Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sarge knew 2 of the SF soldiers who were killed. Please pray for them and all of our fallen soldiers.
Nova et Vetera has moved from Ave Maria U. to the Augustine Institute. More portents about the future of AMU? Or is the editorial board just being prudent? What of the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal?
Fr. Z: Just Too Cool: College kids build space camera for $148

And he alerts us to the Latin edition of Caritas in veritate.
PJB, Globalism vs. Americanism

(See the comments by Mr. Piatak and Dr. Wilson.)
Washington Times: Millions go to signs flagging stimulus projects
Over GOP objections, Senate votes to keep road signs

I've seen one of these signs -- right after entering the junction to 280N from 880. When I saw the sign I couldn't believe it. Just a reminder of how the government is wasting money, instead of doing something to reform the political economy and to shore up manufacturing.
Byzantine chant - With a sign by the authority of God

Friday, September 18, 2009

St. Thomas More on choosing a wife

“And so, my friend, if you desire to marry, first observe what kind of parents the lady has. See to it that her mother is revered for the excellence of her character which is sucked in and expressed by her tender and impressionable little girl. Next, see to this: what sort of personality she has: how agreeable she is. Let her maidenly countenance be calm and without severity. But let her modesty bring blushes to her cheeks… Let her glances be restrained; let her have no roving eye… Let her be either just finishing her education or ready to begin it immediately… Armed with this learning, she would not yield to pride in prosperity, nor to grief in distress – even though misfortune strike her down.” (Monti, p48, To Candidus: how to choose a wife, poem number 143. Complete works of St Thomas More, 3/2:185-7)

(via Stephen Hand; see also this blog)
E. F. Schumacher at Michigan State - Part 1

Parts 2 and 3.
ACORN and the Catholic Church: A Legacy of Big Hearts and Small Brains by Ryan Ellis

See also the American Papist, Important: As Acorn gets Axed, it's time to toss CCHD in the fire too

Catholic Campaign for Human Development
The Post-Bubble Malaise By MIKE WHITNEY
Zenit: Letter of Support for Christopher West
Signed by Cardinal Rigali, Bishop Rhoades

Unsolicited? Or not?


The San Jose Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival starts on Sunday. (With the first group of concerts for the SFEMS's 2009-10 season taking place next weekend (September 25-7), and the Feria del Mariachi taking place on Sunday the 27th, I may for once be actually busy.)

Comcast Newmakers: Upcoming 2009 San Jose Mariachi Festival

San Jose Female Mariachi Pioneers - Part 1

San Jose Female Mariachi Pioneers - Part 2

Miscellaneous links:
Mariachi San Jose

GSG9 in Training

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Narcissism Epidemic

Lucy Taylor, The ego epidemic: How more and more of us women have an inflated sense of our own fabulousness

The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement
Simon & Schuster
Google Books

Jean Twenge
Dr. Michael Horton, The Narcissism Epidemic
The Narcissism Epidemic -- Radio Smart Talk, Thursday, June 11

Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now
An author of The Narcissism Epidemic explores why today's kids—and adults—feel so entitled

Dr. Twenge's previous book, Generation Me (GB).
Why are younger Americans so miserable?
Generation Me Weblog
Jean Twenge Q&A
Generation Me vs. You Revisited

Britain's Queen Elizabeth poses for a regimental photograph during during a visit to The Queen's Royal Lancers at Catterick Army Base, in northern England on September 12, 2009. During the visit the Queen presented the Elizabeth Cross to the families of six members of the Regiment who died on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Queen poses for a Regimental photograph during her visit to The Queen's Royal Lancers at Catterick Garrison North Yorkshire SUNDAY TIMES/ROYAL ROTA. (Reuters/Daylife)
Benedict XVI on On Symeon the New Theologian:
Symeon focuses his reflection on the presence of the Holy Spirit in those who are baptized and on the awareness they must have of this spiritual reality. Christian life -- he stresses -- is intimate and personal communion with God; divine grace illumines the believer's heart and leads him to the mystical vision of the Lord. In this line, Symeon the New Theologian insists on the fact that true knowledge of God stems from a journey of interior purification, which begins with conversion of heart, thanks to the strength of faith and love; passes through profound repentance and sincere sorrow for one's sins; and arrives at union with Christ, source of joy and peace, invaded by the light of his presence in us. For Symeon, such an experience of divine grace is not an exceptional gift for some mystics, but the fruit of baptism in the life of every seriously committed faithful -- a point on which to reflect, dear brothers and sisters!

This holy Eastern monk calls us all to attention to the spiritual life, to the hidden presence of God in us, to honesty of conscience and purification, to conversion of heart, so that the Holy Spirit will be present in us and guide us. If in fact we are justly preoccupied about taking care of our physical growth, it is even more important not to neglect our interior growth, which consists in knowledge of God, in true knowledge, not only taken from books, but interior, and in communion with God, to experience his help at all times and in every circumstance.

Perhaps the generalization is ultimately invalid, but this assessment about women, especially women bloggers, seems to be justified, if you just take a look at what's on the internet -- both independent websites and blogs associated with various media outlets. You don't even need to stop there -- look at The View and daytime talk shows. Even partisan pundits appearing on PBS and cable news fall under this judgment.* There are some exceptions to it, and most of those exceptions whose blogs I read are devout Catholic women. Is there a connection?

*With regards to televised or radio punditry, most of the men who are paid to give their opinion are intellectually weak as well; the low quality of the programming is not merely a problem with the format or just due to the limitations of soundbites. However, on the Internet you do find alternative voices. But corporate America is not willing to give them an opportunity to speak or write on their dime.

Perhaps there is some misogyny involved with that post. I have to say, that once one has seen enough stupidities of both the male and female variety, there is a strong temptation to misandry and misogyny.
Taking a more careful look at the website for St. Joe's, I see that Ron Hansen is now deacon there... (it makes sense, I believe he lives in Cupertino now). Which liturgy does he serve... 9:30 Sunday? I don't know where he was living before--is he surprised by the number of Asians living in Cupertino?
The Filmmakers vs. the Capitalists

“The Corporation” begins by tracing the birth of the corporation and its rise to “personhood” status. Prior to the Civil War, corporations were restrained by having their charters issued by states for specific purposes and terms. If corporations engaged in illegal acts, their charters could be revoked. But following the passage of the 14th Amendment, which provided that no state could “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” the corporations aggressively sought to gain personhood status for themselves. The film notes that while 600,000 people died in the Civil War to give rights to people, from 1890 to 1910 the U.S. Supreme Court heard 307 cases under the 14th Amendment: 288 came from corporations; 19 by African Americans. (The pivotal case the corporations use to cite their legal personhood is the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific.)
The Corporation Film: Welcome

The Corporation - Mark Achbar Interview

The Corporation Movie Trailer

Robert Weissman, The Financial Crisis, One Year Later
JMG, "Daydreams of Destruction"

The difficulty here is that faith in the prospect of a better future has been so deeply ingrained in all of us that trying to argue against it is a bit like trying to tell a medieval peasant that heaven with all its saints and angels isn’t there any more. The hope that tomorrow will be, or can be, or at the very least ought to be better than today is hardwired into the collective imagination of the modern world. Behind that faith lies the immense example of three hundred years of industrial expansion, which cashed in the cheaply accessible fraction of the Earth’s fossil fuel reserves for a brief interval of abundance so extreme that garbage collectors in today’s America have access to things that emperors could not get before the industrial revolution dawned.

That age of extravagance has profoundly reshaped – in terms of the realities of human life before and after our age, a better word might be “distorted” – the way people nowadays think about very nearly anything you care to name. In particular, it has blinded us to the ecological realities that provide the fundamental context to our lives. It’s made nearly all of us think, for example, that unlimited exponential growth is possible, normal, and good, and so even as the disastrous consequences of unlimited exponential growth slam into our society one after another like waves hitting a sand castle, the vast majority of people nowadays still build their visions of the future on the fantasy that problems caused by growth can be solved by still more growth.

The distorted thinking we have inherited from three centuries of unsustainable growth crops up in full force even among many of those who think they’re reacting against it. Activists at every point on the political spectrum have waxed rhetorical for generations about the horrors the future has in store, to be sure, but they always offer a way out – the adoption of whatever agenda they happen to be promoting – and it leads straight to a bright new tomorrow, in which the hard limits of the present somehow no longer seem to apply. (Take away the trope of “the only way to rescue a better future from the jaws of imminent disaster” from today’s activist rhetoric, for that matter, and in most cases there’s very little left.)

Still, the bright new tomorrow we’ve all been promised is not going to arrive. This is the bad news brought to us by the unfolding collision between industrial society and the unyielding limits of the planetary biosphere. Peak oil, global warming, and all the other crises gathering around the world are all manifestations of a single root cause: the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet. They are warning signals telling us that we have gone into full-blown overshoot – the state, familiar to ecologists, in which a species outruns the resource base that supports it – and they tell us also that growth is not merely going to stop; it’s going to reverse, and that reversal will continue until our population, resource use, and waste production drop to levels that can be sustained over the long term by a damaged planetary ecosystem.

That bitter outcome might have been prevented if we had collectively taken decisive action before we went into overshoot. We did not do so, and at this point the window of opportunity is firmly shut. Nearly all the proposals currently being floated to deal with the symptoms of our planetary overshoot assume, tacitly or otherwise, that this is not the case and we still have as much time as we need. Such proposals are wasted breath, and if any of them are enacted – and some of them very likely will be enacted, once today’s complacency gives way to tomorrow’s stark panic – the resources poured into them will be wasted as well.

This is one of the reasons it seems crucial to me to keep coming back to the hard facts of our predicament: our limited resources and even more limited time need to be directed toward projects that might actually do some good. Still, there’s another side to this repeated insistence on an unwelcome reality, and the best way to explore that is to glance back at one of the responses to last week’s post.
Jesse James, Know Your Enemy: Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

Aristotle the "Communitarian"

From The Politics (trans. Peter Simpson), 3.9:
[1280a25] For suppose people came together and shared in common for the sake of possessions; then they would have as much share in the city as they also had of property, and the oligarchic argument would, as a result, seem a strong one. Certainly it is not just that one who has contributed a single mina to a sum of one hundred minas should have equal shares in that sum, either of the capital or of the proceeds, with one who has contributed all the rest.

It is not the case, however, that people come together for the sake of life alone but rather for the sake of living well. Otherwise, there would be a city of slaves and the other animals, whereas in fact there is not, because these share neither in happiness nor in a life lived according to deliberate choice.

Nor do people come together for the sake of an alliance to prevent themselves from being wronged by anyone, nor again for purposes of exchange and mutual utility [liberalism, any one?]. Otherwise, the Etruscans and Carthaginians and all those who have treaties with each other would be citizens of one city. True, they have agreements about imports, treaties about refraining from injustice, and written compacts about military alliance, but there are no offices that they all have in common set up to deal with these matters; instead, each has different ones. Nor are they concerned about what each other's character should be, not even with the aim of preventing anyone subject to the agreements from becoming unjust or acquiring a single depraved habit. They are concerned only that they should not do any wrong to each other. But all those who are concerned about a good state of law concentrate their attention on political virtue and vice, from which it is manifest that the city truly and not verbally so called must make virtue its care.

For otherwise the community becomes an alliance that differs only in location from other alliances (those between allies who are far away), and the law becomes a treaty and a guarantor, as Lycophron the sophist said, of each other's rights [I need to look up the original Greek for this word], but not such as to make the citizens good and just. And that this is how things stand is manifest. For if one were to bring the cities of the Megarians and Corinthians together geographically such that they touched at their walls, still it would not be one city. Nor would it be so even if they intermarried with each other (though this practice is one of the ways of sharing together that is peculiar to cities). The same would be true if there were some who, while having separate dwellings, were nevertheless not at so great a distance that they shared nothing in common but had laws about not doing each other wrong in their commercial dealings (say, if one was a carpenter, another a farmer, another a shoemaker, another something else of the sort, and their number was 10,000). Not even in this case would there yet be a city if they shared nothing else in common besides such things as exchange and alliance. But why ever not? Surely not because of alack of physical proximity in their community. For suppose that, while sharing things in common in this way, they were to join together but everyone used his own household like a city and came to each other's aid only against wrongdoers, as in a defensive alliance. Even then, if one reflected accurately on the case, they would not seem to be acity, so long, that is, as they went on associating in the same way when together as when apart.

It is manifest, then, that a city is not a matter of sharing a place in common or for the purpose of not doing each other wrong and for commerce [There is more to political, or communal, life than these!]. Rather, while these things must be present if there is to be a city, not even when they all are present is there yet a city, but only when households and families form a community in living well for the sake of a complete and self-sufficient existence. Such life will not be possible, however, unless they do inhabit and the same location and engage in intermarriage. That is why in cities marriage connections arose, as well as clans and sacrifices and the cultured pursuits involved in living together. Such things are the work of friendship, for the deliberate choice to live together is friendship. The end, then of the city is living well, but these other things are for the sake of the end, and a city is the community of families and villages in a complete and self-sufficient life, which, we say, is living happily and nobly.

So the political community must be set down as existing for the sake of noble deeds and not merely for living together. Hence those who contribute most to such a community have more of a share in the city than those who are equal or greater in freedom or family but unequal in political virtue, or than those who exceed in wealth but are exceeded in virtue.
Here you can read what would be Aristotle's fundamental critique of the American way of life--the question of how to balance the power of various classes and so on is subordinate to the end: why do people live in common? And what preserves this life?

Aristotle contrasts an alliance between separate polities with the true polity, its way of life and constitution. The United States started out as a confederation of republics, but what has resulted is increasing social fragmentation (along with the loss of sovereignty). We may have some legacy of "cultured pursuits" but these, like social capital, tradition, culture, and the virtues, are inherited from preceeding generations, and they are steadiliy losing their meaning, influence, and power to bind.
Pepe Escobar, Fifty questions on 9/11 and More questions on 9/11

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and the report(pdf)

Will the skeptics and truthers ever find satisfaction in their lifetimes? Dr. Fleming writes:

The “fact” is, the “truth” is, we have published columns on this subject by Paul Craig Roberts, who has become a regular contributor to Chronicles. Whether he is right or wrong, I have no way of knowing. Even if I spent the rest of my life on this subject, I would probably never know enough to make a conclusive statement. And I don’t really care.

Let us suppose there was a conspiracy, involving either the Bush administration or Israel or both. What does this tell me about politicians in Washington and Tel Aviv? That they are willing to kill large numbers of people in order to gain and hold power and/or do what they want to do? What a revelation. 911 is a pretty small drop compared with the rivers of innocent blood that has been shed in recent decades. If Bush-Cheney did arrange this, it is small potatoes compared with the Iraqis and Afghans they have killed.

Les dialogues des carmelites "Final Scene" by Poulenc

Georges Bernanos

The Song at the Scaffold
The Big Question: Should landowners be forced to give up space for allotments? By Jerome Taylor (via EB)

Land is originally a common good and necessary for the production of food, after all.
Apparently Canon Talarico will be serving at Bishop Cordileone's Mass at St. Margaret Mary on Sunday. I haven't talked to him since he was at SGA as a student.
NLM: Compendium of the Reforms of the Roman Breviary, 1568-1961: Part 3.2 - 1529 versus 1568
75th Ranger Regiment - information video
Army Rangers in Action

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I finally tried Fuddruckers tonight, this one in Union City -- I ordered a 1 pounder, well-done. Not dry and rather good. It certainly breaks the monotony of In and Out, and it's cheaper than The Counter and Red Robin. While it is like Armadillo Willy's in so far as you place your order and then pick it up, the burgers seem to be much better. A good place to go for a cheap date? (Johnny Rockets isn't even worth mentioning.)
Zenit: "Lectio Divina" as Simple as 1, 2, 3, 4
Austin Bramwell responds to Kevin Gutzman. (Mr. Bramwell refers to No Treason by Lysander Spooner.)

US Army Rangers

Israel's Elite Counter-Terrorism Unit - Yamam
ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO, Health-Care Reform and the Constitution
Why hasn't the Commerce Clause been read to allow interstate insurance sales?
(via LRC)

Last week, I asked South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, where in the Constitution it authorizes the federal government to regulate the delivery of health care. He replied: "There's nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do." Then he shot back: "How about [you] show me where in the Constitution it prohibits the federal government from doing this?"

Rep. Clyburn, like many of his colleagues, seems to have conveniently forgotten that the federal government has only specific enumerated powers. He also seems to have overlooked the Ninth and 10th Amendments, which limit Congress's powers only to those granted in the Constitution.

One of those powers—the power "to regulate" interstate commerce—is the favorite hook on which Congress hangs its hat in order to justify the regulation of anything it wants to control.

Unfortunately, a notoriously tendentious New Deal-era Supreme Court decision has given Congress a green light to use the Commerce Clause to regulate noncommercial, and even purely local, private behavior. In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the Supreme Court held that a farmer who grew wheat just for the consumption of his own family violated federal agricultural guidelines enacted pursuant to the Commerce Clause. Though the wheat did not move across state lines—indeed, it never left his farm—the Court held that if other similarly situated farmers were permitted to do the same it, might have an aggregate effect on interstate commerce.

James Madison, who argued that to regulate meant to keep regular, would have shuddered at such circular reasoning. Madison's understanding was the commonly held one in 1789, since the principle reason for the Constitutional Convention was to establish a central government that would prevent ruinous state-imposed tariffs that favored in-state businesses. It would do so by assuring that commerce between the states was kept "regular."
The October issue of American Renaissance (a white nationalist magazine) poses the question, "Why Have Asians Not Dominated?" The summary of the first article:
Why Have Asians Not Dominated?: Given the well-documented IQ advantages of North Asians, writer Robert Henderson wonders why their societies haven’t had more global influence. He finds the widely held belief of ancient Chinese technological and cultural superiority to be largely false, and examines possible historical reasons for the disparities in development between the Orient and the West. Mr. Henderson suggests that differences in personality traits may be as significant as intelligence in determining the historical course of a people.
What is responsible for personality traits, nature or nurture? If Mr. Henderson draws the conclusion that culture (and the lack of political desire in the past) is the reason, then this point at least isn't objectionable. The imperial Chinese were not so interested in expanding the boundaries of their Empire, though they did seek to spread their influence in East Asia, and to have other nations recognize China as being first.

On the other hand, if he subscribes to some version HBD theory with genetics being the cause, he's wrong.
AP: Analysis: Al-Qaida death a blow to terror group
Progressivism without progress by Damien Perrotin (original)

He discusses Alain de Benoist with respect to progressivism:

A number of thinkers on the fringes of the radical right have remained, or become again quite sceptical of progress. Americans will think of the Southern Agrarians or of modern paleoconservatives. Being an European, I will rather speak of the so-called New Right and of its leader : Alain de Benoist. While the New Right was born from an attempt of the far right to break with the string of defeats it experienced since the fall of the Petain regimen de Benois himself can hardly be called a fascist or even a traditionalist. He claims not to be a racist, and I have no reason not to believe him – a politician can lie about his opinions for electoral gain, not an intellectual whose only aim is to found a philosophical school. What de Benoist advocates is a world of local communities based upon non-mercantile values and with a renewed relationship with nature. Each one of those would have an inalienable right to its own culture and local, concrete, liberties inside the general framework of a loose European federation. He has recently written a book to support the idea of degrowth, which shows he understands, somewhat, the predicament of industrial society, even if his support for large-scale geopolitical constructs proves that he does not yet understands all its consequences.

The question is, of course, why do I fee so ill at ease reading him ?

I am hardly the only one in this situation. Supporters of degrowth were horrified by de Benoist's endorsement of their ideas, but for bad reasons. One can hardly blame de Benoist when he refuses to follow the degrowthers when they claim that by implementing their pet political project, they will get the perfect, classless, society two centuries of leftist revolutions consistently refused to give them. The fact is that degrowth is very bit as infused with progress mythology as the growth ideology of the old, traditional, left. They just differ on what is should be measured by.

The problem is elsewhere.

The ideology of de Benoist and his ilk may not be racist – at least in its pure form, most of its supporters definitely are – it is definitely anti-egalitarian. We tend to assume that anti-egalitarianism is necessarily racist, because it is how it manifested itself during the last century. It is a mistake, however. You can base your anti- egalitarianism on virtually anything and de Benoist bases his own upon the idea of an intellectual elite, whose supposedly innate superiority would have its root in genetics. This means, of course, that he refuses democracy, since democracy is based upon the idea that every man is, at least in theory, able to formulate an informed opinion about the way public affairs are run.

It is also a celebration of closed society. Every society, must have some kind of closure, lest it dissolves away and it is likely that post-peak societies will be more closed than our own. There won't be any large state apparatus to hold them together, so they will have to rely upon organically enforced shared values for cohesion. There is however a difference between accepting this as a lesser evil and turning every culture into a kind of ethnic island where any departure from tradition would be ruthlessly punished.

De Benoist's utopia, is in fact Sparta reborn, with its insular economy and culture, its heroic, freedom-loving, armed citizenry... and its helots.

Most peak-oil activists, even those who consider themselves conservative, would find De Benoist's project abhorrent, and that is where lies the possibility of progressivism without progress. In a world of scarce resources, it is no longer possible to dream of the shining futures of the last century. It would even probably dangerous to do so. This does not means, however, that must renounce the ideal of a common human dignity beyond and above cultural, religious and political boundaries. By this, I do not mean the false universalism and real ethnocentrism the West imposed upon the world, and which is still popular down here, just this very simple idea : every man should be respected as such, no matter his condition.

This is this idea which lies under the failed utopias of the left and no matter how bad the coming decline turns to be, they are still worth defending
Does an authentic republican require egalitarianism? Does it always involve the political participation of all? The classical and medieval conceptions of republicanism would seem to answer no to these questions. Aristotle holds that a republic is a government by the many, not by all. Apparently Machiavelli would agree with him. (Is this true of the other civic humanists? That is likely.)

Though I have been reading Mr. Perrotin's blog for only a short time, nothing that he writes here is unexpected.

Nouvelle Droite - New Right - English articles
French Philosopher Alain de Benoist Believes that the EU is more Atheist than the Former USSR
The Thermodynamics of Local Foods by Jason Bradford (original)
NLM: Compendium of the Reforms of the Roman Breviary, 1568-1961: Part 3.1 - 1529 versus 1568
Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy: Lynn Saxberg interview

AA12 Automatic Shotgun


AA-12. World's deadliest shotgun!

AA12 Automatic Shotgun

Modern Firearms
Benelli Shotgun Amazing Shots

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trailer for the new La Bohème starring Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón.

The Savalls playing Diego Ortiz
Orion Magazine: Out West by Joe Wilkins
Growing up in eastern Montana makes you hard -- and not necessarily in a good way.

Photos: Lee Young Ae

Taken on September 15, 2009, when the media finally tracked her down.





Aw man.

Lee Young Ae got married? I didn't pay attention to headlines in Korean newspapers, so I didn't see this one...

Some articles here. Via Marmot's Hole: 이영애, 교포와 24일 결혼…서 생활, 연기 계속. And from today: Lee Young-ae Talks on Marriage.
Lee Young-ae gives her first post-wedding statements

The husband of Lee Young-ae publicly speaks about his wife
Soompi gossip (Rather sad, if true.)

李英愛 Lee Young-ae Interview on TV 2009 8 4

李英愛 Lee Young-ae 2009 CFs

Aristotle and physical education

Running the mile was perhaps the most dreaded part of P.E. for me when I was in middle school and high school. Students ran the mile, but as far as I remember, there really wasn't much time spent on preparaing the students or training them to run a mile. At least not that I can remember. It was a part of the quarterly (or semester) physical fitness exam. I didn't get much endurance or cardiovascular training until freshman year?

Is running a mile under a certain amount of time really indicative of general fitness? If so, then why didn't we run it more often, and do more to prepare for it? If not, then why was it part of the physical fitness exam?

Aristotle writes in the Politics (trans. Peter Simpson):
The gymnastics is to be employed, therefore, and how it is to be employed is agreed: up to puberty the young must be put to lighter gymnastic exercises and be kept away from forced diets and constrained toil, so that nothing impedes growth. That growth can be thus impeded is indicated by no small sign, for one could find but two or three who have won victories both as men and as boys in the Olympic games, because the constrained gymnastic exercises of their training in youth took away their strength. But when, for the three years after puberty, they have spent time on other subjects of learning, then the age following can fittingly be taken up with toils and constrained dieting. For one should not impose toil at the same time on both thought and body, as each naturally works the opposite effect: toil of the body impedes thought and that of thought impedes the body.
What would Aristotle make of grading or measuring the students' physical fitness, or requiring students to be able to run a mile under a certain time in order to pass? Is he justified in his opinion that males should not be undergoing extensive training until later in puberty? How would he judge contemporary American physical education? Has anyone written extensively about the gymnastic exercises of the ancient Greeks? Wiki entry on the gymnasium. Have ancient Greek theories about exercises been superceded? Are physical drills better than strength exercises?

Pure Fashion

Some have left comments to a thread at Catholic Light criticizing Pure Fashion. Pete Vere's second comment may seem at first to likely inspire a sympathetic reaction: "Come to think about it, what's Pure Fashion's message? In scanning photo and video galleries posted to their website, I'm surprised none of the feminist bloggers (or Catholic parents for that matter) picked up on the absence of more heavyset models (For previous discussion on this topic, click here). After all, this is a concern with the fashion industry that feminists and orthodox Catholics have often shared. And given the underlying context of character development, one would think all young ladies could benefit, not just those of a certain body type."

But on the website I see the Pure Fashion models having a variety of body types -- not everyone is stick-thin. But if we are talking about plus sizes... should people take pride in being overweight? Should we be so quick to blame it on our "genes," as opposed to cultural and character causes?

Moreover, some have expressed a concern that Pure Fashion fosters an excessive/disordered concern for appearance, as opposed to being primarily concerned for the state of one's character (and soul). One comment states, "I'm sorry, but this whole Pure Fashion idea is buying into the secular message of the day, trying to baptize a fundamentally disordered worldview. It's all 'look at me' (even if I'm pure). 'I'm to be imitated.' 'Aren't I pretty (and modest)?' Can you imagine Our Lady participating in a fashion show? I didn't think so." Another critic says that "The program is "pure" only when compared to the completely impure and immodest dress and behavior of most young women ages 13+ -- and let's fact it, often younger. The LC/RC fashion shows do not at all develop or reinforce the true ideals of Catholic womanhood, as revealed in the person of Our Blessed Mother. In fact -- far from it."

I am bothered when my first niece (who is turning 4 next month) says things like, "I am pretty," as I am concerned that she may become too narcissistic, placing an exaggerated notion on her own and ultimately, other people's appearance. However, this inclination to be pleasing to the eyes of other also seems natural to women, and I would be wary of calling it a consequence of original sin only.

Do Pure Fashion promoters emphasize a healthy lifestyle and body enough? Do they believe that it is important to maintain a "thin" body only for the sake of appearance (or attracting others)? Do they admit that there woman are concerned with their bodies, as opposed to what covers them? And what of the fact that women are often the harshest critics of other women, while what men accept in their wives and girlfriends is considerably broader? (Even if they do have limits before they become repulsed. There is a reason why the expression "letting one's self go" is in use, as it implies a character defect.) Does a Christian woman have an obligation to keep up her appearance, within reason, for the sake of her husband?

St. Josemaria Escrivá has been criticized for saying things like the following:
Another important thing is personal appearance. And I would say that any priest who says the contrary is a bad adviser. As years go by a woman who lives in the world has to take more care not only of her interior life, but also of her looks. Her interior life itself requires her to be careful about her personal appearance; naturally this should always be in keeping with her age and circumstances. I often say jokingly that older facades need more restoration. It is the advice of a priest. An old Spanish saying goes: 'A well-groomed woman keeps her husband away from other doors.'
And from Christ is Passing By:
Wives, you should ask yourselves whether you are not forgetting a little about your appearance. Remember all the sayings about women who should take care to look pretty. Your duty is, and will always be, to take as good care of your appearance as you did before you were married — and it is a duty of justice, because you belong to your husband. And husbands should not forget that they belong to their wives, and that as long as they live they have the obligation to show the same affection as a young man who has just fallen in love. It would be a bad sign if you smile ironically as you hear this; it would mean that your love has turned into cold indifference.
What of unmarried women who are trying to look presentable and attract a husband?

How do critics of immodest fashion respond without being puritannical or abitrarily choosing something from the distant past (and thus not meeting the need for some sort of cultural continuity in order to fit in and be able to open others to conversation)? Anything that is countercultural within fashion must find some sort of justification that is both negative (it's not immodest) as well as positive (it flatters while maintaining modesty), and I don't see how there cannot be a positive justification that does not touch upon having a concern for one's appearance.

The Pure Fashion Mission states: "Through an eight month Model Training Program that covers public speaking, manners and social graces, hair and make up artistry, personal presentation, and much more, Pure Fashion models learn the importance of living a life in accordance with God’s will and fostering a life of grace through purity of heart, mind, and body. The Pure Fashion program culminates in a city-wide fashion show featuring clothing that is pretty but not provocative, trendy but still tasteful."

How is that different from the charm schools or finishing schools of the past? Putting on a fashion show, though, may be a bit too much.

I think that one's appearance is a legitimate external good (for both men and women, though for men in perhaps different ways), and should be cared for, within reason, and thus ordered to higher goods. Neglecting one's appearance is permissible only for a few, if even them. (Even those who have taken the vow of poverty should take measures to be clean and presentable to others, if not for the sake of health and hygiene then for the sake of being able to discourse with others.)

Certainly Catholics should strive to maintain their health, have more physical activity in their work and daily lives, eat a healthier diet, and learn to make their own clothes--if done on a wide-scale, this would obviate the need for movements like Pure Fashion. But while they are in the world, but not of it, and not building a new society from scratch, they will have to maintain a balance between a reactive and proactive posture, and Pure Fashion may provide some sort of appropriate guidance with respect to clothing and fashion.

As for Pure Fashion's perceived lack of ethnic diversity -- the Church is supposed to be universal, but the activity of Pure Fashion seems to be limited to the United States. Should they have members of other ethnic groups involved? Perhaps. But are Catholics of other ethnic groups usually concerned with modesty in clothing? My guess is that Hispanics who are involved with LC/RC would become involved with Pure Fashion. But those who are not already associated with RC in some way probably wouldn't. (One doesn't see too many Asians here in the US involved with LC/RC. They're either ignorant of the groups or they're just not interested.)

As a national movement, I suppose Pure Fashion should be concerned with showing some cultural diversity in its [national] promotional materials. But if one group or another is present in overwhelming numbers at local events, and the photos reflect this, can we really judge Pure Fashion to be too exclusive?

Is there something analogous to Pure Fashion in Latin America? I suppose there would be complaints if that were to feature, for example, Mexicans of the upper class and not mestizos, and some would be thinking that their apostolate is too narrow. But do the poor really have the same sort of temptations regarding fashion and outward appearance that the rich do?

Related Links:
Pure Fashion Sacramento
This article and its photos are making its rounds on the internet -- Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession. The article talks about how those manning the empty ships are afraid of pirates. Are they not allowed to have arms on their ships?

Cupertino Fall Festival

This coming weekend. 95.3 KRTY will have a presence there. The closest Cupertino gets to an Oktoberfest. Not that there has ever been a significant German-American population to warrant having one? Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, everyone's German for Oktoberfest, etc.

Oktoberfest used to be held at the Cupertino Village shopping center. I'm not sure where it was after it moved--Memorial Park? Now it's at the Library/City Hall.

I know Sarge and I wouldn't mind going to southern Germany (specifically Bavaria) for a real Oktoberfest... I think Christendom College still has a celebration of Oktoberfest, or sorts.

Model Sandra Schuster presents the official Oktoberfest beer mug in Munich August 25, 2009. The 176th Oktoberfest, the world's biggest beer festival, runs from September 19 until October 4 this year. (Reuters/Daylife)

The official Oktoberfest beer mug is pictured in Munich August 25, 2009. The 176th Oktoberfest, the world's biggest beer festival, runs from September 19 until October 4 this year. (Reuters/Daylife)

When there is an official beer mug being produced, can the death of meaning and true festivity (and gratitude) be far behind? The Munich tourist bureau must be busy advertising the "festival."

Eh well. Some more photos.

Picture taken on September 23, 2007 shows a waitress serves beers in one of the Oktoberfest's many beer tents at Munich's Theresienwiese fairground during the Oktoberfest beer festival. You know things have got really bad when Germans cut back on their beloved beer but figures out on April, 30, 2009 showed that, faced with the country's worst recession since World War II, Germans are not turning to the amber nectar to drown their sorrows. (Getty/Daylife)

Michael Rensing (R), goalkeeper of Bayern Munich and his girlfriend Saskia Treffkorn attend the Kaefer beer tent during the Oktoberfest beer festival October 5, 2008 in Munich. (Reuters/Daylife)

Bayern Munich soccer coach Juergen Klinsmann, right, pose with assistant coaches during their arrive for the gathering of the first soccer Bundesliga division team FC Bayern Munich at the beer festival Oktoberfest in Munich, southern Germany, on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008. (AP/Daylife)

A vendor presents a skewer with roast chicken, an Oktobervest speciality, on September 26, 2008 at the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds. (Getty/Daylife)

People in traditional clothes march during the Oktoberfest parade in Munich September 21, 2008. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital Munich for the world's biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest. (Reuters/Daylife)

Boys in traditional clothes march during the Oktoberfest parade in Munich September 21, 2008. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital Munich for the world's biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest. (Reuters/Daylife)

Men in traditional Bavarian clothes wave during the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, September 21, 2008. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital Munich for the world's biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest. (Reuters/Daylife)

Children in traditional Bavarian clothes wait during the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, September 21, 2008. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital Munich for the world's biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest. (Reuters/Daylife)

A girl in traditional Bavarian clothes touches her hat during the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, September 21, 2008. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital Munich for the world's biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest. (Reuters/Daylife)

MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 21: Bavarian dressed children participate in the traditional riflemen's parade on September 21, 2008 in Munich, Germany. The riflemen's parade marks day 2 of the Munich Oktoberfest beer festival. (Getty/Daylife)

People wearing traditional Bavarian clothes take part in the parade to the Oktoberfest beer festival on September 21, 2008 in Munich, southern Germany. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds. (Getty/Daylife)

Bavarian state premier Guenther Beckstein (R) and his wife Marga wave in front of the Theatiner church during the traditional Oktoberfest parade in Munich, September 21, 2008. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital Munich for the world's biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest. (Reuters/Daylife)

Women wearing traditional Bavarian clothes clink their beer glasses at the "Theresienwiese" of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany on September 21, 2008. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds. (Getty/Daylife)

Women wearing traditional Bavarian clothes ride on the "Top-Spin No. 1" at the start of the Oktoberfest beer festival on September 20, 2008 at the "Theresienwiese" in Munich, southern Germany. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds. (Getty/Daylife)

Women wearing traditional Bavarian clothes pose for a photo in front of a Ferris wheel at the start of the Oktoberfest beer festival on September 20, 2008 at the "Theresienwiese" in Munich, southern Germany. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds. (Getty/Daylife)

Bavarian state premier Guenther Beckstein toasts during the opening ceremony of the Oktoberfest in Munich September 20, 2008. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital Munich for the world's biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest. (Reuters/Daylife)

A waitress carries 7 litters of beer at the start of the Oktoberfest beer festival on September 20, 2008 at the "Theresienwiese" in Munich, southern Germany. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds. (Getty/Daylife)

Festival visitors drink beer at the start of the Oktoberfest beer festival on September 20, 2008 at the "Theresienwiese" in Munich, southern Germany. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds. (Getty/Daylife)

MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 19: U.S. actor Larry Hagman poses with two Bavarian dressed girls at Trachtenmoden Angermaier on September 19, 2008 in Munich, Germany. Hagman got dressed with 'Lederhosen' (leather trousers) to visit the Oktoberfest beer festival. (Getty/Daylife)

Related links:
The Oktoberfest website.
Munich Oktoberfest 2009 - Discover Munich
Oktoberfest SF
La Crosse Oktoberfest

Northern California Renaissance Faire

Northern California Renaissance Faire
Open Weekends
September 12th through October 18th, 2009
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

$25 for one day adult admission. Still, I'd think about going.

Some photos from 2007:

Related links:
MySpace page for the NCRF
Renaissance Faires By State
Medieval Fantasies Company
Thomas F. Bertonneau, “The Catastrophe” - Part 1: What the End of Bronze-Age Civilization Means for Modern Times
Tonight on KQED QUEST: Algae Power. (7:30 PM)

QUEST on KQED Public Media.

I'm not surprised by the lack of rigor in a "science" story like this on KQED. Not that it is aimed at a popular audience and hence limited in its presentation, but it fails to critically examine whether this is a feasible replacement for a significant portion of the gasoline consumed in this country each day. Sure, whoever wrote the story is somewhat skeptical, questioning whether it can live up to its promise, but there is no serious number-crunching -- an examination of the costs involved with respect to energy input and materials, and so on. Where's the thorough EROI analysis?

To take one example: the plan of Aurora Biofuels is to use 1000s of acres of land to produce 120 million gallons each year, using just saltwater and non-arable land. Where's the water going to come from? How much energy is required to move that water to the algae farms? What other nutrients are required to grow the algae? And how much energy is needed to extract the oil from the algae?

Mainstream liberal environmentalists, unlike the peak oil heralds, just don't get it. They're looking for a techno-fix just like everyone else, one that will make the perpetuation of the American way of life possible. It's the mentality of many (or most) liberals in San Francisco and Berkeley?

Related links:
Niyogi Lab, UC Berkeley
NOVA | scienceNOW | Algae Fuel: Ask the Expert | PBS
Aurora Biofuels
Aurora Biofuels Doubles Algae's CO2 Uptake and Fuel Production
Sandro Magister, A Free Church in a Free State. How Ruini Sees It

With a book first and then with a major conference in Rome on nothing less than God himself, the cardinal reintroduces the "cultural project" of the Italian Church. Which coincides with the "priority" that Benedict XVI has designated for his pontificate

Winslow T. Wheeler, Obama and Pentagon Pork and Franklin Spinney, Bin Laden's Latest Message and the Nuttiness of the War on Terror
How the World's Biggest Corporations, From Starbucks to Wal-Mart to Barnes & Noble, Claim to Be 'Local'
Stacy Mitchell, AlterNet (via EB)
The Virtues of Deglobalization: Has the time finally come to reverse and end globalization?
Walden Bello, Business Mirror (via EB)

11 pillars of the alternative

There are 11 key prongs of the deglobalization paradigm.

1. Production for the domestic market must again become the center of gravity of the economy rather than production for export markets.

2. The principle of subsidiarity should be enshrined in economic life by encouraging production of goods at the level of the community and at the national level, if this can be done at reasonable cost, in order to preserve community.

3. Trade policy—that is, quotas and tariffs—should be used to protect the local economy from destruction by corporate-subsidized commodities with artificially low prices.

4. Industrial policy—including subsidies, tariffs and trade—should be used to revitalize and strengthen the manufacturing sector.

5. Long-postponed measures of equitable income redistribution and land redistribution (including urban land reform) can create a vibrant internal market that would serve as the anchor of the economy and produce local financial resources for investment.

6. Deemphasizing growth, emphasizing upgrading the quality of life, and maximizing equity will reduce environmental disequilibrium.

7. The development and diffusion of environmentally congenial technology in both agriculture and industry should be encouraged.

8. Strategic economic decisions cannot be left to the market or to technocrats. Instead, the scope of democratic decision-making in the economy should be expanded so that all vital questions—such as which industries to develop or phase out, what proportion of the government budget to devote to agriculture, etc.—become subject to democratic discussion and choice.

9. Civil society must constantly monitor and supervise the private sector and the state, a process that should be institutionalized.

10. The property complex should be transformed into a “mixed economy” that includes community cooperatives, private enterprises and state enterprises, and excludes transnational corporations.

11. Centralized global institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank should be replaced with regional institutions built not on free trade and capital mobility but on principles of cooperation that, to use the words of Hugo Chavez in describing the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, “transcend the logic of capitalism.”

William Lind, The Taliban’s Air Force
AP: Bernanke says recession 'very likely over'

Whether he keeps his job or not should be based on the truthfulness of statements like this. Will he shown to be right? Or very very wrong?
Here's; will it be more successful than friendster?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chip Ward, Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West (via Rod Dreher)
The Thinking Housewife: The Sound of a Man. (Her reaction to Serena Williams's behavior at the U.S. Open.)
Rod Dreher appears to be taking upon himself the mantle of the voice of reason on the conservative side, disassociating himself and true conservatives from the irrational, angry mob to be found at Tea Parties and criticizing mainstream conservative media personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. (See also here, here, here, here., here, and here, here, here, here, here.)

I sympathize with his criticism of mainstream conservative pundits, which isn't new, and he may be correct in his assessment of average members of the American right, the extremes that the polarization of America may be reaching, and emotional partisanship that scorns anything "intellectual" as "elitist." Some have claimed that Mr. Dreher is just trying to please his "liberal" readers. I just don't understand why he would focus on this topic at his blog. Whom is he trying to convince? How many Americans who consider themselves conservative even know who Rod Dreher is? It seems to me that these examples underscore the problems associated with being a professional pundit--having an opinion and expressing it, whether it be in a newspaper or on a blog.

(An opposing view that sees something positive in the taxpayer protests -- VFR: The return of Sam Francis: MARs rising?)

Edit 9/28. His most recent post on the topic: Dreher vs. Glenn Beck.
Peak Oil is not a theory; Peak Oil is the reality of past and future oil production.
Kjell Aleklett, ASPO International

Over the past five years, Mr. Michael Lynch and I have debated future global oil production at meetings in Gothenburg (Sweden), Paris and Shanghai...The fact that he is an economist and I am a natural scientist means that we see the future of oil production from two different perspectives, but are in agreement that access to oil is of great importance to the world economy and our future.

Mexico Loses Its History By JOHN ROSS
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bicentennial
The Health Care Deceit By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
It is the War in Afghanistan Obama Declared a "Necessity," Not Health Care
The Lords Prayer in Aramaic (Angel voice)

Abeer Nehme

Abeer Nehme - 2008-10-26 - Abun d Bashmayo

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zenit: Ennio Morricone: Faith Always Present In My Music
Composer Talks About the Spirituality Behind His Work

He has some things to say about sacred music:

We turn to the subject of another keen musician: Pope Benedict XVI. Morricone says he has a "very good opinion" of the Holy Father. "He seems to me to be a very high minded Pope, a man of great culture and also great strength," he says. He is particularly complimentary about Benedict XVI's efforts to reform the liturgy -- a subject about which Morricone feels very strongly.

"Today the Church has made a big mistake, turning the clock back 500 years with guitars and popular songs," he argues. "I don't like it at all. Gregorian Chant is a vital and important tradition of the Church and to waste this by having kids mix religious words with profane, Western songs is hugely grave, hugely grave."

He says it's turning the clock back because the same thing happened before the Council of Trent when singers mixed profanity with sacred music. "He [the Pope] is doing well to correct it," he says. "He should correct it with much more firmness. Some churches have taken heed [of his corrections], but others haven't."
Today the home parish was celebrating its patronal feast, so I dropped by to say hi to the pastor and to someone else, both of whom I had asked to write a letter of recommendation for me. Lunch was very nice, and I liked the pork ribs and tri tip. KK and her family even showed up, and it was good to spend some time with the nephew. The lunch was an opportunity for the parish to celebrate its ethnic diversity, so there were foods from different countries all over the world. The parish (and the city it is in) have changed much in the last 20 years. No more big orchards...

Perhaps the bishops can't do anything but accept the demographic reality, instead of trying to prevent it or at least bringing about assimilation. If sections of a city are going to become predominantly Hispanic, can bishops do anything to change that and their way of life, if they do not want to assimilate? As for selecting only those who can speak Spanish to be bishops of major sees in the United States... are there that many Hispanics migrating to other parts of the United States to justify this becoming a de facto requirement?

However if the bishops do not think that assimilation is part of their mission and that of their priests, can they do anything to prevent lay Catholics from doing this? I could see some American bishops succumbing to PCness and characterizing such efforts as xenophobic, racist, or intolerant.