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About Law


The Pope is under no obligation to accept Cardinal Law’s resignation, but I find it hard to believe they would have leaked this story if Law’s exit weren’t already a fait accompli. Two questions: 1) will Rome appoint a coadjutor bishop, leaving Law in place as a presumptive figurehead; and if not, 2) will Law return from Rome to face the grand jury subpoena and possible criminal indictment, or will the Vatican require him to live inside the Vatican walls in exile, safe from state prosecutors, a la Archbishop Marcinkus?

Re: Every Dog Has His Day


Reader Logan Rogers has sent me this link. You’ll need a hanky.




On the business of spelling and pronouncing foreign names, Jonah, I refer
you to my definitive piece on this topic, published in that well-known
conservative magazine A.N.Other a couple of years ago. Sample quote: “Toponymical practice has now passed far beyond the bounds of reason into a realm of utter lunacy. The other day I needed to know the name of that wee gulf up in the top right-hand corner of the Mediterranean. I pulled down my Times Atlas of the World and got the answer: ‘Ïskenderun
körfezi.’ Now, I am sure that somewhere in there is the Turkish word for
’gulf,’ but alas, I had mislaid my Turkish dictionary. (So I went to the
attic and looked the place up in my grandfather’s 1922 atlas. ‘Gulf of
Alexandretta.’ Ah.)”

Web Briefing: October 31, 2014



I’m scheduled to be on tomorrow morning from 8-9. Will let ya know if that changes.


Mr Show Isn’t Dead!


Geek and Other Spelling


A bunch of geeks have chastized me for my spelling of the Klingon word “Kepla!” As one fellow wrote me — after charging me “five dork-demerits” — “If you’re trying to wish ’success’ in Klingon, it’s not ‘Kepla,’ it’s ‘Qapla’”.

Of course, others have written me to say it’s Q’pla! or Qplah and so on. Now, let’s be clear. 1. Klingon is not a real language (though it is fast becoming one). 2. All of these words are phonetic transliterations, so whatever english spelling I use for making the sound of another language are ok. 3. Shhhhhhhhh. Arguing with people about how to spell things in Klingon can get you wedgied by the football team.

But this does raise, albeit tangentially, a pet peeve of mine. Why do we have to spell or pronounce the names of other countries the way they want us to? Why can’t we still call Peking, Peking? That’s just our word for Beijing. After all, it’s not like we say “Roma” for Rome, even though that’s the way the Italians say it. Chinese restaurants now call it “Beijing Duck” on the menu. Come on!

Every Dog Has His Day


Sarcasm? From youfan
. It’s a little embarrassing. No marriage offers yet, though.
(Which, in Boris’s case, is just as well…)

Moving Forward


Isn’t It Nice to Have Derb Back in The Corner?


I definitely think it was missing something without ya. No sarcasm, I swear.

Noblesse Oblige


From his position on the couch (look, the mutt is eleven years old: he can
lie on the couch if he wants to), Boris graciously acknowledges the many,
many tributes to his appearance from kind readers. Grooming by Peticular
Pet of Huntington.

Cross-Burning Explained


An reader responds:

“My only question is, how come Christians don’t get more vocally upset about cross-burning? I don’t necessarily mean in terms of the racist aspect. I mean, when someone burns the American flag, we’re outraged. Isn’t burning the
enduring symbol of christianity bad too?”

Wrong context. The burning cross is an ancient Scottish symbol for summoning
the strength of the clan in time of danger.

Since many Southerners, especially in Appalachia, were of Scots/Irish descent,
they developed the KKK out of what they knew, which the use of “Klan” makes
pretty obvious. For a more innocuous analog, think of the Shriners.

Many Scottish clan chiefs have, as a crest, an arm holding a cross, an obvious
allusion. See for a good example.

I recommend to you the historical novel THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, in
which she describes very nicely this custom as practiced by Scottish immigrants
to North Carolina around the time of the American Revolution. (It’s a damned
good story, too.)

“Derb’s Gay Marriage”


Rod: I wouldn’t actually include “Hee hee hee” in the same posting as the
words “gay marriage.” It’s just… something… I don’t know. Things can
so easily be misinterpreted. Remember Dennis Thatcher’s remark about Norman St. John Stevas, Maggie’s first Minister for the Arts (confirmed bachelor,
slight lisp): “There’s something about the cut of that man’s jib I just
don’t like.”

Derb’s Gay Marriage


Anagram of: I’D GRAB A MERRY SAGE. (Just trying to be seasonal here.)

North Korean Scuds


On those Scuds: several readers have suggested that before releasing them
to the Yemenis we may have tagged them electronically, so we can follow
their subsequent movements. I’d like to think we are that smart. I’d
really, really like to think so…

Cleaning Toilets


Jonah: I think you may, all unknowing, have just revealed the true reason
we have 13 million illegal immigrants in the USA….

(This is not just an American phenomenon, by the way. Some years ago in
London’s Victoria Station, waiting for a train, I had my shoes shined by a
pleasant and efficient young black man, a recent immigrant from East Africa.
As I was sitting up there while this fellow rubbed away at my shoes, I
noticed a little group of three young black guys staring at me with open
hostility. Nothing was said and nothing happened, but if looks could kill,
I’d have been a dead man. With really well-polished shoes.)



(Can I just tell you how much I enjoyed typing the phrase “DERB’S GAY MARRIAGE”? Hee hee hee.)

Re: Derb’s Gay Marriage


Uh-oh. Somebody’s going to have to put a whole bunch of extra goodies in his wife’s Christmas stocking to make up for that one. Hey Derb, it pains me to say so, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

Hey Washington Post! Who Cleans Your Toilets?


Yesterday the Washington Post ran an endless profile of an immigrant from Mali working two jobs in Atlanta. The author makes it sound like this guy cleaning the men’s room at the Atlanta airport should be ashamed of his job. And if he wasn’t before the Post piece came out, I’m sure he will after reading it.

The author makes a huge deal over the fact that this guy is black:

One day he’s scouring the men’s bathroom across from Gate A-19 when a black American walks up. The stranger looks at him and asks, as if to shake Adama awake, “Man, why do you work in here? This is nasty.”

It took Adama a while to figure out what the man meant, why he was so bothered.
Displayed under glass at the Atlanta airport is Martin Luther King Jr.’s preacher robe, his watch and his handwritten letters with words scratched out, the words begging for a new day to dawn.

Here it is almost 40 years later and a young black man is scrubbing toilets in the gateway to the South…..

He didn’t realize that his job emptying garbage cans was full of symbolism. It wouldn’t occur to him to be angry. He has no antenna for racial slights.

Oh no! A newly arrived, hardworking immigrant hasn’t bought into America’s racial baggage. What a tragedy. Perhaps we’d all be better off if African immigrants were handed a chip to put on their shoulder the moment they arrive. Look: Cleaning toilets is no great job, I think we can all agree. But, um, could the Post concede that someone does in fact need to clean toilets? If they have a better way to fill the jobs than with people eager for a new start in America, I’m all ears.

I Did Not Know That...


A reader clarifies:

“Perhaps you’re hearing this for the 4923028th time, but Klansmen like to stipulate that they *light* crosses, not *burn* them.

It seems to me that since the burning bush is the only biblically sanctioned wood that does not burn, this is a distinction without a difference.



To judge from reader response following my “Opera heresies” posting to the
corner yesterday, enough people agree with me that we can now form the cadre
of a new organization: Papageno Haters of America. Those interesting in
joining us–high net worth individuals will be particularly welcome–should
contact me through National Review. I am preparing a draft Mission
Statement. Our goal must be to utterly and completely excise that obnoxious
birdman from the libretto of what will then, without him, be Mozart’s finest
opera. (I am not yet clear what our line on Papagena will be. In my
opinion, she should go too–in fact, she should go first. There is some
pro-Papagena sentiment in my inbox, though, and I do not want to precipitate
a schism at this early stage of the movement. I am sure some compromise can
be effected. Perhaps we could keep her, but just drop those awful
moon-booted 18th-century Austrian jokes.) Further bulletins will appear on
The Corner as necessary.


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