Saturday, May 31, 2008

Anthony Esolen, How to Tell a Barbarian, Part III
Is water becoming ‘the new oil’?
Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor

via EB

The power of the imagination

An integral part of The F Word so far is Gordon Ramsay raising some livestock of his own--he will use the meat in the last episode of the show. This is to educate both himself and us; he wants viewers to see, if not appreciate, where the food on their table comes from, and to understand that meat does not come into existence as is.

It is also his way to advocate a more humane, careful way of raising animals for meat.

In the first 2 seasons of The F Word, Chef Ramsay was trying to teach his children to think of the animals as future meals, so that they do not treat them as friends or pets and thus develop an emotional attachment to the animals. But we see that Chef Ramsay himself had difficulties cultivating the necessary detachment to let his animals go to slaughter.

What impact have Disney cartoons had on children growing up in America and elsewhere? Has it created the sort of emotional state of mind necessary for the radical advocacy of animal rights? It is natural to have some sort of sympathy and animals and attachment, but to let this sympathy go unchecked by reason is another case of a morality that is nothing more than sentimentalism. (It is not much different from those who advocate "equal rights" for same-sex couples, because [erotic] love is the most important thing in the universe, and no one should be prevented from acting out upon it and finding fulfillment in it. Rather, it should be celebrated in all its forms.)

Is there any doubt that impressionable are teenagers shaped by what they see on TV? Not just by its depictions of [causal and not-so-casual] sex and relationships, but by the way the well-off live? Will they come to acquire heightened expectations, especially if they are not learning how to budget? Does the consumerism they see on TV lead to such effects as a lowered savings rate among the youth? Granted, children who have been indulged by their parents or are merely following their parents in the acquisition of material things as being the most important part of life probably do not need television shows to reinforce the pursuit of these perceived goods as the ideal. But what about parents who are not well-off? How can they encourage thrift and simplicity if their children are watching these shows, with young attractive people seeming to enjoying themselves? Sure, the characters on these shows have their share of drama and relationship problems, but aren't these eventually worked out, because the producers cater to the audience's desire for a happy ending? Who wants to suffer the wrath of the audience? They may not want to watch your next project, if you let them down. (Maybe Dawson's Creek isn't an exception, as Joey and Dawson do not end up together, but she isn't alone at the end, since she chooses Pacey.) Finding a soulmate turns into another expectation, or worse, an entitlement--I deserve someone who will treat me well.

What a vision of life and love. And yet it can be so persuasive to those who are dominated by their emotions and are just starting to learn how to guide them with reason. (If only they could make it to that stage.)

One argument against traditional sexual morality and Christianity is that if God wanted us to have sex only to procreate, why would He make us mature sexually so early, before we are ready to raise children? Of course the objection is a bit self-serving--why can't you wait? Why have you given up on self-control? But a response might be that as the power to reproduce is tied to the senses and sense appetites, it is fitting that part of the overall maturation process is for us to learn how to cope with our sexual appetite and learn how to be virtuous, i.e. chaste. How can we love others, like our wives, virtuously and well, if we disregard the importance of chastity as a virtue? We are given the opportunity to become holy -- to say that God owes us 'psychological integration' is to demand that He do away with the consequences of original sin, without requiring conversion and the reception of grace. Perfection on our terms, not on His, and a manifestation of disordered self-love.

Hence, I would reaffirm the Ignatian point that the power of the imagination itself needs to be controlled, and we need to be careful of what we willingly see and hear; otherwise the imagination can lead one's desires astray. How would St. Ignatius respond to our television and movie habits? What would he teach us?

In the meantime, another girl power show hits cable TV. How many does that make, in addition to The Closer and a bunch of midseason replacements (like Angie Harmon's Women's Murder Club) on network TV that weren't renewed? Post-feminists may realize that women cannot "have it all," but the mass media has a way to catch up. But then again, the MM was always a good tool for spreading ideology, and I don't think the Enemy will give such an effective tool up so easily.

Sr. Mary Berry

She passed away earlier this month. She also founder of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge. (wiki)

The New Liturgical Movement: Dr. Mary Berry, R.I.P.
The New Liturgical Movement: Mary Berry Obit in Times
Mary Berry | Times Online Obituary
The New Liturgical Movement: Dr Mary Berry's Funeral
Mary Berry: Enthusiast for Gregorian chant - Obituaries, News ...
Nun who saved Gregorian chant | The Australian
Tribute to Mary Berry, Memorial | Lasting tribute
Sister Mary Berry - Telegraph
The New Liturgical Movement: Mary Berry's"Plainchant for Everyone"
The New Liturgical Movement: A Hero of the Century
The New Liturgical Movement: Plurality and Unity

Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge - Home Page
Herald AV Publications Web Site
Mass Of The Annunciation / Schola Gregoriana Of Cambridge | ArkivMusic
Anglo-Saxon Christmas / Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge - Herald ...

The Parish of St Birinus

Schola Gregoriana Monostorinensis
Schola Gregoriana Silesiensis :: Gregorian Chant
Impresario – Schola Gregoriana Pragensis
Schola Gregoriana Pragensis :: Supraphon
Stamford Schola Gregoriana
Assumption Schola Gregoriana: Traditional Chant for Today's Worship!
Red Phillips informs us that CBS has its own MMA event. (Features women fighting as well? Gina Carano (photos; MySpace) was? is? on American Gladiators and a MMA fighter, and I think she is competing tomorrow? Judging from her speed and technique in the various clips... she can't be taken seriously as a fighter...)

Some clips for the event at Veoh.

elitexc - MMA Organization Profile - ProElite
Official Site of the Showtime Elite Xtreme Combat - Official Site ...

MMA Rules: Unified Rules For Mixed Martial Arts | MMA Memories
Mixed martial arts rules - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Official MMA Rules - MMA WEEKLY - Mixed Martial Arts & UFC News ...
MMA Rules
STATS: Rules of MMA
MMA Rules
Niece # 1 sang happy b-day yesterday... that was nice...

Psallentes and Capilla Flamenca

Their website. CDs here. Psallentes | ArkivMusic.

Chant group Psallentes sings 'Ex quo omnia'

Not Abtei Heiligenkreuz, but Belgian based Psallentes!

Josquin Desprez and His Time
Laus Polyphoniae 2007
Fanfare Magazine Archive of CD Reviews: performers Psallentes

Capilla Flamenca
Capilla Flamenca - Discography

Missa Ave Maria - Pierre De La Rue

PIERRE DE LA RUE/ Dirk Snellings/ Capilla Flamenca/ Psallentes/
W.B.M. - Capilla Flamenca - Psallentes

Bellum et Pax - Festival des Cathédrales de Picardie

And from Mr. James Altena, at Mere Comments:

The Brilliant Classics CD label, which has succeeded Naxos (the latter having moved up to the mid-price range) as God's gift to budget-minded classical music mavens, has licensed and reissued from the small and pricey Signum label a 10-CD set of the complete works of Thomas Tallis by the "Chapelle du Roi" vocal ensemble. It can be ordered from e.g.

which is the most important U.S. web site for classical music.

However, I would strongly recommend instead the following German web site (it does have English instructions):

which offers many imported CDs at 1/2 to 1/3 the price of U.S. competitors (including the Tallis set) with a flat shipping rate of 15 Euros regardless of the size of the order (and orders to the U.S. presently discounted an additional 8% from the list price due to the unfavorable dollar-euro s exchange rate.) I have done business with them for four years now; the service is superb, and if any time is defective or shipped in error they reimburse shipping costs as well.

I have several recordings of "Spem in Alium." The best ones are on the Hyperion label with the Winchester Cathedral Choir (for massive sound to bowl one over) and the Gimell label with the Tallis Scholars (for amazing clarity of the interweaving polyphonic strands).

Among other bargains from brilliant Classics are the complete works of Mozart (170 CDs) and Beethoven (85 CDs), each for about only $100 from jpc. the Mozart set is a mixed bag, but more than worth the money; the Beethoven set is excellent in virtually every way (the performances being mostly licensed from the catalogues of EMI, Decca, etc.).

MS. Lat. liturg. d. 20
15 original leaves of
'The Worcester Fragments'
(from manuscripts of polyphonic music, in Latin),
recovered from late-medieval bindings of Worcester Cathedral Priory,
now at the Bodleian.
England, Worcester; Late 13th - early 14th cent.
Christendom's new admissions video.

Fr. Taft speaks again on the Roman rite

via Byzantine, Texas:

Return to Our Roots
Recovering Western Liturgical Traditions

It will probably spark some controversy for Latins.
From De unione ecclesiarum: Holy Resurrection Monastery to move

The official announcement. Is it St. Antony Coptic Monastery that is purchasing the property? (Check out the icons for sale at St. Antony.)

Hieromonk Maximos: Anastasis Dialogue

Thomas Fleming reviews PJB's book

Buchanan and Churchill

An excerpt from the book: Man of the Century

More fallout from the Lukacs review in TAC:

Christopher Roach: The Churchill Controversy
Grant Havers:Churchill and Iraq; The Scapegoating of Churchill?; FDR vs. Churchill
John Zmirak: John Lukacs: Crank
Richard Spencer: Lukacs, Buchanan, and “Anti-anticommunism”
Paul Gottfried: Pat, John, and the Others (this one has some interesting comments by Dr. Boyd Cathey)
Dylan Waco: TakiMag v. AmCon
Daniel Larison: On Lukacs and Buchanan (Again); Anti-Anticommunism

Classic FM speaks to Hayley Westenra

Fr. Fortescue's The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy

The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy

Now available through Fraternity Publications.

Kim Ha Neul vids

Kim Ha Neul Photoshoot

Kim Ha Neul - CF Shoot Interview (ER) 080519

Kim Ha Neul CF

Kim Ha Neul CF

Kim Ha Neul & Yoon Kye Sang - Photoshoot

Yoon Kye Sang & Kim Ha Neul - 6 Years in Love Photoshoot

6 years in love (trailer)

Hrm... I wonder when it will be available on DVD.

6 years in love (main trailer)

Friday, May 30, 2008

They're probably not related

The authors of the following two items, that is.

It will take a lot more than gardening to fix our food system
Only rice, wheat, corn, beans, and other grain crops are productive and durable enough to provide the dietary foundation of calories and protein. Grains made up about the same portion of the ancient Greek diet as they do of ours. We’ve been stuck with grains for 10,000 years, and our dependence won’t be broken any time soon.
published May 30, 2008.

The smaller the farm, the better the food
A big reason for eating locally -- it tastes better.
published May 30, 2008.

Vatican Decree on the "Ordination" of Women

Vatican Decree on the "Ordination" of Women

VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2008 ( Here is the general decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the automatic excommunication for the attempted ordination of women, published in today's print edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

* * *

On the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of a Woman

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty granted to it by the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Can. 30, Code of Canon Law), in order to safeguard the nature and validity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, decreed, in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007:

In accordance with what is disposed by Can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

If he who shall have attempted to confer Holy Orders on a woman or if the woman who shall have attempted to received Holy Orders is a faithful bound to the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches, he is to be punished with the major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See, in accordance with can. 1443 of the same Code (cf. can. 1423, Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches).

The present decree enters in force immediately after its publication in L'Osservatore Romano.

William Cardinal Levada

Angelo Amato, s.d.b.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

Zenit: Papal Letter to Moscow Patriarch Alexy II

Papal Letter to Moscow Patriarch Alexy II

"I Reflect on the Experience of Growing Closeness Between Us"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2008 ( Here is the text of Benedict XVI's English-language letter he sent to Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. The letter was delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during his 10-day visit to Russia, which ends today.

* * *

The visit to Russia of His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper offers me a welcome opportunity to extend my cordial greetings, to express my esteem for your ministry in the Russian Orthodox Church and to restate my appreciation for your commitment to fostering relations between Catholics and Orthodox. It is with joy that I reflect on the experience of growing closeness between us, accompanied by the shared desire to promote authentic Christian values and to witness to our Lord in ever deeper communion. I think with gratitude of the recent visit of Your Holiness to Strasbourg and Paris, and the warm welcome given to the Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow during the Christmas celebrations last year.

Another sign of fraternity and friendship towards the Catholic Church is to be seen in the invitation extended to Cardinal Kasper by His Eminence Kirill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, President of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, to visit that Eparchy on the occasion of his name–day. This is not only a sign of personal goodwill, but also a gesture towards the Catholic Church which Cardinal Kasper represents.

During his time in Russia, Cardinal Kasper will visit Kazan to venerate the icon of the Mother of God which my beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, conveyed to Your Holiness through the good offices of Cardinal Kasper, who personally accompanied the sacred image back to its homeland. This icon bears a likeness to all the other venerable icons of the Mother of God, and as such offers a powerful sign of the closeness which exists between us. It also offers an opportunity for encounter with Muslims, who show great respect for Mary, the Mother of God. Your Holiness has been increasingly committed to dialogue with other Christians and the members of other religions, and it is with deep gratitude that I have followed with prayerful interest the signs of friendship and trust which your Church and its representatives have demonstrated in various ways.

With gratitude for your commitment to dialogue with different ecclesial, religious and social bodies, I extend in this Easter season my warmest best wishes for your ministry, entrusting to the Lord my prayer that the great mystery of our salvation, the Death and Resurrection of our Lord, may ever more deeply guide your life and your service to the Church. May the Risen Saviour grant you health, peace and inner joy, and may he bring us closer to each other, that we may undertake together our journey towards full communion in him.

From the Vatican, 19 May 2008

Anthony Esolen, How to Tell a Barbarian, Part II

And I've been listening to the polyphonic music of Thomas Tallis lately -- on a CD called Spem in alium, with David Willcocks directing the Saint John's College Choir. Check out the haunting Cum transisset Sabbatum, with its blending of simple, long-held soprano tones and more hurried tenor and bass melodic phrases. It has struck me that that is the sort of thing that Shakespeare would have heard in London when he attended services on a feast day. Perhaps -- someone who knows more about liturgical history can advise me here -- perhaps he might have heard the polyphony of Tallis or Byrd or Bull on any Sunday, in one of the bigger churches of London. What is most impressive to me about the singing -- usually unaccompanied; these are compositions for the human voice, with Spem in alium pulling off a forty-part harmony -- is the unearthly sound of the children; the soprano parts were sung by boys. Now that's something. We have nothing comparable: children were an essential part of works of the highest artistic caliber.

Cicero: de Finibus I
The Latin Library: de Finibus
Obama distances himself from another clergyman

A Catholic priest, this time. What has been going on in the archdiocese of Chicago the past few decades?

From the website for Fr. Pfleger's church:

The Faith Community of Saint Sabina is predominantly African-American. I don't mind depictions of Christ as being a member of one's ethnic group, so long as the falsehood that He was a black African is not being spread as well.

A negative mark against World Youth Day?

Stations of Cross updated for WYD

If true, it would be another reason for me to question the pastoral effectiveness of World Youth Day. If it is open to all young people, regardless of their religion or faith, should we not return to the practice of the early Church by reserving the celebration of the Holy Mystery to the baptized faithful?

Juventutem pages:
World Youth Day Sydney 08 Juventutem Latin Traditional
Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem - English
Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem - 2008
Forum - Juventutem 2008
Juventutem blog

Han Ye Seul vids

한예슬 Han Ye Seul - Cass TV CF

한예슬 Han Ye Seul - Cass TV CF Making Film

Han Ye-seul Cass Lemon Beer New CF + Making

Han Ye Seul CF - Cass Lemon [HQ]

TVAD PurMil Vitamin Water V12 Han Ye Seul.


V12 cf making (Han Ye Seul)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The peak oil crisis: speculation, subsidies & megacities
Those living in the world’s new mega- and hypercities are going to have a far tougher time. Oil has built these monstrosities where 100s of millions will be trapped without direct access to food supplies and cooking fuel. Someday, the historians will note that the collapse of many megacities was among the first real tragedies of peak oil.
published May 29, 2008.


As the world’s population grew, more and more people found themselves gravitating to cities which grew to megacities (population of more than 10 million) and many will soon reach hypercity (population over 20 million) status. Unfortunately, most of our mega- and hypercities are not in the more well-off countries. Jakarta, Dhaka, Karachi, Bombay and Lagos are all in contention to become hypercities shortly.

Once you move or are born into one of these places, you are no longer in a position to raise much of your own food or gather your own cooking fuel. Whether you realize it or not, you have become dependent on cheap oil to raise and bring to you much of the food you eat, and petroleum-derived fuel, usually kerosene or propane, to cook it. Many in the underdeveloped world’s megacities live right on the edge. For them, food and fuel prices are a life and death issue.

Governments have long been aware of the affordability problem and have mandated various forms of subsidies or price caps for fuel. This practice is especially prevalent in Asia and oil in exporting countries which consider low fuel prices as a birthright. Venezuela is still the champion with gasoline retailing at around 12 cents a gallon.

Quick review of Redbelt

Yahoo movies:

moviephone photos

This afternoon I went to see Redbelt at the Century Capitol 16. Not many people at theater; I think there were only 3 of us watching Red Belt. (It was the 1:40 showing, and school isn't out yet.)

Since the movie involves Brazilian jiu-jitsu, there are Brazilian characters, and even better some Portuguese music. I was suprised to learn that Rebecca Pidgeon and David Mamet composed the Portuguese songs featured in the film. I haven't seen any cds with the soundtrack of the movie being sold. However, the songs are available on a cd by Rebecca Pidgeon, Behind the Velvet Curtain.

Dan Inosanto has a small cameo as "the Professor," teacher of Mike Terry, the main character, and Augusto Silva, his adversary at the end of the movie.

Some have complained that Mamet is misogynistic, or at least is not adept at writing female characters. At first Terry's wife, played by Alice Braga, seems like a woman who is just concerned with helping her husband manage financially, even if she does contnually nag him about it. She does seem to be more realistic about finances than he is. But she is revealed towards the end of the movie to be a "back-stabbing b****," more concerned about material comfort and "living the life" than supporting her husband and his adherence to principle. Nonetheless, Emily Mortimer's character, Laura, a lawyer who is "rescued" by Terry, ends up showing much strength and character in the movie.


Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) finds out that the MMA competition he has entered in order to help him honor his obligations to someone else has been fixed, and he confronts those who are responsible. He decides to leave the competition, rather than continue. He meets Laura outside, as she had to leave the arena in order to smoke. We see him talk to her, but we don't hear what he actually says. Anyway, she slaps him. At first I though perhaps she did that because she was being self-serving and thought he should have stayed in the competition. However, we next see him return to the ring, not to compete, but to blow the whistle on the competition, and he fights his way past private security and also his brother-in-law, who is participating in the headline fight.

Of course, the police officers we saw in the arena earlier are conveniently absent, so Terry is not arrested for trespassing and assault and battery. Did they go on a donut run?

Someone with an ideological axe to grind might think that the message of the movie, after all the talk about the philosophy behind BJJ, like avoiding or embracing a force rather than opposing it, is just BS--violence is the way to solving problems, as shown by Mike Terry's actions at the end of the movie.

But Terry didn't wasn't there to fight, though he was there to cause trouble--by revealing to the spectators and officials that the competition was a scam, and to show the bad guys what it is to have honor. He is forced to fight because they wish to stop him from telling the truth, including his brother-in-law, who is more concerned with furthering "the family business" than upholding honor. (After all, he made a deal with the bad organizers to throw the match, because the money that is to be made "is in the rematch.") We have corruption in Hollywood (embodied in the producer [Joe Mantegna] and the actor who never served in the military but plays a soldier [Tim Allen]) mixed up with corruption in organized fighting (the promoter, played by Ricki Jay, and Terry's other brother-in-law, who owns a club/bar), and Terry ultimately triumphs over it all, having coming close to being ruined by them after being caught in their "big con". (Which, unfortunately, does cost the life of one of his students.)

At the end, the other fighter in the headline fight gives to Terry his gold belt that was at stake, recognizing that Terry is the true champion who has not sacrificed his honor for the sake of fame and false honor. And the Professor, perhaps recognizing that he too has failed in stopping the heir to the school from corrupting the art, gives the red belt (there is only one red belt) to Terry.

Still, the objector that does raise an important question--is the 'philosophy' behind martial arts conducive to living well? Is it adequate for dealing with obstacles or adversaries outside the ring or a combat situation--business world, or just life in general? (The Art of War and The Five Rings are often marketed as manuals that will help one triumph in the business world.) What about the fancy rationale behind various moves and counters? Are they principles of living well? I do have my reservations about such grandiose claims being made of martial arts. After all, the use of martial arts is subordinate to ethics; it may be that the philosophy is not from the principles of the martial art, but from another source, and this is what gives the martial art its spirit. Hence, the best way to prevail in a fight is not to get into one in the first place. At least, that seems to be the point that Terry is making to Laura in her introductory lesson in BJJ--don't be within striking distance, be far away, and you won't get hit.

It's unfortunate the fight scenes weren't better filmed--John Machado was responsible for the MMA choreography. Perhaps the movie on the whole is one of Mamet's weaker efforts, because the action is not captured well, but one could argue that focusing on the action to much would detract from the point the movie is trying to make. It's not about fighting, but prevailing with honor. Some may say that Mamet's work is 'hypermasculine' while calling into question Mamet's integrity or character because of his own personal history. (He didn't serve in the military or fight in Vietnam, but reminds us in his recent Vogue interview that the great 20th century American writers, Hemingway and so on, actually had "a life" [including serving in the military and seeing action], from which they could draw inspiration for their writing.) But I think Mamet does have a vision of what a man is supposed to be like, and it's not the boys who go from month-to-month, drawing paychecks and indulging themselves at home with television or video games. Mamet wants to believe that the man who lives in accordance with personal integrity and honor will prevail over the various powers (the economic elites, Hollywood studios, what have you) that seek to control his life and destiny.

I believe Mamet was brought up Jewish--could it be that Redbelt is his Jewish spirituality seeking to express itself, even though there is no mention of God in the movie?

Psalm 5: 8-12
Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

David Mamet's Jewish Turn

Rebecca Pidgeon & David Mamet of Red Belt with

Rebecca Pidgeon has her own youtube account, which she uses to put clips of herself playing her music.

I don't know she was a singer and songstress before becoming an actress. (wiki)

Alice Braga, RedBelt, Interview

REDBELT MOVIE Premiere 4/7/08 Los Angeles
Mamet Tackles Mixed Martial Arts in 'Redbelt'

Don't ask me why Redbelt is one word instead of two...
CWN: New Vatican document on obedience in religious life

via NOR

Roger Scruton, The Journey Home, Part II

The Communist Manifesto makes one important observation about capitalism: that it has an inherent tendency to set human communities in motion, to detach people from the place and status into which they are born, rendering transitory what had been permanent, and replacing destiny with choice. The real lesson of Röpke’s humane economy is to establish practices that counteract the forces of social dissolution caused by the unlocated economy and that promote communities of attachment, loyalty, and charity. . . .

For Sarge

Garth Brooks - Cowboy Bill
Richard Heinberg's MuseLetter #194: Coal in the United States

via EB

AR: Why decline matters

Why decline matters
If the end of industrial society proves to be a slow decline rather than a sudden catastrophe, we stand to lose more of today's cultural heritage and knowledge base, not less. What can be done in the face of so challenging a future?


Lind, Inside the Washington Game

Can the Pentagon Be Reformed?
Inside the Washington Game


The article includes a reference to Military Reform: A Reference Handbook by Winslow Wheeler and Larry Korb. (Praeger page for the book.)

AICN interview with Tarsem

Capone's Long-But-Fascinating Interview With THE FALL Director Tarsem (Part 1)!!
Capone's Long-But-Fascinating Interview With THE FALL Director Tarsem Concludes!!
Watcher(and Pete Takeshi too?)-recommended link: Crunchyroll
Krav Maga on Fight Quest

Fight Quest Krav Maga of Israel Part 1
Fight Quest Krav Maga of Israel Part 2
Fight Quest Krav Maga of Israel Part 3
Fight Quest Krav Maga of Israel Part 4

Krav Maga vids

Krav Maga Strasbourg. (2005)

Full Contact Krav Maga - English

Full Contact Krav Maga - Demo 2003
Krav Maga demo

It looks good, but how effective is it? It depends on the instructors, but other reality-based fighting instructors (and those associated with them) tend to have a negative opinion of the 'franchise' schools. How does "Tactical Krav Maga" compare with the popular version?

You may recall that Jennifer Lopez's character in Enough learned KM to deal with an abusive husband.

The Human Weapon series doesn't seem trustworthy in its presentation of different 'styles,' including Krav Maga.

Essentials of Krav Maga Self Defense Techniques : Vertical Front Kicks in Krav Maga
Essentials of Krav Maga Self Defense Techniques : Hammer Strike Moves for Krav Maga

The Best Krav Maga Demo Video Period!


The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (wiki)

Human Weapon MCMAP - Final Battle


International Krav Maga Federation
Krav Maga Association of America, Inc. Israeli Self Defense
Israeli Krav Maga - Home Page
Krav Maga News
Full Contact Krav
Full Contact Krav
Krav Maga Forums - Powered by vBulletin
Tactical Krav Maga - Australian
Tactical Krav Maga New Zealand - Home
Protect USA

Tactical Krav Maga's Itay Gil Training IDF & Police

Itay Gil

(What's up with the high kicks and roundhouse kicks? Makes one suspicious.)

Itay Gil - Free Fight Basics Part I
Sensei Itay Gil Instructional Part II

More videos featuring Strasbourg-Krav-Maga.


Krav Maga Strasbourg 2007

More high kicks! Unbelievable. The instructors lose credibility with those.

Three articles by Dr. Rupert Ederer

The Pig Economy
The Sovietization of American Women

Dr. Ederer is the editor and translator of Fr. Heinrch Pesch's Lehrbuch Der Nationalökonomie.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


MMA program on NBC--watch episodes online.

On NBC - Strike Force USA
'Strikeforce on NBC' to debut in April - Mixed Martial Arts ...
I haven't posted any photos from Korea in a while...
05-09-2008 18:45

Buddha in zoo: A group of children in monk outfits give mulberry leaves to golden monkeys at Everland, Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, Friday, three days before Buddha’s Birthday. The golden monkey is the same kind as Sun Wukong, the leading character of a Chinese fantasy novel “Journey to the West,” which tells of a journey in search of Buddha. / Korea Times Photo by Sohn Yong-seok

05-07-2008 18:11

Once upon a time in Joseon: Traditional costume-clad students head to a Confucian school in Busan, South Gyeongsang Province, Wednesday. This performance was made during an event replaying test takers of the national exam in Joseon Kingdom (1897-1910). At that time, Seoul was the sole location for the test. / Korea Times

05-01-2008 20:37

Child Buddha: A child cries as he has his head shaven during a ritual to celebrate Buddha’s upcoming birthday on May 12 at the Jogyesa Temple in Seoul Thursday. Eight children entered the temple to experience a monks’ life for one month. / AP-Yonhap

04-17-2008 18:38

Royal stroll: Actors reenact the “royal promenade” of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) at Gyeongbok Palace in downtown Seoul, Thursday. The performance takes place every day from 3:30- 4:10 p.m. through November that starts from Gyeonghoiru Building to Geunjeongjeon and Gyotaejeon, then back to Gyeonghoiru. / Korea Times Photo By Choi Heung-soo

This is one of the most viewed photos at Korea Times


A pose: A yoga instructor shows a stretching pose good for postpartum women’s hair at I’Park Mall in Yongsan, central Seoul, Wednesday. / Korea Times Photo by Koh Young-kwon

Not really surprising, is it?

I wouldn't be surprised if "So Hot" were her theme song. haha.

with English subtitles

Wonder Girls - Making of So Hot MV (english subbed)

More about the Wonder Girls some other time.

Wonder Girls Wonderland

official website?
It looks like Eerdmans is publishing Wedding Rites: A Complete Guide to Traditional Vows, Music, Ceremonies, Blessings, and Interfaith Services by Dr. Michael Foley. Has St. Augustine's Press abandoned Wedding Rites: The Complete Guide to Traditional Weddings? Or is the Eerdmans title just the paperback version of the same book?

CP interview with Ron Paul

An Exclusive Interview with Ron Paul
The Libertarian Dark Horse: An Exclusive Interview with Ron Paul, by Wajahat Ali


I thought the network was a little bit better than ABC, NBC, Fox, and the CW (its reputation as the network for old people is somewhat deserved), but one of their Summer season series is Swingtown. Didn't we get enough of the swinging '70s in Boogie Nights and The Ice Storm? (I've only seen maybe 10 minutes from the latter movie; it is a cautionary tale of sorts so maybe I will finish it some day.) Desperate Housewives, but without the stigma attached to extramarital sex?

As sexual mores become extinct, perhaps it is only fitting for a network to put on a show that seems to extol the licentiousness of the 70s. At least Big Love can defend its representation of polygamy by talking about how it is a portrayal of a different sort of marriage.

And then disco makes a return through the show... will the show turn back all of the arguments advanced by Josh in The Last Days of Disco?


Disco Museum

learn disco

Kylie Minogue - Your Disco Needs You

The Distributist Review: Come, Let Us Reason Together

The Distributist Review: Come, Let Us Reason Together

Feel free to offer your input at the website--the book can only be better if helpful comments or criticisms are offered.

Thomas Dilorenzo interview online

@ C-Span

from the man himself, @ LRC blog

He appreciates the work of David Herbert Donald (wiki).

Australia trailer

official site

I like the Western aspects of the story; I haven't bothered to watch any of Baz Luhrmann's previous movies at this point.

Ralph Nader on the price of oil

In Search of a Sane Government
What's Really Driving the High Price of Oil?

Twitch: THE HOBBIT—The WETA Online Chat With Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson

The chat transcript (pdf).

Does it inspire confidence in you that Del Toro will be faithful to Tolkien? Plenty of people think Jackson botched the adaptation of the LOTR trilogy, and he was a self-proclaimed Tolkien fan.

The Children of Hurin : Lord of the Rings Novel by Tolkien
The Tolkien Estate: The Children of Hurin
Home Page - The Tolkien Society
The Official Website of the JRR Tolkien Estate
The Grey Havens - The Ultimate J.R.R. Tolkien Resource Web Page
JRR Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien Biography - Philologist, author, mythmaker and ...
The Tolkien Timeline
The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien - The One Ring ...
Tolkien's son attempts to stop Hobbit

Interview with JRR Tolkien in 1968 and Adam Tolkien in 2007

Tolkien on Rings mythology

JRR Tolkien Reads LOTR - An Entish Chant
J.R.R. Tolkien sings 'Troll Sat Alone On His Seat Of Stone'
J.R.R. Tolkien recites the Ring Verse
From Twitch: New Trailer For Takashi Miike’s Sci-Fi Romance GOD’S PUZZLE!

Does "mainstream" = catering to otakus and slackers?


Twitch has images from The Road


First image:

The Road: Cormac McCarthy
The Cormac McCarthy Home Pages: Official Web site of the Cormac ...

Pete Takeshi, you going to watch this Viggo Mortensen movie?

The Greek Byzantine Choir and Lycourgos Angelopoulos

I don't think the group has an official website yet, but there is this page maintained by Michail G. Lagoudakis.

BEMF page for the choir

The Axion Estin Foundation

Australian Byzantine Choir
The Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, Melbourne, Australia

Scott R. Robinson's Costume History, Romanesque

Anthony Esolen discusses barbarism

and the International Congress on Medieval Studies: How to Tell a Barbarian, Part I.

Here, then, is the first mark of the barbarian: the inability to appreciate the beautiful, the noble, or the grand. Dante says that when the barbarians invaded Rome during the fifth century and caught sight of the church of Saint John Lateran, they went dumb with wonder. Livy says that when the first Gauls invaded Rome and saw the streets empty and the great houses empty -- empty, that is, except for stern old men here and there within, dressed in the senatorial togas, awaiting their death -- they too were for a time stupefied. Those barbarians at least had sense enough to be impressed, before they began their sprees of destruction. In general, the barbarian, whether on the steppes of Asia or of the Capitol, has had a life ground down to mud by physical necessities or, perhaps, by stultifying indolence, and can manage only to be impressed by what is big or flashy or brazen, the subtle traceries of beauty escaping him altogether.

So in Kalamazoo the barbarians congregated to have a pseudo-learned blast laughing and sneering at what they could not understand, or what they had not even the self-awareness and humility to confess that they could not understand. The age that stippled the continent of Europe with buildings of incomparable beauty, massive and soaring and delicate all at once, that invented the university, and far-flung capitalism, and the chivalric romance; that gave us the great and wise Dante and the greater and wiser addle-pated Francis, that age had to be "honored" with papers on "fecopoetics" and "menstruating male mystics" and Xena, Warrior Princess.

We know that the "enlightened" despite the "Middle Ages" as being ignorant and superstitious. But when medievalists fail to appreciate what was good about the Middle Ages? What sort of subversion has taken place? Now, perhaps it is unfair for Dr. Esolen to generalize, as if all the participants at the Congress were like this. The congress is open to non-academics, and some of them do have silly sessions. (Other sessions are interesting and have genuine cultural value, like the one on Western martial arts.) There are plenty of serious Catholics, philosophers, theologians and others, who go to the conference. Do they take the opportunity to present a paper there seriously? I think so. But it is also an opportunity for them to meet up with colleagues. Perhaps his critique of the Congress is skewed because of the article by Charlotte Allen in the Weekly Standard:

The International Congress on Medieval Studies bills itself as the largest gathering of medieval specialists in the country--and it probably is. Because it is timed to coincide with the end of the school year on most college campuses, including Western Michigan's, some 3,000 professors, graduate students, and amateur and professional experts on any subject that can be loosely defined as medieval ("loosely" can and does include J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Potter, Xena the warrior princess, and even The Da Vinci Code) fly or drive to Kalamazoo, often taking along sheaves of their students' papers to grade during spare moments.

There they spend up to four days delivering or listening to some of the 1,500 scholarly papers presented at the congress, roughly one paper for every two attendees, but mostly (because the 600-odd sessions featuring those papers are crammed into only 12 hour-and-a-half time slots, which means no single person can hear more than a handful of them) socializing, in relationships that range from the strictly professional to--or at least I am told--the uninhibitedly erotic. The high point of the congress is the Saturday night dance, a not-to-be-missed spectacle of more than a thousand medievalists cramming themselves into a ballroom in the Western Michigan student center, fueling themselves with rail booze, and dancing the way you might expect scholars of the Middle Ages to dance. It doesn't help that most of the Kalamazoo medievalists look and dress the way you might expect scholars of the Middle Ages to look and dress. Some, of course, present themselves as the professionals they are--suits and ties on men, pulled-together ensembles on women--but they are likely as not to belong to a contingent of visiting Romanians. The best way to describe the attire of many attendees, which runs heavily to ethnic textiles, unusual body ornaments, sweaters of indeterminate age, shoes resembling those favored by medieval peasants, and unintentionally amusing hats, is the reply I overheard one medievalist give to a query by a nonmedievalist sharing our airport limo as to whether congress attendees wore costumes: "A lot of them wear costumes, but they don't know it."

The overblown size of the event--who knew that there were even 3,000 medievalists in the entire world?--illustrates the law of diminishing returns. When 1,500 scholarly papers appear on a single agenda, it is reasonable to expect that a large number of them will not represent lasting contributions to the store of human knowledge. Persels's wine-bottle paper, although dealing with subject-matter you wouldn't want brought up at the dinner table, was actually one of the better, in terms of overall learning, of the two dozen or so papers I heard (and his French accent was excellent). But besides the law of diminishing returns, the congress also illustrates all too faithfully various aspects of the law of supply and demand, one of which is that the total number of medievalists probably exceeds the total number of college undergraduates these days who have the slightest interest in learning the smallest thing about the Middle Ages. That dismal fact lies at the core of all other observations to be made about the congress.

The International Congress on Medieval Studies is the affordable medieval conference, centrally located in the Midwest (despite its "international" moniker, most attendees hail from the United States and Canada), and because of its low cost appealing to even the most underpaid and underemployed of academics in the field. The congress seems to have been designed that way from the beginning. Western Michigan, occupying 1,200 hilly acres on the far western outskirts of Kalamazoo, is one of those state normal schools that during the mid-1950s decided to switch identities overnight from poky teachers' college to populous state research university via a massive building campaign entailing awe-inspiring quantities of cinderblock. Today the student population totals 26,000, and its enormous campus is dotted with midcentury structures of an architectural style that can be described as "non-descript but sturdy."

Engineering, science, and business are Western Michigan's strong suits, along with Division 1A football--not exactly promising soil for nurturing study of the Middle Ages. Still, the campus houses a Medieval Institute that sponsored the first congress in 1962 and continues to do so to this day, as well as an Institute of Cistercian Studies (complete with an impressive rare-books library) that started sponsoring theological sessions at the congress during the early 1970s. The congress, with its lingering overtones of 1960s hippie culture, was designed as a gathering of the tribes in all things medieval: history, literature, theology, philosophy, drama, art, and music. The idea was that Western Michigan's student dormitories, vacated for the summer, would house the participants, and the sessions would take place in the now-vacant classrooms. For its first two decades, the congress remained relatively small and collegial, featuring perhaps a hundred sessions. Then it began to balloon to its present size of more than 600.

And why not? After all, the law of supply and demand says that low prices mean more customers. The Western Michigan dorms still cost only $35 a night ($28 if you double up with a roommate), there's a free airport shuttle, you can eat cheap at the cafeteria (or for nothing if you crash the receptions that serve hors d'oeuvres), and anybody with a credential and entrepreneurial energy can organize a session or read a paper. If you don't mind sleeping on a thin mattress in a cinderblock-walled, linoleum-floored, underlit, and virtually unfurnished 1960s-era dorm room that looks like Cellblock No. 9 and features an erratic heating system that alternately broils and chills, sharing a bathroom with up to three strangers (fecopoetics alert: cinderblock transmits sound with startling efficiency), and eating Midwestern student-cafeteria versions of your favorite dishes (such as the "Mediterranean" salad consisting of skewers of coconut shrimp atop a plateau of limp lettuce) while sharing your board with still more strangers whose immersion in medieval arcana is likely to have impaired their table manners, the International Congress on Medieval Studies is the academic conference for you. Oh, and you must also enjoy trudging up and down hills to and from sessions widely scattered across the campus.

Should you wish to trek into downtown Kalamazoo for a change of scene or cuisine--forget it, unless you've got a lot of time on your hands for a lot of walking along traffic-clogged highways. Besides, there's not much to see or do in this onetime Midwestern industrial hub on the railroad line between Detroit and Chicago now noticeably deindustrialized and depopulated. Kalamazoo doesn't quite look like the famously rundown Flint, Michigan, of Michael Moore movies, but gentrification still has a way to go. A warning to juicers: The vast Western Michigan campus, where you will be more or less confined as if on the county honor farm if you are too poor to rent wheels, is entirely dry, unless you bring your own bottle (which many do) or frequent the cash bars briefly open at the receptions and the dance.

Not surprisingly, then, the congress is generally shunned by the superstars of medieval academia: the senior professors and well-known scholars who occupy endowed chairs or draw generous compensation packages from Ivy League and top state universities. Those fortunate scholars, whose trips to academic get-togethers are typically fueled by hefty travel allowances from their affluent home universities, tend to prefer the classy get-togethers of the Medieval Academy of America, founded in 1925 by the famous Harvard historian Charles Homer Haskins and usually holding its annual meetings each March at big-city hotels or on the campuses of prestigious colleges with plenty of nearby cultural and entertainment amenities. The Medieval Academy does sponsor sessions at Kalamazoo, and some big medieval names do show up--this year's congress featured a stellar plenary address on medieval bestiaries by Christopher de Hamel, manuscript librarian at Cambridge University's Corpus Christi College, as well as appearances by the veteran Chaucerian scholar Derek Pearsall of the University of York, well-known medieval historians Brenda Bolton and Barbara Hanawalt, and Seth Lerer, dean of postmodernist medievalism at Stanford.

But most of the worthies who come to Kalamazoo do so as "presiders" whose sole job is to lend the gravitas of their names to sessions and introduce the worker-bee scholars who will actually read papers, thus being spared the drudgery of either writing a paper or doing the organizing. (You won't find them sleeping in the dorms, either; most book accommodations well off campus, preferably at the Radisson Plaza, Kalamazoo's best hotel.) The pecking-order realities of academic life, even among otherworldly medievalists, leave a vast army of poorly paid, overworked lower-echelon professors at not-so-big-name universities and, of course, legions of strapped graduate students for whom a trip to Western Michigan and the dorms of "the Zoo," as they call it, may well be the high point of the academic year.

Many state schools and smaller colleges on tight budgets pay for at most one or two trips to academic conferences per professor per year, and often at the rate of just $500 or even $300 per conference--hardly enough to cover air fare--and usually only if the recipient delivers a paper. You scarcely need to put two and two together to figure out why this year's congress featured 1,500 papers and why so many of them, delivered by graduate students afraid to venture outside the postmodernist box in which their theory-laden seminars have confined them, or professors who seemed to have hastily thrown their notes together in order to qualify for a free plane trip, were, to put it kindly, not so hot.

There are oases of excellence in the po-mo desert at Kalamazoo. Many sessions, especially those dealing with medieval theology and philosophy, which are typically sponsored by specialty organizations such as the Cistercian Institute or the Aquinas Society, offered papers that were rigorously researched and argued. The congress also features first-rate performances of medieval drama and music as well as a giant book fair. Still, many scholars, especially historians, feeling choked by the miasma of mediocrity, have stopped coming to Kalamazoo. Thus the overwhelming majority of the sessions nowadays are in the field of literature, especially English literature, which is notorious for its vulnerability to theoretical hoo-hah and for the large numbers of bottom-feeding assistant professors and at-sea graduate students needed to staff the required freshman composition classes that are run out of many universities' English departments.

Another reality of academic life draws bodies to Kalamazoo: professional loneliness in remote settings where hardly anyone else on campus cares about the Middle Ages. Over lunch in the cafeteria, Ellen Friedrich, an associate professor of Romance languages at Valdosta State University in Georgia, explained the facts of life for her: teaching four different courses per semester (in the Ivy League the norm is two) mostly way outside of her specialty, which is medieval French romances (not high on the list of academic interests for Valdosta undergrads), leaving almost no time for scholarly research. For her as for many in her position, the congress and other academic conferences offer their only chance to visit with professional confreres. "We're Kalamazoo junkies," Friedrich explained.

The difficulties of being a medievalist in an era in which few universities require their undergraduates to learn anything about the Middle Ages (mandatory courses in the history of Western civilization being a thing of the past), and in which undergrads increasingly shun the humanities because they can't take all the theory, accounts for another odd aspect of the Kalamazoo congress: the ever-growing number of sessions that don't deal at all with matters medieval but rather with modern books, movies, television shows, magazine ads, and even video games featuring either medieval or pseudo-medieval themes. Tolkien, Harry Potter, and "Googling the Holy Grail" were only the tip of the iceberg. There were countless papers purporting to highlight medieval themes in D.C. comics, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the 1990s Xena: Warrior Princess television series. One session was entirely devoted to medieval blogs, including a paper comparing the works of Geoffrey Chaucer to the blog "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog." The blowout, or perhaps the reductio ad absurdum, of these scholarly endeavors was Session 531 on Sunday morning, "Medieval Masculinities on Film." That session featured four separate papers: yet another examination of A Knight's Tale, an effort to prove that the 1961 movie El Cid, starring Charlton Heston, was a piece of Franco-engineered propaganda, a cinematic look at the story of Tristan and Isolde, and "Medieval Masculinity as Modern Monstrosity," a postmodernist analysis of Hannibal Lecter.

Such presentations proved to be among the better attended, and at least some of the individual papers (although maybe not those read in Session 531) displayed more literary depth and passion than many of the papers dealing with "real" medieval literature run through the postmodernist meat-grinder. "Teaching Tolkien" drew more than 70 attendees. One of the Da Vinci Code panels featured a paper that got my personal vote for best in the entire weekend: "Queering the Code: Jesus and Mary or Jesus and John?" a deadpan spoof by Madeline Caviness, an art history professor at Tufts University, arguing that Dan Brown's potboiler about Jesus' supposed marriage to Mary Magdalene was actually part of a Vatican cover-up of the savior's gay relationship with one of his apostles. Caviness managed to drag out and send up every cliché in the postmodernist dictionary that had been invoked with deadly earnestness elsewhere at the congress: "essentializing discourse," "destabilize the heterosexual imperative," "the heteronormativity of Jesus."

It's pretty clear that in an era in which undergraduates at many colleges can as readily fulfill their humanities core requirements by selecting a course on The Lord of the Rings from the academic smorgasbord as, say, selecting a course on The Canterbury Tales, medievalists make themselves useful on campus (and fill their classrooms and make their department heads happy) by teaching the former. But there may be something else at work, too, in the obvious enthusiasm with which highly trained experts in arcane specialties devoured sessions devoted to Tolkien and J.K. Rowling: There they could drop their postmodernist cynicism about "society" and simply drink in the elaborate cosmology, spiritual depth, literary beauty, and shared meaning that used to be what scholars looked for in real medieval literature, before the cultural-studies people got hold of it. Larry Caldwell, an English professor at the University of Evansville whose specialty is Anglo-Saxon literature but who read a thoughtful paper titled "Stern Vision, Earnest Evasion: Neomedieval Catholicism, Peter Jackson, and the Limitations of Popular Cinema," wrote to me in an email about Jackson's blockbuster movies of the Tolkien trilogy: "[W]e are looking at .  .  . a sort of universally shared text that non-specialists embrace with as much enjoyment as do members of the emerging specialist community of formal Tolkien scholars." Quite a difference from the "bourgeois habitus."

But on to the dance! In medieval times every story had a moral. The moral of the Saturday night dance at the 43rd International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo is that no scholar of the Middle Ages is too old, too graceless, too bulging of derrière, too gray of beard or ponytail, or too tattooed to get up on that parquet floor and gyrate spasmodically to vintage Bon Jovi amplified to jet-engine decibels. I'm told that the dances of today are no match in noise and lasciviousness for those of the mid-1990s, when flocks of leather-clad gays took to the floor to celebrate their academic coming-out in a congress session on "Queer Iberia." Still, I spent two hours there nursing a beer and mesmerized by the bobbing fauxhawks, the shaking bare flesh (and plenty of it), the hip-hopper in the Blondie T-shirt, the fellow in the full kilt and sporran who had been wandering through the congress as though in search of the set for Brigadoon, the nose-rings, the Birkenstocks, the Pashtun caps, the bare feet of the learned professors of the Middle Ages and their grad-student acolytes. Maybe it's not a pretty sight, but as the swaying sardine-packed academics on the dance floor sang along in unison: "We've got to hold on to what we've got."
But Ms. Allen recognizes that there are some good things at the Congress... it's just that overall, its value is very limited. Does presenting a paper at the conference carry less prestige than at something more intellectually serious? I suppose it depends on what one's specialty or field is. I don't see how the Congress is worse than any other venue for Catholic philosophers or theologians, since those who are in charge of organizing the session on Franciscan philosophy theology, for example, are experts in their field and know what constitutes a good paper topic or not.

Still, I look forward to reading part 2 of Dr. Esolen's reflections.

Medieval Academy of America
Medieval Academy of America Conference Program
Medieval Academy of America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia