the minor premise

the minor premise

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Good Readership is Hard to Find

Q: Should Catholic fiction writers write for a Catholic audience?

A: No. Not enough Catholics read good fiction. To write for a Catholic audience would mean that the writer would either 1) have to write down, or 2) starve to death. Neither is advisable.

--Flannery O'Connor.
(Response to the question of a student correspondent in The Motley [Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL] Spring 1958.
Reprinted in Conversations With Flannery O'Connor Rosemary M. Magee, ed. 1987 by the University Press of Mississippi.)

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Monday, July 21, 2008

And Another One...

I wasn't able to get a photo of this as the marquee was changed shortly after I spotted it, but as we're now collecting crummy church signs (see post below) I thought I'd add it in.

A local nondenominational Christian church announced (briefly) the following item:


Is that what you get when the Youth Group hosts a taffy pull?


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Signs and Wonders


Now here's a Crummy Church Sign that C spotted as we were driving. Unbelievable!
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

You're getting $600 - what can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything, but maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn't pay down every bill every month. The short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good, and it may even feel good that first month when you get that check, and then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings.

--Michelle Obama on the stimulus package, quoted in The Washington Times

Getting yours truly out of blogging semiretirement has been taking increasingly powerful irritants lately; reading the above got me moving pretty quickly. I'd heard the price-of-arugula story, but I think this remark tops that. I about dropped my teeth when I read it--and they're the original set.

Before we proceed, let's take a deep breath, count to ten, and evaluate the statement. Mrs. Obama didn't say outright that she buys $600 earrings, and she didn't say that the amorphous "you" to whom she referred spent the full $600 on earrings. Still, that does seem to be what she intended to convey. I read somewhere that Obama is a regular gal who shops at Target. Based on her remark, I'd say her Tarzhay is a bit more upscale than my Tarzhay.

I could carry on about the out-of-touchness of people who not only buy $600 earrings, but seem to assume that everybody else does, too. As the rest of the blogosphere will likely have covered that angle to death by the time I post this, however, I might as well leave it to them. Instead, I'd like to offer a list of items that Jane, LaTonya, or Conchita Sixpack might do with $600 other than buy earrings. I'm basing this list on actual recent Minor Premise expenses, with which I, as Keeper of the Checkbook, am thoroughly acquainted. Thus, it's a genuine, real-life middle-class expense list reflecting the expenses of real-life, middle-class people who have more important places to put $600 than into fripperies. If anyone in the position to forward this list to Mrs. O should happen upon this blog, please feel free. She might want to keep it for future speechifying.

CMinor's List of Things Other Than Earrings For Which Your $600 Stimulus Check Will Pay:

* Slightly over 3/4 of a mortgage payment.
* A couple of car payments, as long as you didn't sink a ridiculous amount of credit into a depreciable asset .
* A month's worth of utility bills (power, electric, water, phone, and internet) with a little left over. Realize that it's July, and the air conditioning is taking its toll. Around here, September to April, you could get 1 1/2 to 2 months of utility bills paid with $600.
* A month's worth of groceries for a family of 4 without teenagers.
* Cafeteria fees for 1/3 semester for college student.
* Books for semester for college student, probably with money left over unless the student is in a science, health or tech field.
* One summer class at local four-year or technical college, with money left over at the tech coll.
* Four weeks of summer camp for a kid or kids courtesy of a number of excellent organizations (including but not limited to the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Y, the local college conservatory program, and the local sailing club.)
* Full membership for a couple with kids for eight months at the Y (or one year of individual membership for one adult or teen or four kids, with money left over.)
* Curriculum materials for a year for one homeschooled kid, if you're a do-it-yourselfer who shops around. Or 1/4 to 3/4 of a one-year curriculum package, depending on program and age level.
* A modest car repair.
* Four new tires, installed, with alignment and road hazard coverage. $25 left over.
* (Though we haven't used this ourselves, I figured it bore mentioning.) Fifteen weeks of afterschool care or seven to eight weeks of preschool day care for one child (based on local Y's rates.)
* Replacement for broken sofa.

Earrings, my eye.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Checking In, or In Passing

I haven't really had time recently to put up a decent post, but I have had some topics in mind:

Tim Russert's passing -- I admired his approach to his business and to politics. He was a calming, rather than exacerbating presence on the air, and he did not hesitate to back up his assertions with clips. Moreover, he was a family man and a Catholic. Television news is much poorer for the loss.

George Carlin's passing -- I have to admit I admired the man's work, exploring the absurdities of the English language and of American culture. However, his career took some odd twists. He went from button-down to long-hair, from playing "Mr. Conductor" on the children's show Shining Time Station to being a generally misanthropic curmudgeon. His avowed atheism (despite his Catholic upbringing), especially at the end of his life made him painful, rather than enjoyable.

Anti-patriotism on the 4th of July -- Especially since I was out of the country and in no position to celebrate last year, the protestations of those too good to be loyal to their country have given me a particular pain. I saw Matthew Rothschild's "Why I Am Not Patriotic," in the local paper on the 4th, and it spoiled my mood for the morning. The article deserves a good fisking. I'll leave it to others to decide what the author deserves.