Saturday, December 18, 2010

From 1969: Roger Ebert interviews John Wayne.

An oldie from Dalrymple on Tattoos

Exposing shallowness, by Theodore Dalrymple
On Margo DeMello's Bodies of Inscription

When I see a tattoo on one of our teachers, I ask, "Was this a youthful indiscretion? Or something more?" What does a tattoo say about her character, and what would her students (especially the girls) think if they were to see it. Most of the tattoos I've seen so far are discreet (though the ones on the lower back in particular are called "tramp stamps"). Alas, they are not completely so since I was able to catch a glimpse when their shirt was slightly raised.

Shelby Lynne talks about "Merry Christmas"


Much better than what I expected.

Gwyneth Paltrow - Country Strong - CMA Awards 2010

poegey leaves this comment: "Gwyneth is a better LIVE performer than Taylor Swift! And she can stay in key with her back up vocalist Vince Gill."

I can't disagree. But Taylor Swift's songs may also be a contributing factor.

This is an improvement over "Cruisin":

The trailer for Gwyneth Paltrow's movie, Country Strong:

Gwyneth Paltrow Invents Some Dance Moves in New Country Strong Clip

More Stile Antico

Millenium of Music

"#10-48: 11/22/10--Puer natus est---The brilliant young English ensemble is out with a Christmas disc, including the Tallis Missa "Puer natus est" and works by Byrd, Taverner, Sheppard, and Robert White."

Good for T-Ara fans

but T-Ara (티아라) probably shouldn't be the faces for Korean feminism...

T-ara to become parliamentary aides for next mission on “T-ara’s Dream Girls”

I've seen them on various variety shows; they may be representative of Korean youth (Korean young women?), but why should the opinions of the young have much weight, especially today, when so many linger in adultlescence and lack gravitas? What could the members of T-ara possibly say about relations between North and South Korea? They'd be better off bringing more attention to relocalization and agrarianism, as one of the members, Park Hyomin, has done through Invincible Youth.
From Stile Antico's FB page:

"Dec 18: For all those shivering in the snow in various parts of the world, here's a full-blooded rendition of Byrd's Advent motet Vigilate to help thaw you out. It was recorded at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh during our most recent US tour."

AP: Obama to sign law ending military gay ban

Christmas Time is Here

When I first heard the song during the Peanuts Christmas special, I found it a bit creepy -- something just didn't sound right with the voices. But it's grown on me with time.

(I played the Christmas Special for a elementary school class a while ago. It is rather un-PC, even if the Christian content is muted. It is a relic of America's Anglo past [or the 50s] in many respects. I've forgotten if Charles Schulz ever created an Asian character.)

Diana Krall

Diane Reeves

A Fine Frenzy

Patti Austin

Chanticleer (hrm.)

Part 2
Defense Review: U.S. Army "Family of Camo Patterns" (FOP) Program Phase IV Next-Generation Combat Camouflage Competition Update: Army Camouflage Improvement Industry Day

Friday, December 17, 2010

Anthony Esolen, The Freedom of Man, 2

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Arcangelo Corelli: Christmas Concerto, Adagio Op. 6 No. 8

(via the FB page for the SFEMS)

Icon Fetch interview with Shelby Lynne

Dec 14, 2010 - Shelby Lynne - Merry Christmas

Fr. Fessio

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. on Pope Benedict XVI and Ignatius Press

He was also on Catholic Answers Live last Tuesday (RA, MP3).

What I Saw in America: Against Vocational Education, For Vocation

What I Saw in America: Against Vocational Education, For Vocation

What's an education?

Kevin Ryan, A moral crisis, not a money crisis
Want to know how to push American kids back to the top of the education ladder? A leading educator has an agenda for teachers and parents.

(via the Western Confucian)

Those who defend the West against the East argue that there is a difference between rote memorization (or more accurately, memorization and being able to calculate) vs. original, creative thinking. In this comparison, the West excels in creative thinking, as evidenced by its technological innovations, and so on. (See the comments to Steve Sailer's posts.)

My reaction to the essay is mixed. I think one of the causes for the failures of the American public school s ystem is moral (on the part of many students). But I don't believe comparing the United States to other countries, based on a measurement of ability, gives us enough information about what needs to be done. Does a text on math and science an accurate predictor about the economic future of a country if it is heavily dependent upon technological innovation? But what if the information age, along with the industrial age, are unsustainable because energy will no longer be cheap? How much innovation, then, is necessary?

The author's recommendations:

An agenda for teachers and parents

First, break the monopoly of the public school system. Give parents back their tax money so they purchase the education they believe is best for their children, whether secular private, religious, internet-delivered, home schooled or even old PS 22. Free up the system, but make the results highly transparent.

Second, change the “work environment” and change our expectations of students. Extend the school day until 5 in the afternoon as so many other countries do. Extend the school year from 180 days to closer to 240. Without giving into the empty slogan “education should be fun!”, make schooling more interesting and connected to their futures. Currently in the US, teachers and students are obsessed with the results of paper and pencil objective tests on reading, and math, an obsession which has blocked out time previously devoted to art, literature, geography, history, music and physical education. It is little wonder that students are seeking escapes and the educational enterprise is so dispirited! The drill, drill, drill and test, test, test approach is killing teachers and students alike.

Third, use school-parent contracts to get a new set of student expectations in place. For instance, parents should be “under contract” to provide a quiet, media free study place for their children. They should strictly limit time and exposure to TV, to the internet and social networking and anything that interferes with their children developing the knowledge and the work habits the future will demand of them.

Fourth, re-empower teachers to be character educators. Instead of the current model of teacher-as-information-dispenser, teacher should be prepared and expected aggressively to teach children the good habits or virtues we know constitute a worthy life, that is, habits of responsibility, self-discipline, justice and respect for others. Educators should recapture the tradition of teachers being in loco parentis. If some students are unable to accommodate the new, more serious school environment, removed them to other, more structured environments until they are ready to return. We owe that to both the offending students, but also to the teachers and students who stay behind.

Fifth, de-sexualize school. Switch from the current urban fashion to school uniforms. Outlaw foul language and “public displays of affection” with has come to cover everything from groping, grinding and worse. Leave “condom distribution” to the local drugstore. Teenagers, in particular, always were and are hungry for romance. Nevertheless, schools should be sex-free zones.

Sixth, the young need a meaning system, a worldview, which is bigger than their own appetites. A nation of self-oriented pleasure-seekers will have a short, inglorious future. It is a fundamental duty of parents to transmit to their children an understanding of where they come from, who they are and where they should be going. Churches are a great resource here. So are the schools, religious and private, that are freed from the “science-only” worldview of US public schools. Parents, however, have the ultimate responsibility to, as a friend once said to me, help children escape the “Great Suck of Self.”

The author is a proponent of character education in American schools (see the links below). (He is also a member of the Ponticial Academy of Science!) The state does have a stake in the moral formation of its citizens. Teachers must model virtuous behavior, students in practicing virtue. (Does Dr. Ryan explicitly talk about virtue elsewhere? I think he does.) Who can deny that there is a moral element to the interaction between students and students and the wider community? All of this sounds good to a conservative, but can one trust the American public school system as a "guardian of values"? Even the virtue of justice may become twisted, given the PC notions of equality and tolerance thath dominate in so many areas and districts.

As for his second recommendation, I do think education should be more well-rounded, but I do not know if what he would have this accomplished through more book-learning. A large segment of time should be devoted to giving students practical skills for everyday living, skills that will become more prominent in a postcarbon era. I have talked about cultural education elsewhere, so I won't repeat myself except to briefly write that an attempt to do so, in the absence of a genuine community, is artificial and will probably not be successful. Finally, I currently deny the claim that students should be spending more time in school. I'd rather have them out doing the things that will integrate them into the community and practicing domestic skills at home. (Assuming that the area at large is making an effort to end social atomism, which includes more opportunities for communal leisure.)

(Regarding the desexualizing of school -- the best way to do this is to separate students by sex, if not by schools then at least by classrooms.)

Steve Sailer on the PISA:
PISA scores for Shanghai
More PISA school achievement results
PISA and Mexico

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan (wiki)
Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character
10 Tips for Raising Children of Character (Growing Character)
The Six Es of Character Education
Mining the Values in the Curriculum
Those Who Can, Teach (alt, GB)
The Aspen Declaration on Character Education
Character Education Manifesto

Character Education - Teachers Without Borders
Character Education and Psychological Models of Virtue
Morals - The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
Character Education Books and Other Resources
Character Education Resources
The Teel Institute
Moral Education: A-L and Moral Education: M-Z By F. Clark Power

How Not to Teach Values: A Critical Look at Character Education by Alfie Kohn

Karen Bohlin (current director of CAEC)
Pipl profile
Dr. Karen Bohlin, Director of the Center For the Advancement of Ethics and Character
Susquehanna University Presents Annual Lecture in Ethics
The Ultimate Test of Character: Gratitude
Citizenship and higher education: the role of universities in communities and society (GB)

Karen Bohlin's Keynote address at Bayridge's 50th Anniversary Reunion from bayridgeresidence on Vimeo.

To Kill a King

I watched this movie the other night -- I enjoyed it, maybe more for the spectacle than anything else, and I agree that it compresses too much into 1 hr and 47 minutes.

I really should read more about the English Civil War though -- any suggestions?

Fairfax, Cromwell et. al.: Republicans seeking to preserve that tradition in England? Or radical revolutionaries? The movie shows Fairfax to be more of the former, while Cromwell is more of the latter, even though the note at the end of the movie seems to support Cromwell, crediting him as a precursor to the French Revolution, which brought upon us the modern political age. (I don't think it was meant to be ironic. It states that a king was restored to the throne, and that England has not been a republic since.)

Apparently English Catholics tended to side with Charles I -- because he was Catholic? Or because they had a stronger affection for the monarchy, or were more loyal and obedient (as they understood those virtues)?

How should Catholics judge the Stuart cause? Could one support it without agreeing with his absolutist claims? And if the king denies that there are any legal limits to his authority, can anything be done to curb his power except by force (and maybe the installation of a new monarch)? And is it too radical for a society with a tradition of hereditary monarchy to cast it off in favor of a new method of appointing the monarchy?

An internet essay on the English Civil War.

Rotten Tomatoes (trailer)



Stile Antico gives a preview of what it will be doing early next year. On the schedule: a concert tour of the West Coast in April!!! Dates will be posted later today...

Edit. Here it is, the list of concert dates. Link for the ticket giveaway.

Related: San Diego Early Music Society

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Hermeneutic of Continuity: Janet Smith responds to Fr Ronheimer
NPR: Shelby Lynne And Allison Moorer: Musical Sister
Snipers shoot to be named USASOC sniper team of the year

Flickr: 2010 USASOC Sniper Competition

Bill of Rights Day

Posted at the Tenth Amendment Center's website: The Vision of the Founders: Dead and Gone by Kevin Gutzman

See also: The Bill of Rights Broken-Down into Declaratory and Restrictive Clauses
The Oil Drum: The Coal Question, Revisited

"This is a guest post by Professor Dave Rutledge (DaveR), of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

In the summer of 2007, Professor Kyle Saunders (Professor Goose) invited me to do a guest post for The Oil Drum. This post was "The Coal Question and Climate Change." In the post, Hubbert linearization was applied to make a regional analysis of world coal production. The estimate for long-term production, including both cumulative production and all future production, amounted to 724Gt. Many people, including Dave Summers (Heading Out) and Euan Mearns, made helpful critical comments on the post, particularly concerning British coal production. Overall, I was encouraged by the response. The Oil Drum is a great place to try out new ideas."
Vanity Fair: Medal of Honor Winner Salvatore Giunta on Bravery, Brotherhood, and the Korengal

The Archdruid Report: Two Lessons in Practical Ecology

The Archdruid Report: Two Lessons in Practical Ecology: "These days, the news coming out of America’s political and financial centers evokes the same sort of horrified fascination that draws onlook..."
Food: Tackling the oldest environmental problem: Agriculture and its impact on soil
Wes Jackson, Energy Bulletin

I want to talk about the 10,000-year-old problem of agriculture and how it is both necessary and possible to solve it. Were it necessary but not possible this idea would be grandiose, and were it possible but not necessary it would be grandiose. But it has passed the test of grandiosity.


Terrence Malick's latest: The Tree of Life

Gary Taubes has a new blog post up: Calories, fat or carbohydrates? Why diets work (when they do).

On Richard Holbrooke

Three to supplement Dr. Fleming's Richard Holbrooke, RIH: Srdja Trifkovic, Richard Holbrooke: An American Diplomat, Joshua Frank, The Legacy of First Blood Dick: Remembering Holbrooke, and Diana Johnstone, Holbrooke or Milosevic: Who is the Greater Murderer? Plus a piece by Stephen Zunes.


Washington Post
Washington Monthly

XDM 45

Springfield Armory

The Firearm Blog
The Truth About Guns

Also saw a feature of 5.11 knives in some magazine last week too... still rather expensive, so I might go with an inexpensive Gerber knife instead.

What's the rep for Rock River like? The knives and axes look $$$.

American Bladesmith Society
Hand powered drilling tools and machines
by Kris de Decker

(archived at EB)

TIME Magazine: Just reporting the news or pop pulp?

AP: Mark Zuckerberg named Time 'Person of Year'

Being named person of year by a news magazine was a dubious distinction to begin with -- it's a title that should be decided by historians after much time has passed. Has Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg had more of an impact on the world than the shenanigans of the ruling elites during the economic crisis? Come on...

I suppose that Zuckerberg being named Person of Year had nothing to do with a fictional movie about the creation of Facebook being released this year.

Maybe I'll take TIME more seriously when it deals with our energy problems in depth and in every issue.

Time: A Chat with Mark Zuckerberg

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Franklin C. Spinney, Who is the Wise General in Afghanistan?
Mike Whitney, Post Mortem for the World's Reserve Currency
Ralph Nader, Majority of One
Patrick Cockburn, Billions Down the Drain in Useless US Afghan Aid

SGM Basil Plumley

Fr. Z has a blog post on SGM Basil Plumley.

A forum thread on SGM Plumley.
The Soldiers' Story

Mike Church Show: Dr. Kevin Gutzman On Judge Hudson's Ruling On HealthCare Bill

Mike Church Show: Dr. Kevin Gutzman On Judge Hudson's Ruling On HealthCare Bill

Life after RC has some updates

Institutional position on founder
Directing the Legion Minds
More hammers, more nails

Zenit: Legion Adopts New Norms Regarding Founder

Fr. Rhonheimer jumping to conclusions?

With respect to how he understands the "condom controversy":

Sandro Magister: On the Condom and AIDS, the Pope Has Come Down from the Cathedra
Steve Sailer's review of The Fighter.

When I first saw the trailer, I wasn't too terribly interested in the movie -- Christian Bale's character was too much of an obvious loser, and Mark Wahlberg was the star. However, I've been won over by the positive reviews...

I see it is playing over at Century 20 Great Mall.

Golden Globe Nominations

Monday, December 13, 2010

A tale of two spoons
by Alan Wartes

(archived at EB)

When I am asked what steps I recommend to be ready for what lies ahead, I always begin with the obvious: food, water, shelter, etc. It does no good to neglect personal preparedness while you pursue high-minded global change. In other words, if you can’t heat your own house in the winter of a crisis, the fact that you lobbied your utility company to buy some of its power from “green” sources doesn’t mean very much. That’s blunt, I know, but true. Make a list of the things you personally depend on, then under each one write the question: “What would I do if…” Don’t stop until you have answers for each one.

Yet, sadly, many people mistakenly believe that this sort of nitty-gritty preparation is the whole journey, when it is, in fact, just the first step. Securing your own basic necessities is the very least you can do—must do—to prepare yourself for the coming Long Emergency.

No, there is much more to preparedness than that. Next, you must set about making sure you have something vital to offer your community—not the one presently defined by political boundaries or tax districts, but the much smaller circle of actual people you live with or near. As John F. Kennedy once suggested, don’t think in terms of what your community can do for you. Imagine having to justify your inclusion in a clan of people when the burning political question of the day is how to fairly divide up the hardship of scarcity. Why should you get a share? What do you bring to the table that the community values and needs? Here’s a hint: It had better be something with a direct and measurable positive impact on collective survival, under conditions more challenging than anything you’ve ever seen.

The key word here, of course, is “collective”—a badly discredited word after years of capitalist triumphalism. Nevertheless, by helping to feed (or clothe, or heal, or shelter) the people you live with, you will gain access to all that they can do for you as well, each of you leading the other away from hell, if not into heaven. Contrary to the fear mongering propaganda plastered all over the TV, most people want to contribute and belong to something larger than themselves , and would if shown a viable vision of how it can work.

Yes, there is serious trouble at our doorstep. Yes, society is undergoing dramatic convulsions of contraction and change—right now. But we will make things much worse on ourselves if we fail to factor into our calculations the welfare of others, not just our own. We are only as safe as the least secure of our neighbors--period. Some people respond to that idea by building deeper bunkers. What would happen if we reached out instead? Genuine community may not spring up overnight, but a single act of one-on-one kindness and inclusion can begin to undo years of isolation and fear. One gesture of hope and trust can inspire people to lower their weapons and tear down long-held defenses. From there we might discover that we’re all starving to death anyway, attempting to feed ourselves alone. What would it cost us to give cooperation a shot for a change?

This Christmas it is no longer good enough to mouth a few empty words about “goodwill toward men”. It is time to start living it on purpose and out loud, learning to love and care for each other like our lives depend on it—because they very well may. After all, that’s what the baby from Bethlehem grew up to say.
What is Marriage?

Sherif Girgis
Princeton University Department of Philosophy

Robert George
Princeton University - Department of Politics

Ryan T. Anderson
University of Notre Dame Department of Political Science

(via The Public Discourse)
PāNu: Dr. Kurt Harris's 12-step plan, and his post on how to lose weight.
Bryan Tyler WAR BEGINS
Gary Taubes, The Inanity of Overeating

I think this is a new website created in part to promote his new book, which is coming out at the end of the month. He may have hinted that it was in development in his interview with Jimmy Moore a while back. (I believe there is another website to which he contributes, but it's not easily found through Google, and I'm too lazy to listen to the interview to find the url.)

A critique of Taubes.

Another link via Mark Sisson, On the road, paleo style

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Anthony Esolen, Freedom for Man

Freedom for Man

Thus the "individual" as understood in rationalist social-contract theories is, for the Christian, already a reduction, even an abstraction. To be, as Pope Benedict has said, is revealed to us as to be from, to be with, and to be for: it is the Trinitarian mystery of existence. We must not think of people as, primarily, individuals, to which are superadded contingent relationships. Every person is born into a world of relationships: is the child of a mother and a father. In a certain sense, it is correct to remember that Jesus would have died on the cross to save even one of us: he loves all, in such a way as to love each, as if each were the only being in the world. But each of us is not the only being in the world, and could never be, so that when Jesus saves me he saves the fellow who is the son of Anthony and Jane, the husband of Debra; and it is also those relationships of love that he has come to heal and redeem. That is but what it means to save the individual.

I grant that this is a great mystery. But I think it helps us to avoid the unnecessary dichotomy between rights, which are supposed to inhere only in individuals, and responsibilities, which are supposed to be owed only to others. In point of fact, my rights and responsibilities are incoherent if considered as separate from one another, since I am fundamentally from, with, and for others. A family is more than an agglomeration of human isotopes; to deny that it too possesses rights is to mistake what a human being is. If no man is an island, and if every man's death diminisheth me, then every man's evil harms me, and every man's virtue builds me up. All these things we need to consider when we ask, "What does a just society look like?", and, what is not the same thing, "What form of government best serves the end of justice?" We will conclude that it is not true that the "freest" society is the most just, if by freedom we mean the license to behave as if we were alone in the world, pursuing individual ends, but that a just society will be the most free -- because it will be a society of genuine liberty wherein human beings can best flourish. I'm not original here, far from it. More on this soon.

Some conservatives would contend that there can be a functional ethics that talks about responsibilities but not rights. Subjective passive rights -- being owed certain actions out of justice, these correlate to responsibilities. But subjective active rights, the moral faculties to do certain actions -- these are properly developed within the science of politics, if anywhere. One can talk about subjective active rights within ethics, but it seems to me that they are not necessary for that science to be adequate, even if it is not complete.
Francisco López de Capillas (1605-1674) - In horróre

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Hernando Franco (1532-1585) - Magnificar del 5o Tono
LUMEN AD REVELATIONEM - Francisco López Capillas (ca. 1614 - 1674)
Westminster Cathedral Choir / Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla - Deus in adiutorium meum intende

Another example of "state Confucianism"

ATimes: Confucian answer to 'clowns' By Antoaneta Becker
China's Confucius Prize debacle
China's Confucius peace prize has chaotic launch...
Nobel Peace Prize: Confucius prize? Never heard of it, says the winner
Confucius Prize Winner Absent From Ceremony
China counters Nobel Peace Prize with Confucius Peace Prize

(For a differentiation of the various kinds of Confucianism, see John Berthrong's Transformations of the Confucian Way.)
Jeff Taylor has a short review of Bill Kauffman's latest, Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: On the Porch with Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire.

NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert: Stile Antico

"When You Say Nothing At All"