Friday, June 30, 2006

Oddly, a touching moment in legal history

"It will undoubtedly appear peculiar to many people that heinous criminals such as the defendants, having been found guilty on overwhelming evidence of the most despicable crimes of violence, should go unwhipped of justice," he wrote.

"Yet our Constitution, statutes and morality require that we be ruled by the law, not vindictiveness or the advantages of the moment."

If you're a killer, and the statute of limitations has run, you should be free. Anything else is ex post facto law, and that is clearly clearly prohibited by the Consitution, is it not? If we are to be ruled by laws, rather than by men, we must accept them even when we don't understand them.


When I was sitting on the floor of the van with her I felt obliged to respond, but for a time the other girls fell absolutely quiet, reflecting on her words. After awhile I also gave up asking questions, because there was an enormous lump in my throat, although I don’t remember exactly what it was she was discoursing on when I became so overwhelmed. The totality of the picture she painted for us, together with the extraordinary light in that gaze that she occasionally fixed on one of us, before shifting her gaze calmly out the window, was too beautiful for my own words to represent here. There was one question, however, that I thought to ask her, which gained a response worth sharing. “Sister,” I asked, “is there a great difference between, say, the kind of poverty you saw in the East, in India, and what you see here?”

Her eyes widened at me, and she nodded. “Ohhhh,” she breathed. “It is not the same thing at all.” She said that that in India, material poverty is much, much greater than anything she’s seen in the West, and so she is never really impressed by what she sees here. Here, people suffer from poverty, but they do not die just from it; there they will die tomorrow if they do not get food.

But, she said, in the East, the soul is different. It is stronger, as she put it, and solid. Whether a person is Christian, or Hindu, or Muslim, or Buddhist, he is a solid Christian, a solid Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist. He will not lose faith because he is hungry, or because he is well-fed. And in India, if people are hungry, they are still happy. The poorest people on the streets, she said, are the happiest. If they have food today, they are happy; they do not wonder if they will have food tomorrow. Their joy, she insisted, is something unlike anything you see on any face in the West.

I think that I must spend most of my time in idle pursuits, and if I spent more time praying and doing good works I would be a much happier person.

But I think that there's a greater social dimension to it than that. It's not that it's impossible for anyone in the West to be faithful, but that living in an unfaithful society deprives you of interactions which would allow you to be at peace . Come to think of it, maybe it's just New York. But probably not, I think there's too much of it in what I see even in those from the western US.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Let's also pray for peace

In a headline you don't see too often, "Holy See calls for Israeli soldier's release".

There was a giant bottle of PBR in Jersey and no one told me?

It was the 60-foot-tall Pabst beer bottle, which had loomed 185 feet above Newark for 75 years, serving as a guidepost for countless weary drivers.

But on Monday, after a lengthy struggle, the rusted bottle — which was actually a 55,000-gallon water tank — came down piece by piece over seven hours. For now it is five enormous pieces of steel and copper plate three-eighths of an inch thick, and its fate is far from settled.

I'm a big believer in Pabst Blue Ribbon, so the fact that I never saw this bottle is a little upsetting. Then again the fact that I like PBR is a little upsetting to most of the people that I know. They say it's redneck beer. Now, I'm not going to go and say I want to be like the redneck dba, but I like the beer.

Pro-life license places ok

What I find most interesting is that a NY state judge recently ruled that pro-life bumper stickers are ok. Which means, of course, that someone sued, saying that pro-life bumper stickers are either grossly offensive or unconstitutional. How anyone could come to that conclusion I'm not sure. I really can't wrap my head around it. How could you go before a court of law and argue that certain bumper stickers, containing no obscene words or pictures, but merely distasteful ideas, are illegal? I do doubt the sincerity of the plaintiff in that case.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Online Library Software

I'm probably going to host my own solution so I can do funny things like make people check books out, but this is quite cool. Hat tip to Lisa for finding this.

Abp. Williams laying down the law!

Williams says that despite the political characterizations of the crisis, the debate "is not essentially a debate about the human rights of homosexual people," but one more fundamental about what it means to be Christian and Anglican.

. . .

Williams supports a proposal that those who support blessing active homosexuality should leave the Anglican Communion. He suggests they are forming a separate church that, while sharing historical and personal ties with Anglicanism, is no longer "talking the same language" as the Anglican Communion.

I'm not all doom and gloom. This is good news.

A little bit about death and society

The psychologists have unwittingly made their analyses of mourning into a historical document, a proof of historical relativity. Their thesis is that the death of the loved one is a deep wound, but one that heals naturally, provided one does nothing to delay the healing. The bereaved must become accustomed to the absence of the other, must transfer the libido still obstinately fixated on a "living" person, must "internalize" the deceased.

. . .

But this model that seems so natural to the psychologists is no older than the eighteenth century. It is the model of the beautiful death of the romantics and of the visits to the cemetery that we have called "the death of the other.". The style of mourning of the nineteenth century -- all too theatrical, of course, corresponds rather well to the requirements of the psychologists.

From "The Hour of our Death, by Aries, p.581

How often do we assume that what is modern is eternal?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Speaking of free speach . . .

What's the deal with this flag burning ban? Anyone should be able to burn whatever the bleep they want, whether it be flags, books, Bibles, witches (sorry Lada), etc.

However, as usual the opposition is more interesting

Opponents had argued that the the initiative amounted to tampering with the Bill of Rights.

Well yes. That's the point of a Constitutional amdendment. To tamper with the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. Better yet, though:

Mr. Feingold said the proposal would "cut back the Bill of Rights for the first time."

Well, except for that little inciden with your campaign finance laws where you said that certain people can't say certain things at certain times, all carefully determined by yourself and Senator McCain.

Ugh. I can't believe I'm on the same side as Feingold and Durbin.

Less free speach for the Brits

In England, you can have an abortion for just about any reason. But one thing you evidently can't do is talk about what abortion is — or at least show the bloody truth through images.

A 74-year-old man named Edward Atkinson recently spent four weeks in prison for sending an executive at Norfolk's Queen Elizabeth Hospital "very upsetting" images and literature (and they were) in an effort, Atkinson said, "to educate" her about the abortion procedures done at her facility. On the same day Atkinson was sentenced, a wheelchair-bound woman was convicted for sending similar pictures to pharmacies that stock the "morning-after pill."

So if you send someone something that upsets them, you go to jail? Wow I could put a lot of people who claim to represent me in various legislative bodies in jail. Oh wait it's probably if they think it's upsetting not me. My bad.

A cry against morality

This is one of the more frightening things I've read in a while. No, the lives of Americains are not more valuable than those of Iraquis.

How quaint. That is, this is not at all how we think any more. If we still valued our own men more than the enemy's and the "civilians" he hides among — and now I'm talking about the war in Iraq — our tactics would be totally different, and, not incidentally, infinitely more successful. We would drop bombs on city blocks, for example, not waste men in dangerous house-to-house searches. We would destroy enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Iran, not disarm "insurgents" at perilous checkpoints in hostile Iraqi strongholds.

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadis. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of anyone who does. This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization.

If moral inferiority is the cost of saving civilization, then perhaps it is not worth saving. However, given that the soldiers of the Middle Ages were able to carry on wars for hundreds of years according to more morally superior strategies than those being proposed here.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Where do babies come from again?

Remarkably, 25% of the general public said that abstinence is not the best means of preventing pregnancy. The survey did not give respondents the opportunity to name a better method.

What happens when a gay fetal whale and an ACLU member/terrorist get in a fight?

Mass confusion.

The Roman Catholic dioceses of Los Angeles and Orange have backed away from pledges to prevent pedophiles from working with children by subjecting volunteers to fingerprint background checks, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Church leaders said they didn't want to lose illegal immigrant volunteers, who lack the legitimate government-issued photo IDs that are required for the checks.

Thank you Mr. Jester for this most enlightening article.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My new position?

The custom that flourished, especially during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, by which a pope would name as his
chief minister and most important advisor a nephew or
similar relative who was elevated to the rank of cardinal
and thereafter oversaw many of the most vital elements of
papal administration. The practice was not invented in the
sixteenth century, as papal nepotism had long been an
established part of the pontifical court.

I could use a new job in Rome, get away from it all for a while . . .

How come you never read about this in the history books is what I want to know. I feel as if some Protestant friend of mine would have brought it up as juicy material.

Keeping the churches cool

How will we air condition churches during the summer? We need lots and lots of power, especailly if people keep becoming Catholic at the current rate.

Among the various road maps, one published in 2003 by the Electric Power Research Institute stands out among the crowd, head and shoulders above the White House's own plan. The EPRI report lays out a carefully staged, decades-long strategy that includes modernization of the power grid, decentralized production, real-time price signals in support of demand response capabilities, and — in the long term — use of hydrogen as a complementary energy carrier.

Always some interesting reads from Mr. Udell. What's most fascinating, however, is this little discussion about how to reduce peak power load:

Circumstances, of course, can put pressure on those QoS parameters. In a rolling brownout, it’s in everyone’s interest to shed load intelligently. Site Controls can do this across its network of customers in an automated way, Frost tells me, because each franchise defines its own business rules for a range of scenarios. Petco can’t afford to have a bunch of fish go belly-up, but the people who visit Michaels hobby and craft stores can handle an extra 10 degrees for a while. How much of a problem would that be? Frost argues that it might incur more goodwill than bad, and I agree. Intelligent adaptive behavior of this sort, when clearly motivated by collective social need, could become a competitive advantage.

The question here is, I think, will businesses who are environmentally responsible really do better in the long run? Will people give up a little of their comfort in exchange for knowing what it's going towards. I have in myself a very powerful tendency to imagine that I'm some sort of exception to the rules I wish everyone to follow, but I guess in a power emergency I could really turn off my computers and stay off of the Internet for a few days (hard to believe but it could happen). But can I convince myself that I'm ordinary?

Why I shouldn't be a philosopher

"A watch without numbers is like contaceptive sex. Just as sex has the unitative and procreative ends, a watch has chronometric and . . . umm . . . aesthetic ends. A watch without numbers is aesthetically pleasing, just like contraceptive sex is unitative. However, it doesn't tell you the time, just like it's not procreative. Same thing."

-- Me

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes

They are much appreciated. If, however, we could pray for the repose of a friend's grandmother, it would be much appreciated.

Happy Birthday Squach!

As the nuns taught me:

May God bless you! May God bless you! May God bless you Squach and make you a saint!

Friday, June 23, 2006

An odd point

ROME, JUNE 22, 2006 ( This Friday's feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII's encyclical "Haurietis Aquas," on this devotion.

Benedict XVI has written a letter for this occasion to Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, superior general of the Jesuits.

Fr. Kolvenbach? I'm not entirely sure why.

Sacred Heart

I was somewhat disturbed this morning when Mass didn't have a Gloria or Credo. The question is, what is to be done in these circumstances? Should I start at the appropriate time and hope everyone else catches on? Make some gestures at the priest?

I was pretty good at Catholic pictionary, but this seems harder.

Quote of the week

In his statement in Vienna on Wednesday, Bush said, "It should make people nervous when non-transparent regimes who have announced they have nuclear warheads, fire missiles."

True dat.

Some discussion between me and Fr. WB

Not as impressive as that last combox from Mark Shea's blog, but perhaps it will be of interest to some.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Presbyterians are on the cutting edge?

The Episcopal Church isn't the only denomination having trouble deciding what it believes. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted to "receive" a policy paper on sex-inclusive language for the Trinity. Instead of the traditional (and biblical) Father, Son and Holy Spirit, these liberal Presbyterians will consider using "Mother, Child and Womb," or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," among others. Never mind what God calls Himself. These people want a name change without asking permission.

Why not "Me, me, and myself"?

Save the lynx!

At any cost . . .

For their study in Washington state, government biologists nailed pieces of carpet soaked with catnip onto trees, hoping a lynx would rub up against them and leave some fur — evidence of the lynx's existence in this particular area. Sure enough, when biologists sent carpet samples to a lab, they came back positive for hairs from a Canada lynx.

That may sound like good evidence that there were Canada lynx in the area, but actually, the regulators went to a zoo, got hair samples from captive lynx, and sent those hairs to the lab to be tested.

The biologists only admitted rigging the test when they were caught. The cheating didn't surprise Jim Beers, a biologist for the Department of Fish and Wildlife for 30 years.

He told me that biologists at Fish and Wildlife were on a campaign to keep people out of wooded areas. "The agencies today," he said, "are staffed with environmental radical activists." And the activist-bureaucrats don't want people living in the woods.

Once caught with their hands in the cage, the biologists announced that they were not trying to cheat, they were just "testing" the lab to make sure it could detect lynx hair by sending a "control" sample. Beers said: "That's the same as you telling me that you caught them walking out of the bank with money and they said, 'Oh, we were just seeing if the system works here.'"

Bondage on the Streets as Fetish Gear enters Fashion

A few highlights from this New York Times article (listed under Fashion):

On the 10th anniversary of the fair, Folsom Street East brought together thousands of men and women (and men who formerly were women) for the sort of gathering that, once upon a time, rarely took place in the full light of day.

There was a time when people whose erotic rituals ran to whips and chains and latex and highly complex protocols of dominance and submission were confined to the cultural shadows. But that was before Madonna turned bondage into a concert party trick, before the Gap ran ads with a tongue-in-cheek S-M tagline ("Everybody in leather!"), before Altoids and Svedka vodka purloined imagery from "Venus in Furs" for their ad campaigns and well before Victoria's Secret mainstreamed the bondage pinup queen Bettie Page.

"The whole leather fetish look has been around since at least the 1920's," said Valerie Steele, the director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. "But from the moment it started to come out of the closet following the sexual and gay liberation movements, it was already influencing popular culture, with guys walking down Castro Street in leather and people wearing it in friendly little swingers clubs in suburbia."

"So much of this world used to be swept into dark corners or alleys or basements," Mr. Weis said. Images and acts, he added, that might once have been shocking now barely merit a yawn.

"It's really just fashion, no different from shopping in Barneys or Bergdorf's," said Gregory Bunch, a salesman at the Chelsea fetish shop, the Noose. "You buy key pieces that are the best you can afford and that provide the most utility. Then you accessorize."

The key pieces this summer, Mr. Bunch said, are leather shorts and a harness. Actually, those are the key pieces every year. "It's too hot now for chaps," said Mr. Bunch, who bears a tattoo on his right bicep that reads SLAVE. "If shorts are too hot, you can always wear a studded leather codpiece jock."

Of course you can. Or you can wear, as many did, a latex singlet or bleach-mottled skinhead denims or neoprene jerkins reminiscent of Nicolas Ghesquiere's designs for Balenciaga, or close-cropped mohawks or abraded jeans left half-open or dog collars and leather hoods with zippered mouth and eyeholes and with little puppy ears attached.

"It's a way to express the feelings and emotions of your inner canine," explained Steve Birko, who calls himself Puppy Diesel when dabbling in the burgeoning sphere of what in kink circles is called human animal training, an elaborate form of role play in which the end point is basically sit and stay.

If there was a single dominant (pardon the term) fashion theme of the day, it was takeoffs on the traditional Scottish form of masculine dress; dozens of the men and women (and men who formerly were women) chose to wear kilts to the fair. Among them was a buff shirtless man who wears an altogether different kind of gear for his day job as a Protestant cleric.

I've long held the belief that BDSM fetish gear was creeping into mainstream fashion. I have seen young girls, who were not yet in their teens, wearing leather boots with three inch heels with miniskirts. I sat next to a 12 year-old girl on a recent plane trip who wore a shirt that was ripped across her chest revealing her barely-there cleavage. And pierced nipples are no longer a shocking thing. My SCUBA instructor sported pierced nipples in teaching my college gym class.

I think relationships in which one person seeks to control the mind or body of another can never truly be loving because it is an affection for power, control, and a desire to stroke one's ego. Even as a submissive this holds true for you derive pleasure from being made into a sexual object. Though the role is subservient it is a special role and involves being in the spotlight, even though it is a light shining on a stage of degradation.

BDSM culture is not really so shocking once you take procreation and mutual loving and self-giving out of the act of intercourse. Once you start treating your spouse/partner/whatever as a sexual object from which you seek to derive pleasure then why not use bondage, why not treat one another as dogs, dolls, or any other animal or object? Why not do this all the time and make a "lifestyle" out of it?

It is, to use the cliché, a slippery-slope. It starts when we teach our young girls to view themselves to be vain and immodest, when we teach them that it is good to attract the eyes and attention of others, and that they should earn compliments like they do good grades. It starts when we teach our boys to look at women this way, telling them that girls like to be treated this way. It becomes inevitable and embedded in mainstream culture when we teach that it is permissive to enjoy sex, our own bodies, and those of others, at any age given that you take the appropriate measures. Girls learn to objectify not only themselves but one another. Boys are learning to do the same.

Given that the above is the present reality of our culture should we really be shocked when men parade their "dogs" on the street as a source of pride and pastors revel in their leather kilts?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Also, don't like being a mother or you're a bad person

NEW YORK, June 20, 2006 ( – Linda Hirshman, a feminist US writer on cultural issues, has told the world why she thinks staying at home with the children is an occupation “not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings.” She complains at length that the feminist movement, while making some gains in public life through legal activism, has largely failed in the one area where it counts most: the family.

She upbraids women who stay at home for failing the feminist agenda, saying, “They do not require a great intellect, they are not honored and they do not involve risks and the rewards that risk brings.”

Writing in the November 2005 edition of the American Prospect, Hirshman admitted that the real intention of the feminist movement was not “equality”, but to destroy what she calls “the unreconstructed family” of a husband and wife rearing children. She writes that the goal was to see as many women as possible abandoning family life for high-level professions and politics.

So what do we go to? Wet nurses? Someone has to raise kids, you can't get around that. Besides she's also classist, why are "high-level" professions the only ones worth while? What about carpenter? Or is that a man's job? I don't get it.

Fetal rights make a staggering advance . . .

Already Banzhaf is setting his sights on fetal rights related to their smoking mums. While it is legally defensible to abort a fetus up until moments before birth, it is apparently inconceivable that a woman would expose her unborn child to the harmful effects of smoking.

While you're struggling to wrap your mind around that nonsensical nugget, Banzhaf is already issuing press releases. In a recent one from the organization he heads, Action on Smoking and Health, Banzhaf predicts that prohibiting smoking by pregnant women would pass constitutional muster.

"Since court after court has held that smoking is not a fundamental right like voting, and that smokers are not a protected class like African-Americans or women, the government has wide leeway in fashioning a remedy for whatever it concludes is a problem requiring corrective action."

You can kill 'em. Just don't give them a chance of being born underweight. Or overweight.

Apparently not satisfied with saving the recently born, Mathis wondered whether it would be constitutional to prohibit mothers from smoking while pregnant. Studies show, after all, that fetuses are at risk for low birth weight if their mothers smoke while pregnant.

No, wait, this just in: A new study in Australia shows that women who smoke while pregnant may cause their children to become obese. In a University of Queensland study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that smoking mothers' children were 30 percent more likely to be overweight.

Solid, solid research.

A Movie every American Needs to See

I watched "Winter in Baghdad" as part of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. It is a life-altering film. It has been three years after the American invasion of Iraq and this film festival has allowed me to see for the first time the war from the perspective of the Iraqis. This film along with Iraq in Fragments has done into the nitty-gritty detail of daily life in Baghdad and other regions of Iraq. We are so far-removed from the reality of this war and what it has wrought and the media has been keeping that reality from us. We have a moral obligation to know what our tax-dollars, guns, and lives of our soldiers are paying for. After watching these films there was no longer any doubt in my mind as to whether or not we have brought progress and democratization to these people. You have but to go to the hospitals and see all the wounded children, see the rising calls to insurgency, the growing factionalism, the total lack of basic security on the streets and ask yourself, is this what Democracy looks like? It's enough to make me want to put on a sack-cloth and go out into the desert to atone for my nation. All else is insignificant in the face of such suffering.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Balanced budget?

Unwilling to submit to the fiscal discipline of pay-go, House Republicans are instead hashing out a line-item veto that would give President Bush the ability to delete specific items from budget bills. In the Senate, Judd Gregg, chairman of the Budget Committee, has proposed a kitchen sink of moldy ideas from the bad old days of budget deficits in the 1980's and early 1990's — none of which have ever shown much promise as a means of thwarting big budget deficits.

It's all a pathetic attempt to look tough while avoiding the tried-and-true — and truly tough — deficit fix: reinstating the original pay-as-you-go rules.

For some reasons, Mark Shea's comments are better than most blogs

His readers dazzle with an explanation of infallibility which is the best I've seen.

Maybe Microsoft's running it?

Vatican officials have frequently expressed frustration about the pace of negotiations on a pact that would ensure the legal and economic rights of Catholic institutions in Israel. As Rep. Hyde observes in his letter to the White House, the completion of such an agreement was promised "within two years" when Israel and the Holy See entered into their historic "Fundamental Agreement" in 1994.

Windows Vista - Out by 2004.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Belgians arrest man for homeschooling

Nothing like a little tolerance of . . . whatever they're tolerant of. What are they tolerant of anyway?


Wow, an online concordance of every word in the New Testament! Just what I always wanted. (Seriously!) Now if only they would do this with different versions...

Episcopals Elect Woman Leader

The US Episcopal Church has chosen a woman as its next leader - making it the first church anywhere in the Anglican denomination to do so.

Katharine Jefferts Schori narrowly won a vote among her fellow bishops at a governing General Convention meeting.

The choice must still be approved by delegates at the convention, where the bishops' vote is normally backed.

The choice could prove controversial - most other Anglican Churches around the world do not allow women to be bishops.

The bishops voted 95-93 to back Bishop Jefferts Schori after a number of ballots, AP news agency reported. A total of seven candidates were in the running for the post.

I would venture to ask several questions. It is not my place to put too much personal commentary- not my denomination.

But here they are:

How will this further the divide between the Episcopal Church and their affiliates?

How will this affect more conservative churches in the US?

And... How will this affect the waffling of Mr. Mike the Geek?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Br. Chris

Hi friends,

I'm going to ask for your prayers for a special petition. Br. Chris of the Lasallian community in Oakland where I will be soon living, has been struggling with complications of cancer and will be going in for another surgery on his spine this week. It is extremely invasive and he has already been through a lot with his treatment. Though I only spent three days with him, I call tell you that he is a wonderful man full of the love of God and love for the poor with whom he works. He is shining example of dedication in service, community, and faith, and a model of hope and perseverance. If you can, please pray an Our Father for him and remember him in your daily prayers.

Which reminds me, I got beat out of a Corpus Christi homily

That did get transferred to today, yeah? It was the reading and whatnot, but sadly not the homily. Bah. Catholic Encyclopedia for me again.

Quote of the day

When reading about a company in some shareholder issues:

Does this remind anyone else of the last writings of the Dwarves at Barad-Dur before they were defeated by the orcs?

When were the dwarves at Barad-dur? Still classic though.

My Father's Day Mass

"I'd love to give you my rendition, but it tends to empty out the church, and since the collection comes after the homily, the pastor would never invite me back."

The homily itself was on the Harry Chapin song "Cats in the Cradle". We also had some applause for the fathers after the blessing. I will let y'all impute my take on this.

Happy F-Day to all to whom it is appropriate, as well! May the skies grow cloudy with the smoke from a thousand grills.

Well today is exciting for several reasons

The first of which is that I'm in St. Blog's now, as the little button down on the right indicates. Yay!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Our Father

"The Lord's Prayer "is truly the summary of the whole gospel." "Since the Lord...after handling over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, 'Ask and you will receive,' and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer (the Lord's Prayer) is said first, as the foundation of further desires."

- Tertullian, De orat.
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2761.

How you know the nuclear reactor is British

I'm not going to bother describing some of the other aspects of our visit -- the standby diesel generators, the additional ranks of control cabinets that keep the generators running, or the methane, liquid nitrogen, hydrogen electrolysis, or other gas plants dotted around the complex. (This is already way over-long for a blog report!) I'm not even going to dwell on the more bizarre aspects of the site: the anti-rabbit defenses, the anti-truck-bomb obstacles (on the entrance only -- no self-respecting truck bomber would ever think of driving in through the exit, would they?), or the weirdly victorian-looking plumbing around the 12 metre level (where the manual last-ditch controls are available, all brass dials and hand-wheels). What I think I should end with is an explanation of the title of this piece ...

The thing is, I really do think that a British truck bomber would only use the enterance, after a round of songs about England being Jerusalem or some such with my English friend in Spain.

And with your spirit?

Jun. 16 ( - The US bishops have approved a new, more accurate English translation for the Order of the Mass.

Surprising observers who had anticipated a contentious debate and a close vote, the members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) discussed the new translation for less than an hour before approving it by an overwhelming 173- 29 vote.

Deo gratias! I was afraid that we'd end the conference short a few bishops due to fistfights.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What do I want, exactly?

A guy at work today who puts in rediculous hours for the company told me that every day I come to work, I have to remember there's something I'm trying to get out of the company, and to get it. It was at about that point that I realized that I didn't have a very good answer to that question.

Is anything good enough, as long as I put myself into it? Or do I have a responsibility to some sort of professional end? Educational, perhaps? I did say in my interviews that I wanted to learn as much math as possible, which is true.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A lovely bipartisan issue

After some $90,000 in literally cold cash had been found in Rep. Jefferson's freezer at home, the feds got a search warrant and went through his office for what an informant had told them was evidence of a bribe. After all, why is a congressman's office different from all other offices subject to a proper search warrant?

Because, the FBI's critics point out, Article I, Section VI of the Constitution declares that members of Congress shall not be questioned "for any Speech or Debate in either House . . . ."

And might not the papers seized from Congressman Jefferson's office have some connection with a speech or debate in Congress? Doesn't that make congressional suites off-limits to law enforcement?

. . .

Then again, Congressman Jefferson could argue that bribery now has become an accepted part of speech and debate in the House. Whatever one thinks of that argument, it does show a refreshing candor.

Bah. The Blue and White got an interview with Benoit

Much lore surrounds the Columbia Tunnels, but also much fact, and a tunneling SEAS '01 student--operating under the nom de guerre Benoit--has made his e-mail address availible for those curious about Columbia's subterranean avenues. Bwog staffer Brendan Ballou contacted Benoit nine months ago for his article on another tunneler (and all-around badass) Ken Hechtman, and received a reply this week. Benoit acceded to an interview via e-mail, originally published on Brendan's blog.

Chihuly is coming!

Beautiful hand-blown glass sculptures are currently being assembled in the New York Botanical Garden for the first-ever New York exhibit of Dale Chihuly's unique art. I'm witnessing this first-hand and have to say I am quite impressed. I have never seen such a fun and colorful combination of art in nature. I recommend that if you are in the New York area this summer this is a must-see event. Tickets are available through TicketMaster. However if you are my friend and are very nice to me I can get you in for free at one of the exclusive member-days. :-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why obeying the law is a bad idea

What would Aquinas do?

this is a video of some college kids driving in every lane at 55 mph around the permimeter of Atlanta, GA - I285.

The world is getting a little dissatisfied with RU 486

In fact, Roccella and Morresi explain, abortions procured by chemical means are more drawn out, difficult and uncertain than the surgical alternative. Using the abortion pill requires repeated visits to a clinic. And only in 3% of cases does the abortion take place within 48 hours of taking the first pill, according to FDA data.

The pill also normally causes symptoms such as abdominal pains and cramps, nausea, hemorrhages, headaches and vomiting. The most painful part of the process, when the fetus is finally expelled from the mother's body, can last for hours.

According to the authors, a conservative estimate of the number of deaths worldwide due to chemical abortions reached 13 (as of late March). The real number could be higher, the book notes, since in general the media have preferred to turn a blind eye to reporting the deaths and other problems due to the pill.

The side effects of the pill are more than physical. Many women, 56% according to a study cited in the book, actually see the corpse of the aborted fetus. This traumatic experience can trigger nightmares and flashbacks in women.

How you know Perl is the language of Christians

Programming and religion clash in the First Apocalypse of Perl.

It is my fond hope that those who are fond of Perl 5 will be fonder still of Perl 6. That being said, it's also my hope that Perl will continue trying to be all things to all people, because that's part of Perl too.

Truly Perl, like Paul, is all things to all people.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The emotions of investing

Individual investors often buy high, at the tail end of a market bubble, and sell low, just before a bull market is about to start again, Kiley said.

"From an emotional perspective, for individual investors it is a lot easier to buy high and sell low, but the exact opposite is required," Kiley said.

. . .

Individual investors could make the biggest stock market gains by simply picking good stocks and waiting for growth, Bernstein said. But many, he said, have been trained by the speculative investing environment of the 1990s and are not looking in the right areas.

"Individual investors can wait for the market to come in their direction, but nobody wants to do that. They say they want to follow what's hot," Bernstein said. "To me individual investors are wasting immense opportunities to build wealth here."

We were actually talking about this very fact at work recently. People are much more likely to feel good about getting nailed if lots of big banks take a hit, rather than taking a chance and sometimes being wrong when the big banks are right. It's most profitable to hold a diverse portfolio and sit, but people would rather emulate what they see on TV, despite the fact that corporate strategies are not really appropriate for individuals.

Psych, I guess.

I'm not the only crazy one!

Some of the students involved with the program suggested to IBM that they should run a mainframe contest. The contest was in three phases. The first was to do some very simple things with ISPF (the GUI for mainframes). I have not touched a mainframe for ten years, but was trained up in the heyday, and I could have completed it with no difficulty. The prize was a "Master the Mainframe" T-shirt which was won by hundreds of students across 85 universities in North America. The intent of the first phase was to raise awareness and interest in the mainframe.

The second and third stages were more difficult and culminated with starting and using DB2 and CICS environments. Very near the end was a JES initiator problem, when a student asked a question about this they got the reply "Congratulations for reaching Task 17 of the contest! The tasks get increasingly difficult as you progress through them. You are working on resolving a problem that came from z/OS system support software testing. It took two experienced technicians several hours to resolve this problem. Use the knowledge you have gained to this point to continue to explore the z/OS system and see if you too can resolve the problem." I am fairly certain that would have defeated me!

The top five winners received a laptop and, wait for it....

A three day trip to the Poughkeepsie mainframe laboratories. Those of us who have been there might not see it as a great prize but it did give the students a better idea of the importance of the environment and some introduction to possible employers. Two of the finalists will be starting with IBM this summer.

The students came away with the view that mainframes are cool, not just because they are powerful and versatile but, more importantly, they offer good job prospects.

Dawn Eden's new book due out

It's about chastity. I feel I'd be more effective about writing a book about unchastity, but apparently she's had a bit more experience than myself in this area and has some amazing insights. Or at least the part she posted on her website is pretty good.

On television and in movies, if a single woman is friends with a man, the pal’s more often than not a homosexual. The message is that heterosexual men aren’t capable of friendship or even worthy of it. In contrast, gay men are depicted as safe and nonthreatening, trustworthy, and having more to give than straight men.

Imagine if the tables were turned. Imagine watching a TV sitcom where all the gay men are Neanderthal lunkheads, while the kind, thoughtful straight men are always ready to help their female friends without asking sexual favors in return.

If you saw a show like that, you’d think the producers really had it out for gay men. Yet, many women tolerate such stereotyping against straight men, because they’re conditioned to expect “manly men” to lack character. Part of this conditioning comes from the media, but a large part of it—I’d say, most—comes from such women’s own warped perspectives, brought about by the superficial nature of their dating experiences.

When I had nonmarital sex, I became accustomed to seeing myself as a commodity—a varied collection of looks, wit, intellect, and je ne sais quois. I looked for men whose commodities were worth as much as my own.

Most of all, I looked for men whose commodities were readily apparent. The singles scene isn’t known for its subtlety. Men who were reserved or modest, who didn’t flirt readily, who weren’t attuned to my single-gal vibe—the nature of my casual-sex mind-set forced them all out of the running.

Monday, June 12, 2006

B16 says "word" to Spain

This is not the first time that the current government has been accused of "provoking" the Church in such a fashion. In 2005, the government's own ambassador to the Holy See said Zapatero's government had “stuck a finger in the Church's eye” by approving the law on same-sex marriages two days before Benedict's inauguration.

The pope will greet Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at the headquarters of the Valencia archdiocese, and not at any official government location. The move, some have speculated, is a signal by the gesture-sensitive Vatican to show the socialists and Zapatero where they stand in Benedict’s estimation. The meeting with Zapatero is scheduled following his greeting of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia, for which the pope will travel to Valencia’s City Hall.


Somehow I came across this Wikipedia article on ghostly doubles. They have these lovely facts:

Emilie Sagée was a schoolteacher in the nineteenth century whose doppelgänger's public appearances were recorded by Robert Dale Owen after being reported to him by Julie von Güldenstubbe.[citations needed]

Guy de Maupassant recorded his own doppelgänger experiences in his story Lui ( The light continent).

Percy Bysshe Shelley claimed to have met his doppelgänger foreboding his own death.[citations needed]

John Donne, the English metaphysical poet, apparently [citations needed] met his wife's doppelgänger in Paris, foreboding the death of his yet unborn daughter.[citations needed]

Abraham Lincoln told his wife that he saw two faces of himself in a mirror soon after being elected president, one deathly pale. His wife believed this to mean he would be elected to a second term but would not survive (Sandburg, 195).

Rosalyn Greene claims that the doppelgänger phenomenon, via bilocation, is responsible for reports of werewolves and other shapeshifters (Greene, 87).

They seem a little short on citations :-).

Anti-Catholic bigotry

Karen(7:51:46 PM): (the following is the complete text of an e-mail sent to catholics [ED: a group email at Columbia]
Karen(7:51:48 PM): "and wishful it postulate see rowland it amplify but ursuline"

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The regulations of incense

Need I say more? The more the better, IMHO.

Trinity Sunday

Often misunderstood, probably because it's a mysteryh (the Trinity, not Sunday). I read a work of Augustine on the subject which served more to confuse me, and possibly him, as well.

I guess prayerful contemplation is the only way to "get it", but then I don't really know how to present it to those who aren't exactly into prayerful contemplation of the Gospels. I could always go with the old food line:

One example is clover leaf rolls. These rolls are formed with three balls of dough put into one hole of the muffin tin for each roll. They are easy to make. Use your favorite roll recipe (you can even buy frozen bread or roll dough), or search on the Internet for one of many examples.

Though that would probably just raise those issues of cannibalism.

I think the Eastern Church's thrice holy hymn might be relevant here, but I'm not entirely familiar. Perhaps Z(ed) could provide some insight?

Something to think about today

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Mt 28:16-20

If we're always accompanied by God, then we ought not to be afraid of the world. I know I'm a little late picking this up after the pontificate of JPII, but it's quite easy for me to forget and end up worrying about my job or my computer or some other thing that doesn't matter. I probably shouldn't be worrying even about my spiritual life, not in that I shouldn't try my hardest to grow closer to God, but in that I shouldn't be afraid that somehow I'll fail. I guess if I understood the relation between will and grace (no not the TV show) it would be easier, but we've lost enough popes to that one.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Language development in one year olds


On the topic of Confession

We have hear an Anglican's reflections on what it means to confess one's sins. Not holding back seems to be the theme, and one that I can relate to closely. Every few months I realize that there's something I've been hiding, something that eats away at me when I'm not looking. Flushing it out into the air is the only solution. After all, everyone's gonna know soon enough once the world ends. I think.

Quote of the day, incidentally. Jeffrey says

I’ve found confessing sins to a fallible human priest to be more difficult than directly to a loving and merciful God, but it’s worth the effort-openin up to the priest, making a good confession, having the priest lay his/her hands on one’s head, and hearing the words of absolution really makes one feel forgiven.

The response, of course, from Kyle:

That’s why you go see an infallible priest. Surely there’s one within driving distance; just ask around.


Fr. Buda?

Eastern canon law has a penalty for first degree murder

Recall, this penalizing canon is narrowly drawn on purpose and strictly applies only to cases where it clearly applies. Some have the impression that there are automatic excommunications all over the place. That is not true. Curiously, our Latin Western Code of Canon Law has no canonical penalty for first degree murder; whereas the Eastern Code of Canon Law (1990) does (cn. 1450, #1). In a sane society, we should be able to assume that the criminal code would prohibit and punish crimes against human life.

For all of your questions on excommunication, Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Msgr. Smith. I think he has a show on EWTN.

I often am too quick to condemn, myself. It's easy to be an armchair bishop, and I really don't understand how, say, Ted Kennedy can go about saying he's a Catholic while basically making fun of the Church. But I'm not him, so maybe it is possible to fit both of your things in your mind at once. Then again, maybe not.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Though apparently it's pretty much the same deal in Canada

Turner responded, accusing McVety and those who share his beliefs of employing anti-democratic tactics. On his blog that same night Turner responded to McVety’s arguments, saying “I have no time for groups in our society who try to force their morals, or their culture, on the rest of us.”

He concluded his remarks saying, “Call it Defend Marriage Canada. Call it the Taliban. Fleurs de mal [Flowers of evil]” (

Flower of evil. Now that would be an interesting bumpersticker.

Another article on Kennedy's little rant

Just because I'm not his biggest fan :-). I'm thinking of getting a bumper sticker or something saying "I'm a bigot". Maybe it'll catch on, like those bracelets everyone used to wear.

"A vote for this amendment," Kennedy has said repeatedly, "is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." Like so many on his side of the debate, he insists that supporters of the marriage amendment are fanatics and haters — knuckle-draggers from "the rabid reactionary right" who want to "stain the Constitution with their language of bigotry," as he put it the last time the Senate took up the issue. If you are strongly committed to the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of husband and wife, in other words, you aren't just wrong — you're evil. You aren't fit to debate with, only to demonize. Kennedy and his allies don't want to consider your point of view, and they don't want anyone else considering it either. And they know that there is no better way to make a viewpoint so toxic that decent Americans shun it than to portray it as the equivalent of racism and prejudice.

But if it's "bigotry, pure and simple" not to want same-sex marriage to be forced on American society by a handful of crusading courts, then among the bigots must be the large congressional majority — 85 senators, 342 representatives — who passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, confirming that marriage in the United States is between members of the opposite sex only and allowing states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. Former President Bill Clinton must be a bigot too: He signed the bill into law.

The bigots must also include the dozens of American religious leaders who signed the Religious Coalition for Marriage statement endorsing the marriage amendment. The list of signatories is remarkably ecumenical — Roman Catholic cardinals, Greek and Russian Orthodox primates, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, rabbis, an apostle of the Mormon church, the president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, the editor of Christianity Today, and many others. Bigots all, apparently.

I hate to play follow the leader

But OO has an interesting article on a similar subject, if you follow the link. A source of much controversy in the past . . .

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Catholic Fashion

A most excellent article! The above listed site has a concise discussion about what Catholics need to keep in mind when dressing: hygeine, modesty, and decorum. Also there is a discussion about the problems associated with following haut couture. It's one of the better articles on this topic I've come across, and I've read quite a few.

I've often struggled with modesty. My vanity wants to show off my ... assets. I sometimes cross the line from attractive and dignified to overly-showy and vulgar. It's often a fine line. With fashion, as in other areas, as society continues to part with Christian mores and tradition there is a growing gap between the present culture's ethics and Catholic ethics. This certainly leads to a lot of confusion as to what is ethical.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Thank you Senator Kennedy

Proponents of the amendment, which would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, indicated that they would make the issue a prominent one during this year's election campaigns. "People are going to be responsible for their votes," said Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, a sponsor of the proposal. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, a leading opponent of the measure, renewed his charge that sponsors were intent on "writing bigotry into the Constitution" by barring same-sex marriage.

Catholics, what a bunch of bigots.

I find this amuesing

Three new bishops for Brooklyn

Two new bishops for Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan

And the bishop per person ratio is significantly lower in Central Asia. I'd imagine that's because they get killed a lot more often or some such reason that makes them look like the early Church, which probably does wonders for their faith and for evangelism. Still I can't say I'm jealous, perhaps I'm wussing out here.

Why you should learn statistics

significant. I could have forgiven Nameless right then, given it a pass on not mentioning this in the “methods” description, had the boilerplate e-mail not continued with the following (I kid you not):

“We think the results of this exercise are neither the cryptic omens of foretellers who don’t really tell us much nor the wild (and therefore unreliable) predictions of analysts who have little grounds for making such sure-handed forecasts. While perhaps a little lower in surprise value, our data is deeper in analysis value and more reliable and applicable.”

What? Huh? What were Nameless’ research directors smoking when they wrote this? Obviously they skipped out of statistics in college to attend an extra literature seminar or two. So now they’re saying that despite only 132 (or 88) respondents the survey is “deep in analysis value” and “reliable” without any of the basic math to back it up? Morale of the story: Before you base any major decisions on industry research reports, be very very skeptical – and maybe even a little afraid.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Pope and Auschwitz

News reports emphasized the pope's question. Every story noted that the man who voiced it was, as he put it, "a son of the German people." No one missed the intense historical significance of a German pope, on a pilgrimage to Poland, beseeching G-d for answers at the slaughterhouse where just 60 years ago Germans broke every record for shedding Jewish blood.

And yet some commentators accused Benedict of skirting the issue of anti-Semitism. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League said that the pope had "uttered not one word about anti-Semitism; not one explicit acknowledgment of Jewish lives vanquished simply because they were Jews." The National Catholic Register likewise reported that he "did not make any reference to modern anti-Semitism."

In truth, the pope not only acknowledged the reality of Jew-hatred, he explained the pathology that underlies it. Anti-Semites are driven by hostility not just toward Jews, he said, but toward the message of G-d-based ethics they first brought to the world.

Craziest Road Trip Ever

In this road trip competition to raise money for charities, two-membered teams make a three-week 8,000 mile trek from London to Mongolia in one-liter engine autos, without any support or high-tech gizmos.

This year New York is sporting a team. Check out their blogs here and here.

Quote of the Day

"Stop being a p**** and take up your cross."

Wise advice from from the 4D. This comment was directed at me, but I think it is good for all of us.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Where's equal protection when you need it

Talk of Hawaii leaving the Union? Get ready to send in the troops.

merica's motto is "E pluribus unum," Latin for "Out of many, one." Some U.S. senators seem to be reading it backward. This week the Senate will consider legislation that would create an independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians. If the bill becomes law, it would create a racial spoils system that would hand special privileges to up to one-fifth of the state's population — including many with only a trace of Hawaiian blood. It could inspire mainland groups such as Hispanic separatists to seek similar spoils, should they ever gain enough political leverage.

The notion is the obsession of Sen. Daniel Akaka, an 81-year-old Democrat whose 16-year Senate record has been so undistinguished that Time magazine listed him in April as one of the five worst senators calling him "living proof that experience does not necessarily yield expertise." Mr. Akaka, whose term ends this year, faces a tough challenge in the September Democratic primary from Rep. Ed Case, and is thus desperate to show he is still legislatively relevant.

Pontiff in NYC?

That would be quite the event, I have to say. I would have to take a day off of work, even, which is kind of unheard of for me.

How Enlightened

VANCOUVER, May 24, 2006 ( - Western Standard magazine, one of the few conservative publications in Canada, has acquired an internal document from Women's Hospital in Vancouver which shows that abortions are carried out at taxpayer expense when the reason is merely that the parents are not satisfied with the sex of the child. The cover story of the June issue of the magazine, which is arriving in mailboxes this week and is set to hit newsstands next week, reports moreover that similar to countries where sex-selective abortions are rampant, the birth ratio in certain communities in Canada with large Indian and Chinese populations is becoming increasingly skewed against girls.

I'm glad to see that Canada's women are protected from the crushing burden of having to support a baby girl when they're only ready to support a baby boy. If we forced them to have girls, think of all of the horrors that would ensue.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Something before sleep

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.

V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.

New Job, New Church

Tomorrow I'm starting a new job downtown, whicn means a new church for Mass in the morning. The nearest church to Bowling Green seems to be the Seton Shrine, which suites me fine, seeing as she's my mother's patron saint, though I'm also considering Our Lady of Victory.

The Times with a good story about the Church!

HONG KONG, June 4 – The highest official of the Roman Catholic Church in China marked the 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings today by strongly criticizing the Chinese government and calling on it to hold a full and open review of the killings.

The criticism by Cardinal Joseph Zen is the latest sign that the Vatican may not be willing to compromise on human rights in order to establish diplomatic relations with mainland China.

Amazingly, though, they still haven't figured that his name is Joseph Cardinal Zen, not Cardinal Joseph Zen.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

How are you going to celebrate Pentecost?

In Italy it was customary to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues; hence in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy Whitsunday is called Pascha rosatum. The Italian name Pascha rossa comes from the red colours of the vestments used on Whitsunday. In France it was customary to blow trumpets during Divine service, to recall the sound of the mighty wind which accompanied the Descent of the Holy Ghost. In England the gentry amused themselves with horse races.The Whitsun Ales or merrymakings are almost wholly obsolete in England. At these ales the Whitsun plays were performed. At Vespers of Pentecost in the Oriental Churches the extraordinary service of genuflexion, accompanied by long poetical prayers and psalms, takes place. (Cf. Maltzew, "Fasten-und Blumen Triodion", p. 898 where the entire Greco-Russian service is given; cf. also Baumstark, "Jacobit. Fest brevier", p. 255.) On Pentecost the Russians carry flowers and green branches in their hands.

Horse races?

The Vatican pipes up about persecution in Muslim countries

Well, there's no news like old news (i.e. sorry for posting a week after the article date).

In Asia, until recently, Muslims and non-Muslims lived largely in peace. In the last few years, however, extremist groups have grown and religious minorities are the target of violence. The archbishop also expressed concern over Islamic expansion in Africa, and, to a lesser extent, in Europe.

The problems posed by the radicalization of Islam range from Christians being unjustly subjected to trials by Islamic tribunals, to a lack of freedom in constructing places of worship and obstacles for the practice of faith.

The Vatican representative criticized Islamic countries for ignoring the concept of reciprocity, common in relations among states, when it comes to matters of faith. Islamic countries, he noted, demand religious rights for their citizens who migrate to other countries, but ignore this principle for non-Muslim immigrants present in their own lands.

A friend of mine recently noted that she felt that Muslims and Protestants were of one stripe in many ways. While this is not a generally true statement (after all, it's pretty safe to say that most Protestants are Christians, validly baptized and of relatively orthodox faith) what she said at least seems true historically. The last paragraph reminds me of Calvinists in France demanding religious tolerance, while going a little out of control in Geneva.

Date Manipulation for Dummies

Sometimes subtraction doesn't quite do the job as slowly as you'd like, so you have to invent things like this lovely function. Seriously, yikes. Though I have to admit to similar stupidity in my life, when I haven't gotten enough sleep and an assignment's due.

Friday, June 02, 2006

China v. the Patriotic Catholic Association?

The Chinese cardinal pointed out that when the Holy See issued a strong statement condemning the illicit episcopal ordinations carried out in China on April 30 and May 2, the Beijing government issued only a mild reaction, indicating that the regime "has accepted his new evolution of the situation."

The government has "clearly told the vice-president of the Patriotic Association, Liu Bainian, that he must put a stop to these ordinations," the cardinal told the French Catholic daily, La Croix. Government leaders recognize that if the unauthorized ordinations continue, the Vatican will break off talks with Beijing, he said.

Unexpected. I had not heard of this. Hope for the Chinese Catholics perhaps?

Well, I got to sit on the longest bench in the world in Spain

So there.

What I saw in London that was the coolest...

Yesterday in the British Museum I had the honor of seeing the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Alexandrinus in person. If you ever get to London, these are a must see. (I also saw the Gutenberg Bible and the first copy of the King James Bible.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

JP Holding continues his investigation of the strange world of Protestantism

According to SDC, presenting the Bible is a way appealing to the world is a sin. What's this mean? Using attractive graphics (this according to a tract of theirs that has some, um, colorful graphics in it). It is also a terrible crime to market as Bibles any Bible with commentary in it, like a Scofield, because it mixes God's Word with man's (as they say it) opinion. And a true Bible will also not have maps in it, and it is also an abomination to have someone's name (like Scofield's) on it (though "the Gospel According to Matthew" apparently isn't a problem, and they seem to not be aware that the Darby Bible is named after someone, too, and so is the Holman Bible, and Young,'s, for all get positive ratings). Copyrighting translations is a sin. It's also rather amusing that they think that such Bibles rob an omnipotent God of the ability to convict sinners.

All my bibles are nice and ugly, though I do have to admit that several have commentary by Cath-o-licks, which probably puts me on the wrong side of the Sound Doctrine Church.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

An interesting argument for extremism in politics, on the basis that compromise usually ends in situations that are worse for everyone than if either side had won completely.

Not a bad set of points, I think.

And we go right into Shavuot

Otherwise known as "Pentecost" for those of a less Hebraic persuasion.

Shavuot, also spelled Shavuos (Hebrew: שבועות (Israeli Heb. [ʃa·vu·'ʕot], Ashkenazi [ʃə·'vu·əs]) "[seven] weeks"), is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (corresponding to late May/early June). It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer and the day the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. It is one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals (shalosh regalim) mandated by the Torah.Shavuot, also spelled Shavuos (Hebrew: שבועות (Israeli Heb. [ʃa·vu·'ʕot], Ashkenazi [ʃə·'vu·əs]) "[seven] weeks"), is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (corresponding to late May/early June). It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer and the day the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. It is one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals (shalosh regalim) mandated by the Torah.

To be honest, I'd like to get involved in one of these all night Torah study sessions, but I don't think I'd be a very popular figure if I showed up.

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