Saturday, November 22, 2008

FPJ: Again, What is the West? by Virgil P. Nemoianu

A review of What is the West? by Philippe Némo in First Things.

'Keep America Beautiful' - The Truth Behind the Commercial

Orion Magazine: The Crying Indian

The Crying Indian - Keep America Beautiful

Pollution: Keep America Beautiful -- Horseback

The soundtrack for the commercials screams, "The 70s!"

'This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land'

Not any more, in certain countries: Food crisis leading to an unsustainable land grab
Sue Branford, Guardian (via EB) --

The world map is being redrawn. Over the past six months, China, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other nations have been buying and leasing huge quantities of foreign land for the production of food or biofuels for domestic consumption. It's a modern day version of the 19th-century scramble for Africa.
It seems that governments (and corporations) are now able to accomplish through the force of money (and a economic system that works to their advantage) what used to take the forms of arms. Land is a common good, and those who inhabit a certain territory have a sort of universal ownership (which is compatible with 'private property rights'). To take what should be employed for the benefit of the natives in order to produce food and other materials to be used by non-natives does seem to be wrong and unjust. But if we subscribe to a simplistic understanding of the right of property, which is not limited by other laws and the common good, then any form of restriction on the sale and purchasing of property by non-natives would seem to be wrong.
LRC Blog: Write Like Toni Morrison, which links to You Too Can Write Like Toni Morrison! by Peter Wood
From NLM, More photos from the Institute of the Good Shepherd, Seminaire Saint Vincent de Paul.
Pete Takeshi reflects on the Star Trek trailer.
There's something just unpleasant about the idea of canon. After all, if there's only one telling of the story that drags on, it's just a franchise. You have to start taking hammer and tongs to continuity to get to the meat of things -- becoming myth.
Commercial story-telling is that must maintain some sort of consistency and continuity (along with quality) in order to keep the fans (who are seeking something to draw themselves out of the normal world, and value good, coherent story-telling accordingly) and generate revenue. Now by trying to broaden the appeal of Star Trek and bring in a greater audience, will the producers alienate the Trekkies/Trekkers?

There have been many versions of the Batman story, but the character has stayed the same, because I believe his origin (and psychological trauma) have been kept the same, even the details of his training have been different. Will we see the same Kirk, Spock, and Bones on-screen? I do not see how Chris Pine's Kirk can be squared with Shatner's, both with regards to their performances and to the fictional timelines of each.

As even some of the fans have noticed, the original cast at least had the semblance of maturity. It does not appear that the same can be said of our Peter Pans in the new Trek. (Yes, that is based on the trailer alone, but given the current state of Hollywood's acting pool, and what Zachary Quinto's acting abilities are like in Heroes, I don't expect the full movie to change this impression.)
Trailer for The Wrestler, via AICN. I haven't seen The Fountain, and I couldn't sit through Darren Aronofsky's other movies, but this one seems like it could be a hit with mainstream America.

Carrie Underwood performs "Stand By Your Man" on Opry Live

Martina McBride, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

on The View

Til I Can Make It On My Own

Rose Garden (Lynn Anderson)

Martina singing with Lynn Anderson on Timeless Special.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Things Children Say... again.

"Teacher, you look like a man today."
"What, I looked like a woman before?"
"No, you didn't dress like a teacher today."
"You dress like someone working in the office."

me: "Who is in this picture?"

I might answer, "Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, God and Man."

The simple and perhaps theologically unsophisticated answer of children does not bother them at all. But it is a scandal to the Jews and the Muslims. And while the answer is true, I was struck by its import.

I have to admit, that I was moved when a mass of the girls came up to give a group hug before the end of school. (But a guy can't cry. haha.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dr Pepper to deliver on its free-soda promise

Beginning Sunday at 12:01 a.m., coupons for a free 20-ounce soda will be available for 24 hours on Dr Pepper's Web site. They'll be honored until Feb. 28.
The Northern Agrarian: From the GW Patriot Blog: Everyone is Wrong About Gay Marriage

On the Transition Town Movement

Premature triumphalism (original)
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report

2 responses:
Premature triumphalism in Transition Town movement?
Carl Etnier, Vermont Commons blog

John Michael Greer wonders whether the Transition Town Movement is engaging in "premature triumphalism." As a part of the initiating group in Transition Town Montpelier, which on Tuesday received official recognition from the international transition folks, I doubt it.

We're happy if people even notice what we're up to.

Responding to Greer’s thoughts on ‘Premature triumphalism’ (original)
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture

With Transition, many people encounter the model, the tools, the Network, and enter what we might call ‘Super Exuberance Mode’, where they feel they have found the One Thing That Will Save Us. Over time, this then calms down, and they become more realistic and grounded, but although that early stage is a powerful experience for many, it also has its inherent dangers.

Transition Towns
Ron Paul Answers your Questions, Part 2 (via LRC blog)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dr. Fleming, To Bail or Bail Out, That is the Question

Julianne was back, but not for long...

My mother said, "Sight pollution," after she saw a clip of the following.

Julianne Hough and Cody Linley Dancing with the stars - salsa

Cody & Julianne week 9

DWTS-S07-Semifinal-CODY LINLEY & JULIANNE HOUGH - Paso doble

Cody & Julianne week 9 part 2

DWTS Cody Linley & Julianne Hough Week 9 Dance 1
DWTS Cody Linley & Julianne Hough Week 9 Dance 2
Julianne Hough and Cody Linley Dancing with the stars Paso Doble

DWTS-S07-Semifinal-The Results- JULIANNE HOUGH - My Hallelujah Song

Julianne Hough performing My Hallelujah Song (DWTS)

DWTS - Julianne sings and Kristie & Mark dance

Cody Linley & Julianne Hough On "Good Morning America"

Cody & Julianne Booted Off DWTS

Jimmy Kimmel with the 9th loser

Jimmy Kimmel with Julianne Hough & Cody Linley

Julianne Hough & Cody Linley on Jimmy Kimmel live after being booted off DWTS

Too bad for Julianne, but I didn't want to see Cody Linley win either.

ET with DWTS - 11-17-08

Julianne Hough-that song in my head (live on Jimmy kimmel)

Julianne Hough "My Hallelujah Song" on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Julianne Hough on ABC Kimmel Live Sing "My Hallelujah Song"
Jimmy Kimmel with DWTS Singer Julianne Hough

Miley Cyrus Interview with Julianne Hough on Red Carpet CMA

Wk8 - Julianne & Derek Hough

Julianne and Derek Hough Perform on "Dancing with the Stars"

Derek and Julianne Hough Great Balls Of Fire


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Twitch: New Trailer for biopic ‘Ip Man’!
Cardinal Points to "Essential" Lay Vocation

Cautions Against 2 Temptations in Living Faith

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2008 ( The lay vocation in the Church is not a series of functions for the non-ordained, but rather an encounter with Christ that transcends all other human activities, says the patriarch of Venice.

Cardinal Angelo Scola said this when he addressed the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which was dedicated to a consideration of John Paul II's apostolic exhortation "Christifideles Laici," some 20 years after its publication.

"The Church cannot be defined in the abstract, but must be based on two focuses: in relation to Christ and his mission, and in relation to the world, to which she is constantly sent," the cardinal said, according to a L'Osservatore Romano report of his address. "The risk of thinking that the Church is an independent reality must be overcome."

The cardinal went on to affirm that the "lay dimension" is essential for the Church.

The lay faithful are called "within each particular Church, to live their specific lay nature, facing the historical circumstances and situations in which they are protagonists," he said.

And in that regard, it is necessary to "overcome the temptations" that contradict this dimension of the Church, but which are very present today, the cardinal contended.

The first temptation consists in enclosing the faith within believing communities, which "does away with the popular dimension of the initial Christian experience," Cardinal Scola suggested. This temptation "is ever greater in areas where publicly living the faith and ecclesial membership is increasingly difficult."

The second temptation, he continued, consists in reducing the Christian faith "to a civil religion or mere ethical cement," an ever greater temptation in Western society "in which civil life is rather exhausted."

"The Church lives her characteristic lay dimension with the simple courage of being the People of God moving through history, the whole of history, giving witness to the beauty of the integral event of Jesus Christ, which in the form of communion, opens eternal salvation to us, giving us 100-fold as a pledge here on earth," the cardinal affirmed.

In this connection, he added that it is necessary to overcome a "theology of the laity" understood only as a "juridical demarcation of the laity's functions within the Church."

"The appropriate way to understand the lay dimension of the Church," Cardinal Scola stated, "is that of an encounter with Christ which transcends all realms of human existence."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Patrick Deneen: Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking

In reaction to Prop. 8?

I wouldn't be surprised, but it could just be typical Hollylwood agitprop. What's does Ronald D. Moore have to do with this 'development'?

AICN: By Admiral Cain’s Treadmill!! Next Month’s Webisodes To Reveal Shocking BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Secrets!!
NLM: Fr. Thompson Receives the Dominican "Sacrae Theologiae Magister"

Check out the photos! (Better than mine, naturally!) More.
TrekMovie: New Star Trek Trailer Online + Official Site Revamped [UPDATE: new TV Spot + Foreign Versions]

Trailer @ Apple. Stuff @ IGN.

I have to admit--the HQ trailer is much better than the LQ versions filmed by zealous fans in the theater, and it did its work, to a point. It just underscores the point that many are making--updated special F/X are not enough to make the Star Trek a hit with the devoted fans--the most important question is whether the characters are what they are supposed to be like (or as the fans imagine them to be). The questions about faithfulness to canon and so on may be less important in comparison, but are serious enough for those fans that their ultimate judgment will take the answers into account. I still side with the naysayers, some of whose comments can be found here and elsewhere.
Bankers Shake Down Congress and the G-20


Sunday, November 16, 2008

B16: On Investing Our Talents

On Investing Our Talents

"The Mistaken Attitude Is That of Fear"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2008 ( Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the Angelus together with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Word of God this Sunday -- the penultimate of the liturgical year -- invites us to be vigilant and active, in awaiting the return of the Lord Jesus at the end of time. The Gospel passage tells the parable of the talents, reported by St. Matthew (25:14-30). The "talent" was an ancient Roman coin of great value and precisely on account of the popularity of this parable it has become synonymous with personal gifts, which everyone is called to develop.

In reality, the text speaks of "a man who, going abroad, called his servants and handed over his goods to them" (Matthew 25:14). The man in the parable represents Christ himself, the servants are his disciples and the talents are the gifts that Jesus gives them. For this reason such gifts, apart from natural qualities, represent the riches that the Lord Jesus has left us as a legacy, so that we bear fruit with them: his Word, deposited in the holy Gospel; baptism, which renews us in the Holy Spirit; prayer -- the "Our Father" -- that we address to God as sons united in the Son; his forgiveness, which he commanded to be brought to all; the sacrament of his immolated Body and his Blood that he poured out. In a word: the Kingdom of God, which is Christ himself, present and living among us.

This is the treasure that Jesus has entrusted to his friends, at the end of his brief life on earth. Today's parable considers the interior attitude with which this gift is accepted and valued. The mistaken attitude is that of fear: The servant who fears his master and fears his return, hides the coin in the ground and it does not produce any fruit. This happens, for example, to those who, having received baptism, Communion, and confirmation bury such gifts beneath prejudices, a false image of God that paralyzes faith and works, so as to betray the Lord's expectations.

But the parable puts greater emphasis on the good fruits born by the disciples who, happy at the gift received, did not hide it with fear and jealously, but made it fruitful, sharing it, participating in it. Indeed, what Christ gives us is multiplied when we give it away! It is a treasure that is made to be spent, invested, shared with all, as the Apostle Paul, that great administrator of Jesus' talents, has taught us.

The Gospel teaching, which the liturgy offers us today, has even entered into the historical and social sphere, promoting an active mentality among Christian populations. But the central message regards the spirit of responsibility with which the Kingdom of God is to be accepted: responsibility toward God and toward humanity. This attitude is perfectly incarnated in the heart of the Virgin Mary who, receiving the most precious of gifts, Jesus himself, offered him to the world with great love. Let us ask her to help us to be "good and faithful servants," so that one day we can take part "in the joy of our Lord."

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the crowds in several languages. In English, he said:]

I extend warm greetings to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Angelus. May your time in Rome be filled with divine blessings of joy and peace. On this third Sunday of November, we remember in a special way all those who have died as a result of traffic accidents. We pray for their eternal rest and for the consolation of their families who grieve their loss. Dear brothers and sisters, I implore everyone - drivers, passengers and pedestrians - to heed carefully the words of Saint Paul in the Liturgy of the Word today: "stay sober and alert". Our behavior on the roads should be characterized by responsibility, consideration and a respect for others. May the Virgin Mary lead us safely along streets and highways throughout the world.

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana