Saturday, December 27, 2008

BCatholic reminds us of this website: Companion of Jesus
Missed this the other day--Hayley Westenra Christmas Carols - Chestnuts Roasting, Silent Night, Away in a Manger
Twitch: Ip Man Review

Friday, December 26, 2008

Theodore Dalrymple, The Quivering Upper Lip

What, exactly, were the qualities that my mother had so admired? Above all, there was the people’s manner. The British seemed to her self-contained, self-controlled, law-abiding yet tolerant of others no matter how eccentric, and with a deeply ironic view of life that encouraged them to laugh at themselves and to appreciate their own unimportance in the scheme of things. If Horace Walpole was right—that the world is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel—the English were the most thoughtful people in the world. They were polite and considerate, not pushy or boastful; the self-confident took care not to humiliate the shy or timid; and even the most accomplished was aware that his achievements were a drop in the ocean of possibility, and might have been much greater if he had tried harder or been more talented.
The Skeptical Doctor: June 2005 Speech: Our Culture, What's Left of It

Jay P. Corrin, Developing the Distributist Program

Developing the Distributist Program: Part One
Developing the Distributist Program: Part Two
Developing the Distributist Program: Part Three
Developing the Distributist Program: Part Four

Stratford Caldecott, After the Disaster: Back to the Family and Localism

A reminder: the debate between Thomas Storck and Michael Novak on economics will be on April 9, 2009 at Nassau Community College.

flier here
The Society for Distributism
Professor Joseph Varacalli -- Inside the Belly of the Beast
G.K. Chesterton The Distributist

The ChesterBelloc Mandate will be posting an interview with Mr. Storck soon.
A.J. Penty, The Obstacle of Industrialism
Wonder Girls - Tell Me + Nobody @ Open Concert 081207

The ajumas are enjoying themselves... heh.

Wonder Girls & Tae Yeon - If Everyone Was An Angel @ Open Concert 081207


The opening for the concert(? -- the second video) reminds me of '80s Japanese and Korean pop idol singers--deliberately cultivated girly innocence on stage. I suppose it goes with the song.
via NLM: Photos of the Liturgy of Saint James the Apostle and Brother of Our Lord being celebrated at the Ruthenian Greek-Catholic Cathedral of Presov, Slovakia

More Links:
CHURCH FATHERS: Divine Liturgy of St. James
The Divine Liturgy - OrthodoxSource
The Divine Liturgy of St. James
Antiochene Rite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eparchies: Antiochene Rite
The Shape of the Liturgy - Google Books
Twitch: Some Thoughts On GHOST IN THE SHELL 2.0

The Pope's Christmas Message to the Curia

Can be found at Pertinacious Papist and Smasher Lagru. Also at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer Blog, LifeSiteNews, and the website for the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Hayley Westenra Christmas Carols - Mary Did You Know? Gabriel's Message, O Holy Night

Martina Mcbride-O Holy Night

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Benedict XVI's Christmas Message

Benedict XVI's Christmas Message

"I Once More Joyfully Proclaim Christ's Birth"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2008 ( Here is a Vatican translation of Benedict XVI's Christmas message, which he delivered from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica today at noon.

* * *

"The grace of God our Saviour has appeared to all" (Tit 2:11, Vulg.)

Dear brothers and sisters, in the words of the Apostle Paul, I once more joyfully proclaim Christ's Birth. Today "the grace of God our Saviour" has truly "appeared to all"!

It appeared! This is what the Church celebrates today. The grace of God, rich in goodness and love, is no longer hidden. It "appeared", it was manifested in the flesh, it showed its face. Where? In Bethlehem. When? Under Caesar Augustus, during the first census, which the Evangelist Luke also mentions. And who is the One who reveals it? A newborn Child, the Son of the Virgin Mary. In him the grace of God our Saviour has appeared. And so that Child is called Jehoshua, Jesus, which means: "God saves".

The grace of God has appeared. That is why Christmas is a feast of light. Not like the full daylight which illumines everything, but a glimmer beginning in the night and spreading out from a precise point in the universe: from the stable of Bethlehem, where the divine Child was born. Indeed, he is the light itself, which begins to radiate, as portrayed in so many paintings of the Nativity. He is the light whose appearance breaks through the gloom, dispels the darkness and enables us to understand the meaning and the value of our own lives and of all history. Every Christmas crib is a simple yet eloquent invitation to open our hearts and minds to the mystery of life. It is an encounter with the immortal Life which became mortal in the mystic scene of the Nativity: a scene which we can admire here too, in this Square, as in countless churches and chapels throughout the world, and in every house where the name of Jesus is adored.

The grace of God has appeared to all. Jesus – the face of the "God who saves", did not show himself only for a certain few, but for everyone. Although it is true that in the simple and lowly dwelling of Bethlehem few persons encountered him, still he came for all: Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, those near and those far away, believers and non-believers… for everyone. Supernatural grace, by God's will, is meant for every creature. Yet each human person needs to accept that grace, to utter his or her own "yes", like Mary, so that his or her heart can be illumined by a ray of that divine light. It was Mary and Joseph, who that night welcomed the incarnate Word, awaiting it with love, along with the shepherds who kept watch over their flocks (cf. Lk 2:1-20). A small community, in other words, which made haste to adore the Child Jesus; a tiny community which represents the Church and all people of good will. Today too those who await him, who seek him in their lives, encounter the God who out of love became our brother – all those who turn their hearts to him, who yearn to see his face and to contribute to the coming of his Kingdom. Jesus himself would say this in his preaching: these are the poor in spirit; those who mourn, the meek, those who thirst for justice; the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness' sake (cf. Mt 5:3-10). They are the ones who see in Jesus the face of God and then set out again, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, renewed in heart by the joy of his love.

Brothers and sisters, all you who are listening to my words: this proclamation of hope – the heart of the Christmas message – is meant for all men and women. Jesus was born for everyone, and just as Mary, in Bethlehem, offered him to the shepherds, so on this day the Church presents him to all humanity, so that each person and every human situation may come to know the power of God's saving grace, which alone can transform evil into good, which alone can change human hearts, making them oases of peace.

May the many people who continue to dwell in darkness and the shadow of death (cf. Lk 1:79) come to know the power of God's saving grace! May the divine Light of Bethlehem radiate throughout the Holy Land, where the horizon seems once again bleak for Israelis and Palestinians. May it spread throughout Lebanon, Iraq and the whole Middle East. May it bring forth rich fruit from the efforts of all those who, rather than resigning themselves to the twisted logic of conflict and violence, prefer instead the path of dialogue and negotiation as the means of resolving tensions within each country and finding just and lasting solutions to the conflicts troubling the region. This light, which brings transformation and renewal, is besought by the people of Zimbabwe, in Africa, trapped for all too long in a political and social crisis which, sadly, keeps worsening, as well as the men and women of the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in the war-torn region of Kivu, Darfur, in Sudan, and Somalia, whose interminable sufferings are the tragic consequence of the lack of stability and peace. This light is awaited especially by the children living in those countries, and the children of all countries experiencing troubles, so that their future can once more be filled with hope.

Wherever the dignity and rights of the human person are trampled upon; wherever the selfishness of individuals and groups prevails over the common good; wherever fratricidal hatred and the exploitation of man by man risk being taken for granted; wherever internecine conflicts divide ethnic and social groups and disrupt peaceful coexistence; wherever terrorism continues to strike; wherever the basics needed for survival are lacking; wherever an increasingly uncertain future is regarded with apprehension, even in affluent nations: in each of these places may the Light of Christmas shine forth and encourage all people to do their part in a spirit of authentic solidarity. If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart.

Dear brothers and sisters, today, "the grace of God our Saviour has appeared" (cf. Tit 2:11) in this world of ours, with all its potential and its frailty, its advances and crises, its hopes and travails. Today, there shines forth the light of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High and the son of the Virgin Mary: "God from God, light from light, true God from true God. For us men, and for our salvation, he came down from heaven". Let us adore him, this very day, in every corner of the world, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a lowly manger. Let us adore him in silence, while he, still a mere infant, seems to comfort us by saying: Do not be afraid, "I am God, and there is no other" (Is 45:22). Come to me, men and women, peoples and nations, come to me. Do not be afraid: I have come to bring you the love of the Father, and to show you the way of peace.

Let us go, then, brothers and sisters! Let us make haste, like the shepherds on that Bethlehem night. God has come to meet us; he has shown us his face, full of grace and mercy! May his coming to us not be in vain! Let us seek Jesus, let us be drawn to his light which dispels sadness and fear from every human heart. Let us draw near to him with confidence, and bow down in humility to adore him. Merry Christmas to all!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Pope's Christmas Eve Homily

Pope's Christmas Eve Homily

"God Dwells on High, Yet He Stoops Down to Us!"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2008 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave at Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down upon the heavens and the earth?" This is what Israel sings in one of the Psalms (113 [112], 5ff.), praising God's grandeur as well as his loving closeness to humanity. God dwells on high, yet he stoops down to us! God is infinitely great, and far, far above us. This is our first experience of him. The distance seems infinite. The Creator of the universe, the one who guides all things, is very far from us: or so he seems at the beginning. But then comes the surprising realization: The One who has no equal, who "is seated on high", looks down upon us. He stoops down. He sees us, and he sees me. God's looking down is much more than simply seeing from above. God's looking is active. The fact that he sees me, that he looks at me, transforms me and the world around me. The Psalm tells us this in the following verse: "He raises the poor from the dust." In looking down, he raises me up, he takes me gently by the hand and helps me to rise from depths towards the heights. "God stoops down". This is a prophetic word. That night in Bethlehem, it took on a completely new meaning. God's stooping down became real in a way previously inconceivable. He stoops down: he himself comes down as a child to the lowly stable, the symbol of all humanity's neediness and forsakenness. God truly comes down. He becomes a child and puts himself in the state of complete dependence typical of a newborn child. The Creator who holds all things in his hands, on whom we all depend, makes himself small and in need of human love. God is in the stable. In the Old Testament the Temple was considered almost as God's footstool; the sacred ark was the place in which he was mysteriously present in the midst of men and women. Above the temple, hidden, stood the cloud of God's glory. Now it stands above the stable. God is in the cloud of the poverty of a homeless child: an impenetrable cloud, and yet a cloud of glory!

How, indeed, could his love for humanity, his solicitude for us, have appeared greater and more pure? The cloud of hiddenness, the cloud of the poverty of a child totally in need of love, is at the same time the cloud of glory. For nothing can be more sublime, nothing greater than the love which thus stoops down, descends, becomes dependent. The glory of the true God becomes visible when the eyes of our hearts are opened before the stable of Bethlehem.

Saint Luke's account of the Christmas story, which we have just heard in the Gospel, tells us that God first raised the veil of his hiddenness to people of very lowly status, people who were looked down upon by society at large: to shepherds looking after their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem. Luke tells us that they were "keeping watch". This phrase reminds us of a central theme of Jesus's message, which insistently bids us to keep watch, even to the Agony in the Garden: the command to stay awake, to recognize the Lord's coming, and to be prepared. Here too the expression seems to imply more than simply being physically awake during the night hour. The shepherds were truly "watchful" people, with a lively sense of God and of his closeness. They were waiting for God, and were not resigned to his apparent remoteness from their everyday lives. To a watchful heart, the news of great joy can be proclaimed: for you this night the Saviour is born. Only a watchful heart is able to believe the message. Only a watchful heart can instil the courage to set out to find God in the form of a baby in a stable. Let us ask the Lord to help us, too, to become a "watchful" people.

Saint Luke tells us, moreover, that the shepherds themselves were "surrounded" by the glory of God, by the cloud of light. They found themselves caught up in the glory that shone around them. Enveloped by the holy cloud, they heard the angels' song of praise: "Glory to God in the highest heavens and peace on earth to people of his good will". And who are these people of his good will if not the poor, the watchful, the expectant, those who hope in God's goodness and seek him, looking to him from afar?

The Fathers of the Church offer a remarkable commentary on the song that the angels sang to greet the Redeemer. Until that moment -- the Fathers say -- the angels had known God in the grandeur of the universe, in the reason and the beauty of the cosmos that come from him and are a reflection of him. They had heard, so to speak, creation's silent song of praise and had transformed it into celestial music. But now something new had happened, something that astounded them. The One of whom the universe speaks, the God who sustains all things and bears them in his hands: he himself had entered into human history, he had become someone who acts and suffers within history. From the joyful amazement that this unimaginable event called forth, from God's new and further way of making himself known -- say the Fathers -- a new song was born, one verse of which the Christmas Gospel has preserved for us: "Glory to God in the highest heavens and peace to his people on earth". We might say that, following the structure of Hebrew poetry, the two halves of this double verse say essentially the same thing, but from a different perspective. God's glory is in the highest heavens, but his high state is now found in the stable: what was lowly has now become sublime. God's glory is on the earth, it is the glory of humility and love. And even more: the glory of God is peace. Wherever he is, there is peace. He is present wherever human beings do not attempt, apart from him, and even violently, to turn earth into heaven. He is with those of watchful hearts; with the humble and those who meet him at the level of his own "height", the height of humility and love. To these people he gives his peace, so that through them, peace can enter this world.

The medieval theologian William of Saint Thierry once said that God -- from the time of Adam -- saw that his grandeur provoked resistance in man, that we felt limited in our own being and threatened in our freedom. Therefore God chose a new way. He became a child. He made himself dependent and weak, in need of our love. Now, this God who has become a child says to us: you can no longer fear me, you can only love me.

With these thoughts, we draw near this night to the child of Bethlehem -- to the God who for our sake chose to become a child. In every child we see something of the Child of Bethlehem. Every child asks for our love. This night, then, let us think especially of those children who are denied the love of their parents. Let us think of those street children who do not have the blessing of a family home, of those children who are brutally exploited as soldiers and made instruments of violence, instead of messengers of reconciliation and peace. Let us think of those children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatized in the depths of their soul. The Child of Bethlehem summons us once again to do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children; to do everything possible to make the light of Bethlehem touch the heart of every man and woman. Only through the conversion of hearts, only through a change in the depths of our hearts can the cause of all this evil be overcome, only thus can the power of the evil one be defeated. Only if people change will the world change; and in order to change, people need the light that comes from God, the light which so unexpectedly entered into our night.

And speaking of the Child of Bethlehem, let us think also of the place named Bethlehem, of the land in which Jesus lived, and which he loved so deeply. And let us pray that peace will be established there, that hatred and violence will cease. Let us pray for mutual understanding, that hearts will be opened, so that borders can be opened. Let us pray that peace will descend there, the peace of which the angels sang that night.

In Psalm 96 [95], Israel, and the Church, praises God's grandeur manifested in creation. All creatures are called to join in this song of praise, and so the Psalm also contains the invitation: "Let all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes" (v. 12ff.). The Church reads this Psalm as a prophecy and also as a task. The coming of God to Bethlehem took place in silence. Only the shepherds keeping watch were, for a moment, surrounded by the light-filled radiance of his presence and could listen to something of that new song, born of the wonder and joy of the angels at God's coming. This silent coming of God's glory continues throughout the centuries. Wherever there is faith, wherever his word is proclaimed and heard, there God gathers people together and gives himself to them in his Body; he makes them his Body. God "comes". And in this way our hearts are awakened. The new song of the angels becomes the song of all those who, throughout the centuries, sing ever anew of God's coming as a child -- and rejoice deep in their hearts. And the trees of the wood go out to him and exult. The tree in Saint Peter's Square speaks of him, it wants to reflect his splendour and to say: Yes, he has come, and the trees of the wood acclaim him. The trees in the cities and in our homes should be something more than a festive custom: they point to the One who is the reason for our joy -- the God who for our sake became a child. In the end, this song of praise, at the deepest level, speaks of him who is the very tree of new-found life. Through faith in him we receive life. In the Sacrament of the Eucharist he gives himself to us; he gives us a life that reaches into eternity. At this hour we join in creation's song of praise, and our praise is at the same time a prayer: Yes, Lord, help us to see something of the splendour of your glory. And grant peace on earth. Make us men and women of your peace. Amen.

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

I introduced Sarge to Wonder Girls (wiki):
Nobody MV

Wonder Girls - Nobody 5-in-1 (Remix ver.) @ 23rd Golden Disk Awards 081210

Wonder Girls - Nobody Live HQ 081005

MBC Campus Song Festival - Wonder Girls special stage,081004

Wonder Girls - M.Net Wide Interview 081126 Part 1/3 (en)

Wonder Girls - M.Net Wide Interview 081126 Part 2/3 (en)

Wonder Girls - M.Net Wide Interview 081126 Part 3/3 (en)

10 years ago we had Finkl, Baby Vox, SES... now it's Wonder Girls and Girls Generation (and some other less popular groups). I think girl (and boy) groups will be around on the KPop scene for a little bit longer.
Thomas Fleming, Oresteia V: The Eumenides–Background
As far as I can tell, the only two radio stations playing Christmas songs (all day long, and without commercials as well) are the Country music stations. What does that say about the Bay Area?

Merry Christmas!

Jyrki Pouta:

Source of the following:

Brian "Nikolai" Tsai

Bill Adamantidis:

Lasha Kintsurashvili:

Another @ The Festival Icons of the Orthodox Tradition. Lu Bro. A Russian icon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Almost as Good as Being "Natural"

From Female First (via Mish):
Beauty Buzz: Go Nude!

Monday (22nd) 15:00

With winter winding down and spring fast approaching, we though we'd share with you some beauty news which is set to take next year by storm. Yes, that's right it's time to bare all and go nude.

No, we don't mean stripping in public and converting to naturism or anything like that! This sort of 'nude' requires you stripping back your beauty regime and going back to basics.

For starters, give your nails a rest from all the heavy colouring that they've gone through this party season and strip them bare. Nude nail varnishes are set to be huge, so treat yourself to a manicure and invest in a sheer coating.
Comment on this Article

Next, concentrate on taking your make-up routine back a few steps, so that you're not layering on foundation and powder on each day, in addition to the heavy eye and lip make-up.

In winter, we naturally layer up for comfort and warmth, but around March time the weather starts to brighten up, thus signaling the need for a make-up overhaul.

Invest in a tinted moisturiser for the spring and summer months, instead of a foundation and switch your heavy black mascara for either clear or brown.

Lastly, instead of sticky lip gloss bag yourself a fruity lip balm or Vaseline, which will keep your lips healthy and moisturised without looking too overdone.

Your eyebrows will also be a victim of this beauty overhaul, as big brows are set to be very in fashion next year, so ditch the heavy tweezing and instead model your brows on someone like Jennifer Connolly or Rachel Weisz.

Our final nude suggestion for the New Year is to do something so radical and unheard of that you may need to sit down and take deep breaths. That's right, it's time to ditch the fake tan.

Now, as scary as it may seem, next year will see us ditching the St Tropez and embracing the pale look, as was sported on the catwalks this year. So apart from us saving bucket loads of money, it will officially be 'in' to be pale this spring...don't say we didn't warn you!
Adapting for the sake of frugality isn't the same as modesty, but maybe it will change how people conceive of beauty, though I think older women will continue to try to compete with younger women, and look youthful.
The Regionalist: Carolina Is For Pig-Lovers, by Bill Kauffman

Mr. Kauffman reviews a book about N. Carolina BBQ.

North Carolina Barbecue
North Carolina Barbecue Society
North Carolina Pork BBQ Recipes
Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Recipe : : Food Network
Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce - Allrecipes
NC Travel: North Carolina Barbecue
NC Barbecue Musings
Western North Carolina Barbeque Festival Maggie Valley
Column: Is North Carolina's BBQ controversy settled?
Western North Carolina Barbecue Slaw
Opting out of China's rat race by Chris Hogg, BBC News (via EB)

GL, The Barn Raising

The barn raising
Gene Logsdon,
"... what followed in the wake of the tornado during the next three weeks was just as awesome as the wind itself. In that time — three weeks — the forest devastation was sawed into lumber and transformed into four big new barns. No massive effort of bulldozers, cranes, semi-trucks, or the National Guard was involved. The surrounding Amish community rolled up its sleeves, hitched up its horses and did it all. Nor were the barns the quick-fix modern structures of sheet metal hung on posts stuck in the ground. They were massive three-story affairs of post-and-beam framing, held together with hundreds of hand-hewn mortises and tenons."

I saw the first Gundam movie on Monday, and Char's Counterattack last night. The animation quality of the latter has held up ok; the first one is rather dated--I believe it did feature recycled footage from the TV series. While some of the physics shown in the movie may have been wrong, I did find the action sequences entertaining. I can see why Amuro and Char have been fan favorites, but I found the adolescents Quess and Hathaway rather annoying. As for the death of various characters--I read somewhere (I think it might have been a discussion of BSG) that deaths are important for good drama. Maybe I'm getting a bit more sensitive with age, and that is the reaction one would want to elicit in trying to present an anti-war message. But I did find at least two of the deaths needless, not because 'war is futile,' but because the deaths would have been avoided if certain characters had more sense.

As for the ending, with the enhanced psychic abilities of the Newtypes bolstering the power of the Nu Gundam to prevent the piece of Axis from colliding with Earth... since I don't believe in psychic abilities I found it rather dumb, even if these abilities are the next stage of human evolution in the Gundam universe and emphasize the importance of having humanity, benevolence, etc.

Char's counter attack gundam 0093 commercial preview
John Médaille, The Health Care System and the Guilds

What would make the guilds more effective? A 'centralized' economy or decentralized local economies?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fr. Rutler, Unprepared for spiritual battle (via Pertinacious Papist)
The Pacific Collegium Choir sings for St. Margaret Mary's in Oakland. (They will be at the High Mass on Christmas Eve--carols at 11:30 P.M., Mass at 12.) Interesting.

The Miraculous Staircase

Info about the staircase. History of the Loretto Chapel. It's a pity that it is no longer a Catholic building, but a private museum. We'll find out on the Last Day who was responsible for its construction.

Has someone, a civil engineer or physicist, done a study of the forces/tensions affecting the staircase and how they are relieved/dissipated?

Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Loretto Chapel (via Stephen Hand)

English translation of Charter 08

Apparently some have recently gotten a warning that the translation I provided in this post may be attempting to infect computers with malicious software. (I haven't checked it today--if this is the case, who is responsible? The site owners? Hackers? The Chinese government?)

There's another translation here.
Please pray for the health of KK and her son. Thank you!
Karen De Coster, Consumer Kids and Their Plastic Lives
A 4-part series from Michael Sheuer at Asia Times:
Part 1: Syria: Terror's made-to-order milieu
Part 2: Lebanon: Last stop on a jihad highway

Today's entry: MUJAHIDEEN BLEED-THROUGH, Part 3 -- Jordan: Al-Qaeda clouds a precarious future
Zenit: Pontiff Calls for "Ecology of Man"
Warns Against New Theories of "Gender"

I haven't seen a copy of the Holy Father's Christmas Message to the Curia (not sure if this is where it would be posted), but here are some links to posts by Fr. Z on it:
NCRep’s John Allen on the Pope’s annual address to the Curia
Benedict XVI’s Christmas address to the Roman Curia
Chuck Spinney, The New York Times Flames Out in Defense Dogfight
CSM: A surge of Special Forces for Afghanistan likely

(The headline for the same article on ATT/Yahoo: Green Beret deployment to Afghanistan sparks controversy)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dr. Fleming: Oresteia IV: Athenian Democracy

A fascinating account of the early tribal society of Attica, and its change into Athenian democracy.

The Unity of the Virtues

Is it possible for the virtue of justice to be undermined through the acquisition of other vices? St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the virtues are united--one must have all in order to have any single one. So to have a vice would seem to entail that one cannot have any virtue (or at least to a perfect degree, even at the 'natural' or 'imperfect' level, since all are dependent upon right reason, and vice is the undermining of right reason?).

It also seems to be that the devil works against love of God, and to keep us in the state of mortal sin once we are in it. Does this carry over to the hatred of others? If we lose charity, we cannot have the supernatural love of neighbor. But would the devil also work to destroy any natural love of neighbor that we might have? Should the legislator take into consideration the existence of 'spiritual combat' and its consequences? Or look exclusively at human factors?

If the virtues are one, then it seems that there is some basis for legislating against some "private vices," even if they apparently harm no one else but us. First, we do not belong to ourselves, but to the community, and so I would think that anything that would prevent us from fulfilling our duties towards the community could be prohibited. And secondly, if we can be lead to even greater vices, such as injustice, by having intemperance of some sort, then the ruler would have reason to promote temperance, for the sake of justice. Also, the ruler could prohibit influences or material goods that encourage or facilitate vice. (For example, while solitary sins against chastity by males should not proscribed, since it seems that it is difficult for the majority to avoid them, things that would foster the development of this bad habit [i.e. vice] could be banned.)
Heroes webisode--

I don't watch the series; I think will eventually be cancelled, though I don't know if it is getting 'good enough' ratings or not. What do you think of the clip, Sarge?
Fatih Birol interview on Youtube for the film "PetroApocalypse Now?"
Andrew Evans, Aceditor Ltd
The Doctor Who's Who: Every previous Time Lord will appear in Christmas special

New G.I. Posters

source (includes a poster of the Baroness, which I didn't post)

How many vets were involved in the creation of the comic book? The whole thing seems a bit silly now--I can't remember the codename for the "Ranger specialist." There was also "Grunt"--you can guess what his specialty was. (The cartoon was much worse than the comic book, in terms of realism.) But I was reminded of the upcoming live-action movie by someone's desire to go to Ranger school and eventually try out for CAG. Think you're good enough to be a Joe? Heh.
I think Snake Eyes was the most popular character--a commando & a ninja, wearing a cool outfit.
Duke looks like another pretty boy trying hard to look tough. More pictures from the movie here.
Apparently the comic book is getting a reboot.
Twitch: John Woo’s RED CLIFF 2 Trailers O’Plenty
The Reasons Why Marriage is Inherently Heterosexual, by Patrick Lee


On the Angelus

On the Angelus

"Allows Us to Relive the Decisive Moment When God Knocked at Mary's Heart"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2008 ( Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday's Gospel presents to us once again the account of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), the mystery to which we return every day in reciting the Angelus. This prayer allows us to relive the decisive moment when God knocked at Mary's heart and, having received her "yes," began to take flesh in her and from her. The collect prayer of today's Mass is the same prayer that is recited at the end of the Angelus: "Lord, fill our hearts with your love, and as you revealed to us by an angel the coming of your Son as man, so lead through his suffering and death to the glory of his resurrection." With the feast of Christmas just a few days away, we are invited to fix our gaze upon the ineffable mystery that Mary carried for nine months in her virginal womb: the mystery of God who becomes man. This is the first hinge of Redemption. The second is Jesus' death and resurrection, and these two inseparable hinges manifest a single divine plan: to save humanity and its history, assuming it to the very end by completely taking on all the evil that oppresses it.

Beyond the historical dimension of this mystery of salvation, there is a cosmic dimension: Christ is the sun of grace who, with his light, "transfigures and inflames the universe with expectation" (Liturgy). The time of the Christmas feast is linked with the winter solstice, when the days of the northern hemisphere begin to get longer again. In this connection, perhaps not many people know that St. Peter's Square is a meridian: the great obelisk, in fact, casts its shadow upon a line that runs along the pavement toward the fountain below this window, and in these days the shadow is the longest of the year. This reminds us of the function of astronomy in marking the times of prayer. The Angelus, for example, is recited in the morning, at noon and in the evening. The meridian, which in the past served for helping one to know " true noon," was the standard for clocks.

The fact that the winter solstice occurs precisely today, Dec. 21, at this exact hour, gives me the opportunity to greet all those who are participating in various ways in the events of the International Year of Astronomy, 2009, marking the 4th centenary of Galileo Galilee's first observations with his telescope. There have been practitioners of this science among my predecessors of venerable memory, such as Sylvester II, who taught it, Gregory XIII, to whom we owe our calendar, and St. Pius X, who knew how to build solar clocks. If the heavens, according to the beautiful words of the psalmist, " narrate the glory of God" (Psalm 19 [18], 2), even the laws of nature, which in the course of centuries many men and women of science have helped us to understand better, are a great stimulus to contemplating the works of the Lord with gratitude.

Let us return now to contemplating of Mary and Jesus, who await the birth of Jesus, and learn from them the secret of recollection for tasting the joy of Christmas. Let us prepare to welcome with faith the Redeemer who comes to be with us, the Word of God's love for humanity of every age.

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

I am happy to greet the [49] new priests of the Legionaries of Christ, who received ordination at the hands of Cardinal Angelo Sodano yesterday at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Dear friends, may the love of Christ that moved St. Paul in his mission always animate your ministry. I bless you and your loved ones from my heart!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[In Italian, he said:]

I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims gathered for this Angelus. In today's liturgy, we recall how the Virgin Mary was invited by the Angel to conceive the one in whom the fullness of divinity would dwell: Jesus, the " Son of the Most High". As we prepare to celebrate his birth, let us not be afraid to say " Yes" to the Lord, so that we may join Our Lady in singing his goodness forever. May God bless all of you!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Went up to Oakland this morning for a visit with Bro. B... afterwards I picked up my mom and we headed to SF to visit KK, who delivered early this morning. My nephew is a premie, he wasn't expected until next month, but he and his mother are doing fine. Of course, he's small! Light brown hair... I'm not sure what color eyes he has. He is probably waiting for the opportunity to try his mom's food. haha.