Friday, May 2, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 36

1.       So, been a long time since I’ve blogged at all. Kind of a lot going on:

2.       I’m actually getting writing gigs now. I’m writing for a group called ‘Freedom Kids’ which is all about getting kids interested in history and using it to teach American Values. There were some creative differences for a while which made me wonder whether I should keep going, but those seem to have been straightened out and they say they loved my first ‘official’ story for them, so that’s good.

3.       Also may have a job writing shortish (10-12 K words) stories for a guy in Prague (!). I’ve sent him my signed contract, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet, so I’m not quite sure of the state of that one. In any case, I’ve started work on my first story for him.

4.       For that, and for a short story contest that caught my eye, I’ve developed a new fictional universe (that’s, what, six now? I’ve really gotta start knocking these off) involving the End of the World and what happens after. Naturally, what happens after involves giant snakes (I think I have one, maybe two fiction ideas that don’t involve giant snakes in some way. What can I say? I like snakes), giant mutant insect monsters, and a lot of pseudo-western type elements. Oh, and Michigan gets transformed into a Mordor-like evil empire (insert ‘Detroit’ joke here).

5.       I had been planning on going down to Houston next week to do some on-the-spot job hunting, but that has now been pushed back to two weeks from Monday. There are a number of reasons for this (my intensely frustrating last-minute attempts to book a flight were kind of the catalyst), but primarily it’s because I’ve suddenly taken my career search in a new direction and want to work more on that before I go down. It came about when I suddenly realized “wait a second: I’m a moderately intelligent, college grad with three years professional experience under my belt; why am I looking at retail jobs?”

6.       My chief area of focus right now are zoos, because come on; how cool would it be to work at a zoo? So cool that I even applied for what, effectively, was the same type of job I have now (which would be a lot more interesting if I could make ‘feeding people to the crocodile’ jokes). I actually applied for a position at the Houston Zoo Reptile House, but that’s probably a long shot, since I don’t have a natural science degree or any real experience handling venomous animals. Still, can’t hurt to try.

7.       Quote:
“Have you ever heard of some fellows who first came over to this country? You know what they found? They found a howling wilderness, with summers too hot and winters freezing, and they also found some unpleasant little characters who painted their faces. Do you think these pioneers filled out form number X6277 and sent in a report saying the Indians were a little unreasonable? Did they have insurance for their old age, for their crops, for their homes? They did not! They looked at the land, and the forest, and the rivers. They looked at their wives, their kids and their houses, and then they looked up at the sky and they said, ‘Thanks, God, we’ll take it from here.’”
-John Wayne, Without Reservations

Vivat Christus Rex!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Today

Today:

First time joining in on this.

Feeling: Excitedly overwhelmed by the fact that I actually have an actual paid writing gig with deadlines and everything! And that I have to respond about another potential one (with some guy in Prague). And resentful that I have this job eating up so much time and energy every day.

Smelling: The lobby and my own coffee-breath. Sorry, not much to smell here.

Tasting: Coffee! Coffee coffee coffee. Made a perfect sized batch this morning: none went down the drain! I have a tendency to over-do things, and my instinct is to make eight-twelve cups of coffee and use it for the next couple days. I’ve been trying to improve on that lately, and it’s satisfying to have just enough. Anyway, at least I can drink my coffee instead of work coffee (which is repulsive, but necessary).

Listening: To the screaming of the wind (Country Music fans: Blown Away has been a staple of my listening diet lately, mostly because the lyrics put me in mind of the upcoming Godzilla movie). We’ve got quite the storm going on at the moment, and the building is creaking ominously. Of course, I can’t quite enjoy it as much at work, but at least I’m in the lobby with a huge window to watch. Also listening to that stupid video-advertisement that plays continuously in the lobby.

Grateful: You read the first bit about the writing gigs, right?

Reading: Lord of the Rings. Missed last year, for the first time in forever. Also perusing The Temperament God Gave You repeatedly for Melancholic life tips and slowly making my way through Introduction to the Devout Life again. Oh, and also listening to On Stranger Tides.

Loving: The photo Masha posted of my adorable niece and her dog united against her (Masha). That, and the fact that I now remember what ‘warm weather’ feels like.

Hoping: To find that new job I’m looking for in Texas.

Working on: Writing gigs. Specifically, forging better work habits, since mine are currently, to put it bluntly, atrocious. Also, being better about not letting little annoyances (like my slow and jerky work computer) get to me.

Vivat Christus Rex!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why the 99% Failure Rate in Publishing

I found the following at the excellent John C. Wright's Blog and thought it was pretty funny.

Herewith, the rough breakdown of manuscript characteristics, from most to least obvious rejections:

1. Author is functionally illiterate.

2. Author has submitted some variety of literature we don’t publish: poetry, religious revelation, political rant, illustrated fanfic, etc.

3. Author has a serious neurochemical disorder, puts all important words into capital letters, and would type out to the margins if MSWord would let him.

4. Author is on bad terms with the Muse of Language. Parts of speech are not what they should be. Confusion-of-motion problems inadvertently generate hideous images. Words are supplanted by their similar-sounding cousins: towed the line, deep-seeded, dire straights, nearly penultimate, incentiary, reeking havoc, hare’s breath escape, plaintiff melody, viscous/vicious, causal/casual, clamoured to her feet, a shutter went through her body, his body went ridged, empirical storm troopers, ex-patriot Englishmen, et cetera.

5. Author can write basic sentences, but not string them together in any way that adds up to paragraphs.

6. Author has a moderate neurochemical disorder and can’t tell when he or she has changed the subject. This greatly facilitates composition, but is hard on comprehension.

7. Author can write passable paragraphs, and has a sufficiently functional plot that readers would notice if you shuffled the chapters into a different order. However, the story and the manner of its telling are alike hackneyed, dull, and pointless.

(At this point, you have eliminated 60-75% of your submissions. Almost all the reading-and-thinking time will be spent on the remaining fraction.)

8. It’s nice that the author is working on his problems, but the process would be better served by seeing a shrink than by writing novels.

9. Nobody but the author is ever going to care about this dull, flaccid, underperforming book.

10. The book has an engaging plot. Trouble is, it’s not the author’s, and everybody’s already seen that movie/read that book/collected that comic.

(You have now eliminated 95-99% of the submissions.)

11. Someone could publish this book, but we don’t see why it should be us.

12. Author is talented, but has written the wrong book.

13. It’s a good book, but the house isn’t going to get behind it, so if you buy it, it’ll just get lost in the shuffle.

14. Buy this book.

Vivat Christus Rex!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday vol. 35

Let's pretend I posted this yesterday, Conversion Diary readers.

1.     As you know, I wasn’t all that impressed with Frozen. I confess, however, that I have been listening to Let It Go incessantly for the past couple weeks. The thing is like crack for your ears! I would, however, like to reiterate that the ending is terrible; a limp, dry note that leaves you thinking “wait, what? That’s how they decided to end it? A massive crescendo, and then…a dismissive little semi-spoken line?” It’s the A Nightmare on Elm Street of songs: brilliant up until the very last second, where it fumbles in a truly jaw-dropping style.

2.     Yes, I did just seriously compare a Disney song to a horror movie! That makes me awesome!

3.     I mentioned Harding last time, so I’m going to share another anecdote about him: Harding’s presidency, as you probably know, was rife with scandals (a large reason for his low standing among Presidents). Harding himself, however, like his predecessor Grant, wasn’t involved in any and was pretty much a wholly honest man (some politicians still were in those days). When the scandals started coming to light and he came face-to-face with one of the men responsible, Harding went ballistic: he seized the man by the collar and screamed at him, calling him a dirty rat and (presumably) other choice epithets while he “shook him like a terrier.”
We sure could use a man like Warren G. Harding again (and that is the first time that sentence has ever been uttered by human lips). 

4.     Warm weather is finally here! And by warm I mean “above freezing and sunny.” Sometimes. Feels close enough that I’m running again. I don’t get very far, since I’m still stiff and out-of-practice from winter, but at least I can say I’m doing it, and that’s really the important thing (yes, Let it Go has joined my list of running songs).

5.     Well, The Chronicles of Hendricks is finally posted in its entirety. So far the little reaction I’ve gotten on it is pretty positive, which is certainly encouraging. Only now I don’t have anything ready to replace it! The next book in the series is still at a pretty primitive stage, but with the reactions to Hendricks I’ve decided to put more time and effort into that one, so we may see it sooner than I think! In the meantime, feel free to pop over and read Hendricks if you like (WARNING: This book contains violence, the phrase ‘mucous pool,’ and copious references to justifiably-obscure works of fiction that only I get).

6.     I'm already late, so let’s round it out with a couple pithy quotes I recently added to my quote list:
“But then I am a bit old fashioned in that I still believe in truth, that people ought to be able to distinguish by smell a Big Mac from a filet mignon.”
-        David S. Oderberg, "Perennial Philosophy's Theory of Art"

7.     "Is emptying bed pans in a hospital menial work? What would happen if bed pans didn't get emptied? Let people stop emptying bed pans for a month and there would be bigger problems than if sociologists stopped working for a year."
-- Thomas Sowell

 Vivat Christus Rex!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Wrestling With God



                There’s a reason Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam is so admired and famous. It is, really, the perfect image of the whole theme of the Judeo-Christian tradition: the simultaneous reaching of man for God and of God to man.
                That really is the great mystery and staggering conceit of the whole faith: that man actually is somehow participating in the works of God. He is not simply a passive subject, but stands up and reaches out for and even contends with the Divine. The word ‘Israel’ means, essentially, ‘who wrestles with God.’ This is in contrast with ‘Islam’ which means ‘submission to God.’ Israel struggles for God: makes demands of God, dares to ask questions of God, seeks to understand God. In what can only be described as intolerable cheek, Israel demands to be an active participant with the Divine. This is the faith where Jacob seizes hold of the angel of God and refuses to release him without a blessing, and where an example of ‘man after God’s own heart’ is a passionate, hot-tempered warrior-poet.
                This ‘intolerable cheek’ would be rank blasphemy if it weren’t commanded by God. The Lord made man to be free. As such, He demanded a level of autonomy or personal glory from him. When God put man in the garden, He put the forbidden tree with him. God gave man the chance to sin, knowing all that would come of it, because He wanted man to have the dignity of something that was his own and, save in that it was given by Him, not God’s: his own free choice. God does not choose for man. In unspeakable humility, He surrendered that portion of Himself to man and determined that man would have a say in his own creation. It is a small say, just as the one tree was a small part of the Garden, but it is the finishing touch that gives man his unique character. He is dependent, and yet independent. Contingent, and yet self-determining. Totally subject, and yet free.
                Thus is the dignity of man: the only animal able to stand up and converse with God. God does not just reach for Adam, but Adam reaches for God. Man’s achievements are not simply nothing, nor is he bereft of rights or dignity, for God gave him these things.
                This explains two vital facts about the Catholic Church: first, that she often venerates purely secular achievements such as the Glories of Greece and Rome, and second the extreme honor due to Mary the Mother of Christ.
                To take the first issue, secular or non-Christian achievements may not be able to save a man’s soul, but that doesn’t mean they are not glorious themselves. Whether Aristotle was ultimately saved or not does not change the wisdom of his teachings. Whether Hector beheld the face of Christ after his death has no bearing on his nobility. It is, of course, infinitely more important that a man should be saved than that he should do great deeds, but the greatness of such deeds is not simply an illusion. The wise Medievals sang the glories of the pagans who came before them until the world was sick of it. Caesar, Alexander, and Hector were listed alongside King David, Charlemagne, and Godfrey as the nine worthies. Rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s includes the honor due to great achievements and glorious deeds. “This is the work of our sweat! Our blood! Our blistered hands!” as the ancients said of the Seven Wonders. The God of Israel is not offended by man’s standing on his feet and seeking after greatness: Magnanimity is a Christian virtue. He is a God with whom man may lawfully hold discourse and even disputes, who may demand answers and ask for signs (in Isaiah, God even rebukes men for not having the dignity to make a request of Him when offered). The heroic impulse was given man by God and is good.
                The other, the extreme honor due to Mary, is because she represents the pinnacle of Man’s reaching for God: the exact point where the finger of Adam touches that of the Creator, and what is formed by that connection is the God-Man: Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Mary, in whom all mankind is blessed. The wrestling of man and God results in God becoming man and so enabling man to become like God (which, after all, was the cause of the conflict in the first place). This wrestling is nothing like an ‘equal relationship:’ God forbid! As if Man would ever be able to endure something like that (what would he be able to offer?). But it is a relationship and not merely a series of directions, and man has a real part to play in it. And what a staggering, almost terrifying compliment it is to be told that God expects something from us! That He wishes us to make some kind of contribution, to “put in our oar,” so to speak, to (if it is not too absurd a phrase) help Him!
                This is the contradiction, the paradox at the heart of our Faith: that God is supreme, but Man still counts for something, if only because God made him so. It is a puzzle that no theologian or philosopher will ever answer: that Man can struggle with God.
               
Vivat Christus Rex!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Reviews: 300: Rise of an Empire

-->

           300 was an over the top tribute to the Battle of Thermopylae; crude, heavy-handed, and overly-stylized, but which ultimately worked beautifully because of its absolute commitment both to the righteousness of its heroes’ cause and to their warrior ethos. In a world where most cinematic heroes are plagued with self-doubt and hesitation, the virile and unrelenting Spartans were a breath of fresh air. Besides which, the story itself – 300 men who gave their last breath to defend Western Civilization against invading tyranny – was compelling enough that the extremities the film went to tell it seemed fitting.
            300: Rise of an Empire, on the other hand, is little more than an unfocused, meandering, occasionally repulsive retread of the first film, lacking all the urgency or emotional power of its predecessor: a limp, mindless exercise in style and brutality. The first film at least maintained the basic facts and import of Thermopylae: this one can’t be bothered to do anything similar regarding Salamis.
            The story: as King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) invades Greece and the 300 Spartans march to the hot gates to stop him, the Athenian general, Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), the hero of Marathon, tries to unite Greece to form a naval defense against Xerxes’ chief admiral, Artemisia (Eva Green).
            There are two major problems that sink the film; the first is the lack of any kind of story structure. The first movie was built around the Battle of Thermopylae: it was a simple matter of “the Spartans, vastly outnumbered, stand at the pass while the Persians throw everything they have at them.” This one wanders all over the place, so that we’ve almost never quite sure where we are or why it’s at all important to fight the Persians here rather than somewhere else, or what the stakes will be if they lose. Nor do we really get a sense of what the Persians are trying to do: half the time Artemisia seems to just be sending out small fleets to attack the Greeks while she sits back and watches with the rest of her navy. If she’s that close to the action, why doesn’t she just send her whole fleet in and overwhelm them with superior numbers on the open sea? The battles have no context and, hence, no urgency, or even any basic notions of what is and is not possible at any given point. When Themistocles leads the Persian fleet into a trap, the reaction is “oh, so they’re close to the shore? Where are they again?”  
The climactic battle of Salamis, meanwhile, falls completely flat, being entirely route and uninteresting. The first film was at least honest about the basic details of Thermopylae. This one can’t be bothered: the narrow straights that gave the out-numbered Greeks their crucial advantage over the massive Persian navy, the attempt of the Persians to block out the straights and trap the Greeks, which backfired so spectacularly on them, the chaos that resulted in neither side being able to keep to any clear strategy, none of this is brought out in the film. Indeed, the depiction of the Persian fleet being backed against a cliff and surrounded by the Greek fleets is flatly the opposite of the actual battle, which had the Greeks surrounded by the Persian fleet (what is the Persian navy even doing all bunched up against the shore like that? As far as we can tell, there’s nothing stopping them from sailing out and overwhelming the Greeks, so why would they waste their numerical advantage by just sitting there in a pile?). About the only accurate detail of the battle is the fact that Xerxes observes the fight from a nearby cliff. 
            At the same time, the movie keeps hitting the same beats as the first one: hero with small band of loyal soldiers? Check. Successful encounters with an overly-confident enemy? Check. Father-son soldier team? Check. Villain tries to convince hero to join him/her? Check. Persians resort to ever-more esoteric methods to break the Greeks? Check. It’s really nothing more than “300 at Sea,” except that implies something more interesting. They even shrink the Athenian navy – the best of the Greek City States by far – into a tiny force of doubtful ships to try to drum up the same sense of overwhelming odds. The combined navy of all Greece being outnumbered four-to-one wasn’t enough for them?
            The burning of Athens, amazingly, is relegated to a single scene with no lead-in whatsoever. This scene being one of maybe three or four that were even set in the city (almost all the others being interior scenes). We therefore get no notion of Athens as being anything at all special or important in the ancient world. That it’s a center of arts, commerce, and learning, the birthplace of democracy and philosophy, and one of the cornerstones of western civilization is never established (worse, the little we see of democracy here is so unflattering that you really have to wonder why they’re so keen on saving it). There is no sense of the burning of Athens being any kind of a tragedy or devastation: it simply happens and the movie moves on. If the characters themselves don’t seem to care about the destruction of Athens, why should we?
            The other and much more serious problem is in the use of Artemisia. First they give her an unnecessarily cruel backstory (which makes it kind of hard to generate any enjoyable hatred for her), then they stick her in a completely gratuitous and vile sex/rape scene with Themistocles (one that has zero relevance to the plot and even less emotional impact, unless faint nausea counts), and finally they end by having burly Sullivan Stapleton engage her in one-on-one combat, wherein he knocks her around the ship and finally stabs her to death. The whole thing is so vile that it sucks out any joy that Eva Green’s performance might have had. Artemisia is too pitiable to be an enjoyable villain and too evil to be really pitied. She’s simply repulsive in the most real-world sense of the term (and, needless to say, none of this has any basis in history).
            People sometimes complain that, in action movies, women are only allowed to fight other women. Rise of an Empire reminds us of the reason for this trope: it’s no fun at all to see a big, muscle-bound man smacking a petite woman around the deck of a ship before gutting her with his sword. That’s even allowing that they make 5’6”, slender-armed Artemisia “the greatest fighter in Persia” and show her mopping the floor with a six-foot-plus Tony Todd lookalike. The moment Themistocles backhands her, the illusion is broken and we’re just watching our hero knocking an abused woman around. Coupled with her aforementioned backstory (which opens with her, as an eight-year-old, watching her family getting raped and murdered before she’s kicked in the face) and the gruesome scene where she tries to seduce Themistocles and he effectively rapes her, and you’re left just staring at the screen wondering who the hell thought this would be in the least bit entertaining? 
            There are other, less vital problems that help drag the film down: I found the constant slow-motion to be annoying rather than cool this time, as though the movie were having trouble loading. Apart from Themistocles, it’s hard to keep track of any of the other Athenian characters or their relationship to each other. A subplot about a young man’s desire to fight and his father’s unwillingness to let him is set up, achieves nothing (the father is kind of blasé when he finds out about it), and is dropped at the last minute. Once he’s served his purpose, the film literally forgets about the kid, and we don’t even learn whether he survived the final battle or not. Themistocles’s visits to Sparta are pointless padding and Queen Gorgo’s reluctance to fight anymore makes no sense whatsoever (she’s a Spartan, and she was the one urging the Spartan assembly to get into the war in the last film! Why has she suddenly gone all “stop killing my sons in your useless war?”). 
            The film’s ‘origin story’ for Xerxes is just kind of weird: did we really need to find out why he’s a seven-foot piercing-addict? I mean, I kind of assumed that was just because he was the ruler of the richest, most powerful empire in the world and was into that sort of thing. And does this mean he actually is a physical god, or what? What was the point of any of that, except to pad out the film a bit more?
            To be fair, it’s not entirely bad: the visuals, especially our glimpse of Persepolis, are spectacular. I loved the brief glimpse we have of Xerxes’ bridge of ships across the Hellespont (which was actually the way he got his armies into Greece). Some of the sea battles are pretty darn cool, with rammings and splinterings to spare, and the warrior ethos of the first film is again depicted reverently, with all its comradery and virile dedication to a higher cause. The fact that the Persian ships are rowed by slaves and the Greeks by (apparently) free men is another nice touch (not sure if that’s true, but it’s a nice touch). And as was the case in the first film, any attempt to tell these vital stories from the birth of Western Civilization is appreciated. If the film inspires people to actually learn something about Marathon and Salamis, then it’s done better work than many a superior film.
            Not, of course, that anyone would learn much history for this movie. Besides what I already noted, the most egregious historical sin (which the film makes much of) is having Themistocles kill Darius at Marathon, thus giving Xerxes a “motive” to invade Greece. Leaving aside that this is stupid (why does the most powerful emperor on Earth need a reason to invade an unsightly free state on his border?), Darius wasn’t even present at Marathon. He died peacefully about three years later while working on another invasion plan. Also, the plot point about the Athenians begging the Spartans to supply them with ships was lame: the Athenian navy was vastly the superior of the Spartan navy, and while I’m sure the Athenians appreciated the help, it was Athens who supplied the most and best ships at Salamis – over half the total number – while the Spartans sent a comparatively puny force of sixteen ships. This alteration takes a lot of the glory away from the Athenians and gives it to the Spartans, which is just kind of weird: I mean, the Spartans already had their day of glory at Thermopylae, why did the filmmakers feel the need to give them another by minimizing the Athenian contribution at Salamis?
            Oh, and about Artemisia: she didn’t die at Salamis and she wasn’t an admiral (obviously; Xerxes admiral was actually his cousin, Ariabignes, who did die in the battle). She was a Halicarnassan Queen who commanded a small portion of the Persian fleet (five ships out of 1200) and who occasionally advised Xerxes, who had great respect for her. She fled during the battle when she saw it was turning against them, ramming another Persian ship commanded by a rival in her desire to escape, which both convinced the Greeks that she was an ally and caused Xerxes (thinking she had attacked a Greek ship) to lament “my men have become women and my women have become men!” She was also the one who advised Xerxes to leave Greece, reasoning that if the occupation succeeded, Xerxes would still get the credit and if it failed, he at least would be safe. They both then lived quite happily and profitably ever after in their respective kingdoms.  
            After I saw 300, I wanted to go join the Marines. After I saw Rise of an Empire, I wanted to go take a good, hot shower with lots of soap. The glory of Greece, the heroism of the Athenian navy, and the warrior ethos are there, but buried under tons of vileness and lazy storytelling.

Final Rating: 1.5/5: Great visuals and some glimpses of the virtue of Greece are lost in a meandering story that has little of the impact of the first one and overwhelmed by the exceedingly nasty use of the villainess.   

Vivat Christus Rex!

Friday, March 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 34

-->
Welcome Conversion Diary readers!

1.     I’ve been suffering from idea overload lately: I’ve got so many story ideas that I can’t seem to settle on any one of them long enough to make anything out of it. Lot of monsters, dragons, and snakes. Most of my stories involve snakes somehow. And, for some reason, people getting eaten (but usually not by snakes: what’s up with that?).

2.     I finally checked out a trailer for Noah, and I gotta say, I think it actually looks pretty good. Of course, I’m deeply suspicious about any contemporary religious film, especially if it comes from mainstream Hollywood, but I thought that at least what the trailer showed seemed interesting and respectful (I particularly liked the “I'm not alone” bit). I’ve been severely skeptical of this project from day one, but you never know; it might surprise me.

3.     By the way, one thing I like about how Noah looks is that they’re bringing some imagination and energy to the film. I think that’s one of the things that hampers most Christian projects: they’re too timid and prosaic. The Passion of the Christ was great, in part, because it went all out with imaginative religious imagery (Satan haunting the via dolorosa, where only Jesus and Mary can see him; Longimus the Roman soldier kneeling in the spray of blood and water coming from Christ’s side; Jesus suddenly addressing Pilate in perfect Latin, etc.). However Noah turns out, I hope future Christian filmmakers will take note.

4.      I think I’ve found another new favorite blog: the TOF Spot. Check out his 9-part examination of how heliocentrism replaced geocentrism, which begins here. Fair warning: if you’re a big Galileo fan, you might want to brace yourself for a disappointment.

5.     Actually, what struck me most about that rundown is how it seemed to be another example of the phenomenon I noticed surrounding the Depression: the gregarious, talkative extravert (here Galileo) makes a big splash and gets all the credit, despite actually accomplishing very little or even making the situation worse, while the quieter, less attractive introvert (here Kepler) isn’t much remembered, but actually achieved more. I really think I’ll have to make a study of this pattern to see if I can find any other examples.

6.     Speaking of Galileo, here’s his finger. 

Three guesses which one!
(sorry; my initial caption was even more immature) 

7.     Quote:
“In the great fulfillment we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.”
-Warren G. Harding.
That’s right: JFK’s best line was a snappier paraphrase of Warren G. flippin’ Harding!
Makes me wonder whether Kennedy just stole all his good lines from obscure past Presidents. He probably cribbed the “We choose to go to the moon” speech from Chester A. Arthur or something.

Vivat Christus Rex!