Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some have argued that the laity are not like monks, and therefore cannot be expected to pray the liturgy of the hours. While many are prevented from doing so because of their life situation, do we want to say that the ideal therefore should exclude praying the liturgy of the hours? Would we want to say that deep study of the bible and lectio divina are not proper to the laity, because they are too busy for it?

The Lectio Divina Home Page
Monkfish Abbey: Lectio Divina

How to Practice Lectio Divina by Father Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.
The local OD Women's Center. (Blog)

(Chestnut Center - SF)

For men: Menlough Center.

Related links:
Opus Dei Jovenes

Catholic Men in the World — Standing with St. Joseph

East Bay Men's Conference - Saturday, October 31, 2009


East Bay Catholic Men's Conference
Including lunch, Mass
Confession will be available

directions Cathedral of Christ the Light Conference Center
2121 Harrison St., Oakland

Saturday, October 31, 8:00am – 4:00pm
Registration 7:00am – 7:55am

Click on the link for more details
Allan C. Carlson, Ph.D., The Family in America: Retrospective and Prospective
Kelly McCann's Tactical Carbine

Paladin Press

Last night I met with ah Fai for dinner--we went to BJ's Cupertino. I wanted to see what the singles scene is like there on weekends. Ah Fai said late Happy Hour is from 10:00 P.M. (10:30?) to closing. KK and her husband had gone there before, and claimed a lot of FOBs frequented the restaurant. All three of them claim that it is popular with De Anza students on weekdays. It was the first time that I've been to any BJ's for dinner -- usually I shy away from the restaurant because the parking lot is packed.

We ordered the chicken lettuce wrap for an appetizer. It was ok, but didn't really compare to good mu shu pork. The horseradish mustard for the wrap was rather hot, but better than the sweet soy sauce (hoisin?) mix. I ordered a hamburer (theCuban), which wasn't as good as the California. Ham isn't really a good topping for a hamburger. The hamburgers are BJ's are not as good as Counter or Red Robin; even Fuddruckers burgers might be better, despite being saltier. I thought ah Fai's chicken fried stick was overcooked. I probably won't be going back to BJ's for the food any time soon--the quality of the food doesn't merit the price. (As far as I can tell, the restaurant as a meeting place for singles doesn't make up for the price either. But 1/2 off appetizers during happy hour may be enough of an incentive to try going there at that time.)

I didn't drink any alcohol tonight, though I did want to try their Oktoberfest lager. It's been a while since I had alcohol, and I figured I should determine what my limits are, first, and besides, I was driving tonight, so I didn't want to take any chances. I still have some Chimay at home to sample.

Ah Fei told me that Elephant Bar is cheaper, especially when you use coupons. I don't like that chain that much, either. The fusion fare that is served there isn't that good... Teenagers and young people like to go to that restaurant apparently. I remember when going to Chili's was a big deal for me and the family, back in the day. It was a step up from Denny's. Who goes to Chili's these days?

There are not too many pubs in Cupertino; then again, Cupertino is still a suburb in many ways, even though they have been trying to build up its commercial area for a long time.

We ended up staying at BJ's Brewhouse for 2 hours. I did some people-watching. I even kept eye contact with one woman when she looked back... looking away when "caught" is a habit I have to break. I enjoyed my time there, even though I didn't meet any new people. Talking to ah Fei was sufficient. I found that I missed going out. Because of the expense involved, one needs to have a certain minimum income level in order to "have a life" and to be able to socialize with other people. Not many people entertain at home these days, and I don't know anyone who would attempt a mixer in order for their single friends to meet one another. (Though the OD and his wife did try to set me up with someone else.)

Having what passes for a "normal" life in suburbia may be necessary for a psychological balance. Staying home all of the time or doing things alone probably isn't that good for one's mental health, unless one is called to be a hermit. I don't think that is the case for myself, even if I joke that it is. But the expense and other negatives should tell us how much our communities lack good culture and order. No doubt even if I had the money to go out more, I'd start to remember how pointless it is, since it is difficult to meet new people in such environments.

I noticed that there were a lot of Indians were eating together, and the East Asians as well. Some Asians and Indians were eating in ethnically mixed groups -- colleagues from work? There is a lot of self-segregation that goes on among young people. You don't see this just in high schools and colleges. Some think this is not a good thing for a "multicultural" society.

There were some Caucasians eating at the restaurant as well, though you don't really associate Caucasians with Cupertino these days.

Having some attachment to a place and a community is an integral part of the lay vocation.

But it seems unlikely that women you'd meet in pubs or on online dating sites would be willing to embrace the simple life. They may look good (through the help of make-up and other enhancements), but is there more to them than their outward behavior and speech would indicate? And then there's the fact that E. Asian men are rather undesirable to women of other ethnicities. (While Caucasians are more desirable to American women of all ethnicities.)

I'm still thinking of checking out Sacramento, and I'm looking into as well...
Whiskey Before Breakfast
Dan Paisley & The Southern Grass | Don't Throw Momma's Flowers Away | CBAFDBF | 06-20-09
Dan Tyminski & Ron Block - I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow
Nominees and Winners for the 2009 IBMA Bluegrass Awards
PCR, The Devil’s Advocate (cross-posted at VDare)

He discusses the book he co-authored with Lawrence M. Stratton, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, and Harvey Silverglate's Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (the book's website).
SAN SABEYA GUGURUMBÉ (La Negrina) - Mateo Flecha "El viejo" (1481 - 1553)

DIME, TRISTE CORAÇÓN - Francisco de la Torre (1460 - 1504)

UNA SAÑOSA PORFÍA - Juan del Encina ( 1468 - 1529 )
From October 2008: David M. Walker, Call this a crisis? Just wait
Actually, don't wait, because we've got to stop a bigger economic disaster in the making: 78 million baby-boomers eligible for Social Security and Medicare.
NLM: Relics of St. Thérèse at the Oxford Oratory

Related links: The Oxford Oratory - Catholic Church of St Aloysius Gonzaga
This article about local farmers and Sharon Astyk's latest post remind us that while we may share much in common with those on the "left" who seek a simpler way of life and to bring about relocalization, there is still much that divides us with respect to mores and culture. ( I noticed the article at Energy Bulletin, but I hadn't had a chance to look at it yet, and wasn't planning to say anything about it until Rod Dreher devoted a post to it.)

While "live and let live" may not be work for the survival of a community, if it can be done peaceably why shouldn't we consider secession and separation as a solution to great cultural and moral differences?

I wanted to focus on one particular part of her essay:
What I do think is that male status markers change much more rapidly and fundamentally than female ones do – to use one example, think about the degree to which modern society largely eschews male violence. Male physical prowess hasn’t been entirely overcome – but male aggressiveness has in some measures. Instead of physical aggressiveness, status markers for men now emphasize economic aggressiveness, and domestic violence, while still a painful reality, is no longer as normative as it once was – in fact, most of the women I know believe that men who are gentle to women and children are more attractive than those who aren’t – something not up for discussion when violence between spouses and by parents was concealed as normative. The rise of geek culture contains in it a truly radical overthrowing of masculine models – now some people may argue that this is emasculating, and certainly there are still plenty of women attracted to the physically aggressive alpha type. But I still would argue that there is a fundamental shift under way – we are selecting for gentler men as a society. This is non-trivial, if only partly underway.
I think she is really wrong here. Geek culture is profitable, but that doesn't mean that geeks are successfully marrying and maintaining marriages. Moreover, I can think of a few bloggers who would dispute that women are looking for betas and herbs as partners. And finally, has anyone told Ms. Astyk about the real statistics concerning domestic abuse? Could it be that there were as many husband-beaters as wife-beaters in the past as well?
Chimay Brewery Tour

Friday, October 09, 2009

A reader responds to the Thinking Housewife about obesity and blames the propaganda about high-carb/low-fat diets being good for us. Weston Price is among those who have looked at traditional diets and touted the importance of certain animal fats while blaming easy sugars and carbohydrates for the health problems besetting modern Western man.
The Thinking Housewife does a series on obesity: Obesity in America, A Criticism, and Comments on Fat, More Criticism and Comments, Fat and Defiant
Asia News: Will it be another ‘Lost Century’ for the Arab World?
by Fady Noun
King Abdullah’s trip to Syria raises questions about the Arab world’s capacity to take charge of its own history and cope with modernity. If the impact of the meeting between the Saudi and Syrian leaders on government formation in Lebanon is any indications, naysayers seem to have the upper hand.

Austen and paternalism

In the reactions thread to the latest BBC adapatation of Emma over at Austen Blog, one woman writes:
I’m bucking the trend here…. Emma has always been my least favourite heroine, and my least feavourite book (because I just did not like her). I did not like any of the Emma films I have seen so far (and I think I watched them all). None of them made me like Emma, or Mr Knightly, or any of the other characters.
Jane Austen herself said, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like." Emma can be annoying because of her lack of maturity and sense; compared to the other Austen heroines, her flaws are quite apparent. Knightley may seem too old in comparison to Emma. Perhaps there is a paternalistic air to their relationship that doesn't jive well with what moderns (and modern women) expect from relationships, something more egalitarian with respect to age, life situation, experiences, and lifestyle. (The model of the companionate marriage. Although one website characterizes the match between Emma and Mr. Knightley as companionate! This is due to differences in how it is defined...) It may even strike some as being a bit creepy, given how long they have known each other, and how much of an influence Knightley has had? After all, Knightley was somewhat of a father-figure to Emma:

Till now that she was threatened with its loss, Emma had never known how much of her happiness depended on being first with Mr. Knightley, first in interest and affection. Satisfied that it was so, and feeling it her due, she had enjoyed it without reflection; and only in the dread of being supplanted, found how inexpressibly important it had been. Long, very long, she felt she had been first; for, having no female connexions of his own, there had been only Isabella whose claims could be compared with hers, and she had always known exactly how far he loved and esteemed Isabella. She had herself been first with him for many years past. She had not deserved it; she had often been negligent or perverse, slighting his advice, or even wilfully opposing him, insensible of half his merits, and quarrelling with him because he would not acknowledge her false and insolent estimate of her own -- but still, from family attachment and habit, and thorough excellence of mind, he had loved her, and watched over her from a girl, with an endeavour to improve her, and an anxiety for her doing right, which no other creature had at all shared. In spite of all her faults, she knew she was dear to him; might she not say, very dear? (Emma)
I think the line about holding Emma as a child comes from the Gwyneth Paltrow adaptation? But there is this line:
Emma laughed, and replied: "But I had the assistance of all your endeavours to counteract the indulgence of other people. I doubt whether my own sense would have corrected me without it."

"Do you? I have no doubt. Nature gave you understanding: -- Miss Taylor gave you principles. You must have done well. My interference was quite as likely to do harm as good. It was very natural for you to say, 'What right has he to lecture me?' and I am afraid very natural for you to feel that it was done in a disagreeable manner. I do not believe I did you any good. The good was all to myself, by making you an object of the tenderest affection to me. I could not think about you so much without doating on you, faults and all; and by dint of fancying so many errors, have been in love with you ever since you were thirteen at least."

"I am sure you were of use to me," cried Emma. "I was very often influenced rightly by you -- oftener than I would own at the time. I am very sure you did me good. And if poor little Anna Weston is to be spoiled, it will be the greatest humanity in you to do as much for her as you have done for me, except falling in love with her when she is thirteen."

"How often, when you were a girl, have you said to me, with one of your saucy looks -- 'Mr. Knightley, I am going to do so and so; papa says I may, or, I have Miss Taylor's leave' -- something which, you knew, I did not approve. In such cases my interference was giving you two bad feelings instead of one."


Well, that's an exaggeration -- his love sounds innocent. However, who is to say that there was no sexual attraction involved whatsoever?

Females in their teen years being married off to older men is nothing new in the history of mankind, and Christian societies have survived its practice. While we tend to frown upon men marrying teen-aged girls simply on the consideration of age alone, should we not look instead at the maturity of both parties, and whether they have been adequately prepared for marriage?

One may object more to the male having an influence on the moral development of the female.
There is a substantial age gap between Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon as well, but it lacks the "paternalism" that characterizes the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley; do female readers tend to mind that age gap less?

Aristotle or Xenophon wouldn't have a problem with an 15-year age gap, nor would they think it out of place for the husband to have a part in the education of a wife. If St. Thomas More believes that a prospective wife should be just finishing her education or ready to begin it, then would he assent that those who are ready to be educated will be educated by their husbands? Who else would be educating her, once she is married and in a new home? (Her in-laws, like in East Asian cultures of the past?) Is such an age difference as common among the lower classes of medieval European society? Did it often occur that widowers of all classes would take a much younger second wife?

Perhaps what is being advocated by Aristotle, Xenophon, and St. Thomas More, is not the beginning of a moral education, but its completion, as the woman takes up her role as the wife, mother, and mistress of the household and learns how to perform these well, under the guidance of her husband. But for the male to have that sort of influence, which would be part of his authority as the husband, would still be objectionable to contemporary feminists. Females by their nature are docile to the males, even if feminists try to cast this off by aping masculine behavior. But once they marry (or have intimate relations with a man), do their natural desires and expectations betray their feminist ideals?

It is a fact of life that women in their late teens and early twenties have certain physical advantages over women in their thirties which make them more favorable as potential spouses. (Do older women have advantages? As Western societies decay, it becomes less likely that they have them; many have noted that single women in their thirties, whether never married or divorced, seem to be arrested at a certain stage of emotional and character development. An effect of the narcissism epidemic, or a cause?) But there is also a measure of innocence and docility, which can be maintained to a certain extent into their twenties by those women who remain chaste.

Is it possible that the neuroses that many unmarried women in their thirties feel is due in part to a lack of a stable male influence? It's not simply not having a man that is a problem, but not having a man do what a man does in relation to a woman -- providing emotional comfort, consolation, even guidance.

Jane Austen Today: BBC One's Emma: Behind the scenes preview

Pope Benedict XV

With the farce of the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in mind, I am reminded of our great Pontiffs who have been ignored or even scorned (in the case of Pope Pius XII) by the modern secular world and its elites. He strove for a more just (and potentially more lasting) peace to end the Great War, in opposition to those who were only interested in vengeance or liberal democractic utopian fantasy.

Benedict XV, pray for us!

The Holy See - The Holy Father - Benedict XV
Google Books: Benedict XV: the unknown pope and the pursuit of peace
Pope Benedict XV -Welcome to The Crossroads Initiative

FAUSTO APPETENTE DIE (On St. Dominic) Pope Benedict XV
Eight Years of Big Lies on Afghanistan: Where Truth is the Target


Pat Tillman was a star defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals who, in the wake of 9/11, turned down a multimillion dollar contract extension to enlist as an Army Ranger. Tillman was the highest profile military recruit of the Bush era.

Tillman was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Within minutes of his demise, it was clear he had been slain by fellow soldiers. The Pentagon responded with an information lockdown -cutting off all communication to the military base where Tillman had been stationed.

A week after Tillman’s death, Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then a top commander in Afghanistan, notified the White House that Tillman was killed by U.S. troops: "I felt that it was essential that you received this information as soon as we detected it to preclude any unknowing statements by our country's leaders that might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of CPL Tillman's death become public." The same day McChrystal sent his memo, the Pentagon announced that Tillman had received a posthumous Silver Star and was killed while leading an attack on Al Qaeda forces. Pentagon emails referred to the “Silver Star Game Plan” (to distract attention from the “friendly fire” killing).

On May 1, 2004, Bush exploited Tillman’s death for the finale of his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner. The Pentagon and White House delayed admitting that Tillman had been killed by Americans until after a high-profile memorial service rallied public support for the war and Bush’s policies.
The “Sin” of Humility by Thomas Fleming
PCR, Marx and Lenin Reconsidered: Dead Labor


President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize (AP)

AP - President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Edit. Paul Craig Roberts, Warmonger Wins Peace Prize and Dave Lindorff, The WTF Prize

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Exchange between Fr. Bouyer and Paul VI on the reform of the liturgy

Source of the following (from a comment on this thread at AmP):

C. Geoffroy est bien décevant dans son analyse. Le refus catégorique du NOM n'est pas forcément preuve de fermeture d'esprit. Nombreux sont les ecclésiastiques de renom qui ne l'ont pas approuvé.

Deux nouveaux témoignages passionnants à ce propos rapportés par Mons. Masson :

-le cardinal Thiandoum :
« Vous ne savez certainement pas, poursuivit Monseigneur Thiandoum, que lorsque Monseigneur Bugnini a fait célébrer dans l’Aula du Synode des Evêques, « ad experimentum » son projet de Nouvelle Messe, le Nouvel Ordo, qu’il y a eu un RUGISSEMENT DE PROTESTATIONS de la part des Evêques présents. Et malgré cela, sans qu’il soit possible de comprendre comment il a pu s’y prendre, il parvint à faire prévaloir ses idées auprès du Pape Paul VI qui promulgua le NOVUS ORDO. Le Pape avait publié : Roma locuta est… Il ne nous restait plus qu’à obéir ! Mais personne n’en voulait de cette Messe REVOLUTIONNAIRE ». hermas

-le R.P. Louis Bouyer :
« Même ce qu'il y avait de bon dans la réforme liturgique a été appliqué d'une manière qui ne l'était nullement. ». « Jamais on n'a imposé aux laïcs d'une manière aussi impertinente la religion des prêtres ou leur absence de religion... »

« J’ai écrit au Saint-Père, le Pape Paul VI, pour lui présenter ma démission de membre de la Commission chargée de la Réforme Liturgique. Le Saint-Père m’a convoqué immédiatement » :
Paul VI : - « Mon Père, vous êtes une autorité incontestable et incontestée par votre connaissance profonde de la liturgie et de la Tradition de l’Eglise, et un spécialiste en ce domaine. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi vous me présentez votre démission, alors que votre présence, est plus que précieuse, indispensable ! »

Père Bouyer : - « Très Saint-Père, si je suis un spécialiste en ce domaine je vous dirai très simplement que je démissionne parce que je ne suis pas d’accord avec les réformes que vous nous imposez ! Pourquoi ne tenez-vous pas compte des remarques que nous présentons, et pourquoi faites-vous le contraire ? ».

Paul VI : - « Mais je ne comprends pas : je n’impose rien, je n’ai jamais rien imposé dans ce domaine, je m’en remets entièrement à vos compétences et à vos propositions. C’est vous qui me présentez des propositions. Quand le Père Bugnini vient chez moi, il me déclare : Voici ce que demandent les experts. Et comme vous êtes des experts en cette matière, je m’en remets à vos jugements ».

Père Bouyer : - « Et pourtant, quand nous avons étudié une question, et avons choisi ce que nous pouvions vous proposer, en conscience, le Père Bugnini prenait notre texte, et, nous disait ensuite que, après Vous avoir consulté : Le Saint-Père désire que vous introduisiez ces changements dans la liturgie. Et comme je ne suis pas d’accord avec vos propositions, parce qu’elles sont en rupture avec la Tradition de l’Eglise, alors j’ai donné ma démission ».

Paul VI : - « Mais pas du tout, mon Père, croyez-moi , le Père Bugnini me dit exactement le contraire: jamais je n’ai refusé une seule de vos propositions. Le Père Bugnini venait me trouver et me disait : "Les experts de la Commission chargée de la Réforme Liturgique ont demandé cela et cela". Et comme je ne suis pas spécialiste en Liturgie, je vous le répète, je m’en suis toujours remis à vous. Jamais je n’ai dit cela à Monseigneur Bugnini. J’ai été trompé, Le Père Bugnini m’a trompé et vous a trompés ».

Père Bouyer : - « Voilà mes chers amis, comment s’est faite la réforme liturgique ! »

Where was this exchange originally published? In one of Fr. Bouyer's books? (The Decomposition of Catholicism?)
E. Christian Kopff, The Fear of God

Despite the humorous title, David Gless in From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents (1998) makes a powerful case for the validity of a grand narrative informed by the notion that what is distinctive and vital in the West derives from the assimilation and mutual interaction of Classical, Christian, and German. When great periods of creativity and freedom appear in Europe and America, they are often associated with those who value the three traditions, not as inassimilable entities, but as containing complementary elements which are essential for human fulfillment and societal greatness.

All three traditions were formative and creative in the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the American Founding. When Dante writes about his political ideas in Monarchia, for instance, he describes an empire that is Roman, Christian, and German. Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967) described the Classical, Christian and German (or Common Law) traditions behind the American Revolution (though he also began the bad habit of privileging one tradition over the others, in his case, English Whig thought.) As Carl Richard noticed in The Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment (1994),

To the founders, there was but one worthy tradition, the tradition of liberty, and they would not have understood the modern historian’s need to distinguish between the classical and Whig traditions and to measure the influence of one against the other.

Before they were Christianized, did other tribes and nations have differing notions of freedom or liberty?
Found this through Dr. Helen's blog: Surviving in Argentina.
Jim Lobe, Heads or tails, Obama loses
Doug Iliff recommends this article by David Goldhill: How American Health Care Killed My Father.

Enjoy it while it lasts...

I probably won't go watch their performance this weekend... I'd rather not deal with the traffic and crowd.
JMG: The Metastasis of Money (original)

Fossil fuels may not have done anything about the gracelessness and the smell, but it certainly made up for any shortage in complexity. Until the dawn of the industrial age, as a general rule of thumb, some 90% of the inhabitants of any complex society worked in agriculture, providing the food and raw materials that supported themselves as well as the 10% who could be spared for all other economic roles. By 1900, at the zenith of the age of coal, many nations in the industrial world had dropped the percentage of their work force in agriculture below 50%, and shifted the workers thus freed up into a broad assortment of new economic roles. By 2000, buoyed by the much higher concentration and efficiency of petroleum, many industrial nations had dropped the percentage of their work force in agriculture below 5%, with the other 95% filling newly invented roles in the most complex economies in the history of the planet.

One consequence of this swift and unprecedented surge in complexity was the triumph of money over all other systems of exchange. When the vast majority of workers at every income level labored at tasks so specialized that their efforts only produced value when combined with those of hundreds or thousands of other workers, money provided the only way they could receive a return on their labor. When most of the customers for any given product had money and nothing else to exchange for it, buying products for money became standard. Social networks of exchange – household economies, customary local exchanges, church and fraternal networks– shattered under the strain, and were replaced by purely economic relationships – wage labor, shopping, public assistance – that could be denominated entirely in cash. The last three centuries of social and economic history are largely a chronicle of the results.

If economists took a wider view of the history of their discipline than they generally do, they might have noticed that what most of them consider a fundamental feature of all economies worth studying – the centrality of money – is actually a unique feature of an economic era defined by cheap abundant energy. Since the fossil fuels that made that era possible are being extracted at a pace many times the rate at which new supplies are being discovered, current assumptions about the role of money in society may be in for a series of unexpected revisions.

In an ironic way, this process of revision may be fostered by the antics of the world’s industrial nations as they try to forestall the Great Recession by spending money they don’t have. The economic crisis that gripped the world in 2008 was primarily driven by a drastic mismatch between money and wealth. When the price of a rundown suburban house zoomed from $75,000 to $575,000, for example, the change marked a distortion in the yardstick rather than any actual increase in the wealth being measured. That distortion caused every economic decision based on it – for example, a buyer’s willingness to go over his head into debt to buy the house, or a bank’s willingness to lend money on the basis of imaginary equity – to suffer similar distortions. Now that the yardsticks have snapped back to something like their proper length, the results of the distortion have to be cleared out of the economy if the amount of money in the system is once again to reflect the actual amount of wealth.
Peak Oil and the Necessity of Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture
by Chad Hellwinckel and Daniel De La Torre Ugarte

Crop to Cuisine: Farm Aid 2009 & The Father of the Green Revolution
Dov Hirsch, Crop to Cuisine

Crop To Cuisine discusses the life and accomplishments of Dr. Norman Borlaug. We also take a look at a new documentary exposing the inside of the beer industry. And we take hear from Catherine Friend about what it means to be a compassionate carnivore. All that and more.

TJF: Booklog: Herodotus–Introduction

Elsewhere Dr. Fleming comments:

On a not completely unrelated note, there is a discussion that has been going on in various places on the relative merits of Christianity and paganism. It is an important subject, even if most of the discussion so far has generated more smoke than fire. As someone accused even by my colleagues of having a soft spot for ancient paganism, perhaps I might broker a more fact-based alternative discussion in which polite and serious Christians and neopagans could have their say. I don’t know what to call it. Contra Gentiles rather loads the dice. What about Athens (though we shall also take up Roman, German, and Celtic paganism) and Jerusalem?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Robocops Come to Pittsburgh
…and bring the latest weaponry with them

by Mike Ferner
Lew Rockwell links to some interesting books: Roman Imperial Propaganda Still Holds Sway.
Our evanescent culture and the awesome duty of librarians by Richard Heinberg (original)

I'm over-reliant on the computer and electronic media for the storage of information. I really should kick the habit.
Peak Oil and the Necessity of Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture
Chad Hellwinckel and Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, Farm Foundation

As global energy availability begins to decline over the next several decades, energy-intensive industrial methods of food production will have to be transitioned to regenerative practices that 1) sponsor their own energy, 2) build soils and 3) produce in abundance.

It's Fleet Week... but the number of ships actually open to the public has been reduced since the '80s. It's rather disappointing. The Blue Angels are performing though, and I'm thinking of going up to see them, but apparently there is a lot going on in SF this weekend, so they expect traffic and parking to be bad.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What Does Woman Want? The War Between the Sexless
Mary Eberstadt
Asia News: Mgr. James Lin Xili, underground bishop of Wenzhou, dies
by James Wang
Even while sick and bed-bound he was controlled by the police. He spent 16 years in a forced labour camp, as a cobbler. Under him, the Church of Zhejiang flourished.
NLM: Compendium of the Reforms of the Roman Breviary, 1568-1961: Part 6.1 - The Divine Office in the Tridentine Church
The National Centre for Early Music, York

The 2010 NCEM Young Composers Award Competition.
Mike Whitney, Dollar Hysteria: Is the Sky Really Falling?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Vibram Five Fingers Shoes: The Barefoot Alternative

Tim Ferriss on Vibram Shoes from Kevin Rose on Vimeo.

Vibram Five Fingers
Sven Ortman responds to William Lind: About light infantry tactics and the tactical challenges in Afghanistan
William Byrd: Civitas Sancti Tui - the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge

William Byrd: Civitas Sancti Tui, performed by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge at the Stanford University Memorial Church, September 17, 2009, as part of the Stanford Summer Concert Series.

Wow, how did I miss this. (More videos.)

Trinity College Cambridge - Music at Trinity

The Sixteen sing "Verbum caro factum est"
Opus Dei offers to those seeking work a novena seeking the intercession of St. Josemaría.

[Photos of Torreciudad Ordinations (September 6, 2009)]
BBC Early Music Show: Renaissance Polyphony
Lucie Skeaping is joined by Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars to explore some of the defining qualities and the ethos of Renaissance polyphony. She asks what has prompted their enthusiasm for it and learns how working with this music has encouraged the group to find a distinctive sound and performing methodology. Including excerpts from some of the Tallis Scholars many recordings.

Expires in 4 days.
The "Real" Economy Is Dying: Q4 "Going to Be a Bloodbath," Whalen Says (via LRC)
10 Commandments of Concealed Carry by Massad Ayoob (via LRC)
Shopped Out: The changing face of American retail by Cheryl Miller
Urban Right-to-Farm Laws
Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book

One of the things I’ve been saying for a long time is that we’re going to need to address zoning questions early in the process of adaptation. In an increasing number of rural areas, “Right-to-Farm” laws are in effect - that is, there are laws that protect farmers who are engaged in the normal practice of agriculture, when suburbanization or urbanization enters the picture. The assumption is that if it is part of the normal practice of agriculture, the neighbors can’t complain.


Harvest Art
Gene Logsdon, Dave Smith, Organic To Be

It is no surprise that gardening and farming inspire art. The partnership between nature and humans in the act of producing food can’t help but produce beauty too. A shelf full of home-canned vegetables means food security, but the real reason we delight in them is that the food just looks so pretty sitting there in rows in the cellar. The act of laying by food is its own reward even before we eat the stuff.


Mike Whitney, Dead Man Walking: Welcome to the US Economy

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Times: Worst losses for a year as Taleban storm Nato outpost

“Everyone is aware of what happened in Nuristan, and checking their outposts are well protected and manned,” said Major Jason Henneke, executive officer of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Battalion in Wardak province. Major Henneke’s battalion lost two soldiers, with three wounded, late on Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire on his American colleagues during a joint operation to clear the Taleban from villages around the Nerkh valley.

US and Afghan investigators are trying to determine whether the policeman was a covert member of the Taleban or made a mistake. Either way, the attack fuelled the distrust that many Nato soldiers feel towards the Afghan security forces they are training as part of the coalition’s eventual exit strategy.

“You don’t trust anybody, especially after an incident like this,” said Specialist Raquime Mercer, 20, whose close friend died in the attack.
The Economic Recovery is an Illusion: The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Warns of Future Crises

A Coming Crisis

The derivatives market represents a massive threat to the stability of the global economy. However, it is one among many threats, all of which are related and intertwined; one will set off another. The big elephant in the room is the major financial bubble created from the bailouts and "stimulus" packages worldwide. This money has been used by major banks to consolidate the economy; buying up smaller banks and absorbing the real economy; productive industry. The money has also gone into speculation, feeding the derivatives bubble and leading to a rise in stock markets, a completely illusory and manufactured occurrence. The bailouts have, in effect, fed the derivatives bubble to dangerous new levels as well as inflating the stock market to an unsustainable position.

However, a massive threat looms in the cost of the bailouts and so-called "stimulus" packages. The economic crisis was created as a result of low interest rates and easy money: high-risk loans were being made, money was invested in anything and everything, the housing market inflated, the commercial real estate market inflated, derivatives trade soared to the hundreds of trillions per year, speculation ran rampant and dominated the global financial system. Hedge funds were the willing facilitators of the derivatives trade, and the large banks were the major participants and holders.

At the same time, governments spent money loosely, specifically the United States, paying for multi-trillion dollar wars and defense budgets, printing money out of thin air, courtesy of the global central banking system. All the money that was produced, in turn, produced debt. By 2007, the total debt - domestic, commercial and consumer debt - of the United States stood at a shocking $51 trillion.17

As if this debt burden was not enough, considering it would be impossible to ever pay back, the past two years has seen the most expansive and rapid debt expansion ever seen in world history - in the form of stimulus and bailout packages around the world. In July of 2009, it was reported that, "U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program."18
Bloomberg: Pellegrini 80% Return Proves Paulson Protege No Fluke at Fund

Interview with Paolo Pellegrini | The Big Picture
PSQR Management LLC - Investor Profile | HedgeTracker

One reason why I can't stand Fringe

The JJ Abrams/Alex Kurtzman/Roberto Orci show on Fox... it follows the footsteps of X-Files, but it takes the gore to a new level. X-Files at least hid some of the horrible sights and left much to the viewers' imagination, but Fringe is quite explicit, taking its cue from what you might see in R-rated horror movies. Or is it just taking what shows like CSI have already done, depicting dead bodies in various states or being autopsied, and going one step further? If it's just a piece of meat, then why not show the transition from life to death in an as graphic manner as possible? We can acknowledge that it's not real and thus not feel guilty seeing people die in gruesome ways, and yet at the same time pretend that it is real, thus satiating some strange desire to witness violent deaths. Even if Fringe had a philosophically interesting storyline (at this point I agree with those who think it is derivative--the latest big revelation, that of an alternate universe which may be preparing for a possible conflict or invasion of the 'home' universe, has already been done in Star Trek and Sliders), the display of gore is barbaric and drags the quality of the show way down. The philistines indeed are in control of Hollywood.

One might think that Fringe won't be shown over in the UK, which has stricter standards about violence and gore, but having seen what has been shown on Torchwood, I think that even the Brits are losing their repulsion to such visuals.
Magpul Dynamics - Special Features - Equipment Setup (Additional Footage)

More on Travis Haley.
Magpul Dynamics - Art of the Tactical Carbine 3 DVD Set with Travis Haley and Chris Costa

What do you think Sarge?