Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.


Friday, September 13, 2002  

The Right Stuff Redux Department: More info on Buzz Aldrin's "one small punch for man": Astronaut says he swung in defense.

(Yeah, I know that Armstrong said the "One small step" line.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:08 PM
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Thursday, September 12, 2002  

Home-Grown Stupidity Department: A pastor from nearby Grand Forks has stirred things up with some stupid remarks at a 9/11 observance. It seems that what has people really angry is this particular bit:

One year ago today, 19 young men on a mission profoundly changed our lives and the life of our nation. This was an act of faith and courage, a carefully planned statement against what they saw as the evils of a corrupt and oppressive nation. They were willing to give their lives so that the world would see their outrage.

So, were the terrorists cowards, or courageous? Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass. Arguing over whether they were cowards or not totally misses the main point about what they did.

According to the article, Graf "avoids referring to the terrorists and their actions as evil." That is what tears it for me.

Chew on these for a minute:

All wisdom is rooted in learning to call things by the right name. -- Kung-fu Tze

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. -- Thomas Jefferson

The first step to wisdom is to understand what is false. -- Lactantius

These three people are coming at the same basic idea from slightly different directions, but it boils down to this: Call things what they are. Tell it like it is. Speak the truth in love.

Graf says, “I will say what they did does not promote good. But I want to make it clear, in no way do I condone what they did. But I think we miss the opportunity if we don't try to understand why they did it." <Fe>Oh, that makes me feel so much better; she doesn't condone what they did. How incisive. How thoughtful.</Fe> How disgusting. Her refusal to look evil squarely in the face and call it what it is illustrates yet again one of the big reasons why many Americans don't think the Church is relevant to the real world.

Note: the <Fe> tag is pseudo-HTML, and is used to tag irony. (Fe is the symbol for iron, and... Oh, nevermind.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:29 PM
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We're Not As Smart As We Think Department: Conventional wisdom holds that if spinal injury victims are going to make any significant recovery, it happens during the first six months following their injury. After that, it just doesn't happen. Christopher Reeve is throwing a monkey wrench into the gears of conventional wisdom.

"Superman" star Christopher Reeve's against-all-odds improvement has stunned doctors, who say it is the first documented case of such progress over paralysis years after catastrophic spinal cord injury.
They believe intensive physical therapy is key to the modest, though important, changes Reeve has seen since his injury in 1995. However, they cannot predict whether improvement will continue or if the same approach will help others with long-term paralysis.
"We are talking about an unprecedented amount of recovery. There is just no basis to talk about how much more to expect," said neuroscientist Naomi Kleitman, head of spinal cord injury research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

But how can this be? I thought that embryonic stem cells held the key to recovering from injuries such as Reeve suffered.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:15 PM
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Poetry Department: Will Warren offers an analysis of the root cause of the events of 9/11/01 at Unremitting Verse.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:11 AM
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I'm Not The Only One Department: Yeah, I'm a tad jumpy, and have been since a year ago yesterday. I'm not alone. Turns out that James Lileks had a "Is it happening again" moment yesterday when the power went out at Jasperwood:

And then the power went out. The TV winked off, the air conditioning sighed and fell still; the appliances clicked and ticked in surprise. Well. Well, well. I grabbed the walkman, called up KSTP radio; it was on, but of course the backup generators could have kicked in. But the hosts were chatting normally. I called the office - the Strib had power, so it was just a local thing. They hadn’t bombed the nuke plant after all. Load off my mind. So Gnat and I went upstairs and read books until the power returned. Was I concerned for a minute or two? Sure. It was That Day, after all, and this isn’t Lagos; the power goes out only when there’s heavy demand, or a storm. It never, ever cuts out on a clear cool autumn morning. For a few minutes I had a flashback to the days following the first attack - the sensation of being twinned, of being the person who is shaving, talking to the daughter, choosing socks for the day, and the person inside the head who’s thinking what if? And if so what then? It’s not panic, or even fear - just a brisk interlude of calculation and extrapolation. This never happened before the attacks; now it’ll probably happen the rest of my life, once or twice a year in a myriad of circumstances. And each time it’ll seem as immediate as the first. And I wasn’t even there.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:25 AM
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Wednesday, September 11, 2002  

England Rocks Department: Go here, read the article and look at the pictures. In the comments section, someone provided the following quote that says it better than I ever could:

"Between us there can be no word of giving or taking, nor of reward; for we are brethren... and never has any league of peoples been more blessed, so that neither has ever failed the other, nor shall fail." -- J.R.R. Tolkien

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 11:14 AM
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Don't Panic Department: A moment ago, I was trying to get to a news site. No response. I tried several other sites on my favorites list. Nada. I began to wonder if something had happened, if telecommunications were being disrupted, if another attack was starting.

And now, sites are popping up again, and I'm letting out a long breath. Some things have changed. I have changed.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:39 AM
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The Right Stuff, Too Department: This must be the week for older guys taking on younger guys. Judge rules the court.

SANTA ANA – The 20-year-old defendant told the judge that marijuana made him a better basketball player.

"Oh, yeah?" replied Judge Marc Kelly, peering down at Alvaro Alvarez, charged with pot possession. "I'm a 42-year-old man. I don't think you can take me on."

Kelly challenged Alvarez to a game of one-on-one basketball - not only to try to beat him but to persuade him that dope won't help him win.

Stunned, Alvarez accepted the challenge.

"I though maybe he was kidding," he said.
Go read the whole thing. And don't mess with judges, either. Especially if they used to shoot hoops for Notre Dame. (Link via the Brothers Judd.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:33 AM
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9/11/2001: Never forget.


Let's roll.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:19 AM
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Tuesday, September 10, 2002  

Quote Of The Day Department: "Am I embarrassed to speak for a less-than-perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me a better one. Do I suppose there are societies which are free of sin? No, I don't. Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do." -- former Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan.

(Found on InstaPundit.Com.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:45 PM
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That's Just Not Right Department: OK, I've had some people find my blog with oddball searches, but really now. Hypnotized panties? Someone out there is really sick.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:39 PM
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The Right Stuff Department: What strikes me (no pun intended) about this story is that Buzz Aldrin is 72 years old, and he still feels fit enough to take on someone half his age who "does not believe Aldrin or anyone else has ever walked on the moon." Don't mess with astronauts.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:41 PM
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Treacle And Saccharine Department: Oscar Wilde said that “a sentimentalist is one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.” Gregory Wolfe examines sentimentality and the "art" of Thomas Kinkade in an article at
Image: A Journal of the Arts & Religion. One of the observations that stands out:

Kinkade’s patriotism and his attacks on the horrors of artistic modernism are standard-issue conservative notions. When it comes to theology, however, he is a little more original. The majority of his expressions of faith are fairly conventional, solidly within the evangelical mold, but his theological defense of the world depicted in his paintings is that “I like to portray a world without the Fall.” I have yet to encounter any evidence that Kinkade cites scriptural or other warrant for this modus operandi. The Bible, as a narrative, seems fairly explicit about there being a Before and an After. Moreover, Christ’s message was not to pretend the world isn’t fallen but to take up our crosses and follow him through suffering and sacrifice. To create a body of work illustrating a world without the Fall is, for a Christian, to render Christ superfluous.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:34 PM
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Getting Seriously Angry Department: Read this U.S. Department of State report, and then consider this: Why aren't the feminists screaming for Saddam's head on a platter?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:05 PM
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Unborn Babies And Other People Department: As reported by the BBC, scientists have developed a way of measuring the brainwaves of unborn babies. Among other things they discovered, the unborn can sense sound and light.

(Link via Mark Shea.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 12:56 PM
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Monday, September 09, 2002  

Quote Of The Day Department: “It is always wrong to use force, unless it is more wrong not to.” -- Reverend Major General Ian Durie (Via MartinRothOnline.com)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:17 AM
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Gut-Check Theology Department: Valerie has a heartfelt meditation on the Sovereignty of God over at Kyriosity:

I love the sovereignty of God in part because it keeps me alive. And I can pray, "We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life," in spite of the old scars and fresher wounds that have on occasion tempted me to despair of life. God has a good and loving purpose in the abandonment, neglect and abuse of my childhood; in the lonely barrenness of my adulthood; and even in the sometimes seemingly imperceptible progress of my sanctification. Of course He bears no culpability for any of it, but He is the first cause none the less, and I am glad of it. If He weren't sovereign over all things, including these things, He would be sovereign over nothing. And if He were sovereign over nothing, there'd be no reason to overcome past hurts, endure present pains, and strive to live a life pleasing unto Him.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:14 AM
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