That Irish twinkle.

Ahem:

“Punching, flogging, assault and bodily attacks, hitting with the hand, kicking, ear pulling, hair pulling, head shaving, beating on the soles of the feet, burning, scalding, stabbing, severe beatings with or without clothes, being made to kneel and stand in fixed positions for lengthy periods, made to sleep outside overnight, being forced into cold or excessively hot baths and showers, hosed down with cold water before being beaten, beaten while hanging from hooks on the wall, being set upon by dogs, being restrained in order to be beaten, physical assaults by more than one person, and having objects thrown at them.”

Abu Ghraib? No. Guantanamo? Nope. The Mississippi prison farm in “Cool Hand Luke”? Sorry:

Tens of thousands of Irish children were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by nuns, priests and others over 60 years in a network of church-run residential schools meant to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the unwanted, according to a report released in Dublin on Wednesday.

The report, linked above, is stomach-turning — this wasn’t the 16th century, but the 20th. This wasn’t one or two bad apples, it was a broad and deep conspiracy of sex abusers and sadists. It didn’t go on for a few months or years, but decades. One of the religious orders named within, the Christian Brothers, had the wherewithal — and the balls, for lack of a better word — to successfully sue the commission before the report came out, to keep names out of it. This was in 2004. Five years ago.

When I read accounts like this, I find it useful to imagine myself in the abuser’s shoes, participating in, oh, let’s say the beating while “hanging from hooks on the wall.” I try to imagine all the places, in the process of carrying out such a punishment, at which one would have the opportunity to have one of those Scorsese camera-pulls-back moments, when one could see oneself clearly: Now I will lift this kid and hang him from this hook…OK, where did I leave my lash?…OK, swing the arms a few times, loosen up the shoulders… And I can’t do it. Any child in such a position must have been hysterical, or fighting, or in shock. Torture is hard work for everyone; sometimes it really is heavy lifting. You have to go home at night, look in the mirror and think, just another day at the office. I really can’t fathom it.

So the discussion for today, if I may kick it off: What happens when this happens? What sort of group hysteria takes over that keeps participants from blowing the whistle? Are new members of a group chosen on the basis of their willingness to beat and rape children, or for their willingness to remain silent? What’s the deviant psychology that takes over and creates the conspiracy of silence? Is it just the Milgram experiment, over and over?

Or does the answer lie in this simple sentence, deep in the NYT story? The Vatican had no response.

Your call. I’m sorry to duck out on such a bummer note, but I have so much to do today it isn’t funny. Turns out running two websites is more than 2X the work.

Posted at 9:06 am in Current events |
 

67 responses to “That Irish twinkle.”

  1. coozledad said on May 21, 2009 at 9:28 am

    We must remember that each one of those children was conceived in sin by strumpets and whoremasters, and while each was precious as a fetus, their first exhalations gave offense to the apple of God’s eye. The scourge and the knout, the freezing wet sheet, these alone can be the inheritance of “lazy, idle little schemers”, who trespass by exciting impure thoughts among the brethren and sistren.

  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 21, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Well, there’s also the negative selection process of those who get a hint of what’s going on, and get the heck out. I work in a building that was the county orphanage until 1974, and while it seems from visitors we get that there was some loving and healthy management in the early years down through WWII, the last couple decades sound like they could have competed with the Irish institutions punch for punch, also with helpless children — and this was a public facility run by the county, not even a chapel on the site. Something happened with the management, and it sounds like one wrong person at the top, and the good people leave or are shoved out, and the enabling and participating thugs and broken souls climb on board. It seems to have happened here, with details identical to these accounts.

    Before this gets turned into a discussion on Catholicism and nuns and such. I’m just sayin’.

  3. nancy said on May 21, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Thanks for mentioning that, Jeff. While I’m by no means the hall monitor here, I’d rather this thread not be about the church so much as about the human factor. I’m not going to delete anyone who goes there; I just find the psychology angle more interesting.

  4. adrianne said on May 21, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Unchecked power. That’s the key to this story, and any story of abuse. The abuser is all about maintaining control, and the more helpless the victim, the easier it is to run amok.
    That the religious orders involved here – mainly Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy (irony,irony)! – successfully kept the names of the abusers out of the final report is a testament to how in thrall the Irish government is to the Catholic Church. And they were the ones who were supposed to be looking out for these children.

  5. mark said on May 21, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I agree with adrianne, I think. Unchecked power. But I think unchecked power creates the conditions under which our worst demons find voice and a supportive crowd.

    It’s probably worth mentioning that we aren’t that many years removed from the “children as chattel” approach to society.

    Twenty-five years ago I inherited a small personal injury case that was in danger of be coming a moderate size legal malpractice claim. The client was a poor, elderly Polish immigrant struck by a car while crossing the street. The only real issue concerned whether he was in the cross-walk, and his injuries (and other issues) left him with no memory.

    He spoke no/little English and his almost equally elderly Polish immigrant priest acted as my translator. Through the priest I learned that my client had spent time as a teenager in a Nazi slave labor camp. The priest told me the camp was, strangely, an upgrade from his home life, because the abuse was more predictable and less frequent. The priest said his own experience as a child was similar if slightly less severe.

    I actually found a local psychologist to testify the client, due to his extreme and extended circumstances, followed rules and instructions literally, and was incapable of knowngly violating them. Thus he was in the cross-walk. Not the best argument ever but good enough for a small settlement.

  6. jeff borden said on May 21, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Professions tend to circle the wagons when they are investigated or attacked, which means good and decent people may remain silent even though aware of the destructive actions of their coworkers. Or there may be a lot of fear and trepidation about the consequences of speaking up.

    When I was a police reporter three decades ago, I used to ask good cops –and the large majority were honest, upstanding officers– why they would remain silent when accusations of abuse were leveled at brother officers. The general response was along the lines of “It could be me.”

    I’d always argue back, “But it won’t be you because you aren’t that kind of person.” Maybe these officers thought they’d be treated like Frank Serpico, who exposed police corruption in NYC and was allowed to be critically wounded by his fellow officers for his trouble.

    Look what happened to the soldier who made the gruesome photos at Abu Ghraib public. The guy was the target of death threats. . .called a coward and a traitor.

    None of this excuses this encyclopedia of abuse emerging in Ireland, of course, but it might offer a clue or two as to why no one spoke out.

  7. moe99 said on May 21, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Mark: “I agree with adrianne, I think. Unchecked power. But I think unchecked power creates the conditions under which our worst demons find voice and a supportive crowd.”

    e.g. George W Bush administration.

  8. Joe Kobiela said on May 21, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Gee were getting soft around here. It took 1hr and 54 minutes to some how connect beating kids to the Bush administration.
    Pilot Joe

  9. MaryRC said on May 21, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Did you ever read James Joyce’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”? The scene where the teacher (a Christian Brother) hits the little boy Stephen with a wooden bat hard enough to raise blisters still stays in my mind. And this was a school for children from middle-class homes, they weren’t helpless orphans. Generation after generation of Irish politicians and lawmakers came up through the Christian Brothers schools and they all knew what went on there. It was an accepted part of the society. Children were naturally little devils and had to be made to mind their teachers. So when this is ingrained in the culture and the same people are in charge of children who are truly powerless, poor and probably illegitimate, whom no-one else wants or cares about, it’s just a step up from the violence and abuse that’s already accepted to even more serious assaults.

    I don’t mean to rag on the Irish alone, this happened in Canada too. The Christian Brothers’ orphanages were the ones that became the most notorious, but the Jesuit Fathers and the Anglicans who ran the residential schools for native children did their share of abuse.

    To do this kind of thing to a child, I think you have to believe at some point that the child is not only worthless but potentially dangerous. Not just that you can get away with hurting him, but that he deserves to be hurt. Whether he’s abandoned by his family or illegitimate (most “orphans” probably had parents, they just weren’t married to each other) or whether your creed just regards every kid as a budding juvenile delinquent, he’s trash who needs to be controlled before he starts vandalizing the place.

    Or maybe religious orders had too many frustrated people who were there not because they had a vocation but because there was no other place for them to go. They were from a big family, there wasn’t enough money to educate everyone or start them all in business or give them a share of the family farm. Families used to boast of “giving a child to the church” but how many of the children wanted to be given?

  10. piny said on May 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

    …Actually, Cheney may be implicated in this kind of institutional abuse, possibly even abuse of helpless minors. I’m not talking about the torture memos, either.

    But where was I?

    Right: A writer for HuffPo, Maia Szalavitz, has done a series on the “troubled teen” industry. She made the point that a system that treats children as liars will attract predators even if it doesn’t seek them out. Impunity is a powerful lure.

    I can’t understand this mindset, either. I can’t imagine doing this to a child or an adult. Even as an American citizen, Pilot Joe, I have trouble understanding how the hierarchy can be so committed to covering up and denying the abuse.

  11. Catherine said on May 21, 2009 at 11:45 am

    The Milgram experiment link was illuminating re the human reaction to authority and response to cruelty. It goes to the whole torture issue and who knew what when (Yes, I mean Nancy Pelosi). It seems like we humans all need innoculation against participating or just keeping silent in the face of things we know intellectually are wrong. Maybe those Question Authority bumperstickers on the VW microbuses weren’t as silly as they seemed.

  12. Joe Kobiela said on May 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Piny,
    To use a pun.
    Beats me
    Pilot Joe

  13. Dorothy said on May 21, 2009 at 11:48 am

    moe I inwardly groaned when I read your entry above. Can’t we just let all that stuff GO?! I mean, c’mon. You’re bating and then you’ll get pissed at the responses. Just be a grown up once in awhile. Sheesh.

    Okay got that off my chest. And I feel quite sick at my stomach after reading Nancy’s post. A headache came over me and the stomach churns are almost audible. I think we need to change the topic to favorite children’s books. Didn’t someone start posting titles yesterday? Among my favorites: Noisy Nora (Rosemary Wells), Sloppy Kisses (Elizabeth Winthrop), There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon (Jack Kent). More to follow!

  14. nancy said on May 21, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Families used to boast of “giving a child to the church” but how many of the children wanted to be given?

    I think it’s safe to say: The gay ones. The power-hungry ones. The ones who either needed a cover for a life where no spouse and children would be expected, or ones who relished the authority a collar or habit could bestow.

    What really sickens me, however, is how many seeds were planted by this system in Ireland. We know children who are sexually abused are more likely to grow up to be abusers themselves. We’ll never know how far this affliction went. Or how deep.

  15. coozledad said on May 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    My friend who worked at Abu Ghraib said most of the inmates were around sixteen to eighteen years old.
    The language and mindset of authoritarian cultism is frequently a critical component of sexualized violence. And kids, women and the poor are frequently the target because authoritarian cultures are predicated on depriving them of agency.
    The modern world is the product of steadily overturning assumptions of masculine primacy, the idea of violence as a social cathartic, and we’ve all benefited to some extent by turning away from rancid medieval tropisms that are incompatible with a modern secular state.
    You’ll never see the end of it, though, because sometimes people just suck ass.

  16. nancy said on May 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    One minute he’s treating bovinemastitis, the next he’s slinging phrases like “rancid medieval tropisms” — I swear, I’m going to write Coozledad into a movie one of these days.

    On the same subject (sorta): Why the Red Wings don’t fight. By C’dad’s measure, a very modern team.

  17. Sue said on May 21, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Don’t blame Ireland. Lots of the same stuff was going on in England but Henry VIII had kicked all the religious orders out and so the government had to take over. JUST KIDDING, of course, but the words “bugger” and “boarding school” are connected over there in a way we’ll never understand. Ireland gets to shine in the spotlight for awhile. A few months ago it was Brazil, excommunicating a doctor and a mother for an abortion on a 9 year old, but continuing to welcome the abuser who impregnated the girl to the communion table. Earlier this month it was ex-Milwaukee-archbishop Rembert Weakland admitting that the church dismissed abuse victims as kids who would forget the abuse or somehow just get over it. You can’t discuss this without keeping the One True front and center, and you shouldn’t.

  18. jeff borden said on May 21, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    If the Vatican treats the Irish orders in the same way it handled John Cardinal Law of Boston, the Christian Brothers and the rest will soon have cushy jobs in Rome.

    Doesn’t the Pontiff understand what it looks like, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, when he is traveling the world bashing the use of condoms as contrary to church teachings while ignoring the issues of sexual perversity among his own clergy? Shouldn’t the Vatican convene some kind of huge investigation into these abuse issues and be prepared to act on the findings?

    It’s not like the stories out of Dublin are anything new these days for Catholicism.

  19. Joe Kobiela said on May 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Dorthy,
    I like your idea to name your favorite children books.
    My favorite one is titled, Mommy drinks, because you cry.
    Pilot Joe

  20. nancy said on May 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    “It’s Your Fault Your Parents Are Getting Divorced”

  21. Danny said on May 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Not children’s, but a good self-help title:

    “I’m Okay, You Suck”

  22. Dorothy said on May 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Oooooohhhh… we’re making UP new titles? Well that’s a horse of a different color. *attaching thinking cap* I have a meeting in 5 minutes but then I’ll be back!!!

  23. nancy said on May 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Via Amy:

    Bill Donohue responds to the Irish commission report.

    He really should have kept his mouth shut.

  24. Danny said on May 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    “The Melamine Rabbit”

  25. Sue said on May 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    “The Big ABC Book of Things Hiding Under the Bed”

  26. coozledad said on May 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Harry Potter and The Hanoi Hilton.
    http://achewood.com/index.php?date=08082005

  27. brian stouder said on May 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Our youngest daughter, who will complete her fifth year in the world on June 8, loved/was-terrified-by a book called Mrs Nelson is Missing (I think that’s the title). The book involves a nice teacher who takes sick leave (can’t remember why; coulda’ been H1N1), and an incompetent Principal who takes over the class – triggering anarchy (and injecting a funny bit of political subtext, but we digress)….and then the appearance of the altogether terrifying substitute teacher, Miss Vivian Swamp (Vivian doesn’t sound right – but I’m sure her name was Miss Swamp)

    After reading this book once, and with one more try – we had to hide it away; Miss Swamp always terrified Chloe!

    Not to sound mean, especially given today’s subject, but I’ll have to see if I can find that thing again, and see if it still has that power

  28. Danny said on May 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    “Where the Sensimilla Fern Grows”

  29. alex said on May 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    “Heather Has Two MILFs”

  30. Danny said on May 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    “The Lion, the Witch and the Drag Queen”

  31. moe99 said on May 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Dorothy, It’s the hypocrisy that really rankles. Folks can tsk tsk all they want about how the Irish are so bestial and yet they can’t see the same behaviour in their own national backyard.

  32. MichaelG said on May 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Yeah, Alex, but they’re playing for the other team.

  33. derwood said on May 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    My personal favorite is Everybody Poops.

    And that’s not made up.

    daron

  34. Rana said on May 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Everybody Poops is an excellent book. (As is the adult backpacking version, How to Shit in the Woods.)

    The Three Little Prigs

    Little Red Riding Hoodlum

    Alice Waters and the Organic, Locally Grown Beanstalk

    The Goose that Laid the Golden AIGs

    I’ll stop now…

  35. Danny said on May 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    “Curious George Waterboards”

    Now, I know most of you will like that one on a couple different levels. I think I’ll just argue with myself.

  36. joodyb said on May 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    ‘The Melamine Rabbit’ – excellent, Danny.

  37. Sue said on May 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Miss Nelson and Viola Swamp, if I remember correctly.

  38. David in Chicago said on May 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    ‘From the Censored Files of Mrs. Basil E. Rumsfelder’

  39. Dorothy said on May 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Mother Google

    Aesop’s Foibles

    Old Yeller: the biography of Billy Mays

  40. Jen said on May 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Brian, “Miss Nelson is Missing” was one of my very favorite books when I was a kid. Thanks for bringing back some very good memories. There are a couple other Miss Nelson books: “Miss Nelson is Back” and “Miss Nelson Has a Field Day,” according to Amazon.

    “Everybody Poops” is always a classic, and when I was at the bookstore one day I found a book called “Walter the Farting Dog.” I’m sad that book was not around when I was a child, because it probably would have been an instant favorite for every member of the family.

    Sadly, my creativity is not where it needs to be on a Thursday afternoon, and I can’t think up any funny fake titles.

  41. nancy said on May 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    And then there’s the real, absolutely true, honest-to-goodness-pinky-swear-I’m-not-kidding oeuvre of Judith Vigna:

    My Big Sister Takes Drugs
    I Wish Daddy Didn’t Drink So Much
    My Two Uncles
    When Eric’s Mom Fought Cancer
    Mommy and Me By Ourselves Again

  42. Rana said on May 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Re: Old Yeller – I continue to be boggled every time I see this product:

    http://www.thekrogerco.com/corpnews/corpnewsinfo_pressreleases_04212005.htm

    It’s like that episode on Friends where Phoebe, I think it is, is distressed to learn that all the happy films she remembered from her childhood were all ones where her mother didn’t let her see the unhappy parts.

  43. Sue said on May 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    For Catholic-school-educated people of a certain age:
    “David and Ann Make Jesus Cry”

  44. Scout said on May 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    From the same folks who brought you Everybody Poops, my personal favorite – The Gas We Pass.

    But back to the main subject. Nancy, I had the exact same reaction you did. I thought to myself, who in God’s name (literally) DOES this? And when I realized it was system wide, it made me sick to my stomach. Those poor kids, who are most likely very damaged adults today.

    Oh, and yeah, Coozledad rocks.

  45. Connie said on May 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    My husband has a big collection of books like Everybody Poops, The Gas We Pass, and Walter the Farting Dog. He also has The Naughty Victorian Handbook which is great fun. You insert your hand or finger as directed behind the hole in the page and suddenly the Victorian figure’s butt is revealed.

    Brian he also has a t-shirt that says Viola Swamp is watching you and don’t you forget it.

  46. brian stouder said on May 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Connie – I think I’d get thrown out of the house even more quickly if I wore that tee shirt, then if I was caught in flagrante delicto with the neighbor…speaking of which, Ms Vigna has a strangely alluring name, if I say so myself

  47. Danny said on May 21, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Well, Brian, we know you have an eye for names and a facility with language. Quite the cunning linguist you are…

  48. Catherine said on May 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Brian, if Chloe is anything like my girls, that terror will turn to fascination. They would love Connie’s husband’s t-shirt (one of the many benefits of ALA, I guess?). It went so far that there was a substitute in 2nd grade that the kids refused to call anything other than “The Swamp.”

  49. del said on May 21, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    This thread should’ve ended with Danny’s last comment.

    I’m leaning towards the Milgram experiment explanation. It’s a metaphor for war, to me, as well as harsh interrogation. And some interesting polling shows that observant Christians are the most likely to support torture. Hmm.

  50. Scout said on May 21, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Del, do Christians really support torture or do they support the party because they think it represents them on other issues like abortion and gay marriage? Torture then becomes justified because it is embraced by those same “good guys” who give lip service to their pet issues.

  51. brian stouder said on May 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Danny – all I can say is – you got me laughing out loud! And then, Pam asked what was so funny, and then I began hemming and hawing – and said she’d just have to read it herself.

    In totally unrelated news , I missed this item the other day – and was taken aback this evening, when my mom mentioned that “some old-old Lincoln scholar” had passed away

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104303493

  52. moe99 said on May 21, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Catherine,
    Apropos of your question a few days ago, here is an mp3 of the commencement address given by Tonderai Chikuhwa, the 1996 alumnus of Macalester who works for the UN trying to save child soldiers in Africa:

    http://tinyurl.com/ryrgb6

  53. nancy said on May 21, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I still have his book, signed, “To Nancy, with many thanks for an excellent interview, David Donald.”

    (It sounds better in his great accent.)

  54. del said on May 21, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Scout,
    Here’s a story on the Christian torture matter . . .
    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/05/04/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4989944.shtml

  55. brian stouder said on May 21, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    You know – it is hard to say specifically why signed books are such pleasing things to possess, but they truly are good stuff.

    When Fort Wayne had the Lincoln Museum – and when it finally hit me that I should join the thing and go to its events! – the young folks very often came along.

    Many of the books we had inscribed have comments directed to them – which is truly, deeply pleasing; “dad’s books” were transformed into objects for which the young folks feel a personal attachment, too, and to which they know they’re always welcome.

    On another website, the subject of Kindle (etc) arises with some regularity, and I plainly will never own such a thing.

    In Memorial Day weekend terms, kindle is to books as watching the Indy-500 on TV is to sitting in turn one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, immersed in all the sights and smells and sounds and sensations.

    Books are sensual things – and inscriptions in books* raise that experience, exponentially

    *but I confess that I’ve never seen the point in buying a pre-signed book. It’s the experience of listening to an author speak, and then meeting the author, and all the events around that experience, that gets linked to the pleasure of reading the book

  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Well, i think you can also safely say, but the pollster didn’t control for it, that white weekly churchgoers are more likely to hear questions about the permissability of torture as a stalking horse for a liberal agenda, and answer accordingly. If you asked specific questions about specific approaches, i think you’d get a different outcome that wouldn’t give you the excited “Churchgoers Are Amoral Scum!” headlines. And i’d bet you cash that if you asked “should torture or even borderline cases of aggressive interrogation be basically illegal, with the executive power of pardon used but not guaranteed for extreme, unusual situations,” you’d get a “yes.”

    The poll was designed to discover the startling fact that white weekly churchgoers tend to be politically conservative, and default to trusting defense and intelligence decision making more than liberal respondents. You can argue that this is not a good thing, and i’ll agree, but given how the questions were framed, i just don’t walk away thinking Southern Baptists are fine with beating prisoners or that Vineyard worshipers are cool with electrodes, fake or otherwise, being attached to genitalia.

    Your mileage may vary.

  57. Jolene said on May 21, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Nancy, tell, tell. How did you happen to interview DHD? Was he speaking in Fort Wayne when you were working there?

  58. Dexter said on May 22, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Hockey Fighting.

    I was watching the Carolina-Pittsburgh Conference Finals , talking on the phone, with TV sound off, when I see Miroslav Satan of the Penguins grab a Hurricane and pull his opponent’s jersey over his head and just pummel the crap out of him.
    Satan is a Penguins right winger, been around a long time (he’s 34), and he’s from Slovakia. At the same time, two other fights were going on in the vicinity.
    The article Nance linked brought back memories of when the Red Wings got really good , and basically just abandoned fighting on the ice as a regular component of their team. Those mid-nineties Red Wings teams were a joy to watch.
    The only victory parade for a major league team I ever attended was for the ’97 Stanley Cup champs, the Wings. That was a really, really good time that day. I got to see the Stanley Cup glistening in the sunshine, and got to see Anna Kournikova as she rode in the Mustang convertible with her then-bf Sergei Federov.
    Well, back to Satan for a sec…what a great name for a mean-ass hockey player.
    If you are a hockey fan, Malkin for the Pens scored a hat trick last night.

  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Speaking of “Everybody Poops,” — http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0519/p09s02-coop.html

  60. Connie said on May 22, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Yes, the shirt was bought from Kids Ink in the ALA exhibits. As was my beloved give a mouse a cookie coffee mug. ALA is also the source for my very large collection of autographed books. ALA is in Chicago in July, exhibit only passes are $35.00. My BFF spent a day with me last time it was in Chicago. She’s an automotive supplier exec, and loved it. Lots of take home goodies. My crew will be taking the South Short for a day at the exhibits this year, and will consider it a big treat.

  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Ooooo — The South Shore, interurban survivor! Mass transit a conservative can and must love . . .

    Around since 1901, electric since 1926, with the coolest posters of any commuter line that ever ran. I kid you not!

  62. Deborah said on May 22, 2009 at 10:17 am

    This has been around awhile, but new to me. You must watch it with the sound on to get it.

    March of the Librarians

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td922l0NoDQ

  63. Julie Robinson said on May 22, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Here’s one about zombies from our own ACPL. Note that the man at the information desk is Jeff Krull, library director.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUxp3E3YUdQ

  64. del said on May 22, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Jeff, that polling data shows only very slight differences among groups, really, so it’s not that big a deal. Certainly no justification for a headline that churchgoers are amoral scum. But churchgoers do seem to me to be more inclined to feel “informed” about what’s right and wrong, and thus more likely to do a little wrong to gain a big right.

  65. moe99 said on May 22, 2009 at 10:53 am

    My Presbyterian church has a large black and white poster hung outside our entrance. It reads, “Torture is a Moral Issue.”

  66. mary said on May 23, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Have you seen the movie The Magdalene Sisters? Makes me very glad that my grandparents left Ireland!

  67. James Paden said on May 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    The average age of the room had to be at least 65. A few of Jim’s coworkers and their wives joined us and we did enjoy ourselves at the open bar and by eating all of the free shrimp we could get our hands on. I bid (on accident) on airfare vouches but somehow escaped without paying for them and Jim bid (on purpose) on a signed Tampa Bay Lightning jersey and won it for $50…because apparently you just can’t have enough autographed Lightning memorabilia!