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19 April 2002  

It's a wrap. This concludes week one of The Goliard Blog. I thank everyone who has taken the time to stop by; I hope each of you found something here that was to your liking. (And if so, why not tell a friend or two?) The inaugural week contained more sport and less about the Church than I had anticipated; you can expect the mix of articles to vary from time to time depending on which of my deep thoughts and alleged insights I believe are worth sharing with the world.

Have a pleasant weekend, and I hope to see you back here on Monday.

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SPORT

Nickname realignment. As it becomes ever more certain that the Charlotte Hornets will move to New Orleans for next season, some are suggesting that the team should get its Jazz nickname back from the franchise in Utah (which played in the Crescent City before leaving for snowier pastures back in 1979).

I see no reason to stop there. Why not have a have one big multi-league team-name realignment party?

In the NBA this will mean not only returning the Jazz name to New Orleans but moving the Lakers name back to Minnesota, where they actually do have lots of lakes. The Los Angeles team can have the Timberwolves name in exchange if they really want it…which they won't, if they have any sense.

In the NFL, the plan will involve giving the Cardinals name back to St. Louis, which in turn would hand the Rams name back to Los Angeles. (Okay, so Los Angeles doesn't actually have a team at this point in time…but the league will have to move back to the country's second-largest television market sooner or later.) Even more gratifying to nostalgics like yours truly will be putting the Colts back in Baltimore where they belong. The Arizona and Indianapolis teams will then be left without nicknames, but I don't see this being a problem. The good folks in Indiana probably would get a kick out of finally having a football team named the "Hoosiers" that rose as far as mediocrity; while the Arizona club has been stinking up the joint so badly that they could use not just a name change but the full-blown witness protection program.

Major League Baseball is a bit trickier, because of the number of teams which have played in more than two cities, and the cities that have hosted more than one team. The Braves name will probably need to stay where it is, but I would recommend returning the Athletics name to Philadelphia, to replace the Phillies moniker. This will have the salutary side-effect of killing off the Phillie Phanatic. The Giants name should be given back to New York not only on historical grounds, but also because: a) to avoid confusion, people will have to go back to referring to the NFL team as the "New York Football Giants", and I think that's just plain cool; and b) of all the things that San Francisco is famous for, giants ain't one of 'em. Returning the Giants name means that we will lose the name Mets, which I think is in the best interest of the ballclub, because as the Mets they have been hated by practically everybody since about 1970.

The Dodgers, of course, will be keeping their name but moving back to Brookyln, where they will play in a new Ebbets Field, which will be a painstakingly accurate replica of the old one. (Without the chain-link fence in right field and the overhanging upper deck in left, they might as well stay at Chavez Ravine.)

The biggest public service, however, will be performed in the National Hockey League. When the Stars name is lengthened back to "North Stars" and travels back to Minnesota, it will shove aside the worst team name in hockey. Returning the Flames name to Atlanta will eliminate the fifth-worst name.

And what about the second- through fourth-worst NHL team names? Why, I have a further set of plans for dealing with them; thanks for asking. The second-worst Mighty Ducks will be eliminated altogether in order to teach Disney to never, ever name a professional sports franchise after a second-rate Emilio Estevez movie. The third-worst Blue Jackets will be relegated to the American Hockey League, because Columbus just isn't a major-league town, except possibly in soccer. Finally, the fourth-worst Predators will move to Canada to become the new incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets, because professional hockey simply doesn't belong in the capital of country music, and because winter in Manitoba is so incredibly bleak that they need their hockey team back just to keep the suicide rate down.

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ON OTHER PAGES

Patrick Lally, R.I.P. A fine Catholic writer has died this week at the age of sixty-one. Patrick Lally was the author of Tsarina, a novel I could not resist, partly because it taps into so many of my personal fascinations all at once. Lally contributed many articles to Stephen Hand's Traditional Catholic Reflections; his final essay for TCR, "Marching Orders", on the topic of his approaching death, is well worth reading.

Requiescat in pace.

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If it's Friday, it must be Peggy. If you have not read today's Peggy Noonan column on OpinionJournal yet, you really ought to head over there straightaway. What she has to say about the crisis in the Church is excellent; and the way she says it makes this writer swoon, as usual.

What Noonan does with words is not mere writing, but something approaching alchemy. Sigh. Okay, enough gushing over Peggy…now back to bed.

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FRIDAY POEM

If today's inaugural Friday Poem were a country-and-western song, it probably would have a title like "He Done Up And Gone". But it is, instead, a 17th century lament in the Scots dialect (I have a weakness for Scotch…er, Scots…and you'll just have to put up with it), and it is called "Waly, Waly".

WALY, WALY

O WALY, waly, up the bank,
And waly, waly, doun the brae,
And waly, waly, yon burn-side,
Where I and my Love wont to gae!
I lean'd my back unto an aik,
I thocht it was a trustie tree;
But first it bow'd and syne it brak—
Sae my true love did lichtlie me.

O waly, waly, gin love be bonnie
A little time while it is new!
But when 'tis auld it waxeth cauld,
And fades awa' like morning dew.
O wherefore should I busk my heid,
Or wherefore should I kame my hair?
For my true Love has me forsook,
And says he'll never lo'e me mair.

Now Arthur's Seat sall be my bed,
The sheets sall ne'er be 'filed by me;
Saint Anton's well sall be my drink;
Since my true Love has forsaken me.
Marti'mas wind, when wilt thou blaw,
And shake the green leaves aff the tree?
O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?
For of my life I am wearìe.

'Tis not the frost, that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaw's inclemencie,
'Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry;
But my Love's heart grown cauld to me.
When we cam in by Glasgow toun,
We were a comely sicht to see;
My Love was clad in the black velvèt,
And I mysel in cramasie.

But had I wist, before I kist,
That love had been sae ill to win,
I had lock'd my heart in a case o' gowd,
And pinn'd it wi' a siller pin.
And O! if my young babe were born,
And set upon the nurse's knee;
And I mysel were dead and gane,
And the green grass growing over me!

Anonymous

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18 April 2002  

ON OTHER PAGES

Whither blogging? Mark Byron, the only person I know of who uses the phrase "pull my chatty-ring", has some interesting things to say regarding the future of the weblog. He writes in response to a pessimistic essay posted recently by a burned-out blogger.

He also seemed to like my argument for moving the Expos to San Juan, which was gratifying. I'll have to stop by his site again…even if he does appear to be a man who still takes the NBA seriously.

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Logrolling in our time. Thanks to Relapsed Catholic, a.k.a. Kathy Shaidle, for welcoming me to the wonderful world of blogging with a mention on her page. She bills her own weblog as "where the religious rubber meets the pop culture road"…I like it, and recommend that you check it out sometime.

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Today's cooking tip. When fixing grits, substitute chicken broth for water for a more flavorful result (this works even with instant grits). To get the full Southern damn-the-cholesterol effect, also add generous amounts of half-and-half and butter.

Feel free to experiment with adding cheese, garlic, seasoning salt, even eggs or sausage. Grits are forgiving. (But beware the grits purists, who may not be.)

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WORLD

The Arabs' dirty little secret. If there's one thing that an innocent observer of the Arab world might reasonably conclude right now—following weeks of outrage at Israel for daring to defend itself, fulsome praise and telethons for suicide bombers, and suchlike—it would be that the Arabs feel some fondness for the Palestinian people, and are genuinely concerned over their plight.

Such an observer would be dead wrong. The truth is that other Arabs despise the Palestinians, and have for decades.

Why is this so? I have a theory.

The Palestinians have typically lived in wretched conditions ever since the ruinous (for them) events of 1948. If anything, this helps endear them to the West, which responds instinctively to such a state of affairs with sympathy for the poor and miserable, and contempt for the oppressor (real or imagined). The Arabs, while second to none in their contempt for the oppressor in this case, draw a much different conclusion from the plight of the oppressed. Weakness is rarely rewarded in the Middle East, and in Arab eyes, a people so hopeless and wretched that they spend generations as refugees deserve contempt and not sympathy. A people whose lives are so destitute and miserable for so long are presumed not to be unlucky victims, but an inferior tribe. It should thus be no surprise if the Palestinians are treated by their Arab neighbors as scum.

Tender concerns for Yasser Arafat's well-being notwithstanding, the Palestinians often have been. From King Hussein's rigorous suppression of the 1970-71 insurgency, to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from Kuwait following the Gulf War, Arab governments have rarely scrupled in their dealings with the Palestinians; and it should never be forgotten that the Sabra and Shatila massacres that are commonly hung around Ariel Sharon's neck were in fact the work of Lebanese militiamen. The only thing that has protected the Palestinians from worse suffering has been their great good fortune in acquiring Jews for enemies. I do not doubt that, if Israel were removed from the equation entirely, the Palestinians would quickly face far rougher treatment at the hands of their Arab neighbors than was ever meted out by the likes of Sharon.

People should keep this in mind when tears are shed in Damascus and Riyadh over the next phony Israeli outrage.

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17 April 2002  

ON OTHER PAGES

Not just for college kids anymore. Another new resident of blog-land, Anne Wilson, links to a great Minneapolis Star Tribune column today, headlined "Study of classics can illuminate executives". The piece is about a leadership seminar for business executives run by Bethel College in St. Paul, where the corporate types have been discovering that William Shakespeare might just be able to teach them more about human nature than Stephen R. Covey.

Such seminars are not a new invention—in fact, I seem to remember Thomas More folk being involved in running such programs before—but I am glad to see the importance and worth of a classical education discussed in a daily newspaper, which hardly happens every day.

The article also contains this unadorned statement of truth: "The sad fact is that, for the last few decades, most graduates have left school without ever encountering our civilization's greatest stories: literary, biblical and historical." Parents of college-age children, mark this well, and be prepared to look hard for an institution where students are still taught the greatest works of our civilization.

(My alma mater, The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, would of course be an excellent place to start.)

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Your Holiness, read this book! In The Corner on NRO today, Rod Dreher reports that a Polish monsignor at the Vatican just ordered four copies of the new book Goodbye! Good Men, and "promised to do his best to get a copy into the Holy Father's hands before the pontiff meets next week with the American cardinals."

This is excellent news, and I pray that one of those four copies finds its way onto the Pope's desk pronto. The book is a "blockbuster expose of homosexuality and heresy in American seminaries", according to Dreher, and the excerpts posted on the book's website bear out this description.

For those who do not yet comprehend the extent of the depravity and heterodoxy that can be found in American seminaries and chancery offices—such as the folks at the Vatican—this is the book to read. And for those who need to understand how the "lavender mafia" and other cliques of the unfaithful operate, so that they can play their part in shutting them down—such as the folks at the Vatican—this is the book to read.

Somebody send Rome another dozen copies.

Praying sure won't hurt either.

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SPORT

¡Olé Expos! When Interim-Commissioner-For-Life Bud Selig's corrupt contraction plan failed over the winter, the Montreal Expos were bought out by Major League Baseball and granted another year of life while the owners figure out what to do with the sad-sack franchise. (All links in the sentence above are to fine columns by Jim Caple on ESPN.com.) The possible relocation of the Expos to various cities, such as Portland, Oregon or Washington, D.C., is already being widely discussed, but one intriguing possibility is always left out of these discussions: San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Yes, Puerto Rico. I think it's a pretty decent idea. Why? First, the population is comparable to some of the cities that already have Major League Baseball teams. According to the best numbers I could find, there are about 3.9 million people on the island of Puerto Rico as a whole, with 1.6 million in the immediate San Juan metro area and 2.4 million in the wider metro area (these last two are the census bureau's MSA and CMSA respectively). By comparison, current estimated population for Milwaukee is about 1.6 million (CMSA), for Kansas City 1.8 million (MSA), and for Cincinnati 2.0 million (CMSA). Small markets, certainly, but last I checked none of their teams was in immediate danger of folding.

Second, there is a huge supplemental fan base, consisting of the roughly 2.7 million Puerto Ricans residing in the continental U.S., many of them in the New York area. Presuming that the relocated Expos remained in the N.L. East, just imagine the excitement that would be generated by the San Juan team coming to Shea Stadium to play its divisional rival, the New York Mets. (The division rivalry with the Florida Marlins ought to be ardent as well.) Better yet, if the franchise were able to strike a good pay-per-view or premium-channel television deal, it would have the ability to reach (and profit from) even those Puerto Ricans not living near National League cities.

Third, I think a team in the Caribbean would be a great thing for the game as a whole. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other places are passionate about the game and have provided us with a disproportionate number of major leaguers. It only seems right to me that we give the region its own team. And wouldn't it also be fitting for the Expos to remain the one team in baseball with a non-English-speaking fan base? (Though the Dodgers might be claiming this distinction, too, any day now.)

Now for the biggest argument against San Juan. Puerto Rico is significantly poorer than the rest of the United States—I calculate per capita disposable income of about $10,000 for Puerto Rico as opposed to $25,000 in the fifty states—which raises questions about their ability to support the extravagant spending needs of a modern ballclub. This is not necessarily a fatal problem, however. Federal income tax does not apply to residents of Puerto Rico, so the ballclub could offer the same take-home pay to a player who resided (or could be persuaded to reside) in Puerto Rico at a lower cost. Federal and commonwealth business-tax breaks commonly given to Puerto Rican manufacturers could be extended to the baseball team. The team should be able to bring in the customary luxury box money because, like most any place, San Juan is home to at least some wealthy individuals and potential corporate sponsors. As for the cheaper seats, there are hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who might not be rich, but could still (I think) manage to buy a $5 to $10 ticket from time to time, if they really love to see baseball. (Thousands of seats at Turner Field here in Atlanta are in the $5 to $12 range, and they even sell a few $1 tickets as a gimmick.)

At the end of the day, it would be the passion of the ordinary fan that the franchise would have to rely upon to survive…and I for one don't think the people of Puerto Rico would let us down.

(Memo to Republicans: Isn't this a much better idea for Puerto Rico than statehood?)

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Thought for the day. There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who divide people into two kinds, and those who don't.

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16 April 2002  

ON OTHER PAGES

Nothing new under the sun. I will be posting my thoughts on the Catholic scandals in good time, but it will be difficult to add to or improve upon the many fine observations already posted by bloggers such as Amy Welborn and Eve Tushnet.

Welborn has provided some excellent information, with commentary, about St. Catherine of Siena. The excerpts from St. Catherine's Dialogues (see here and here) remind us that there is really nothing new under the sun:

Those who make appointments to high offices do not investigate the lives of those they appoint, to see whether they are good or bad. Or if they do look into anything, they are questioning and asking information of those who are as evil as they are themselves, and these would not give anything but good testimony because they are guilty of the same sin.

A plausible explanation of how Bishop O'Connell got appointed, and at a distance of six centuries no less. St. Catherine's observations are oddly comforting and provide needed perspective, reminding us that the fallenness of man—and especially of those men entrusted with Christ's flock—is an unchanging condition.

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Bow to the American street. James Taranto, commenting on yesterday's pro-Israel rally at the Capitol in his latest "Best of the Web Today", unloads this satirical gem:

Arab leaders, listen up: The American street is enraged, and you'd best ask yourselves: Why do they hate us? If you're honest, you'll acknowledge that we're fed up with your one-sided policies toward the Middle East. And if you're not honest, you risk paying an immense price. America's leaders cannot ignore the anger of the street; if they do, the street may bring down the moderate pro-Arab government currently in the White House. It is long past time for Arab leaders to appease the American street. If they let this crisis fester until Americans get desperate, there's no telling what we might do.

I wish I had written that.

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SPORT

Against naming rights. The folly of the sale of stadium "naming rights" was exemplified most recently when the Houston Astros had to buy back the name of their ballpark from ignominiously bankrupt Enron. The examples of the former Enron Field, the former Trans World Dome, PSINet Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, and others have shown that stadium naming deals carry a real risk of closely associating a sports team's name with corporate failure.

A different sort of problem emerged for the Denver Broncos, who had a controversy on their hands when they sold naming rights to their new stadium to Invesco. Many locals were outraged, and the Denver Post has even refused to print the corporate name, "Invesco Field at Mile High", in its sports pages. Surely the loss of goodwill in this episode, for both Invesco and the Broncos, was considerable.

Folks like me certainly have an aesthetic objection to selling the naming rights to our favorite teams' homes to the highest bidder. (Would the Queen do this? She could find herself living in Virgin Atlantic Palace.) But I think the Enron Field and Mile High Stadium examples point to two more practical arguments against the practice.

First, companies that shell out millions for naming rights—a business decision that I would argue is almost always sheer folly—tend to be disproportionately led by vainglorious and spendthrift managements, hence the frequency with which such firms have been collapsing. Such bankruptcies can not only tarnish a ballclub's reputation but also bring a premature halt to the very naming-rights payments that the franchise sold its soul to receive.

Second, the silly and cynical names that are slapped on ballparks quickly become the focus of criticism and scorn and the butt of jokes…and not only, or even primarily, from opposition fans. This may seem an unimportant thing to some, but I believe it points to a matter of importance.

The love that fans have for their their team is one of the most important assets a club has (however hard it may be to quantify). One of the things that helps cultivate this love is a reverence for the place where the team plays. A hallowed name, like Boston Garden or Old Trafford, helps to build this reverence; a corporate-sponsored name like The Fleet Center or Reebok Stadium is corrosive of it.

Which—translating into language the owners might understand—means fewer bums in seats, in the long run. Or so I see it.

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The Goliard Blog proclaimed "A Great Read!" by satisfied visitor!

Thanks, Mom.

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FASHIONS

Beyond Bermudas. With an early heat wave affecting the eastern half of the country, I think it is a good time to take up the issue of business attire—specifically, why we must be saddled with professional dress that is spectacularly unsuited for summers in the South. Men are especially hard done by under current standards, as to be properly professional, they must wear long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt buttoned at the collar, and a jacket on top of that. (And no, I do not consider linens to be an adequate remedy.)

Early in the 20th century, the good people of Bermuda devised a solution to this problem, borrowing from British military practice to create the famous Bermuda shorts. These nicely-tailored short pants are considered suitable for literally any occasion on that happy island, but unfortunately the practice never managed to spread. Not that Bermuda shorts alone would solve the problem in the Deep South, where the summers are a good deal more infernal; more radical measures are needed here.

I've always maintained that extreme cold is easier to tolerate than extreme heat, because in cold weather one can always put on more clothes, whereas there is only so far one can go in the opposite direction. But if some brilliant individual were able to invent and popularize a warm-weather-friendly style of business attire, it would make life in the subtropical part of the country a good deal more bearable. (At least for us transplants from more temperate climes…as well as those who have to listen to us whine from roughly May through October.)

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Thought for the day. Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't still out to get you.

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15 April 2002  

WORLD

Hugo's Democracy. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, returning to the presidential palace after the attempt to depose him collapsed, invoked the idea of "democracy", in a manner that should worry supporters of real democracy in his country.

"In Venezuela, we have a true democratic and peaceful revolution that won't stop for anything or anyone because it is God's will," Chavez said. In this statement is reflected the autocrat's version of democracy, which Chavez has shown a taste for in the past: the president's rule is the will of the people, and even of God, and so it cannot and should not be stopped. Not by the military, or by the legislature, or in the courts…or even at the ballot box. In this style of autocracy, support for the "democratic revolution" that the leader represents becomes the working definition of "democracy"; meanwhile the more quotidian elements of democracy, like free and fair elections and freedom of speech, wind up being curtailed to ensure that the "will of the people" prevails. Sitting at the end of the path of dictatorship-in-the-name-of-the-people is, of course, the guillotine.

Perhaps the reader thinks I am being too hard on Mr. Chavez. Then consider this quote from his most recent television address: "Venezuela needs an opposition, but an opposition loyal to the people, an opposition with true criticisms, with options for the country." In other words, the sort of opposition that Chavez will permit is one that says things that are "true" (according to Chavez, of course), and that is loyal to "the people" (whom Chavez, in his still-developing myth of leadership, is intended to embody). That's a definition of "loyal opposition" narrow enough that it might even satisfy Chavez's buddy Fidel Castro.

It was the mistreatment of the "wrong" sort of opposition, with the killing of at least 13 protesters in the streets last Thursday, that prompted the attempt to depose Chavez. The president has now returned with promises of "national unity". These words, on the lips of a leader like Chavez, often really mean "everybody support me or else", and so Venezuelans must watch him like a hawk for any sign that he has brought dictatorial hooliganism back to the presidential palace with him.

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Why does it matter what Arafat says? In order to earn his meeting this past weekend with Colin Powell, Yasser Arafat was required to finally make a statement, in Arabic, that contained a condemnation of suicide-homicide bombings. Clearly Arafat sought to minimize the impact of this statement among his own people by not making it in person, and in his own voice, on either radio or television; and I believe that Mr. Powell and the Administration should have been forthrightly critical of this. But I am not sure that we should attach much weight to anything that Arafat might say, in whatever medium he might say it, due to the character of current Arab and Palestinian political speech.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz's article "Who's The Victim?" on National Review Online today provides examples of hyperbolic and irresponsible rhetoric emanating from the Arab world. A Saudi prince proclaims Arafat's confinement in his compound to be "the greatest crime in the history of humanity". (I'm not so sure every Palestinian would agree that this is a worse crime against them than, say, the Sabra and Shatila massacres.) Other members of the Arab chattering classes spin September 11 conspiracy theories that are transparently ridiculous to everyone in the non-Arab world—except for Cynthia McKinney and some French intellectuals, of course. Bill Clinton's sophistical attempts to bring his lies at least within spitting distance of reality (such as the contortions over the word "is") appear almost scrupulous by comparison.

Obviously this is a culture which, at this point in time at least, has very little regard for the truth, and which leaves public figures unchecked by even a minimal sense of responsibilty regarding the content and consequences of their remarks. Some people may have marinated in the West Bank or Gaza version of this toxic culture for so long that they are even losing sight of reality, such as it is in the Middle East. It is a fool's errand for the United States to try to compel their leaders, such as Mr. Arafat, to say things that sound a bit more sensible to Western ears, and furthermore we should not count on any sort of reasonable and positive reaction from their people when they do.

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TELEVISION

Not Your Father's Mercedes. At least three brands of automobile—Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Mercedes-Benz—have recently been running ads that show glimpses of their older models alongside the 2002 equivalents. It sure seems like a questionable strategy to me.

Whatever the reason may be—safety standards, fuel efficiency, cost-cutting, or simple lack of inspiration—automobiles are even less distinctive today than they were in the 1980s, and they haven't a fraction of the flair that cars of the 1950s and '60s did. Is there anyone who would disagree with this? There was a day when every red-blooded young American male could tell the difference between, say, a '57 and a '58 model on sight; nowadays even the marque is often difficult to guess if you can't see the logo.

Anyway, it seems a blunder for these ads to remind people so vividly of how things used to be. Cadillac's Super Bowl commercial left me with no impression of their new models, apart from general blandness (even the models' names escape me); yet I did get a vivid sense of how cool their 1959 Eldorado was. Similar story for the Mercedes ad set at a movie studio, showing five successive designs of the SL: after seeing it I was consumed with longing for the 1957 model, and had a strong suspicion that I had just witnessed evolution in reverse. Surely these are not the feelings that the advertising agencies designed these spots to evoke?

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Futurama and Eugene. The Fox program "Futurama" made me laugh out loud again last night, and one of the biggest laughs came when it made fun of Eugene, Oregon. (I won't bother with the details of the joke, since you really had to be there.) I relished this in part because my family are largely Oregon State folk (go Beavers!), and Eugene is the home of our nemesis, the Oregon Ducks. But it was also great to see a television show refer to someplace outside of California, New York, and Washington, D.C., and take a risk with a joke that far less than half of Fox's audience would likely "get". It was also encouraging to see another prime-time city-joke, coming close on the heels of a Montreal wisecrack that I happened to catch on NBC's "Watching Ellie". The city-joke is a sign that individual places in this vast continent have not yet lost their identity, despite the relentless blandification and sameification, and highly-mobile rootlessness, that too often characterizes today's America.

A side note about "Watching Ellie" before I go. What really makes this show, in my book, are two things: good characters, and no laugh track. The latter is a refreshing change, helps set the show apart from all the sitcom dreck out there, and is very appropriate for the kind of wit the show displays. I also kinda like the countdown clock—unlike many TV critics, I think the gimmick works, though I really don't have any idea why.

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FASHIONS

I can't look. Down at a favorite neighborhood eatery today, my order was served up by a young man who had a metal stud inserted just below his lower lip. It looked painful and uncomfortable and unnatural enough that, as I took my food and thanked him, I could not stand to look him in the face.

How can it possibly have become fashionable for young folk to pierce so many unlikely parts of the body? It seems that any fashion or fad of adornment should fulfill one of two primary objectives: to look pleasing to the eye of the beholder, or (for the brazen) to shout "Hey! Look at me!" to the beholder. But what if the beholder can't bear to look? Doesn't that defeat the purpose on both counts? Or are most people perfectly happy to gaze upon bodies decked out with unlikely piercings, your humble author being just an eccentric? And am I also hopelessly out of step with the culture if I see a tattoo on the body of a beautiful woman as a form of vandalism?

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WELCOME

The Goliard Blog. Thank you for taking the trouble to visit my brand new weblog. The Goliard Blog has been born as an opportunity to share my musings, rantings, and alleged insights on a variety of topics with a far-flung network of friends and family who, for some strange reason, seem to enjoy reading what I write. Sometimes the discussion will be lighthearted, in the spirit of the original goliards; at other times it will all be rather serious. With intriguing posts of high quality, and a bit of luck (perhaps a link from a Blog Mother Ship such as "The Corner" on National Review Online?) I hope that this network of readers grows like kudzu as time goes by.

A brief word about format. I will try to group each day's postings under headings (such as the "Welcome" head above) that indicate the general topic, as I am likely to post on just about any topic under the sun. This should help the reader zero in on what he or she finds interesting, or even skip entirely (gasp!) subjects which are not of interest. There should be new postings each weekday; some days there will be much more content than others. New posts are likely to appear late in the evening, so insomniacs take note. On some weekends there may not be any postings at all.

I welcome e-mails from readers at goliard at earthlink.net. For more about me, see the self-indulgent post below.

Come by often, and enjoy!

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Blogito, ergo sum. Greetings. I am your host and humble author. Thanks to the blogging revolution, I am publishing again for the first time since I re-founded, edited, wrote 90% of, typeset, photocopied, and personally handed out copies of Thomas More College's beloved if sporadic student newspaper, The Goliard (hence the title of this blog). As well as a proud alumnus of Thomas More, I am a new member of the Georgia bar (anyone with leads on jobs with Atlanta law firms is encouraged—no, begged—to e-mail me), a soccer nut and loyal supporter of Aberdeen F.C., and a man who should never be allowed near his local Borders unless his wallet has been safely deposited in a lock-box.

Various random facts: I describe my political affiliation as Federalist, even though the party fell apart close to two hundred years ago. (This does not worry me overmuch; I will be ready when the Hamiltonian hordes come roaring back to national prominence.) I am happy to report that I have recently won my arduous battle against becoming hopelessly infatuated with Diana Krall. I love foreign films, and will happily watch absolutely anything with Catherine Deneuve in it. On the less-highbrow side of things, I try never to miss "Survivor". My favorite cult television series is "The Prisoner". My heroes include St. Thomas More, Alexander Hamilton, and the members of Aberdeen's 1983 Cup Winners' Cup-winning team. I love to play board games, my all-time favorite (so far) being Eurorails. I drink Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, proper tea made from loose leaves, real ales and beers (the word "Budweiser" is not to be spoken in my house), and copious amounts of filtered water.

posted by The Goliard |  Link  |