Saturday, September 30, 2006

Jericho update

So how many cities have been hit? From the last episode we find out that Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Diego were among the cities, and we were left with the impression that there are more (since Hawkins was marking cities on a map with tacks and we see his hand grabbing a couple more before we cut to something else).

Some spoilers here and here.

Why do women like uncomfortable shoes?

It's Killer Heels this Fall

Shoeaholic Epidemic Strikes Korea

The impact of wearing high heels?
Killer Heels. YNH Hospital newsletter. Flat Facts about High Heels. Women's Health Pays Steep Price with High Heels.

I won't get started on pointy (witches') shoes.
Ferragamo (It)

Nine West

Filmforce trailers

Harsh Times (another Christian Bale movie!)
Flag of our Fathers (opens the same weekend (Oct. 20) as The Prestige--good weekend for movies...)

Robert Downey Jr. has been cast as Tony Stark in the Iron Man movie--I hope the CGI is better than that of the Hulk, or even Superman Returns. I don't doubt Downey can act the role well.

Christians and 'christianists'

An interview with Rémi Brague

Alert: Severe shortage of grown-ups

Alert: Severe shortage of grown-ups

By Mona Charen
Friday, September 29, 2006

Do you allow your pre-teen daughters to wear T-shirts with suggestive messages? Well, plenty of parents do. Just stroll through any clothing store catering to the younger set, and you will find "Hottie" and "Sexy" on shirts too small to fit anyone older than 12. Bare midriffs are marketed to girls as young as 7 and 8. I don't have daughters; I have sons. But I hate for them to be living in such a coarse society.

The Washington Post recently ran a story about how schools are handling the issue at all grade levels (yes, these kids apparently walk out the door dressed like this). A 14- or 15-year-old girl stared happily into the camera wearing a T-shirt that read, "Behind every great girl is a guy checking her out." Her companion's body-hugging T-shirt read, "Yes, but not with u."

go here for the rest...

Project Sycamore

protecting the catholic identity of notre dame

The purpose of Project Sycamore is to provide a source of information, a means of communication, and a collective voice to Notre Dame alumni and others in the Notre Dame family who are concerned about preserving the Catholic identity of the University.


via Domenico Bettinelli

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert

website; photo gallery; some chants

The monastery, located in Abiquiu, New Mexico, is featured in an American reality series, The Monastery, which is based on the BBC reality series of the same name. (The BBC series was done at Worth Abbey and had a follow-up, plus a "spin-off," The Convent, which was done with the Poor Clares of Arundel.) The American series will premiere on October 22 on The Learning Channel.

Articles on the TV series:
Boston Globe. USA Today. Spero News.

Meanwhile, we wait for The Grand Silence to come to the U.S.

Blog of Lawrence Lew, O.P.

Cardinal O'Malley's blog


"No comment."

See his post on the Gesù and the Jesuits. He writes:

My prayer is that God will raise up in the Church many holy sons of St. Ignatius and that they will teach this sacrificial love to our people - the unum recessarium - that God’s love and grace are enough.

To live a life in grace and in God’s love is the only success that counts. No other religious community has the resources, human, intellectual, spiritual, material that you (the Jesuits) have. You must not pass up the opportunities to give a serious faith formation to new generations of Catholics - who came to you with an unprecedented religious illiteracy and immersed in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel, and even to the concept of the truth itself.

But even more than teachers we need witnesses who enunciate the Church’s teachings with conviction and live a life that invites others to discipleship. It is not easy. Ignatius’ own vocation begins with a reversal, a great set back, a failure.


If Ignatius and Francis were here I am sure they would echo these same sentiments to those entrusted with running our universities and Catholic schools. We need to lead people to the Lord, to teach them about the interior life, to help them sentire cum ecclesia, to inspire people to make a gift of ourselves to God, trusting indeed that His love and Grace are enough for us.

If we can help our students to discover God only then will they discover who they are and why we are here, and what we have to do with our lives.

You are Jesus companions - your vocation is to share that companionship with others. Teach them to pray. At Georgetown the Jesuit I always hear about is Father King who each night at 11:15 celebrates Mass for the students.

On this feast of your spiritual father, I thank you for being Jesuits. As you celebrate Mass this Ignatian Year and prepare for your 35th General Congregation, I pray that the Lord will bless your community with men, good and holy vocations and that the charism of your founder will shine forth in all your words and works.

Now if only he could do something about Boston College. What is he waiting for? The election of a new superior general to clean house? I'm sure the bishop could have more of an impact on how things are run at Boston College if he chose to do so.

Does he have a defense for perceived inaction? Has he tried but been unable to do something about the college? Or has the sale of diocesan property to the college prevented him from giving "constructive criticism"? Or maybe he's just not a "confrontational" sort of guy.

JHK, A reflection on cities of the future

By James Howard Kunstler

The future direction of urban experience depends a great deal on an understanding of history, and of recent history in particular, because the hyper development of the past two hundred years has followed the arc of increasing energy resources and, above all, we are now facing the world-wide depletion of energy resources.

As the industrial age gained traction in the early 19th century, so did the demographic trend of people increasingly moving from the farms and villages to the big cities. Industrial production was centralized in the cities and recruited armies of workers insatiably. Meanwhile, mechanized farming required fewer farmers to feed more people. The railroad, by its nature, favored centralization. By 1900, cities such as London and New York had evolved into mega-urbanisms of multiple millions of people. Around the same time, electrification was generally complete and with it came skyscrapers serviced by elevators. Over the next twenty years, oil moved ahead of coal as the primary fuel for transport and, especially in the US where oil was cheap and abundant, led to mass automobile ownership. That, in turn, sparked the decanting of households into massive new suburban hinterlands, and to the extreme separation of activities by zoning law there, which climaxed – with interruptions for depression and war – in the evolution of the late 20th century car-dependent metroplexes like Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, and Atlanta. That is where things stand now.

Now my own view is that we face severe energy problems in the decades ahead and they will not be ameliorated by any combination of alternative fuels or schemes for running them. This permanent global energy crisis will have all kinds of consequences, most particularly on our cities. These looming circumstances imply several major trends which contradict conventional expectations, especially of continued urban growth.

One certain impact will be the contraction of industrial activity per se and of the financial sector whose instruments and certificates represent the expectation of growth in accumulated wealth. This alone will comprise a basic challenge to industrial capitalism – apart from the sociopolitical strife that such financial catastrophe is apt to generate.

I hasten to add it is a mistake to suppose that the US industrial economy has already been replaced by a so-called “information” economy or a consumer economy. In reality, manufacturing activities have been insidiously replaced over the past twenty years by a suburban-sprawl-building economy – and the mass production of suburban houses, highways, strip malls and big box stores is just a different sort of manufacturing than making hair driers and TV sets. The sprawl industry also drove a reckless debt creation racket and multiple layers of traffic in mortgages and spinoffs of mortgages (such as the derivatives trade based on bundled, securitized debt) which represents, at bottom, hallucinated wealth that in turn has spread false liquidity through the equity markets and is certain to affect them badly sooner or later. All this is what we have been calling the “housing bubble” and it is now beginning to fly apart with deadly effect.

Much of the suburban real estate produced by this process is destined to lose its supposed value, both in practical and monetary terms as energy scarcities get traction. So, on top of the sheer distortions and perversities of the glut in bad mortgage paper, America will be faced with the accelerating worthlessness of the collateral – the houses, Jiffy Lubes, and office parks –
as gasoline prices go up, and long commutes become untenable, and jobs along with incomes are lost, and the cost of heating houses larger than 1500 square feet becomes an insuperable burden.

All this is to say that the suburban rings of our cities have poor prospects in the future. They therefore represent a massive tragic misinvestment, perhaps the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. It is hard to say how this stuff might be reused or retrofitted, if at all, but some of it, perhaps a lot, may end up as a combined salvage yard and sheer ruin.

Another major impact of the coming energy scarcity will be the end of industrial agriculture. Without abundant and cheap oil and gas-based fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fuels for running huge machines and irrigation systems, we will have to make other arrangements for feeding ourselves. Crop yields will go down – a big reason, by the way, to be skeptical of ethanol and bio-diesel alternative fuel schemes based on corn or soybean crops. We will have to grow food closer to home, on a smaller scale, probably requiring more human and even animal labor, and agriculture is likely to come closer to the center of economic life than it has within memory – at the same time that mass production homebuilding, tourism based on mass aviation, easy motoring, and a host of other obsolete activities fade into history.

I think this will lead to an epochal demographic shift, a reversal of the 200-year-long trend of people moving from the farms and rural places to the big cities. Instead, I believe we will see is a substantial contraction of our cities at the same time that they densify at their cores and along their waterfronts. A preview of this can be seen in Baltimore today. The remaining viable fabric of the pre-automobile city is relatively tiny and concentrated in the old center around a complex harbor system. With little need for industrial workers, vast neighborhoods of row housing built for them are either abandoned or inhabited now only by such economically distressed people that abandonment is inevitable. The pattern of contraction may not be identical in all American cities.

In some it will be a lot worse. Phoenix, Tuscon, and Las Vegas will just dry up and blow away, since local agriculture will not be possible, and they will be afflicted with severe water problems on top of all the other problems growing out of energy scarcity and an extreme car-dependent development pattern. Cities in the “wet” sunbelt such as Houston, Orlando, and Atlanta, will probably still be there but revert to insignificance for the additional simple reason that a lack of cheap air conditioning will make them unbearable.

It is worth keeping in mind that cities generally are located on important geographical sites – harbors, rivers, railroad junctions – and some kind of urban settlement is likely to persist in many of these places, unless climate change drowns them. In recent years, most waterfront property has been reassigned from industrial and commercial uses to condominium sites, and greenways. This will not continue. If we are going to have any kind of commerce between one place and another, we will have to reactivate our waterfronts for shipping – and not necessarily of the automated steel container variety. Like virtually everything else in the coming energy scarce world, maritime trade will have to be rescaled. It may even have to rely on wind power again to some extent. These operations will require wharves, warehouses, cheap quarters for sailors and all the other furnishings typically required through history.

Those who are infatuated with skyscrapers are going to be disappointed. I do not think we will be building many more of them further along in this century. We will have trouble running the ones we have, since most of the glass towers built after 1965 have inoperable windows, and even the ones that have them would have to be retrofitted for coal furnaces, and a less than absolutely reliable electric power grid may make life in a twenty-fifth floor apartment impossible when the elevators go out. In short, I think we will discover that the skyscraper was purely a product of the cheap oil and gas age. Exciting as they may be, we might have to live without them.

Click on the link to read the rest. He isn't say much here that he hasn't said elsewhere and at length, but it's a good summary of his views.

Military policy in Afghanistan 'barking mad'

Military policy in Afghanistan 'barking mad'
By Sanjay Suri

Also from Asia Times:
Eco-friendly terrorism By Chan Akya

The relevance of Sun Tzu:
The Art of War
translated by John Minford
Reviewed by Dmitry Shlapentokh

Fr. Samir, Violent Islam, cowardly Europe

30 September, 2006
Violent Islam, cowardly Europe: from the cartoons to Regensburg
by Samir Khalil Samir, sj

A cultural attack by Islam against the West is under way, to which Europe is responding with fear and backtracking. In Regensburg, the pope showed the way ahead: no to the violence of Islam; renew European culture.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – A year ago, on 30 September 2005, in Denmark, 12 satirical cartoons about Muhammad were published, sparking a controversy that inflamed the Muslim world. Recently, we have witnessed a remake, a sort of “Cartoons no.2”, with the reaction of the Muslim world to the speech of the pope in Regensburg. These facts, like the threats against an opera of Mozart in Berlin, or against a French teacher, reveal two very worrying phenomena: the easy use of violence in Islam, together with its inability to dialogue; the West, especially Europe, as a big coward that is losing its identity.

Regensburg: “Cartoons no.2” affair

The starting point of the cartoons was a desire to counter the self-censorship that often prevails in the western world where Islam is concerned.

A Danish cartoonist was asked to design Muhammad on the cover of a children’s book. The man received threats and consequently refused. So the head of the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, launched a competition, inviting 12 cartoonists to make satirical illustrations of Muhammad.

A threat to freedom became a challenge. Everything was, however, confined to a newspaper. What was unacceptable was the response, certainly not spontaneous, from Muslims at international level. The proof that the rallies were organized lies in the reality that they broke out two or three months after the publication of the cartoons, after some imams visited Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries to draw some reactions.

The “Cartoons no.2” affair came about with the address of Benedict XVI in Regensburg. Here too, everything smacked of being organized. At least 99% of those who protested have not even read the speech as yet. Yesterday I took part in a broadcast on Iranian television with two imams, a Palestinian Sunni and an Iranian Shiite. They all told me they had read the speech in Arabic two days after it was given. But this was not true: the translation into Arabic was prepared only eight days later, by a friend who put it on his private site. When I tried to explain the meaning of the entire text, they kept quoting the famous phrase of Manuel II Paleologus, like a script. Even the pope has been used to hit out at the west. Usually, Muslims hesitate to attack the pope, even if the Catholic Church is always perceived alongside the West. Even in that broadcast on Iranian television, Benedict XVI, Bush, Blair, Merkel, Israel, Zionists and so on, were thrown together, accused of “conspiring against Islam”.

European culture and wine

The tendency to see a “conspiracy” is present among cultured Muslims.

A few days ago, in Berlin, an opera of Mozart, Idomeneo was cancelled: it featured the decapitated head of Muhammad (together with those of Jesus, Buddha and Neptune) and the director of the theatre feared Islamic vendetta.

Islamic pressure on our culture is becoming increasingly pervasive.

In France, a teacher Robert Redeker, who criticized Islam at school, was threatened with death. Two years ago, some people wanted to destroy the tomb of Dante Alighieri because he put Muhammad in hell; a year ago, some wanted to destroy the fresco of St Petronius in Bologna because Muhammad was depicted as condemned in the universal judgment.

Two years ago, in Geneva, the theatrical work of Voltaire, Zadiq, was banned because it talked about Muhammad. But then: Dante, St Petronius, Voltaire, Mozart, the cartoons, the pope... all European culture is censored by Europeans out of a false respect for Islam or for a quiet life!

There is no realization that our culture and uniqueness are at stake.

Let me give another example. Every year, it becomes known that a Muslim delegation refused to participate in a reception given by some European authorities or others, because apart from non alcoholic drinks, wine and spirits were served, and these are banned by rigorous Islam. In Paris, some months back, an Iranian delegation withdrew because France refused to do away with wine. Three years ago, in Germany, an Iranian delegation led by Rafsanjani, was invited to a banquet offered by the foreign affairs minister. As soon as they arrived, when they saw that wine and spirits were being served, they withdrew to a small room. After discussing together, they asked that all alcoholic drinks be removed. One minister refused and they left. However, the foreign affairs minister, not to create further problems, had the wine and spirits removed from the reception. Such things, related to food and drink, happen on a regular basis.

Similarly, there are swimming pools where specific times are reserved for women, to please some fanatical Muslim. In hospitals, there are demands that Muslim women should not be touched by male doctors. And particular food that is permissible (halâl) for Muslims is starting to be demanded everywhere: in hospitals, schools and so on.

Intolerant Islam.

On Islam’s part, there is insupportable intolerance. Is wine being served? Don’t drink it! Are they attacking Muhammad? Respond by writing something, a statement… why respond with violence?

The case of Regensburg is evident. One phrase out of a speech containing hundreds was picked, a phrase that was not even an expressed thought of the pope, and yet they tried to say the pope quoted it because it reflects his way of thinking. Which is untrue. And even if it was true, it would have been enough to respond with research, with an article, or a statement. But to create a global movement means this episode is being used for another purpose. It’s really manipulation.

Islam’s no.1 problem today is that of violence. Yesterday on television, the Iranian imam said Zarqawi and Bin Laden were only “terrorists”, they did not represent Islam because “no one follows them”. But this is another falsehood. A survey conducted by al-Jazeera on “what do you think about Bin Laden?” revealed that 50% of those interviewed backed Ban Laden, while the other half rejected him.

The problem of violence of Islam cannot be put off. It also affects peace on the planet. Today, many wars in the west and in Asia are caused precisely by Muslims who want autonomy, a state for themselves. It is enough to cite Bosnia, Thailand, the Philippines, Kosovo, Kashmir, Nigeria... to say nothing of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Wherever there is a Muslim minority concentrated in an area where it becomes the majority, a separatist war is quick to break out. It should be noted that violence is practiced mostly against their fellow members of the faith, Muslims. Just look at violence in Iraq, or in Pakistan, where Sunnis and Shiites attack each other to the point of striking mosques, their most sacred places. In Algeria, in the name of the Koran and the Prophet, nearly 100,000 people were killed in recent years...

But when violence is committed in the name of God, this is a blasphemy, an offence against God. And this is what the pope was talking about. A text attributed to Muhammad says: “Take the sentiments, the customs of God” (takhallaqû bi-akhlâq Allâh) [the same expression we use to translate St Paul: “Have the same sentiments of Jesus Christ…”]. There is the need, then, for Islam to rethink its relationship with violence, to take on the “sentiments” of God. Therefore the pope insisted: “Violence is contrary to the nature of God”.

Cowardly West

Another aspect that should be mentioned is the cowardice of the west: Mozart, Voltaire, Dante, the matter of wines and spirits, reveal we are faced with a cultural attack of the Muslim world against the West, which sometimes succeeds, and other times does not. But meanwhile, the west is backtracking. By dint of doing so, precedents are created, to the point of creating a mentality and norms. I am not defending conflict among civilizations here, but there does need to be disagreement on values, especially to defend human rights, which come before any culture.

Years ago, there was a global campaign against infibulation and stoning of women in Africa. Tarik Ramadan, in his time, had expressed himself about this, about stoning and corporal punishment in Islam, saying: “Give us a moratorium, give us time to evolve.” But the question is: how many more women must be stoned so that you can evolve?”

Faced with Muslim demands, the West chooses to renounce affirmation of human rights, in the name of culture, patience, doing good, multiculturalism... in reality, the awareness of European identity and its value is being lost. Even a minimum amount of pride is missing. In general, among French, Italians, Germans, doubt is spreading about the European identity, there is reticence, shame.

And yet, we Africans and Asians recognize in you Europeans a common legacy, that the pope himself has often highlighted, talking about Hellenism, Christianity, Enlightenment... there is the need to become conscious once again of the European identity, which has Christianity as a bonding agent at the base, without rejecting anything of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, but purifying everything (Christianity included). And people should be proud of this identity.

Europe brought absolutely unique values to the world: the human person, equality, human rights, freedom, democracy, ecology, a non-violent rapport with nature (also under the influence of India)... these are acquisitions that came in useful for Gandhi too, and other world cultures.

The speech of the pope in Regensburg was also a proposal to revive European awareness and to open it up to universal dialogue. Highlighting the two pillars – religion without violence and the integration of faith and reason – Benedict XVI has launched a proper agenda for the world of the third millennium: reflecting all together about violence and non-violence, especially about their ties with religions and ideologies; reflecting together about the revision of our sacred texts, to give them an interpretation worthy of God and of Man; reflecting together about projects for a more equitable and human society; about freedom, its merits and its limits, about secularization and a healthy secularism; about cultures and multiculturalism, etc. These are some of the themes suggested by the pope in his speech at Regensburg for sincere and authentic dialogue.

Evangelising the family, our Church’s mission, Korean bishops say

Statement at the CBCK website.

Two clandestine priests arrested in Guangdong

30 September, 2006
Two clandestine priests arrested in Guangdong

Fr Shao Zhoumin and Fr Jiang Sunian, who had just returned from Europe, have already spent time in prison. AsiaNews sources in China said the release of the bishop of Zhengding, Mgr Jia, was decided “for fear of popular protests” and they warned that “he could be arrested again”.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Police in the southern Guangdong province arrested two priests of China’s unofficial church on 25 September as they were returning from a trip to Europe, said the Kung Foundation, a US-based organization lobbying for religious freedom in China.

Meanwhile, AsiaNews sources in China said the real reason why Mgr Julius Jia Zhiguo, bishop of Zhengding (Hebei), was released was that the government feared the faithful may organize “popular protests” for his release on 1 October, which is National Day. The same sources said it was very likely that “once the feast day is over, Mgr Jia will be arrested again”.

The police apprehended Fr Shao Zhoumin, vicar general of Wenzhou diocese (in the eastern Zhejiang Province), and Fr Jiang Sunian, chancellor of the same diocese, without giving any reasons for their arrest. Both priests were arrested at 7pm, three hours after they landed in Shenzhen, while they were at the home of friends.

The police took away a large number of books and photos that the priests brought back from Europe. The place of their detention is unknown.

Both Fr Shao and Fr Jiang have already been imprisoned twice. The first time was in 1999. Later, Fr Shao was admitted to hospital with urgency to be treated for a sickness contracted during his imprisonment and was released. In November of the same year, Fr Jiang was apprehended for illegally publishing 120,000 hymn books and was formally arrested on 23 December. He was sentenced to six years in prison and a fine of 270,000 yuan, but he was released on Christmas day of 2003.

The bishop of Wenzhou diocese, Mgr James Lin Xili, was also arrested in September 1999 and still now he is confined to the cathedral of the official Church, deprived of freedom of movement. He is not in good health.

For more information about the previous arrests of Fr Shao and Fr Jiang, click here.

St. Jerome, Sept. 30

Andre Reynoldo Lucero


by Jacopo Bassano



Friday, September 29, 2006

Sela Ward's beauty tips

As she stated in her interview on extra: "It's all about staying out of the sun and not smoking."

Pretty simple advice, but one that is ignored these days but the cult of tan.

Interview with Suzuki Seijun

Suzuki Seijun – Legendary Movie Maverick

By Rawle Austin

A Brief Audience with Suzuki Seijun – The Legendary Japanese Film Director

I went to meet Suzuki Seijun at a London hotel which had been organised by Chris Barwick of Yume Pictures.

For someone in his early eighties Suzuki was very sprightly, despite the fact he had a breathing aid in the form of an oxygen tube connected to a mobile tank which he carried around on a mini trolley.

He walked around the hotel foyer very quickly and I couldn’t help but be impressed by his indomitable spirit and infectious smile. He clearly has a joy for life and wasn’t going to allow any mere trifle such as age get in his way.

Suzuki has been creating movies in Japan for over 30 years and has a huge global cult following. A host of media players had gathered to meet this living legend and, understandably, towards the end of the afternoon he was a little tired. On finally meeting him I was struck by his humility and graciousness. He had come to London with his partner, Sueyoshi Takako, his interpreter Ko Mika and producer friend, Kimura Kazuhiro. In London to promote his new film Princess Raccoon starring Zhang Ziyi, I briefly spoke to him to get a few words from the genius.

Rawle Austin: Who inspired you to make movies?

Seijun Suzuki: No one particularly. All the film directors in the world.

RA: How did you first get into film making?

SS: After World War 2 there was a job shortage. I had no intention to get into film making but it just happened. There was nothing else to do

RA: What do you enjoy most about making movies?

SS: The time before shooting the film is the most enjoyable. In particular [I mostly enjoy] the process of choosing the actors.

RA: How would you describe the film Princess Raccoon to our readers?

SS: It’s a mixture of singing, dancing and romance.

RA: How would you describe working with actress Zhang Ziyi?

SS: It was really good.

RA: What was your favourite experience during making this movie?

SS: The most enjoyable moment was when the actors were singing. I cannot decide if there was one favourite piece of the film, the film is the piece. I didn’t have one favourite experience. There were so many.

RA: What advice would you give to young movie directors starting out?

SS: I want to get advice from them rather than giving them advice.

RA: And finally, how would you describe today’s Japan?

SS: It’s democratic.

And there it was. Brief and poignant. He posed for some photos with his entourage and then said his farewells. It was a real pleasure to meet him. Princess Raccoon is out on DVD on 25 September 2006. It will be well worth seeing.

Rawle Austin (center) with Suzuki Seijun and his associates

A scene from Branded to Kill (1967)

Profile: Suzuki Seijun, born 24 May 1923 in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, is a world renowned film director who has inspired countless directors over his long career. Among the notable films he’s directed are the two yakuza thrillers Tokyo Drifter (1966) and Branded to Kill (1967) and also Lupin the Third: The Golden Legend of Babylon (1985). His creative ideas for films were way ahead of their time and, in 1967, this resulted in him being, for all intents and purposes, blacklisted from making movies in Japan for ten years. This was due to his films’ perceived complicated storylines. Storylines which ironically today are commonplace in films worldwide.

Suzuki’s classic films have been undergoing a revival of late with leading film distributor Yume Pictures releasing a ‘Suzuki Collection’. This is a compilation of his greatest films including Pistol Opera (2002), The Fighting Elegy (1966), The Flowers and the Angry Waves (1964) and Fighting Delinquents (1960).

For more information please see Yume’s website at

Bushi no Ichibun poster

From Kung Fu Cinema (click on link to read article).

Recognize this face?

From NLM, news of the new cd being put out by the Carmelite monks of Wyoming. (You can order or the preview the cd here.)

With the article comes this photo:

CNS photo by Dan Rossini, Catholic Times
Carmelite Brothers Michael Mary of the Trinity and Peter Joseph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary chant during Mass at their cloister in Clark, Wyo., in October. The monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel dedicated their new self-recorded CD to Mary. Brother Michael Mary, choirmaster, said they selected chants that “really spoke about the soul of Our Lady.”

From the article:

While the CD was the inspiration of Father Daniel Mary, it was recorded under the leadership of Brother Michael Mary of the Trinity, the monks’ choirmaster.

According to Brother Michael Mary, the album selections reflect one of the primary objects of their devotion: Mary, mother of God and patroness of the Carmelites.

“We wanted to put chants on the CD that really spoke about the soul of Our Lady,” he said. “We took the chants into prayer with us and we would pray them during mental prayer times. Whichever spoke to our souls most, whichever gave us the best image of our Mother and her contemplation of Jesus, those were the ones we chose for the CD.”

The monks learned the chants by heart to concentrate better on the mystical quality of the music. “We wanted it to flow from our souls — and we wanted to bring that out in our style of chant,” Father Daniel Mary said.

Proceeds from the sale of the CD will help the monks build a permanent monastery. “We don’t have enough to build a new house yet, but we’re making progress,” said the prior.

Father Daniel Mary said the new monastery will be on land donated to the monks on Heart Mountain, which gets its name from the unique shape of its twin peaks. The mountain is located about 10 miles north of Cody, not far from Yellowstone National Park.

You can see Brother Michael Mary in this photo of the group as well (in the back, second from the right):

At least I have an updated address now... buy the CD if you can!

Today, from John Allen

Two pieces of interest to me, from John Allen's column this week (via Amy Welborn):

Now that the dust has begun to settle on Islamic reaction to Benedict's lecture at Regensburg, other aspects of his message that day may begin to come into view - a welcome development, given that the bulk of the lecture was devoted to the relationship between faith and reason, having nothing in particular to do with Islam.

One critical reaction comes from Richard Gaillardetz, the Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo. Gaillardetz writes:

Most commentators have overlooked a provocative claim in his address that articulates a fundamental - and to my view quite troubling - element of Pope Benedict's theological vision. … The pope makes the assertion that because Greek influence can already be seen in the Old Testament, and because the New Testament was written in Greek, Christianity is inextricably tied to the "Greek spirit." He rejects out of hand the process of "de-hellenization," the history of which he maps out in three stages. His historical schematization of that process is, I believe, sweeping and simplistic, but that is an argument for another day.

Particularly disconcerting is his account of the third stage of the process, in which many scholars have differentiated between the inherent revelatory and salvific significance of Jesus of Nazareth, and the ways in which the Christ event was quickly inculturated in a Hellenistic milieu. He describes this approach as "coarse and lacking in precision." He then suggests that the early adoption of a Greco-Roman world view is an essential and providential development in the history of Christianity. This assertion constitutes a huge theological leap that is in no way substantiated through careful theological argumentation. Nowhere does he justify why this moment of Hellenistic inculturation transcends the realm of historical contingency to enter into divine providence. In the pope's encomium to the "Greek spirit" one almost forgets that the Word became flesh as a Galilean Jew and not a citizen of Athens!

The pope's views on this topic are of great consequence for the larger church. I recently read through three volumes of groundbreaking documentation regarding the work of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences produced over the past three decades. That reading, accompanied by my recent visit to East Asia, has reinforced in me a wonderful appreciation for "the new way of being church" that so many Asian leaders have celebrated. I had a similar experience regarding the birth of an authentically African Christianity emerging on that continent. Much of what is developing theologically in those two regions is undercut by the pope's insistence on the normativity of a Greek philosophical articulation of the faith. The pope clearly believes that the intellectual and cultural synthesis that was achieved in Europe over the course of two millennia is normative for the rest of the church. Such a view leaves little room for substantive processes of local inculturation.

In the wake of Vatican II, Karl Rahner famously claimed that the most important contribution of the council was the fact that it had gently set aside that missiological mentality which saw the church essentially as a "Western European export firm" and began to move toward becoming a genuine world church (Weltkirche). The pope's recent address articulated a central feature of his ecclesiological vision, a vision far closer to the European export firm than the world church that Rahner believed was a-borning.

I am grateful for much that this new papacy has brought us: a more measured wielding of papal authority, a more modest public papal profile, a greater theological depth in papal reflections. But now, at a time when our church is bursting with new vitality and fresh insight in places like Africa, we have a pope who seems incapable of breaking out of his European intellectual milieu.

Whatever one makes of Gaillardetz's analysis - and he would be the first to recognize the need for further discussion - it illustrates the sort of reflection on the heart of the Regensburg address one hopes will now emerge.

No link or reference for the source of the quotation. Dr. Richard Gaillardetz's homepage
Christopher Zehnder's reactions to a talk given by the good academic.

The classical heritage of the Church is an obstacle to inculturation! Down with the writings of dead white men. (Although the writings of living white men in support of inculturation are ok!)
Dr. Gaillardetz appears to be a typical "Catholic" progressive theologian... pretty much like our visitor last year, Fr. Mario. Those who wish to be more open-minded about the subject should read Robert Louis Wilken's The Spirit of Early Christian Thought (Dr. Wilken will be coming to BC in November for a talk) or Jarsolav Pelikan's Christianity and Classical Culture. I'm not going to look at Pope Benedict's talk of hellenization, maybe some other time.

I'll just comment briefly on this passage:
I had a similar experience regarding the birth of an authentically African Christianity emerging on that continent. Much of what is developing theologically in those two regions is undercut by the pope's insistence on the normativity of a Greek philosophical articulation of the faith. The pope clearly believes that the intellectual and cultural synthesis that was achieved in Europe over the course of two millennia is normative for the rest of the church. Such a view leaves little room for substantive processes of local inculturation.

And pray tell, what impact would inculturation have on theology? How different would an African or Asian theology be from Latin theology? Need theology be reduced to metaphor and figurative language? "Greek philosophical articulation of the faith"--this charge is not new--it's been levelled also by Orthodox polemicists.

(Can one make a distinction between positive and speculative theology in the program of these "theologians"?)

What can we come to know? And in theology do we make use of what reason understands by its own light? If all we know are concepts or ideas (the conceptualist or idealistic account of reason), then what are the implications of this for Tradition, and the virtue of Faith? If the best in Greek philosophy is not in accordance with reason, then by what rational standard does one make this judgment? If, on the other hand, one arbitrarily decides that one "conceptual system" is as good as another, without any rational basis for this judgment, can there be any possibility of convincing him of his error? Is the good academic showing a willful ignorance and inability to examine his presuppositions about philosophy? After all, if I should reject Greek philosophy, why should I accept your justification for that rejection, if that in turn is based on assumptions either taken from or in harmony with modern Western philosophy (particularly epistemology)? What makes your understanding of "universal reason" better than the Greek understanding? Better to just have a fool sacked then to waste time teaching him.

Latin theology is normative? In what sense? If by normative one means that students should learn from the richness of the Latin theological tradition, why not? If the competent Church authority judges that the tradition has much to offer and therefore recommends it, then should we not heed the advice? Why use the word "normative" unless one having an allergic reaction to authority? It's not like the Church imposes a "rule of theology" on theologians, under threat of punishment.

Is dialogue moving forward?
John Allen also writes about the recent meeting of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church:
After a lengthy hiatus, the official Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic met for the ninth time Sept. 18-25 in Belgrade, Serbia.

In a joint statement afterwards, participants said their time together "was marked by a spirit of friendship and trustful collaboration."

Consulting with experts on Catholic/Orthodox relations, most said the Belgrade session was a vast improvement upon the infamous 2001 gathering in Emmitsburg, Maryland, which ended in paralysis following heated debates over proselytism and the status of Eastern rite churches in communion with Rome (which the Orthodox generally call "uniate" churches).

Experts pointed to four indications of progress.

First, virtually every Orthodox church was represented, a departure from past gatherings when a handful of Orthodox bodies chose not to participate for one reason or another.

Second, the meeting returned to the theological agenda originally set in 1990. The focal point was a draft document, The Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church: Conciliarity and Authority in the Church, examining the local, regional and universal levels. A joint committee was created to revise the document, which will be studied again in 2007.

Third, the fact that the commission agreed to meet again next year, in a session hosted by the Catholic side, suggests eagerness to continue the discussion, since the normal rhythm is every two years.

Fourth, the warm welcome given the Joint Commission in Serbia itself was itself encouraging. Both the patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the prime minister of Serbia welcomed it, gestures that would have been unthinkable amid tensions surrounding the wars of the Yugoslav succession.

None of this is to suggest, however, that the gathering was entirely pacific.

Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria protested afterwards against the use of voting instead of consensus, especially with regard to a section of the draft document on the authority of the Ecumenical Councils. It states, among other things, that after the break in communion between East and West in the ninth century, "an 'Ecumenical Council' in the strong sense became impossible," but "both Churches continued to hold 'general' councils gathering together the bishops of local Churches in communion with the See of Rome or the See of Constantinople."

Predictably, the Russian Orthodox objected to this formula, which they contend assigns too much preeminence to Constantinople.

Metropolitan John of Pergamon, co-chair for the Orthodox side and a member of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, suggested a compromise that was unacceptable to the Russian Orthodox. The Catholic co-chair, Cardinal Walter Kasper, put the matter to a vote, and the majority of the Orthodox participants voted in favor of the Metropolitan's position.

Hilarion, however, insisted that no vote could force a church to betray its ecclesiological self-understanding, especially to accept a role for the Patriarch of Constantinople in the East analogous to that played by the pope in the West. Kasper indicated that he would take the protest under consideration at the 2007 meeting.

SCOBA (Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas)
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
(Here one can find some documents pertaining to the dialogue with the Assyrian Church of the East and that with the ancient Churches of the East)
North Gate of Kyongbok Palace Opens for First Time in 45 Years

By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

President Roh Moo-hyun, center, Cultural Heritage Adminstration Director Yoo Hong-joon, left, and Culture and Tourism Minister Kim Myong-gon, right, walk through ``Sinmumun,'' the north gate of Kyongbok Palace in downtown Seoul, Friday. Originally constructed in 1433, it was named by King Songjong in 1475. The name is a form of the Chinese character for ``hyonmu,'' meaning a mythical animal guarding the north. The gate had been kept closed since the May 16 military coup in 1961. Korea Times

One of the four main gates of Kyongbok Palace in downtown Seoul has opened to the public for the first time in 45 years.

The Cultural Heritage Administration yesterday said that it is allowing citizens to visit ``Sinmumun,'' the north gate of the royal palace from the Choson Kingdom (1392-1910).

The late President Park Chung-hee shut down Sinmumun in 1961 after the May 16 military coup when a military unit resided in the palace.

It was originally constructed in 1433 by King Sejong, along with the three other major gates _ ``Kwanghwamun'', or the main entrance gate located in the south, ``Konchunmun,'' the east gate, and ``Yongchumun,'' the west gate.

The name Sinmumun was given to the gate by King Songjong in 1475. The name is a combined form of the Chinese character for ``hyonmu,'' meaning a mythical animal guarding the north.

However, the gate was ruined when the palace was burned down during the Imjin War following the Japanese invasion of the peninsula in 1592. Later, the gate was restored when King Kojong reconstructed the palace in 1865.

The administration intends to apply to UNESCO to designate the area around the palace as a historic city or district. Around 130 cities around the world have won this designation _ Kyongju in South Kyongsang Province is the only Korean city with the title.

President Roh Moo-hyun and first lady Kwon Yang-suk participated in the opening ceremony.

The opening was part of a program to give citizens more chances to visit historical sites, starting from the opening of ``Sukjongmun'' last April. Sukjongmun is one of old Seoul's four main gates, located in Mt. Pugak, right behind Chong Wa Dae, the presidential office.

``The gate had long been off limits for security reasons over the last 45 years, because it faces the main gate of Chong Wa Dae. But as President Roh Moo-hyun insisted the gate should be opened up to share its historical and cultural significance along with beautiful natural backgrounds with the public, we decided to open it up,'' an administration official said.

The administration said that visitors are allowed to walk along the walls of the palace including Sukjongmun on Mt. Pugak.
09-29-2006 18:36

Varia, 29 September 2006

Tasting Korean culture: Foreign wives enjoy wearing “hanbok,” Korean traditional attire, and “poson,” traditional socks, while experiencing traditional culture ahead of Chusok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) at the institute of Korean classical music in Chunchon, Kangwon Province, Friday. / Yonhap 09-29-2006 20:06

Front - Sep. 30, 2006

A student flexes her muscle at a stone tiles smashing game during an athletics meeting at Ewha Womans’ University in Seoul on Friday.

A student flexes her muscle at a stone tiles smashing game during an athletics meeting at Ewha Womans’ University in Seoul on Friday.

Front - Sep. 29, 2006

Children in hanbok enjoy themselves at the Namsangol Traditional Village in Seoul on Thursday, ahead of the Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving day.

National - Sep. 29, 2006

War veterans and soldiers pay a silent tribute at the War Memorial of Korea to mark the reconquest of Seoul during the Korean War. After North Korea invaded the South on July 25, 1950, South Korean forces retreated as far as the southern port city of Busan, but the Sept. 15, 1950 Incheon Landing led by general Douglas MacArthur turned the tide of the war, and on Sept. 28 the same year, allied forces retook Seoul.

Business - Sep. 29, 2006

Visiting Australian Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran grills beef from Down Under to promote it at an E-mart superstore in Eunpyeong, Seoul on Thursday./Newsis

Culture - Sep. 29, 2006

French children mold celadon on potters wheels at a French elementary school in the Seorae Village in Seoul on Thursday./Yonhap

Cultural exchange: Children participate in a traditional Korean pottery class at the French Foreign School in Sorae Village, southern Seoul, on Thursday. The event is intended to commemorate the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and France. /Korea Times 09-28-2006 19:41

Shinzo Abe, center, new president of the Liberal Democratic Party, stands bowing as he is applauded by colleagues after being elected as Japan’s new prime minister at the Lower House of Parliament in Tokyo, Tuesday. /Reuters-Yonhap 09-26-2006 22:46

Front - Sep. 27, 2006

Paratroopers practice for the 58th Oct. 1 Armed Forces Day ceremony in the sky above Daejeon on Tuesday.
Culture - Sep. 27, 2006

Dressed in traditional outfits of countries around the world, staffers of Café Amiga at the Imperial Palace Hotel introduce some 300 traditional dishes of the countries at a promotional event ahead of Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving on Tuesday./Newsis

Front - Sep. 28, 2006

Kwangwoon University president Lee Sang-chul(fourth from right) and students from China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan present traditional Korean rice cakes or songpyon they made during a potluck party on Tuesday. The event was held for foreign students who will spend the upcoming Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving holiday here, where songpyon is a traditional staple./Yonhap

Multi-cultural society: Students from Mongolia, China and Uzbekistan show off traditional food and cakes they made at the campus of Kwangwoon University in Seoul Wednesday, ahead of Chusok, which falls on Oct. 6. /Yonhap 09-27-2006 19:05

Reporting for duty: Key commanders of the Army, Air Force and Navy salute before their third-quarter meeting at the Ministry of Defense in Seoul, Wednesday. They are joined by Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung, who has his hand on his heart in the left rear of the photo. /Yonhap 09-27-2006 20:02

Chosun Ilbo review of War of Flower

‘High Rollers’ Gives High Thrill

Different Views on Seoul Captured in Photos

South Korean 'Goose Dads' Face Sacrifice, Loneliness for Children's Sake

Jeon Ji-hyun Snapped With Mystery Male Companion

Bell Hints Eighth U.S. Army May Be Disbanded
Eigth U.S. Army to be Disbanded

Seoul to Have ‘Taeguk’-Shape City Hall

Choson Royal Scions Crown New Korean Monarch

Choson Royal Scions Crown New Korean Monarch

By Kim Rahn
Staff Reporter

Some descendants of the country's old royal family crowned a new monarch yesterday in a ceremony, although it had no state backing.

A king ruled Korea before it was deprived of its diplomatic sovereignty in 1905 and made into a Japanese colony in 1910. The imperial family was not re-instituted in 1945 when Korea was liberated from Japan's colonial rule, and the country has since remained a parliamentary democracy without a monarch.

The privately-run Imperial Family Association of ``Taehanjeguk’’ (Empire of Korea), organized in June by about a dozen descendants of the last king, held an hour-long ceremony in a hotel in downtown Seoul to have Yi Hae-won, 88, restored as the queen of South Korea.

Yi is the daughter of Prince Uichin, fifth son of King Kojong, the second last king of the Chosun Kingdom.

``We unanimously agreed that Yi deserves to be the queen as she is the eldest authentic survivor of the imperial family,’’ Yi Cho-nam, president of the association, said.

The queen will succeed as leader of the traditional Choson society as well as have authority to select her successor, he added.

``We hope to unite the royal descendants spread across the country and speak as one voice through Queen Yi.’’

The crowning ceremony is not sponsored or supported by the South Korean government in any way, Yi said.

In a nationwide poll conducted last month by a local pollster RealMeter, 54.4 percent of 460 South Koreans said they would like to see the royal house brought back to wield at least symbolic power.
09-29-2006 22:07

The Western Confucian posts this pic and his comments.

Ha Ji-won's Beauty to Brighten Walls in Cannes

Ha Ji-won's Beauty to Brighten Walls in Cannes

The giant, strikingly beautiful face of Ha Ji-won will adorn walls all over Cannes during the international audiovisual content market show MIPCOM 2006 running there from Oct 9-13, the posters advertising the historical TV drama “Hwang Jin-I.”

KBS Media, which is involved in bringing Korean pop culture to foreign audiences, says at the main entrance to the largest venue, the Palais des Festivals, will be a large visual from the early days of shooting the story of the famous Chosun-era gisaeng (female entertainer).

But those involved are trying to persuade MIPCOM to switch those images of the actress for a newer one, which they think is even more stunning: it depicts her lying down and looking over her shoulder with a decorative wig on her head and clad in a jeogori (short jacket).

Those in charge of the PR for “Hwang Jin-I” say they plan to unveil a total of five posters, and they have already heard from people who want to buy the series.

( )

Dr. Fleming's recommendations for learning about Greek religion

I used to joke that the truest conservative was the classical scholar/historian of religion, Walter Burkert. Unlike other tepid conservatives who take their inspiration from the 1950's or from the Antebellum South or from the Ancien Regime, Burkert regards the paleolithic age as one of great creativity. It is a joke, but probably what lay behind the coinage. By the way, Home Necans is an important book, as his his history of Greek Religion.

On Greek religion, Jane Harrison (and Cornford, a better scholar) was tendentious, eccentric, and speculative. Dodds, though his focus was narrow, knew what he was doing. Eliade was a brilliant philosopher of religion but not reliable or even useful for the Greeks. If you are looking for poetic interpretations, Walter Otto is still inspiring. Otherwise, Burkert's handbook is solid and Homo necans brilliant. For Athenian religion, there are the intelligent but rather academic works of Robert Parker.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Now that you mention Sean Young

She is on CSI tonight... her blog entry. (Danny Bonaducci is also in this episode, he plays one of the victims...)

An unofficial site.

Here she is as Chani in David Lynch's Dune.

Hrm, what's going on over at DNI?

They have republished The Pope's Evil Legend: Mohammed's Sword by Uri Avnery (which originally appeared at CounterPunch.) Just last week they published William Lind's Will the Trumpet Sound Uncertain. Since neither is endorsed as the official view of DNI, perhaps they are looking for a balance in perspective. Or, maybe someone complained about Mr. Lind's column...

Al Jazeerah has also posted it, along with Islamophobia Watch.

The Western Confucian comments on Mr. Avnery's op-ed piece.

Thomas Fleming's latest, plus news on John Rao

In Dr. Fleming's latest post, Brief Notes From Under the Rubble, he mentions this:

The continuing war against conservatives continues. Prof. John Rao, who spoke recently for our friend Michael Semin’s St. Joseph’s Society in Prague, has been condemned in nasty and morally irresponsible language by the Cardinal Archbishop of Prague (Vlk). I don’t necessarily subscribe to all of Rao’s rather negative view of American history, but he is not a Sedevacantist or even an SSPXer, certainly not an anti-Semite, much less an Islamicist. It is absolutely disgraceful that any clergyman, much less a prince of the church, should expose himself as a liar and slanderer.
More here from the Remnant. The cardinal's statement. Thomas Drolesy's response.

In the comments on Dr. Fleming's post, Yakuman alerts us to the wiki post on paleoconservatism. While there may be some points with which I would disagree, they are few.

Dr. Fleming also writes:
In my latest Booklog post, I have suggested that we read a few plays of Sophocles. Those interested should read the post and acquire a translation. I’ll try to post some initial remarks tomorrow and a brief discussion of the Antigone by the end of next week.

The discussion could be worth checking out for you classicists out there. (And those seeking to learn something about the Greek moral tradition.)

*edit* Dr. Rao's response is now available.

Last batch of photos for today?

Actress Kate Beckinsale poses for the photographers prior to the UK premiere of her new film 'Click', in central London, late Wednesday Sept. 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Actress Kate Beckinsale , left, U.S. actor Adam Sandler , center, and film director Frank Coraci, pose for the photographers prior to the UK premiere of their new film 'Click', in central London, late Wednesday Sept. 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

American actress Anne Hathaway, right, poses for photographers with Moe Oshikiri, one of Japan's top models, during a press conference in Tokyo Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006. Hathaway is in Tokyo to promote her latest film, 'The Devil Wears Prada,' directed by David Frankel. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)

(AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)

2 for for Range:

Tajikistan actress Zarina poses for photographers during a press preview of Afghanistan film Spring of Hope, in Mumbai, India, Friday, Sept. 22, 2006. Spring of Hope is Directed and Produced by Hashmatullah Khan. Zarina and Khan are in the city to participate in Asian film festival. (AP Photo/Rajesh Nirgude)