e-mail us


If the wheel had not been (a)round, stuff like this would never be written

Sic wishes to take this opportunity to honor the individual who invented the wheel.

* * *
Everywhere Sic turns we run into this question most recently submitted by Larry Frient: “If those who eat vegetables are vegetarians, why aren’t those who eat humans called humanitarians?”
* * *
There seems to be a widespread impression that if the inventor of the wheel had not invented it, someone else would have done so right away -- just like it was no big deal. This does a grave injustice to the first wheel person. It’s like people -- one meets them all the time -- who say they could have painted those Jackson Pollock paintings. So why didn’t they paint them before Pollock did?
* * *
“And lead us not into temptation,” the 3-year-old prayed, “but deliver us from e-mail, amen.”
* * *
From comic Conan O’Brien via L.A. Times: “The 5-day waiting period to buy a handgun will be replaced by an instant computerized background check. The NRA applauds the development saying, ‘Now people will no longer have to wait five days to settle family disputes.’ ”
* * *
After Rome high-handedly hijacked all inclusive language in the lectionary (NCR, Sept. 25, 1998), John N. Pfeffer could stand it no longer:
Eleven little men, I ain’t talkin’ size,
Bellied up to the table and tried to look wise,
The red cap that chose them said with a sigh,
“It took the others years but it still wouldn’t fly.
“It’s a simple job, and here’s how you do it,
“Change a few words, that’s all there is to it,
“Just scratch out some he’s and put in some others,
“If you want to get bold, add sisters to brothers.
“Don’t fret about inclusive purity,
“The point I’m making is job security.
“Don’t worry about being too accurate,
“There’s a guy I know who’ll remanufacture it.” (We hope the above does more for liturgy than it does for poetry.)
* * *
Do the Siewerts of Knoxville hit it on the head or what? “Maybe Sic could get more respect if he could sing for the pope.” Respect is precisely what This Space has been lacking. At once we realized why we have admired Sidney Dangerfield for years -- he gets so much respect compared with ourself.

Some Knoxville choir, it seems, dressed in long white duds, had sung for the pope, up in the sanctuary of St. Ignatius Church, Rome -- frankly, it all looked quite stuffy. An “Alleluia” kind of choir, we guessed, or an “Amazing Grace” bunch, when they could have made the pope’s day by breaking into “Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?”

* * *
From talk-show person Stan Kaplan: “At the peak of Newt Gingrich’s popularity, friends considered lobbying to have his head sculpted on Mt. Rushmore but decided the mountain wasn’t big enough.”
* * *
How could anyone not figure out something as simple as the wheel? people ask.

But Sic thinks there’s a dozen things -- no, make that a million -- just as simple as the wheel, and just as useful, waiting to be invented, so why have those hotshots not invented them?

Sic rests our case, whatever it is.

* * *
Pat Marrin, editor of Celebration, thinks these famous quotes should get a wider airing (notice, he hasn’t enough bad taste to put them in his own publication):

Question for Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest: “If you could live forever, would you and why?”

Answer: “I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.”

Sic says things like this all the time -- ask anyone -- and is considering running for Miss Alabama.

* * *
More Marrin missives:

“I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law” (former New York Mayor David Dinkins, accused of not paying his taxes).

“Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life” (Brooke Shields, auditioning to be antismoking spokesperson).

“I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body” (basketball player Winston Bennett).

“China is a big country inhabited by many Chinese” (Charles de Gaulle).

* * *
Don’t look now, but one Alexander Filatov, a member of the Russian Duma, proposed or moved or whatever you do with a parliamentary motion asking Monica Lewinsky to take steps to stop the Iraq war: “The State Duma appeals to Ms. Lewinsky to undertake corresponding measures to restrain the emotions of Bill Clinton.”
* * *
The year is 2167 and the great, great, great (you get the idea) grandson of Judge Kenneth Starr is archbishop of Lincoln, Neb., and presiding over the inquisition of Sr. Linda Tripp of the Little Sisters of the Pentagon, who is accused of unlawfully hearing confessions by phone. Outside in the frosty air a pyre fire is gathering steam and ready to impress righteousness on Sr. Linda’s person.

As everyone now knows, Sic has given up infallibility, which was getting us nowhere fast, in favor of prophecy, of which there are two types. We’re not into the more bland type: intoning fascinating animadversions allegedly spoken on behalf of the Lord. Rather, we aim to specialize in the long ball: sage but unlikely predictions about stuff so far in the future that we’ll all be dead long before anyone has a chance to check up on us.

National Catholic Reporter, January 8, 1999