Saturday, July 29, 2006

Miami Vice

Went to see Miami Vice tonight with Fujian Gal after dinner at Sichuan Garden. Sarge had walked out after the first half of the movie yesterday, because it was slow and a bit repetitive, with respect to the display of fornication. While the sex scenes weren't that explicit (they went beyond the TV show a tad, but not as graphic as other rated R movies), still they were somewhat unnecessary to convey the point, namely love-->sex (at least with respect to contemporary mores).

The rating for the movie at Rotten Tomatoes has been gradually slipping. A lot have complained about the pacing of the movie, lack of character development and so on. I thought the movie was faithful to the TV series; not sure what these other critics were expecting. Was I satisfied with the results?

A complaint: not sure if HD was used for the final shoot-out--the quality seemed like a TV. Also, the soundtrack seemed a bit inappropriate for certain scenes; not sure if it was poor directing or editing or something else.

Putting aside the question of love/sexual morality (how many movies get that right), was the movie too rushed? A common complaint might be that it takes a while for the story to develop. I thought that more procedure might have been nice. As for action sequences--if one is being realistic, there can't be too many of those, since a shootout is not likely to take place unless one has blown one's cover, or one has been double-crossed. (If the latter, how likely is it that they will be able to get back into the good graces of those responsible?)

Gong Li seemed somewhat out of place. Perhaps she is exotic; or maybe she is able to play a woman who knows what she wants well. Still, the problems of language and accent were obstacles to accepting her as a Chinese Cuban.

Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx were good as Crockett and Tubbs, and the supporting actors were fine. (Especially Gina--fanboys who like a strong heroine who can shoot with attitude should take to her well. Plenty of G36 action in this movie.) Should a sequel be made? I'm not sure if it can be--what new ground would it cover?

What would Michael Mann do with CHiPs?

official movie website

There were quite a few ghetto people in the movie making comments during the movie and talking. One girl even answered her phone during the movie(!) Then, when we were leaving the parking structure there was a car full of obnoxious Asians -- the driver decided to cut in front of us and was quite brazen. His friends were laughing as they got honked and so on. Eh, evidently some parents failed to raise their kids properly. Next time I'll get backup and the baseball bats from the trunk. (Yeah right.)

I haven't had Sichuan food for a long time, but the quality of the food at this restaurant seemed rather good. The sai guai dou was a bit different, I think it was because of the chili paste/sauce they used.

Fashion at Miss Universe

This will be just a brief post--the evening gowns worn at the pageant are very form-fitting (that is the norm), but some more revealing than others, and some are close to being bedroom wear rather than something for a formal event. The trend towards close-fitting clothes has been very dominant in Western fashion, and it's something that influenced the development of the qi pao.

As for the traditional costumes...
it's not clear to me why the traditional costumes of Latin America tend to be rather immodest according to traditional standards. Yes, those countries can be hot. But what of the native cultures from which these costumes developed? Was everything A-ok with them before the arrival of the Europeans?

Also... I would be very surprised if slaves and members of the lower classes dressed the same as the nobles and elites of American cultures.

While 'covering-up' is facilitated in areas with colder climates, I think one can create modest clothing appropriate for hot climates as well...

Hugo Grotius

I received an email from JB asking about Hugo Grotius and subjective right. I have not read his works yet, though I have read books talking about Grotius, as well as Puffendorf, Locke, and the Spanish neo-scholastics. Nothing too clear about what they thought of the relationship between natural law and natural right. (These books do not offer a summation of their arguments; I wonder if Copleston's history is more successflu.) Works of prominent rights theorists of the 17th century and beyond can be found at the Liberty Fund Online Library of Liberty. Reading their works is something I plan on getting around to doing some day, unless I get sidetracked by reality... or secret societies... haha

From some professor's page on Grotius:
Grotius' conception of the nature of natural law is set forth in his works De Jure Praedae (Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty) and De Jure Belli ac Pacis (On the Law of War and Peace). On the Law of War and Peace, which was published in 1625, is a seemingly expanded version of On the Law of Prize and Booty, which was written in the late months of 1604 and the early months of 1605. On the Law of Prize and Booty was not published until 1868 when it was discovered at a book sale by several professors from the University of Leyden. Although this manuscript was not found until the late 19th century, Chapter Twelve of the book was published separately in 1609 as Mare Liberum (The Freedom of the Seas). Mare Liberum talks about the rights of England, Spain, and Portugal to rule over the sea. If these countries could legitimately control the seas, this would prevent the Dutch from sailing, for example, into the East Indies. Grotius argued that the liberty of the sea was a key aspect in the communications amongst peoples and nations. No one country can monopolize control over the ocean because of its immensity and lack of stability and fixed limits.
The SEP page on Grotius.

If they actually assert that natural law is posterior to natural right, rather than the vice versa, I think that would be a obvious difference from the natural law teaching of Aquinas (who does not have a notion of subjective active right, though perhaps a notion of subjective passive right is implicit in his account of ius, as John Finnis would argue. Even then, I would think that a notion of subjective passive right cannot be fully harmonized, because subjective passive rights are posterior to what reason determines in accordance with natural law, not prior to it, and there is a danger of absolutizing them, as in the case of the supposed 'right to property.')

Some page in Spanish on natural right.

At the Thomistic Institute I met a professor from University of Navarre,
Prof. Dr. Juan Fernando Sellés. He lives in the same building as Javier Hervada, whose book on natural right I have and am using for the dissertation. An article on Professor Hervada. His "The Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church."

University of Navarre is also the home of
Enrique Alarcón, creator of the Corpus Thomisticum website.

Makes me want to learn Spanish and go to Puerto Rico and make Sarge's nightmare come true haha. I wonder if there is a webpage for photos of Latina celebs without makeup...

Father Cantalamessa Says to Waste Not

Code: ZE06072802

Date: 2006-07-28

Father Cantalamessa Says to Waste Not

Pontifical Household Preacher on This Sunday's Gospel

ROME, JULY 28, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of a commentary on the Gospel passage of this Sunday's liturgy, by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household.

* * *

Gather Up the Fragments Left Over

For several Sundays, the Gospel has been taken from Jesus' discourse on the bread of life in the synagogue of Capernaum, to which the Evangelist John refers. This Sunday's passage comes from the multiplication of loaves and fishes, which is an introduction to the Eucharistic discourse.

It is no accident that the presentation of the Eucharist begins with the account of the multiplication of loaves. What is stated with it is that, in man, the religious dimension cannot be separated from the material dimension. Provision cannot be made for man's spiritual and eternal needs without being concerned, at the same time, about his earthly and material needs.

It was precisely the latter which for an instant was the temptation of the apostles. In another passage of the Gospel one reads that they suggested to Jesus that he dismiss the crowd so that it would find something to eat in neighboring villages.

But Jesus answered: "You give them something to eat!" (Matthew 14:16). With this, Jesus is not asking his disciples to perform miracles. He is asking that they do what they can. To place in common and share what each one has. In arithmetic, multiplication and division are two opposite operations, but in this case they are the same. There is no "multiplication" without "partition" (or sharing)!

This connection between the material and spiritual bread was visible in the way the Eucharist was celebrated in the early days of the Church. The Lord's Supper, then called "agape," took place in the context of a fraternal meal, in which both ordinary bread and Eucharistic bread was shared.

That is why differences between some one who had nothing to eat and some one who became "inebriated" were perceived as scandalous and intolerable (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). Today the Eucharist is no longer celebrated in the context of an ordinary meal, but the contrast between those who have what is superfluous and those who lack what is necessary has not diminished, what is more, it has assumed global dimensions.

On this point, the end of the account also has something to say to us. When all were satiated, Jesus ordered: "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost."

We live in a society where waste is habitual. In 50 years, we have gone from a situation in which one went to school or Sunday Mass carrying one's shoes to the threshold, so as not to wear them out, to a situation in which virtually new shoes are discarded so as to adapt oneself to the changing fashion.

The most scandalous waste occurs in the food sector. Research carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture reveals that one-fourth of food products end up every day in the garbage, not to speak of what is deliberately destroyed before it reaches the market.

Jesus did not say that day: "Destroy the left-over fragments so that the price of bread and fish will not fall in the market." But it is exactly what is done today.

Under the influence of repetitive advertising, "Spend, don't save!" is at present the codeword in the economy.

Of course, it is not enough to save. Prudence must enable individuals and societies of rich countries to be more generous in their aid to poor countries, otherwise it is more like avarice than prudence.

[Translation by ZENIT]

"Welcome to My Parlor"

"Welcome to My Parlor" by William S. Lind

"Israel's Vietnam Syndrome" by Pat Buchanan
"Bleeding Lebanon" by Thomas Fleming
Lebanon: Déjà Vu All Over Again by Srdja Trifkovic

Ordination pictures from Le Barroux

Here. Thanks to NLM.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Departed trailer

here (Thanks to AICN.)

(This is the remake of Infernal Affairs.)

Miss Universe 2006

Miss Japan was first runner-up this year, but still I don't think an East Asian will ever win Miss Universe. My bet is that East Asians do not measure up to the typical standard of beauty for the judges. I suppose I would have to watch the Finalist round and see how Miss Japan did with the interview, but does anyone really take that portion of the contest seriously? If anything it is a test of how well the women communicate more than what they really say. As many from South America have won in the past, it seems safe to assume that proficiency in English is not necessary, though it is probably expected that the winner will gain that proficiency by the end of the year.

Miss India has won numerous times; I'm not sure if the same is true of Miss Thailand, Miss Indonesia, and probably not Miss Malaysia. This year's Miss Indonesia, Nadine Chandrawinata, was one of my favorites.


Miss Indonesia, Nadine Chandrawinata, shows off a costume related to her home country during the preliminary competition for Miss Universe 2006 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, July 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson)




REUTERS/Sam Mircovich (UNITED STATES)

Photos of Miss Universe 2005, Natalie Glebova:


The reigning Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova of Canada (L) poses with 2006 Miss Universe contestant from Thailand Charm Onwarin Osathanond in Los Angeles July 7, 2006. The Miss Universe pageant will be telecast to a worldwide audience from Los Angeles on July 23. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

The reigning Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova of Canada (R) poses with 2006 Miss Universe contestant from the USA Tara Conner from Kentucky, in Los Angeles July 7, 2006. The Miss Universe pageant will be telecast to a worldwide audience from Los Angeles on July 23. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Outgoing Miss Universe Natalie Glebova of Canada waves as she makes her entrance at the beginning the Miss Universe 2006 Pageant at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles July 23, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Miss Korea's national costume...

Miss Korea, Joo-Hee Kim, shows off a costume related to her home country during the preliminary competition for Miss Universe 2006 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, July 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson)

Now there is a measure of poofiness to court ladies' garments of specific periods, but still, isn't this a bit much? The cranes on the other hand, are rather un-traditional and I think distracting from the beauty of the hanbok.

Miss China, Ying Hui Gao, dressed up as an opera singer.

Miss China Ying Hui Gao appears during the costume exhibition during preliminary competition for Miss Universe 2006 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles July 18, 2006. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich (UNITED STATES)

(AP Photo/Lucas Jackson)
Fortunately for her, she isn't wearing the makeup that usually goes on an opera singer.

Miss Japan, dressed up as a samurai.

Miss Japan Kurara Chibana appears during the costume exhibition during preliminary competition for Miss Universe 2006 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles July 18, 2006. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich (UNITED STATES)
Many comments have been made about her costume and how it seems like it was inspired by anime. Otaku fantasies come true, perhaps.


Finalists Kurara Chibana, Miss Japan 2006, left, holds hands with Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006, during the Miss Universe 2006 pageant on Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


In a photo provided by the Miss Universe pageant, Nadine Chandrawinata, Miss Indonesia 2006, checks out part of the national costume of Kurara Chibana, Miss Japan 2006, before the taping of the opening number for Sunday's Miss Universe pageant, Thursday, July 20, 2006, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Miss Universe pageant)

Miss Lebanon Gabrielle Bou Rached (L) and Miss Japan Kurara Chibana applaud after rehearsals for a taped segment for the Miss Universe 2006 pageant at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, July 20, 2006. (Sam Mircovich/Reuters)

Gabrielle Bou Rached, Miss Lebanon 2006, is seen here on 07 July 2006. Peace reigns at least at the Miss Universe 2006 contest, where beauties Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel are the "best of friends" despite the bloody fighting between the two countries back home, their companions said.(AFP/HO-Miss Universe/File/Darren Decker)



In this photo released by Miss Universe L.P., LLLP, Valerie Domnguez, Miss Colombia 2006, introduces herself in her national costume during a taping of the opening number for the 2006 Miss Universe Competition on Thursday, July 20, 2006, in Los Angeles. She will compete for the title of Miss Universe 2006 on July 23.(AP Photo/ Miss Universe L.P., LLLP, Darren Decker)

Miss Denmark Betina Faurbye poses for photographers before rehearsals for a taped segment for the Miss Universe 2006 pageant at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, July 20, 2006. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich (UNITED STATES)

In this photo released by Miss Universe, Donald Trump, left, poses backstage with Betina Faurbye, Miss Denmark 2006, prior to the start of the Miss Universe 2006 pageant on Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Miss Universe, Frank Szelwach)

For Sarge:

In this photo released by Miss Universe L.P., LLLP, Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006, introduces herself in her national costume during a taping of the opening number for the 2006 Miss Universe Competition on Thursday, July 20, 2006, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. She will compete for the title of Miss Universe 2006 on July 23 (AP Photo/Miss Universe L.P. LLLP, Darren Decker)
I think Miss Conner is from Kentucky, but still... the national costume is that of a jockey? Couldn't she have picked something from the antebellum South instead?

Second runner-up Lauriane Gillieron of Switzerland, left, and third runner-up Lourdes Arevalos of Paraguay are seen during the Miss Universe 2006 pageant on Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

This year's winner, Miss Puerto Rico,Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza:


Miss Puerto Rico Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza walks down the stairs during the evening gown competition at the Miss Universe 2006 Pageant at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles July 23, 2006. Mendoza went on to be crowned Miss Universe 2006 during the live telecast. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)

Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, Miss Puerto Rico 2006, poses during the evening gown competition at the Miss Universe 2006 pageant on Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Los Angeles. Mendoza was named Miss Universe 2006. (AP Photo/Benjamin Sklar)


Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, Miss Puerto Rico 2006, reacts as she stands with runner- up Kurara Chibana, Miss Japan 2006, after winning the Miss Universe 2006 pageant on Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, Miss Puerto Rico 2006, reacts after being named a finalist during the Miss Universe 2006 pageant on Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Los Angeles. Mendoza went on to be named Miss Universe 2006. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)



Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, Miss Puerto Rico 2006, right, is crowned by Miss Universe 2005, Natalie Glebova, after winning the Miss Universe 2006 pageant on Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Benjamin Sklar)




Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza,18, of Puerto Rico, poses for photographs in Los Angeles, Monday, July 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Ann Johansson)
Hrm, Miss Puerto Rico apparently fainted after winning the crown, but this was not televised. Sarge is happy that one of his countrywomen won... I think it's all a big joke. The women are beautiful--making distinctions after a certain point seems rather stupid and reinforces bad social/cultural trends. Though I must admit I think Cynthia Olavarria, Miss Puerto Rico from last year, is more attractive to me.

Photos, Miami Vice premiere, July 20, 2006

Hah no pictures of Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell here.


Actress Kelly Hu poses as she arrives as a guest at the premiere of the action film 'Miami Vice' in Los Angeles July 20, 2006. The film starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell is based on the popular television series of the same name and opens July 28 in the U.S. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Kelly Hu hasn't done much lately... and she doesn't appear in the gossip rags often.



Chinese actress Gong Li, a cast member in the film 'Miami Vice,' poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles, Thursday, July 20, 2006. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

104 -- Gong Li arrives at the Film Premiere of 'Miami Vice' in Los Angeles, Calif. on Thursday, July 20,2006.(Fashion Wire Daily/Maria Ramirez)


(Reuters/Fred Prouser)
A pic of Gong Li from the London premiere:

Chinese actress Gong Li arrives at the UK premiere of 'Miami Vice' in London on July 27, 2006. The film goes on general UK release on August 4. REUTERS/Stephen Hird (BRITAIN)



Chinese actress Gong Li, a cast member in director Michael Mann's new film 'Miami Vice,' poses at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles Friday, July 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
I wonder if she is at a stage of her career comparable to where Monica Belluci is currently at. In many ways they are quite similar...

Photos of the Week


Children learn Chinese characters: Elementary school students learn Chinese characters from a teacher at the traditional village school for the study of Chinese classics in Yeoju, Kyonggi Province, on Monday (July 24). The students are attending the class as they are on summer vacation./Korea Times 07-24-2006 19:30



War dead: Soldiers carry the newly recovered remains of Korean War dead to entomb at the National Cemetery in Tongjak-dong, Seoul, Tuesday. The military retrieved 130 sets of remains in the first half of this year, but it honored only 64 sets, excluding 66 believed to be North Koreans. /Korea Times 07-25-2006 20:06


Empress Myongsong: This photo taken by a German visiting Korea from 1894 to 1895 could be Empress Myongsong of the Choson Kingdom. Since its caption reads “Die Ermodete Konigin,” meaning murdered empress in German, it increases the possibility that the woman could be the empress, who was brutally killed by Japanese on an October night in 1895. The woman in the photo, very serious with sharp eyes, looks different from other photos assumed to be of the empress, but the impression it gives matches those recorded by foreign envoys who met the empress. /Yonhap 07-25-2006 20:40


World Miss University: Female students in the preliminary screening to select a Korean representative for “World Miss University” smile during a photo session at Duksung Women’s University, Seoul, Thursday. The 20th “World Miss University” pageant will be held in Seoul on September 6. /Yonhap 07-27-2006 19:27


National - July. 26, 2006
A ceremony to enshrine the remains of 64 victims of the Korean War whose remains were found in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province and Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province earlier this year takes place at the National Memorial Board in Dongjak-dong, Seoul on Tuesday.


Culture - July. 26, 2006
Children learn the art of tea-making at an event organized by a Hankook Chinaware shop in Cheonggye8-ga, Seoul on Tuesday.



Culture - July. 27, 2006
Actress Park Jin-hee, who has recently returned to the small screen, launches a mobile photo album through KFT on Wednesday. SKT and LGT will also soon provide the album./Newsis


Actresses Kim Ah-jung, Kang Sung-yeon and Lee Young-ae pose for photos on the red carpet at the 43th Daejong (Grand Bell) Film Festival at the COEX Conventional Hall in Seoul on Saturday. The record-setting blockbuster “The King and the Clown” walked away with seven awards including best film, best leading actor and best director.