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CNN is running an article about a grass-roots campaign to draft one Stormy Daniels, a porn star, to run against Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who was tagged not too long ago in connection with the recent Dee Cee Madam scandal.

Says Mizz Daniels of the possible career change:

“Politics can’t be any dirtier of a job than the one I am already in.”

Heh.  I doubt if she’s got much better than a snowball’s chance and I don’t really think she deserves it, but with a quote like that I think I almost like this woman.

george-of-hanover Did you know that George I, the first of the Hanovarian Kings of Great Britain, in his younger days fought at the great Siege of Vienna in 1683 and helped drive off the Ottoman Turk?

Neither did I.

I’m currently making my way through John Stoye’s The Siege of Vienna: The Last Great Trial Between Cross & Crescent (obviously published pre-9/11), wherein I stumbled upon this little nugget.

I must say that I am finding the tangle of Continental political alliances by which Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire had to fend off Turkish encroachments on his east while, at the same time keeping as many eyes as possible on the wolf-like predations of Louis XIV to his west, downright Gordian in scope.   The siege and battle before the gates of Vienna were simplicity itself compared to the complexity of setting them up.

They’re up and running with the latest fund-raising drive over to the local classickal station this week.  Four thoughts:

1.   I hate Pachelbel’s ‘Canon’ with an increasingly demonic passion every time I hear it.

2.  The local station does a series of “average listener” plugs in order, I suppose, to do away with the perceived shhnobishness associated with this kind of musick.  One listener gushes on about a piece by “Mozart” that features real life dog and gun special effects.  She’s actually referring to a certain Hunting Sinfonia, which is fine as far as it goes, but what bothers me is the fact that she doesn’t seem to realize it was written not by Wolfgang, but by his father Leopold. (The piece is pure gimmick, by the bye.)

3.   Another “average listener” enthuses about what wonderful background noise classickal musick makes when she’s trying to concentrate on her work.  That’s the plug that causes me to start whanging my forehead against the nearest flat surface.  (Yes, I leave it on in the background, too.  But I only do so out of necessity, not because I think it’s a better mental aid and mood-enhancer than rock n’ roll.)

4.  I can no longer listen to Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture without hearing in my head P.D.Q. Bach’s “1712” Overture instead.  To paraphrase the New Yorker, “doing to Tchaikovsky what ought to be done to Tchaikovsky.”

Damian Thompson notes:

Two words stick out like a sore thumb from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s otherwise unremarkable address to the General Synod this afternoon: “Ecclesial Community”. This is the Roman Catholic Church’s description of bodies that call themselves Churches but are not recognised as such. I never thought I would hear it pass the Cardinal’s lips in an address to the Church of England’s governing body.

I wonder if that is why extracts from the text of the Cardinal’s speech were marked STRICTLY EMBARGOED before 4pm this afternoon – there was nothing else newsworthy in the press release, unless you count as news the fact that +Cormac is in favour of Church unity.

Here is the quote: “Divisions within any Church or Ecclesial Community impoverish the communion of the whole Church. We Roman Catholics cannot be indifferent to what is happening to our friends in the Anglican Communion and, in particular, in the Church of England.”

Why not just say “divisions within any Church impoverish etc”? Because, in 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger sent a note to the heads of bishops’ conferences telling them that they should not use the term “sister churches” when speaking of “the Anglican Communion and non-catholic ecclesial communities”. The term “sister church” is reserved for bodies that have preserved a valid episcopate and Eucharist – ie, the Orthodox and other Eastern Churches.

Anglicans were outraged by this clarification, while simultaneously pressing ahead with plans for women bishops – ie, wanting to have their cake and eat it. Sorry, guys, but you can hardly expect Rome to rethink its declaration that Anglican orders are null and void when you do something that Catholics believe the Church is forbidden to do by Christ’s example.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is a former co-chairman of ARCIC, an Anglican-Roman Catholic “commission” which, in the 1970s, seemed to be working toward some sort of corporate reunion. That is now impossible, as Joseph Ratzinger was among the first to recognise.

+Cormac’s speech today is laced with nostalgia for those far-off days of ARCIC chin-wagging. It’s no secret that his thinking on these questions is very different from the Pope’s, at least in emphasis. But there is the phrase, bang slap in the middle of the press release: Ecclesial Community. Non-Church. What clearer demonstration could there be that, to quote Clifford Longley, ecumenism is yesterday’s word?

Now perhaps Mr. Thompson makes too much out of this.  I don’t know.  However, it occurs to me that in conjunction with the latest buzz about Rome preparing to offer a personal prelature to the Traditional Anglican Communion, perhaps this is a well placed stick to go along with that carrot?

I find this a particularly provocative idea because one of Mr. Thompson’s commenters had this to say in response to his post:

‘Anglicans were outraged by this clarification’.

I don’t know why we should be, and personally I don’t know many who are. I understand that the Roman Catholic Church is compelled by its theological position to conclude that Anglican orders and null and void and that the Anglican eucharist is defective. I don’t hold to this theology myself (if I did, I would become a Catholic), but I don’t resent or blame anyone who does, I simply think they are wrong. But their being wrong doesn’t affect my position in any way, so what possible reason is there for outrage? I can only conclude that if some of my fellow Anglicans are outraged it is because they are secretly or subconsciously worried that the Catholic Church might be right.

Oh, She might be! She might be!

So here’s a question for you: Who was the better at self-parody humor –

deniro Robert De Niro as Paul Vitti in Analyze This?

Or Marlon Brando as Carmine Sabatini in The Freshman?brando

It may be an apples and oranges sort of thing, as one has to factor in the kinds of characters that they were playing, the different writing quality and all.

For my money, though, I think De Niro was funnier.  And scarier.

Over the past few days I’ve been mulling taking on a new hobby in my spare time.  Specifically, I’m considering having a good, old-fashioned mid-life crisis.

Consider the advantages: It would be multi-faceted and infinitely entertaining.  It would not take a lot of tedious prep work, but would be something I could pick up and put down in an instant whenever I had a spot of free time.  And if I go with the fully self-contained do-it-yourself home version, it wouldn’t cost a dime in equipment, shrinks, floozies or prescriptions.  (A materialistic point, this last one, but important, since I couldn’t very well afford anything else.)

I haven’t decided yet, but it’s certainly an idea.

Owing to the spot of unseasonably mild weather we had in Northern Virginia this weekend, I was actually able to get out into the garden Saturday afternoon to cut down and clear out all the dead stalks from last season.  (The weather turned very cold very fast this past fall and it’s really just been too unpleasant to be out there since about the beginning of November.)

Although some might suggest that I have been tardy in doing my autumnal chores, I prefer to think of this weekend’s work as an early jump on Spring.


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February 2009