Monday, October 31, 2005

Awesome Pumpkin!

It almost legitimizes the holiday.

Taken from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

The History of Halloween

I saw this show on the History Channel (aka the Hitler Channel in some circles) and I thought it was rather interesting.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Today is also the day Harry Houdini died, if it means anything to you. But don't do a seiance or anything to call him back, now because that's a sin.

Ghost Stories for Halloween

Because it's fun celebrating a secretly pagan holiday before a holy day of obligation.

The ethics of bidding

Q. Recently a customer obtained a price quote, only to return a few days afterwards asking me to revise my quote to beat an even lower quote from a competitor. Is that ethical? How should I respond?

A. This game of playing suppliers off against each other is hardly new. The most famous exponent of this practice in recent generations was Jose Ignacio Lopez, purchasing czar for General Motors in the early 1990's. Lopez was famous -- or perhaps infamous -- for his multiple-round bidding process. GM would invite bids from a number of contractors, and then initiate further rounds of bidding on the basis of the lowest bids extant. Even after the bidding was done, Lopez would pressure suppliers for additional cost savings!

What were the results? On the down side, Lopez's policies alienated many long-term suppliers to GM, leading some to stop working with the company and others to adopt a more formal, arms-length relationship with the company in place of the previous cooperative relationship. On the other hand, he saved GE the astronomical sum of four billion dollars in only a year. Much of the saving resulted from actual improvements in production efficiency, rather than merely squeezing suppliers to GE's advantage.

Playing suppliers against each other in this way is not inherently unethical, but it does present many ethical challenges.

Applied and clear thought throughout, as is typical of the Jewish Ethicist (that is, this guy, not some archetypical Jewish ethicist).

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Light bedtime reading

Lumen Gentium, or more properly "Constitutio Dogmatica de Ecclesia". I get to read it for my doctrine class. Yay!

New Website in Los Angeles

Featuring a dramatically enhanced photo of Robert Graham's bronze "iron maiden" which hangs over the entrance of Mahony's cathedral, the Archdiocese's new website is a vast improvement over the one it replaces. Its designer is 'gay' activist, Eric Stoltz, who was ordained a permanent deacon by Cardinal Mahony in 2004.

A website designed by L.A.'s openly 'gay' deacon would not be complete without a Gay and Lesbian link. Here one finds support groups for "gays and lesbians" as well as for the parents of "gays and lesbians." In addition, at this link are listed those parishes which are considered "welcoming," that is, (although the term is not used) "gay friendly."

I hope he's not serrious that this website is an improvement.

We are Family

An international team has tracked a million DNA variations in volunteers around the world, as part of an effort to map the diversity of human genes. Experts say the growing catalogue, called the HapMap, will help to pinpoint genetic causes of disease and develop more effective treatments.

"It's a major leap for genetic research," says Tom Hudson of McGill University in Montreal, who led the Canadian contribution to the HapMap.

Any two people have DNA sequences that are typically 99.9% similar. The few tiny differences between their genetic codes account for they way they vary in traits from eye colour to susceptibility to disease. Many of these differences consist of changes in single bases of the genetic code, also called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs. The human genome is about 3 billion bases long, and there are roughly 10 million sites where SNPs (pronounced 'snips') are thought to occur commonly.

Researchers hope that by cataloguing SNPs and the frequency with which they occur in different populations they will boost efforts to target drugs at different genetic types. Because there are so many SNPs, the HapMap project aims to sort them in ways that will make such analyses easier.

My Priest's Commentary on Today's Readings

I really liked what he had to say, so I'm going to paraphrase it as best as possible.

Basically, he noted how intersting it is that these readings come up every three years to be read in public, yet they are clearly directed towards the religious leaders within the chruch. Malachi speaks to the Levites of Israel and Jesus makes a harsh critique of the scholars of the time. The last three years ago when he read this, he said that it was right around the time of the scandals within the American Church. That Sunday, reading Jesus's indictment gave him a feeling of such nausea. But it reminds us all to be humble. It is interesting that Jesus says to call no one Father, but we call our priests father all the same. In France, the few that still speak to priests traditionally call their priests Monsieur So and So. The important thing about this it's all about routine. We sink into routine, and what we do looses its meaning. We get tired of taking it in a new, but we should be overjoyed with this feeling of tiredness. When he was back in one of his earlier parishes, he came in one morning and someone had put in a large sign into the sacristy. On the sign it said, "Say this mass as if it were your first mass. Say this mass as if it were your last mass. Say this mass as if it were your only mass."

Let us hope that priets throughout the world never loose that focus. Pray for him and priests everywhere.

From DeoOmnisGloria from David Armstrong

Romans 3:23: "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." {NRSV}

I'm still looking for a good answer on the "for all have sinned" question in regards to Mary. The "all doesn't always mean all" answer is not satisfactory since I am sure there are references where all does mean all!

You can read the rest in the article.

This reminds me of my favorite Catholic joke-

Jesus is standing with the crowd about to stone Mary Magdalene for prostitution when Jesus says "he who is without sin may cast the first stone." Suddenly, a rock comes flying through the air and hits Mary Magdalene between the eyes, killing her instantly. Jesus looks into the crowd and in frustration yells, "Mom!"

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The mind of a master

Backdooring the Linux kernel. NSA style.

The kvetching of the "queer" or "not queer" people at my school

It's a bad word, it's a good word. It's not ok to mess up people's schedules, it is ok to mess up people's schedules.

And of course, the "homosexual agenda" is equated with human rights. Thus anyone who disagrees is against human rights.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A humorous view of databases

Thomas on Miers

A little JWR view on the subject.

The withdrawal of Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court presents a comeback opportunity for President Bush. With so many things going wrong at once — from declining poll numbers, to declining support for the Iraq war, to various scenarios involving indictments of his top officials, the president can begin to win back public confidence with several steps, beginning with Miers' replacement.

His next Supreme Court selection should address all of the concerns that led to the demise of Miers' nomination. I doubt if many believe the White House cover story that she had to withdraw over concerns that senators wanted documents that may have violated executive privilege and that, as a result, she would have reached an impasse with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

President Bush must now do what he should have done before getting sidetracked with the unexplainable and indefensible Miers nomination. He must name a solid conservative with a known track record of fighting for an "original understanding" of the Constitution, one who has strong convictions. He should then pledge to fight for her, or him, and give his conservative base the ideological and constitutional battle they've been requesting.

A prayer request

Hello everyone,

Unfortunately, my nephew has taken a rather sudden turn for the worse. His swelling has not subsided, and with a recent bronchial infection, his breathing passages have become constricted. He was rushed to the hospital last night. In addition, he has been fighting a rather bizarre condition, whereby he has trouble absorbing proteins. I’m not sure about the details right now, but if the current procedure at the hospital doesn’t work, he’s looking at another surgery. The odds are slipping out of his favor right now, and they were at about 50-50 before that he’d make it to adulthood.

I’m asking all of you to please say a prayer that this procedure they are trying on him works. Alternately, you can pray for a miracle, many of which do happen in today’s world (beyond the White Sox winning the World Series).

For those of you who weren’t included in earlier updates, they are copied below.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

The morality of the teen blogger ban


Cardinal Lopez Trujillo called attention to the fact that the question of Communion for divorced Catholics had already been raised by then-Bishop Kasper, along with two other German bishops, in the 1990s. The German bishops' policy was overturned, he observed, by Cardinal Ratzinger, with the explicit approval of Pope John Paul II (bio - news). "You cannot put the current Pope in contradiction with Cardinal Ratzinger," he said.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More developments on the China front

Vatican diplomacy always confuses me. If they pull out of Taiwan, what happens to the Church in Taiwan?

Oy Eire

Sadly, it's not just us.

Oct. 26 ( - Both Church and government leaders in Ireland have been shaken by the October 25 publication of a report showing a systematic failure to curb sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Ferns.

The report, prepared under the direction of former Supreme Court Judge Frank Murphy, uncovered more than 100 allegations of abuse by 26 priests of the Ferns diocese. The report covered the years between 1962 and 2002; it was based on a government investigation that lasted more than 2 years.

The report on the Ferns investigation faulted police and local officials for their failure to follow up aggressively on complaints of sexual abuse. But the most scathing criticism was leveled against Church leaders who covered up charges, silenced accusers, and ordained "clearly unsuitable men into the priesthood."

Two prayer requests

One important:
For the repose of a good friend who passed away yesterday.

One less so:
For the finding of a lost Rosary.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Finding your way around a Byzantine Altar

First point:

First of all, to be technically correct, in the Byzantine tradition, what is called the "Altar" is what would be called the "Sanctuary" in the West, and what is called the Altar in the West is called the Holy Table in our tradition. That does do a bit of violence to the plain meaning of the term "Altar" in English, which denotes a thing and not a place or area. So for the sake of convenience I will use "Altar" and “Holy Table” interchangeably to mean that upon which the Holy Sacrifice is offered.

Apparently Anne Rice has gone Catholic?!?

Mark Shea says so. It must be true.

The victory of x86


Is Intel victorious? From the desktop to the server room, Intel’s advance shows no sign of retreat.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Another Jewish holiday today

I'll let you guys figure out which.

His Eminence is confused

In other words, Rome speaks, Cdl. Kasper doesn't listen.

Rome, Oct. 24 ( - Just hours after the Synod of Bishops released its final report, confirming that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should not receive Communion, Cardinal Walter Kasper (bio - news) said that the question should be reconsidered.

"I cannot imagine that the discussion is closed," said Cardinal Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. "It is a question that exists, and we have to reflect on it in order to be able to respond."

Speaking at a press conference in Rome, the German cardinal said that he has been discussing the question with other bishops for ten years, "and every bishop in every Western country recognizes that this is a grave problem."

The Synod's decision, Cardinal Kasper continued, "is not the final result." He observed that the Synod has presented its conclusions to the Pope, who will prepare an apostolic exhortation on the topic. The cardinal added that although the Synod had voted to affirm the current Church policy, calls for change had also been heard. (He did not allude to the fact that in the past, Pope Benedict has expressed his own clear opposition to a change.)

As I study for Urban Econ

Prof Dan:

"As a matter of national security we need your water"
"If there are a bunch of muskrats out in the meadow, they get hit by shrapnel all the time"

Prayer Request

Dearest readers:

I'm writing to you after having been up all night trying to get
today's issue out. The rest of my day was spent in the emergency
room with a close family member who within a half-hour of this
mailing will undergo surgery. (PLEASE pray for Rivka Malka bas
(daughter of ) Tova.

JWR will be suspending publication til Thursday for the final set of
the High Holy Days. I'm going to try my darndest to get an issue out
on time. It may be delayed a bit.

** PLEASE access today's HUGE issue via our Front Page:

A LOT of work went into meeting this morning's deadline.

May NONE OF US know no more sorrow!
Binyamin L. Jolkovsky
Editor in Chief

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Happy Mole Day

Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.
For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an atomic mass of 18, therefore one mole of water weighs 18 grams. An atom of neon has an atomic mass of 20, therefore one mole of neon weighs 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro's Number of molecules or atoms of that substance. This relationship was first discovered by Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1858) and he received credit for this after his death.

JA's blog has a rather good investigation of the connection between language and abortion

It's pretty much 1984esque, a recognition that if you can control a language, you can to a great extent control what people think about. Which is why monkeying with the liturgy always disturbs me, because it becomes one man pushing his view of things onto his congregation, who can do little or nothing.

Case in point: In the middle of the Confiteor today, the priest used the phrase "sisters and brothers" where the texts has "brothers and sisters". Aside from the fact that the prayer basically ended there as everyone stopped to try to figure out what the hell happened, it also implied that the second wording is somehow . . . wrong, if he saw fit to correct it mid-Mass.

Abortion and Crime

If killing poor children really lowers crime, of course, there's no really good reason not to kill all poor children who fail some threshold.

Catholics and Crypto-Jews

Weird weird weird stuff. And of course an area of great interest to myself :-). I'm always fascinated at the boundary between religions, Indeed, I often find myself pondering the phrase of JPtG, "our elder brothers in the Faith", which seems to be relevant here.

Synod speaks on celibacy, divorce, intercommunion, etc.

From CWNews:

Proposition 11, on the shortage of priests clearly reaffirms "the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the practice of the Latin Church." The Synod finds that a proposal for viri probati-- married men who are ordained to the priesthood for a restricted ministry-- is not a proper response to the shortage of priests. Instead the Synod fathers call for renewed efforts to encourage priestly vocations.

Proposition 40, on divorced and remarried Catholics, confirms the Church's traditional teaching that those who are divorced and illicitly remarried "cannot be admitted to Holy Communion," but emphasizes that they remain a part of the Church community and should be welcomed and encouraged to participate in the liturgy should of receiving Communion. The Synod exhorts divorced Catholics to live chaste lives, "according to God's law." Proposition 40 urges Church marriage tribunals to reflect carefully on the essential elements of a valid marriage, and calls for stronger efforts to prepare couples for Christian marriage.

Proposition 41, on admitting non-Catholics to Communion, acknowledges that all Christians, by virtue of baptism, are a part of the Church community. But the communion among Christians "is still not complete," the Synod says, and "Eucharistic communion with non-Catholic Christians is generally not possible." The Synod asks non-Catholics to understand the Church's position, and specifically adds that concelebration of the Eucharist with other Christian groups is excluded.

Proposition 46, on politicians who dissent from Church teaching, says that there is no "Eucharistic coherence" in the behavior of people who violate Church teachings yet receive communion. Stating flatly that "one cannot separate private and public choices," the Synod fathers tell politicians that they should not receive Communion if they support policies that are "contrary to justice and natural law." But the document stops short of saying that bishops should bar such political figures from receiving Communion.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Is this fair?

"Three weeks ago I purchased for a client a computer and some associated peripherals, including a KVM from," a reader wrote. "As it took a while for the computer to come, I did not put everything together until two days ago. The KVM had come as soon as I ordered it, but when I tried it yesterday, it did not work correctly. Today I called to return the unit and they told me that it was too bad for me. They have a 14-day return policy on all their products -- unhappy or broken, they warranty the product for only 14 days."

The company would not show any flexibility in its policy. "As I had my KVM for 21 days, I was just out of luck," the reader wrote. "I asked to talk to a manager and it happened to be that I was talking to one of the owners. I tried to explain my case and told him that it was insane to have such a strict 14-day return policy. He did not listen and even got mad when I told him that I would tell people about their policy. I guess he thought that it is acceptable that their product did not work and that I lost money, and I should just be happy to have done business with them. So I want to make sure that as many people as possible know about this place."

Knowing what you're buying is important. Flexibility is nice too, however.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Those Catholics are multiplying

Except for Europe, I guess.

Oct. 21 (FIDES/ - The world's Catholic population increased by over 15 million in 2003 (the last year for which full statistics are available), accordino to figures compiled by the Fides news service. The number of Catholics grew significantly on every continent but Europe, where it fell by 214,000.

Deacons and laity can't administer Last Rites

Next up: a note saying that deacons and laity can't administer Holy Orders.

Synod's final message

At a Friday morning meeting on October 21, the Synod fathers gave their endorsement to the final message, but also adopted numerous amendments to be incorporated into the final text, which will be released simultaneously in five different languages. The "message to the People of God" is one of two major documents produced by the Synod; the other is the set of propositions that will be submitted to Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news). While the propositions are traditionally not published, the Synod's message is released to the Catholic world at the conclusion of the assembly.

The Synod's message was drafted by a committee headed by Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec. Originally drafted in French, with translations available into other languages, the text includes 26 paragraphs, including a conclusion, and runs to 17 pages in length. The text is intended to express the main themes of the Synod's deliberations, and in an effort to ensure the accuracy of the message, the Synod fathers considered more than 200 proposed amendments.

The message begins with salutations to the bishops, priests, religious, and laity of the Catholic world. Recalling how the Synod on the Eucharist was first summoned by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) and then confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI, the message explains that the assembly sought for ways to offer pastoral suggestions for enhancing Catholic devotion to the Eucharist.

The message indicates that the presence of representatives from the Eastern churches helped the Synod to recall the rich traditions of Eastern Christianity, and asks the faithful to pray for a recovery of full unity between the churches of East and West. The Synod calls attention to the suffering that afflicts many of the world's people, because of hunger, warfare, injustice, and terrorism. It also speaks of the dangers posed, particularly in the Western world, by secularization and relativism. The bishops say that the Eucharist offers the key to renewing the world.

While fully supporting the reforms of Vatican II, the Synod message acknowledges the widespread liturgical abuses that mar the life of the Church, and particularly the tendency of many priests to see themselves as "owners" of the Eucharistic liturgy. The document also recognizes a crisis in the failure of Catholics to make use of sacramental Confession, and even in the loss of a sense of sin in contemporary society. The Synod document recognizes that a shortage of priests is making it difficult for many of the faithful to experience the Eucharistic liturgy, and recalls the practice of "spiritual communion" for those who are unable to attend Mass. The bishops also take pains to express their concern for Catholics who are unable to receive the Eucharist because of irregular marital situations. And they urge families to be faithful in attending Sunday Mass.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Put on your speakers

Hat tip to Hector.

First actual intellectual exchange on Ecce Homo occurs

People are confused at this "content".

I wonder whether linking to myself will confuse Googlebot.

How to help those contemplating suicide

And other hopefully helpful resources. Does anyone know if these are any good?

Church and State in South America

Or, a bishop who keeps his promises.

During an interview with the newspaper Norte, the bishop noted that the Church respects the role of political parties in a democracy, but that the Church does not act like one because the term "party" means "part" while the term "Catholic" means "universal." Bishop Giaquinta wondered if by asking for help Kirchner was referring to the help the Church can give as transmitter of the truth of the Gospel, "because if he was asking for a different kind of help, such as the help he might receive from a political party, he would be making a serious mistake."

The Church, he continued, offers her prayers that "the Lord will grant him light and strength to lead the country on the path to reconciliation, justice and progress." He clarified that in his last homily on authority, he was not alluding to anyone in specific, because the homily "is a catechesis for the Christian people." "If that teaching (of the Gospel) applies to any particular current event, so much for the better. The words of Jesus always fit well, whether we’re talking about events that are current or events that are not so current," he stated.

Cardinal Newman, St. Newman?

One of my favorite intellectuals. I highly recommend his book below, we read it at Augustine Club last year and it rocked my world.

Church officials would not reveal the identity of the man who benefited from the reported miracle, but said that the Boston archdiocese has established a commission to investigate the report. If a miracle if verified, it would fulfill the final requirement for beatification of the English scholar.

Word of the alleged miracle became public at an October 18 press conference in Rome for the publication of a new book, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) and Cardinal Newman, edited by veteran Catholic journalist Peter Jennings. The book highlights the admiration that the Pope had professed for Cardinal Newman's writings.

Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801- 1890) was an Oxford scholar and prominent Anglican preacher when he joined the Oxford Movement in the 1830s. By 1840 he had begun expressing doubts about the Church of England, and withdrew from Anglican ministry; in 1845 he was received into the Catholic Church. His Apologia Pro Vita Sua, explaining his spiritual journey, is among the classics of Catholic autobiography.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Great Quotes of Columbia Professors, part 1

"Process 1 adopts zombie children and puts them to rest"
-Prof. Keromytis

"5 minus 3 is 1"
-Prof. Grinspun

"We'll assume that everone in California is different and everyone in New York is pretty much the same"
-Prof. Mitali Das

"Again, a fundamental law of physics is violated, showing if I was smarter I would have been a theoretial physicist"
-Prof. Charles Hailey in physics

I'm going to have to duck for a while

I have a midterm tomorrow I didn't know about until now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Dude! It's Jesus at a Pro-Life Convention!

Well at least to the Un-educated. Jeff Geerling goes to a Pro-Life convention with the seminarians and sees Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the Passion. I still think it was rather cool. He has pictures.

Free the Untouchables!

I found a link to an article about the Hindu Untouchables of India converting to Islam and Christianity.

While the Muslims are making every effort to convert the Untouchables, the Christian churches have an advantage: the person of Christ. "I've found that when Dalits hear about Jesus, they're deeply moved to learn that He loves them," Vigneri said. "All their lives, they've been told how horrible they are. But they hear that Jesus not only loves them but died for them. In their minds, He reached out to the Untouchables of His day. Touched them... talked to them... ate with them... These are all forbidden for a higher caste person to do with the Dalits."

The above link is an organization dedicated to supporting the rights of Untouchables in India.

Catholic Acronyms?

Clearly, I'm an old foggie out of the loop. I wonder if people use this in classified ads on AveMaria Singles and Catholic Match.

"After the devil went down to Georgia, it seems, he got censored in Prince William County"

Now even mention of the Devil is prohibited due to seperation of Church and State!

early this month, a local newspaper, the Potomac News, published a letter by a Woodbridge resident who, after having seen the C.D. Hylton Bulldawg Marching Band perform the country-western hit at a football game, wondered how a song about the devil could be played at school events, because of the separation of church and state.

Fearing bad public reaction, Hylton's longtime band director, Dennis Brown, pulled the song from the playlist. "I was just being protective of my students. I didn't want any negative publicity for C.D. Hylton High School," he said.

But Brown's strategy backfired. The decision has created a furor, and even Charlie Daniels has weighed in.

"I am a Christian, and I don't write pro-devil songs. Most people seem to get it. It's a fun little song," Daniels said Friday in a telephone interview from Mokena, Ill., where he was scheduled to perform a concert. "I think it's a shame that the [marching band director] would yield to one piece of mail. If people find out that he can be manipulated that easily, he's going to have a hard way to go."

Staten Island Priest Suicide

Please pray for him.

A Staten Island priest hanged himself in an apparent suicide last night inside his church's rectory, police said.

The priest, identified by the pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in New Dorp as the Rev. James Pilsner, 35, had been missing since 3 p.m., law-enforcement sources said. Another priest went to Pilsner's room and noticed the door was locked. He went to get a spare key and, when he opened the door, found Pilsner hanging from a rope attached to a chin-up bar, the sources said.

Pilsner was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

"All I can tell you is Father James Pilsner died this evening in the rectory," said the pastor, the Rev. John Sheehan.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2282-2283

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

Yea! Another Cool Blog!

I just discovered this one. Why is it so cool? Because it's by a Malasian Dominican in the UK. How can someone not say how cool that is? Please pray for his grandmother, as she recently fell. He has some really good comentary on the value of older persons.

Sex Sells so Sell Sex?

At least that's what the new concept store for Victoria's Secret does out in Tyson, VA-

"hard design" fixtures of the store remain unchanged. These include numerous erotic and suggestive images of nude/semi-nude women including: bare breasts, adorned bare nipples, close-up images of exposed buttocks, and breasts and cleavage everywhere. The mannequins seem to have been created for this store, as the poses are universally erotic.

I find it funny how "unmentionables" seem more public than anything else these days.

Today is the Feast of St. Luke

Patron saint of Surgeons. Makes me want some nice ox-tail stew. Or you can make some Banbury Tarts like they do in Scotland for the holiday.

Mo' Religion, Mo' Problems

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies," Paul concluded in the article.

"The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S ... is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so," Paul said, referring to measures of societal health..

I like this commentary-

Commentary. Well folks, it's official. It's all our fault. We make society worse, not better. Policymakers now have some more justification to push religion off the public arena.

I remember another study earlier this century whose author discovered that the abortion rate actually helped to reduce crime during the 1990's. I submit we need that two-prongued approach: increase abortion and eliminate religion and we will all be much happier.

Isn't that what we all want to hear anyway?

The Newest Developments in Stem Cell Research

The new methods, detailed Sunday in the online edition of the journal Nature, seek to obtain the cells without destroying embryos.

The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, which advocates federal funding of stem cell research, cautioned that despite the goal of avoiding ethical quandaries, the new approaches "will not sit well with many who oppose embryonic stem cell research."

An official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the two reported techniques still raise ethical objections, although a spokesman for a group of Roman Catholic bioethicists called one of them a step in the right direction.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Harriet Miers in the Blogosphere

There's some really good arguements.

Hookah in the Sukkah!

It's the newest way to celebrate Sukkot! Supposedly all the student groups are doing it.

Best email ever

Got this in my inbox this morning.


Weekly reminder about the doctrine class:

When: 9:00 PM, Wednesday, October 19
Where: Room 309, Russell Hall, Teachers College Library
Why: To save your immortal souls.



Monday, October 17, 2005

I can't believe it's Sukkot already

With the final blowing of the Shofar, The Jewish High Holy Days draw to a close and the focus of the Jewish community shifts from the solemnness of Yom Kippur to the jubilant celebration of the festival of Sukkot. Sukkoth begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, which is 5 days after Yom Kippur.

The festival of Sukkot, also known as Chag'ha Succot, the "Feast of Booths" (or Tabernacles), is named for the huts (sukkah) that Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land.

Wikipedia has a list of people excommunicated

I can't think of any good additions at the present, but I'm sure something will come up.

Did you know you can have 10 files with the same name in a directory?

If you ever wanted to know about what's going on at Microsoft

I present Mini-Microsoft.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

LI Principal has a backbone

Too bad more people don't take stands on anything anymore.

Cancer, China, and Abortion

Correlation does not imply causation. But when you have logic to go along with the correlation, it begins to look a little more convincing.

From the Jewish-Catholic front

A fascinating investigation

Yom Kippur has passed. The great day of mercy and forgiveness on which we
are commanded in the Bible to afflict ourselves is over. The shofar (rams
horn) is blasted and the Divine Presence departs just as the light of day
disappears to reveal the stars. After Yom Kippur, who can be the same as
he was the day before?

Frequently, throughout the day, I found myself reflecting on Christianity,
wondering how it fit into the spirituality revealed on this Day of Awe
culminating what are called in Jewish tradition the “Days of Awe.”

I couldn’t find an answer. But it began to emerge last night, after the

As often happens to me after Yom Kippur, I feel a bit at a loss. There’s
no holding on to the intensity of Yom Kippur. After doing some writing, I
listened to a CD of Gregorian chants of hymns to Mary. That soothed me.
Amazingly, the music seemed to capture something of the spirit of the

This morning I awoke before dawn, still pondering the issue, when suddenly
I realized that the Incarnation is comparable to Yom Kippur. Just like
Yom Kippur, it combines the three central motifs of Divine Presence,
forgiveness and affliction. When Jesus says that he comes for the
sinners, he means that he is Yom Kippur, the day which comes for sinners
(for everyone) offering forgiveness to those who believe—who believe that
Yom Kippur is a day of forgiveness--and to those who repent: “Repent and
believe in the Gospel.”

This helps explain the ascetic motif in Catholicism, motifs of suffering,
otherworldliness and self-denial that are historically more dominant in
Catholicism than in Judaism. For Yom Kippur is a day of affliction and
otherworldliness, a day when (this is a widespread, though not universal
custom) the white outer garment we wear is the same one in which the dead
are clothed before burial; a day on which, like angels, we neither eat nor
drink, a day on which we are commanded to afflict ourselves (as prescribed
for the healthy by Law: not to eat, drink, wash for the sake of the good
feeling of washing [to remove dirt is permitted], anoint oneself with
oils, wear leather shoes, or have conjugal relations] a day of prayer (the
prayers began at 7:00 AM in my synagogue and lasted until about 5:45 with
a single 20 minute break in the afternoon. Other synagogues might have a
longer break of up to two hours.); a day of pure mercy, a day on which the
Presence of Gd is palpable, a day of
intense intimacy with God on which a pious Jew has no heart for worldly

Also, interestingly, Yom Kippur is typically observed even by nonobservant
and sinful Jews. In the United States, where there are many Jews who do
not observe Jewish Law, the synagogues are packed on Yom Kippur. And the
people fast. My wife once observed that, even women who look like
prostitutes, people who run away from God every other day of the year,
show up at the Western Wall on Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, God visits His
People to gather the sinful, and the People respond.

Through the Incarnation, God gave Yom Kippur to the world.

Shanah Tovah,
All the best,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Successfully answered questions on Ecce Homo

That song

More importantly, the rosary question

Deal Matthews puts it excellently, I think:

This is a soft pitch. On 7 October 1571 the fleet of the "Holy League" under the nominal command of Don Juan of Austria defeated a much larger force of Turks in the Gulf of Lepanto. St. Pius V (and just about everybody else) credited the unexpected victory to the direct intercession of the Blessed Virgin, secured as a result of every (non-Muslim) man in the Christian fleet going to confession and saying the rosary. Miguel de Cervantes took part in the battle, was crippled in his hand as a result, but called it the greatest day of his life. Estimates of the number of Turks slain or drowned range from 30,000 to 60,000; Christian casualties were around 5,000. The Sacred Banner of Mecca was captured, and hung in St. Peter's until 1964 when Paul VI returned it to Turkey. Lepanto destroyed Turkish power in the western Med., and was the culmination of the series of defeats that began at Malta in 1565. The Christian losses at the siege of Szigetvar ("the Hungarian Alamo"), 1566, and the siege and massacre at Famagusta (Cyprus), 1571, gave an added incentive to win the battle. St. Pius V was praying during the battle, several hundred miles away, when he suddenly rose and announced a victory, ordering that a Te Deum be sung in all the churches in Rome. Official word of the victory was not received for two weeks.

I get quoted!

Squach: they want you to pass
Lisa: pass yes
Lisa: but get an A, no
Squac: spoken like a true columbian

Jesuit calls for a ban on boxing

Comment boxer calls for a ban on seminarians who can't box.


But what about the martyrs?

Rome, Oct. 14 ( - The Vatican no longer needs to appoint bishops to serve the "underground" Catholic Church in China, because the "official" Church is moving toward full union with Rome, according to the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica.

Articles published in Civilta Cattolica are approved in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Thus an article that will appear in the October 15 issue of the magazine, by Father Hans Waldenfels, presumably reflects the thinking of top Vatican officials.

Father Waldenfels writes that Chinese Catholics are working vigorously to end the longstanding division between the "underground" Church, which maintains loyalty to the Holy See, and the "official" Church, which is theoretically under the supervision of the government-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association. In practice, the Jesuit author reports, today the priests who are chosen as bishops for the "official" Church "normally look to obtain a nomination from the Holy See." In recent weeks several new bishops have been consecrated with the approval of both the Chinese government and the Vatican, and Father Waldenfels maintains that it is possible the next Bishop of Beijing will have the open approval of the Holy See.

Incidentally, the title of this post is an inside joke . . .

JP Holding's list of Christian myths

And no, the Bible is not a Christian myth, though I'm sure there's some smart-aleck reading this who thought that.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Prayer and Silence

I recently got an email from a good friend from high school. Her father recently had a heart attack and is in a coma, and her brother got hit by a police car and died on his 21st birthday. Today is a day to pray for them.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Business vs. the Net

The producer capture problem, as we learned it in Prof. Dan's urban econ class.

Internet car-buying services let you shop for prices and options without leaving home. "For sale by owner" websites show you houses for sale.

Uh oh. Can't have that, can we?

In other words, when the people who stand to make the money set the regulations, they have an incentive to set them in their own favor.

Today is Yom Kippur

Read up.

Though I still prefer confession.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are very different experiences. Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment. G-d is judging me and judgment can make me feel distant from the Judge. In fact, the Hebrew word for a judicial "decree" is gezer, from the verb form, li'gzor, meaning "to cut." That is what judgment can do. It can make me feel cut off from the Judge.

In addition to being the Day of Judgment, Rosh Hashanah is a day to acknowledge the truth of monotheism. It's the day on which I recognize that G-d is the one and only King, and I am not the King. There is an infinite gap that separates the King and myself. Next to the Infinite, I am infinitesimal. This past year I did wrong and disobeyed the King's will, because I mistakenly thought that I knew better than G-d, and what I wanted to do would bring me more success and pleasure than what G-d asked of me. But now, on Rosh Hashanah, I realize how foolish I was to think this way. I realize that my true fulfillment can only come from obeying G-d — the one and only King Who created me and this world. I realize how foolish I was to reject His guidance and rebel against His directions. And finally, on Rosh Hashanah, I recognize that G-d's judgment comes from His love for me, and when I accept it, it is transformed into compassion.

Yom Kippur, however, is another story. Yom Kippur is a Day of Atonement, which is defined by love and forgiveness. On Yom Kippur, we get a glimpse of ourselves, our choices and our relationship to G-d from another perspective — G-d's perspective — and come to recognize how inseparably close we are to G-d. This is the transformational power of Yom Kippur.

Die mofo/Muppets?

I don't get it, but it's addictive. Can someone ID that song for me?

Note: probably have to view it in (ick) IE.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fascist pope beatifies Nazi opponent

Confusing many, I'm sure.

After the beatification ceremonies for Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen (1878-1946), at which Cardinal José Saraiva Martins presided, the Holy Father joined the faithful in St. Peter's Basilica to venerate the relics, give his blessing, and deliver a short address.

The Pope asked the pilgrims in the basilica to consider how the man known as the "Lion of Münster" recognized the poison of Nazi ideology "at a time when intelligent people seemed blind," and resisted the regime "when even the strong showed themselves to be weak and vile?" He said that Blessed von Galen "feared God more than he feared Man, and God gave him the courage to do and to say what others dared not say and do."

So Outrageous I thought it was a Joke

In what seems to be one of the worst – if not the worst – archdiocese in terms of the presence of non-celibate homosexual clergy, the saga of Miami whistle-blowing priest Andrew Dowgiert continues.

The following is the most recent (edited) update from Father Dowgiert’s attorney, Sharon Bourassa:

“We met with the canon lawyer on September 30 for four hours. He came in from Rome and is considered to be one of the best. We gave him all we have and he was shocked by the bigger picture of what is going on in our archdiocese.

“He has asked that we present him with a report of everything [Bourassa’s private investigator] has uncovered on the sexual and financial improprieties of the local clergy: homosexual activity, stealing, drugs, parties, and an incident in which the Sacred Host was given to a homosexual priest's dog at a Mass with other homosexual priests. [Bourassa was informed of that particular incident by an archdiocesan official.]

Gay Priest Gives Host to Pet Dog - now does that look like something out of the tabloids or what?

I don't know what to think anymore.

Latest and greatest out of Redmond

Because of the new motherboard, of course, Windows XP activation was triggered. "During the requisite call to Microsoft for an activation number, we were told that Microsoft could NOT give us the activation for this particular copy of XP since it was sold through a 'special licensing agreement' with E-Machines. Even though we had the 25-digit license number, Microsoft insisted we would have to contact the manufacturer for the activation number. Two separate calls to E-Machines elicited the same response. NO activation number would be given since we did not install an 'official' and expensive E-Machines motherboard. So the customer is forced into purchasing another copy of Windows XP even though they already paid for the original license when they first bought the computer and have all the required proof."

In other words, the reader's customer -- who has done nothing wrong other than have a motherboard fail on him -- has the choice of paying ransom to E-Machines or to Microsoft to have a functioning OS again. Which led the reader to wonder just what would constitute piracy in such a situation. "We all know there are plenty of copies of XP that work fine without the product activation scheme," the reader wrote. "Usually these are copies of corporate or academic versions of XP originally sold by Microsoft with broad licenses covering many computers. Is this customer justified in installing such a 'pirated' copy of XP on this system? Or should the customer have to buy yet another copy of XP, and presumably throw his old copy in the trash, just because his motherboard failed?"

Synod update

This is what the Synod has to say:

Vatican, Oct. 11 ( - The question of shared Communion with non-Catholics continued to command attention during sessions of the Synod of Bishops on October 10 and 11. The Vatican's Secretary of State made the argument that the policy of restricting Communion to Catholics should be recognized as a spur to encourage full Church unity, rather than a block on ecumenical progress.

Another theme raised repeatedly by speakers at the 11th ordinary assembly of the Synod was the value of Eucharistic adoration. The Synod has already set aside a time for all the bishops to join in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, at the Vatican basilica. But several prelates endorsed a regular practice of praying before the Eucharist daily.

If only I could find that document "We are church" put out calling for an end of bread-worshipping.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

St. Lawrence is Way Cool

More great art by Lawrence Klimecki of his patron saint.

Inspired by Catholic and Loving it, UK

I found BobbleBubble online. More old-skool gaming fun. This is sooo much better than Snood.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Shabbat laws self study

Brought to you by your friends at Aish.

Male hormonal contraception and the denigration of women

Pretty much any chance you give a guy to have sex with a woman with no consequences, it'll turn our pretty bad for her. Here's my favorite quote:

'It is time for men to have some control. I think it would empower men and deter some women out there from their nefarious plans,' says Brown. 'Some women are out there to use men to get pregnant. This could deter women from doing this. An athlete or a singer is someone who could be a target and they could put a stop to that.'

After all, women are evil, they want sex to have something to do with munchkins. The idea sounds positively Catholic. How revolting.

Happy Anniversary to OO and Zorak

And of course let us pray for OO and his works.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Theories on Sex, Women, and Babies

I'm risking being called a misogynist right now, but we'll see.

Women are increasingly seeking inappropriate IVF treatment because they do not have the time or inclination for a sex life and want to "diarise" their busy lives.

Wealthy career women in their 30s and early 40s, some of whom have given up regular sex altogether, are turning to "medicalised conception" - despite being fertile and long before they have exhausted the possibility of a natural conception.

"....I told one of my patients who is going through IVF that another IVF patient had just conceived naturally. She said: 'What? She's having sex? Bloody Luddite'

-Telegraph 25/9/05

So here's my theory-

Most women and their mother are on the pill or some form of hormonal contraception.

Recent studies have shown that this reduces sex drive.

Low sex drive means less willingness for a quickie due to "time constraints."

Pills lead to less fertility, and less willingness to be fertile. Therfore they go for the emotionally sterile form of conception- IVF. It's just a theory, and hasn't been verified with any women I know but it's a guess.

Another theory-

Does NFP lead to less disagreements about sex?

I've been reading some married Christian blogs and there's been a little posting about disagreements between couples about their sex lives. It seems like the point this guy's been making is that men and women should communicate more openly about what they want and that they should, at the same time, view their needs as a unit. So isn't that what nfp does? It makes sex about the family as a unit and open to life. It also encourages couples to discuss their fertility and work on the woman's monthly schedule. Maybe I'm missing the point to their discussions, but it seems like fruitfulness, as always, is the missing link in married life.

Love those Russians

Oct. 06 (Forum 18/ - Moscow's chief rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt, was denied entry to Russia last week, upon his return from a trip to Israel, the Forum 18 news service reports. It is not clear why the rabbi was not allowed back into Russia.

Rabbi Goldschmidt, who is Swiss-born and has lived in Moscow since 1989, stated that he was not given a reason by border guards at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. His wife and seven children are still in Moscow.

History of Adeste, Fideles

Good times thanks to David Morrison.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Field report from Mexico

The essence of Catholicism in one line, from one of my foreign ministers:

Glad to hear you're still doing the two most important things in a
Catholic's life: praying and eating Italian food.

Amazing stem cells don't require killing any babies!

You'll never see it on the news!

Mary, bride of God

An old Catholic saying states: de Maria numquam satis (Of Mary one can never say enough). Yet considering all the books written about her during the centuries, it almost seems as though everything one could say about the Godbearer has been said. She is the Virgin of virgins, the Mother of God and our Mother; the august Queen of the universe, the sorrowful Dolorosa and the mighty Help of Christians. She is the Gentle Woman, the Terror of demons and Destroyer of heresies; the Mystical Rose, the Seat of Wisdom, and so many other things. What more remains for us to say?

Yet some aspects of Mary's person have receivedless emphasis than others in the past. So this present article will focus on one such aspect: Mary as the Bride of God.

Mariologists have not entirely ignored this mystery, but it has received considerably less attention than her Motherhood, Virginity, Queenship, etc. It has also made almost no inroads into popular Marian devotion (except perhaps in the title "Spouse of the Holy Spirit"). Thus the image of Mary-as-Bride has had very little impact on the lives of average Catholic.

Could this perhaps have something to do with the romantic - even sexual - connotations in the bride/spouse image? Perhaps we feel a little uncomfortable applying such an image to the Ever-Virgin Mary, or are not sure how to reconcile the two.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Buddha? or something weird?

I was on a forum recently where a guy was ranting about how dumb Christians were for arguing about theology and whatnot. He then proceeded to explain how it wasn't important because karma wasn't good or bad and the turning of the cosmic cycles would even everything out.

I'm not sure he would have understood if I posted my amusement at his theologizing.

What happens when you ask a simple question at my job.

Does anyone know of any good text editors for Windows available internally?


Samba, an Exceed xterm and vi. :-)
Or gvim for windows.

Load MS Dos in a VM

Edlin c:\autoexec.bat


Best regards,

Today is the Feast of the Holy Rosary

Thanks to Justine for the linky.

Note for the wise: Formerly known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory. Anyone know why?

Proof that NO is getting back to normal

People running red lights. I love it.

This is how I am with bookstores

Or, the quote of the day:

I just bought a book on a hunch the other day while trying to get out of the magic spell that bookstores seem to cast on me, robbing me of my free will and causing me to buy books for no good reason. I should have all my credit cards say "not valid in bookstores unless holder is accompanied by a responsible person".

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jimmy Akiin on SCOTUS and the Constitution

The Good.
The Bad.
The Ugly.

Some more info on Kung

From my newest friend at NYU, TYL. No, I'm not sure who that is, but let's give him/her/it a warm welcome to the wonderful world of armchair bishoping.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I was going to buy a seltzer machine, but this stinks

I'd rather get mine the old fashioned way than worry about a lawsuit.

"I received an ad from a company called which sells a device to carbonate water and provides associated supplies," the reader wrote. "The idea is to make your own carbonated drinks and save money as well as the environment by reusing the containers. I was calculating what the actual savings would be to see if it was worth it when I noticed that there is a EULA associated with the containers of carbon dioxide. This licensing of everything has gone too far -- when will it stop?"

Someone programmed a VB application without knowing what events are

Roughly like filling your car with gasoline without knowing what a gas pump is.

Rome speaks?

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan made his remarks in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica. He was responding indirectly to an intervention by Archbishop William Levada during the discussions of the Synod of Bishop. Archbishop Levada-- the American prelate recently chosen by Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) to be prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith-- had asked other prelates to reflect on the question that had divided the US hierarchy during the 2004 election year: How bishops should respond to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

"A Catholic cannot support a politician who presents abortion as a general norm," said Cardinal Lozano. The Mexican prelate added that "a son of the Church cannot consider himself to be in full communion if he supports what the Church condemns."


A world without God

Reflecting in his homily on the Gospel reading from St. Matthew (21:33-43), relating the parable of the landowner and the vineyard, the Holy Father observed that all men suffer the temptation to exclude God from their affairs. Like the workers in the vineyard, he said, "we want to be the landlords ourselves."

In the world of public affairs, the Pontiff continued, this tendency is evident when individuals see God's presence as inconvenient to their own plans. "Either we simply make Him a pious expression, or we deny Him everything," he said. "He is banished from public life, and thus loses all meaning."

Oddly, this is what Fr. Buda said in his homily on Sunday. Does that mean he's papabile?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bush' SCOTUS nominee supported Gore, but when he was still pro-life


Why JWR has a cool editor

Sign up for the newsletter. Give him money!

Dearest readers:

In a few minutes, Rosh Hashanah, one of Judaism's most holiest days,
will begin. Observant Jews will be spending most of the next 48
hours in deep prayer. JWR will therefore be suspending publication
til Thursday. (Yes, even though the holy festival ends Wed. night,
we'll be working through the night to make sure the morning's
edition will be out in time).

We value EACH and EVERY reader. As many aren't Jewish, we've updated
[ I N S I G H T ] section on our Front Page:

May I suggest that you divide reading the fresh material over two
days --- it will make it last longer .

May the new year, Jewish or otherwise, be one of inspiration,
happiness and health, peace and prosperity.

In gratitude and friendship,
Binyamin L. Jolkovsky
Editor in Chief

Blog Convention Next Week

The Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University is proud to announce that the first ever GodBlog Convention will be held at Biola University on October 13th through October 15th, 2005. GodBlogCon is designed to establish and cultivate relationships within the Christian blogging community and to provide opportunities for Christian bloggers to think about their role within the broader blogging world.

I thought I'd never see the day.

Time to Bless your Livestock

Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. And what a day it is. Strangely enough, St. John the Divine is known for their blessing of the animals. I still don't get why.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Happy New Year from Squach

Sacramentum Vitae on the Synod

Because I have no idea why I've been left to post. I think he hits the nail on the head.

The more people think of freedom as autonomy rather than as the healthy exercise of a faculty within the limits of the divine and natural law, the more enslaved to their passions they become and thus the less free they become. The less free they become, the more they insist that the Church respect their freedom by allowing lots of sex with few inconvenient consequences. Hence the demands to end the celibacy requirement for priests, for giving the Eucharist to the divorced-and-remarried who haven't bothered with the "hypocrisy" of annulment, for the distribution of condoms to teens and promiscuous adults, and of course for the rock-bottom option: legal abortion for those embarassing occasions when contraception fails.

L'Shana Tova!

I thought this article was particularly pertinent for the occasion.

Rosh HaShanah is the birthday of the world; as such it the annual chance to ensure that we are living up to G-d's expectations for us and His creation. Do we deemphasise our needs in preference to those of G-d? Do we grab every opportunity to set aside our own desires to bring happiness other human beings? Does our behaviour in private reflect the same high standards as those we exhibit in public? These things define who we are; they not only distinguish us from the animals, but validate G-d's decision to create the world in the first place. This is the theme of Rosh HaShanah — reawakening the G-d awareness in all of us that so fundamentally expresses the purpose of creation. So on Rosh HaShanah we crown God, paying homage to His majesty and limitless might through our renewed commitment to implementing His will with every act.

Let us celebrate our true human potential on Rosh HaShanah; may this be a year in which we take full advantage of every precious moment that G-d grants us.

Catholic Analysis Emphasizes Agape

But as I read it and hear it, Lewis would view such serious questioning of our natural loves as essential. A deformed storge or affection can easily become a wild possessiveness that destroys the object of affection. A deformed philia can become an excuse to exclude others in complacent pridefulness. And a deformed eros can lead to the mere use of others as objects in order to re-experience the evanescent thrill of infatuation regardless of the human cost involved. In the end, it is agape, the divine love that is incarnated in the Cross that saves them all and gives them their rightful place in the sun.

As Christians, we have a tremendous advantage. Whenever we are in doubt in particular circumstances as to how we ought to love, we can look at a crucifix (an advantage of being Catholic or Eastern Orthodox!). No long explanations are needed. The claims of mere selfishness melt in the face of the crucifix. The message is clearer than any multi-hour sermon or seminar could communicate. Yes, let us celebrate our natural loves; but to really have them in all their glory they must, in a sense, die and rise up again as agape. That is the paradox of Christianity that, strangely enough, lets grace build and elevate nature so that nature can be most truly itself. The result is the abundant life promised by Christ. And, it is clear, as you listen to Lewis, that as a Christian he indeed lived life abundantly and fully. He did not miss out on anything the world has to offer.

Solar Eclipse Today

One of the best places to view the event was in the Spanish capital, Madrid, where thousands came out on to the streets.

Many went to the city's planetarium to view the ring through special eclipse glasses.

Further north and south of the darkest path, a partial eclipse was seen, with the Moon observed to take a large chunk out of the Sun.

In London, UK, this partial eclipse started at 0848 BST (0748 GMT) and ended at 1118 BST (1018 GMT)

Ulcers- More than Your Kids' Fault

Two Australian scientists were today awarded this year's Nobel prize for physiology and medicine for their "unexpected" discovery that has saved millions of people from the pain of stomach ulcers.

Robin Warren, a pathologist from Perth, and Barry Marshall, a senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia, share the prize for their 1982 discovery of a bacterium, helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach inflammations and ulcers.

Jules Verne! It's a Giant Squid!

More than you would ever to know about the kinky mating habits of the giant squid. Sorry, we don't have photos. But they (Reuters) do.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

So Confused

My entire understanding of what people think just flip-flopped:

Bavarian bar keepers have been told that the dirndl, generally rather revealing, will have to be replaced as it offers no protection against what the directive calls "natural sources of radiation", meaning sunlight.

Employers now face heavy fines if they fail to protect their workers from the threat of sunburn or skin cancer.

However O.O. says

Now if I can only get Zorak to wear a dirndl around the house....

So the E.U. now finds drindls immodest and O.O. finds it suitable as traditional German attire?

Someone please clarify here before my mind explodes.

Church in NO

Some things, at least, are back to normal.

Oh my

I really don't understand when it became acceptable to fight an enemy by killing your countrymen.

Three suicide bombers carried out the coordinated terror attacks on crowded restaurants in Bali Saturday night, Indonesian officials said today.

They said this conclusion was based largely on the discovery of three heads severed from bodies, one at Raja's restaurant on a busy street in Kuta, a popular beach resort and tourist area in Bali, and two in the sand among the wooden tables on the beach at Jimbaran, five miles south of Kuta.

Missing the point again

Jewish Buddhist.


Shema Yisrael anyone?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Polygamy's legal in Holland

And why not?

Today is the day of St. Therese, the Little Flower

A most wonderful saint, and special to my family.

Ever wondered why the geneaologies in Matthew and Luke don't quite match up?

As Holding puts it, Probably through the law of levirate marriage.

The Jewish folk had numerous provisions for cases of inheritance-transfer in extreme cases. One of the more frequent situations that had to be covered (in a land-based, clan-ownership system) was that of childless marriages, or in some cases, of son-less marriages. One of the more concise statements of how this would apply here, is by J. Stafford Wright in Dict. of New Test. Theol., III. 662: "Mary's father (Heli?) had two daughters, May and the unnamed wife of Zebedee (John 19:25; Matt 27:56). If there were no sons, Joseph would become son of Heli on his marriage, to preserve the family name and inheritance (cf. Num 27:1-11; 36:1-12, esp. v. 8, which accounts for Mary marrying a man of the family of David.)"

Just one more example of the Jewishness of the Gospels that I like to bring up to those who disdain them as overly Hellenized.


Somehow, I'm not surprised.

The somewhat befuddled heroes of the tale will be truckers like Mark Kostinec, who was dropping a load of beef in Canton, Ohio, on Sept. 2 when his dispatcher called with an urgent government job: Pick up 20 tons of ice in Greenville, Pa., and take it to Carthage, Mo., a staging area for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mr. Kostinec, 40, a driver for Universe Truck Lines of Omaha, was happy to help with the crisis. But at Carthage, instead of unloading, he was told to take his 2,000 bags of ice on to Montgomery, Ala.

After a day and a half in Montgomery, he was sent to Camp Shelby, in Mississippi. From there, on Sept. 8, he was waved onward to Selma, Ala. And after two days in Selma he was redirected to Emporia, Va., along with scores of other frustrated drivers who had been following similarly circuitous routes.

At Emporia, Mr. Kostinec sat for an entire week, his trailer burning fuel around the clock to keep the ice frozen, as FEMA officials studied whether supplies originally purchased for Hurricane Katrina might be used for Hurricane Ophelia. But in the end only 3 of about 150 ice trucks were sent to North Carolina, he said. So on Sept. 17, Mr. Kostinec headed to Fremont, Neb., where he unloaded his ice into a government-rented storage freezer the next day.

What's up in the Ukraine?

The religious tensions that trouble Ukraine could be solved, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar said, "if Ukraine had one patriarch for all." He told the Religious Information Service of Ukraine that on this basis, Ukrainian Christians could "return to the primary unity."

The Ukrainian prelate argued that "neither Moscow nor Rome will give us unity." Instead, he said, Ukrainian Catholics should join in a single Church, and then "Rome, Constantinople, or Moscow-- which is much younger compared to them-- will just accept this fact."

It is not essential, Cardinal Husar said, that the patriarch of this Ukrainian Church should be a Catholic. The single requirement for such a leader, he said, is that "this patriarch should be a man capable of uniting everyone."

However, the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church-- which is the largest Eastern Church in communion with Rome-- went on to say that a united Ukrainian Church must also be in communion with Rome. Therefore, he said, even if the patriarch is not now a Catholic, he would soon enter into full communion with the Holy See.

It sounds like not much different from anything else proposed . . . am I wrong?

The West and Lebanon

"Actually I cannot say that Lebanon has been totally independent and autonomous since the departure of the Syrians," the Lebanese archbishop told Vatican Radio in a September 29 interview. The notion that foreign powers are doing their best to preserve Lebanese independence, he said, is "a bit superficial." Both France and the US as nations which have been involved "in a subtle way," he said. "They say they are not, but I am not so sure about that."

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