Saturday, June 02, 2007
The seminary library has been sold, but according to the Pilot:
The agreement with Boston College will also provide significant improvements for the Library, which is in need of capital investment to address deferred maintenance issues and upgrade the building’s systems and technology. Seminarians and seminary staff will have unrestricted access to the Library and St. John’s will retain ownership and control of the important and highly regarded seminary library collection.
Mr. Bettinelli notes:
Fr. John Farren, OP, who nearly everyone agrees has done a great job turning St. John’s around over the past four years, including tightening up the faculty and improving formation by leaps and bounds, was being reassigned by the Dominicans and was set to leave on June 30. However, when the sale was made public, he announced his immediate departure because of his disagreement with the action.
So if the archbishop has this strong of a business relationship with BC, how can he possibly maintain the "objectivity" that is needed to push for reform at BC?
The Sermon on the Mount
The heart of Pope Benedict's book is the chapter on the Sermon on the Mount. Interestingly, the recently deceased US novelist Kurt Vonnegut, a determined non-religious humanist, maintained that the Sermon on the Mount ought to be hung on the walls of American court rooms. In the Sermon, the Pope show Jesus as the new Moses, giving the new law of God, the new Torah, addressed not just to the people of Israel but to the whole world of every age. He shows how it demands a discipleship that can be lived only by following Jesus. From this, the message and person of Jesus stands out in new relief.
Benedict takes up the challenge, given by his good friend of many years, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, in his book A Rabbi Talks with Jesus. It is a respectful dispute between this believing Jew and the teachings of Jesus, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the Pope acknowledges that it gave him a "better understanding of the authentic Jewishness and the mystery of Jesus".
Neusner, after struggling with the words of the Sermon and greatly troubled by the greatness and purity of what Jesus says, finally turns away. He cannot follow Jesus because he is identifying himself with God; he claims to speak with the authority of God; his words are the words of the living God spoken by the Son of God. This distinguished Jewish scholar of Christian origins finds Jesus' claim to be God clearly at the heart of the Gospel.
The Beatitudes as biography
The Pope traces the connections between the several Beatitudes which are central to the Sermon on the Mount, shedding new light on their application to human life in the contemporary situation. These Beatitudes do not at all replace the Ten Commandments, but rather show the spirit in which they are to be understood and observed. They relate directly to the situation of believers in the world; they "express the meaning of discipleship" in the light of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus yet to come.
In fact, says the Pope, they give "a sort of veiled interior biography of Jesus, a kind of portrait of his figure. He is the one who is meek, pure of heart, the peacemaker, the one who suffers for God's sake. In him we see "the zone of response to God's love, the zone of obedience and freedom". This gives him the right to present God's will for the human family; not to set up a theocracy but to show how the Torah, the commandments of God, are to be used to bring about justice and peace. Jesus enables fulfilment of the Law "by assigning reason its sphere of responsibility for acting in history". The perspective established by Jesus means that "the social commandments are theological commandments and the theological commandments have a social character -- love of God and love of neighbour are inseparable."
The Sermon on the Mount shows that "being human is essentially about relationship with God". Integral to this relationship is the speaking and listening to God which is prayer. Jesus gave the Lord's Prayer, the prayer of the community and of the believer. Jesus of Nazareth is worthwhile if only for the light it throws on the meaning of the Our Father and the nature of prayer. It is the prayer of Jesus, the prayer to be said with him as he leads us from the primacy of God to the right way of being human. It shows us from heaven what we human begins can and should be like.
The chapter on the message of the parables leads us deeper into the heart of Jesus' preaching as the Pope expounds the three parables of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son and the Rich Man and Lazarus. Again the genius of Benedict is to elicit fresh theological understanding and the connection to the human situation with its spiritual trials and the need of the world for truth, love and freedom. In the end it is the need for God and Jesus shows himself as God's great sign and means of salvation. In the parables Jesus is showing us the God who acts, who intervenes in our lives and who lays claim to the whole of our humanity. Through the Cross he shows us the ultimate meaning of the parables.
Joseph Ratzinger (How does one refer to the Holy Father when he speaks or writes as a private individual or theologian?) returns to the central text of a very traditional presentation of Catholic moral teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, in his examination of Jesus Christ. As Fr. Pinckaers points out, the Beatitudes are the summit of Christian ethics, and commentaries on the Beatitudes, such as those written by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, were used to highlight the perfection to which all are called. The Ten Commandments may be a necessary beginning for the Christian life, but they are not the be-all and end-all.
Friday, June 01, 2007
By William S. Lind
Now, it seems, the Bush Administration insists on extending the folly of maximalist objectives from total war into cabinet wars, and moreover into cabinet wars it is losing (or more accurately has lost). In public, it blathers on about democracy for Iraq, a war objective that reaches beyond maximalism into pure fantasy. In private, its real objectives, unchanged since long before the war began, are no less disconnected from reality. It seeks an Iraq that is a willing American satellite, a bottomless source of oil for America's SUVs, a permanent site for vast U.S. military bases from which Washington can dominate the region, and an ally of Israel. The skies will be darkened by winged swine long before any of these objectives are attained.
At this point, for those who want to continue the Iraq war, only one objective makes any sense: restoring a state in Iraq before we leave, or more likely as we leave. A state, any kind of state, under any government; to try to specify anything more is, in the face of our military failure, maximalism and unreality.
The likelihood, unfortunately, is that no one can restore a state in Iraq. If anyone can, it is probably Muqtada al-Sadr.
What if it rains on Beijing’s Olympic parade?
From the Free Congress Foundation:
“William S. Lind’s classic video work, ‘History of Political Correctness,’ finds that the origins of this powerful cultural force can be found early in the Twentieth Century.”
Why Not Gay Marriage? An Exchange - Catholic World Report
Answering Advocates of Gay Marriage - Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson
Attention: The Catholic Educator's Resource Center notes that the persons writing this article are neither Catholic nor in full agreement with the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Nevertheless, the urgency of the issue of gay marriage at this time and the compelling arguments raised against it here, make this paper an important resource.
Both from Asia Times:
Because they know a crash would be far too politically damaging to China's leaders while the spotlight is on them, the country's investors are confident that Beijing will not take harsh measures to deflate the country's stock market bubble until well after the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the autumn. - Wu Zhong (May 29, '07)Make way for the Chinese giant
The rapid expansion of the Chinese economy is putting the resource-rich Asian powerhouse in a global leadership position, gradually displacing the withering, debt-ridden United States and emerging as the new giant on the block. - Walter T Molano
by Santosh DigalRisa Bondoc, a 12 year old Philippine child, should have died at 18 months: thanks to the intercession of the future saint she is healthy and one of Manila’s brightest pupils. She will be present at Maria Eugénie’s canonization, who saved her from certain death. During the same ceremony the name’s of Giorgio Preca, Simone da Lipnica e p. and Charles of St. Andrew, will be written in the role of the saints.
Religious of the Assumption: News, Become a Sister, Volunteer or ...
religious of the assumption
Foundress of the Religious of the Assumption to be Canonized
From Cantonese Opera: Its Introduction & Influence in America
l (front cover): Female warrior wearing an elaborate headpiece with colored velvet balls and long pheasant plumes. Cantonese Opera. 16 x 20 in. Chromogenic color print. r (back cover): Actor Peng Chi Quan in Mok Kwai Ying Looking for a Bride. Cantonese Opera. 16 x 20 in. Chromogenic color print. view larger spread in new window (From the book Chinese Opera.)
Some more photos here; Google image search results.
Cantonese Opera HomePage
Cantonese Opera: Tang Kung Han Si
Chinese Arts ( Cantonese Opera) Photo Gallery by vincent chan at ...
The Legendary Four of Cantonese Opera
Guangdong is the birth place of Cantonese opera Guangzhou International-the Official Website of Guangzhou Municipality
Cantonese Opera Troupes
Yam Kim Fai/But Suet Sin
Hong Kong - Your Destination
Hong Kong Film Archive
Hong Kong Cinemagic - Yam Kim Fai
Connie Chan Po-chu: Movie-Fan Princess
Po Chu and her mentor (pdf)
Macao Cultural Centre
Hong Kong Cinemagic - Petrina Fung Bo Bo
About Wong Wai Kuan
Guangdong is the birth place of Cantonese opera
Chinese Opera Association Silicon Valley
Welcome to Bay Area Cantonese Opera
Gangzhou Society Cantonese Opera Group (Melbourne)
Cantonese Opera Troupes in Singapore
Choy Brothers Cantonese Opera Troupe
Cantonese Opera The Singapore Action Group of Elders
Cantonese Music Societies on Vancouver: A Social and Historical Survey
New York Cantonese Opera Inc
89 BoweryNew York, NY 10002(212) 219-1088
village voice > news > The Other New York City Opera by Angela Starita
Vancouver Cantonese Opera
New Star Cantonese Opera Centre Inc
110-3751 Jacombs Road, Richmond, BC, Canada - (604) 233-0363
Hong Kong Singing lessons, voice teachers, classical singers ...
Welcome to quyi
Yuequ Artist: Chen Lingyu > People > Artists
Yuequ, or Guangdong Melodieschina guides
The Different Yuequ Schoolschina guides
Yue Qu Dui Chang - Feng Liu Si Ma Qiao Wen Jun (Cantonese Opera ...
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Oh my goodness, I know this CD!! It is track 7 from the CD "Byzantine Liturgical Chant" published by the I.T.I. (International Theological Institute) in Gaming, Austria at the Kartause Maria Thron back in 2000!
Published on 30 May 2007 by Energy Bulletin. Archived on 30 May 2007.
Going West in China
by David DuByne
As I sat reading Steve Andrews article “An Energy Postcard from China”, I glanced out of my office window into the grey smog covering Chongqing, a city of 30 million people and have some thoughts to add on the expansion of this economy.
• The Chinese government continues the Go West Campaign, it is designed to convince those who are heading into big cities looking for work to go to the western cities and spur the same economic boom that is occurring along the east coast. This includes upgrades new infrastructure, additional energy generation, and the intensification of natural resource extraction in the western regions.
• Every road throughout the nation is being refinished with concrete. From highways to one lane roads that were formerly dirt, nearly every road in every province is being up graded to allow movement of goods and people at a faster pace. This would account for the usage of 45% of the worlds cement year upon year. This is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 8.5% (or 90 million metric tons) during the 2006-2007 period.
• Travelling by rail through Sichuan Province and everywhere else, parallel rail lines beside existing lines are being built for rapid transit and high speed delivery of goods and people. From now to 2010 the Chinese government plans to complete an additional 19,800 kilometers of new tracks and up grade 15,000 kilometers of existing routes.
• Where development and economic growth compete against environmentalism, conservation always falls on deaf ears. One of the most pristine areas in the western part of Yunnan province is the Nujiang Valley, which will have a series of 13 dams built that will cover a 700 kilometer section of the valley built by Huadian Corporation. This one of the last two major dam free rivers in China. The 100 billion kilowatts per hour of generated electricity would be for factories on the EAST coast of the country. In addition the power will be used in new factory complexes that are slated to come into the region to take advantage of tax breaks and special incentives to relocate there.
• One of the biggest tourist draws in Yunnan province for trekking is in the Tiger Leaping gorge, but a series of eight dams along a 564 kilometer section of the Jinsha River to provide power will alter the gorge. Lancangjiang Hydropower Development Corporation, a subsidiary of China Huaneng Group states “the dam will have an overall capacity of 20 million kilowatts, it is almost the same size as the Three Gorges Dam, but the water storage capacity in Tiger Leaping Gorge reservoir will be even bigger.” In addition to electricity generation this dam is supposed to help solve the siltation problem that is threatening to block the Yangtze Three Gorges Dam 1500 kilometers downriver.
• The new hydroelectric power sources will be for mining operations in the western portions of China as resource extraction heats up. China’s internal mining capacity will only keep consumption of metals for manufacturing at the break even point. Mining as an industry has seen 20% growth year on year. Antimony and Molybdenum along with Gold, Silver, Copper, Aluminum, Zinc, Nickel and Lead are leading the growth.
• Roads leading to the Myannmar border are being expanded to four lanes as new sea ports and oil loading platforms are within easy reach and accessible in the Bay of Bengal from the west of China.
• A new natural gas field discovery containing 3.8 trillion cubic meters near Dazhou in the N.E. part of Sichuan Province was instantly slated for smelters in addition to the hydroelectric power set to come on line.
• I might add that the new find of oil in Bohai Bay is just a drop in the bucket to the needs of this insatiable economy, at best it will add 200,000 barrels per day of production, and that was the amount of new increased oil usage for last year alone.
• The Chinese government gives incentives for recent graduates to relocate or “population transfer” as its sometimes called to the second and third-tier cities of the west. Job placement and minimum guaranteed salaries are but a few of the gems offered. Additionally students who use state loans to finish their university studies may have their loans waived. The loan, up to 24,000 yuan (US$4,000) per student is paid by the Chinese government if the graduate promises to work in a western or remote region for at least three years.
• Lastly, as I listen to the never ending car horns below, I remembered reading a recent article stating that an estimated 3000 cars are added to the cities roads every day and presently 70% of Chongqing road space is filled during the day.
Economist Tom Greco on reinventing moneyvia EB
29 May 2007 View all related to Local Money Money
Community and monetary economist Thomas H. Greco, Jr. gives a presentation in Sebastopol, California about creating alternative currency and exchange systems.
Greco is also a writer, networker, and consultant, who, for almost three decades, has been working at the leading edge of transformational restructuring. A former college professor, he is currently Director of the non-profit Community Information Resource Center, a networking hub, which provides information access and administrative support for efforts in community improvement, social justice, and sustainability.
He is regarded as one of the leading experts in monetary theory and history, credit clearing systems, complementary currencies, and community economic development. He is author of many articles and books, including Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender (Chelsea Green, 2001).
AudioEconomist Tom Greco on reinventing money (audio) (length 39 min): download, stream
An excerpt: John Medaille / Taiwan and the Land to the Tiller Program
His distributism page. (He is also a member of the The Distributist Review.)
Absurd Wisdom: An Apology for Euthyphro - John C. Médaille ...
Amazon.co.uk: Catholic Social Teaching (Third Way Special Edition ...
SoCon or Bust: New Book on Business and Catholic Social Teaching
New book on Distributism - Fish Eaters Forum
A Pakistani district court has condemned to Younis Masih, accused of having offended Muhammad and the Koran. His defence lawyer denounces the lack of any proof and police negligence and prepares an appeal.
Plus: Fresh protests in Guangxi against the one child policy
In cities across the region crowds have besieged public offices and clashed with police, protesting against excessive taxes for families with more than one child. Hundreds of extra forces have been called in to keep the area under control, while authorities insist that they have merely applied the law.
From the Cato Institute: Libertarians, Beware the Rigid Reign of Rudy
Sources on the Second Amendment and Rights to Keep and Bear Arms in State Constitutions
Prof. Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law School *
(His blog, The Volokh Conspiracy.)
"Stand firm in your faith!" We have just heard the words of Jesus: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth" (John 14:15-17a). With these words Jesus reveals the profound link between faith and the profession of Divine Truth, between faith and dedication to Jesus Christ in love, between faith and the practice of a life inspired by the commandments.
All three dimensions of faith are the fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit. This action is manifested as an inner force that harmonizes the hearts of the disciples with the Heart of Christ and makes them capable of loving as he loved them. Hence faith is a gift, but at the same time it is a task.
"He will give you another Counselor -- the Spirit of truth." Faith, as knowledge and profession of the truth about God and about man, "comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ," as St. Paul says (Romans 10:17). Throughout the history of the Church, the apostles preached the word of Christ, taking care to hand it on intact to their successors, who in their turn transmitted it to subsequent generations until our own day. Many preachers of the Gospel gave their lives specifically because of their faithfulness to the truth of the word of Christ. And so solicitude for the truth gave birth to the Church's Tradition.
As in past centuries, so also today there are people or groups who obscure this centuries-old Tradition, seeking to falsify the Word of Christ and to remove from the Gospel those truths which in their view are too uncomfortable for modern man. They try to give the impression that everything is relative: Even the truths of faith would depend on the historical situation and on human evaluation. Yet the Church cannot silence the Spirit of Truth. The successors of the apostles, together with the Pope, are responsible for the truth of the Gospel, and all Christians are called to share in this responsibility, accepting its authoritative indications.
Every Christian is bound to confront his own convictions continually with the teachings of the Gospel and of the Church's Tradition in the effort to remain faithful to the word of Christ, even when it is demanding and, humanly speaking, hard to understand. We must not yield to the temptation of relativism or of a subjectivist and selective interpretation of sacred Scripture. Only the whole truth can open us to adherence to Christ, dead and risen for our salvation. Christ says: "If you love me ..."
Faith does not just mean accepting a certain number of abstract truths about the mysteries of God, of man, of life and death, of future realities. Faith consists in an intimate relationship with Christ, a relationship based on love of him who loved us first (cf. 1 John 4:11), even to the total offering of himself. "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
What other response can we give to a love so great, if not that of a heart that is open and ready to love? But what does it mean to love Christ? It means trusting him even in times of trial, following him faithfully even on the Via Crucis, in the hope that soon the morning of the Resurrection will come. Entrusting ourselves to Christ, we lose nothing, we gain everything. In his hands our life acquires its true meaning. Love for Christ expresses itself in the will to harmonize our own life with the thoughts and sentiments of his Heart.
This is achieved through interior union based on the grace of the sacraments, strengthened by continuous prayer, praise, thanksgiving and penance. We have to listen attentively to the inspirations that he evokes through his Word, through the people we meet, through the situations of daily life. To love him is to remain in dialogue with him, in order to know his will and to put it into effect promptly.
Yet living one's personal faith as a love-relationship with Christ also means being ready to renounce everything that constitutes a denial of his love. That is why Jesus said to the apostles: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." But what are Christ's commandments?
When the Lord Jesus was teaching the crowds, he did not fail to confirm the law which the Creator had inscribed on men's hearts and had then formulated on the tablets of the Decalogue. "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18).
But Jesus showed us with a new clarity the unifying center of the divine laws revealed on Sinai, namely love of God and love of neighbor: "To love [God] with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33). Indeed, in his life and in his paschal mystery Jesus brought the entire law to completion. Uniting himself with us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, he carries with us and in us the "yoke" of the law, which thereby becomes a "light burden" (Matthew 11:30).
In this spirit, Jesus formulated his list of the inner qualities of those who seek to live their faith deeply: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who weep, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake ... (cf. Matthew 5:3-12).
RELATIVISM: THE CENTRAL PROBLEM FOR FAITH TODAY
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
See also his homily delivered before the conclave.
"Judge not lest ye be judged" is, perhaps, the most misused passage in all of scripture, and relativist love to throw it in the face of those who believe in objective truth as the end all be all accusation. Ironically, they miss the fact that their misguided scriptural attack presupposes a judgement on the person they intend to influence. "I'm going to judge you for what I perceive as you judging another" is the basic message of this tactic. It is logically flawed, and a tad hypocritical. What saddens me most is when self-proclaimed Christians emit this jargon, because it is a blatent act of ripping scripture from its context to use it for a personal agenda. The above passage occurs twice in scripture, once in Matthew 7:1-2 and again in Luke 6:37. However, in both accounts it is immediately followed by the discourse about removing the plank from one's own eye. Nevertheless, the key text is the last line. The Matthean text and Lucan texts are almost identical, reading, "you hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Jesus commands judging the self prior to judging others. Removing the plank is not the end act. Rather, the judging (and correcting) of self is in both passages a prerequiste to two other acts - judging the presence of a speck in another person's eye and then removing that speck. If Jesus truly meant we are to never judge anything by saying "judge not lest ye be judged", then he was indeed a very confused man, because he refutes that notion a few lines later, encouraging others to remove the speck from another's eye after his own plank has been dislodged. Judging the actions and thoughts of others is not forbidden by Jesus - what is forbidden is the laxity of not judging the self first. In fact, he elswhere tells his disciples to shake the dust from their feet in judgment as "a testimony against" any who do not receive them. (Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5) He even tells the apostles to judge the worthiness of the homes they enter and to recall their peace from a home if it is found unworthy. (Matt 10:12-13)Finally, he authorizes them to bind and loose in heaven by binding and loosing upon earth, an activity quite impossible without some level of judgment. (Matt 18:18) So, yes, Jesus did stress love but not a love devoid of judgement. Indeed, it seems quite impossible to authentically love someone and not judge whether or not they are following truth. On the contrary, if one does not invest critical thought toward the actions and beliefs of another, it seems they, in actuality, care little for that person's true wellbeing.
How to Be More Tolerant
Philosophy professor J. Budziszewski has made some interesting observations on the virtue of tolerance. True tolerance requires good judgment about when to put up with things with which we disapprove. However, by the new, distorted definition, tolerance requires something different than good judgment -- it requires "neutrality," which means suspending judgment altogether. According to Dr. Budziszewski's 1999 book The Revenge of Conscience, the neutralist must make use of one of three fallacies:
1. The Quantitative Fallacy: "The more ideas and behaviors you are able to tolerate, the more tolerant you are."
2. The Skeptical Fallacy: The best foundation for tolerance is to avoid having strong convictions about anything; therefore, "The more you doubt, the more tolerant you are."
3. The Apologetic Fallacy: If you cannot help having strong convictions, then the most tolerant thing to do is to "Keep your convictions to yourself." You should not discuss them with others, nor act upon them.
But "neutralism," Dr. Budziszewski observes, is never practiced consistently. Rather, it is used as a weapon for demoralizing opponents. "The neutralist, too, has convictions," he says. These are convictions about the things the neutralist himself thinks should be tolerated--for example, aberrant sexual behaviors.
Even the ACLU, supposedly a defender of all civil liberties, backs certain types of rights and shuns disfavored causes--like the desire to change from gay to straight--by redefining them as "prejudices."
But true tolerance, Dr. Budziszewski says, cannot mean that we accept all behaviors. It does not imply we should put up with false statements in a debate, or allow rape; nor does it imply we should be neutral about everything, because "there is no neutral ground in the universe." Instead, true tolerance means that we decide to put up with some bad things for the sake of a greater good. But we cannot evade making decisions about what, in fact, those bad and good things actually are.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
A Constitutionalist Speaks Out
By John F. McManus
Published: 2007-03-06 15:51
TNA: What can we do about our dependence on foreign suppliers — including those in the Middle East — for vital supplies of oil?
Rep. Paul: Just deregulate. We have plenty of oil in the ground in Alaska and in off-shore locales. We should go after it, but federal regulations prohibiting oil companies from doing so keep us dependent on others. Think also what a full-fledged nuclear power operation would do to relieve hydrocarbon needs. We could create a lot of electricity with nuclear power and, who knows, it might be an advantage to have half our automobiles plugged in every night. But even building nuclear power plants faces obstacles.
Yet, even some of the "greenies" are coming around. I was talking to a member who is very sympathetic to the environmentalists, and he's beginning to think that nuclear power isn't such a bad idea after all, and that even when you have nuclear waste, it is so small in volume that it doesn't have to be disposed of in one central location. There's a nuclear power plant in my district, and I've seen the stored waste that they're keeping until there's a national waste disposal site. I've seen the pit where the waste is kept and it's not very large. No one should get hysterical about disposing of nuclear waste.
Alas, Ron Paul doesn't want to ask the question of whether we can continue down this path.
Riyo Mori, Miss Japan 2007, right, reacts as she wins the Miss Universe 2007 title in Mexico City, Monday, May 28, 2007, as Zuleyka Rivera, Miss Universe 2006, looks on. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Riyo Mori, Miss Japan 2007, right, reacts as she is crowned Miss Universe 2007 by Zuleyka Rivera, Miss Universe 2006, in Mexico City, Monday, May 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007, gestures during an interview in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 29, 2007. Mori, won the Miss Universe 2007 beauty pageant in Mexico City, Monday, May 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
In this handout image provided by the Miss Universe 2007 organization, Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007, of Japan, poses with Donald Trump, left, and pageant host Mario Lopez after winning the title at the 2007 Miss Universe beauty pageant in Mexico City, Monday, May 28, 2007. (AP Photo/ Darren Decker, Miss Universe L.P., LLLP)
In this handout image provided by the Miss Universe 2007 organization, Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007, of Japan, reacts with Donald Trump after winning the 2007 Miss Universe title in Mexico City, Monday, May 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Vincent Villafane, Miss Universe L.P., LLLP)
Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007, poses for photographers in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 29, 2007. Mori, won the Miss Universe 2007 beauty pageant in Mexico City, Monday, May 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Who should have won:
Miss Brazil Natalia Guimaraes attends a rehearsal for the upcoming Miss Universe contestants in Mexico City May 26, 2007. She will compete in the Miss Universe 2007 finals in Mexico City on May 28. REUTERS/Henry Romero (MEXICO)
Miss Brazil Natalia Guimaraes parades in the evening gown competition of the Miss Universe 2007 pageant at the National Auditorium in Mexico City May 28, 2007. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (MEXICO)
Bah. The interview questions are really lame and inane, and they expect us to believe that the contestants' answers will really set them apart? I don't really think there is much there with respect to Miss Japan. Then again, it's all rather shallow to begin with, right? I wish they would just admit that, instead of being incoherent like the Miss Sweden organization. Miss Sweden withdrew from the Miss Universe pageant because of pressure from Swedish feminist groups; the Miss Sweden organization stated that the Miss Universe pageant needed to catch up to the Miss Sweden pageant. Really, if they cared so much about the radical feminist agenda, shouldn't they just end the pageant, instead of endorsing looksism, even if good looks has to be accompanied by brains? And, if we're really going to be PC, should we admit that there are differences in intellectual abilities?
I don't really like Miss Korea's bringing up her interest work in missionary work over and over again--would it be too much to say that this is the rather casual attitude of Protestants? Of course Catholics also talk about going on missionary trips too much, but this happens more often at Catholics that have lost their Catholic identity and focus instead on such excursions in the name of "social justice."
Protestants, especially the youth, have the practice of going on missionary trips when they are in high school and college--and often the countries they visit are Catholic countries.
It almost seems like a form of boasting, to talk about it too much--it seems better not to talk about it, rather than seem like one is trying to gain the praise of men. Besides, evangelization is a serious activity, and the activity itself probably should not be discussed too much with non-Christians, who may be turned-off by that kind of talk. It's one thing to talk about Christ, it's another to talk about "doing missionary work" with them. This activity is not on the same level as secular "charitable" activities, and one probably shouldn't be trumpeting it in order to get points in a beauty pageant.
I have to admit that when I found out that Miss Korea had gotten some plastic surgery (I saw the before and after photos over at Soompi), I was rather disappointed, and it made me wonder what sort of Christianity she was brought up with. Perhaps Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant, has difficulty competing with the pagan inordinate desire for beauty that dominates Korea.
Follow-up: Blessings Without a Stole
In line with our column on blessings without a stole (May 15), several readers have asked a similar question: "Is it proper for lay extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to give a 'blessing' to young children or people who cannot (or choose not to) receive the Eucharist?"
There are many ways of distinguishing kinds of blessings and sacramentals. One such distinction is between constituent and invocative sacramental.
The effect of a constituent sacramental is to transform the person or object being blessed in such a way that it is separated from profane use. Examples would include the blessing of an abbot and the blessing of holy water. Practically all of these blessings are reserved to an ordained minister and sometimes are the exclusive preserve of the bishop.
Invocative blessings call down God's blessing and protection upon a person or thing without sacralizing them in any way. Some of these blessings are reserved to the ordained, such as the blessing of the assembly at the end of a liturgical celebration.
Some blessings may also be imparted by lay people by delegation or by reason of some special liturgical ministry, above all when an ordained minister is absent or impeded (see general introduction to the Shorter Book of Blessings, No. 18). In these cases lay people use the appropriate formulas designated for lay ministers.
This latter situation is probably the case of the extraordinary ministers of holy Communion who ask that God's blessing may come upon those who for some good reason approach the altar but do not receive Communion.
Finally, some simple blessings may be given by lay people in virtue of their office, for example, parents on behalf of their children.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Actresses perform in the musical "Dae Jang Geum" during a media call in Seoul May 25, 2007. The musical was adapted from the famous South Korean television drama "Dae Jang Geum" (Jewel In The Palace), which achieved the high television viewership ratings in Asian countries as Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, China and South Korea. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak (SOUTH KOREA)
Actors, playing the roles of a king and a queen, perform the musical "Dae Jang Geum" during a media call in Seoul May 25, 2007. The musical was adapted from the famous South Korean television drama "Dae Jang Geum" (Jewel In The Palace), which achieved high television viewership ratings in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea and Iran. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak (SOUTH KOREA)
An actress performs in the musical "Dae Jang Geum" during a media call in Seoul May 25, 2007. The musical was adapted from the famous South Korean television drama "Dae Jang Geum" (Jewel In The Palace), which achieved high television viewership ratings in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea and Iran. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak (SOUTH KOREA)
"No doubt, consumerism has already been responsible for a number of coming financial debacles, most notably the housing collapse, the negative savings rate in this country, record levels of debt, and rising bankruptcies."
"Tied to the Dollar, the Chinese Yuan fails to reflect China's surging economy - or so goes the theory. Either way, China's super-low interest rates remain well below inflation."
by Adrian Ash
Economic Caveat From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
"My thankless job, being sent here from a planet far, far away in another galaxy, is to deliver the message to humankind that…inflation in prices destroys economies as it makes prices too high for people to pay."
by The Mogambo Guru
Ross then proceeds to misrepresent my references to Habermas, as the preacher of the negative view of the German past that emerged from the Nuremberg Trials. Pace Ross, I am not linking Habermas to “the hard-nosed American colonels and Nuremberg lawyers who tried to de-Nazify Germany after the War” but to the pro-Soviet advisors and Frankfurt School “anti-authoritarian” psychologists who advised these non-intellectuals. If Ross can bring himself to look up some non-authorized reading on the themes of my book, he should consult Caspar von Schrenk-Notzing’s Charakterwäsche. This is the best work, in my opinion, treating the intention and range of “German postwar “reeducation,” a process that Habermas and Germany’s present academic and journalistic elites maintain was not sufficiently thorough or relentlessly enough “antifascist.” My chapter on Germany focuses on why national masochism, as preached by Habermas, has become a dangerous, aberrant characteristic of German public life.
Rising meat and rice prices spark fear in government about unrest among the poor
Some prices have doubled, even tripled in a month. Meat is getting scarce because of rural exodus and animal diseases. Premier Wen Jiabao urges action and greater government supervision.
Guangzhou (AsiaNews) – Chinese authorities are getting increasingly concerned about rising food prices, especially for pork and rice, and worried about the impact the trend may have on social stability.
Mainland media have reported that shortfalls in stock and high feed prices have led to double-digit price rises for meat in several places, including Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Shenyang. In Shenzhen the price of pork went from 9 yuan a kilo in April to 28-30 in may and on Sunday a Guangzhou supermarket opened at 8 am sold it at about 16 yuan on a special. The one tonne in stock was sold out in less than an hour with shoppers lined up for more than a kilometre.
The price of pork, a key staple in Chinese cuisine, rose across China. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the price of pork rose 29.3 per cent last month from April last year.
Shop owners are concerned that rising meat prices will cause hikes in other food items. Already the price of eggs rose by 30.9 per cent in a year, and rice and grains jumped by 6.1 per cent.
The soaring prices are likely to fuel inflation, an issue of deep concern for the authorities. The consumer price index—a key indicator for inflation—rose 3 per cent in April, compared with a 1.5 per cent rise in the same period last year.
In its rapid growth in the last decades China did not experience high inflation because of tight controls over agricultural output and stable salaries.
However, over time, rural exodus, soil pollution and widespread poverty in the countryside have reduced farm output and animal stocks. Hikes in fertiliser and feed stock prices have made matters worse.
Outbreaks of disease among farm animals have accentuated the trend. Some scientists have reported millions of pigs dying in the last few months as a result of infections.
With inflation rising there are fears that wages will follow. This will likely reduce one of the factors that have given China a competitive advantage, attracting foreign investments, i.e. its cheaper labour force compared to other countries of the region.
But the greatest fear is that rising prices might trigger a wave of social unrest.
Last week-end Premier Wen Jiabao travelled to Shaanxi province, where he visited pig farmers and markets. He used the occasion to warn officials that price increases would affect the nation's stability.
The premier urged government departments to maintain market supply by boosting production, increasing the supply of pig feed, strengthening government supervision over the market and providing financial aid to poor families in an effort to maintain social stability.
Whilst “we need to make sure that it is profitable for our farmers to raise pigs,” he said, at the same time meat must remain “affordable to our city folk—especially those on low incomes.”
Hu Xingdou, a political commentator with Beijing University of Technology, noted that soaring food prices and runaway inflation were among the catalysts that set off the 1989 student-led demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Zheng Xiaoyu took bribes in exchange for the approval of hundreds of thousands of potentially life threatening drugs.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People's Court has condemned Zheng Xiaoyu. The former head of China's food and drug administration is sentenced to death for corruption. The state run Xinhua news agency reported the announcement this morning, but also the fact that the sentence may be muted to life in prison during the upcoming appeal.
Zheng, 62, was removed from his post in June 2005 for suspected malpractise. .An official investigation that concluded last month accused him of accepting more than five million yuan (HK$5.1 million) in bribes to grant approvals on hundreds of medicines. The high level official had been expelled from the party in the year 2006.
Chief among Zheng’s accusers is Kangliyuan pharmaceutical group, which has admitted to paying bribes for the approval of 227 medicines, most of them expensive antibiotics. 31 other people are alleged to have been involved in the scandal, including Zheng's former secretary Cao Wenzhuang, Zheng’s wife Liu Naixue, his son Zheng Hairong, and officials at several drug companies.
It is out of the ordinary that a high ranking party official should be condemned to death, but Zhengs trial comes amid a wave of “continuous scandals” in the country, regarding dangerous drugs and out of spoiled food.
Last month, Beijing was forced to admit to having exported poisonous toothpaste to America and a cough syrup containing anti-freeze to Panama, which caused over 100 dead. But above all the government has also had to publicly face up to the fact that parts of its agricultural terrain is seriously polluted.
According to national economists, all of these scandals lead back to the common denominator of a widespread corruption, which has contaminated the industrial and political spheres at almost every level, even governing authorities whose task it is to safeguard quality control and production methods.
38 New Priests for Opus Dei
Prelate Encouraged Them to "Only Speak of God"
ROME, MAY 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Thirty-eight men from 18 countries were ordained to the priesthood for the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.
Bishop Javier Echevarría, prelate of Opus Dei, conferred the ordinations Saturday afternoon in Rome, reminding the ordinands in his homily that they will be instruments of the Holy Spirit "to illuminate souls and answer the questions that weigh upon the hearts of many people."
A reported 1,500 people were present for the ordinations that took place in the Basilica of St. Eugene.
The new priests come from Ireland, the Netherlands, the United States, Australia, Germany, Spain, Colombia, Italy, the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, France, Congo, Brazil, Argentina, Kenya and Guatemala.
During the Mass, Bishop Echevarría offered the new priests some advice from Opus Dei's founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá: "We priests must only speak of God. We will not speak of politics, or social ideologies or questions extraneous to the priestly task. In this way, we will make the Holy Church and the Roman Pontiff loved."
Brian Maguire, an American who flew to Rome to attend the event, said: "Many Americans are understandably discouraged by the so-called vocations crisis here at home. They should go to Rome. There's no doubt that God is renewing the Church from its heart in Rome.
"Saturday's ordinations showed not only that many young men are responding to this call, but that they are doing so generously and enthusiastically when it's presented to them as a lifelong surrender of self for others."
Papal Address to Syro-Malankara Church Leader
"Now Is a Time of New Evangelization"
VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is the English-language address Benedict XVI gave when receiving in audience Major Archbishop Issac Cleemis Thottunkal of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankara Church in India.
* * *
I am pleased to welcome you on your first visit to Rome since your election as Major Archbishop of the beloved Catholic Syro-Malankara Church. I am most grateful to Your Beatitude for your affectionate and respectful greetings, and I thank you sincerely for your eager wish to "see Peter" (cf. Gal 1:18). Together let us give thanks to God for this providential opportunity to confirm that bond of communion with the See of Rome of which your community is justly proud.
My thoughts turn to the distinguished Pastors that the Holy Spirit has called forth to lead your people to rediscover unity with Peter’s Successor. I think especially of Mar Ivannios, who in 1930 solemnly professed the Catholic faith, and set out generously upon an ecclesial path rich in blessings. This made it possible for my predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul II, to raise the Syro-Malankara Church to the level of a Major Archbishopric in February 2005. The Venerable Cyril Mar Baselios, Metropolitan sui juris of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, thus became your first Major Archbishop. In this capacity, he travelled to Rome to represent the Malankara community, as the Church and the world took leave of that beloved Pontiff, who had since been called to the Father’s House. Soon afterwards, Mar Baselios himself was to follow him. Today we sense the closeness of these unforgettable Pastors, as the Syro-Malankara Church continues her generous mission, filled with confidence in God’s grace.
The precious heritage of your ecclesial tradition was placed in the hands of Your Beatitude through the act of canonical election conducted by the Fathers of the Syro-Malankara Synod. May the Lord grant you an abundance of spiritual gifts so that this heritage may continue to bear much fruit, according to the Lord’s will.
As Peter’s Successor, I happily confirmed the Synod’s decision. Now the universal Church, together with all those who belong to your ecclesial tradition, is counting upon Your Beatitude to ensure that the Malankara community can proceed along a twofold path. On the one hand, through faithfulness to the Apostolic See you will always participate fully in the universal breath of the one Church of Christ; on the other hand your fidelity to the specifically Eastern features of your tradition will enable the whole Church to benefit from what in his manifold wisdom "the Spirit is saying to the Churches" (cf. Rev 2:7 et passim).
In your capacity as Head and Shepherd of the Syro-Malankara Church, Your Beatitude has been entrusted with the mission of leading and sustaining the Christian witness and ecclesial life of the faithful of that noble Church throughout the vast Indian Sub-Continent and the other regions where Syro-Malankara Catholics are found. At the same time you are seeking to address the major challenges that present themselves at the start of this Third Christian Millennium. Now is a time of new evangelization, a time of constantly renewed and convinced dialogue with all our brothers and sisters who share our Christian faith, a time of respectful and fruitful encounter between religions and cultures for the good of all, and especially the poorest of the poor. Our commitment to evangelization needs to be constantly renewed, as we strive to build peace, in justice and solidarity, for the whole human family. May you always draw strength from the Lord and from the collegial support of your Brother Bishops -- the members of the Synod. Please assure them of my prayers and convey my special greetings to them on the happy occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Syro-Malankara hierarchy.
We are still breathing the atmosphere of Pentecost and we wish to linger with the Holy Mother of God and the Apostles in the Upper Room of Jerusalem, docile to the action of the Spirit. To the Holy Virgin I entrust my prayers for Your Beatitude and for the whole Syro-Malankara Church, asking that the gift of the Spirit may continue to nourish and strengthen you as you bear witness to the Gospel of Christ. With these sentiments I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, my Venerable Brother, and to all the sons and daughters of the Syro-Malankara Church.
© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Monday, May 28, 2007
Jimmy Kimmel Live - Cameron Diaz (Part 1)
Jimmy Kimmel Live - Cameron Diaz (Part 2)
Jimmy Kimmel Live - Cameron Diaz (Part 3)
Cameron Diaz - Exclusive Interview
Ellen - Cameron Diaz, Shrek 3 interview. (Part 1)
Ellen - Cameron Diaz, Shrek 3 interview. (Part 2)
Anyway, I was musing today on how culture is something we carry in our heads, and if we forget about it, it's pretty much gone. Cut off from place, it becomes quite difficult to maintain cultural traditions. Modern America -- which is to say post-agrarian America -- is all about mobility. We've built an economy and an entire way of life around mobility, and the rootless individual is the ideal American. It seems to me that we constantly hear immigration apologists on the left and the right say that anyone who points to significant differences between Americans and the Mexicans who are moving here en masse in the great migration from the south is some sort of racist or nativist. They're just like us, is the constant refrain, and it's insinuated, or said outright, that you're a racist or a nativist if you believe otherwise. This strikes me as exactly the kind of idiotic error that got us into this mess in Iraq -- the idea that inside the breast of every foreigner is an American, dying to come out. This is not to say that we shouldn't have immigration, certainly, but it's to say that we ought to realize that by importing millions and millions of poor people who are rather unlike modern Americans, we are going to cause a big cultural shift.
on the American dream:
What is the American dream? Prosperity and individual autonomy. A commitment to the obligations of history and the ties that bind us to place inhibit the realization of the American dream. The globalized consumerist economy, the same thing that makes it possible for Americans like me and migrants from Mexico to move to Texas to pursue our fortunes, requires severing or at least weakening the bonds of history, and all that entails -- our personal commitment to place, to extended family, to tribal myth.
Lorne Gunter, National Post
Mayor David Miller
Toronto, Multiculturalist paradise?
Diversity Management and Community Engagement
Canadian Bill of Rights ( 1960, c. 44 )
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Department of Justice website
Film review: What a Way to Go - Life at the end of empire
Jan Lundberg, Culture ChangeReview of documentary film written and directed by TSBennett, produced by Sally Erickson, 2007
The movie features some anarcho-primitivist favorites, Derrick Jensen and Daniel Quinn.
trailer: Google video
The Greenhousers Strike Back and Out
U.P. Singing Ambassadors
Theologians say Vatican doctrine office needs overhaul
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS (Reuters) - Pope Benedict is coming under mounting criticism from his former German theologian colleagues, one likening the Catholic Church's doctrinal office, that the pontiff once headed, to a 19th century censorship bureau.
Its censure in March of Father Jon Sobrino, a leading liberation theology proponent, prompted an appeal for a thorough overhaul of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the modern-day successor of the Inquisition.
"The structure of the CDF must be reformed," Peter Huenermann told Reuters by telephone from Tuebingen, Germany.
"It still operates just like the censorship bureaus most European countries had until the end of the 19th century," Huenermann, the appeal's author and a retired theology professor from Tuebingen University, said.
About 130 theologians in Germany and Austria have backed the appeal and messages of support are starting to come in from other countries as it gets translated.
The protest amounts to a vote of no confidence in the way Benedict, who headed the CDF for 24 years before becoming pope in 2005, deals with critical thinkers in the Church.
The European Society for Catholic Theology, based in Leuven, Belgium, has also protested against the CDF censure, saying it was badly argued and had ignored "the theological developments of the last 50 years."
Huenermann, whose Tuebingen colleague Hans Kueng the CDF banned from teaching Catholic theology in 1979, said there was a need for change.
"It has a small staff of functionaries ... who work from denunciations they get," he said. "But we live in a time when theologians everywhere are constantly researching new topics. There are many new issues, like bioethics and technology."
MODERN QUALITY CONTROL
The CDF, now headed by Cardinal William Levada from the United States, said Sobrino's "Jesus the Liberator" and other writings contained "erroneous or dangerous" passages that stressed Christ's humanity more than his divine nature.
In his article, Huenermann disputed the criticisms the CDF made and said some were wrong, unsubstantiated or "based on a hasty reading" of Sobrino's books.
He said the CDF should work like an academic review board, using modern methods such as peer review for publications to allow theologians to test out new ideas. He said he and some colleagues were considering drawing up a proposal for reforms.
Huenermann launched the protest wave in April by publishing an article in the German Catholic monthly Herder Korrespondenz calling for "modern quality control" for Church theology.
Colleagues created a virtual petition by sending in emails declaring their support for his appeal. The article has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and Czech.
Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, taught theology in several German universities including Tuebingen before taking over the CDF, where he disciplined many liberation theologians and kept close tabs on Catholic theology professors.
Asked why German theologians were leading the protest against the office once led by the German Pope, Huenermann laughed and said: "Maybe because we still trust him enough to show some understanding for this."
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Peter Hünermann's Assessment of ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’
International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology
Catholic Theology Faculty at the University of Tübingen (You can find a picture of Peter Hünermann here.)
So Sarge and I didn't go to the theaters last night; we did go to Chinatown to pick up some food at Hei La Moon, and then afterwards I drove by Landmark so he could buy some Coldstone. (Alas, he didn't make use of the coupons that I had given him, though if he had he would have saved some $, even if the size of the treat would have been bigger.) The food at Hei La Moon is good, though not worth the price, since we can get food of a similar quality at Victoria's, and it's not that much worse at Victoria's. I guess I won't be going back to Hei La Moon for dinner any time soon.
Sarge wanted to finish up the first season of Battlestar Galactica, so we rented the last two discs of the first season set at Blockbuster, and picked up the first disc of season two. He got to the second episode of season 2, and then had to go to bed.
On Friday we drove down to New York City. I was the cause of the delay--we didn't leave the house until 1 or so, and we first had to drop off the Philosopher on Newbury Street, since he asked for a ride. Since we weren't going in the same direction, he didn't want to impose on us too much, but Sarge offered to drive him all the way. We go to our destination in Brooklyn around 7:30 or so--we left Boston around 2, and got to the edge of NYC around 5:30--and then we were stuck in traffic for the next two hours. Since everything was closing, we decided to go to dinner, and I was going to take Sarge to try out Korean fried chicken. So we headed to W. 32nd Street for Baden Baden. The bar is on the second floor, and when we got there, it wasn't so packed, though there were a lot of people. As for the rotisserie chicken, I thought it was good, not dry, but then again we didn't get much of the breast meat, as far as I could tell. And the gave us pickled radish... mmm I haven't had that for a while, and it was sweet pickled radish, not spicy. Pretty good! I could eat that at every meal I think, and I prefer it to cooked daikon.
After dinner, we walked around 32nd Street for a while. (More on that for a while.) Then we walked up to 5th Avenue, past St. Patrick's Cathedral and we stopped at Blanc de Chine. I had to go to use the restrooms at Grand Central--probably because I had been drinking a lot due to the heat, and I wasn't retaining water too well. I'll spare you the details. We then walked back to 32nd Street, and Sarge was feeling hungry. I had suggested that we could come back to eat later, but after the walk, I was ready to go to sleep. We went to New York Kom Tang. I ordered chicken bibimbap (usually the cheapest thing on the menu), and Sarge followed suite. The fried dumplings ($11.99) were definitely not worth it, and the bibimbap... Korean food is so overpriced, so I usually avoid going to a Korean restaurant, unless it's a buffet of some sort. I don't think I would go back to New York Kom Tang. Kweris suggested a different restaurant--if I had written the name down perhaps we would have gone there. Then again... There is a bakery across the street from Kom Tang--it was doing good business that night. Probably a good place for dates.
We headed back to Brooklyn after our "snack," and got back to the car around 3 or so. And we "roughed it" and slept in the car. Pretty nasty, though the baby wipes Sarge brought do come in handy. Unfortunately we left the car windows open, so we were bitten by mosquitos. No one bothered us this time, or the last time we were there, and I was a bit surprised by that.
The next morning, we got up a bit late, and we decided not to go to the Empire State Building. We got off the D train near Rockefeller Center, and considered going up to its observation deck. Sarge was somewhat interested, but I didn't want to spend the $10. I'm not impressed by the New York skyline, with all of its big buildings that are just too big. Both of us don't understand the appeal of NYC--it may be a playground and shopping hot spot for the young and wealthy, but other than that... so we decided not to get tickets and went to Kinokuniya instead.
In front of the Rockefeller Center I was suckered into buying a hat from someone raising money for a homeless shelter run by some organization. (Sarge was able to hold out.) Since I didn't need a baseball cap, I decided to get one that would be suitable for Fujian Gal as a gift, a pink one. The man gave us a free booklet (which I've misplaced), but I scanned through it, and it was a mix of Hinduism and New Age stuff. Bah.
We then went to St. Thomas's Episcopal Church. Sarge thinks it looks better than St. Patrick's. He's probably right. I decided not to go into Blanc de Chine--there was no business that morning, and 3 bored salespersons. Sarge and I definitely did not look like customers who would buy anything. What do high-scale boutiques do with people who will not buy anything and are just looking? Do they turn them away? Perhaps I will actually go in next time--I'd like to see the price tags for some of the clothes.
We took the E train to Jackson Heights, to try the chicken at Unidentified Flying Chicken. Sarge prefers the chicken at Baden Baden. I thought the chicken at UFC was good, though the white meat was a bit dry. But it's difficult to fry white meat without it getting dry? The Korean waitress at UFC was cute and sweet--but maybe she has a different 'casual' voice from her hospitality voice. (Like one of those Korean mothers/housewives who have a rather harsh voice? hahaha) Maybe if I lived in NYC I would consider asking her out on a date, but since I don't, and have no desire to move to NYC... while we were eating Sarge and I watched Nuestra Belleza Latina. The woman from Mexico was pretty, and her smile reminds me of someone, but I can't think of who right now. (She won the competition--I don't know if this is a weekly competition.) One of my students from San Jose perhaps.
We then made our way to Flushing, after getting on and off various trains (since several stations going were closed for repairs). Flushing is full of Chinese and Korean shops and restaurants, but as a residential area, it's full of nursing/retirement homes, rehabilitation centers, and funeral homes. We did walk to St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang Korean Catholic Church, but we didn't go in--there were some Korean ladies just inside the vestibule, sitting at some tables. No doubt there was some sort of community outreach thing going on. Too bad I didn't get a chance to go with Watcher when he was here. I would like to have seen more of Flushing; maybe next time...
There are definitely a lot of attractive young women in Manhattan. But despite their physical attractiveness, I don't think I would have much luck with any of them. After all, I'm looking for someone who is Catholic, virtuous, willing to adopt an agrarian lifestyle if it becomes possible to do so (at the very least willing to embrace the simple life), and will help me homeschool the children if there are no alternatives. So... eventually I think I will have to join CatholicMatch.com (or Ave Maria). MBH is content with the Community of St. John and will probably enter the postulancy in the Fall. So when I'm in an area with high pulchritude, like 5th Avenue or Newbury Street... most of the time I look, but then I think that there isn't much point to looking. I just get down (weaning one's self off from an attachment to physical beauty isn't easy; though it isn't as important as the spiritual qualities, it does factor into attraction.)
Sarge prefers Newbury...
Captain McKnight and the 10th Mountain Division are on NBC Nightly News right now. Do you know him Sarge? They're deployed in Eastern Afghanistan.
Hell's Kitchen, season 3 is starting on Monday, June 4.