Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You may be living in Queens when . . .

You can say this about your neighborhood dining options:
Tonight was the opening of Miami-based Colombian restaurant Los Verdes. This is their first and thus far only location in New York (at the corner of Greenpoing and 46th Street). The restaurant replaces the long-vacant storefront which previously housed Manolos (which specialized in great cocaine and mediocre Mexican food).
On a side note, that's supposed to be "Greenpoint" not "Greenpoing". Yes, I am surprised that Greenpoint avenue has a Yelp page as well. I wonder if all of the major streets of Queens do?

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Slashdot article on religion

Chaos erupts in the comboxes. I get popcorn. Just what this blog is supposed to be all about.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

So start your own hospitals

"We took a look recently and found that of the 25 largest health systems in the United States, 13 were religiously sponsored; that includes 11 Catholic systems," says Lois Uttley, who heads the nonprofit group MergerWatch, which works to protect women's access to reproductive health care when secular hospitals merge with religious ones. "So that means the likelihood of a patient encountering a Catholic restriction on contraception is pretty high and growing."
If you don't like what someone's giving you as an act of charity, I guess it's easier to go to the legislature and force them to give it to you on your terms, instead of using your own money.

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Conservative or Progressive?

Neither, of course.
Every once in a while we face the question: Should we be conservative or progressive. Limits have been well established: no one who identifies with conservatism will promote any idea related to progressivism and vice versa. This has created a huge polarization in our societies.

Does this have any logic? Apparently we are being victims of a sort of mechanical way of thinking, maybe a binary system of yes or no with no other choices. We tend to classify people, even ourselves, in one of these two groups. When speaking about morality, economics, politics or religion, the gaps between conservatism and progressivism grow even more.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The joys of walking

It's good for you physically, mentally, and spiritually! I particularly like walking through a problem with someone, instead of sitting face to face.

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Science, ends, the meaning of life, etc

An excellent review of what is hopefully an excellent book.
Why does this straight-talking woman cause these men to cower? These sophisticates have no purpose in life other than pure research (the engineer uses the space technology he advances for low and hilarious purposes of personal gratification.) Their knowledge of science does not include any notion of final causes or purpose, teleology, and self-knowledge. And in this they reflect the blindness of the modern age generally.

The philosophic and theological premises of the modern age are explored by just-retired Georgetown University political theorist James V. Schall, S.J., in his latest book, The Modern Age.
Also includes references to the Big Bang Theory. A fine book review.

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Solar power saving lives during childbirth


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Monday, April 22, 2013

Quote of the day - never!

If you're thinking that seems to mean the feds can charge anyone with use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction based on the use of anything that can be described as a "bomb," you'd be right. However, as an American, I live in confidence that the government would never exaggerate the existence of WMDs.
From Popehat.

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The rule of law in trying times

“ROPER: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

“MORE: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

“ROPER: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

“MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down (and you’re just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

“Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

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Another piece of NYC down the tubes

The Real Deal has reported that the "retail condo" occupied by Papaya Dog, the sex shop Fantasy Parties, and Fantasy Tattoo has been sold. The developer who bought it "expects to replace the tenants with more mainstream retailers."
As seen on Vanishing NY. I didn't spent a lot of time in Fantasy Parties, but that block was a very big part of my youth, and I spent a year living around the corner. Its demise, or transition to 7-11s, is oddly painful. Perhaps a reaction helped by the fact that the place where I first had falafel a block away also got turned into something far less interesting to me.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Always treat people well

One day you will regret being rude, and not having time, for them.
I don’t remember if I wrote George back, thanking him for the plate. I don’t think I did. I should have. As I get older, for whatever reasons, I find myself thinking more often about all the times over the years in which I have treated other people thoughtlessly or rudely, or, more often, didn’t do anything at all to thank someone for a kind turn. This was one of those occasions.
And when I say "you", I mean "I".


Monday, April 15, 2013

Why I love Mark Shea's blog

Where else can you read a post on the true meaning of the seamless garment:
A huge number of Christians don’t believe in anything like the grace and mercy of God (except for themselves and for excusable offenses and minor sins). They believe in salvation by law, force, punishment and politics. One of them frankly appeals to the death penalty as an exercise of raw Power. Does Gosnell belong behind bars? Of course. But thirsting for his blood is simple barbaric vengefulness, not justice tempered by mercy.

A lot of the “prolife” movement is simply another front for the culture of death. It doesn’t actually care what the Church teaches. It just cares what the GOP teaches. God bless Robbie George for being a sign of contradiction to the spirit of our bloodthirsty age.
Followed by an advertisement for Cthuloops (just click on it). And of course in the comments you get a Greek Orthodox take on salvation. Which reminds me, I can hardly wait for the Greek festival this year. It's going to be so sweet not having to do homework afterwards.

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QOTD - Honesty

Thank you. I will now quote you as if I had though of it myself in future conversations.
As seen on Hacker News.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Great moments in Catholic history

The Library of Constantinople was destroyed. Despite their oaths and the threat of excommunication, the Crusaders systematically violated the city's holy sanctuaries, destroying or stealing all they could lay hands on; nothing was spared. The civilian population of Constantinople were subject to the Crusaders' ruthless lust for spoils and glory; thousands of them were killed in cold blood. Women, even nuns, were raped by the Crusader army, which also sacked churches, monasteries and convents. The very altars of these churches were smashed and torn to pieces for their gold and marble by the warriors who had sworn to fight in service of Christendom without question. Although the Venetians engaged in looting too, their actions were by far more restrained. Doge Dandolo still appeared to have far more control over his men. Rather than wantonly destroying all around like their comrades, the Venetians stole religious relics and works of art which they would later take to Venice to adorn their own churches with.
809 years since the siege of Constantinople.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The intersection between religion and strength training

I will use a phrase from a strength training website - in both cases it's helpful to be a douche. For specific values of douche, of course.
Then one day he seemed to be ready to be serious about this. So I invited him to train with me. Notice: HE trained with ME - I didn't train with him. We trained on the days I choose, at the time I decided, and following MY program. And if he was 5 mins late I started without him. This is what I call being a douche.

As a result, I don't need to "convince" him that my way of training is better than that bodybuilding crap he used to do - he has seen it with his own eyes. And since he's now finally benching more weight than his friend doing bodybuilding routines, he's now hooked to this style of training.
So what does that have to do with religion? I guess, you really can't convince people that what you're doing is right or better or anything like that. You just have to do your thing, offer your assistance if they ask for it, and not really pay attention to anyone else. And if someone calls you a jerk, well, maybe you are being a jerk, so stop and reflect for a while. But maybe you're just marching to the beat of your own drum, in which case, march on.

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Friday, April 05, 2013


I have to say, I'm quite partial to the argument of the linked article:
A majority of Americans now approve of gay marriage for two fairly simple reasons. First, most Americans understand marriage as symbolic affirmation of a dissolvable commitment between consenting adults for purposes of emotional gratification. . . . If you understand marriage in this sense, which has been socially dominant for decades, there is no plausible argument for denying it to gay individuals one loves and respects. As Rob Portman has discovered, the rest is reasoning from the particular to the general.
Realistically, once contraception becoems socially acceptable, I don't think you really have the same thing for what the word marriage used to mean. So now we're arguing over language instead of substance, and while I'm a realist and not a nominalist, I'm also a realist and not an idealist. Unrelatedly, I think I'm also a dualist, not an idealist. If you can parse that sentence, I may give you a cookie.

Related is this article, linked from the first, which goes into the difference between culture, law, and a bit on how they relate. For example
Predictably, conservatives tended to ignore this inconvenient truth about the culture, persuading themselves that winning elections — and ostensibly passing conservative laws (though they did that less frequently) — were what mattered. (Or maybe it was that they convinced themselves that because they could win elections — because the American public supported their politics — it implied a "silent majority" of Americans were still traditional, salt-of-the-earth types.)
Turns out, not such a good idea.

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

GW students offended that Catholic chaplain is Catholic

As reported on Yahoo News (thanks to Mark Shea for the link):
Legacy told the Hatchet that he spent considerable time at the Newman Center during his first two years at George Washington. He was an altar server at mass. He believed that he would become a Catholic priest after graduating.

All that changed, though, when Legacy told Shaffer that he and Bergen had entered a homosexual relationship. Shaffer allegedly charged Legacy with being immoral and lacking in faith.

“To have my faith leader view me that way, just because of one piece of the way that God made me, and to think that one part is responsible for the destruction of my human dignity, it just didn’t…I can’t even begin to describe the mental conflict that it creates,” Legacy told the Hatchet.
Two points. The first is, the mental conflict should have started a bit earlier, since it's not like this priest just made this up. The second is, I doubt the priest said anything about his dignity. Or at least I hope the priest didn't say anything like that, as it would be quite wrong, though I guess I've seen worse in the wild. Either way, Legacy and/or Shaffer should spend a little more time reading the catechism if there's some thought that sinning destroys dignity. Mr. Shea also links to this post, The Catholic Church's 'acceptance' of gay people..., which is most excellent, on the subject of SSA, and how the Church has to be more clear that it loves everyone. After all, we all have our sins.

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