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Maciel traveled incessantly, drawing funds from Legion centers in Mexico, Rome and the United States. Certain ex-Legionaries with knowledge of the order’s finances believe that Maciel constantly drew from Legion coffers to subsidize his families. For years Maciel had Legion priests dole out envelopes with cash and donate gifts to officials in the curia. In the days leading up to Christmas, Legion seminarians spent hours packaging the baskets with expensive bottles of wine, rare brandy, and cured Spanish hams that alone cost upward of $1,000 each. Priests involved in the gifts and larger cash exchanges say that in hindsight they view Maciel’s strategy as akin to an insurance policy, to protect himself should he be exposed and to position the Legion as an elite presence in the workings of the Vatican. –“Money paved way for Maciel’s influence in the Vatican,” Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter
Justin Martel whispers “hello” as he tiptoes into the Prague film studio of William Higgins, 67, an American producer and “dean of gay porn” who moved to Prague right after communism ended to corner the gay sex market, arriving around the same time two other bearded vanguards of capitalism — Santa Claus and Colonel Sanders — showed up to monopolize Christmas and fried chicken. All three have found fertile ground here.
Higgins likes to recruit men who have typically never done porn or had sex with men before and market their inexperience as an asset, not a drawback. To this day, he enjoys filming the first-timers, especially if they don’t really like it. He zooms in on their faces clenched in pain. It makes it real, Higgins says. He also prefers working with straight guys because they are not as picky about with whom they have sex. “If they are willing to do it with a guy, they’ll do it with any guy. It’s a job,” he says. “We have one gay guy who always dictates who he’s going to do it with. I’d much rather work with straight guys.” –“Gay-4-Pay in Prague,” Iva Skoch, GlobalPost
Gerald Boyd was recruited for a management position in the 1980s by Max Frankel, then executive editor. By that time, Boyd had already established himself as a top-of-the-line reporter. … Frankel told him that the Times “severely lacked minorities to promote to management,” that it was hard to find “suitable candidates,” that increased “diversity” was not just one of his own priorities but one of Sulzberger’s too, and that Boyd’s “help toward the effort would mean a lot.” The message did not require a decoder: thanks to the paper’s “diversity” policy, Boyd was being offered a chance to climb the executive ladder. He did not need much persuasion to abandon the reporter’s life and join the executive chase for glory. He acknowledges that his race gave him an advantage in the incessant bureaucratic struggles for advancement that afflict the Times newsroom, but declines to display any bogus humility about it. He is obviously aware that a generation earlier his race would have made it hard to get any Times job more elegant than slicing salami in the cafeteria. –“A Bad Morning at The New York Times,” Russell Baker, The New York Review of Books
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”