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Issue XIII

We come to a number that can't be divided by any other number. Some speculate that's the reason 13 came to be seen as an unlucky number. Thirteen, after all, follows 12, and 12 is amenable to all sorts of division. The sudden jolt to such an unfriendly number gave it an air of bad luck. That's one theory, anyway. We hope to avoid any such problems. Perhaps we should've skipped it, like some of those old skyscrapers, but that struck us as just a bit too superstitious. So, throwing all caution to the wind and the likes of Aleister Crowely to the wolves, we present Issue XIII.

No Rest for the Wearisome
For those who missed the humorous story about an anti-drinker who gave free beer to minors last month:

"Howard Scaman was trying to generate publicity for increasing Oregon's beer tax, primarily as a way to keep alcohol out of the hands of teens. He and others in the 'Dime A Drink' coalition held a news conference and then visited state representatives' offices to pass out beer. The 12-pack cartons were labeled with $4.99 price tags to illustrate how Oregon's beer tax makes the alcoholic beverage an affordable 'gateway' that leads to alcohol abuse problems.

"'Most legislators have no idea how cheap beer is,' said Scaman, who left a half-case of beer cans with a legislative staff member.

"The problem was that many lawmakers' offices are staffed by interns who aren't yet 21 -- which left Scaman open to charges of furnishing alcohol to minors, said Rusty Wolfe, a senior trooper with the Oregon State Police.

"Rather than cite Scaman, Wolfe made what he called an 'educational contact,' explaining to Scaman that he must halt the beer giveaway."

We're introducing a new verb: Canute. It's named after Canute the Great (995-1035), king of England, Denmark, and Norway, who, legend says, tried to turn back the ocean's tide. "To Canute" means to fight against social, economic, or political forces that can't be resisted. This neologism, for those interested in its literary correctness, is known as an anthimeria, a type of enallage that substitutes one part of speech for another (here, a noun for a verb). Actually, if it's a true neologism, then it's just a verb, but if "Canute" as a verb never gains recognition, then it's an anthimeria.

Now, Use "Canutin'" in a Sentence
We fear that folks like us are Canutin' with regard to homosexual marriage. Non-Catholic neo-conservatives gave up long ago, and libertarians have never really given a rip either way. The redneck conservatives can't articulate reasons against it. The current Supreme Court is too hubristic to acknowledge any truth outside their heads, and many members of Congress are too wrapped in self-interest to care about truth at all. Canada fell, Spain fell, and now it looks like Britain is falling. The Times of London recently started posting notices of civil partnerships. Yes, there are positive signs out there as well, but sometimes we feel like we're Canutin' and the pro-homosexual forces are startin' the hootin' (see Andrew Sullivan's blog for samples).

The sexual revolution has been an unmitigated disaster for our culture. We can't understand why people would want to further it by embracing another form of illicit sexual activity.

Stoic's Porch
"What then is a man's nature? To bite, to kick, to throw into prison, and to behead? No, but to do good, to co-operate with others, to wish them well." Epictetus

Rabbi Shmuley on Kinsey
The furor over Kinsey has died down a bit. The movie received only one Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actress) and no Oscar. Nonetheless, there were some flattering words spoken about Kinsey during the pre-AA hype on ABC. We therefore think it's still appropriate to present some words from an article Rabbi Shmuley published last month on beliefnet about Kinsey. It's evidence that a stance against dehumanizing sex isn't just a Christian thing.

"Before Kinsey, sex may indeed have been taboo and poorly understood. But after Kinsey had published his voluminous research in the 1950s, sex had lost its sanctity and moral dimension. The wide dissemination of both 'Sexual Behavior In The Human Male' (1948) and 'Sexual Behavior in the Human Female' (1953) ushered in the age of pornography, free love, open marriage, wife-swapping (all of which Kinsey endorsed) and, perhaps the most pervasive social ill of all, the 50 percent divorce rate.

"Kinsey's idea of sexual morality was likewise governed by this reductionist-empiricist view, in which desire alone justified sexual behavior. If your wife craved sex with the pool man, then her lust alone was enough to justify the act. Marriage be damned! Jealous husbands would just have to stop being so insecure and possessive.

"For Kinsey, no sexual behavior was bizarre, deviant, or antisocial. The ends justified the means. Adultery could be considered no more immoral than having dessert after dinner. Thus, Kinsey opened Pandora's box to the coarsening, degradation, and abuse of sexuality that have become the hallmarks of the modern world.

"Kinsey made sex boring, uninviting, cold, heartless, soulless, and mechanical. He removed the protective erotic field that once surrounded the subject--and made it magnetic and electric. Sex, like a film negative, loses its color through overexposure.

"Kinsey may have invented sex research. But he created only the packaging and missed the contents entirely. Sadly, he sent the study of human sexuality in the wrong direction, aimed at the wrong objectives, where it remains today. The movie does convey some of the catastrophic results of Kinsey's work, for example, the marriages of his students that were ultimately destroyed by his insistence that husband and wife need not be faithful to each other. How tragic that such an intelligent man could be so utterly blind and foolish. But then, the lure of sex has pulled the wool over the eyes of men much greater than this strange, flawed scientist."

"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." Samuel Johnson

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world." Thomas Carlyle

"Prayer is reversed thunder." George Herbert

"When God sets–like the sun sets–on an age, then soon the world will be in darkness: the scorner of the All respects nothing but his own self. " Jean Paul

"The intellect, in short, thinks more or less well according as the soul is more or less completely purified of its stains." Etienne Gilson

"The effect of spiritual reading and contemplation is to detach the intellect from form and matter. It is this which gives rise to undistracted prayer." Maximos the Confessor

Last Word
Insipience: Lack of wisdom. "Oh, the insipience that emanates from D.C.!"