation oath.

Beatified today in Rome. Vatican Biography. I caught the end of the beatification ceremony on EWTN, and saw the royal family kneeling before the Holy Father and expressing their fidelity at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Browse the Beatification Web Site, which has many photos and several excellent documents on the cause for his canonization. Included is this moving summary of the Emperor's last days:

On Madeira, the Imperial Couple is penniless, without any means to support themselves. Their children, who are initially kept separated from them, do not join their parents for several months. Finally, the family is reunited on February 2, 1922 and the family takes comfort in each other's presence.

Their joy is short-lived, when a few weeks later Karl becomes ill with pneumonia and influenza. Emperor Karl prays and suffers for several days, saying: "I must suffer like this so that my peoples can come together again." When he realizes he is dying, he calls his son, Archduke Otto, to his bedside to say goodbye and to show him "how a Catholic and Emperor conducts himself when dying."

On April 1, 1922, he whispers to his wife, "I long so much to go home with you. Why won't they let us go home?" She holds him in her arms for most of the morning, and he receives Holy Communion and the Sacrament of the Dying. The Eucharist is exposed in his bedroom, and Karl tries to hold a crucifix in his hands. Shortly after noon, he tries to kiss the crucifix and whispers: "Thy Holy Will be done. Jesus, Jesus, come! Yes-yes. My Jesus, Thy Will be done-Jesus." He whispers "Jesus" a final time and expires. The Peace Emperor, husband, father, and man of faith, is dead at the age of 34."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/04/2004 03:23:00 AM | link

Overheard as dad and young daughter rounded the corner near my pew this morning after communion. Daughter, excitedly: "Did you get some grace?"

"It's a no-nonsense, no-fluff way to honor God," he said. "There isn't room for the priest to get creative. It's so unhip, it's hip." Well-written article on young people and their devotion to the Latin Mass via Zorak.

(I assume the author means "15th century" where it says "5th" although I do know some liturgists who trace the ultimate origins of the Tridentine sacramentary to the presbyteral liturgy used in the 6th century at St. Peter In Chains, which was apparently the source of the sacramentary sent to Gisela, and subsequently became Alcuin's pick when Charlemagne wanted to standardize religious observance in the realm.)

I blog the above fully conscious of not dragging my butt to Old St. Mary's this morning, and then at breakfast bumping into a dozen people from deep in the heart of the Trid-less Arlington diocese who drove over an hour to go there and were heading back.

Some good stuff I noticed over at Was Not Ever Thus: some free Palestrina and cultural commentary minor threat (warning: language).

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/03/2004 07:41:00 PM | link

No scarlet faces at the Red Mass, despite hands covered in blood.

American Life League calls attention to the Red Mass, an annual DC custom. When I was a parishoner at St. Matthew's Cathedral (before we left the District), I always found the Red Mass to be an unsavory combination of ostentation (lawyers are prominent enough in our culture -- they should have their own special day of penance and reparation) and Catholic grovelling to the DC elite. They don't call the cathedral "Holy Kennedy" to this day for nothing. I am glad someone is calling attention to this little DC ritual. McCarrick, of course, is a complete wimp and will gladly betray the Gospel to gladhand some judge or senator who is not fit to loosen the sandal of someone who is not fit to loosen the Lord's sandal.

And to celebrate this charade in the name of St. Thomas More is the kicker. McCarrick should take a cue from St. Charles Borromeo, read the signs of the times, and walk the streets of DC barefoot, in his cardinal's soutane, with a noose around his neck, calling the people to penance.

View the advertisement ALL took out in the Washington Times (PDF file) and sent to all Catholic bishops. Soak in that trademark senile smirk: the common coinange of the greatest generation's feverish economy of assimilation into I'm-OK-You're-OK America. Say a prayer for the soul of a man who weeds out the Latin Mass while turning a blind eye to pederasty and pro-abort behavior in his diocese. That smile isn't going to get him very far at the final judgment, because that day will be the antithesis of an I'm-OK-You're-OK moment.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/03/2004 01:42:00 PM | link

We disrupt the scintillating commentary on minutiae to bring you this important newsflash:

Click here for boycott details.

Jack was the first bottle I ever bought, over 15 years ago. Even though it is no longer my favorite whiskey, its taste, like reacquaintance with an old friend, always brings fond memories. I've blogged before about JD varietals. It appears they have basically ditched Black Label and now call erstwhile Green Label "Black." I'm saddened they've lowered the proof (again). A 70-something proof whiskey is a failure; at this rate, they are 5 years away.

Need something to drink in the meantime? Try Blanton's, which is single barrel and averages out (acc. to website) at 93 proof, but I've had some as high as 101 and it was smooth as (corn) silk.

Sign the protest petition. Or better, write them a letter.

Back to minutiae, courtesy of MDM:
86 Rules. I personally endorse nos. 2, 9, 12, 15-16, 19!! (I've shared #19 to dozens of people who are always seem surprised to hear it. An ancient and venerable member (JCL) used to call this "drinking wine California style") & 20.

I would be incredulous about #27, but I've seen it work wonders in a bar time and again (JWCC used this shamelessly to great effect in bachelor days. But hell, he's a charming guy.)

More greats: #40, 49, 55, 59, 60!!, 63 (gentlemen!), 64, 66 (seen it; done it, rued it), 68!, 71, 72.

The people on the following website are scary. The product is a little scary too. (Just spend the money and buy a nice bottle.) But the science is a great idea: Gray Kangaroo. I'm am sure undergrads everywhere are rejoicing. I would try this on Vodka just to see. Popov filtered v. Skyy would be my benchmark.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/02/2004 01:37:00 PM | link

McSweeney's Gold:

Some Possibilities in a Half-Hearted Campaign to Rename the Middle West.

Really Boring Books for Children.

Paint Color or Rapper?

E-mail Addresses It Would Be Really Annoying to Give Out Over the Phone.

Guide to Determining If You Are Constantly Being Mauled by Bears.


"So far, a half-dozen people have pledged parts from moose, caribou and a cow for Megan's class at Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks, Bradford said. Donations include two sets of moose eyes the size of pingpong balls and three moose hearts — organs rarely if ever seen in other schools, according to the National Science Teachers Association in Arlington, Va." (Full story)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/01/2004 11:42:00 AM | link


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