Saturday, November 03, 2007


The more time I spend in the Cupertino library, the more I can't stand teenagers, especially East Asian teens. Noisy, talkative, inconsiderate, oblivious to the bigger picture and issues. Even a so-called "democracy" such as this needs some bare minimum of character in order to function, but I fear that we aren't even meeting that level.

Now if the parents of these teenagers go on to harbor certain attitudes towards other Asians, seeing them as being "inferior" in some way, I would have a few words to say to them. On average, I find Vietnamese students in San Jose to be better behaved than Chinese/Taiwanese/Korean students in Cupertino. Does a lack of parenting and too much luxury explain the difference? Vietnamese students (and many Mexican ones as well) are taught to respect their teachers. While this is the Confucian ideal, these days how many East Asian parents pass this on to their children? Sure, some may remember to offer a gift for the holidays or the end of the school year, but one is suspicious that this isn't a form of guanxi being practiced, rather than Confucian respect. At any rate, this rarely happens.

Parents not doing their job, a bad mass culture, an educational system that retards and infantalizes... there is plenty of blame to go around. There isn't much improvement once they enter college.

Varia, 3 November 2007

Glamor Girl Kim Hye-soo Shows Off Period Style

Wrestler Choi Hong-man Now Grapples With a Mic
K-1 fighter Choi Hong-man, the former ssirum (traditional Korean wrestling) champion, has transformed into a rapper, performing alongside model-turned-singer Kang Soo-hee in a duo called Beauty and the Beast. The duo will release their first album next month. On Thursday Choi had his pictures taken for the album's cover at a nightclub in Gangnam in southern Seoul.

Jang Dong-gun to Star in Hollywood Action Movie

Yoko... no Shinjuku Oiwake

Japanese Enka song "Yoko... no Shinjuku Oiwake"

Japanese Enka song by Ishihara Junko "Usuzumi Zakura"

"Kita No Yadokara "-Minako Honda

Yoko Nagayama Shiawaseni shitene

Yoko Nagayama Enka Debut Song HIGURASHI

Yoko Nagayama Suterarete (DESERTED)

Yoko Nagayama Namida Zake (Sake with tears)

Yoko Nagayama Namida Zake (Sake with tears)

Yoko Nagayama Aitakute Aitakute (I wanna see you see you)

Yoko Nagayama Usodato Itte (Tell me it's a lie) on Shamisen

Yoko Nagayama Jonkara Onnabushi by Shamisen

Yoko Nagayama Usodato Itte (Tell me it's a lie) by Shamisen

Yoko Nagayama Tanin no Kankei (Relationship of Strangers)

Yoko Nagayama Snow falling down to the sea

Yoko Nagayama Kasa (Parasol)



Yoko Nagayama KOISAKABA (Bar in Love)

more Yoko Nagayama


DOE peak oil poster

educational posters; the peak oil one: Peak Oil - The Turning Point

via EB

Tang Wei photos

Director Ang Lee, center, poses with Chinese actress Tang Wei, left, and actor Wang Leehom, right, before the premiere of their film 'Lust, Caution,' at the Shanghai Film Center in Shanghai, China on Wednesday Oct. 31, 2007.

Chinese actress Tang Wei, star of director Ang Lee's film "Lust, Caution", poses at the Hollywood Awards gala held by the Hollywood Film Festival in Beverly Hills, California October 22, 2007. Tang Wei was named by Hollywood's trade newspaper "Variety" one of "Variety's 10 to Watch" up and coming stars. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

At the UK premiere at the Odeon.

Tang Wei pictures | Yummy! Celebrities and Entertainment News (she has a high forehead and narrow face in these photos)
One to Watch: Tang Wei | We Love Beauty
Tang Wei Filmography - Yahoo! Movies

John Zmirak, A Meditation for Guy Fawkes Day

for Taki's Top Drawer

This Web site is non-sectarian, and I’m glad. However, as some of the discussion threads have exploded into a veritable 30 Years War, I have asked the editors for this opportunity to pose a few questions from my own point of view, as a faithful if thoroughly imperfect Roman Catholic who welcomes the development of doctrine which occurred at Vatican II (as interpreted according to Benedict XVI’s “hermeneneutic of continuity,” and explained by Fr. Brian Harrison) embracing the rights of non-Catholics NEVER to be persecuted by the state, so long as their beliefs pose no threat to “public order.” (Dispensationalist warmongers, this means YOU.)

Ah yes... but the question is "how is public order" to be understood? Narrowly or broadly?

Living Tradition articles by Fr. Harrison:
No. 34 - Mar 1991 John Courtney Murray - A Reliable Interpreter of Dignitatis Humanae? (Part II) by Brian W. Harrison
Wanted and Unwanted Children by Edward P. Atzert
No. 33 - Jan 1991 John Courtney Murray - A Reliable Interpreter of Dignitatis Humanae? (Part I) by Brian W. Harrison

No. 9 - Jan 1987 The Task of Living Tradition by John F. McCarthy
Pius IX, Vatican II and Religious Liberty reviewed by Brian W. Harrison
A Marian Year by John F. McCarthy

And this: Michael Davies, The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty
(Long Prairie, MN: The Neumann Press, 1992), reviewed by Brian W. Harrison

And this special issue of Catholic Dossier.
Summarizing the Controversy Kenneth D. Whitehead
How To Read Dignitatis Humanae on Establishment of Religion Russell Hittinger
Vatican II and Religious Liberty: Contradiction or Continuity? Fr. Brian Harrison
Dignitatis Humanae and the Development of Doctrine
Kevin L. Flannery, S.J.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A comparison of two understandings of chant rhythm

From Jeffrey Tucker: The great chant rhythm controversy: exhibit Dies Irae

EB: Deep Thought, Nov. 2

Deep thought - Nov 2
Staff, Energy Bulletin
The world's expected carrying capacity in a post industrial agrarian society
Saving the ecosystems of Middle Earth
John Michael Greer: the politics of transition

EB: Total boss on why oil production will never top 100 mb/d

Total boss on why oil production will never top 100 mb/d
David Strahan, Last Oil Shock
Christophe de Margerie has a reputation for forthright views and blunt speaking, but this week the chief executive of Total excelled himself by dismissing the IEA’s oil production forecasts as unrealistic, while coining an aphorism worthy of Donald Rumsfeld.published November 2, 2007.

EB: Bartlett talks to the House about peak oil

From EB:

Bartlett talks to the House about peak oil
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, U.S. House of RepresentativesThe indefatigable Congressman from Maryland gives another educatioinal talk to the House, touching on M. King Hubbert, energy bills before Congress and the Chinese response to peak oil.

Bill Bonner on number crunching

From Adding Up the Asset Boom:

Here's good news, dear reader. The U.S. economy grew at a 3.9% rate in the third quarter. Numbers don't lie, do they?

Ha! Numbers are the biggest liars on the planet.

Have you noticed how the whole world has been taken over by numbers? We live with them every day. They seem so precise…so confident…so sure of themselves. The U.S. economy did not grow "a little bit." It did not expand "slightly." It is not now just "somewhat larger" than it was a year ago. And it's not even growing at a 3% rate…or a 4% rate. It's growing at a 3.9% rate.

The older we get, the more suspicious of numbers we're becoming.

A man today knows his PIN number, his telephone number, often his fax number, his PSA number, his cholesterol number, his street number, his zip code, his Social Security number…digits, digits, and more digits! He's likely to know batting averages of his favorite players…and how much his portfolio increased last year…not to mention the standard numbers of a general education - how many states are there, how many members of Congress, what is the boiling temperature of water, what is the speed of light…how many times can you get a speeding ticket in the state of Georgia before they take away your license…and so forth.

Some of these numbers are useful. Many are empty frauds.

When the feds give us a number for GDP growth, for example, what does it mean? Why, it means the economy is expanding…growing…getting bigger. Oh…and what does that mean?

We apologize to long-suffering Daily Reckoning readers, but we will bring out a familiar example: If we cut our own lawn, the GDP is unchanged. If we hire a lawn-cutting service to do the work, the GDP expands. So, what does it really mean to say the GDP grows? In both cases, the end result is exactly the same: the grass has been cut. The only difference is that an amount of money - a number - has changed places, from our pocket to someone else's. The world has no more money. The world has no more goods or services. The world is unchanged. So what does GDP growth really mean? And how could a precise number - 3.9% - ever hope to describe what has really happened?

To make matters worse, government statisticians - and corporate ones too - typically "crunch" numbers into the shape they want. Numbers get punched, beaten, hammered, bullied, and bamboozled. When the torture session is over they'll admit to anything. That is how we get a "consumer price index" of only 3%…when everyone knows prices are rising a lot faster.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Yoo Seung-jun nanana MV Korean song

Yoo Seung-jun nanana MV Korean song

with Choi Ji Woo

Choi Ji Woo ssi X'mas MV

Choi Ji Woo ssi came to Japan

Air City - Choi Ji Woo.MV

Choi Ji Woo ssi on TV:sanmanomanma2007sp 1

part 2

part 3

Some enka and Jpop vids

Enka - Saishumin

Suguimoto Masato

Mori Shinji - Love is Over

Asami Tiuki - Shuuto

Nagayama Michiko - Enka

Yashiro Aki - Mou ichidou aitai

Mikawa Kenji - Sasorizano onna

madoka ohishi Sapporo 071021

MIKI MATSUKAWA Sapporo 071019-1, 2

MIKI MATSUKAWA Sapporo 071020-1; 2; 3

舟伍代夏子FUNE by Godai Natsuko


SAYURI ISHIKAWA "Kiga-Kaikyou""Echizen-Takemai"

Hitomi Shimatani- Yasashii Kisu No Mitsuke Kata
Ayumi Hamasaki & Hitomi Shimatani - Amairo no kami no otome
Hitomi Shimatani- Akai Sabaku no Densetsu

Looks like her PV for Osaka no Onna has been pulled (those Japanese companies are very strict about copyright violations).

Morning Musume Super Eurobeat OPV experiment #2

Notes on a Scandal

Fox Searchlight - Notes on a Scandal - Official Site
Yahoo! Movies
Apple trailer

If you don't already know the plot, let me first quickly summarize with this: the story is about two secondary school teachers, one of whom has a relationship with a student at the school. But it is more than that. The author of the original novel, Zoë Heller, speaks of reacting against the "oprahfication of [female] friendship," and wanting to show a different side to women. While saying that it is a portrayal of feminine vices may go too far, I think the story does represent the sort of sins that women are prone to committing.

In one of the extras, Cate Blanchette says that "loneliness can make people incredibly desperate" and explains her character's behavior by saying that she is someone "waiting to be discovered." "I've always seen the film as a portrait of loneliness." Yes loneliness, but how is this loneliness taken care of? Not in a morally acceptable way, for either woman. Here we witness what happens when the natural inclination towards sociability is not governed by reason, and the result of friendship being emptied of true philia.

Judi Dench's character,
Barbara Covett, is nasty in her description of others. She is the narrator in the movie, writing entries into her diary. She seems to be a proud woman, disdaining the students and her colleagues, not wholly without reason. Does she really belong at St. George's? Or is she too good for the school? She does seem to be well-read and conversant in "intelligent" matters.

Perhaps there is a pride that has been chastened: "When I was young I had such vision of myself; I dreamt I'd be someone to be reckoned with, in the world. But one learns one's scale."

What is Barbara's class/socio-economic background? It is not clear, though I would guess somewhere in the middle. She seems to resent Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchette's character) for being "privileged." It is said that the class system is disappearing in Great Britain... but what do people aspire to and expect? Theodore Dalrymple, for example, came from a humble background, but he recounts how his father aspired to (and impressed upon his children) that to be civilized required adhering to certain standards of behavior and decorum. The old British way. Is this Barbara's background as well?

Did she lose her youthful idealism? Is she simply reacting against the decline of standards and the education system? At first one thinks that perhaps her judgment of others may be unduly harsh, but partially justified. But then, after meeting Sheba Hart, she is invited to her home for lunch, and she describes Sheba's family, especially her son with Down's syndrome, in very harsh words.

But this is a woman who does not have any real friends in her life, who lives alone (except for her cat). Should we have sympathy with her because she is so alone? While we are aware that her character is ugly, we do not learn why or how she turned out this way.

It is clear that Barbara is looking for a soulmate, but she mistakes Sheba for one. She thinks they "share the ablity to see through the cotidian awfulness of things" and "in a different, better age we would be ladies of leisure... we would be companions." There is a hint that the desire for companionship is so strong that it tends towards lesbianism. (At the climax of the film Sheba practically accuses her of this.)

It also becomes apparent that she is not trustworthy as a narrator of events, and that her interpretation of reality is colored by her desires for friendship. (We find out later that she is obsessive, even engaging in stalker behavior.) It is not reliable, and ultimately self-serving and self-centered. Barbara thinks she is welcome in Sheba's home, only because she is fixated on Sheba; but Sheba's family doesn't actually like her much (the daughter finds her creepy)--Barbara is oblivious to this.After she "betrays" Sheba and makes her misdeeds known to another colleague at the school (through suggestion and mere "gossip") in order to get revenge (because Sheba had not been there in her time of need), and Sheba turns to her for support, she sees herself as being the best friend, confidante, and wise guide possible for Sheba.

Sheba does claim that she wanted to make friends with Barbara. But, she could not be there to console her when her cat dies because of her duties to family. (She had to attend a play in which her son was performing.) And this is perceived by Barabara to be rejection, a failure to reciprocate for all that she has done for her (especially concealing the illicit relationship with the student).

Sheba Hart is said to be of the "privileged class" by Barbara. Is she as spoiled as Barbara suggests? She did get involved with a married man who abandoned his family for her. She confides to Barbara that "Marriage and kids... it's wonderful-- but it doesn't give you meaning, it gives you an imperative." She then recounts how her father told her to "mind the gap"while they waited for the underground, and from this she draws the lesson that there is "a distance between life as you dream it and life as it is."

Cate Blanchette thinks that the movie doesn't answer the question why did Sheba has a
relationship with the student but I wonder if there is enough info given in the movie (or in the novel) for the viewer/reader to make a guess.
It is revealed that Sheba's husband was her teacher (college prof). Her relationship with her mother is not good--was she reacting against her father's failure to be a father who protected her from her mother by looking for an older father figure? Despite her father's academic accomplishments, did he give her the attention at home that she needed? Or provide the necessary counter to her mother's negativity? (Her mother praises her husband for being intelligent, telling others that her daughter lacks this quality.)

Or is there an
unresolved high school/adolescent issue as well? She wants to be wanted, and is flattered by the attention of the student. She also is flattered by his attention; exhilirated that someone wants to pursue her. Her husband has gotten old and is probably not as vigorous as before. She is also "excited to find someone who wanted to learn" art, perhaps her greatest passion in life. But there is also a mother complex that goes beyond looking for a lover--after he tells her of his bad family life, her mother complex kicks in as she finds him vulnerable and seeks to comfort him. Barbara reprimands her for having a relationship with the student: "The boy is 15." And the expected retort from Sheba comes immediately: "But he is quite mature for his age."

And yet Sheba knows that what she has done is wrong, not only legally, but as a means to an end--the boy cannot really provide the fulfillment she is looking for.

Later when Sheba is at Barbara's home, after leaving her home at her husband's request, she goes back to her comfort zone, putting on makeup and dressing as a 80s punk. Returning to her adolescent rebelliousness? This is a coping mechanism, but also symbolic of alienation? Seeing herself as an outsider, perhaps, as if she had some control over it, rather than being exiled from hime and ostracized and villified by society (and the tabloids) for what she has done

It does turn out that the boy is a liar and a user; he didn't want anything serious, just "fun" -- instead of being the son with a sick mother and abusive father, he is pampered, even though of a working class background, with parents who are probably too nice and permissive, overlook his faults (and responsibility). Sheba finds out the truth when she pays a visit to his house, and the boy tells her that he can't help solve her problems. (And suggesting again that she doesn't know how to cope with her family situation and the lack of "meaning" in her life.) The boy is a predator, recognizing someone vulnerable, weak, and in need of attention, and homing in on her. At the end of the movie one is left thinking that Barbara, like the teenage boy, is a predator as well, but in a different way. (And even the boy isn't wholly without conscience, it would seem, confronting Barbara at her home after the scandal breaks.) She revises her story and her description of Sheba to another woman, claiming that Sheba was "chilly" and that she didn't know her well. Are her complaints about the education system to be taken seriously then? Or is she masking her own weakness as a teacher?

(Does the novel have the same ending?)

Again, what is a mystery (to me at least) is not Sheba's motivations but Barbara--how she ended up the way she was, her history and past actions, and so on. Some might claim that she suffers from some sort of mental illness, but I think she is someone who is cognizant of her actions and responsible. Some may be unable to relate to her reasoning, but this is the power of sin to distort one's judgment and reasoning.

One extra available on the DVD is of Cate Blanchette and Bill Nighy interviewing each other. I can see why someone is attracted to her--she does have the appearance of maturity, at least in the way she handles herself. (Though perhaps not with her thinking.) She is caught looking at her fingernails while talking to Bill Nighy. Is she relaxed in front of the camera? Not quite, but she is comfortable doing this during the interview. There is no need to present a front of fake image of herself.

Actors... Bill Nighy states, "These are decent people actually, and this is what happened to them." He goes on to claim that what is depicted in the movie is worse than when "you have a terrible woman doing a terrible thing." Cate Blanchette agrees, the movie is about "good people [who] do bad things." It is an "irreparable situation; no neat bow can be tied out of it, just a mess of
strings that have become untangled." She goes as far as to say something along the lines of Sheba being the victim of circumstances.

This is the modern "tragedy" apparently, where no fault or blame can be assigned to the characters. Everyone is basically good, but they are just misunderstood or neglected and their bad behavior has a reason which ultimately lets them off the hook, or close to it, even if their behavior has bad consequences for the people around them.

Fortunately, we do not need to rely upon the actors' understanding of their characters (and of morality) in order to grasp the message of the film. Even though they are participants in the making of the film, they may not be able to explain the story or the intentions of the characters. (In so far as they are flawed people in real life, it is not difficult to behave as if one were the character. Besides, it is impossible to capture the inner life of the characters on film, and this can only be inferred from their words and actions.)

While Sheba Hart may be lost and claim to not have self-understanding, those of us who struggle with sin so as to love, but in conformity with the Eternal Law, can have some insight to why she does what she does. The movie is another depiction of fallen human beings--not very inspiring, though at the end of the movie there is hope that the difficulties between Sheba and her husband have been resolved, and that he is there to support her while she spends time in a prison. It captures sin realistically, and this should be acknowledged. But so what? What would Augustine say about our desire to watch flawed people behave badly and suffer the consequences? It is a good film if the definition of a film is that it is "realistic" and "captures life." But is this the purpose of film? Or is it a form of story-telling, and therefore guided by the ends and rules of story-telling?

I remember having a discussion with (Brother) Michael about tragedy. Is there such a thing as Christian tragedy? And what did Shakespeare write? Is the fatal flaw of Greek tragedy the same as sin? (If the flaw is rooted in hubris, it would seem that the answer is yes, but are there other flaws that are not sins? Let us not overstate the difference between Aristotle and a Christian like St. Augustine--while there may be no definition of sin that includes a reference to God in Aristotle, sin as an action that is counter to right reason is present. And Aristotle does have a notion of will, even if it is not as fully developed as it is in Aquinas.) It seems that from a Christian standpoint, even if someone sins and suffers the consequences, there is a possibility of ultimate redemption and salvation. The only tragic end occurs when someone rejects God knowingly and willingly at death and merits eternal punishment. If that is the case, what do Christians look for in tragedy? Can tragedy satisfy us, if we are left in doubt about the character's ultimate fate?

Outline of Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy

Also, while it may have only been the intention of the filmmakers (and of the author as well) to be realistic and to show the present conditions at a British school, is the movie a record of decaying Britain and for the movie at least, the problems of multiculturalism and the loss of tradition. What would Theodore Dalrymple and Peter Hitchens say about the book and movie?

Throughout history it would seem "normal" for older men to marry teenage girls. However, if an older women were to marry a younger man, it would seem that the age difference would not be that great. Younger women have health and fertility to their advantage. But what are older women looking for from teenage boys? (While the actions of those women teachers who have bipolar disorder are more easily understandable, what of those who claim to be in love with their students? Can they truly believe that boys can provide the emotional support, maturity, and the male strength that a normal woman wants? Is there something else that is subverting their judgment on this point?)

the novel; wiki for the novel, movie

Lost Without You - Delta Goodrem

Michael Shedlock on inflation and debt

Which Comes First: The Cart or the Horse

Stuff from IGN

Spielly toasts the last shot.

When asked about actor Shia LaBeouf taking over the mantle of action hero from his co-star Harrison Ford, Spielberg coyly said that LaBeouf has a lot of big things in his future, including multiple Transformers movies.

American Gangster review
Lust, Caution review

I don't think I'll see the movie, but Tang Wei is pretty:


Tom Whipple, After the peak?

After the peak?
The world has never been to peak oil before and there are so many factors that will affect a world in oil depletion, it is difficult, or better yet nigh impossible, to paint a picture of what life will be like 10 or 20 years from now.

The perfect storm
The former head of Saudi Arabian exploration & production, Sadad Al-Husseini, has told the world that he now believes that the current level of world oil production will likely never be exceeded.
published October 31, 2007.

Oil reserves over-inflated by 300bn barrels – al-Huseini
The world’s proved reserves have been have been falsely puffed up by the inclusion of 300 billion barrels of speculative resources, according to the former head of exploration and production at Saudi Aramco, and this explains the industry’s inability to raise output despite soaring prices.
published October 30, 2007.

Peak oil - Oct 29
'Oil production has peaked' according to al-Huseini (former head of exploration and production at Saudi Aramco)
China to reach peak oil production as early as 2015 says leading scholar in Beijing
“Requiem for Fossil Fuels” performed in NYC
Kunstler: Assumptions
Downloadable peak oil presentation
Kenneth Deffeyes on feedback loops
ODAC news
published October 29, 2007.

MG: Drowning in inflation is never popular

Drowning in inflation is never popular
By The Mogambo Guru

Daniel Larison on what Lincoln really did for freedom

He responds to the following:
Michael Knox Beran
How Lincoln Saved the World

He also brings more links on The Golden Age. Check out Why I wish the Vatican would denounce Elizabeth

AN: Petrol crises hits Chinese boom

Petrol crises hits Chinese boom
While the price of petrol per barrel continues to climb the government orders a price freeze to block inflation. Hunger for energy is weak point of Chinese economy.

Judge protects right to resist unlawful entry by LEOs

via blog and Scott Horton

Homeowner had 'a right to resist'

From DNI

On War #239: A Question for Would-Be Presidents, By William S. Lind

11/01/07 When will global oil production peak? Here is the answer! First of Fabius Maximus's new series on Peak Oil. Robert Hirsch's latest analysis [10/23/07 below] shows that peak oil is on the way; Fabius shows how you can determine when.

10/28/07 One step beyond Lind: What is America’s geopolitical strategy? Part X of Fabius Maximus's series on America's Long War. Can we have an effective grand strategy? In theory, yes.

Extraordinary Polyphony Spread Sheet

<>via NLM: Extraordinary Polyphony Spread Sheet

the spreadsheet

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A quasi-Platonic question...

From What the New Atheists Don’t See by Theodore Dalrymple.

A few years back, the National Gallery held an exhibition of Spanish still-life paintings. One of these paintings had a physical effect on the people who sauntered in, stopping them in their tracks; some even gasped. I have never seen an image have such an impact on people. The painting, by Juan Sánchez Cotán, now hangs in the San Diego Museum of Art. It showed four fruits and vegetables, two suspended by string, forming a parabola in a gray stone window.

Even if you did not know that Sánchez Cotán was a seventeenth-century Spanish priest, you could know that the painter was religious: for this picture is a visual testimony of gratitude for the beauty of those things that sustain us. Once you have seen it, and concentrated your attention on it, you will never take the existence of the humble cabbage—or of anything else—quite so much for granted, but will see its beauty and be thankful for it. The painting is a permanent call to contemplation of the meaning of human life, and as such it arrested people who ordinarily were not, I suspect, much given to quiet contemplation.

The same holds true with the work of the great Dutch still-life painters. On the neo-atheist view, the religious connection between Catholic Spain and Protestant Holland is one of conflict, war, and massacre only: and certainly one cannot deny this history. And yet something more exists. As with Sánchez Cotán, only a deep reverence, an ability not to take existence for granted, could turn a representation of a herring on a pewter plate into an object of transcendent beauty, worthy of serious reflection.

Now is it better to contemplate the beauty of an image or of the actual thing itself? Of course, if we take Plato seriously, the material thing is itself not real, in comparison to the Forms. Still, if these paintings have the power ascribed to them, do we learn our lesson and use the things of this world to draw our mind to the Most High Creator? Or do we instead choose to live life "vicariously," admiring representation but without truly living?

Star Trek: The Beginning


Alan Weisman, The World Without Us

The World Without Us - Alan Weisman

"The World Without Us" | Salon Books
The World Without Us - Alan Weisman - Books - Review - New York Times
An Earth Without People -- [ environment ]: Scientific American
Marginal Revolution: The World Without Us
The World Without Us: Author Interview | Open Culture
The World Without Us: Q and A with Alan Weisman - allDAY -
KQED | Forum: Alan Weisman: The World Without Us
Powell's Books - The World without Us by Alan Weisman

NLM: Solemn Pontifical Mass of Bishop Peter J. Elliott, Australia

Solemn Pontifical Mass of Bishop Peter J. Elliott, Australia

Video coverage of the Lang-Mosebach talk

Dancing with the Stars, Week 6

Dancing with the Stars 6th Week - Helio Castroneves

Dancing with the Stars 6th Week - Jennie Garth

Jennie Garth & Derek Hough - Mambo [DWTS Wk 6 - Part 2]

Dancing with the Stars 6th Week - Group Dance

Holy See Statement on Sustainable Development

Holy See Statement on Sustainable Development

"Protecting the Environment Means More Than Defending It"

NEW YORK, OCT. 30, 2007 ( Here is a statement by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, delivered Monday to the 62nd U.N. General Assembly, on the topic of sustainable development.

* * *

Madam Chairperson,

The Plan of Implementation adopted at the conclusion of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg reaffirms that poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development. It repeatedly reasserts that the three components of sustainable development -- economic development, social development and environmental protection -- are interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars.

My delegation believes that protecting the environment means more than defending it. Protecting the environment implies a more positive vision of the human being, in the sense that the person is not considered a nuisance or a threat to the environment, but one who holds oneself responsible for the care and management of the environment. In this sense, not only is there no opposition between the human being and the environment, there is established an inseparable alliance, in which the environment essentially conditions man’s life and development, while the human being perfects and ennobles the environment by his or her creative activity.

Beyond all the studies on environment and development, the primary concern of my delegation is the importance of grasping the underlying moral imperative that all, without exception, have a grave responsibility to protect the environment. While the duty to protect the environment should not be considered in opposition to development, it must not be sacrificed on the altar of economic development. My delegation believes that, at its core, the environmental crisis is a moral challenge. It calls us to examine how we use and share the goods of the earth and what we pass on to future generations. It exhorts us to live in harmony with our environment. Thus the ever-expanding powers of the human being over nature must be accompanied by an equally expanding responsibility toward the environment.

The issue of the environment is directly related to other basic questions, making holistic solutions ever harder to find. Environment is inseparable from questions such as energy and economics, peace and justice, national interests and international solidarity. It is not hard to see how issues of environmental protection, models of development, social equity and each one’s share of the responsibility to care for the environment are inextricably intertwined.

For instance, while we seek to find the best way to protect the environment and attain sustainable development, we must also work for justice within societies and among nations. We must consider how in most countries today, it is the poor and the powerless who most directly bear the brunt of environmental degradation. Unable to do otherwise, they live in polluted lands, near toxic waste dumps, or squat in public lands and other people’s properties without any access to basic services. Subsistence farmers clear woodlands and forests in order to survive. Their efforts to eke out a bare existence perpetuate a vicious circle of poverty and environmental degradation. Indeed, extreme want is not only the worst of all pollutions; it is also a great polluter.

However, all is not gloom. Encouraging signs of greater public awareness of the interrelatedness of the challenges we face have been emerging. The unease created by predictions of disastrous consequences of climate change has awakened individuals and countries to the urgency of caring for the environment. Environmental degradation caused by certain models of economic development makes many realize that development is not achieved through a mere quantitative increase of production, but through a balanced approach to production, respect for the rights and dignity of workers, and environmental protection.

My delegation earnestly hopes that these positive signs can lead to the consolidation of a vision of human progress that is consistent with respect for nature, and to a greater international solidarity in which the responsibility for environmental care is equitably and proportionally shared between the developed and the developing countries, between the rich and the poor. It is incumbent upon authorities to ensure that these promising signs translate into public policies capable of arresting, reversing and preventing environmental decay, while pursuing the goal of sustainable development for all.

Laws are not enough to alter behavior. Behavioral change requires personal commitment and the ethical conviction of the value of solidarity. It demands a more equitable relationship between rich and poor countries, placing special obligations on large-scale industrial structures, both in developed and developing nations, to seriously take measures for environmental protection. A more caring attitude toward nature can be attained and maintained with education and a persevering awareness campaign. The more people know about the various aspects of the environmental challenges they face, the better they can respond.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

[Text adapted]

Who Are the Saints?

Who Are the Saints?

Gospel Commentary for the Feast of All Saints' Day

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, OCT. 31, 2007 ( For some time now, scientists have been sending signals into the cosmos, hoping for a response from some intelligent being on some lost planet. The Church has always maintained a dialogue with the inhabitants of another world -- the saints. That is what we proclaim when we say, "I believe in the communion of the saints." Even if inhabitants outside of the solar system existed, communication with them would be impossible, because between the question and the answer, millions of years would pass. Here, though, the answer is immediate because there is a common center of communication and encounter, and that is the risen Christ.

Perhaps in part because of the time of the year in which it falls, the feast of All Saints' Day has something special that explains its popularity and the many traditions linked to it in some sectors of Christianity. The motive is what John says in the second reading. In this life, "we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed." We are like the embryo in the womb of a mother yearning to be born. The saints have been "born" (the liturgy refers to the day of death as "the day of birth," "dies natalis.") To contemplate the saints is to contemplate our destiny. All around us, nature strips itself and the leaves fall, but meanwhile, the feast of the saints invites us to gaze on high; it reminds us that we are not destined to wither on this earth forever, like the leaves.

The Gospel reading is the beatitudes. One in particular inspires the selection of this passage: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, they shall be satisfied." The saints are those who have hungered and thirsted for justice, that is, in biblical language, for sanctity. They have not resigned themselves to mediocrity; they have not been content with half-measures.

The first reading of the feast helps us to understand who the saints are. They are "those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb." Sanctity is received from Christ; it is not our own production. In the Old Testament, to be a saint meant "to be separated" from all that is impure; in the Christian understanding, it is, rather, the opposite, that is, to "be united" to Christ.

The saints, that is, the saved, are not only those mentioned in the calendar or the book of the saints. The "unknown saints" also exist: those who risked their lives for their brothers, the martyrs of justice and liberty, or of duty, the "lay saints," as someone has called them. Without knowing it, their robes have also been washed in the blood of the Lamb, if they have lived according to their consciences and if they have been concerned with the good of their brothers.

A question spontaneously arises: What do the saints do in heaven? The answer is, also here, in the first reading: The saved adore, they prostrate themselves before the throne, exclaiming, "Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving …" The true human vocation is fulfilled in them, that of being "praise to the glory of God" (Ephesians 1:14). Their choir is directed by Mary, who continues her hymn of praise in heaven, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." It is in this praise that the saints find their happiness and joy. "My spirit rejoices in God." A man is who he loves and who he admires. Loving and praising God, we identify ourselves with God, participate in his glory and in his own happiness.

One day, a saint, St. Symeon the New Theologian, had a mystical experience of God that was so strong he exclaimed to himself, "If paradise is no more than this, it is enough for me." But the voice of Christ told him, "You are very poor if you content yourself with this. The joy you have experienced in comparison to paradise is like the sky painted on paper in comparison to the real sky."

[Translation by ZENIT]

* * *

Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for the feast of All Saints are Revelation 7:2-4,9-14; 1 John 3:1-3; Mathew 5:1-12a.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First headache after an assignment

Aiya--today was the first day I got a headache while subbing. Not enough sleep? Not enough food? Too much frustration with the students? They weren't necessarily "bad," but very active, talkative, and in need of attention. Not much self-discipline. It seems that there aren't many (Southeast) Asian kids at that school any more--it's mostly Hispanic. I still remember some faces from the school, the names less so--no idea if any of their siblings are currently attending.

Will I go back to that school? If I have to, but there are other schools that I would prefer.

Even when I was subbing a while back I believed that teaching at a primary school wasn't my calling--but now I find myself growing bored and impatient. Not with the kids, but with how slow the day seems to be going. I thought I could last until the end of the school year, but this afternoon I was tempted to find some other kind of temporary work. Night-time security guard, with internet access? It would be different if I were teaching my own kids--then I could mix the schedule up and attend to other matters while they are doing their work. And there would be more breaks and trips outside or to the playground.

If I could get K assignments from now on, or roving, that would be nice...

When I was small and walked to Safeway with the grandparents, the trip seemed rather long. A trip to SF or even to a nearby city would probably be a snoozer. Now... 50 minutes in a car to SF go by rather quickly. (Though sitting on a T car for an hour just go get from Chestnut Hill to downtown Boston... that can be maddening, and when the ride is bumpy or shaky, I can get motion sickness.)

The secretary remembered me from before, but we didn't really talk so much, which was fine by me. At the end of the day she did ask me how it went, I'm not sure why... at least the principal (whom I disliked) is no longer there, but I think the aide who used to be there is gone, too. Of course they still have the nice public education propaganda for the students that is no substitute for true education in the virtues.

Really, it is unfortunate that there are on classical schools down here in the South Bay. Mr. Lyon of Providence Academy is supposed to be attending the Center for Ethics and Culture conference at the end of November. It would be nice to see him again.

Now that I've finished the leftover lasanga, the headache has been mitigated a bit, but I can still feel the vessels in my head... they're not pounding, but I do feel something. So was it hunger? I'd like to blame it on the kids though. heh.

Monday, October 29, 2007

KTH cfs

[CM] 金泰希Kim Tae Hee: OLYMPUS E-System Camera...

[CM] 金泰希 Kim Tae Hee: BC Card 信用卡 電視廣告 - 水果店篇 15sec

[CM] 金泰希Kim Tae Hee: BC Card 信用卡電視廣告...

[CF] BC card cf - kim tae hee

[CM] Kim Tae Hee: GM Daewoo Matiz TV Commercial - Blue 30sec

[CM] Kim Tae Hee: GM Daewoo Matiz TV Commercial - Blue 20sec

姜東元&金泰希 - 07年 LG CYON 廣告

VIP Preview 'Sik Gaek' Best Chef [YTN Star Live]

ヒョンビン "食客" VIP試映會

Pink Ribbon Love Seoul Marathon 2007 - YTN Star News

2nd Ron Paul NH ad

Congressman Paul on Jay Leno tomorrow night!

Roger’s Rangers Rules or Plan of Discipline


Rogers Rangers Rules 1765: The original field manual for irregular ...
Rogers Rangers
Rogers' Rules of Ranging (1757) (heh, Gen. Wesley Clark's website?)

True Courage: a Discourse Commemorative of Lieut. General Thomas J. Jackson

by Robert Louis Dabney
Also: A Defence of Virginia: and through Her, of the South

For a sample of R. L. Dabney's theological writings, see Writings of Robert Lewis Dabney and An R. L. Dabney Anthology.

Free advance screening of BSG: Razor

details; I'm going to try to watch the viewing over at Santana Row on Monday, Nov. 12.

via AICN

Tooth & Nail

I generally eschew horror movies, but the premise for this one is rather interesting: "A group of young people, called Foragers, fight to survive against a band of vicious cannibals, known as Rovers, in a post-apocalyptic world which has been depleted of fossil fuels."

official website?
imdb; Yahoo! Movies
Twitch - Mark Young's TOOTH AND NAIL
Twitch - Update on Mark Young's TOOTH AND NAIL

I think it opens in limited release in November.


Mongol | Official Movie Site | Picturehouse
Yahoo! Movies

MONGOL movie trailer Toxic Shock TV - Movie News, Reviews ...

YouTube - Mongol Teaser Trailer

YouTube - Second Mongol Trailer

Michael T. Hayes, The Foreign-Policy Vision of Robert A. Taft

The Republican Road Not Taken: The Foreign-Policy Vision of Robert A. Taft
By Michael T. Hayes

here; pdf

Appleseed: Ex Machina

Appleseed Ex Machina official website
Appleseed: Ex Machina (movie) - Anime News Network
Twitch - First Teaser for Appleseed 2


Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust

Lannan Foundation - Rebecca Solnit
Lose yourself -
The : Why We Walk
Salon Books | "Wanderlust: A History of Walking" by Rebecca Solnit
Thinking on Her Feet / Author Rebecca Solnit wrote a book about ...
Move Over, Joan Didion / Make room for Rebecca Solnit ...
Dialogic: Rebecca Solnit: On Thoreau, Dissent and Civil Rights Solnit, Rebecca: Books
Attention Deficit and Activism Don't Mix | Solnit | Rebecca Solnit ...

Energy Bulletin links

October 28, Food and Agriculture:

An Organic Hero
Gene Logsdon, Organic To Be

Myths That Waste Energy In The Kitchen: The Baking & Roasting Episode
John Laumer, Treehugger

Water wars and drought - Oct 28
New edition of H.T. Odum's classic
Environment, Power, and Society for the Twenty-first Century; The ...

On the Call to Martyrdom

On the Call to Martyrdom

"Not an Exception Reserved Only to Some Individuals"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 28, 2007 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before leading the recitation of the midday Angelus. The address followed the beatification ceremony of 498 Spanish martyrs from the 20th century, celebrated by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

* * *

My dear brothers and sisters:

This morning, here, in St. Peter's Square, 498 martyrs, assassinated in Spain during the decade of the '30s in the last century, were beatified. I thank Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, who presided over the celebration, and I cordially greet the pilgrims gathered for this joyful occasion.

Adding such a great number of martyrs to the list of beatified persons shows that the supreme witness of giving blood is not an exception reserved only to some individuals, but a realistic possibility for all Christian people. It includes men and women of different ages, vocations and social conditions, who pay with their lives in fidelity to Christ and his Church.

The expression of St. Paul in today's liturgy adequately applies to them: "Beloved: I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith" (2 Timithoy 4:6-7). Paul, detained in Rome, saw death approaching and balances this awareness and hope. At peace with God and himself, he serenely confronted death, with the knowledge that he had surrendered his life totally to the service of the Gospel, without sparing anything.

October, the month dedicated in a special way to missionary commitment, ends with the luminous testimony of the Spanish martyrs, who join the martyrs Albertina Berkenbrock, Emmanuel Gómez Gonzáles and Adilio Daronch, and Franz Jägerstätter, who were beatified recently in Brazil and Austria.

Their example gives witness to the fact that baptism commits Christians to participate boldly in the spread of the Kingdom of God, cooperating if necessary with the sacrifice of one's own life. Certainly not everyone is called to a bloody martyrdom. There is also an unbloody "martyrdom," which is no less significant, such as that of Celina Chludzinska Borzecka, wife, mother, widow and religious, beatified yesterday in Rome: It is the silent and heroic testimony of many Christians who live the Gospel without compromises, fulfilling their duty and dedicating themselves generously in service to the poor.

This martyrdom of ordinary life is a particularly important witness in the secularized societies of our time. It is the peaceful battle of love that all Christians, like Paul, have to fight tirelessly; the race to spread the Gospel that commits us until death. May Mary, Queen of Martyrs and Star of Evangelization, help us and assist us in our daily witness.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After the Angelus, the Pope greeted the people in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus, including the group from the Oratory Prep School in Oxfordshire, England. The Gospel invites us to leave aside all arrogance and pride, and to walk in humility before God and with our neighbour. The Beatifications today remind us of the importance of humbly following our Lord even to the point of offering our lives for the faith. May your stay in Rome renew your love of Christ, and may God bless you all!

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana