Saturday, August 30, 2008

More on Sarah Palin

Paul Gottfried, The lady has to do better

Daniel Larison is back from vacation--his first entry on the governor of Alaska: Back In Chicago

Dylan Hales: Paleos for Palin? Not this one

John Michael Greer on collapse

No different this time
by John Michael Greer

Too good to waste?
Rose George, The Guardian

via EB
Albert Bates, Energy Bulletin
In the vast interior of rural México, awareness of an approaching energy and economic tsunami is below even Alert Azul, the first stage of a hurricane watch. For those who read the newspapers or follow television there is no shortage of news about the usual political scuffling between Presidente Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and opposition party leader José Ramiro López Obrador concerning Cantarell oil field’s breathtaking 14% annual decline rate. People just don’t seem to register it as anything other than the usual politics that goes on in México City, a world away from their lives planting corn, grinding steel, or serving tourists with poolside Margaritas.

Deconstructing Dinner: Livestock Lost Series

Deconstructing Dinner: Livestock Lost Series, Part I -- mp3
Deconstructing Dinner: Livestock Lost Series, Part II -- mp3
Deconstructing Dinner: Livestock Lost Series, Part III -- mp3
Debbie Cook: Abandon 19th Century Fuels and Move Toward 21st Century Reponses
"Stuffed & Starved" by Raj Patel - a review
Amanda Kovattana, Flickr blog

via EB; more on Raj Patel here and here
Melinda Briana Epler, One Green Generation
If we had to, we could have survived on are garden alone through the fall and winter. All because we really wanted to do it and nothing was going to stop us. So we found ways to extend the seasons, and to use them to our advantage. Article includes ten reasons to grow a 4-season garden, what crops to grow, and when to grow them.
Patrick Deneen: Peak Political Science?

Britney Caughell

Some videos of her singing:
I Will Never Leave You
Laurie's Song
Not While I'm Around
I Hear Bells
Britney - Young Artist
Britney - Young Artist 1
Britney - Young Artist 2


張學友 明日世界終結時

經典重溫 : 張學友 明日世界終結時 MV 1992

經典重溫 : 張學友 還是覺得妳最好 MV 1992 (with Charlie Yeung)

經典重溫 : 張學友 相 愛 MV 1991

張學友 - 分手總要在雨天
張學友 月半彎
Culture11 review of Traitor. Looks like a squandered opportunity to show off Guy Pearce's skills...

I'll probably be skipping this one.

Night Talk: An Interview With Guy Pearce (part 1)
Night Talk: An Interview With Guy Pearce (part 2)
Night Talk: An Interview With Guy Pearce (part 3)
Guy Pearce interview for Traitor in You Tube HD
Don Cheadle interview for Traitor in You Tube HD

Re Proposition: The Inside Reel Interview with Guy Pearce
Guy Pearce, The Proposition Interview
via Michael Liccione: New collaborative relationship between Thomas More College and Sophia Institute Press
Tom DiLorenzo, The Never-Ending War on American Freedom
The Black Cordelias: Brother Roger of Taizé: Catholic & Calvinist? Or Just Misrepresented?
Michael Buble - Kissing A Fool

kissing a fool - george michael

Friday, August 29, 2008

Niece #2 can pronounce "kau kau" well now... before it was just 'gok gok.' Maybe I'll hear her say it this weekend.
Twitch: Trailer Arrives For JT Petty’s THE BURROWERS

Trailer does make it look like a good period horror/monster movie.
Meanwhile, in the real world -- Integrity Bank Becomes 10th U.S. Failure This Year.

via Drudge
Fr. Z: Irritated by something I hear repeated

"We grant the state its rights and obligations."

Questionable. As is the conclusion he draws from it.
I am waiting for my sisters--we are supposed to be going to Bombay Garden for dinner, but they are at Valley Fair right now, and they will be 'getting their eyebrows done.' The things women do to themselves... do men really care? The human race has managed to reproduce itself, even though the majority of women could not afford expensive cosmetics or procedures or mirrors for much of human history... one could say men have a rather 'high' tolerance level, but I think the plain truth is that normal guys don't really care that much. (Now there's a interdisciplinary work waiting to be written, if it hasn't been already--the cultural, psychological, and ethical impact of the invention of the mirror.)

Fortunately most parents don't start their daughters on this path when they are young. At least I think I am seeing natural eyebrows on the 1st grade girls at school... one of the 2nd graders had eyebrows in December last year, but when I saw her again in January, I knew something had changed about her face, but I couldn't identify it at first... some of her eyebrow hair had disappeared, but I don't know what the cause was. (As if I would ask.)

When a certain student expressed her desire not to eat anything again today, the first thought in my mind was that she had an eating disorder. What a world. She eventually ate macaroni and cheese, but not all of it, and part of a banana. But she didn't want to get full. Does she get sick when she gets full? Or is there something else behind her anxiety?

Maybe I will run into some sort of comparison photo that proves me wrong, but my guess is that a natural ('untouched') face has certain advantages over an unmade face that has become habituated to makeup and has had certain features sculptured.

You can guess what I think about removing eyebrow hair (permanently) and replacing it with a tattoo...

Zenit: Fr. Cantalamessa's Gospel Commentary for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Language of Love

Gospel Commentary for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, AUG. 29, 2008 ( In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear Jesus who says: “Whoever wants to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Because whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

What does it mean to “deny" yourself? And why should you deny yourself? We know about the indignation of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche over this the request of this Gospel.

I will begin answering these questions with an example. During the Nazi persecution, many trains full of Jews traveled from every part of Europe to the extermination camps. They were induced to get on the trains by false promises of being taken to places that would be better for them, when, in fact, they were being taken to their destruction. It happened at some of the stops that someone who knew the truth, called out from some hiding place to the passengers: “Get off! Run away!” Some succeeded in doing so.

The example is a hard one, but it expresses something of our situation. The train of life on which we are traveling is going toward death. About this, at least, there are no doubts. Our natural “I,” being mortal, is destined for destruction. What the Gospel is proposing to us when it exhorts us to deny ourselves, is to get off this train and board another one that leads to life. The train that leads to life is faith in him who said: “Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.”

Paul understood this transferring from one transport to another and he describes it thus: “It is no longer I who lives, Christ lives in me.” If we assume the “I” of Christ we become immortal because he, risen from the dead, dies no more. This indicates the meaning of the words of the Gospel that we have heard. Christ’s call for us to deny ourselves and thus find life is not a call to abuse ourselves or reject ourselves in a simplistic way. It is the wisest of the bold steps that we can take in our lives.

But we must immediately make a qualification. Jesus does not ask us to deny “what we are,” but “what we have become.” We are images of God. Thus, we are something “very good,” as God himself said, immediately after creating man and woman. What we must deny is not that which God has made, but that which we ourselves have made by misusing our freedom -- the evil tendencies, sin, all those things that have covered over the original.

Years ago, off the coast of Calabria in southern Italy, there were discovered two encrusted masses that vaguely resembled human bodies. They were removed from the sea and carefully cleaned and freed. They turned out to be bronze statues of ancient warriors. They are known today as the Riace Warriors and are on display at the National Museum of Magna Grecia in Reggio Calabria. They are among the most admired sculptures of antiquity.

This example can help us understand the positive aspect of the Gospel proposal. Spiritually, we resemble the condition of those statues before their restoration. The beautiful image of God that we should be is covered over by the seven layers of the seven capital sins.

Perhaps it is not a bad idea to recall what these sins are, if we have forgotten them: pride, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy and sloth. St. Paul calls this disfigured image, “the earthly image,” in contrast to the “heavenly image,” which is the resemblance of Christ.

“Denying ourselves,” therefore, is not a work of death, but one of life, of beauty and of joy. It is also a learning of the language of true love. Imagine, said the great Danish philosopher Kierkegaard, a purely human situation. Two young people love each other. But they belong to two different nations and speak completely different languages. If their love is to survive and grow, one of them must learn the language of the other. Otherwise, they will not be able to communicate and their love will not last.

This, Kierkegaard said, is how it is with us and God. We speak the language of the flesh, he speaks that of the spirit; we speak the language of selfishness, he that of love.

Denying yourself is learning the language of God so that we can communicate with him, but it is also learning the language that allows us to communicate with each other. We will not be able to say “yes” to the other -- beginning with our own wife or husband -- if we are not first of all able to say “no” to ourselves.

Keeping within the context of marriage, many problems and failures with the couple come from the fact that the man has never learned to express love for the woman, nor she for the man. Even when it speaks of denying ourselves, we see that the Gospel is much less distant from life than it is sometimes believed.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

* * *

Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Jeremiah 20:7-9; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27.

The consequences of original sin... again.

After I gave a reward to one of the 3rd graders for helping me out on Tuesday, another 3rd grader, from Miss N's class last year, came up with a couple of her former classmates. Leave it to her friend K to actually tell me what she wanted--a pencil and 'the other thing' (a medal of Regina Apostolorum with San Paolo/San Pablo on the other side), just like J got. Of course TT was too embarrassed too ask... that's a good thing. Not quite the same thing as feeling ashamed, but a little bit better than just being shy. Then there are those children who are not as reserved...

Kids whose appetites and acquisitiveness aren't tempered... Ah well, I'm not her regular teacher so it's not like I can really do much about it, even if I've commented about it before to her. But she hasn't gotten the message yet.

I am still taken aback sometimes, when children come up asking for (demanding?) things... as if they somehow deserve them, or it's not fair that they don't get a reward like other students (even though their behavior should make it clear why).

It's been fun hanging around with the 1st graders-- a lot were from Ms. -'s and Mrs. -'s K classes last year... they are usually well-behaved.

Misc. link.
Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum
Well, the Crunchy Con has plenty on Sen. McCain's pick:

McCain chooses Palin!
Palin's debut (liveblogging)
A Palin view from an Alaskan
The base loves Palin
More Palin love

Will it solidify the base or appease the social conservatives? Or orthodox Catholics, for that matter? Probably, is my guess. A very unscientific survey (as opposed to normal surveys which are just unscientific) could be done on the various comboxes at Republican-cheerleading and conservative blogs everywhere. It appears that Mr. Dreher may be more open to voting for Sen. McCain as a result of his choice. We can look at the reasons for his choosing her--(1) to strengthen support among those who might have been wary of his 'unconservative' positions in the past, and (2) to win over women voters (especially those who had been supporting Hiltary) -- see Gov. Palin's speech for the rather obvious play for them.

But even if Gov. Palin is a 'paleo' of sorts, how many paleos and traditional conservatives really believe that voting is about choosing the lesser of two evils, rather than taking a stand and/or making an endorsement?

The Republic is dead. Deo Vindice.

From Dr. Fleming and Dr. Wilson:


To return to several questions raised, which can be summed up as “Where do we go from here?,” I would begin by suggesting that we need to be careful in using words like “politics” and “culture.” The word politics can be used in many ways, though its original sense of acting within the polis or commonwealth in common with other citizens is still the most useful. In this sense, politics is not really possible or practical in a tyranny. It has been said here, quite reasonably, that elections provide an opportunity or necessity of passing a veto on bad leaders, thus one can vote for Obama to throw the rascals out. This would be true under certain circumstances and conditions, for example, where elections are not rigged and where the two sets of rascals are actually opposed to each other. If we live, as is often claimed (by me among others) under a bipartisan party-state in which both parties are agreed upon most fundamental principles and strategies, then it would hardly matter which set of rascals lands in the White House. I do not say that this is entirely true, only that if we thought it was true, we would be less likely to think we could cast a meaningful veto.

As for culture, it is a pretty dodgy word. I have written on this so often I can only summarize here. The human cultura is, literally, the tending and care of human persons within a society, just as agricultura is the tending of fields. Cultural institutions–codes of manners and dress, artistic traditions, education and religion–form the character of the young and enrich and delight the character of the mature. It is perfectly true that governments should not be in the business of creating culture, as C says above. However, cultural traditions and institutions are not private or individual, either. As Thomas Aquinas has said, the commonwealth does not exist to impose virtue but to establish and maintain the conditions that are propitious to virtuous living. Thus, in a healthy society, there are institutions of common life, often involving government, that affirm the identity and principles of the society and censor and repress cultural expressions that undermine that identity. The Greek religious festivals, at which athletic contests were held and songs and plays performed, are an excellent example of how it works.

Our own political rulers either hate what is left of our civilization–and this includes the English language itself–or else they have so poor a grasp of it that they are indifferent. There have been, over the years, a few exceptions, such as Gene McCarthy and, on a lower level, Robert Byrd, but Byrd is a freak in the Congress today. Then what is to be done? The only serious alternatives would seem to be a coup d’etat, followed by a cultural revolution or a grass roots from the ground up program. I believe the first approach to be both dangerous and, practically speaking, impossible. That leaves the second. In this connection, let me quote again a popular bit of Confucianist lore:

The ancients who wished clearly to manifest illustrious virtue throughout the world would first govern their states well. Wishing to govern their states well, they would first regulate their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they would first cultivate their own persons. Wishing to cultivate their own persons,they would first rectify their own hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they would first seek sincerity in their thoughts. Wishing for sincerity in their thoughts, they would first extend their knowledge. The extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.

From careful observation of the world, one proceeds to sincerity–a refusal to deceive oneself about perceptions–and then to gain control over personal behavior, which allows one to set a good example within the household, and so on. Rather than imposing order on the world, the ideal ruler sets an example within his own home.

Elsewhere, the Confucianists speak of calling things by their right names. That, I suggest, is the beginning of sincerity, but names are only a part of language. It is true that everyone makes mistakes in grammar and usage, and it is also true that it is increasingly difficult to maintain standards in a society that has taken a nose-dive into stupidity, but, in general, correct English is far from being a trivial or superficial concern. It is a basic step toward the mental clarity and honesty that is the first step toward rectification of society. The same goes for many basic rules of courtesy, violations of which often indicate a deeper disorder. In a real, as opposed to virtual, human community, people meet face to face and understand that they will be exiled or ostracized for offending against civility. It is more difficult in a virtual community.

To show that this street runs both ways, I close with the famous observation of Thomas de Quncey:

“If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.”
on 29 Aug 2008 at 2:53 pm

54Clyde Wilson

Our Jeffersonian forebears—Jefferson, John Taylor, Calhoun, the Confederacy—taught that the purpose of government was to protect society. Society, the creation of Providence, was a given. They lost out. after a gallant holding action, to those for whom government is an instrument to aggrandize themselves and change others.
on 29 Aug 2008 at 3:17 pm


All too true. Jefferson did think that Virginia should have a state plan for education and helped to found UVA. So long as government is merely reflecting society, there is probably some good it can do–at the lowest conceivable level–in encouraging good manners, morals, music. However, this should not be read as a justification for the NEA or NPR, state agencies that make war on local traditions. This was a point on which the late WFB was quite misled by a kind of do-gooding elitism.

From Taki's Mag:
Richard Spencer, Palin & Sarah Palin—Buchananite; Evan McLaren, I’ll have the Palin, hold the excitement
CHT: Ron Paul affects McCain’s VP choice
WWWTW: McCain's Veep: A Hockey Mom Who Clings to God and Her Guns
@TAC: Double Standard-Bearers; Thank McCain for small favors; The Incredible Palin!; Palin Drones

John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes

A-Team Blog

The artist (prints available): John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes

One Summer Night

One Summer Night - 진추하 - Chelsia Chan (陳秋霞 & 鍾鎮濤)

KHN and Yoo Ji Tae

陳秋霞 (Chelsia Chan) - Graduation Tears
陳秋霞 (Chelsia Chan) - Tommy Tom Tom
One Summer Night - 진추하 - Chelsia Chan (陳秋霞)

Yim Jae Bum - For You('00 korean movie "Ditto" OST)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

From Drudge:
COMCAST to make monthly Internet use cap official...

...deter 'bandwidth hogs'

The Wright Kids

Bluegrass Blog: Wright Kids on America’s Got Talent

America's Got Talent LIVE - The Wright Kids 8/27/08

America's Got Talent- The Wright Kids Semifinals
Wright Kids (Semi) - America's Got Talent

home vid

The Wright Kids "Mule Skinner Blues" 2007 Galax Fiddlers

Bill Monroe - Muleskinner Blues The Mall, Wash., DC 1-18-93

Chet Atkins & Jerry Reed - Muleskinner Blues

Me Singing "Mule Skinner Blues"
Mule Skinner Blues
Kentucky Sassafras Muleskinner Blues
Karen Wheeler -- Muleskinner Blues
Rhonda Vincent - Muleskinner Blues
Park Family Bluegrass Band & Britney Caughell, Mule Skinner



At the library, I was looking through the current issue of Entertainment Weekly again, since it has a preview of the Upcoming Fall movies... At the top of my list would be Appaloosa... I haven't read the original novel, but it is supposedly good. I probably should borrow a copy from the library, if there is one available. I 'hope' the movie does well, but for some reason I think it may not live up to the novel. Maybe I don't have confidence in Ed Harris as a director, though I haven't seen Pollock. He is quoted in the EW blurb on the movie that there haven't been many good westerns (recently). I fear that Appaloosa will continue the trend.

Then there are The Road and Tropa de Elite. A movie about the BOPE has some appeal to me, but I already have a bad impression of the government of Brazil. If the reality is that the government has lost control in many areas... well, who needs to watch a movie about that. Sure, there are the police officers who do their best to fight against crime and corruption, but the force of arms can only do so much, when the evil is deeply rooted in a society. afaik the movie asks questions about the rule of law and how much force is justified in such a battle. If it turns out to be too much of a downer I may avoid it.

It would be better to learn more Spanish (or Portuguese) instead... then I could use it to communicate with some of the students. As for The Road... is the portrayal of a father's love enough to balance out the bleak plot? (Does Cormac McCarthy see himself as being of the South? According to his bio, he was raised Catholic. Is he still 'practicing'?)

I wouldn't mind seeing the following with friends, though it is unlikely to happen since they are usually busy: Body of Lies, Quantum of Solace, Traitor. (Pete Takeshi may want to watch Burn after Reading. I still have to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? What do Southrons think of that movie?) If the last 6 months serve as an indicator of the future, I will probably just see two movies between September and the end of December. I don't really care that much... it'd be better to wean myself off Hollywood. Flipping through the magazine I found that there weren't many movies that I thought were worth watching. It's been that way for a while, so this complaint isn't anything new on this blog. I think though that I'm reaching some sort of tipping point.

I was sitting in traffic on the way back to Milpitas. What kind of life would that be, sitting in traffic for 1 to 3 hours everyday? It was one of those days when the emptiness of suburban life was obvious. But what are the alternatives to the lack of community? There is community in a monastery or a seminary, but one does not enter religious life just for the community.

One can sacrifice and make do with less, for the sake of higher goods like friendship and community. Mr. Culbreath is right though, one needs to find others willing to do so, and it's a non-starter if one can't even do it right with one's family. But how many women are willing to embrace the simple life? (See my post on Eric Brende.)

The laity are not called to follow the example of those religious who dedicate themselves wholly to the active life, and even they have need of the friendships they have through their [religious] communities and so on. Still, if there were an alternate school that could serve Catholic students and provide them with some religious formation, I would consider dedicating myself to that. There are a lot of good kids out there who should be receiving more. Everything else looks rather like a futile enterprise at the moment. If I don't have a family, I should at least do something for the next generation. The current generation seems to be beyond persuasion, and I have doubts as to whether any sacrifice of life or limb would be worth it.

Ah well... bridges to cross when I come to them, and not before.

Related links:
Elite Squad - PAPERMAG
Tribeca Review: Elite Squad - Cinematical
The Shield: Season 7 Primer
More Righteous Kill stills
Dumpster Bust Interviews: Robert B. Parker: Part 1, 2, 3

BOPE - O combate
The Analytic Papers, by Robert L. Kocher


The author probably overreaches, but maybe I will read through some of his essays someday.

...from the comments on this thread @ Dr. Helen's blog. (The comments also include praise for Two and a Half Men--for being non-PC, and? Being honest about the failings of members of both sexes and recognizing them as such? "uhm, ok")

In the war between the sexes, there are no victors, only casualties.

Still, Dr. Laura is probably right in recommending using her PCaFoH and a woman's willingness to read it as a gauge of suitability...
Mogambo Guru, A-holes at the J-Hole
After finding an odd stain on the side of one of my teeth, I decided to get a cleaning today. While I was at school this morning, I was able to make an appointment for this afternoon at a certain office in Cupertino--the receptionist asked if I had visited the office before, since she couldn't find a chart. I thought the last time I visited was maybe a year or so ago. Actually, it turns out I hadn't been there for 4 years. hahahah.

The dentist used one of the vibrating scrapers for removing plaque and tartar. I don't know if it was my gums feeling the vibration or something else, but it wasn't that pleasant. (Though not exactly painful, either.) Should I go back in 6 months, or postpone again? heh.

I should see if the stain was removed. Whatever it was, it wasn't a cavity, so that's good. A lot of the students at school have cavities--too much candy or soda or sugar, not enough brushing. Or something.

One of the girls said she didn't want to go to the cafeteria to eat lunch today--she claimed she didn't like the cafeteria food; I don't know why she was crying about it. Did she think someone was going to force her to eat it? I said she could eat one nugget and just share the rest. Her brother was in Miss R's class last year--he was rather sedate when I saw him. She didn't really want to come to school, and was hanging on to her mom this morning, but her mom finally had to leave. She settled down, but was looking sad throughout the day.

CEB was alone during both recesses--not sure what's going on with her.

A apparently has skipped a grade and is now in Mr. B's class. She told me, "Mr. B is mean!" haha Not sure who else is in that class, but I know most of last year's 3rd graders/this year's 4th graders. My guess is that she skipped because maybe she had been held back before (she's ESL). There could be another reason.

I need to remember to bring some pencils tomorrow...

One of the boys who was added to the class on Monday is apparently well-known among his classmates as someone who doesn't listen to directions. (They were in the same kindergarten class as him.) He has been doing work, after learning that I would take away his recess if he didn't do it. (I have to remind him of this consequence several times throughout the day though...)

Given the weather today I'll be sitting in the library for a couple of more horus. But I don't think I will get much done. Bah.

Rhonda Vincent

All American Bluegrass Girl Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
Homecoming Rhonda Vincent and the Rage

Don't Act Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
Little Maggie Darrell Webb Rhonda Vincent

Rhonda Vincent & Vern Gosdin - Streets Of Gold (full song)

Some older clips:
Rhonda Vincent - On Mandolin
Rhonda Vincent and The Sally Mountain Show - Poor Rich Man
Rhonda Vincent and The Sally Mountain Show - I'm Not That Lonely Yet
Rhonda Vincent and The Sally Mountain Show - Have I Loved You Too Late

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Patrick Deneen has been back from his Summer vacation for a while; some commentary on the two campaigns: On Houses and Homelessness

He refers to a piece written by Bill Kauffman earlier this year... The Candidates from Nowhere

Why does this matter? What's wrong with electing competent but rootless people to public office? Because just as one cannot love the "human race" before one loves particular human beings, neither can one love "the world" unless he first achieves a deep understanding of his own little piece of that world. America is not, as the neoconservatives like to say, an idea: it is a place, or rather the sum of a thousand and one little, individuated places, each with its own history and accent and stories. A politician who understands this will act in ways that protect and preserve these real places. A rootless politico will babble on about "the homeland"--a creepily totalitarian phrase that, pre-Bush, was not applied to our country.

People lacking strong identifications with specific places-a block, a village, a city, a state, a region-will transfer their loyalties to abstractions. Woodrow Wilson, a displaced Southern minister's kid, renounced the traditional American practice of neutrality and tossed the First Amendment in the scrap heap in his crusade to "make the world safe for democracy." George W. Bush, the Texan-cum-Yankee prep-school cheerleader, has wasted astronomical sums and thousands of lives in a campaign whose ostensible purpose is to democratize the Middle East and "rid the world of evil." The costs of such grandiose schemes may be measured in billions of dollars and acres of corpses. In addition, political power is centralized, citizens are uprooted, and the economy undergoes wartime distortions. These are reckoned acceptable prices to pay for the achievement of mighty (if ultimately unachievable) abstractions. But democracy was no safer despite the First World War, and I daresay evil will exist long after U.S. troops come home from Iraq.

People with local attachments, by contrast, will ask the question that never quite gets injected into national debates over war and peace: What are the domestic costs of this crusade? Loving their block, they will not wish to bomb Iraq. Loyal to a neighborhood, they will not send its young men and women across the sea to kill and die for causes wholly unrelated to local life.

Losing sight of small and precious things, a president without roots will have no domestic or sentimental reminder of why foreign crusades, whose first casualties are the nearest and dearest things, should never be waged. But don't mind me: I'm just an isolationist.


via Rod Dreher: a new 'conservative' website, (It is edited by James Poulos.)

Appleism is a New Religion by David Kuo
Afghanistan's Most Dangerous Corner by Scott Cunningham
The Global War Against Baby Girls by Joe Carter

Shake, Rattle, and Twang by Cheryl Miller

For most rock bands, trying out a little country twang isn't that huge a departure. Since the early 90s, country has been sounding a lot rockier, thanks to the influence of Garth Brooks and other "New Country" pioneers. Rock's long-standing bread-and-butter — story-driven songs with huge, soaring choruses — is now almost purely the domain of country. Bon Jovi's new Nashville-inspired album, Lost Highway, for example, pays tribute to Hank Williams with its title and New Country with its tunes, but it sounds more like an old-fashioned Bon Jovi album than anything else. It's just that old-fashioned Bon Jovi is now just a chord or two away from country music. As Bon Jovi explained to USA Today about his country move, "That style of music is, to me, what we already have done for 25 years." Don't believe him? Go ahead and dig up your cassette tapes. "Livin' on a Prayer," Bon Jovi's tribute to the working-class love of a waitress and a dockworker, doesn't sound that far off from a Rascal Flatts song — all it's missing is a banjo and a fiddle.

The relation of country to rock today is a little chicken-and-the-egg. Bon Jovi and other rock interlopers are borrowing from bands like Rascal Flatts and Big & Rich for their country debuts, but those bands were already borrowing from them. (And to really confuse matters, the original heartland rockers — Springsteen, Mellencamp, Tom Petty — borrowed from country legends like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard.) All the back-and-forth makes sense from a marketing view; country's predominant demographic — late-30s soccer moms — grew up with posters of hunky rockers in blue jeans on their bedroom walls, and retain a nostalgic fondness for arena rock's finest. So Carrie Underwood does a note-for-note cover of Guns n' Roses hit "Sweet Child of Mine" at her concerts while Sugarland belts out Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" to ecstatic crowds. One of Rascal Flatts's biggest hits is a cover of Tom Cochrane's irresistible 1991 rock ditty, "Life Is a Highway." (Alan Jackson has almost made an entire career out of mocking country's rock pretensions; his 1994 hit, "Gone Country," might be the most famous, but I prefer his 2000 "Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Up-Tempo Love Song.")

But country and rock share more than just some catchy guitar riffs. Country has assumed rock's mantle as music by and for the working class. Mainstream rock used to excel at crafting working-class anthems, songs about the down-and-out: truck drivers, waitresses, factory-workers, and other nine-to-fivers. Bon Jovi had "Livin' on a Prayer," and "It's My Life" (which namechecks "Prayer's" Tommy and Gina). John Cougar Mellencamp ("Check It Out," "Jack and Diane") and Tom Petty penned more than a couple ("I Won't Back Down," "American Girl"). (Both have since released country singles.) But the king of heartland rock is surely Bruce Springsteen, the poet laureate of the working class.
The readers of Chronicles would have much to say about the decline of country music... I wouldn't mind reading more of those comments.

It has potential, but I'd rather read more from GodSpy (will the website ever be updated) or Chronicles... inconsequential commentary can be found on any blog, like this one--after all, everyone has an opinion. But I would expect something more substantial from a 'conservative' website.

$500 toy/replica's review of the Star Trek VI assault phaser. Master Replicas (Limited to 2000 pieces worldwide... my guess is that there are enough Trekkies, I mean, Star Trek fans who would buy it.) I still think it's the best-looking phaser out of the various designs seen in the various series and movies.

Info at
Dr. Fleming on the DNC and the presidential campaign
Rob Hopkins takes on Guitar Hero.

Michael Buble, Spider man

Bizarre! hahaha.

Masanobu Fukuoka on California

From the Plowboy interview (done in 1982! Have things worsened since then?):

PLOWBOY: Several weeks ago you started your American tour in California. Did you see "artificial nature" there, too?

FUKUOKA: It was really a shock for me to see the degenerate condition of California. Ever since the Spanish introduced their grazing cows and sheep, along with such annual pasture grasses as foxtail and wild oats, the native grasses have been all but eliminated. In addition, the ground water there has been overdrawn for agriculture, and huge dams and irrigation projects have interrupted the natural circulation of surface water. Forests have been logged heavily and carelessly, causing soil erosion and damage to streams and fish populations. As a result of all this, the land is becoming more and more arid. It's a dreadful situation . . . because of human intervention, the desert is creeping across the state, but no one will admit it.

PLOWBOY: Do you think the widespread adoption of natural farming techniques could help reverse that process and make California green again?

FUKUOKA: Well, it would take a few years for people to learn how to adjust and refine the weed/ground cover rotation, but I think the soil would improve rapidly if growers really attempted to help it. And if that were done, California could eventually become an exciting, truly natural place . . . where farming could be the joyous activity it should be. But if modern agriculture continues to follow the path it's on now, it's finished. The food-growing situation may seem to be in good shape today, but that's just an illusion based on the current availability of petroleum fuels. All the wheat, corn, and other crops that are produced on big American farms may be alive and growing, but they're not products of real nature or real agriculture. They're manufactured rather than grown. The earth isn't producing those things . . . petroleum is!

PLOWBOY: Haven't you said that you'd view a severe oil shortage as a positive development?

FUKUOKA: Of course. I believe that the sooner our oil supply lines dry up, the better. Then we'll have no choice but to turn to natural agriculture!

PLOWBOY: But the typical "agribiz" farm has hundreds or even thousands of cultivated acres. How could someone apply natural agriculture in such a setting?

FUKUOKA: First of all, there shouldn't be such large spreads. It's unfortunate that, in the modern American agricultural system, a very few people are producing the food for millions of others who live in the cities. In Japan, the average field is smaller than in the United States . . . but its yield per acre is much greater. I can do all the work on my own farm with hand tools, without using power machinery of any kind.

But I guess those mega-farms in your country would need some machinery, at least for harvesting. In the future, though, as more and more people move back to the country and begin to grow their own food on small plots of land, there'll be much less dependence on machines and fossil fuels . . . and natural farming techniques can begin to be used.

PLOWBOY: So you think that it would be feasible to someday adopt natural farming in North America?

FUKUOKA: Of course, of course! When you talk about nature, it doesn't matter whether you're referring to North America or Africa or Indonesia or China . . . nature is nature. After all, modern industrial farming is now being practiced almost everywhere in the world. In the same way, natural farming could be practiced almost everywhere.

I'm just a village farmer who has come visiting from another part of the same world. Through my one-straw research, I've come up with some important clues as to how people can relate to nature and live harmoniously with it . . . wherever they may be.

Masanobu Fukuoka, 1913-2008
Long live 'do-nothing farming'

Tom Philpott, Gristmill

via EB

Road Back to Nature (Amazon)
The Fukuoka Farming website
Masanobu Fukuoka - Greening The Desert

Masanobu Fukuoka's Natural Farming and Permaculture
The Plowboy Interview: Masanobu Fukuoka
An article on the pioneer of organic farming, Masanobu Fukuoka
The Natural Way of Farming: Masanobu Fukuoka

Masanobu Fukuoka, 1913-2008
'Natural' farmer Masanobu Fukuoka passes away at 95
Kurashi - News From Japan: Masanobu Fukuoka: Philosopher of Farming

Masanobu Fukuoka Makes Seed Balls

Hayley Westenra

Hayley Westenra & Dame Malvina Major - Barcarolle

Amigos Para Siempre (w/Jonathan Ansell)

Jonathan Ansell & Hayley Westenra Amigos Para Siempre

Hayley And Connie Sing Ben

Somewhere Hayley Westenra Barbra Striesand Katherine Jenkins

Aled Jones and Hayley Westenra sing All I Ask Of You

Aled Jones and Hayley Westenra sing Ave Maria

Macross Frontier, ep 19 and 20

Macross Frontier - 19 | Random Curiosity
Star Crossed Anime Blog :: Macross Frontier - 19 :: August :: 2008
Macross Frontier 19 | Sea Slugs! Anime Blog
Macross Frontier Episode 19 | Animation Online | Anime World
Yukan Blog! » Blog Archive » Macross Frontier - 19
THAT Animeblog - Macross Frontier 19

Macross Frontier - 20 | Random Curiosity
Macross Frontier 20 | Sea Slugs! Anime Blog
Star Crossed Anime Blog :: Macross Frontier - 20
Macross Frontier - 20 « ARIA Anime アリア アニメ
THAT Animeblog - Macross Frontier 20

Charles Murray, Real Education

A follow-up to this post. Random House page for his book, Real Education.

From TakiMag: Charles Murray, The Bell Curve Tolls for Thee
Richard Spencer, 7 Years of College Down the Drain?

Book TV - FreedomFest 2008: Charles Murray
AEI - Scholars & Fellows
On 'Real Education' - I :: Inside Higher Ed
Interview with Charles Murray: No Nation Left Behind
Mom: "Ring?"

Niece #1: "Wing! I need to buy wing so I can fly up and see Jesus."

"When I grow up I want to be a bird, so I can catch Jesus."

*flap flap* "I want to fly."
The Hermeneutic of Continuity: Engaging book on prayer

Jesus, Teach us to Pray by Fr Jerome Bertram
Kevin Gutzman, Joe Biden’s Constitution
She's happily married, dreaming of divorce

Originally from far as I'm concerned, it's more evidence that the Queen of Self-Absorbed Talk does more harm than good.

via Stony Creek Digest

Edit: Dr. Helen responds.

More 朱咪咪

朱咪咪 - 多多福

Hilarious. mom should hear this.

朱咪咪 - 南屏晚鐘

南屏晚鐘 徐小鳳


風的季節@1982年新秀比賽 (Anita Mui)

朱咪咪/張偉文 - 戲鳳

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just came back from dinner with the sisters @ Casa Vicky's. On the drive back the front passenger window broke. Bah. More repairs... cars are really a _____ nuisance.

(To be more accurate: whatever it is that raises and lowers the window and/or keeps the window in place so it can be raised and lowered is broken.)
The Crunchy Con: Joe Eszterhas and amazing grace

'Basic Instinct' author writes book about faith
Looks like I won't be flying out to Boston tonight. Maybe next week.

Some Contra Dance videos

What is more important? The dancing? Or doing so with the appropriate attire as a sign of respect, both for others and for the traditions of a community? (Not necessarily Regency wear or formal wear, but not casual wear either... Festivity was not an excuse to be a slob, or dress like one.)

Brace yourselves:
Dancing among the stars - 1
Dancing among the stars - 2
Dancing among the stars - 3
Dancing among the stars - 4
Dancing among the stars - 5
Dancing among the stars - 6
Dancing among the stars - 7
Dancing among the stars - 8
Dancing among the stars - 9

Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance; Old-Time Music and Dance Weekend

Contra in Carrboro 8-8-08
St. Louis Youth Contra July 2008
July 2008 Flash Contra
Fiddle Tunes Contra Dance

Fiddle Tunes 08 - Participants Concert - Contra(1of2)
Fiddle Tunes 08 - Participants Concert - Contra(2of2)
Richard Spencer: The Southern Avenger and Me
Discussion and comments @ Rorate Caeli about what Cardinal Kasper said regarding the founder of Taizé.
On Style - Sweet September 01

On Sty;e - Sweet September 01 (Cont'd)
On Style - Sweet September 02
On Style - Sweet September 02 (Cont'd)
On Style - Sweet September 03
On Style - Sweet September 03 (Cont'd)
On Style - Sweet September 04
On Style - Sweet September 04 (Cont'd)
On Style - Sweet September 05
經典重溫 : 劉德華 愛 不 完 MV 1991

Another oldie.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fr. Z: Archbp. Chaput (RC-Denver) vs. Speaker Pelosi (D-CA)
Cardinal Kasper answers the question: Was the Founder of Taizé Protestant, or Catholic?

Sure to elicit critical responses from traditionalists.
Summer went by quickly--was at work for today. One of the teachers went on leave--I heard it was because of a relative, but there's more to it. She also injured her knee, and before that she went on stress leave b/c of the administration.

Public schools! They should be avoided.

Miss B. is no longer teaching at the school. Did she go back to her home state, or did she transfer to another school?

I saw a bunch of the 2nd and 3rd graders from last year today. That was nice.

30 minutes into the school day I was feeling rather bored. Some of it had to do with not having enough sleep. But part of it was just the activities and the number of the students. By the end of the day I was more energetic. But I don't think I could be a primary level teacher. I could handle homeschooling the kids--one is free to space their activities throughout the day, and do other tasks while they are engaged in something. It's another to have to devote one's attention for 8 hours to 20 students of varying abilities. Mass tutoring is not as intellectually engaging as experiencing the world with one's children. (Or even doing so mediately, through pictures or printed words.) At times it does feel more like management than teaching.

Edit: Mom describes niece #2 as ok--she didn't like having a full diaper so she ripped it off in frustration. Fortunately she didn't make a mess on the floor or anything like that when she did so. haha.
NLM: Dr. Alcuin Reid's Forthcoming Work: Continuity or Rupture? A Study of The Liturgical Reform of the Second Vatican Council

Search results...

for English Country Dance... some of the videos I found on the first page of the most recent additions:
Jane Austen Ball Alexandria VA

Tata young • She is A Superstar

An Inside Look at Ballet Shoes - Starring Emma Watson

All That VF Zero version

張智霖 許秋怡 現代愛情故事 MV 1991

Another Karaoke classic. heh.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More from Dr. : Chapter XI: The Just Wage as the Key to Equilibrium

Regarding the "Laws" of Economics

Evidence of bad genealogy at work:

This particular writer, and those trained in his school, which he denies is the German Historical School, but it is, operate from a nominalistic approach. Nominalism, a school of thought begun in the Middle Ages by the Franciscan, William of Ockham, denies that there is any human nature. Therefore, human beings have no necessary consistency in them. In ethics, each person makes up his own code, and the codes can be very much at odds. To a nominalist, everything is will alone, not reason. This is why the writer in question asserts that people are at the “mercy of markets.” To those who think like this, everything is power. Even in moral theology, the reason one obeys the Ten Commandments is that it’s God’s will only, and there is no connection with those commandments and the nature of things. God could have commanded ten other things we were to avoid, and we would be required to obey them, because they are His will, even if they were the opposite of those actually listed. (I am sure many people would not have any trouble with the commandments were that the case) Thus, to those who think in this manner, markets are power, and that’s why there are no laws of economics. That’s why corporations are evil; because money gives them power, which they use to take advantage of others.

Those who adhere to Catholic Social Teaching, and the scholastic theologians who criticize "free-market capitalism" are probably not nominalists. They do not deny the existence of natures. This professor at a Catholic school continues:

The truth of it is that human beings do participate in a common nature, created by God, and this common nature leads people to think and act alike generally speaking. The laws of economics come from this consistency of human nature.

Scholastics and distributists do not assert that there is no human nature, or that human nature is the same for all. What they would assert is that not all have the same desires, and our desires can be shaped by our choices and habits. While we are inclined by our nature to certain goods (God, living in society, procreation, and so on), our desires themselves may become disordered through bad choices, and as a result we become vicious. Our habits, whether good or bad, shape our practical reasoning. Because human beings differ in character, such laws cannot be universalized or absolutized. They remain generalizations resting on presuppositions about the character of the people involved.

On the question of law, as the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas should tell us, the meaning of law is first derived from what is most familiar to us -- human law. Human beings participate in the Eternal Law in a way that the rest of material creation cannot, because human beings have reason (and thus freedom). This participation in the Eternal Law is none other than Natural Law. Other creatures participate in the Eternal Law in so far as they are ruled and measured by it. It seems to me that the physical laws of the modern scientists can be harmonized with this understanding of law; creatures have natures and by these natures they are ordered to certain ends and act accordingly.

But it seems to me to be a mistake to take this notion of law, as it is applied to the rest of material creation, and then apply it back to human beings, when it is the other way around in the order of knowing and naming. To do so obliterates the distinction between human beings and other material creatures and creates confusion with respect to the word law.
Think about the decisions in your life, and see if there are no laws governing your decisions. If gasoline is $.10 per gallon cheaper in the next town, which is 45 minutes away, would you think it is worth it to drive there to get that particular gas, given not only the price but the time involved, and whether it is raining or snowing, and other things that you have to do? Well, you just did a cost-benefit analysis, which every sane human being does in their head many times a day whether they realize it or not. How can anyone say that there are no laws of economics.

Cost-benefit analysis is just an instantiation of practical reasoning. With the goods we desire in mind, we examine the means to achieving them and then decide which means to take. What sort of laws do we use though when deciding? We base our decisions in part on the precepts of Natural Law -- not solely on if-then reasoning. The precepts of Natural Law (including those which are known through human law) are first in "governing our decisions." If-then reasoning is dependent upon what we desire and is the prelude to our weighing the alternatives. But as I've said before, not only are the conclusions reached by the virtuous man and the vicious man different, but how they reason is different. What the virtuous man will consider in his if-then reasoning will not be the same as what is considered by a vicious man, as the goods they desire or the means deemed acceptable will not be the same.
Before I dropped Watcher off at the airport this morning, I took him to Holy Martyrs Korean Catholic Church, over in Sunnyvale. (He likes the convenience of BART, and says the subway in LA doesn't compare.) Everything was in Korean, so naturally I didn't understand the words, though I knew which parts of the Mass were which, and when certain prayers were being said, or the Words of Consecration.

(Still, in an age of print, I do not think it is too high of an ideal for the laity of the Roman rite to know the ordinary parts of the Mass in Latin. As I've said before, I can see why vernacular might be used in certain parts for the sake of the laity. I am puzzled why Fr. Taft thinks the use of hieratic or sacred language in the vernacular is not necessary--I would think that someone who has studied the Byzantine rite would have a different opinion. Fr. Bouyer and Fr. Schmemann, as far as I know, did not advocate the use of an ordinary vernacular in the liturgy. Are there some in the preconciliar liturgical movement who did?)

The priest was wearing a green chasuble that was made of gauze-like material--it reminded me of the outer (black) garment that Chinese officials would wear--that same sort of diaphanous material, whatever it was. Did the chasuble come from Korea, or did it originate here in the U.S.? The priest was wearing a cassock as well, though I am thinking this is just for the liturgy.

He was also hearing confessions before Mass! Wonderful!

The liturgical music was ok, better than what one might here in an English-speaking parish here in the diocese. The alleluia did sound a bit strange when they were rehearsing it before Mass--almost like that music you might here in a gothic horror movie. But it didn't sound the same when they were singing it during the liturgy. Did they switch? Or was I just imagining the difference?

There were maybe 4 or 5 women wearing chapel veils. The 10:30 Mass was another "dead-end," with lots of middle-aged people and greyheads, though Watcher commented, "They have daughters." Hah. Perhaps he would have more of an opportunity to meet young ladies at the 1:00 Mass. (There were a few young families at Mass, some of whom were in the 'cry room.')

What else? Of course, I didn't understand the homily since it was in Korean. The priest was talking about love (sarang), and he even asked the faithful to make a heart with their arms. Not sure if that was a pop culture reference or something else.

I wouldn't go back there without Watcher. I would feel just a bit out of place by myself. Haha.

No kneeling for the consecration. I believe they kneel in Korea. Not sure about LA. Is it because the church doesn't have kneelers? Or because they're following the instructions of the bishop?

I can see why the parish has produced vocations. (Unlike, say, the Chinese community.) I don't know which order the nuns are in, but there were 3 or 4 serving as (extraordinary) Eucharistic ministers, plus some men in cassocks and surplices. Perhaps the community could use a permanent deacon or two. The church itself looks like a converted commercial building, but there are probably those who could use their talents to improve the appearance of sacred space. I didn't see many signs of inculturation (besides the use of a gong at the consecration and the vernacular) -- no Korean sacred art, everything seemed rather Western.

Does the community stick around after Mass for coffee (or tea)? (We had to leave after Communion so Watcher could catch his plane.)

Apparently the construction on the departure side of terminal A at the SJ airport is done? When I drove my mom's acquaintance (the cv, consecrated virgin) to the airport a couple of weeks ago, it was closed off, and I had to drive up to the "international terminal" to drop her off.

Edit. Watcher says they have see-through chasubles down in LA as well. A Korean contribution to the vestment tradition? They might be suitable in hot climates. But I think some traditionalists would have a problem with the material not being fine enough.
NLM: Interview with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith

A surprising recommendation from Alexander Cockburn?

From "Change," "Hope" ... Why They Must be Talking About Joe Biden!:

Face it, if you want to stay true to reason and conscience, the man to vote for is Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate.

Edit: Reaction from Dylan Hales.
Hey Sarge, check out this article from Time: Cocaine Capital (Mexico's Cocaine Capital)

Culiacán - Wikipedia
Bloody Culiacan | Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)

Dixie Chicks - Travelin' Soldier

For Sarge.

Toby Keith - A Little Too Late

Heard this the first time today. Not bad for a Toby Keith song. The MV, on the other hand, is a bit psychotic. (Even if it is funny at the end. Is it another example of the negative portrayal of men as bumbling fools, which one sees in contemporary sitcoms? Or is it just self-deprecating fun?)

Toby Keith - Beer For My Horses

Mission San Jose

I was thinking of dropping by this morning with Watcher, but it doesn't open until 10, so I don't think we'll be doing that. But it's relatively close by, so one of these days I will have to go visit...
does it have a giftshop that sells the cds?

Mission website; California Missions page; Athanasius Schaefer's page.

Is Mission Alehouse worth a visit?

I suppose if I ever visit San Antonio, I'll have to visit Mission San Jose there too.

太極樂隊, 留住我吧