Thursday, March 31, 2011

Living up to Catholic Stereotypes

So the whole Live Action thing is in the news.  Fine.  Looks like they've been calling around to see if Planned Parenthood really does provide mammograms - which is why Planned Parenthood says it needs the money, for services like that.  Seems Live Action isn't committing that mortal sin of lying in this case, and many have taken to cheering, saying well done, forgiving them their blasphemous evils, and pointing out that evil can be defeated without lying - even though I've not seen any more results of this honest approach than I did the much maligned sting operations of a month or so ago.

On Mark Shea's blog, he posts an article pointing the same things out - that lying isn't necessary, and it's nice to see Live Action doing it right.  Fair enough.  But then, in the comments, I read this:

"Technically, Mark, they also asked questions like "I was hoping I could come into Planned Parenthood for a mammogram" (from their Georgetown and St. Louis PP call) Now, most of the called-in inquiries on their video were of the "Does Planned Parenthood offer mammograms?" sort, but some were fibs, for they were posing as someone wanting to come in for a mammogram."
You see that?  Live Action is only mostly perfect.  They're still not 100% perfect - and that's where we should focus! 

One of the stereotypes of Catholicism is, of course, that it guts the Gospel of its heart and soul and replaces it with a stone cold, heartless, computer microchip precision style legalism.  But another is something I remember hearing as a Protestant.  That Catholics firmly believe that salvation is attained by everyone[else] being 100% perfect 100% of the time.  99.9999999999999999999999999999999999% perfection just won't do.  Unless, of course, it's my own sins - which are OK, since God loves to forgive me, I have confession, and when I sin it's just the natural thing to do and grace and forgiveness and mercy and all that jazz. 

Hence, Catholics give the dual presentation of a religion where nobody has a ghost of a chance to be saved since except for a select few (who can have among the worst lives of anyone), folks just will never be able to cut it (think Martin Luther).  And yet on the other side, one that maintains a religion that continually scores near dead last on all the religious studies and surveys.  A religion where its adherents have the reputation of out lying, out cheating, out screwing, out drinking, out gambling, out smoking, and out debauching the most die-hared atheist.  Because the focus in on how intolerant we should be of everyone[else]'s sins, but so understanding of our own. 

Of course that isn't unique to Catholicism.  It is a human trait to focus on the splinter in our neighbor's eye while demanding nothing less than understanding and forgiveness for the logs in our own eyes.  But with the Catholic Faith's premium on philosophical wrangling in order to explain and promote this or that teaching, when filtered through that weird, strange world of the combox, it can certainly make it appear that, at least in this case, old stereotypes have at least some basis in fact.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In America, outrage over trashing an American hero may seem strange

After all, most modern scholarship is based on sifting through the annals of American and Western Christian history in order to dredge up any and all negative interpretations of anyone once deemed a hero.  That, of course, apart from Martin Luther King, Jr.  So in a country used to hearing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again that our Founding Fathers owned slaves, pilgrims were genocidal sexists, Lincoln was probably a racist, Roosevelt an imperialist, Kennedy - well he was godlike - and we won't even get into Reagan and other military heroes of the past.  And that doesn't count the entire confederacy, colonial period, pre-civil rights America, and our decision to drop Atomic Bombs on Japan.  All of these things occupy some 98% of our history.  So it must seem strange that a book that even suggests Gandhi might have been, you know, a stroller on both sides of the sexual fence has caused outrage across India.  In America, this is just the type of thing the public, Progressives, and academics crave.

World's highest hotel opens!

And don't worry, it's not in the United States.  Those days are gone.  We're just standing by watching our infrastructure implode as we outwork an average medieval peasant in order to afford the next great iPad upgrade. 

Prayer request

I received this request this morning. Please pray for Melissa and her family.

In case this is the first you have heard: Friday, Melissa stayed home because her earache hadn't healed with antibiotics. Over the weekend she went to the doctor. Yesterday Melissa was taken to the hospital with a clot in her brain that was bleeding. Below is the update we have received this morning: 
If you could please pass this to everyone.  Melissa situation is life threatening.  They are now classifying it a stroke.  One of her vein that drains the brain is clotted.  It was caused by the ear infection.  The doctor recommend that we move her to another hospital which I told them to do.  There are three things that could happen
1.       The drug treatment works
2.       The drug treatment causes worse problems which needs the cutting edge of this newer Hospital 
 I will try to keep you updated.
God and Father, we pray for Melissa, for her family and those who care for her, and for those doctors and nurses who will be treating her.  St. Luke, pray for her!

Even the AP is questioning Obama's speech on Libya

That can't be good.  Though the take is pretty much spot on.  What Obama said in his speech, and what has actually happened, appear to be two different things.

So Muzak was actually a music company?

Who'd have known.  I thought it was just a derogatory term. I guess it makes all those jokes we told over the years seem more relevant. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

The new world order via gay friendly schools

I read this article about gay friendly schools in England.  I know, England.  It isn't as if it will be around a hundred years from now anyway, so who should care.  But it illustrates something.  You need to read through it.  The basic point is that we can have gay friendly schools.  We simply teach the kids a new absolute values system.  We tear down the old moral order, and replace it with a new one. And we encourage them to absolutely reject any values that don't conform to our new absolute values.  Oh, and we have no problem if our students reject those who don't conform to our new absolute values systems.  Sure, the article doesn't say it that way.  But it might as well.

The whole thing where homosexuality has succeeded while other movements has failed - the willingness to simply and boldly say that there is a new absolute moral standard that demands conformity and obedience, and those who fail to conform to this deserve what they get - speaks to just what we are willing to sell our birthrights for: All in the name of sexual liberation, which of course is the sales pitch of the post-modern Left.  In all things sex, drugs, and bathroom humor absolute freedom and liberty sans consequences.  In everything else?  Oppression, censorship, government control.  And we are a generation just dumb enough to fall for it. 

We don't censor Christianity

We just ban it for our own safety.  Read this article.  Does anyone notice anything?  The story appears to be about a Tea Party event canceled at a Mansfield, Ohio high school.  Why?   Because a speaker is labeled anti-Islamic.  The proof?  Because he is founder of a Christian ministry that seeks to - gasp - convert Muslims to Christianity.  He even contends that Islam is a violent religion. There you go.  Of course we are later reassured that the event has not been canceled because of the content of the speaker's talk - despite the headline.  Rather, it's because of fears for the safety of students. 

But why?  Apparently, those who said they were not planning the protests that the school feared wanted the talks pulled.  Said Julia Shearson, director of the local NAACP branch, "We believe in the right to free speech. We are thankful for the district's decision and that a message of hate will not be promoted in this district where there are Muslim children."  So there you go, they support the right to free speech so they are thankful the school censored a group and kept it from speaking things they didn't like.  After all, speaking against Islam could lead to violence against Muslim students.  While I guess speaking against Christianity in school lessons or secular groups in high schools could lead to violence against Christians and other religious believers?  Is it just me, or are there others out there that realize our freedoms, liberties, and equalities are going down the toilet tubes faster than we can blink? 

Now, for the bonus question.  Could someone tell me why Usama Dakdok is all about hate for saying Islam teaches a violent doctrine, and the NAACP isn't all about hate for defining his message as hate?  By what authority do they make such a dogmatic claim about an absolute value judgement?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sam Harris defends Bill Maher

Yeah, not surprising.  The thing about the emergent secularists is their willingness to trumpet their own superiority and contempt to all those lower forms of life who fail to conform to their intellectual supremacy.  So if you're wanting otherwise hyper-liberal Maher, or radical secularist Harris, to sweep in and condemn the recent congressional hearings on radical Islam, you might be waiting awhile.  It used to be such notions of violence, warfare, government hearings would have been anathema to anyone not on the right.  But the new atheists are a new breed, strutting like peacocks under a self proclaimed superiority that would shame a Nuremberg rally, they have no problem saying religion has got to go.  Period.  It needs to go.  And the ways in which this is achieved has become the domain of polite discussion and debate within secularist circles. 

So Democrat and Muslim representative Keith Ellison may have thought he had a friend in otherwise liberal Maher, or potential support from otherwise secular leftist Harris.  But no.  The Secular Left is a new animal, advancing that which is appealing - we're all just animals so hie to the orgies!, while embracing some of the traditional tactics for dealing with those who simply refuse to conform to their superior enlightenment.  As Mark Shea points out, there is a reason that every time a nation dedicated itself to eliminating religion, it turned into one of the most murderous and barbaric cultures in a history of barbarism and murder.  Every. Single. Time.

Bonus note: Notice Harris's assumption:
"it's hard to know whether Ellison was actually lying or is merely unaware of the contents of the Qur'an."
As with most Secular Leftists, if you fail to conform to their dogmas and obey their pronouncements, you are either stupid, or evil, or both.  In this case, looks like Harris is willing to cut him some slack.  That Ellison could actually believe his dogmatic world view as passionately as Harris believes his own fiscal dogmatic world view is beyond Harris's grasp. In thousands of years of history, I have seen few cases more demonstrative of radical, fanatical, zealous fundamentalism than Harris.  But Maher comes awfully close.

I'm no economist or financial expert

But as I've watched the stock market soar one week, and plummet another, with no apparent rhyme or reason, I've concluded that the stock market is irrelevant to the well being of the average person.  Especially with our increasingly globalized economy, I have the sneaking suspicion that the Market doesn't need all Americans to be on their feet any more.  So whether it is soaring or tanking, I'll bet it does little to translate into how the average Joe or Jane on the street is doing.  I occasionally get a gut feeling that sometimes it is actually better for Wall Street when Joe or Jane American is struggling the most.  Though I could be wrong.

Target didn't get the memo

That homosexuality is the only thing in the universe that matters.  Despite attempts to cooperate with and support gay rights, Target has been found guilty of wrong-think, its efforts condemned as not-pro gay and anti-anti-gay enough.  Protesters are therefore demanding obedience and conformity by picketing and driving away costumers.  Target rather foolishly appeals to a sense of justice, that it has a right to carry on with business without worshipping at the altar of the gay lifestyle.  Gay rights groups, who hold a historically unprecedented level of disproportionate power and influence in our society are, of course, making with the David and Goliaths.  The irony is, they are now the Goliaths, who roam the lands demanding censorship, oppression, ostracising from the government, and conformity and obedience to the dogmas of non-heterosexuality at all costs. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.  The proof:

"Target was seen as an ally of the gay and lesbian community before it gave money to MN Forward, which supported Tom Emmer, who lost the governor's race to Democrat Mark Dayton."
The thing about most ideological revolutions, they will accept nothing less than 100% conformity and obedience.  Target was seen as a friend of the LGBT community until it did one thing.  That's only 99% obedience.  And that dog simply will not hunt.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The boy can fly

So you remember this one, our 10 year old from the other day:

Well, here he is in action, vaulting a mid-air flip-around acrobatic maneuver under the watchful eye of Chet Snouffer, world champion boomerang thrower and gymnastics coach supreme: 

He may be a ham, but he does have style. Photo courtesy of my sister-in-law. 

Homosexuals demand censorship

And Apple complies.  In keeping with the growing love affair that the post-modern Left is having with Orwellian tactics, gay rights groups have once again demanded an end to freedom of thought in order to support the freedom of penetration choice.  Apple, being like most corporations, is more than happy to promote a culture of hedonism and narcissism, especially where sex is concerned.  As C.S. Lewis pointed out, "A man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales resistance." And if that obsession is sex above all other considerations, how wonderful for Apple's bottom line. 

Therefore, with a yell of 'censorship to the fore!', Apple pulled its Big Brother impersonation and pulled an App that dared suggests one doesn't have to follow one's homosexual desires.  After all, it is for sex. How else do we explain a culture that sees itself as enlightened despite the fact that most people work more than the average Medieval peasant just so they can buy the latest IPad that is now a whole 1/4 mm thinner than the last model?  One more than happy to toss freedom of thought, speech, and religion out the window in order to assure a sexually liberal culture? 

As I've said, I have no crystal ball to tell me what our country will look like in 100 years.  But I know it will look however gay advocates want it to look.

Liberal actor to portray John McCain?

Where's the news in that one?  Ed Harris, who I am a fan of in no uncertain terms, will portray John McCain in HBO's propaganda film Game Change, about the 2008 election. It will no doubt be god worship of Obama set to film.  The fun thing about movies today, whether this, or An American President, or the series The West Wing - they make it clear who the good guys (liberal Democrats) are, and who the bad guys (conservative/religious Republicans) are.  Watch an old film like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and the first thing that hits you is that the film attacks principles: Corruption, manipulation, lies, political machines, selling out on principles.  It doesn't place the good guys in one party, and the bad in the other.  It attacks bad ethics, not bad parties (loosely defined as those who aren't me).  My what a difference a few decades make.  As I've said before, we have become a nation of pundits, not principles.  My only fear is that we no longer realize its punditry.  I fear we actually think it's true.

Awesome snow pic

This was taken last night.  My sister-in-law is staying with us a couple of days.  She's in from Florida.  She couldn't resist taking this of a snow squall that flew through the area last night.  I held open the door and the snow belted its way into our house when she got it.  Cool stuff.

The weather outside was frightful

America's holocaust hits a snag

Looks like several bills across the country are making an attempt at halting the full blown government sanctioned mass slaughter of unborn children that has come to define post-Boomer American values.  Many feminists, elevating the whims of the woman above all other considerations, are chomping on their nails in fear.  The idea that a woman should be shown what a fetus looks like, or counseled with an emphasis on saving the baby (since, ostensibly, abortion is never the option anyone wants), or that abortions shouldn't be covered when anything and everything else may not be, or that abortions should be able to skate by with less oversight than a hangnail operation, seems repugnant to pro-abortion groups. 

And that's what they seem to be.  For years they have chafed at being called pro-abortion.  But as attempts have been made to legislate against choosing abortions, as attempts have been made to use education to dissuade women from choosing abortions, and as those attempts have been fought against with all the fury of a lion rampant, it makes one wonder just how much pro-choice advocates aren't really pro-abortion.  Why?  I can only guess.  Is it a power play, a way of women using the helpless life in their bodies to demonstrate power over the wimpy Western male?  Is it the last best bastion of defense for a culture still trying to advocate sexual freedom sans responsibility?  Don't know.  I just know people fighting to prevent any attempts at making the choice of life the preferred choice have lost their moniker of pro-choice, and have earned the label pro-abortion.  Thankfully, it looks like the winds of change are getting some traction.  We'll see where it goes. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where I'll be, blogging, and the near future

A 90th birthday and 70th wedding anniversary for my wife's grandparents will be our main focus over the next few days.  After that, spring break!  And without the fettering hindrance of a full time job, I will have plenty of extra time to hang out with my boys.  Things may change there soon, so I want to get what I can done in terms of fun and games.  I'll be blogging more once spring break is over.  Until then, it will be - as it has been for some weeks - a hit and miss.  In the meantime, enjoy this little tribute to our friend Bilbo Baggins (yes, that's Leonard Nimoy).  Perhaps it can help inspire Peter Jackson in his attempts to bring Tolkien to the big screen.  Perhaps it already has.  Take care, God bless, and TTFN.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Children visiting heaven in a cynical age

We are a cynical age.  We believe in nothing except what we choose to believe in.  We mock and snort derisively at those who believe in things we don't.  And we express shock and indignation at those who don't believe what we do believe.  Ah, that's enlightenment for you. 

Anyway, I stumbled on this little clip about a boy who has written a book in which he claims he visited heaven.  You can almost hear the beer blowing out of people's noses in laughter, particularly from our Brights who know there's no such thing as God or heaven.  Those are the ones who faint in awe at such stellar claims as those by Steven Hawking that the universe simply formed from absolute nothingness with the help of gravity - which keen observers quickly noted is not nothing. 

Now, I'm not saying I take his word for it.  The idea that his grandfather had wings in his vision suggests a certain level of informed interpretation of events.  I also know that when you are down, sick, and hurting you can envision things that can be explained in other ways.  Nonetheless, I don't know he is merely interpreting things.  And if he saw things he couldn't otherwise know, that's good enough for me to put it on the 'we can't explain it outside of the realm of faith and belief' shelf.  Being a believer in God, I am happy to say there are things we can't explain, that miracles happen, and that simply having a logical explanation - if there is one at all - doesn't mean the 'rational' theory presented is true.  It may be the kid went to heaven.  They are, after all, the ones who Jesus pointed to in order to illustrate how we must be to enter there ourselves. 

Here's hoping

Looks like filming has begun on 'The Hobbit.'  I've made it no secret that I'm only so-so with Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Being a fan of the book, I understand that Tolkien's masterpiece brings certain difficulties with bringing it into the medium of film.  I also know changes have to be made between text and movie.  The important thing to remember is that the changes are supposed to utilize the medium and improve the text, at least insofar as its interpretation by film is concerned.  Jackson's vision of Frodo and Sam escaping the fires of Mount Doom, when edited between his comrades realizing the danger that Frodo and Sam were now experiencing even as they rejoiced in their victory was an example of changing for the better.  But far too many of Jacksons' changes did nothing at all, or made things worse.  Incoherent plot lines, inconsistencies in story, plot holes big enough to sail ships through, dialogue and drama dumbed down for the sake of cool one liners or CGI graphics - these all hampered the overall effect.  And while the eye candy was there, that was in part due to the use of artists who had already hammered out a vision of Middle Earth.  As I've said in the past, each attempt to bring Tolkien's vision has had hits and misses.  It almost seems doomed to be a mixed bag every time.  I'm not the only one to notice this, as I've posted before.  Hopefully this time around, Jackson will let Tolkien be Tolkien, and use the best of film to take the parts of the Hobbit where Tolkien envisioned it, not where Jackson thinks he should have gone.

When you live in a culture of narcissism

These are the questions that get asked.  For parents weaned on the ideals of narcissism and selfishness above all things, who have spent their lives watching quacks professionals and scholars on Oprah and cable TV insisting we owe it to our kids to focus on ourselves more than anyone in the whole world, then expect this to be a legitimate question that stumbles blindly in search of an answer.  Oh, and for a brief recap, lest you think that one might have suggested focusing on the kids more than one's self, no need to fear.  Why, at the bottom of the list, you have the most important thing of all!
  1. Give yourself a break—you don't need to be so hard on yourself.
  2. Just say no! What are your real priorities?
  3. Take time to write it down. Journaling will bring clarity to your life.
  4. Slow down and savor living in the moment.
  5. Plug into your kids so you can really connect with them.
  6. Don't forget about your husband—intimacy is life-affirming!
  7. Reach out beyond your family. It will enrich everyone.
  8. Make your physical and mental health a priority.
  9. Is more always better?  Simplify everything.
  10. Be a little selfish—you deserve it, and it will make you a better mother.
Because post-moderns need to be told to be selfish like a skunk needs to be told to stink. 

I just thought I would post a link to the Huffington Post's 'Christianity' page.

Just for fun.  Read through the stories, check out the headlines.  Then check out the basic demeanor and subject matter of its pages on Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism.  After you've done that, then watch this video and think of how it relates to the above subjects:


So did you figure out where the crabs were?  If you guessed they were at the Christianity page and that it was not like the others, then you are correct. Now it should be no secret to your average thinking person that the post-modern, secular Left hates Christianity more the sum total of existence itself.  I mean hate.  I mean hate with the white hot fury of a thousand suns.  I mean hating the rotten, putrid, slimy, loathsome, puss ridden guts of Christianity and all that comes with it.  So if you were able to notice that the Christianity page that was different than the others, in tone, in respect, in tolerance and understanding, you are probably right. 

The closest to the general tenor of the page on Christianity was that on Islam. And then only because, let's face it, Islam has been an umbrella under which people have done everything humanly possible to make Islam look as bad as it can.  But not to worry, much of the problems in the Islamic world, in the mind of most post-moderns, fall right back on the lap of the former Christian West. 

Anyway, thought it would be a fun exercise for Christian believers to see what some folks think of them and their faith.  And many of these folks are not holed up in log cabins in the back hills of Montana.  Rather, they are leading journalists, professors, educators, and pundits who have the eyes and ears of the 20th century's most dangerous weapon - mass media.

Americans: Dumb as hay rakes and proud of it

Or at least you would think so after reading this stellar piece of reporting by The Daily Beast.  As usual, it picks up on the progressive meme that Americans have always been a bunch of stupid hayseeds who stumbled and bumbled their way to greatness despite themselves.  Are Americans ill-informed?  Sure.   But notice the DB is careful not to include such things as the advocacy agenda driven curriculum in our schools and universities that focuses on indoctrinating our kids rather than teaching them actual facts about our government.  Notice it doesn't point to a vacant and dismal quality of journalism that prefers to suppress inconvenient truths for fear of compromising the mission at hand.  Notice it doesn't suggest that our culture is being dumbed-down by an entertainment industry's focus on sex, drugs, and bathroom humor at the expense of enlightened and profound contributions to the human experience. 

Notice none of that is touched on.  What is touched on is the progressive mantra that Americans are dumb, have always been dumb, and will continue to be dumb until we become more like...Europe.  You know, Europe.  Europe that is imploding, dying, and won't exist within a hundred years at the rate it is going.  Europe that conquered 2/3 of the known world for itself, launched two world wars, had one of history's worst genocides, gave birth to history's most murderous ideology (Communism), and resolved to deal with its past by embracing a never before seen level of narcissism expressed through hedonism.  That Europe is our goal.

No, America isn't smart.  But it's not because we never were.  Americans used to value something they called Common Sense.  Sure, education was important.  But so was commons sense.  Good old fashioned horse sense.  The kind of common sense that said 'maybe the fact that AIDS - a disease spread almost exclusively through sex, drugs, and promiscuity - is not so coincidental considering it exploded on the world stage within a decade of the generation that promoted sex, drugs, and promiscuity above all things.'  That's the type of Smart Americans had.  We've lost that, common sense not being favored by agenda makers because it is tough to gauge, and even tougher to manipulate.  Those things we read about and lament - the gas chambers, the gulags, the ruined cities - those happened in a civilization that valued its own intellectual and cultural superiority above all things.  America's problem is that we've gotten rid of the common sense, and replaced it with nothing more than shallow advocacy and punditry to advance ideals and agendas that one of those dumb moron types of old would have been hard-pressed to ever believe. 

As for the Left's continued yearning to be like Europe.  If the stories of social and economic implosions don't do it.  If the fact that Europe has all but committed demographic suicide through catastrophically low birth rates doesn't do it.  Then maybe this little clip, complements of the great James Garner, will help jar our memories a bit:

Time goes to bat for President Obama

Yes, why report the news when you can advance an agenda.  For those who get the feeling that President Obama is no leader, who is in over his head, and is basically reducing America to an also-ran nation - not so fast!  Turns out, Obama is simply so above us all, we are unable to comprehend the sublimity and profoundness of his plans.  It's all going according to his will, and his will is no doubt the hope of tomorrow.  At least that's how Time wants it to be.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Posting and my blog

I know, I've been out for most of several weeks, and my first post in days is about basketball?  Yeah.  With all that's going on in the world?  Yeah.  That's because this blog has always been a format for me to toss ideas or interests about and throw them out there - mostly for me to go back and read at my leisure.  Well, I've not had much leisure here lately, and little time to read.  I've also learned that if you don't have an official 'type' of blog, it's tough building a regular audience.  Even now, I notice my precious store of Followers has decreased.  Alas.  For those who are still hanging on, I plan to look it over in the coming months.  I have no wish to be another 'Catholic Blog.'  Nothing wrong with them, but there are enough already.  And as I have noticed, they can lend themselves to certain abuses.  Nor am I qualified to have a media watchdog blog.  Perhaps something more focused on history.   Don't know.  I'll kick it around.  I won't have anything too tight that keeps me from focusing on the important things in life, like my family, my Alma Matter's basketball prowess, or the latest hobby that has caught my interest.  But I realize that to really build a consistent readership - and please understand I appreciate those who have kept coming back, because quality accounts for something - I need to find a 'niche' in the net, or will more or less keep wandering around with many ships sailing by in the night.  In the meantime, I invite everyone to keep coming back.  Invite a friend.  Assure them that more insights, opinions, and fun will be forthcoming.  And please, please feel free to become a Follower.  Make up for those lost sheep who have gone astray.  I'll be back when things have finally settled, one way or another.  As you do meander about, please feel free to enjoy what gives me my motivation and gladness at times like these - TTFN:

The boys in action

Oldest and Youngest on swing

Not sure, but something was funny

What a ham
Our enigmatic second son

Happy to be exploring the big, wide world

No, they're not supposed to climb that tree

Teen contemplates smart phone, or perhaps college?

George Mason never knew what hit it

Despite some concern over the Buckeye's ability to back up their talk, it appears that at least for now, they are riding strong.  Of course they are up against Kentucky this weekend - no strangers to the NCAA finals.  We'll see.  But as of now, Go Bucks!  And well done with a little class. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A note on posting

As can be seen, posting has been light over the last few weeks.  Again, there are many things going on right now, especially with family concerns, that demand my attention.  This has made it difficult to process things and take time to look things over.  Much less post anything that may be worth reading (or writing for that matter).  Hopefully things will slow down in the next few weeks.  But to those who keep stopping by, thanks.  Keep on coming back, and soon enough I'll have things up and running.  In the meantime, have a blessed and joyful St. Patrick's Day celebration - or as Catholics like to say, the Feast of Saint Patrick - remembering that he actually was a real, bona fide, honest to goodness Catholic saint, not just a poster boy for partying with green beer! 

St. Patrick's Breast-plate
I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
By power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan River;
His death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the Cherubim;
The sweet 'Well done' in judgment hour;
The service of the Seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death-wound and the burning
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gay Rights celebrities to Obama:

You may be worrying about all this rigmarole concerning revolutions in the Middle East, America's floundering economy, and tens of thousands dead or dying in Japan, but we want Gay Marriage and we Want It NOW!  Ah, the generation that taught us that orgasmic pleasures trump all other considerations in the universe will no doubt be seen as the prime cancer that eventually ate away the civilization that once brought the world concepts of freedom, democracy, and liberty - the same things that the gay rights movement champions for itself, and yet yearns to deny to any who fail to conform.  Ironic and twisted.  That's the modern Gay Rights movement in a nutshell.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This may come as a shock

But it looks like Disney's Mars Needs Moms isn't doing well.  In fact, some are saying it's on its way to being one of the great box office bombs of all time.  Hard to imagine.  It looked so darn interesting. 

Hugh Martin has died

Maybe not a household name, but the man who wrote one of the most recognizable, and one of the most melancholy, Christmas songs of the modern age: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  An interesting story here chronicling the origins and history of the song.  I was taken by some of the original lyrics that were dropped at the insistence of Judy Garland:
"Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past...
No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more..."
Whew.  Not exactly the Hallmark happy holiday approach.  And yet, perfectly in keeping with the overall holistic understanding of the Christmas season as it relates to the reality of our lives, and its biblical origins.  An interesting read.  R.I.P. Mr. Martin.  Your contributions are appreciated.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

In honor of the spirit of the season, I dedicate my favorite Calculus problem set to Disco music - I Will Derive!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Speaking of our button down conformist society, Behar and Ecko style

So I caught a brief glimpse of Joy Behar's show the other night.  I know.  She is part of 'stupidity row' among the Left.  That is, those individuals who repeatedly say things so moronic that if Glenn Beck said anything half as dumb, the MSM would be on them like white on rice.  But being Leftists, folks like Behar, Bill Maher, Tavis Smiley, Keith Olbermann, and Ed Schultz are free to wax stupid all day an little is said about it.  That's why I usually move on when I see their group think faces on the tube. 

But I caught this part because the caption on the screen mentioned Corporal Punishment.  Oh no!  Not spanking!  Yeah, spanking in our schools.  Now personally, I don't spank my kids if at all possible.  I've probably spanked the lot of them a half dozen times in their entire lives.  So far, they seem fine.  No desire to hijack planes and fly them into skyscrapers, despite what all the lab coats say.  And having been spanked myself, I find the urge to grab assault rifles and open fire on crowded marketplaces oddly foreign to my way of thinking. On a side note, spanking is one of those issues that, to me, displays the utter ridiculousness of our obsession with research and studies. 

Anyhoo, so she has a fellow on there wanting to wage holy war against spanking in our schools.  This is because we can see our schools are much better off since they started to end spanking decades ago.  Goodness knows when I think of resounding success, I think of our school system over the last couple decades.  So I watch.  And listen.  And despite my wife's objections that this could lead to permanent brain freeze, I watch some more.  And lo and behold!  Who is this sage scholar who has devoted himself to the cause?  Why none other than 'leading fashion designer' Marc Ecko.  Yep, you read that right.

It was funny, but does demonstrate again how the silly notions of liberalism that were peddled by the Left have all but been abandoned.  Think there is no real absolute truth?  No absolute values?  No belief system that has a right to impose itself on others?  Well, you wouldn't have guessed it watching that show. 

President Obama keeping his priorities straight

So yesterday the President addressed the latest issue by which our post-modern world yearns to control more of our lives.  Was it the crisis in the Middle East?  Our staggering economy?  The increased pressure by China on our military?  Continued unemployment?  No. Heck no.  He addressed bullying.

I know, I don't like bullying any more than anyone else.  The fact that we have kids committing suicide in growing numbers, however, probably speaks more for the vacant and rotted culture we have given them than anything to do directly with bullying.  Is it worse than it used to be?  Of course.  What in our culture isn't worse than it used to be?  That's what you get when you throw out the basic foundation for our notions of the dignity of life, the human person, and our role in God's creation, and replaced it with a debauched society that values narcissism lived out through decadent hedonism and greed above all other considerations.

Still, is it really something the President of the United States needs to weigh in on?  You're darn right.  After all, one of the oft repeated lines in the bullying debate is the line 'and making fun of others.'  And what, pray tell, do they intend to do about kids who want to voice their opinions about others?  Control the kids' speech?  Tell them what to think?  Make them devotees of the dogmas of Leftist conformity?  Yeah.  That's my guess. Hence the need for the big guns in this important grab for thought control disguised as concern for our children.  Which is why it truly is more important than all of those other temporary set-backs.  

If you think conservatives are stupid and evil

And liberals are brilliant and beautiful, you could be forgiven if you get your information from the MSM.  Pretty soon, I'm guessing that the MSM will just ditch all pretense and adopt the far more accurate moniker of Glorious Ministry of Propaganda for the Advancement of Secular Leftist Dogmas. Or something less wordy. 

For instance, we all know that the Tuscon shootings were the result of right wing zealotry and conservative rhetoric.  After all, most conservatives are sitting around on the edge of a psychotic meltdown, ready for the queen of diamonds to be shown, sending them into a spiral of destruction and murder.  Or that's how our Propaganda ministries in education, entertainment, and - for want of a better word - journalism portray us. 

Now, in their zeal to advocate post-Christian, post-Western Leftist and secular values, our distributors of right-think are occasionally obliged to sweep unfortunate news stories under the rug.  This is true when events happen that show the falsehood of what they are promoting.  Take this little tidbit about the Wisconsin demonstrations.  If this were the Tea Party?  It makes my head spin to think how it would be the prime focus of every MSM outlet in our nation.  As it is, I have yet to see any of them mention this at all.  Perhaps they have.  I can't read every paper and watch every newscast at once.  But in the days I"ve been following this, I have not heard even a peep about anything other than fair minded and caring people fighting desperately for the rights of the Middle Class.

FWIW, I'm not saying I agree with Governor Walker.  I just recognize propaganda as opposed to actual news when I see it.

Pray for those affected by the Tsunami

Those already hurt, and those who are going to be hit by this.  Lord, be with them in this hour with your protective love and grace!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A beautiful story of courage, kindness, and love

Here is a touching story of a young boy, Brennan Daigle, who got his wish.  He wanted to be in the army.  Sadly, he is suffering from a rare form of cancer.  So rare is it, his doctors believe he has only weeks to live.  When a local chapter of Dreams Come True got in touch with the local army base, a call was put out for soldiers to come to his tenth birthday party.  You'll need to read the full story here to see what happened next.  Death comes to us all.  But the greatest thing we can do in the meantime is reach out and demonstrate the love that God gives us to those around.  Well done everyone.  And God's blessings and grace be upon Brennan and his family.

Happy Ash Wednesday

From the Ash Wednesday Page at

Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris

We are going to die.  That's the message today.  We live in a fake world, an age dominated by lies we happily believe, despite our boasting of superior knowledge.  We want comfort and happiness.  And we resent the crap out of the fact that we must work to have either.  We don't want inconvenienced.  I've often felt that much of the anti-war sentiment of the 60s was based more on cowardice and selfishness than many will ever admit.  Today, I think it's based on laziness and a general resentment of things like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina interfering with the cocktail hour.

And that resentment of things that continually interfere with our happy little lives extends to death.  Sometimes it's almost as if we resent even death, not for any eternal judgement or separation, but simply because it smacks against this idea we've so desperately tried to build, that life is all about giving me everything I want, with whoever I want, for whatever reason I want, as soon as I want, and without any obligations on my part. 

And yet death does come.  It will.  It's the great equalizer.  A hundred years from now, most who can read this will be dead.  We'll be gone.  And the greater portion of those alive today will have been long forgotten.  A mere stone, chipped and faded, in the back corner of a forgotten cemetery giving any testimony at all to this world that we ever existed. That's it. 

Of course, in the world of faith, we have that next phase of our existence toward which to look.  We have something beyond, a new heaven and a new earth.  An existence unlike what we could ever know today, not if scientists could break every code and solve every physical mystery in the universe.  And that is why we Catholics, and other Christians who celebrate Ash Wednesday, can go to a service centered around telling us to "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return."  And not only do we go, but we leave with hope as opposed to despair.  A peace rather than a frantic grasp at fleeting fulfillment.  A joy based on Faith in God rather than frustrated attempts at using fun and games to ignore the inevitable.  So happy Ash Wednesday!  If your faith lies not in IPads and post card vacations, but in an eternal existence with an eternal God, then it's a wonderful day to jar ourselves and remember where our peace and joy originate, and why in such a mixed up, crazy world we can be anxious for nothing. 

Taking on a tough tongue twister

Apparently, the toughest tongue twister in the world is this:

The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.
You know what?  I believe it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When Mark Shea shines

Is when he explains, in his quick witted and yet deeply moving way, just what the Catholic Church is and isn't.  Now, like anyone, he is not the official mouthpiece of God, co-equal with the Magisterium.  The nice thing is, he doesn't deny it.  Oh, sometimes I can get frustrated with him, like anyone.  But I consider him an apologist on the same line as C.S. Lewis or Chesterton. 

Why?  I'm sure he would fuss at that comparison.  But I do so because, despite not being trained in theology, or having any experience in pastoral care, he has the amazing ability of keeping his writings in the heart and soul of the Faith.  His is usually not reduced to angels on heads of pin or salvation through the cognitively superior adherence to philosophical algorithms.  He, somehow, through some grace, is able to proclaim the Truth of Catholic teaching as he understands it, and yet remembers that it's about the blood and sinews, the muscles and nerves of a faith filled life, not the bare, skeletal structure of cold laws written on stone.   Here, and I've copied it because it's just so good, he gives some quick answers to several misunderstandings and common stereotypes.  The question was asked in good faith and with respect.  

Of course, Mark is not the final say in anything.  As with anything, we are encouraged to go straight to our Church to find out the answers. That's what makes Catholicism so nice.  Unlike Protestants, we have a real, living authority against which to know what our Faith teaches; one willing to admit its Sacred Tradition includes the Scriptures, but are not only the Scriptures.  So here is the questions and answers from his blog Catholic and Enjoying It.  Read and enjoy and maybe even learn something:. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A reader writes...

I am doing a contemporary issues project about the modern day Catholic Church and some problems it faces for my English III AP class. As an insightful and entertaining Catholic writer, I hope that you can answer some questions that I will state below. Thank you for your time. Sincerely,

1. Do you believe women should be ordained into the Catholic priesthood?
The question is not whether they should be, but whether they can be. And the Church has already given its answer: She lacks the authority to do that in the sacrament of Holy Orders, just as she lacks the authority to consecrate chocolate eclairs and milk (which I would much prefer) in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The faith is not the private property of the Pope which he is free to alter on a whim. Jesus and the apostles never ordained women, just as they never baptised in olive oil or wine (though they do use these elements in other sacraments). We can't improve on what they handed down. For more on this from me, go here.
2. Would making priests non-celibate reduce the amount of sex crimes among priests?
Has making public school teachers non-celibate (and female) done that? The sex crime percentages there are much higher.
3.Are Protestants correct when they say that mortal and venial sins are anti-Biblical?
No. Here's why.
4. How is Catholicism unique among other Christian sects?
By not being a sect but the Church Christ founded circa 33 AD.
5. Does science disprove religion? What are your views on scientism?
Science cannot possibly disprove religion. You may as well say that science can use a telescope to scan the face of God for warts or burn a sample of Hitler's hair and release the green fumes of mortal sin for chemical analysis. Science measures time, space, matter and energy. That's it. That's all. Science sucks at dealing with any reality beyond this, such as as "How much do you love your daughter?" or "What is the meaning of the Mona Lisa?" or "How do you know your wife is faithful to you?" or "What is justice and beauty?" There are vast realms of this world that are a closed book to science, let alone the next world.That, by the way, summarizes my answer to your second question: namely, that scientism is one of the many reductionist ideologies of our time that attempt to take all of human experience and cram it into some tiny All Explaining Theory of Everything like "Everything is Class Struggle" (Marxism), "Everything is Profit and Loss" (Capitalism), "Everything is Natural Selection" (Evolutionism), "Everything is Race or Gender or Language as Power, etc." For some narrow minded people "Everything is Science". Such people imprison themselves in the clean well-lit cell of a single idea and are, as Chesterton says in Orthodoxy, mad men.
6. What are your views on the abundance of abortion in the modern world? Can the pro-life movement make a difference?
My views on the abundance of abortion in this world are much like views of most people about the abundance of murder in this world. In answer to your second question, not only *can* the prolife movement do something, it has been and is doing something. Every baby that has ever been born in a crisis pregnancy since Roe v. Wade owes his life to the prolife movement (and, of course, to the grace of Almighty God who inspires that movement).
7. Is Catholicism a repressive religion?
No. Catholicism is the most joyfully liberating thing I have ever encountered. The repression lies in a culture that constantly tells you what you may and may not think, say, and do. My culture tries to squeeze me into a box everyday. Standing alone against all the parties, shibboleths, tribes and code words is one thing: the Catholic faith which, as Chesterton says, alone can save you from the degrading slavery of being a child of your age and which, by the way, is the only thing that can get rid of my sins. If anything, what really terrifies most postmoderns about the Catholic Church is that her intellectual subtlety and freedom of thought is too terrifying for those who are only comfortable with slogans, catch phrases and simplistic labels.
8. Do you believe that the Church eventually accept homosexuality due to society's acceptance of the act?
If by "the act" you mean homogenital sex, then no: the Church will never accept it because it is unnatural, contrary to nature, and cannot be reconciled with Scripture or tradition. If by "homosexual" you mean the homosexual person who feels desires that are intrinsically disordered, then the answer is that the Church always has and always will accept such persons, just as she accepts persons like me, who likewise feel disordered desires in the area of another bodily appetite: eating.

The problem is not that homosexuals feel disordered desires. The problem is when the person with disordered desires demands that the Church and the world pretend those desires are not disordered.

Confronting our culture of narcissism as only a Mom can

Last weekend, I saw this gut churning celebration of the superiority of womanhood at all costs.  It was an article just oozing with glee over a mother's decision to chuck her husband and ditch her kids in order to spend a life focused on the eternal divinity of the Me.  I took some issues with it, focusing on the laughable proposition put forth that this was just righting the hypocrisy of our age, where men can leave their families all over the place and be celebrated for the cause.  Somehow I missed that men who divorce wives and abandon children are considered anything other than scum in our society; an appraisal I'm more than happy to apply across gender lines.

Anyhoo, in the miracle that is the Internet, a real, honest to goodness Mom chimed in and gave me her perspectives.  Better yet, she linked to her own blog where she offers that kind of head-smacking logic that a Mother can demonstrate better than anyone.  Read it here.  Best quote of the post:

"Most kids don't grow up lamenting that they wish their parents had spent LESS time with them, and most parents don't look back wishing that they'd missed more of their kids' childhoods."
In another age I would have laughed at such an obvious statement.  Today, I almost weep that there are so many who call themselves enlightened, and yet have no grasp of the truth behind such a clear fact.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Archbishop Dolan to President Obama

It's not just permissible to defend marriage between a man and a woman, but it's a necessity for the sake of justice.  I love little things like that.  While I was gone tending to important matters of family - matters that will still keep me occupied for the next several weeks - I noticed our illustrious leader basically decided to have his justice departments stop doing what the justice department is supposed to do - and that's enforce the law.  Neither he, nor the justice department, is in the business of solely determining what laws do or don't matter. Even if it's a lost cause, the law is the law.  And yet, for convenience sake, how many Americans even care?

Such a short sighted and ignorant dismissal of grave ramifications is about par for the course in our country today.  It's the very intellectual malaise that President Obama is able to exploit in order to keep attention off of everything else that's falling apart under his watch.  Twenty years ago, had a president - Democrat or Republican - done  the same thing, I couldn't imagine there not being an outrage.  But then, twenty years ago, I imagined that if a president committed perjury on the high court to derail an investigation of his potential abuse of power by way of sexual harassment, there would be a popular uprising as well.  Or a president who sent us to war, insisting that the evidence for war was clear, only to discover the evidence for war not in existence, would receive the proper revolt from the public. Who knows, maybe I should have seen this coming after all.

In any event, Archbishop Dolan sets the record straight, and demonstrates why - against all desires to the contrary - we can find comfort in the fact that, long after America has turned to dust, the Catholic Church will be alive and kicking.  

Sam Harris debunked, phase II

Brian Green, over at The MoralMindField, continues to dissect Harris' latest attempts to establish some rationale for a post-religious world.  As his previous attempt showed, this is no off-the-cuff dig at Harris.  It is a methodical unpacking of where Harris gets it right, and where he gets it wrong. 

It should be no surprise to anyone of faith that, where Harris gets it most wrong, is understanding religion and religious faith.  This, alas, is a hallmark of the 'New Atheist' movement.  Unlike their forebears, folks like Voltaire or Hume, they just don't get it.  In the infancy years of modern Western secular thought, many - like those mentioned - went after religion with a vengeance, but with some knowledge of the facts in question.  Whether the institutional church specifically, or religious thought in general, they hacked and slashed without mercy.  Sometimes, they were right.  But in most cases, they at least knew what they were talking about.  They understood the religion and religious life that they were attacking.

Today, when one listens to or reads Harris, or Christopher Hitchens, or P.Z. Myers, or - I know - Bill Maher, it's clear they don't understand religion at all.  They don't get it.  They don't understand it.  They get things wrong.  They miss actual facts about this religious belief or that religious practice.  Brian points to several cases in Church practice (regarding excommunication) and biblical exegesis (regarding Jesus teaching on hypocrisy) to expose Harris's attempted 'square peg in round hole' end run around the facts. 

No doubt such prolamations as the Church could have excommunicated Hitler but didn't, or that Jesus taught about advocating the killing of children for talking back, appeals to the choir to which Harris preaches.  But as Brian points out in his summation of Harris's laughably inept grasp at religious facts:

“And to what end [does Harris use a non-standard biblical interpretation]?” we might ask. We should already know… to make religions (particularly Christianity), which possess competing worldviews and moral systems, look bad, so that Harris can jump in and can replace them. Harris is spouting political rhetoric, “persuasion” in his words (50), not philosophy or science.
To what end indeed.  Again, the great modern guardians of reason and truth essentially reduce themselves to pseudo-pundits, using half truths, non-truths, and emotional appeals to get the knee jerk reactions their dead end theories are incapable of arousing.  That's what comes of trying to build a worldview on obvious falsehoods.  Even the most passionate disciple will start to scratch his head, unless you toss a few scraps of meat to keep him interested.

The Press doesn't get facts

I've blogged many times on the flagrant advocacy that are our modern propaganda ministries disguised as news outlets.  One of my biggest peeves is that we haven't learned one of the most crucial lessons of the 20th century - that the ability to brainwash the masses through global institutional communications is one of the most powerful weapons ever invented by man.  Not nuclear or biological weapons.  No.  It's the ability to use mass media to sway opinion, even if it is toward opinions based on lies, falsehoods, and evil. 

Much of the time the problems are based on pure propaganda.  Deliberate suppressing of truth, manipulating of truth, twisting of truth, and just ignoring truth in order to advance an agenda.  A great example of that was a previous post's story of a woman who decided to abandon her family to focus on herself.  The author, all awash in admiration for this brave woman's priorities, probably realized that deep down it's a pretty deplorable thing to walk out on one's family.  So rather than wrestle with the ethical implications, the Shine journalist decides to place it against the hypocrisy of our age where, apparently, men are able to abandon their families to indulge in a lifetime of self focus and nobody cares.  Except, or course, that's a lie.  If a man were to divorce wife and abandon kids with the excuse that he wants to focus on himself, he's pretty much toast in the public mindset.  Certainly he's done for in any feminist outlets. 

So that's a great case where the media loves to make a quick false statement as if it's simply common knowledge, then move on in the hope that nobody pays attention.  This happens with the hope that somehow, it just seeps into our collective consciousness.

Of course beyond the obvious agendas, biases, prejudice, bigotry, and beliefs that cause so much just suspicion of the media, are the cases where they just get information wrong.  I remember when I was in middle school.  A local family was traveling in a small plane to Florida when they crashed.  All were killed.  It was pretty big in our school.  We even had a memorial in our gymnasium - a rare thing back then.  The Columbus news channel that reported it said that a family from Marion, Ohio was killed.  They weren't from Marion.  They were from Mt. Gilead.  Just north of Edison to be exact.  Even then, I thought, "How could they get such an easily verifiable fact wrong?"

Well, nothing has really changed.  In this piece on the ever reliable NPR, we are introduced to Jose Gomez, Los Angeles's new Archbishop.  This is the opening sentence:

"Jose Gomez, the first Latino archbishop in the U.S., takes the helm of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angles on Sunday."
The problem?  Jose Gomez is not the first Latino archbishop in the U.S.  That would be Robert Sanchez, a priest of Santa Fe who was made archbishop there in 1974.  He was later forced to resign.  Five years later, Patricio Flores became archbishop of the San Antonio archdiocese in 1979. I know, it seems picky.  But facts are facts.  We are supposed to trust the media to tell us what is happening in the world.  To know what is going on.  To know this and not that is the solution we should pursue.  It's tough enough when every fibre of our being screams that they are not being truthful, that they are manipulating data to advance agendas.  But when you realize that even if they were being truthful, such flagrant and easily remedied factual errors occur, even the most trusting reader and viewer has to approach any media story with a certain level of caution.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

An author embraces the ultimate in narcissism

And a media outlet goes gaga.  Not surprising.  The dangling carrot of our dying civilization, the thing that keeps people pressing on toward the ethics of our inevitable doom, is the promise that by focusing exclusively on ourselves we will find ultimate meaning in life.  That our meaning is defined by us focusing on us to the exclusions of all those not-us people in the world. 

It's an intoxicating proposition that has been around for ages.  To think I am the single most important person in the world second to none is appealing to say the least.  Now don't get me wrong.  What Rahna Reiko Rizzuto did is up to her.  I personally find it indicative of the worst, most sickeningly cancerous thinking in our modern world.  But what gets me is the piece itself. 

It's clear that the writer of the Shine article is gushing over her decision to divorce her husband and abandon her kids so she can spend a life completely focused on herself.  This isn't a woman who decided she doesn't want to be a mother, and so avoids having children at all costs.  This is a woman who is a mother who, half way around the track, decides she doesn't want to be one and takes the necessary steps.  Naturally, she says everything is better for it.  Her relationship to her kids, her life, everything.  Personally, I've always been of the feeling that if you improve a relationship by abandoning it, that says more than you want to about your role in the problems..  But that is neither here nor there.

What caught me, in Shine's slobbering adoration of her story, was the typical ability the media has of justifying its shallow promises by setting up untrue realities.  Take this little snippet:

"It also goes against our culture's definition of motherhood. But it shines a light on a glaring double standard: When a man chooses not to be a full-time parent, it's acceptable—or, at least, accepted. But when a woman decides to do so, it's abandonment."
I'm sorry, I missed where, in our culture of despising the delinquent dad, the absent father, the runaway male, that men are somehow off the hook for being a part time dad.  Part time meaning, in this case, essentially abandoning the wife and kids to lead a life focused exclusively on self.  Can someone tell me when this has happened that everyone has said, "Hurray! well done fellow!"?  I can't either.

This is a favorite tactic in the media, to push an agenda in part by subtly stating something that is flat out wrong, and making it an assumed fact.  They might as well have said 2+2=5, the world is flat, or John Smith was our first President.  All wrong.  But slid into the story as if it is obviously a fact.  But it isn't.  A man who would abandon his family to focus on himself would be ostracized by our modern, feminist dominated media and culture.  It makes my head spin to think of how quickly he would be condemned.

Perhaps it's the feminist angle, with the usual 'women rule so there are no rules for women' mantra of radical feminism that the Shine author is promoting.  Perhaps it's the usual desire to promise a Utopian paradise of self focus, a selfish, narcissistic euphoria that caused the piece to gush over this tale.  I don't know.  Certainly there is a segment out there, promoted by the likes of Dan Abrams - American male sans vertebrae - that suggests women are in every way superior therefore some could argue they can do what they wish for themselves beyond any other considerations.  I don't know.

I just know that in decades past, common people with common sense would see something like this and be able to call it for what it was.  But in our age of self-congratulatory high fives over how intellectually and morally superior than any other generation in history, we lack the ability to see the obvious truth.  Or perhaps, we just don't want to, hoping that when it comes time for us to jettison anything and anyone else in our lives to pursue our own self focused lust for pleasure and meaning, those we patted on the back will in turn pat us on the back.  You scratch my deplorably selfish desires, and I'll scratch yours.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The day Gary Gygax died

I didn't have a blog when Gary Gygax died, which was three years ago today.  I don't know if I had a blog if this would have made it onto my radar screen.  But as I've been researching a few things for an upcoming post I've been working on, I've learned quite a bit about this fellow - but no doubt not enough. As many know, he was one of the creators - some would say the creator - of the game Dungeons and Dragons

Now as I said,  I've been working up a post on my thoughts about popular culture and the ability of mass media to shape opinions.  In studying a few things here and there, I've been looking at that particular phenomenon, which will feature predominantly in the post.  What amazes me is how much of our modern entertainment, particularly in the realm of computer and video games, owes its basic structure to that game hammered out all those years ago, in a world before personal computers, VCRs (let alone DVDs), cell phones, Internet, or video games.  Amazing how our country, despite its flaws, would allow someone with an undying love of games to create something so amazing that has touched on so many different parts of our lives, even if we would never be caught dead playing the game itself.  The more I read about the history of that hobby, the more impressed I am.  We'll get to that at some point.  But for now, I thought I would take a belated nod to the master of gaming himself, whose love of game play, combined with a country that still encouraged such out of the box thinking, brought so much enjoyment to so many - even if they never make the connection.  Well done Mr. Gygax.  Even if folks didn't play your product, how great and impact it had on our collective consciousness.  I'm sure you are missed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Arianna Huffington displays the stunning lack of self-awareness that defines the post-modern Left

In this piece for her own Huffpost, she pens a gushing love note about Bill Maher.  Yeah, Bill Maher.  Now don't get me wrong.  Bill Maher may be a brilliant physicist, genetic engineer, economist, biologist, or brain surgeon.  I don't know.  I'm not schooled in any of those subjects.  But in the two subjects I've spent most of my life studying - history and theology - Maher is about as dumb as a hay rake.  The man is about on par with Glen Beck.  Yet he is treated like a serious commentator and brilliant analyst across the MSM, and obviously among folks who frequent places like Huffington Post, precisely in the areas of history and religion.

Why?  Well, I blogged about my thoughts on that already.  Beyond that, however, was Huffington's post.  Sure, there was some sentimentality, and she is obviously friends with Maher.  Birds of a feather after all.  But some of the things in the post caught my attention.  One I posted on at the Huffpost.  For instance, this sentence caught my eye:

"He's hilarious, he's fearless, and he never, ever takes potshots at easy targets, like former witches running for the Senate on an anti-masturbation platform."
He is fearless?  How?  Will someone please tell me how Maher, who is the living, breathing, biological incarnation of the dictionary definition of Political Correctness is fearless?  That's like saying it took courage in the 1950s to oppose Martin Luther King, Jr.  Like saying in the 50s that it was fearless for people to take a public stand against Communism.

Are those on the Left that blind to the self-congratulatory domain of same-think that they have established across popular culture?  Across the media culture?  Across the academic world?  Do they really think it takes courage to stand up and promote homosexuality, abortion rights, and socialism?  Do they actually believe that it's fearless to trash conservatives, Republicans, religion, and traditional values in an HBO comedy show?  I would like to think they know full well that they have the upper hand in our information outlets.  I would like to think they are just putting us on, keeping the entire front as they move to seize more and more control over our culture and society.  But maybe not.  Maybe because they are so incestuous in their desire to be surrounded only by same-think, they really believe that we live in a country dominated by right wing, radical, religious zealotry and they are the brave crusaders for a freedom they otherwise seem to abhor. 

Who knows.  I do know this.  This line:

"Everyone seems to be talking so slow. I know Kirk [Douglas]'s excuse, what's everybody else's? This smells like the trainwreck Oscars to me."
Seemed to make Arianna laugh.  It didn't me.  Somehow I remember the liberals of the 70s who used to say that making fun, no matter how innocently, of the elderly, the crippled, the mentally handicapped, was all just a sad reminder of the deplorable moral trash heap upon which traditional values needed to be thrown.  I can't believe how the post-modern Left is looking more and more like the very thing Liberalism once sought to eliminate.  But that the Left is fast becoming the Napoleon of pigs is for another post.

I worry about how to help send my boys to college

And then I read things like this.  That's why, when people attempt to bolster Harry Potter's image by pointing out that universities have classes on the series, I tend to yawn.  Was a time when that might mean something.  Even twenty years ago, a college course on The Lord of the Rings, or a class that studied The Beatles alongside Mozart or Tchaikovsky, was a nod to their contributions to modern greatness.  But today, being studied alongside things like this, suggests there is little in our culture left worth celebrating.  It certainly confirms my growing suspicions that our institutions of higher education are becoming a joke that will only be laughed at years from now after it's too late for us to get it.

The Media cracks me up

I saw on the CNN ticker, just a minute ago, that jobless claims fell to nearly a three year low.  Nearly a three year low?  What does that mean?  Think about it.  What does it mean by 'nearly'?  Why not just a 2 and a half year low if that's what it was?  Do you get the feeling that it's really wanting the news to be one thing, when the reality isn't quite there?  Like, you know, telling me what it wants me to hear rather than what it is?  The fact that the Market is soaring doesn't help figure the report.  I've watched that for how many months, and notice almost every time employment news isn't the greatest, the Market increases.   Don't know why.  I'm not an economist.  I've just noticed the overall trend.  So I'm stuck trying to figure out what is meant by 'nearly' a three year low.

New traslation of NAB

Says a lot about America's Catholic leadership.  On one hand, it has wisely changed some of the more deplorably limp renderings of the original texts,  such as parts of Psalm 23.  Though I see they are still preferring a more literalistic translation of the final verse - 'to the end of days' - over the traditional, and emotionally powerful, 'I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.'  For some reason there is also much talk about changing the word 'booty' to 'spoils'.  I would think the decision to change 'ass' to 'donkey' would have been focused upon, if indeed it has been changed (I would think that if they changed the word 'booty' because of its contemporary connotations, the translators certainly would have caught the other's alternate meaning in modern discourse!).

And yet, on the other hand, the most controversial of all, is the decision to render Isaiah 7:14 as 'young woman', rather than 'virgin'.  It has long been insisted upon by Jewish scholars, and other critics of the Faith, that the original Hebrew word was misunderstood by the author of Matthew's Gospel, and hence he was wrong about the entire 'virgin shall concieve', which he used from the Old Testament to validate the virgin birth.   Naturally, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth hangs on more than that one passage.  But it is hardly a settled dispute.  Primarily because, idiomatically, the term young maiden may for all intents and purposes still assume a virgin, and therefore the literal translation maybe irrelevant to Matthew's use of the word. 

This is one of those decisions that could have - should have - been solved by leaving the traditionally Christian accepted rendering of 'virgin' in place, with a note underneath explaining that the word could mean young maiden, but the context and usage may not matter after all.  Perhaps even a nod to the Septuagint's usage of the word in its translation to the Greek.  But no.  The new NAB translation will simply opt to change the word to 'youg woman' (not even the usually suggested 'young maiden'), put the word 'virgin' in a footnote, and no doubt cause certain levels of confusion among the faithful. 

As Mark Shea once said many years ago, the Catholic Church has and incorrigible knack of obscuring spiritual truths with confusing terminology.  It also seems to have the knack of taking the least reader friendly approaches to translating the Bible, choosing not ones that help enforce the doctrines of the Faith, but rather seem to give credence to those outside the faith who have long rejected and critiqued those doctrines.  Sigh.