Saturday, December 02, 2006

W. Berry, Out of Your Car, Off Your Horse

From Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community

1. Properly speaking, global thinking is not possible. Those who have "thought globally" (and among them the most successful have been imperial governments and multinational corporations) have done so by means of simplifications too extreme and oppressive to merit the name of thought. Global thinkers have been and will be dangerous people. National thinkers tend to be dangerous also: we now have national thinkers in the northeastern United States who look on Kentucky as a garbage dump. A landfill in my couty receives daily many truckloads of garbage from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. This is evidently all right with everybody but those of us who live here.

2. Global thinking can only be statistical. Its shallowness is exposed by the least intention ot do something. Unless one is willing to be destructive on a very large scale, one cannot do something except locally, in a small place. Global thinking can only do ot the globe what a space satellite does to it: reduce it, make a bauble of it. Look at one of those photographs of half the earth taken from outer space, and see if you recognize your neighborhood. If you want to see where you are, you will have to get out of your spaceship, out of your car, off your horse, and walk over the ground. On foot you will find that the earth is still satisfyingly large and full of beguiling nooks and crannies.

3. If we could think locally, we would take far better care of things than we do now. The right local questions and answers will be the right global ones. The Amish question "What will this do to our community?" tends toward the right answer for the world.

4. If we want to put local life in proper relation to the globe, we must do so by imagination, charit, and forbearance and by making local life as competent, independent, and self-sufficient as possible--not by the presumptuous abstraction of "global thought."

5. If we want to keep our thoughts and acts from destroying the globe, then we must see to it that we do not ask too much of the globe or of any part of it. To make sure that we do not ask too much, we must learn to live at home, as independently and self-sufficiently as we can. This is the only way we can keep the land we are using and its ecological limits always in sight.

6. The only sustainable city--and this, to me, is the indispensable ideal and goal--is a city in balance with its coutryside: a city, that is, that would live off the net ecological income of its supporting region, paying as it goes all its ecological and human debts.

7. The cities we now have are living off ecological principal and by economic assumptions that seem certain to destroy them. The people of these cities do not "live at home." They do not have their own supporting regions. They are out of blaance with their supports, wherever on the globe their supports are.

8. The balance between city and coutryside is destroyed by industrial machinery, "cheap" productivity in field and forest, and "cheap" transportation. Rome destroyed the balance with slave labor; we have destroyed it with machines and "cheap" fossil fuel.

9. Since the Civil War, perhaps, and certainly since World War II, the norms of productivity have been set by the fossil-fuel industries.

to be continued...

Singers-Turned-Actors: the Best and the Worst

Singers-Turned-Actors: the Best and the Worst

From left: Jung Ryoe-won, Uhm Jung-hwa, Eugene, Seong Yu-ri and Lee Hyo-lee

Among women, Jung Ryoe-won came top thanks to her part in “My Name is Kim Sam-soon.” Jung "is able to reflect her own natural image into the role she plays in the drama," one panelist said. "She works hard at learning her craft. If you look closely at her eye movement, tempo, breathing and reactions to her partners, you can see that she studies the script really hard.” Uhm Jung-hwa came second with 17 points and Eugene in third with 12. Uhm is said to be able to play a wide range of parts, have a lively spirit as an actress and act very naturally. Eugene drew favorable responses thanks to her fluent dialect in the drama “I Really Really Like You” broadcast this year. She was praised for speaking dialect very well, which is not easy at all.

Overall, Rain came top with 27 points, followed by Uhm Jung-hwa with 14, Jung Ryeo-won with 12, and Lim Chang-jung with 11.

Who, then, is the worst singer-turned-actor? Seong Yu-ri held the sorry title with 21 points, followed by Lee Hyo-lee with 14, Park Jung-ah with 13, Kangta with 8, and Eric again with 5. Seong, our panelists said delicately, "has starred in several dramas but still has a long way to go.” Lee Hyo-lee, who was featured in the drama “Three-Leaf Clover,” was denounced as woefully miscast. The glamour girl “did not suit the character of a factory worker,” they said. In Park’s case, the difference between the singer’s image and her soap character was also judged too glaring.

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Ah poor Watcher... I suspected Hyori's acting skills were not good, even though it is said that she is being offered more roles.

'Yonsama' Brings K-Wave Expo Opener to a Halt

‘Yonsama’ Brings K-Wave Expo Opener to a Halt

The Hallyu Expo in Asia celebrating the march of Korean pop culture across the continent opened Wednesday at the International Convention Center Jeju at Seogwipo’s Jungmun Resort. Tourists from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong filled more than 2,000 seats, chiefly to catch a glimpse of the actor Bae Yong-joon. But Bae, a goodwill ambassador for the event, was late for the opening ceremony, which started 30 minutes behind schedule due to his tardiness.

Korean actor Bae Yong-joon waves to fans at the opening ceremony of the Hallyu Expo in Asia held in the International Convention Center Jeju on Wednesday. /Yonhap

When he finally showed up during Jeju City Mayor Kim Tae-hwan’s opening address, Bae, his hair tied up in a ponytail for the filming of the new drama “Taewangsasingi”, waved and smiled. It was his first official appearance since promoting the movie “April Snow” last year. Chaos ensued. The fans, mostly women between 30 and 80 who had come to Jeju by charter plane, shouted for joy, drowning out the mayor’s speech. Bae laid a finger on his lips to quiet down the excited crowd, but it took 10 minutes before Kim was able to wrap up his address.

Fans braved sharp gales in the island to get a glimpse of their idol. Digital camera in one hand, binoculars in the other, they hung on Bae’s every little gesture. A 57-year-old Japanese fan who gave her name as Kiyoko said she made the three-night visit to Jeju only to see Bae and was satisfied to get a look at him even from a long distance. Asked why she likes Bae so much, she answered the Korean actor was graceful and gentle, qualities rarely found in Japanese men.

Japanese fans wait for the actor Bae Yong-joon to appear at the opening ceremony of the Hallyu Expo in Asia held at the International Convention Center Jeju on Wednesday.

Event organizers said more than 4,000 fans came to the island from Japan, Taiwan and China on Wednesday alone. They expect 50,000 foreigners and 100,000 Korean tourists to visit Jeju during the event’s run. Flight tickets to Jeju are sold out, and 90 percent of hotel rooms near the event venue are booked. The expo ends on March 10 and other Korean stars to take part include Lee young-ae, Song Seung-hun, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Jun-ki, TVXQ, BoA, Kangta, Super Junior and Kim Hee-seon.

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Ok, he has long hair because of the drama he is currently shooting. Maybe he would look obetter without the glasses... but in the photo above... I can understand what P'lyn says about him.

Can we get Joseph Pearce to BC?

When I said goodbye to Joseph Pearce, I told him that I hoped he would be able to come to Boston some time, and he replied, "Why don't you invite me?" or something like that... well obviously since I'm a nobody I can't do it, but I told him I would see what I could do. Perhaps Seraphic Single with her Saint Thomas More Society connections can bring it up with one of the members. (Although funding might be a problem for them, but perhaps they could work it out somehow.)

What do you think, Lady Downstairs?

Catholic ladies

After the banquet tonight, I asked a friend who had been at BC to get his MA in philosophy, MK, to check with Joseph Pearce to see if he was interested in going to get a drink. (Because it is Joseph Pearce, an Englishman and Tolkien afficienado--if anyone is going to live like a hobbit, it's Joseph Pearce.) Apparently he already had plans to go to the ND bar/restaurant, Legends. On my way out I was able to say my farewells to Dr. Lyon (I wish I could have talked to him more), Matthew Levering (definitely wished I could have talked to him more, and that my parting wasn't as clumsy), and Christopher Malloy. Aiya, I should have gotten a picture with Dr. Levering. Ah well, maybe my sister can get a picture of him. Dr. Levering is a rather shy, humble guy--he's a very good theologian, with a deep faith. A good younger role model for aspiring Catholic intellectals. I didn't get a chance to get a photo with Dr. McInerny this time around; he taught his last class this week. Another humble, quiet Catholic intellectual, a giant of his generation in many respects.

Anyways... to the original reason behind this post. At Legends tonight, besides Joseph Pearce there were several older Catholic women who were very attractive. [I was originally going to write a description with vocabulary more in tune with the first and more primitive response (nothing scandalous, just the typical vocab that is used today), but I decided against it--women like them deserve much better.] One was a convert from Evangelical Christianity to Catholicism; not sure what her profession is, besides being a mother. She told us of her suburban housing tract, which is evidently very much like Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives. Lots of shallow women there who get plastic surgeries and dress like teenagers, going out in rather whorish outfits and getting drunk, fretting and competing over rather trivial things. Meanwhile this faithful woman has a statue of the Blessed Mother on her lawn in front of the house, and feels so out of place. She learned rather recently that this "community" has a reputation for swinging, and she was shocked.

Serious about her faith, very interested in engaging this society and spreading the Gospel, and she and her friend were even talking about prayer! Haven't really witnessed anything like that since I was at Christendom. Can you imagine that--Catholic women talking about prayer! I found her to be quite feminine and even though she was older, I foud her to be very attractive physically (as I said before)--she was not all glammed up, I don't think she wore very much makeup at all... but wow. Maybe it is a gift, but maybe inner beauty does have an impact on outer beauty? Where do you find a woman like that? [Yeah, whoever is thinking it right now, better not say, "Ave Maria Singles."] Her husband is very lucky... a woman a serious Catholic guy would be willing to die for, I think... Her friend (blonde) was pretty too, but she wasn't really involved in our conversation, though she does seem to know Sarah Byers.

"He's got marriage on his mind."
Yeah, so what?

I also got a chance to met one of KK's friends, J. He and his wife H were there, with their baby daughter Olydia. Very nice Catholic couple, and their daughter was really cute. He graduated from ND with a degree in English and is teaching there now, on a fellowship. He is on the job market, and is interested great books programs...

[I must admit that I still react with surprise when I see mothers breastfeed in public without covering up with a towel or something. Yeah, yeah, I grew up in America. Sue me.]

So, while I might say this and that about ND the institution (and the administration there), still there are a lot of good solid Catholic people studying, teaching, and associated with the university in one way or another. One can definitely find some sort of Catholic community there, despite what may be happening at the university. And there are plenty of students who are committed to fighting the good fight in order to maintain some sort of Catholic presence and witness at the university. If I go back to California... where am I going to find anything resembling this? It is true that there are a lot of good Catholic families at OLP, but... it seems unlikely that I will meet people with the same sort of background in education, so the intellectual discussions might be a bit lacking.

Novena prayer to St. Joseph

I wonder if there is a traditional prayer to St. Raphael for finding a good spouse.

Providence Academy

This weekend at the conference I met Mr. John Lyon, retired ND teacher in the Great Books program, and now teaching at Providence Academy in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. We talked a lot about the program there, since I do have an interest in [Catholic] secondary education (which is where a lot of reforms ned to be). At Providence Academy they are trying a classical approach; it is not associated with any other school/program, though they did consult Trinity Academy in Milwaukee when they were first conceiving the school. Students learn both Latin and Greek--Dr. Lyon wasn't sure how proficient they would become, but he thinks students will be able to read some Homer and perhaps the OT or the NT. That's great! No plans for a logic course yet, just Euclid, but he did pick up Peter Kreeft's logic textbook from St. Augustine while he was here. I wonder if there are any Catholic schools with a classical education in the works in the Bay Area.

Dr. Lyon also appears to be a paleocon, being a subscriber to both The American Conservative and Chronicles. We talked a bit about community, Wendell Berry, E.F. Schumacher, Aristotle, and other things. He's a very interesting man, and has a rather large family--in fact he has a son in the 2nd grade I believe, and another son in Kindergarten? I forgot the number of children he has... was it 15? Anyways, a large family! He did some berry farming as well, iirc. We were both excited that Joseph Pearce was at the conference to give a talk, and he had a chance to talk to Professor Pearce tonight during dinner. Wonderful!

Providence draws many of its students from families who attend the local Institute of Christ the King parish (not sure which one, there are three in Wisconsin, and I don't feel like looking at a map to see which is closest to Lacrosse).

Please say a prayer for another son, who is a marine in Iraq.

Friday, December 01, 2006

St. Edmund Campion, Martyr, December 1

From BC

Source for the following. (website in German)

Icon by Fr. William McNichols

EDMUND CAMPION—1540-1581 by Todd M. Aglialoro
Evelyn Waugh on the Capture of Campion
Jesuits Saints and Blesseds

Icon of St. Edmund Campion by T. Renee Kozinski

Campion's "Brag"
To the Right Honourable, the Lords of Her Majesty's Privy Council:
Whereas I have come out of Germany and Bohemia, being sent by my superiors, and adventured myself into this noble realm, my dear country, for the glory of God and benefit of souls, I thought it like enough that, in this busy, watchful, and suspicious world, I should either sooner or later be intercepted and stopped of my course.
Wherefore, providing for all events, and uncertain what may become of me, when God shall haply deliver my body into durance, I supposed it needful to put this in writing in a readiness, desiring your good lordships to give it your reading, for to know my cause. This doing, I trust I shall ease you of some labour. For that which otherwise you must have sought for by practice of wit, I do now lay into your hands by plain confession. And to the intent that the whole matter may be conceived in order, and so the better both understood and remembered, I make thereof these nine points or articles, directly, truly and resolutely opening my full enterprise and purpose.

i. I confess that I am (albeit unworthy) a priest of the Catholic Church, and through the great mercy of God vowed now these eight years into the religion [religious order] of the Society of Jesus. Hereby I have taken upon me a special kind of warfare under the banner of obedience, and also resigned all my interest or possibility of wealth, honour, pleasure, and other worldly felicity.

ii. At the voice of our General, which is to me a warrant from heaven and oracle of Christ, I took my voyage from Prague to Rome (where our General Father is always resident) and from Rome to England, as I might and would have done joyously into any part of Christendom or Heatheness, had I been thereto assigned.

iii. My charge is, of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reform sinners, to confute errors-in brief, to cry alarm spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance, wherewith many of my dear countrymen are abused.

iv. I never had mind, and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts.

v. I do ask, to the glory of God, with all humility, and under your correction, three sorts of indifferent and quiet audiences: the first, before your Honours, wherein I will discourse of religion, so far as it toucheth the common weal and your nobilities: the second, whereof I make more account, before the Doctors and Masters and chosen men of both universities, wherein I undertake to avow the faith of our Catholic Church by proofs innumerable-Scriptures, councils, Fathers, history, natural and moral reasons: the third, before the lawyers, spiritual and temporal, wherein I will justify the said faith by the common wisdom of the laws standing yet in force and practice.

vi. I would be loath to speak anything that might sound of any insolent brag or challenge, especially being now as a dead man to this world and willing to put my head under every man's foot, and to kiss the ground they tread upon. Yet I have such courage in avouching the majesty of Jesus my King, and such affiance in his gracious favour, and such assurance in my quarrel, and my evidence so impregnable, and because I know perfectly that no one Protestant, nor all the Protestants living, nor any sect of our adversaries (howsoever they face men down in pulpits, and overrule us in their kingdom of grammarians and unlearned ears) can maintain their doctrine in disputation. I am to sue most humbly and instantly for combat with all and every of them, and the most principal that may be found: protesting that in this trial the better furnished they come, the better welcome they shall be.
vii. And because it hath pleased God to enrich the Queen my Sovereign Lady with notable gifts of nature, learning, and princely education, I do verily trust that if her Highness would vouchsafe her royal person and good attention to such a conference as, in the second part of my fifth article I have motioned, or to a few sermons, which in her or your hearing I am to utter such manifest and fair light by good method and plain dealing may be cast upon these controversies, that possibly her zeal of truth and love of her people shall incline her noble Grace to disfavour some proceedings hurtful to the realm, and procure towards us oppressed more equity.

viii. Moreover I doubt not but you, her Highness' Council, being of such wisdom and discreet in cases most important, when you shall have heard these questions of religion opened faithfully, which many times by our adversaries are huddled up and confounded, will see upon what substantial grounds our Catholic Faith is builded, how feeble that side is which by sway of the time prevaileth against us, and so at last for your own souls, and for many thousand souls that depend upon your government, will discountenance error when it is bewrayed [revealed], and hearken to those who would spend the best blood in their bodies for your salvation. Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven for you daily by those English students, whose posterity shall never die, which beyond seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you heaven, or to die upon your pikes. And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league-all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England-cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.

ix. If these my offers be refused, and my endeavours can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigour. I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us his grace, and see us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.

Someone arguing that St. Edmund Campion was Shakespeare.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yonhap News review of Seducing Mr. Perfect

Via KFCCinema
With its star power, 'Seducing Mr. Perfect' is a feel-good comedy

Sexy local singer and actor Uhm plays Min-jun, an outgoing career woman in the U.S. branch office of a company who tries to hold men by showering them with pocket money and motherly care, but keeps being ditched because she is too nice.

After losing once again to someone younger, she becomes determined to learn the games of love from "Mr. Perfect," her boss Robin.

He tells her how to keep men, which is play a "bitch." Among the pieces of advice from Mr. Perfect are that in relationships, you should not be the one who calls first, but the one who hangs up first; you choose, he pays; and don't permit him to follow his sexual impulses, or you are knocked out.
Sounds like the Rules, doesn't it? haha

Review of Solace
So they meet and have a one-night stand and it turns into something more? And how often does this happen in real life?

Korea Times review of Once in a Summer

‘Once’ Travels in Time for Love
The story seems innocent, but I hope it is not as sappy as The Classic. Sounds like the ending is rather disappointing though...

Actress, Director to Wed on Christmas Eve

BoA to Appear on CNN

BoA to Appear on CNN

All-Asian star BoA will soon be seen on the CNN interview program “Talk Asia.” In the interview taped in Tokyo on Oct. 24, the Korean singer discusses a range of topics with host Anjali Rao including how she became a star with her debut, her activities in Japan and its influence on the Korean Wave, acting, and future plans.

“Talk Asia” is a CNN flagship program that invites leading personalities in various fields every week for in-depth interviews. BoA was invited in recognition of her popularity in the entire Asian region including Korea. The 30-minute program will be aired on Dec. 2 at 8:30 a.m. and at midnight, and on Dec. 3 at 9:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., Korean time. It will hit the airwaves in 200 countries through the CNN International channel.

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Hrm. Maybe the picture is too small, but it looks like she didn't get enough sleep.


Baroque Mission Vespers

I don't suppose anyone I know attended the Baroque Mission Vespers tonight at St. Mary's Chapel?

Kay Hymowitz on Paris Hilton

The Trash Princess

'Nuff said.

More from Peter Hitchens on the slow death of English

Language, truth and logic

Ah! So Peter Hitchens and Christopher Hitchens really are brothers?

A Marxist seeks another solution

Via EB

Stan Geoff, "Doctrine"

Though he doesn't really stop being a Marxist. But he does see the importance of relocalization?

Biblical dating: an introduction

by Scott Croft

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Daniel Everett

his homepage; he is noted for his study of the Pirahã language and culture.
Living without numbers or time

Apparently he will be giving a lecture on the language and its grammar at MIT on Friday. Alas, I will not be able to attend.
Fear and Loathing on Massachusetts Avenue

an older post introducing D. Everett:
Language Log: The Straight Ones: Dan Everett on the Pirahã

I think the Western Confucian may have posted some articles about this language before, on Katolik Shinja.

Pope no longer doubts Thomas reached India

Via the Western Confucian

Pope no longer doubts Thomas reached India

It's not easy trying to maintain an open mind, or being skeptical or critical about historical claims that are difficult to verify. What sort of balance can be maintained between the two extremes, between accepting all human traditions regarding historical events unquestioningly and rejecting all that cannot be verified according to the canons of modern "historical science"? Or is such a balance praiseworthy in the first place?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Going to ND

Leaving tomorrow, I'll be gone until Sunday... I'll try to post in the evening, maybe I'll have some interesting reports from the conference.

Some reactions to the events up north

Daniel Larison links to the following

The Other Shoe: Recognizing Anglos as a nation within a united Canada (prompted by iectomorph's Two nations, divisible)
Slow-Motion Suicide

Plus, his Fair Enough

So what is the state of Anglo-Saxon culture next door? If the British don't care about their own culture, can Anglo-Canadians be far behind?

See also Mr. Larison's post "The Forces of Reaction," which discusses James G. Poulos' "Cultural Hegemony, dentity Hegemony I," which in turn is a reaction piece to Austin W. Bramwell's "Good-bye to All That"

Mr. Larison's other posts on Mr. Barmwell's article--
The Forces Of Reaction
Abjuring Loyalty To Ourselves For A Mess Of Pottage
Reillyists Respond
Please Help Free Me From My Invisible Cage
Those Wacky “Lifestyle Conservatives”
TAC Online">New TAC Online
If You Call For A Pox On All Houses, Be Prepared To Live Outdoors
Tribe Or Religion Or Whatever? No, Thank You
Article In The New TAC; Brilliant Bramwell, Baffling Bramwell

More coverage of the papal visit to Turkey

The Greek Orthodox Church of America will also be broadcasting various events--plus they will be archiving the videos--even better! Thanks to Mere Comments.

Live Internet Broadcasts of the Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate

November 24, 2006

New York, NY - The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Departments of Internet Ministries and Greek Orthodox Telecommunications (GOTelecom) have announced that they will broadcast LIVE, on the internet, two historic services during the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, November 29 and 30, 2006. The programs will appear LIVE and will also be archived on the Internet at

The first LIVE internet broadcast will begin at 12 noon on November 29, 2006. It will include the Doxology of Thanksgiving upon the occasion of the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, exchange of greetings and mutual reverence of the Holy Relics. On November 30th, the Divine Liturgy in honor of the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle will begin its internet broadcast at 2:00am (ET). The programs are being produced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. *Actual times are subject to change.

An on-demand broadcast will be available online several hours after the live broadcasts for individuals who were not able to watch the services live. For additional information and updates, please visit the official web site for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate at

Contact: Marissa P. Costidis
Tel.: 212.570.3588
Cell: 732-522-1637

Let us pray that communion will be restored soon!

Via AW--
Translations of the speeches at Vatican Radio

Also via AW--
Pope and Patriarch blog
flickr page

Prayer request from Al Kimel

of Pontifications

Your prayers invited
November 26th, 2006

Dear friends,

I will be on retreat this week at the Benedictine monastery in Morristown, New Jersey. Please keep me in your prayers, as I prepare for ordination to the sacred priesthood of the Catholic Church on Sunday, December 3rd, at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange, New Jersey.

Thank you.

Yours in Christ,

You can learn more about Pontificator's journey to the Catholic Church and beyond at his website. Let us pray for him!

Another Zaccheus Press special

Got this email today

Zaccheus Press is pleased to announce the release of Union with God: Letters of Spiritual Direction by Blessed Columba Marmion.

One of Mother Teresa's favorite books, Union with God is a collection of letters written by Blessed Columba Marmion to the many persons who sought his spiritual counsel -- with questions about prayer, faith, temptation, suffering, and the struggles of daily life. Marmion excelled in the art of letter-writing -- his advice was always simple and direct, yet profound. In his letters we see him bringing to bear his great depth of theological knowledge in a practical and human way.

Union with God: Letters of Spiritual Direction by Blessed Columba Marmion
ISBN 0-9725981-6-2
233 pages • $14.95 (paperback)

Special Sale Offer: Exclusively for our email list subscribers, we are offering free shipping on orders of Union with God. This sale ends December 6.

We also have a second sale offer: Get Union with God together with Marmion's classic Christ, the Life of the Soul (regularly $24.95), both for the special price of $30.00, which includes shipping. This 2-book sale offer ends December 31.

Sorry, we can only offer free shipping to customers in the United States; also, we can only offer Christ, the Life of the Soul to our US and Canadian customers. Orders are shipped via USPS Media Mail.

Place your order for Union with God at our webpage here. You will automatically receive free shipping.

For our 2-book sale offer, go here. Again, free shipping will be processed automatically.

You can also phone in your order. Call 970-416-6672, and ask for LaVon. Orders may be placed Monday - Friday, 9 am - 4:30 pm, mountain standard time.

Foreword to Union with God
by Rev. David L. Toups, STD

Union with God was first compiled ten years after Abbot Columba Marmion’s death in 1923, and then, as now, it brilliantly captures his insights into the spiritual life. This work is a collection of letters of spiritual direction which only can be described as being very simple yet very deep, encouraging childlike confidence in God as our loving Father. Blessed Columba’s letters simplify the complexities of life and helped his spiritual directees stay focused on what Jesus was asking of them in the present moment. His letters are effective, because he himself strove to live in attentiveness of God’s love and presence in his own daily life. Marmion is referred to as the “Doctor of Divine Adoption.” He emphasized that Christians are truly adopted children of God through baptism and are thus to abandon themselves into the loving hands of the Father at all times. To entrust oneself to the Father and model oneself on the life of Christ was everything to Dom Marmion.

Abbot Marmion’s writings were a staple of spirituality in the twentieth century for the generation preceding the Second Vatican Council. Recently, a resurgence of interest has been occurring, which recognizes that this master of spirituality has something profound to offer Christians today in the twenty-first century. He was dedicated to writing to his spiritual children and encouraging them in their struggles to keep moving forward on their journey of faith. He helped countless men and women draw ever closer to Christ.

It is well documented by classmates of Karol Woytyla, the future Pope John Paul II, that he was an avid reader of Marmion’s writings. Columba Marmion was beatified during the Jubilee Year 2000. In the homily at the beatification, Pope John Paul II stated: “May a widespread rediscovery of the spiritual writings of Blessed Columba Marmion help priests, religious and laity to grow in union with Christ and bear faithful witness to him through ardent love of God and generous service of their brothers and sisters.” This recognition by the Church Universal reveals not only Marmion’s personal sanctity, but also the profundity of his writings.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta considered Union with God to be her favorite work from which she drew great solace. It should be no surprise that Marmion’s teaching of childlike trust in Divine Providence and abandonment to the will of the Father would find in Mother Teresa such a devotee. The entire order of the Missionaries of Charity continues to draw inspiration from Marmion’s works. Mother Teresa would quote from him extensively, even citing him in her original hand-written copy of the Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity. In an early letter to her sisters dated 1961, she paraphrases Marmion: “Fidelity to the rule is the most precious and delicate flower of love we religious can offer to Almighty God.” In 1967 she wrote: “In reading Dom Marmion I find in him so much of what our Society expects of us, Holiness!” Marmion’s theme of joyfully persevering in the midst of struggles was Mother Teresa’s attitude for the order which she founded and to which she herself subscribed.

Marmion’s uncomplicated yet insightful wisdom, as found in the pages of this book, should be a gift for many in today’s seemingly complicated world. His very readable presentation of the gospel truths for everyday life is as relevant now as when it was first written. This work will edify all readers to be more faithful to Christ, to His Church, and to their vocation in life. There is encouragement in these pages to live as children of our loving Father and to be ever more faithful to Him in both the simple and the profound moments of life. The whole of the Christian life is to be one of union with God. The key for Dom Marmion was abandonment to the will of the Father in all things, doing all for the love of God.

China and Pakistan: more than just military collaboration

28 November, 2006
China and Pakistan: more than just military collaboration

The visit of Hu Jintao to Pakistan has wound up with the signing of deals in the military but also economic and energy spheres. More trade is predicted. China has pledged to promote a resolution of the Indo-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More cooperation in military, economic, trade and energy spheres as well as the now familiar “anti-terrorism coordination to enhance stability in the region”: these were the main deals clinched by the Chinese president Hu Jintao during his official visit to Pakistan, which started on 23 November and ended yesterday.

Hu visited the ancient city of Lahore and the capital Islamabad, where he met the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf. The Chinese leader signed 18 agreements, not only for traditional cooperation in the military sphere but also in the cultural and tourism sectors.

The two countries hope that trade – worth from 4.26 billion dollars in 2005 – could reach 15 billion dollars within five years. Industries struck deals in various sectors and joint ventures were set up for projects worth 3 billion dollars in the chemical, energy, construction and tourism sectors.

The main deals were reached in the military sector. China is held to be Pakistan’s main conventional arms supplier. Aviation industries from the two countries agreed on stable collaboration in aircraft manufacturing and a system of electronic defence. Many believe there were also deals to collaborate in missile and nuclear sectors, but there were no official announcements about this.

Pakistan has long been asking the United States to collaborate in the nuclear sector, but the latter does not seem willing to concede to this request, preferring to offer such cooperation to India, Islamabad’s traditional rival. Last week, while the United States’ Parliament confirmed accords with India in the nuclear field, China and Pakistan announced collaboration projects for the pacific use of atomic energy.

China would like to promote itself as an important point of reference in southern Asia and Hu has promised to help India and Pakistan resolve their dispute over Kashmir region, which has caused two wars between the two States since 1947.

Observers have underlined the importance given to Islamabad with this visit, the first of a Chinese president in a decade. Zhang Li, professor of the Institute of South Asian Studies at Sichuan University, said that in the past, Chinese leaders, visiting the two countries, “always went first to Pakistan and then to India”, but going first to India showed that “China wants to promote the same ties with India and Pakistan”.

Perhaps this partly explains why the visit unfolded in a climate of great ceremony, and why Hu could address the nation's 150 million people live on television, a privilege granted only to then-US president Bill Clinton in 2000. In the message, Hu underlined the good relations between the two countries, "higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the Indian Ocean”.

Building a Resilient and Equitable Bay Area


What Is Economic Localization?

Economic localization is the process by which a region, county, city, or even neighborhood frees itself from an unhealthy dependence on the global economy and looks inward to produce a significant portion of the goods, services, food, and energy it consumes from its local endowment of financial, natural, and human capital. Economic localization brings production of goods and services closer to their point of consumption, reducing the need to rely on long supply chains and distant markets so that communities and regions can, for the most part, provision themselves. While it is certainly not possible to produce every kind of good and service locally, economic localization seeks to restore an efficient balance between local production and imports that fully accounts for the social and environmental costs neglected by free trade agreements.

Why Economic Localization Should Be a Matter of Public Policy

Economic localization offers the Bay Area a tremendous opportunity to disengage from the zero sum game of competition with other states and nations for the attention of global corporations and export market niches and to reap a wide array of lasting rewards for the people who live and work here. These include a restoration of manufacturing jobs and economic linkages, a more diverse and resilient economic base, increased food and energy security, a workforce with more skills and entrepreneurial know how, less urban sprawl, and a much greater pool of financial capital that recirculates in the local economy rather than leaking out to other regions and nations. Localization also enhances democratic decision-making by shortening the distance between policymakers and the people and communities they represent thereby diminishing the economic power of distant, unaccountable entities like the World Trade Organization and multi-national corporations.

Bay Localize

Monday, November 27, 2006

Look Similar? They Pretty Much Are

on upcoming Korean movie releases

Also of interest at NLM

Ad Te Levavi (featuring this MP3)
Saint Elias and the Byzantine Liturgy
Translation of comments by Sandro Magister about the upcoming papal liturgies in Turkey

[Amy Welborn links to the EWTN schedule for programming coverage of the papal trip to Turkey

Of interest to me:

Wednesday November 29, 2006 4:30 AM Eastern Time
Wednesday November 29, 2006 1:30 AM Pacific Time


Wednesday November 29, 2006 12:00 PM Eastern Time
Wednesday November 29, 2006 9:00 AM Pacific Time


Wednesday November 29, 2006 11:30 PM Eastern Time
Wednesday November 29, 2006 8:30 PM Pacific Time


Thursday November 30, 2006 2:00 AM Eastern Time
Wednesday November 29, 2006 11:00 PM Pacific Time


Thursday November 30, 2006 10:00 AM Eastern Time
Thursday November 30, 2006 7:00 AM Pacific Time


Friday December 1, 2006 1:30 AM Eastern Time
Thursday November 30, 2006 10:30 PM Pacific Time

Vatican page on the visit; the program

Plus Archbishop Marini's introduction to the Apostolic Journey to Turkey. A Bugnini disciple daring to talk about the Eastern-rite liturgies!]

"Politeness" at the expense of Truth?

NLM reports on the liturgical celebration by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at Santa Sabina, the church of the Dominicans in Rome. (Original report at Whispers in the Loggia.)

I must say that I am disappointed with the Dominican leadership and those in the Curia who were responsible.

Want to convince the rest of the world that God is among us and saves us? This is not the way to do it, playing to fuzzy-wuzzy ecumenical feelings while ignoring the serious differences that separate the Anglicans from the Church.

Unbearable Lightness of Dating MV

Sigh. Looks like the movie accepts the casual sexual mores of this generation, without making a comment about it. Still, JJY is cute.

MV for Our Happy Time/Maundy Thursday


MV for Sunflower

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christ, King of the Universe

Christ, King of the Universe

"He Defeated the Power of the 'Prince of This World'"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 26, 2006 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

On this last Sunday of the liturgical year we celebrate the solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe. Today's Gospel presents a passage of the dramatic interrogation to which Pontius Pilate subjected Jesus, when he was handed over to him with the accusation of having usurped the title "king of the Jews."

Jesus responded to the questions of the Roman governor affirming that he was King, but not of this world (cf. John 18:36). He did not come to dominate peoples and territories, but to free men from the slavery of sin and be reconciled with God. And he added: "For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice" (John 18:37).

But, what is the "truth" which Christ came into the world to witness? His whole existence reveals that God is love. This is, therefore, the truth of which he gave full testimony with the sacrifice of his own life on Calvary. The cross is the "throne" from which he manifested the sublime royalty of God-Love. By giving himself in expiation of the sin of the world, he defeated the power of the "prince of this world" (John 18:31) and established definitively the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that is manifested in fullness at the end of time, after all his enemies and finally death, are subjected to him (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:25-26).

Then the Son will hand over the Kingdom to the Father and finally God will be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28). The road to achieve this goal is long and it is not possible to take short cuts. It is necessary that each person freely accept the truth of the love of God. He is Love and Truth, and love as well as truth never impose themselves: They knock on the door of the heart and mind and, where they enter, bring peace and joy. This is the way God reigns; this is his plan of salvation, a "mystery," in the biblical sense of the term, namely, a plan that is revealed little by little in history.

The Virgin Mary is associated in a very special way to Christ's royalty. God asked her, humble maiden of Nazareth, to become the Mother of the Messiah, and Mary corresponded to this call with her whole being, uniting her unconditional "yes" to that of her Son, Jesus, becoming with him obedient to the point of sacrifice. Because of this, God exalted her above all creatures and Christ crowned her Queen of Heaven and earth. We entrust the Church and the whole of humanity to her intercession, so that the love of God might reign in all hearts and his plan of justice and peace be fulfilled.

[At the end of the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. He began by saying in Italian:]

Dear brothers and sisters: As you know, in the next few days I will visit Turkey. From now on I wish to send a cordial greeting to the beloved Turkish people, of great historical and cultural richness. I express sentiments of esteem and sincere friendship to this nation and its representatives.

With heartfelt emotion, I wish to meet with the Catholic community, which is always present in my heart, and unite myself fraternally to the Orthodox Church, on the occasion of the feast of the Apostle St. Andrew.

With confidence, I wish to follow in the footsteps of my venerated predecessors, Paul VI and John XXIII, and I invoke the heavenly protection of Blessed John XXIII, who for 10 years was apostolic delegate in Turkey and felt great affection and esteem for that nation. I asked all of you to accompany me with prayer so that this pilgrimage may bring all the fruits willed by God.

Next December 1, World AIDS Day will be observed. I hope profoundly that it will serve to foster greater responsibility in curing the disease, as well as in the commitment to avoid all discrimination of those who have been affected. While I invoke the Lord's consolation on the sick and their families, I encourage the many initiatives which the Church supports in this field.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[In English, he said:]

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors gathered for this "Angelus" prayer. On this Solemnity of Christ the King, let us pray for the spread of the Gospel, the triumph of God's reconciling love and the coming of his eternal Kingdom of holiness, justice and peace. May Christ's peace always reign in your hearts!

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

CIA retools Web site in recruitment push

CIA retools Web site in recruitment push

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer Sat Nov 25, 7:58 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The CIA has scrapped its ho-hum test that steered job applicants toward mysterious careers and devised one that's cloaked in jest.

Invisibility or ESP? Jet pack or amphibious sports car? Walk the Great Wall of China or sip Champagne at a New York gala?

The results from the CIA's personality quiz are just a few clicks away, diagnosing test takers as daring thrill-seekers, thoughtful observers, curious adventurers, innovative pioneers or impressive masterminds.

The CIA wants to hire them all.

The agency's online personality test is the equivalent of a help-wanted sign, posted on the closest thing the agency has to a front door — its Web site. The frivolous quiz is designed to encourage job applications while dispelling myths about the agency, some of them born of the James Bond stereotype.

For instance, the CIA wants you to know that everyone who works there does not drive a sports car with machine guns in the tailpipes. Successful applicants will, in fact, see their family and friends again. Also, "you don't have to know karate or look good in a tuxedo to work at the CIA," the personality quiz says.

All fun aside, the hiring push began almost immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and picked up steam in November 2004 when
President Bush called for a 50 percent increase in the agency's ranks of operatives and analysts.

The president wanted twice as many scientists whose research combats terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The agency hopes to meet those goals by 2011.

One in seven of CIA's current employees joined the agency in the past year, and nearly 40 percent of its employees began working at the agency after the Sept. 11 attacks — statistics at once helpful and troubling.

"This is the youngest analytic work force in the history of the
Central Intelligence Agency," Director Michael Hayden said at his confirmation hearings this year. "In more disappointing language, this is the least experienced analytic work force in the history of CIA."

The CIA had some stumbles as it stepped out of the shadows to recruit.

The agency started in 2002 with black-and-white ads. Last year, the agency's television ads during Washington Nationals baseball games were so quiet and unnoticeable that fans might have thought their cable went out for 30 seconds if they headed to the kitchen for a snack.

Officials in charge of hiring realized they needed a new plan. They hired an ad agency, TMP Worldwide, to help.

The "Bug Spot" was born. A snooping dragonfly zooms through the ad, showing how scientists at the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology develop their James Bond-esque devices — "technology so advanced, it's classified," the ad boasts.

The ad debuted on the Discovery Channel. The agency got 3,500 resumes shortly afterward from people who said they were applying after seeing the spot.

An ad for the National Clandestine Service, the agency's secret operatives, followed soon after.

Now, the CIA is redoing its Web site. It is buying space on airport billboards and in movie trailers. It is taking out ads in publications from The Locksmith Ledger to Women's Wear Daily to Arab Times, seeking people who can crack locks, create disguises and speak polished Arabic. It is reaching out to soon-to-be retired military officers.

The CIA also created its updated personality quiz, with a special disclaimer straight from the legal department: "The Myths Quiz is for educational entertainment purposes only. ... This quiz will not affect your ability to get a job with the CIA."

The lawyers are not the only ones who don't take the quiz lightly.

Some of the CIA's traditionalists fear the agency is tarnishing its proud, exclusive roots to meet the presidential directive. They worry that the CIA quiz and its advertisements during "MythBusters" and other cable shows with cult followings are too gimmicky.

In short, they worry that the agency is sacrificing quality to get quantity. Last year alone, the agency received 135,000 applications — a number that has more than doubled since Sept. 11, 2001.

Tom McCluskey, the CIA's chief of hiring and employee development, heard the concerns firsthand at a recent gathering of the Florida chapter of the agency's retirees association.

"Some of the old-timers grumbled, 'Where's the mystique? Where is the aura of mystery around what we do?'" McCluskey said in an interview. "The good news is that we are not seeking to hire those people."

Instead, he said, the CIA is after the generation that has grown up on the Web. "They were born with ear buds in their ears. They are ADD and it is contagious," he said, referring to attention deficit disorder. "We need that kind of talent here."

The CIA once did have a test that steered applicants to one of the agency's three main divisions: the National Clandestine Service, the Directorate of Science and Technology or the Directorate of Intelligence. But officials scrapped it after figuring out that it was often wrong.

A new test that could steer applicants to one of more than 200 jobs is now being devised for use during the screening process. But developing it is taking time.

Meanwhile, Congress is watching the agency's recruitment efforts. The incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has said one of his priorities is investigating whether the CIA has the right people in the right jobs and ensuring the CIA has enough people who are fluent in crucial foreign languages.

Even if Congress starts grilling the agency in public, odds are it could help. Generally speaking, said Betsy Davis, deputy chief of the CIA's recruitment and advertising, "We see spikes in applicants after bad stories. We see spikes in applicants after good stories."


On the Net:

Find out if you're an impressive mastermind:

'Tweens' are fast becoming the new teens

**FILE PHOTO** Audriana Rossano, 11, poses for a photograph on her bed, as she looks through an issue of US Magazine at her family's Cherry Hill, N.J. home, Aug. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

'Tweens' are fast becoming the new teens

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer Sat Nov 25, 6:46 PM ET

Zach Plante is close with his parents — he plays baseball with them and, on weekends, helps with work in the small vineyard they keep at their northern California home.

Lately, though, his parents have begun to notice subtle changes in their son. Among other things, he's announced that he wants to grow his hair longer — and sometimes greets his father with "Yo, Dad!"

"Little comments will come out of his mouth that have a bit of that teen swagger," says Tom Plante, Zach's dad.

Thing is, Zach isn't a teen. He's 10 years old — one part, a fun-loving fifth-grader who likes to watch the Animal Planet network and play with his dog and pet gecko, the other a soon-to-be middle schooler who wants an iPod.

In some ways, it's simply part of a kid's natural journey toward independence. But child development experts say that physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among "tweens" — kids ages 8 to 12.

Some of them are going on "dates" and talking on their own cell phones. They listen to sexually charged pop music, play mature-rated video games and spend time gossiping on MySpace. And more girls are wearing makeup and clothing that some consider beyond their years.

Zach is starting to notice it in his friends, too, especially the way they treat their parents.

"A lot of kids can sometimes be annoyed by their parents," he says. "If I'm playing with them at one of their houses, then they kind of ignore their parents. If their parents do them a favor, they might just say, 'OK,' but not notice that much."

The shift that's turning tweens into the new teens is complex — and worrisome to parents and some professionals who deal with children. They wonder if kids are equipped to handle the thorny issues that come with the adolescent world.

"I'm sure this isn't the first time in history people have been talking about it. But I definitely feel like these kids are growing up faster — and I'm not sure it's always a good thing," says Dr. Liz Alderman, an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. She's been in practice for 16 years and has noticed a gradual but undeniable change in attitude in that time.

She and others who study and treat children say the reasons it's happening are both physical and social.

Several published studies have found, for instance, that some tweens' bodies are developing faster, with more girls starting menstruation in elementary school — a result doctors often attribute to improved nutrition and, in some cases, obesity. While boys are still being studied, the findings about girls have caused some endocrinologists to lower the limits of early breast development to first or second grade.

Along with that, even young children are having to deal with peer pressure and other societal influences.

Beyond the drugs, sex and rock'n'roll their boomer and Gen X parents navigated, technology and consumerism have accelerated the pace of life, giving kids easy access to influences that may or may not be parent-approved. Sex, violence and foul language that used to be relegated to late-night viewing and R-rated movies are expected fixtures in everyday TV.

And many tweens model what they see, including common plot lines "where the kids are really running the house, not the dysfunctional parents," says Plante, who in addition to being Zach's dad is a psychology professor at Santa Clara University in California's Silicon Valley.

He sees the results of all these factors in his private practice frequently.

Kids look and dress older. They struggle to process the images of sex, violence and adult humor, even when their parents try to shield them. And sometimes, he says, parents end up encouraging the behavior by failing to set limits — in essence, handing over power to their kids.

"You get this kind of perfect storm of variables that would suggest that, yes, kids are becoming teens at an earlier age," Plante says.

Natalie Wickstrom, a 10-year-old in suburban Atlanta, says girls her age sometimes wear clothes that are "a little inappropriate." She describes how one friend tied her shirt to show her stomach and "liked to dance, like in rap videos."

Girls in her class also talk about not only liking but "having relationships" with boys.

"There's no rules, no limitations to what they can do," says Natalie, who's also in fifth grade.

Her mom, Billie Wickstrom, says the teen-like behavior of her daughter's peers, influences her daughter — as does parents' willingness to allow it.

"Some parents make it hard on those of us who are trying to hold their kids back a bit," she says.

So far, she and her husband have resisted letting Natalie get her ears pierced, something many of her friends have already done. Now Natalie is lobbying hard for a cell phone and also wants an iPod.

"Sometimes I just think that maybe, if I got one of these things, I could talk about what they talk about," Natalie says of the kids she deems the "popular ones."

It's an age-old issue. Kids want to fit in — and younger kids want to be like older kids.

But as the limits have been pushed, experts say the stakes also have gotten higher — with parents and tweens having to deal with very grown-up issues such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Earlier this year, that point hit home when federal officials recommended a vaccine for HPV — a common STD that can lead to cervical cancer — for girls as young as age 9.

"Physically, they're adults, but cognitively, they're children," says Alderman, the physician in New York. She's found that cultural influences have affected her own children, too.

Earlier this year, her 12-year-old son heard the popular pop song "Promiscuous" and asked her what the word meant.

"I mean, it's OK to have that conversation, but when it's constantly playing, it normalizes it," Alderman says.

She observes that parents sometimes gravitate to one of two ill-advised extremes — they're either horrified by such questions from their kids, or they "revel" in the teen-like behavior. As an example of the latter reaction, she notes how some parents think it's cute when their daughters wear pants or shorts with words such as "hottie" on the back.

"Believe me, I'm a very open-minded person. But it promotes a certain way of thinking about girls and their back sides," Alderman says. "A 12-year-old isn't sexy."

With grown-up influences coming from so many different angles — from peers to the Internet and TV — some parents say the trend is difficult to combat.

Claire Unterseher, a mother in Chicago, says she only allows her children — including an 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter — to watch public television.

And yet, already, they're coming home from school asking to download songs she considers more appropriate for teens.

"I think I bought my first Abba single when I was 13 or 14 — and here my 7-year-old wants me to download Kelly Clarkson all the time," Unterseher says. "Why are they so interested in all this adult stuff?"

Part of it, experts say, is marketing — and tweens are much-sought-after consumers.

Advertisers have found that, increasingly, children and teens are influencing the buying decisions in their households — from cars to computers and family vacations. According to 360 Youth, an umbrella organization for various youth marketing groups, tweens represent $51 billion worth of annual spending power on their own from gifts and allowance, and also have a great deal of say about the additional $170 billion spent directly on them each year.

Toymakers also have picked up on tweens' interest in older themes and developed toy lines to meet the demand — from dolls known as Bratz to video games with more violence.

Diane Levin, a professor of human development and early childhood at Wheelock College in Boston, is among those who've taken aim at toys deemed too violent or sexual.

"We've crossed a line. We can no longer avoid it — it's just so in our face," says Levin, author of the upcoming book "So Sexy So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood."

Earlier this year, she and others from a group known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood successfully pressured toy maker Hasbro to drop plans for a line of children's toys modeled after the singing group Pussycat Dolls.

Other parents, including Clyde Otis III, are trying their own methods.

An attorney with a background in music publishing, Otis has compiled a line of CDs called "Music Talking" that includes classic oldies he believes are interesting to tweens, but age appropriate. Artists include Aretha Franklin, Rose Royce and Blessid Union of Souls.

"I don't want to be like a prude. But some of the stuff out there, it's just out of control sometimes," says Otis, a father of three from Maplewood, N.J.

"Beyonce singing about bouncing her butt all over the place is a little much — at least for an 8-year-old."

In the end, many parents find it tricky to strike a balance between setting limits and allowing their kids to be more independent.

Plante, in California, discovered that a few weeks ago when he and Zach rode bikes to school, as the two of them have done since the first day of kindergarten.

"You know, dad, you don't have to bike to school with me anymore," Zach said.

Plante was taken aback.

"It was a poignant moment," he says. "There was this notion of being embarrassed of having parents be too close."

Since then, Zach has been riding by himself — a big step in his dad's mind.

"Of course, it is hard to let go, but we all need to do so in various ways over time," Plante says, "as long as we do it thoughtfully and lovingly, I suppose."


On the Net:

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

Music Talking:


Martha Irvine is a national writer specializing in coverage of people in their 20s and younger. She can be reached at mirvine(at)

Prominent Chinese AIDS activist missing

Prominent Chinese AIDS activist missing

By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer Sat Nov 25, 6:11 PM ET

BEIJING - A Chinese
AIDS activist who was organizing a symposium to help people with the disease fight for their legal rights has gone missing after meeting with police, his advocacy group said Saturday.

Although Beijing launched a more open and energetic fight against AIDS two years ago, the apparent disappearance of the activist, Wan Yanhai, highlights the government's lingering antipathy toward its more outspoken critics.

Four police officers showed up at the Beijing offices of the AIDS advocacy group Aizhi on Friday and questioned Wan for much of the day, the group said on its Web site.

With police still present, Wan ordered colleagues to cancel a symposium on AIDS, blood safety and legal rights that had been scheduled for Sunday, the group's statement said.

Wan spoke briefly with a colleague Friday evening on his cell phone but has not been heard from since, the statement said.

"The colleague asked Wan Yanhai his whereabouts, and Wan Yanhai replied that he was being questioned. Since then, his colleagues and family have lost contact with Wan Yanhai," the group said. Wan's phone has been switched off.

Wan has been one of China's most dogged campaigners for AIDS awareness and effective public health policies. He has frequently angered the Communist government, which had long ignored the spread of the disease. Wan has also drawn harassment from the police.

The government acknowledges the spread of AIDS is accelerating. The Health Ministry reported days ago that over the first 10 months of this year the number of reported
HIV and AIDS cases rose nearly 30 percent, to 183,733, from 144,089 at the end of last year.

Health experts say actual cases are likely to be four to five times the reported figure.

Though it was not immediately clear what prompted police to question Wan, initial signs pointed to the now-canceled symposium on Sunday.

Wan's colleagues at Aizhi said more than 60 people, some of them AIDS sufferers and their families, were invited to the symposium, one of the activities marking World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

Twice on Friday while being questioned, Wan told his colleagues to be sure any participants who had come to Beijing returned home, the Aizhi statement said.

"Whether this is or isn't sensitive is not by our definition. It's theirs," said Wang Lixuan of Aizhi. A colleague, who refused to disclose her name, said the group held a similar symposium a year ago before AIDS day.

In a sign that organizers were aware of possible trouble, they did not publicize the symposium's location, but told participants to come to the Aizhi office for details.

The event's topics — blood supply safety and legal rights — touch on issues of government responsibility. Several localized AIDS epidemics in China were caused by tainted blood supplies and unsanitary transfusions, and victims have struggled to win compensation from the state health system.

Throughout the 1990s, the government treated the disease with silence and ineffective policies, and Wan was a thorn in its side throughout. He was fired from a Health Ministry job in 1994 after publicly calling for AIDS education and gay rights.

He founded the Aizhi group later that year, and has since been occasionally detained. His publicizing of an epidemic from blood transfusions, in Henan province, landed him in detention for two months in 2002.

David Ehrenfeld, Friendly Fire

Via Energy Bulletin

Friendly Fire
by David Ehrenfeld

Most of those advocating the new energy technologies are not suggesting any reduction in overall energy consumption.

THERE IS A critical issue in the energy debate which has not received the attention it deserves: the problem of ‘friendly fire’. Friendly fire is the euphemism our military and press use to sugar-coat the presumably accidental killing of soldiers in battle by their own comrades.

The first time I saw the term ‘friendly fire’ used in a non-military context was in the book The Argumentative Indian, by the brilliant Nobel laureate economist, philosopher and historian Amartya Sen. In Sen’s words: “Sometimes the very institutions that were created to overcome disparities and barriers have tended to act as reactionary influences in reinforcing inequity.” One example he gives is the contrast between the immense government stockpiles of food in India alongside the largest undernourished population in the world. He states: “The positive hopes of equity through high support prices of food and payment of subsidies have ... tended to produce exactly the opposite effect.” This is friendly fire.

What does the idea of friendly fire have to do with the problems, especially the environmental problems, related to the energy crisis in the US? This becomes clear if we look at possible solutions to the energy crisis. I group them in two categories.

The first category includes all technological solutions. There is no need to describe them in detail: nuclear power, biofuels, hydrogen, efficiency gains in transforming, transporting and using energy, non-biological renewable energy, and others. Each has major advantages and serious limitations. Most have the same drawback: they are much more expensive than sticking a pipe in the ground and letting the oil flow out of a tap. Nevertheless, it is clear that some combination of these technologies will allow us to stretch our energy supply a good deal farther than current practice allows.

The second category of proposed solutions to the energy crisis includes the various methods of conservation of energy based on a simple lifestyle. It means, for North Americans, consuming less and reusing more.

The US has opted for the first category: technology. It’s easy to see why. Our present economy is geared to constantly increasing consumption, and dependence on goods and services we no longer provide for ourselves. There is a deadly combination of a sense that we are entitled to all these goods and services, and a fear that we need them and that we can’t survive without them. We don’t worry about the ultimate cost, because we haven’t the faintest idea what it is. In fact, we act as if there will be no cost. Thus, in the US most of those advocating the new energy technologies are not suggesting any reduction in overall energy consumption.

Indeed, the opposite is likely to be true – continuing low prices encourage us to use still more energy. But there are two hitches: first, even taken together, all of the new energy technologies will probably not be up to the job of replacing cheap oil in running a high-consumption, high-waste society (although – and you can see where I’m heading – they will be critically important in running a responsible-consumption, low-waste society).

The second hitch is more serious, and here is where the friendly fire idea comes into play. If we use the gains from our new energy technologies to continue to increase our consumption and waste, we will find ourselves in a vicious spiral that decreases resources and increases environmental damage – even as our energy technology improves.


An example of ‘friendly fire’.

Cars, not people, will claim most of the increase in world grain consumption this year. The US Department of Agriculture projects that world grain use will grow by twenty million tons in 2006. Of this, fourteen million tons will be used to produce fuel for cars in the US, leaving only six million tons to satisfy the world’s growing food needs.

In agricultural terms, the world appetite for automotive fuel is insatiable. The grain required to fill a twenty-five gallon SUV tank with ethanol would feed one person for a year. The amount of corn used in US ethanol distilleries has tripled in five years to fifty-five million tons in 2006. With so many new distilleries being built, livestock and poultry producers fear there may not be enough corn to produce meat, milk and eggs.

Since almost everything we eat can be converted into fuel for automobiles, including wheat, corn, rice, soybeans and sugarcane, the line between the food and energy economies is disappearing.

As the price of oil climbs, it becomes increasingly profitable to convert farm commodities into automotive fuel – either ethanol or biodiesel. In effect, the price of oil becomes the support price for food commodities. Whenever the food value of a commodity drops below its fuel value, the market will convert it into fuel.

Put simply, the stage is being set for a head-on collision between the world’s 800 million affluent automobile owners and food consumers. The only question is, when food prices will rise, and by how much. In recent months, corn prices have risen by one fifth. For the two billion poorest people in the world, many of whom spend over half of their income on food, rising grain prices can quickly become life-threatening.

There are alternatives to using food-based fuels. The equivalent of the 3% grain in automotive fuel supplies from ethanol could be achieved several times over and at a fraction of the cost, simply by raising auto fuel efficiency standards by 20%. There are no alternatives to food for people.

Written by Lester R. Brown of the Earth Policy Institute. For further information visit

Marine fisheries are a good example of this kind of friendly fire. Fossil fuels are the major energy inputs to the world’s fishing industry. In the year 2000, 50 billion litres of fuel, mostly diesel, were burned to land a little more than 80 million metric tons of marine fish and invertebrates – this amounted to 1.2% of global oil consumption, about the same as used by the Netherlands, with an annual emission of 130 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The energy content of the fuel is about 12.5 times the protein energy content of the catch. Fleets catching luxury species – shrimp, tuna, swordfish – for the US, Japanese and similar markets have the highest energy consumption: 2,000 litres of fuel per ton of catch. But the energy efficiency of the fishing fleet has been declining steadily over time, because every year the boats need to fish longer hours and deeper in offshore waters as the over-exploited fish populations progressively fail. So even if we improve the efficiency of diesel and gasoline engines by 10% or 20%, which is conceivable, and if our new technologies make more cheap fuel available, energy consumption will continue to rise in most fisheries until one by one they collapse, like the North Atlantic cod fishery. Abundant energy in the absence of scientifically regulated fishing strategies is killing the fisheries.

Similar stories come from global forestry – one of many examples is the use of energy-guzzling helicopters to assist in the logging of steep slopes. Our insatiable demand for timber and timber products thus results in soil erosion and permanent deforestation in mountainous areas. The new energy technologies, in the absence of other moderating influences, remove a potential restraint on our ability to carry out destructive forestry. More friendly fire.

There are additional connections between increasing energy efficiency and accelerating environmental and social damage. Global trade, which is heavily energy-dependent, transmits introduced diseases of humans, plants and wildlife, and promotes the costly spread of exotic species. (The annual cost of fighting exotic species in the US is estimated at $120 billion.) And there are other side effects. For instance, the importation from Mexico into the US of luxury foods such as fresh green peppers, tomatoes and string beans in winter is subsidised by huge inputs of energy for industrial agriculture and transportation. The side effects, regardless of whether the energy is sustainably produced or not, include the poisoning of Mexican workers by pesticides, chemical and mechanical impacts on Mexican soils, and the destruction of native Mexican cultures as community economies are disrupted by introduced subsidised commodities and the national demand for cheap, landless labour.

Here is another example of friendly fire: aquaculture is now providing a substantial amount of the fish consumed in the US. The aquaculture facilities themselves require large amounts of energy to run, especially in the case of carnivorous fish such as trout and salmon, whose animal protein is supplied by fish meal made from smaller fish caught by the same global fleets mentioned above.

There are many damaging side effects of aquaculture – these include genetic pollution of native fish stocks by escaped fish, global spread of diseases such as infectious salmon anaemia (which is caused by a virulent virus that has adapted itself to intensive aquaculture), the destruction of the marine sea floor by bottom trawling, and marine pollution by food and wastes from the farms.

Ecotourism, which is also dependent on cheap energy, is often a great boon to conservation. Yet ecotourism has its dark side. The problem of overuse of sensitive ecosystems is obvious – sensitive plants and soils react poorly to trampling even by friendly feet, and endangered animals do not always thrive when watched by large numbers of friendly people in Land Rovers and tour boats. Some negative effects are more subtle: it appears that ecotourism may be responsible for the first recorded introduction of a primary human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, into free-ranging populations of wild animals: banded mongooses in Botswana and grey meerkats in South Africa.

And most of these consumptive uses of energy release greenhouse gases that work to alter global climate, which is raising sea level and appears to be increasing the frequency and intensity of large storms. Positive feedbacks add to the problem. Global warming itself is causing widespread melting of Arctic permafrost, with the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from saturated peat, and CO2 from unsaturated peat. These gases raise temperature still further.

AS LONG AS energy technology helps North Americans keep their same consumptive lifestyle, we have friendly fire on a massive scale. If energy were the only limiting factor we faced, perhaps our total faith in a technological fix would have some justification. But there are many limiting factors acting within the highly interconnected economic system that controls all of our lives. Forests, soils, fresh water, climate, ecosystem balances, emerging diseases, the growing gulf between rich and poor, and other environmental and social variables are all approaching critical limits. Even if we can maximise efficiency in production and use of energy, that does not necessarily solve the other problems – some, including the plight of environment and biodiversity, will be made worse by the continued availability of cheap energy. Like most enablers, energy technology is not a villain. We need it desperately, but we need it in a new and saner context of living.

What, then, is likely to happen? Ideally, the advances being made in energy technology could be employed in the US in concert with needed changes in lifestyle – lower consumption and waste. This would have many positive environmental and social effects around the world, although it would admittedly cause at least short-term economic disruptions in our major suppliers of goods and services: China, India and others. But at the moment, a responsible change in lifestyle in the US seems a number of years away, although economic circumstances must inevitably force it to happen.

Perhaps India, despite present appearances, can be different. In India, the idea of a sustainable lifestyle has a long and honourable tradition, notably expressed in Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts about the vital relationship between ecology, sustainability and consumption patterns. Gandhi knew that the Western model of development – perpetual growth in consumption – was the wrong model to follow, not just in India, but in the West as well. Gandhi would not have liked some of the new energy technologies, but he might have approved of those that lend themselves to careful and gentle human use in a culture of moderation and restraint. Today, there are many dedicated environmental and social activists in India, North America and elsewhere who understand that technology and sustainability must go hand in hand, and are working hard to bring about the necessary changes to make it happen. We can only hope that their efforts will prevail, and that the Earth will be rescued from this deadly rain of friendly fire.

This article is based on the third annual Khoshoo Memorial Lecture, ‘Energy and Conservation’, delivered by David Ehrenfeld in June 2006 at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

David Ehrenfeld is Professor of Biology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, New Jersey. He is the author of Swimming Lessons: Keeping Afloat in the Age of Technology.

Jang Jin Young

One of my favorite actresses. I was surprised to find out from KFCCinema that she had won Best Actress for The Unbearable Lightness of Dating at the 5th Korean Film Awards. I don't think the movie got that much publicity, and I have not seen any reviews for it; I hope the movie is good, and that it is not only her performance that stands out.

official site
Kfccinema forum thread
Thanks to Range for helping find the photos at

From the Awards Ceremony:

I prefer her movie look... there's something about her styling and makeup for the awards ceremony... that makes her look even more plain than usual... I suppose I prefer her onscreen "plain" image, which may not be plain at all...

As for the dress that she wore... I don't think it's much better than the controversial outfit Uhm Jung Hwa wore for her performance.

Or this one

Random Andre Kim fashion show pic