Category Archives: Best of Neptunus Lex

Hard to get your head around

Posted by lex, on December 11, 2007


Today I’m feeling more than ordinarily muddled. It can’t much help that I’m suffering from a head cold that my lovely wife brought back from her in Orlando. And yet the unfolding news about Colorado church shooter Matthew Murray seems to me yet another chapter in a seemingly unending serial of narcissistic brats whose violent fantasies grow in inverse proportion to their sense of empathy – and it’s making my head hurt.

On Monday, police confirmed that 24-year-old Murray was the gunman in the deadly shootings at both the Youth With a Mission center on the Faith Bible Chapel campus in Arvada and at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Three people, including Murray, were killed in Colorado Springs, and two others died in Arvada. Five other people were wounded.

“You Christians brought this on yourselves,” Murray wrote on a Web site for people who have left Pentecostal and fundamentalist religious organizations.

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Athens vs Sparta

Posted by Lex, on September 20th, 2008

On the Severn: *

(Naval Academy) students attracted to history or political science say that they have no trouble satisfying their craving for intellectual challenge and reflection. (Professor Williamson) Murray said that, while he was appalled by the ignorance of the incoming freshmen, he found that the students in one of his senior seminars were “by far and away” superior to those he had taught at Yale and elsewhere in their “level of sophistication, writing ability, understanding of history, capacity to connect the dots between different periods.” These students are just as inclined as good students everywhere to question established wisdom.

Good lads (and lasses).

* Link changed – 03/22/18 – Ed.

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By Lex, on September 27, 2008


So there I was, cruising the aisles of the local Jimbo’s organic grocery hoping for gustatory inspiration, when I suddenly realized that every other person in the establishment, from the hollow-eyed, Brillo-haired stoner at the checkout counter with the gauges in his ears, to the pair of middle aged gentlemen aggressively padding the aisles with bowed legs, slip-on loafers, spandex shorts and Italian team cycling jerseys, to the angry-eyed female couple with their stout, hairy legs thrusting resolutely out from within their REI cargo shorts and terminating in their matching Birkenstocks, to the vaguely anesthetized woman wandering through the patchouli selection in her tie-dyed t-shirt and gypsy skirt, to the bovine couple – he in pony tail and goatee, she in a spinaker-sized muu-muu whose billowing folds hinted of mysterious things not yet seen nor even dreamt upon – both of them working their stoic way through all of the various samples on offer throughout the store with fixed determination, yea: even unto the perpetually peevish pint-sized person parking his Prius at the portal – everyone – would be voting for Barack Obama  come November.

It was a dispiriting notion somehow, and I felt hemmed in, surrounded, outnumbered. Oppressed. By the sheer hopiness of it. And change.

Until later, when, munching thoughtfully on my free range chicken breast and arugula salad with oil and balsamic vinaigrette dressing – too much, I always use too much – I said to myself: Eh.

Could be worse.


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The Lions of the Hindu Kush

By lex, on September 28, 2008


Mullah Omar’s brave billy boys have finally screwed their courage to the sticking point, and – chiefly concerning themselves with the sanctity of a woman’s honored place in society, and acting severally – managed the boast-worthy act of murdering a woman on her way to work:

Lt-Col Malalai Kakar, head of Kandahar’s department of crimes against women, was shot in her car as she was about to leave for work.

Her son was also wounded in the attack, and is said to be seriously injured.

Taleban rebels, who banned women from joining the police when they were in power, said they had carried out the shooting.

“We killed Malalai Kakar,” a Taleban spokesman told AFP news agency.

“She was our target, and we successfully eliminated our target.”

The mother of six had earned a degree of international fame in the ’80s by gunning down three assassins who had made an attempt on her life.

Women are the weaker sex in the Taliban’s eye, meaning that men are strong (and little boys are scared). So women must be protected, in this case, by bravely lying in wait for one of them and gunning her down with the advantage of surprise.

Thus is honor preserved, bravo.


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It’s a fair question

Posted by lex, on November 20,2007


It appears as though a Japanese scientist has found a way to cultivate stem cells from the skin of a live mouse. If true, that would remove the last barrier to principled support of stem cell therapy research among pro-life adherents. Pro-lifers – many, but not all of them operating from religiously formed convictions – objected to the notion of creating one class of human life only for the purpose of destroying it for the potential benefit of another class. For this they were roundly denounced as anti-scientific Luddites.

In First Things, Joeseph Bottums postulates ulterior motives among some stem cell research proponents before asking a fair question:

(Science), in the context of the editorial page of the New York Times, was simply a stalking-horse for something else. In fact, for two something-elses: a chance to discredit America’s religious believers and an opportunity to put yet another hedge around the legalization of abortion. After all, if our very health depends on the death of embryos, and we live in a culture that routinely destroys early human life in the laboratory, no grounds could exist for objecting to abortion.

With these purposes now severed by the Japanese de-differentiation technique, which way will it break?

I hope we find out.

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Class Warfare

Posted by Lex, on September 8, 2008


Every four years the coastal elites sneer down their noses at half the country. And more often than not, wake up the day after the election wondering what the hell just happened: *

If only the Democrats could contain their sense of entitlement to govern in a rational world, and their consequent distaste for wide swathes of the US electorate, they might gain the unshakeable grip on power they feel they deserve. Winning elections would certainly be easier – and Republicans would have to address themselves more seriously to economic insecurity. But the fathomless cultural complacency of the metropolitan liberal rules this out…

It will be hard. They will have to develop some regard for the values that the middle of the country expresses when it votes Republican. Religion. Unembarrassed flag-waving patriotism. Freedom to succeed or fail through one’s own efforts. Refusal to be pitied, bossed around or talked down to. And all those other laughable redneck notions that made the United States what it is.

H/T to Neo-Neocon, who has much more along these lines.


* Link updated 03/21/18 – Ed.

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Pistol packin’ padres

Posted by lex, on November 21, 2007


I hardly know what to think about this:

British military chaplains in Afghanistan are urging an historic change in the rules to allow them to carry weapons when out on patrol alongside troops fighting the Taliban, because of the risk of capture.

For the first time in any theatre of conflict chaplains are no longer considered to be protected by the rules of war, because of the propaganda Taliban extremists would gain from showing “trophy” footage of a captive Christian priest.

By long tradition, clergy serving in Britain’s armed forces have not carried weapons in war-zones, but now some Royal Navy Commando chaplains want to be allowed to carry a side-arm, stating that as a last resort they would rather take their own life than fall into the hands of the Taliban.

It certainly says something about the nature of the enemy that we face that a priest – who after all, as vested members of the C of E almost certainly believes self-murder to be an unpardonable sin – would consider taking his own life rather than submit to capture.

Fully realizing that back in my own pistol packin’ days, if I ever ended up with dust on my boots on the wrong side of the line, I intended to count the rounds as they left the muzzle and think long and hard on where the last one would be aimed.

But still. Geez.

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