Archive for April 2010

"Put Not Your Trust in Princes"

April 29, 2010

Gordon Brown has a problem.

In an effort to show that he’s just a regular bloke and a man of the people, the British Prime Minister, who just happens to be up for re-election this year, went to a carefully staged photo-op with an average British voter, a woman who proudly proclaimed that she, her father, and her grandfather had voted for Brown’s Labor Party all their lives. When the woman had the temerity to make a comment about Eastern European immigrants to Britain, Brown was all smiles and gave her a carefully neutral politician’s answer in public, but in private, unaware that his TV mic was still on, gave a completely different opinion of her and her views:

Brown was immediately called out on his remarks and issued a personal apology with lots of backing and filling, but you have to wonder what the long term consequences for his political career will be. You also have to wonder, if this is what he thinks of his supporters and the people who are likely to vote for him, what does he think of his political opponents?

Unfortunately, this kind of contempt for the people one claims to represent is not an exclusively British phenomenon. Remember candidate Obama’s famous remark about bitter voters clinging to guns and religion?

Or this, from Indiana congressman Baron Hill during a “Town Hall Meeting” on the health care reform bill:

The arrogance of this guy is breathtaking:

“This is my town hall meeting, and I set the rules.”

In other words, O measly and pathetic voter who elected me and might vote for me again if I don’t act like a jerk, I have graciously deigned to descend from my Olympian heights and speak with you, but only on my terms.

“Usually, the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position.”

In other words, if I allow people to film this, they might see what a jackass I really am.

Are you beginning to sense a pattern here? Are you beginning to suspect that maybe, just maybe, the people who run things don’t care about you as much as they say they do? Gosh darn it, it’s enough to make one skeptical about politics, politicians, and “change we can believe in,” isn’t it?

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, in my life I will praise the Lord: I will sing to my God as long as I shall be. Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.” (Ps.145:2-3, Douay-Rheims Version; Ps. 146, other versions).


Now That My Computer’s Fixed . . .

April 23, 2010

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

. . . And We’re Back

April 22, 2010

Let a Te Deum be offered, let bells be rung, let psalms be sung, let incense be lit, let solemn masses of thanksgiving be celebrated.

After several uncomfortable, computerless days, It’s All Straw is back in business, baby—ahead of schedule, too.

The ominous, potentially catastrophic computer problems I mentioned in my last post reappeared after a couple of days absence, dashing my hopes that the snowy screen problem was a minor glitch. I decided the prudent thing to do was to send the computer off for maintenance and repair. The FedEx guy came about noon last Friday, and from that moment until earlier this afternoon, I was without a computer. No word processing, no e-mail, no web surfing, no podcasts, no nothing.

I listened to music, I watched TV, I prayed, and I stared longingly at the place where the computer usually sits. When I called, the manufacturer’s tech support people told me they had received the computer and diagnosed the problem but hadn’t received an essential replacement part due to a parts shortage. They estimated they would receive the part, and that I would receive the computer by April 27. Clearly, heroic virtue was called for. I steeled myself for a long wait and possible withdrawal symptoms.

Yet after griping to all and sundry about my ordeal, I heard a fateful knock at my door just after lunchtime this afternoon. On the other side of the door was a FedEx man with a very large package. My baby is home. My files appear to be intact. All is right with the world. God is good—all the time.

Technical Difficulties . . .

April 13, 2010

Please Stand By 


It looks, dear readers, as if I might have to go offline for about the next two weeks. Last night the monitor on my laptop started flickering as if it were caught in a snowstorm or were a TV getting bad reception with a rabbit ears antenna. I called the manufacturer’s tech support number, and they said it sounds like a problem with either the computer’s LCD or the motherboard. I’m using an old desktop monitor as a workaround until a box from FedEx arrives for me to ship the laptop back to the manufacturer for repairs. Prayers to the patron saints of computers and high technology would be appreciated.

UPDATE: As I was typing this. the laptop screen suddenly cleared, just as suddenly as it started snowing up last night. It’s a miracle! 🙂 Should I still send the unit back to the manufacturer for maintenance? If I could avoid it, that would save me a heck of a lot of money. Just to be on the safe side, I’m backing up critical files. Stay tuned.

Two Cool New Comics Sites

April 9, 2010

As you may have noticed, dear readers, I’m a fan of comics. I try to keep my eyes peeled for really cool comics related sites. Here are two of my recent discoveries.

First up is Digital Comic Museum, an online repository of downloadable, scanned versions of comic books from the Golden Age of Comics, the 1940s and ’50s. The site is a successor to the “Golden Age Comics” site that was down more often than not and plagued with technical problems. The new site has been significantly redesigned and appears to be working smoothly. Simply create a user name and password, log in, and start downloading issues from the days when comic books were really comic books. Check the site’s FAQ list and message boards for links to free reader software for viewing the comics you’ve downloaded. You can also chat with other fans and collectors on the forums and upload your own vintage comics. You won’t find Action Comics #1 (Superman’s first appearance), but you will find comics from many lesser known and defunct publishers in every conceivable genre: superhero, adventure, Western, detective, horror, romance, juvenile, and more. The Ace Comics titles “Atomic War” and “World War III,” for example, play on Cold War era fears of a nuclear sneak attack on America by the Soviet Union. In today’s cynical, ironic, detached pop culture, the deadly earnest, gee whiz writing style of these comics may come across as campy and unintentionally hilarious, but it’s all part of the fun. Many issues come complete with ads for impossible products (for only 25 cents and three boxtops! Get yours today!) and pulp short stories as filler. Whatever your taste in comics, you should find something entertaining here.

My other recent find is Project: Rooftop, a blog run by a team of comics writers, illustrators, and fans who are constantly re-imagining and redesigning the costumes of famous (and not so famous) superheroes from yesterday and today. The blog accepts submissions from both professional artists and fans, and the artwork, in a wide variety of styles and approaches, is sometimes stunning and always entertaining. Each week of posts at Project: Rooftop has a theme, and this week it’s Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, from DC Comics. In the immortal words of Mark Shea, “Check thou it out.”

It’s Time To Play . . .

April 9, 2010

Spot the Star Trek Reference!

moar funny pictures

He Is Risen!

April 6, 2010

Better late than never! I want to wish a most joyous and blessed Easter Season to all my readers. The joy of the Resurrection of Christ is too huge to be confined to just one day.

Unfortunately, I could not attend the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday this year as I usually do. I really missed hearing the Exsultet, the ancient, traditional chanted hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of the Resurrection. While searching YouTube for an appropriate Easter post, I came across this beautiful version of the Exsultet which is slightly different from the version most Americans are likely to hear at the Vigil Mass. It’s sung by a community of English Dominicans. Enjoy, and happy Easter!