Friday, August 31, 2012

Catholicism Hates Human Reason

An exhibit.  Excerpts:
...[Jesuit priest and missionary to China] Ferdinand Verbiest was a man with ingenious mind. He made many mechanical equipments and instruments by himself. In the year of 1679, he made a thermometer and hygrometer successfully and gave them to Emperor Kangxi. The most astonishing record was that Ferdinand Verbiest made a steam-motive vehicle in Beijing, and this vehicle can be called the first car in the world.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Picking a President

This is a useful tool for determining which presidential candidate agrees with your political views.

Speaking of which, I had a rather interesting encounter with a Romney volunteer at a primary vote count in the midwest.  He asked me what I thought of Romney.

"I'm not sure," I said.  "He seems to change his mind a lot on issues."

Immediately, this volunteer began shaking his head and looking wise.

"No, no," he explained.  "He says what he needs to, but I know what he'll do.  He's a member of my church."

Dunno what the heck he meant by that.

A Catholic Woman Talks Contraception, War on Women

From Father McCloskey's review of Mary Eberstadt's Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution.  Excerpts:
...This relatively lean book relies heavily on secular sources. Likewise, Eberstadt analyzes the culture from a primarily secular perspective as she charts the horrors that have been unleashed upon the world and particularly the United States as a result of separating sex activity from procreation. Nonetheless, her book is written largely to vindicate the most controversial Catholic encyclical of modern times—Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, issued at the height of the culture-changing 1960s. As Eberstadt puts it, “Forty plus years after ‘Humane Vitae’ and fifty plus after the approval of the Pill, there are more than enough ironies both secular and religious, to make one swear there is a humorist in Heaven.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Economist, the Catholic Church, and Utter Confusion

A wonderful response to this recent article from The Economist.  Excerpts:
I am guessing The Economist does not have a copy of the Code of Canon Law. Even a glancing read of the Code would have revealed that the Church is quite clearly not run like a multinational corporation such as Walmart or General Electric and I for one am glad it’s not...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Pray?

An interesting insight.  Excerpts:
...A cross, a statue, a saint’s name — what they communicate is more loaded with transcendent promise than any moment that originates in humanity, and certainly steadier and more faithful to the intention of our ultimate good, than any man, no matter how charismatic, no matter how well-spoken, no matter how well-versed on “policy”.

When I read stories like this out of Vietnam, I recall the wise words of the late Mother Mary Francis, PCC, in her terrific book, The Right to be Merry:
The children of light walk heedless of the source of their light. The children of darkness know better. And when the hour of darkness is at hand in any country, the first act of the powers of evil is invariably to throw the switch. They raze the cloisters. They turn the contemplatives out of their monasteries with loud speeches about the good of the state and about contributing to the social need. [...]

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Paul Ryan: Hope or Hindrance?

From the mixed up articles of Ms. Kirsten Powers.  She can't seem to make up her mind.

From the hindrance side of things.  Excerpt:
If you are Mitt Romney, how do you spell disaster? Paul Ryan.

Friday, August 17, 2012

NPR's Top 100 Teen Books

Even though a number of them are far from merely teen books (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and anything by Madeleine L'Engle, for instance).  But still.... 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crazy People with Guns

Sometimes, they just happen to be on the left.

Example A.  Excerpts:
...The man authorities say was angry with the conservative stance of the Family Research Council and shot the group’s unarmed security guard in a downtown D.C. office was ordered by a judge Thursday to undergo a mental evaluation.

An FBI affidavit quotes 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II of Herndon telling the guard, “I don’t like your politics” as he pulled a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol from a backpack he had carried with him on Metrorail from East Falls Church...
In his bag, court documents say, police found 50 rounds of ammunition and 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, which combined with the suspect’s statement added a political dimension to the shooting. The head of the Atlanta-based fast-food chain has spoken out against same-sex marriage, a stance embraced by the Family Research Council. Corkins had been volunteering at a U Street NW support center for the gay community...

The V. Peterson Bookshelf on Screenwriting, Faith, Film, and Creativity

In no particular order.  This will be  modified over time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

When Pigs Fly

...when rocks float?  Excerpts:

A vast "raft" of volcanic rocks covering 10,000 sq miles (26,000 sq km) of ocean has been spotted by a New Zealand military aircraft.

A naval ship was forced to change course in order to avoid the cluster of buoyant rocks, located 1,000 miles off the New Zealand coast.

The unusual phenomenon was probably the result of pumice being released from an underwater volcano, experts said.

One navy officer described it as the "weirdest thing" he had seen at sea...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oh, Cry Me a River

Oh, you did not just say that.  Excerpts:
Risk is what drew George and the colleagues he respects to Wall Street, he says. At his peak, he could bring in millions of dollars in a single month. Trading was intense: During one credit-default swap deal he smashed a phone against his desk, sending part of it three rows away—“one of the records for the best break,” he says. Sam Polk, 32, who traded credit derivatives at Bank of America (BAC) and King Street Capital Management, a New York hedge fund, described the lure of Wall Street before he left in 2010: “You could be a twentysomething trader three years out of school, able to go to any restaurant or club or ballgame on any night that you wanted, and it was totally paid for,” he says. “It was a tremendous feeling of power...”

Increased regulation, he says, “has taken a lot of the fun out of the game...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Neil Gaiman's Creative Godfathers

Ahem.  Hat tip Leo Partible.  Excerpts:
There are authors with whom one has a personal relationship and authors with whom one does not. There are the ones who change your life and the ones who don’t. That’s just the way of it...

Chesterton and Tolkien and Lewis were, as I’ve said, not the only writers I read between the ages of six and thirteen, but they were the authors I read over and over again; each of them played a part in building me. Without them, I cannot imagine that I would have become a writer, and certainly not a writer of fantastic fiction.

On Chick-fil-A, Faith, and Freedom

In the wake of the Chick-fil-A debacle, I had a number of interesting conversations on Facebook, including one which truly scared me.  I thought it worth preserving.

Prompted by this article by Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast, the following exchange ensued.

My Friend (MF): When you outwardly state that you do not believe that all men are created equal, don't be surprised when you are found no longer loved by those who stand up for democratic principles and the rule of law, [Caspar]. There are exemptions naturally for religious institutions, but this Chicken joint isn't a church.


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