Saturday, February 19, 2011

The King to His Peoples. H.M. King George VI from Buckingham Palace September 3rd 1939

Desalizination is Not Sustainable

Desalination: Unlocking Lessons from Yesterday’s Solution by Debbie Cook

Wooden Churches of Ukraine


A Perfect Match?

JoBlo: Martin Scorsese's Jesuit priest drama Silence will be his next film, becomes re-attached to The Wolf of Wall Street

Will Sorceses's issues, whatever they may be, get in the way of his cultural Catholicism? He may get the apostasy right, but how about the Christianity? (If what Endo presents as the counterpoint can be called Christianity. I still haven't read the novel...)

Silence (沈黙, Chinmoku)

Matt Jones, Apostasy and Shusaku Endo’s Silence
The Christology of Shusaku Endo By Fumitaka Matsuoka
Amy Welborn
Shusaku Endo’s Silence: Novelist Sought a Christianity That Speaks to the Japanese Soul
Review at CA Forum
Army special ops continues to grow, increase optempo
Feb 17, 2011
By J.D. Leipold

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Feb. 17, 2011) -- U.S. Army Special Operations Command has more than doubled its manpower since Sept. 11, 2001, and according to its deputy commander, mission requirements and operations tempo will continue on an upward glide path.

Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller said special operations forces are presently working on 116 missions in 53 countries -- and "that's actually sort of low. It's usually somewhere between 60 and 65 countries, small numbers of people in most spots that total between 5,500 and 6,000 people."

How many of these operations are really necessary for defending the United States?

NYT Review of Battle for Marjah

Battle for Marjah by Mike Hale
A Mission Documented With a Filter of Despair

A review at Global Security.

HBO, Trailer

Pop Matters
Monsters and Critics
Military Times

On the Battle of Marjah:
Patrick Cockburn
Gareth Porter (and this)
Jeff Huber
Dave Lindorff
Common Dreams
Understanding War
Global Post v. Front Page Magazine
CS Monitor

From December 2010: U.S. General Richard Mills: Battle In Marjah Is Over

On Anniversary of Marjah Push, Escalation Strategy Still Failing

Not the Beginning of the End

because the Union Army has been SNAFU for a while:
Teaching begins for DADT repeal
Teaching begins for DADT repeal
Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., launches the Army's Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal chain teach to senior leaders from across the force during the 4-star conference at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., Feb. 17, 2011. The Army's goal is to complete training for the Active Duty force by mid-July and the Reserve Component by mid-August. The training provided senior leaders with the tools they'll need to educate the force on what is expected in a post repeal environment. US Dept of Defense: DADT.


What's a S-Line?

Someone posed this question in response to a post on FB: S-Line, V-Line, and 19 More Korean Body Lines.

Converts from Feminism

There are probably women who have decided to stay at home and give up a career or cut back on work hours once they became mothers, because they felt the "primal" urge to be there to take care of their children. Is this a good enough conversion? Would it be too much to expect that a woman would reject the life plans they had embraced not because of emotion and instinct, but on the basis of reason? I'll explain why -- women's subordinating their needs to the needs of their children may be facilitated through oxytocin and the nuturing "instinct," but it is not enough to turn them against feminism, if they continue to be feminists but within the home -- in how they treat their husband, their others expectations of life, and so on. There is a temptation for women to put a greater priority on their children their their married life and the needs of their husbands. Feminism would compound this. (Feminism might be working in tandem with an emotional response to a woman's bad experiences with their fathers or other men.)

Should we not expect that emotion/instinct to be subordinated to (or elevated through) reason for women? There are misogynists who would go so far as to claim that women are no better than children, mentally, and I think this is an incorrect assessment driven by strong emotions.

Kinpachi Sensei Coming to an End

Tokyo Hive: Takeda Tetsuya reflects on the end of “Kinpachi Sensei” & his role

I've seen a couple of the series when they were broadcast on local TV a long time ago--it's a sentimental drama which tries to encourage students dealing with the culture of examination hell in Japan, but I've never seen it offer real suggestions for reform or reject the current system. Maybe I haven't watched enough of it. There were references to spirituality, benevolence, and such as a response to some of the issues that Japanese teenagers face, encouraging them to look at the bigger picture and to think of what sort of people they want to be. A simplified Japanese humanism? But television won't save Japan from its spiritual malaise, and the happy endings that Kinpachi Sensei offered may have only given the audience some measure of emotional satisfaction and not the truth that it doesn't seek to confront.

More info:
Drama wiki

Nora Jane Struthers, "Put Down That Old Guitar"

Yo-Yo Ma receives Presidential Medal of Freedom CCTV News

Yo-Yo Ma

White House page for the ceremony. (mp3)

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma receives the Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington February 15, 2011. (Reuters/Daylife)

US President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Medal of Freedom to cellist Yo-Yo Ma, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC, February 15, 2011. (Getty/Daylife)

Our Republic will not be Destroyed on Our Watch

Oath Keepers
Oath Keeper state chapters
The Real Oath Keepers

David Walker on Andrea Mitchell Reports

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

“Localization is the Economics of Happiness”

Yes!: “Localization is the Economics of Happiness”
We know what makes us happy—but too often our economic decisions stand in the way. Helena Norberg-Hodge, director of the Economics of Happiness, on how to change all that.
by Brooke Jarvis

Dominican Sisters Coming to the Sacramento Area

California Catholic Daily: “We’re going to build something that will last 200 years”
Traditional, habit-wearing nuns plan new priory in Loomis to accommodate explosive growth

Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
Our Two California Missions
Our California Expansion

Where's Loomis? Maybe 20 miles to the northeast of central Sacramento.

The peak oil crisis: the 3rd transition

The peak oil crisis: the 3rd transition by Tom Whipple

Video of the Western Dominican Province House of Studies in 1960

Western Dominican Province House of Studies in 1960 (Cross-posted at Dominican Liturgy)

La Princesse de Montpensier (Bertrand Tavernier) - Bande Annonce

It is supposed to be released here in the US on April 8.

Studio Canal

There you go Sarge, extra-credit for your class.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Official website for The Conspirator


Bishop Fellay Interview

Rorate Caeli has the links.
Club Orlov: Ron Paul joins the Collapse Party

Nora Jane Struthers in Town

On Sunday she'll be at Mission City Coffee:

Fiddling Cricket:
Nora Jane Struthers & The Bootleggers
Winners of the 2010 Telluride Band Competition
Sunday, February 20th, 7.00pm $15/$17
2221 The Alameda, Santa Clara, CA 95050
call 831-475-4938 or email

Her West Coast tour:

Feb. 19, 2011
The West Side Theatre
Tickets: $12 general/ $15 reserved
Newman, CA

Feb. 20, 2011
Mission City Coffee Roasting
Hosted By: Fiddling Cricket
Ticket Price: $15
Santa Clara, CA

Feb. 23, 2011
Oakland, CA

Feb. 24, 2011
Gray House Concert
rsvp: Kathy Gray
Chico, CA

Feb. 25, 2011
Oaksong Music Society at Bernie's Guitar
Tickets: $18
Redding, CA

Feb. 26, 2011
Rosecrest Music & Supper Club
rsvp: Jonathan Klein
Oakland, CA

Feb. 27, 2011
Berkeley House Concerts
rsvp: Audrey Spector

Gail Tverberg: Natural Gas not a Solution for Peak Oil

Don’t count on natural gas to solve US energy problems by Gail Tverberg (EB)

PCR on Obama's Budget

Paul Craig Roberts, Obama's Budget: a Tool for Class War
At Clinton Speech: Veteran Bloodied, Bruised and Arrested for Standing Silently

(via LRC)
Defense Review: New LaRue Tactical OBR 5.56 and OBR 7.62 PREDATAR Series Lightweight Tactical AR Carbines Debut at SHOT Show 2011


website; HBO, UK

RFK, Jr.: Oil Industry Trying to Silence "Gasland" Director - PT. 1/3

Parts 2 and 3.

Some discussion of the film at The Oil Drum.

Bach Collegium Japan - Bach Motets

BISSACD1841 - Bach Collegium Japan - Bach Motets

Bach Collegium Japan

An article from 2000 in First Things: J. S. Bach in Japan, by Uwe Siemon–Netto (via Jeff Culbreath).

Old Crow Medicine Show - Fall All On My Knees [Live]

Old Crow Medicine Show (MS, FB)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slow Food South Bay


California Small Farm Conference 2011
Double Tree Hotel - San Jose
San Jose, CA

California Small Farm Conference

Food Inc.: Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser Discuss Food Safety, Walmart and How to Feed the World

Good Magazine

The Influence of One Woman

According to Bones, it was Coco Chanel who started the fashion of getting a tan. I had to look it up--plenty of "confirmation" online. And so the decadent fashions of the wealthy are passed down to the lower classes, across Western countries...
Last week xiao Jimmy said that Chipotle had been raided and a lot of "undocumented workers" had lost their jobs, and the stores had trouble finding replacements--it turns out an audit had been done in one state. I joked at the time that something similar could happen at El Pollo Loco. When I visited one store this afternoon, I saw only 3 people working there. It was 3 in the afternoon, so perhaps not a busy time, but there was the manger, whom I had seen before and an Anglo manning the cashier and putting orders together. Plus one Hispanic woman who was doing the other labor. I don't think this was a case of EPL not having enough workers. Just a slow time of the day.
First Things: Thomas Merton and Confucianism by Wm. Theodore de Bary
Why the contemplative never got the religion quite right
Hmmm.... Living La Vida Low Carb Show: Danny Roddy: Eat Your Way To Healthy Hair! (Episode 445) (mp3)

Danny Roddy's website and blog.

Or will Europe end Multiculturalism?

PJB, Will Multiculturalism End Europe?

What's wrong with Iowa?

For first time, Iowa girl wins a state wrestling match ... by forfeit
By Cameron Smith

In Iowa, young women have been allowed to compete in wrestling with men for 20 years now? Astonishing

Cassy Herkelman (VIDEO): Female High School Wrestler Wins and Makes History - by Default
Gary Taubes: Why We Get Fat, Channel 2 News Denver 02/10/2011

Can't Touch This.

Benchmade Press Release for the 9101 Auto Stryker
Tactical-Life: 9101 Benchmade Auto Stryker


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Archdruid Report: Energy: What Actually Matters

The Archdruid Report: Energy: What Actually Matters: "It’s not uncommon, when I give public talks about the end of the industrial age, for people to ask me whether I can offer them any hope. No..."

Solomon Kane

When I saw the trailer for the movie, I had guarded hopes. While it may be slightly better than Van Helsing, the movie nonetheless suffers from bad cgi (as I feared based on what they show in the trailer) and a plotline cut with the Hollywood blockbuster cookie cutter. (No wonder it hasn't been picked up by an American distributor yet?) It seemed like there were some anachronisms and inaccuracies--Solomon Kane is a puritan but for a while he recuperates and does penance at what appears to be a Catholic monastery. There isn't enough sectarian animosity and division in the movie? I don't know much about the original source material, and have a limited acquaintance with the recent comic books, but if Solomon Kane is historical fantasy, the movie is more fantasy than historical. (The look of his family's castle, for instance.)

I also wanted his religious "conversion" to be a strong element in the story, but that's probably too much to expect. The "theology" of Solomon Kane isn't much better than that of the WB's Supernatural, even though the source material is much older. (So how faithful is the movie to the source material in that regard?)

I was hoping for something more along the lines of Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter. That sort of realism coupled with horror and swashbuckling adventure -- that movie could only be made during the 70s?

Solomon Kane was intended to be the first in a trilogy, but the next two may never get made (even if the economy were good)? I could be overestimating the importance of the US market--the movie did well in the UK and Europe?

Menu for the future: bringing famers to the table

Peak Moment Television (EB)

Gene Logsdon Defends Heating with Wood Done Properly

Heating With Wood Is An Eco-Crime? by Gene Logsdon

Funky sunglasses.

ONR’s TechSolutions providing SEALs with Fast Tint Protective Eyewear (FTPE) that change lens color on the fly.

ONR TechSolutions

Is the ARL working on anything comparable?

G. I. Joe...

Basic Training and Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

The 5 Dimensions of Strength:

Performing and excelling in physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, healthy body composition and flexibility derived through exercise, nutrition and training.

Approaching life's challenges in a positive, optimistic way by demonstrating self-control, stamina and good character with your choices and actions.

Developing and maintaining trusted, valued relationships and friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication including a comfortable exchange of ideas, views, and experiences.

Being part of a family unit that is safe, supportive and loving, and provides the resources needed for all members to live in a healthy and secure environment.

Strengthening a set of beliefs, principles or values that sustain a person beyond family, institutional, and societal sources of strength.

Ready Army

The Army's way of helping soldiers cope with a raw deal and to fix its suicide problem?
News Observer: Chocolate Drops, Fantasia, Arcade Fire win Grammys

David Walker Responds to Obama's Budget Proposal

White House: Budget Overview

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Fox News Insider:

Press Release from the Comeback America Initiative.

The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained

JM posted a link to this video on FB. A good review.

This reminds me of this post I saw at In Mala Fide: United Kingdom is a Fake Country.

Eric Lionel Mascall

William Tighe, Eric Lionel Mascall As Anglican Patrimony

A piece by Fr. Rutler (also here).

Gifford lecture bio

The English Concert's latest

The English Concert: A fantastic review of our latest recording with Elizabeth Watts

Bach: Cantatas & Arias / Bicket, Watts, The English Concert

Elizabeth Watts the soprano, not to be confused with this Elizabeth Watts.

"Matthew Alexander" on Effective Interrogation

This afternoon I was reading an article in a NG periodical about MI, and under the job description for the collection of human intelligence was interrogation. Anyway, a link to this was posted on FB -- One Man Says No To Harsh Interrogation Techniques (mp3).

Sarge, check out this photo:

St. Martin's Press
Matthew Alexander, a pseudonym for the author, is pictured with another interrogator who was part of the task force looking for Zafar.

Time: "How to Break a Terrorist" & Mother Jones - Simon & Schuster
Kill or Capture -

Something that mentions Mark Bowden ("The Dark Art of Interrogation").

Army Times: ‘Punisher’ gets its first battlefield tests XM25 ‘performs flawlessly’ in Afghanistan


For more, see this post.


Custom mandolins.

Josh Groban 2011 World Tour

2011 “Straight To You” World Tour Announcement

His appearance on The Today Show on Tuesday. Live with Regis and Kelly.

If I Can Walk Away and Galileo

Monday, February 14, 2011

Michael Novak Discusses Romantic Love

The Myth of Romantic Love

No doubt it was occasioned by V-Day. Some, in particular the recently "singled," on FB use the same day to "observe" Singles Awareness Day.

We can't talk about love without referring to Denis de Rougemonet's Love in the Western World. (Still haven't finished reading it.) Eros might be analyzed into certain chemicals involved in passions consequent upon the senses (or maybe even chemical signalling like pheromones), but it cannot help but be pulled towards something higher -- the desire for permanence, friendship/communion?

Is "love" given to different psychological/physiological, behavioral, moral reactions to desire? Most Catholic writers avoid saying eros is immoral. They may talk about how it is a natural response that nonetheless needs to be elevated or subsumed into charity. The moral imperative is to integrate the natural desire to pair off and procreate with reason.

What are the steps of "falling in love" and "being in love"? Does the release of one hormone lead to the release of another? Dopamine is released when we are in the presence of the other to whom we are attracted, we converse with her or act with her. It is not necessarily grounded upon a judgment of deep compatability -- it may simply result from the natural dynamic between men and women, the pleasure one has when one is in the company of a member of the opposite sex, in the initial excitement of attraction. One is no longer alone in the way Adam was alone, and pleasure results from the attaining of a certain good, companionship with a member of the other sex. The basis of marital communion is the natural dynamic between men and women. (Granted, this sort of loneliness will not be satisfied by having friends of the same sex, since what is lacking is not just a friend but a friend of the opposite sex--this loneliness is determined in a peculiar way by the instinct to pair off. So heartbreak may not be taken away through the company of friends, but the sadness of heartbreak can be eased through consolation and distraction.) People will often talk about chemistry, which is a rather vague notion since it covers a variety of things -- affinity, emotional and physiological reactions, and so on. This reinforces that initial pleasure.

But what causes the initial attraction? Is it merely the sex drive and testosterone? The object of attraction must first be recognized, and there are many influences other than instinct (e.g. being attracted to someone with certain physical features because they signal health, fertility, strength, masculinity, etc.) on our idealization of a lover.

I suppose the point of this post is simply to hash these thoughts out, and to think about how the senses (and the body) operate in conjunction with reason with respect to "romantic love."

"How nice."

The owners of 99 Chicken recognized us last night when we visited. I shouldn't be so shocked, since we've been there plenty of times. The ajuma seated us, and she said "1 #1, right?" The ajushi asked, "You haven't been here a long time!" They have new menus -- the number of selections has been reduced, and the prices have gone up slightly, but it's still worthy of patronage.

How many of us realize our poverty when we do not have this sort of familiarity (and much more) with others in our community?


as a marker or facilitator of exchange that promotes the well-being of the community, or as a tool for power, or the ability to satisfy one's desires?

It cannot be separated from the question of (the right to) property?

Received the Bill

for the ER today... $2.3k! (I did qualify for assistance, so I am waiting for the new bill to come next month.)

The Dominican Spiritual Life

op-stjoseph: The Dominican Spiritual Life
A talk by Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P

Gareth Porter, Deferring to Petraeus

Despite evidence that the Taliban insurgency had grown significantly in 2010, the U.S. intelligence community failed to revise its estimate for Taliban forces as part of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan in December.

That unusual decision was in deference to Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan, who did not want any official estimate of the insurgency's strength that would contradict his claims of success by Special Operations Forces in reducing the capabilities of the Taliban in 2010.

Triple Aught Design, Ranger Hoodie LT

page (The Apparel section for TAD)

There is a review over at Gear Scout.

More Coverage:
Soldier Systems
Tactical Survivor blog

One More Thing on Barefoot Running

This time over at LLVLC - The LLVLC Show (Episode 444): Dr. Daniel Howell Promotes The Health Benefits Of Going Barefoot

Daniel Howell, The Barefoot Book

The Barefoot Professor blog

Living Barefoot interview
Barefoot Runners Society links to this podcast
Richmond Times-Dispatch article

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(via Living Barefoot)

The Only Redeeming Feature of Michael Bay Movies?

Something I had not considered before while I was sitting through his productions: Pre and Post Obama America on Display: The Natural vs. Idiocracy. Which do you choose?

What is objectionable is not the use of ethnically diverse casts when it reflects reality, whether present reality or historical reality. Rather, it is the forced use of ethnically diverse casts in order to serve an ideological agenda and is counter to reality (or the original setting of a work). (For example, the complaints about the lack of blacks in depictions of World War II and the casting for The Hobbit, and the decision to cast a black actor as a Norse god in Thor.)*

We're all used to seeing rainbow harmonies on television and movies, but how much of this is just wishful thinking on the part of writers and execs? (How many of them actually live in multicolor communities? And what is more likely to happen outside of workplaces, self-segregation along ethnic and racial lines, or integration?)

*I set aside a discussion of the updating of Shakespeare productions for now.

Martin Mosebach at the Church of Our Saviour, NYC

The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny: Part 1, Part 2 (St Mary’s Norwalk)

For what other reason would one go to New York City?

Mediocrity in the Anglophone World

The British intelligentsia is unable or unwilling to distinguish between cultural elitism and social exclusivity - Theodore Dalrymple argues this explains the unutterable mediocrity of contemporary Britain

What Happens in Vagueness Stays in Vagueness by CLARK WHELTON
The decline and fall of American English, and stuff

Jerry Salyer, Is Western Civilization Un-American?

Any Letter-Writers Out There?

Swell & Dandy: Gone By The Wayside: Letter-Writing

Is the activity too beta and therefore unappreciated?

Transition Culture Interview with Michael Shuman

Transition Culture: An Interview with Michael Shuman: if we’re serious about localisation, “all of us have to go to Business School”…

Cutting Edge Capital

"Music from the Sarum Rite"

Trinity Wall Street, February 3, 2011

Rhonda Vincent on Prairie Home Companion

February 12, 2011

"Coming to you this week from the John S. Glas Fieldhouse in Bemidji, Minnesota, a live broadcast performance of A Prairie Home Companion. With Special Guests, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, jazz guitarist Sam Miltich, and the diva of the Dakotas, vocalist Andra Suchy. Also with us, the Royal Academy of Radio Acting; Tim Russell, Sue Scott, and Tom Keith, Richard Dworsky and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, and the latest News from Lake Wobegon."

A Reaction Against the use of Modernism in Churches

Sandro Magister, New Churches. The Vatican Flunks the Italian Bishops

Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo on the Neocatechumenal Way in Japan

UCA News Heading the wrong Way for Japan
The country's Neo-Cats need some time for reflection that will pave the way for dialog
(via Catholic Church Conservation)

Christopher McDougall: Are we born to run?


Post on Born to Run.

He posted this video on his blog:

Learn to Run Barefoot with Lee Saxby and Terra Plana from GTB Goodtruebeautiful GmbH on Vimeo.

Terra Plana
Running Technique and Movement Specialist Lee Saxby - London, UK

New trailer for There Be Dragons

There Be Dragons Official Movie Trailer - In U.S. Theaters May 6

I wish they could have just done the movie in Italian, Spanish, etc., instead of English. When the actors speak, I am reminded of bad voice dubbing (like what you'll hear in some of those foreign-made movies put out by Ignatius Press about various saints).

Bluegrass Blog on othe Grammys

2011 Bluegrass Grammy

Patty Loveless

From 2009:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Official approved version of the Bundeswehr Peak Oil report now available

Energybulletin: Peak Oil – Sicherheitspolitische Implikationen knapper Ressourcen

The Celebrating of CNY

While I was walking to go inside St. Joe's this morning, I considered how many non-Chinese people might be wearing some sort of Chinese clothing today for the lunch in the parish hall. It might have been the practice of the useless rich to throw parties or dinners in which the attire and food of another culture becomes the theme (the British aristocracy dressing up like Indians?); this practice seems to have spread downwards to the middle class. Why can't everyone be Chinese "for a day"? But is it respectful to the members of that culture? Defenders would say they are paying tribute to that culture (or civilization). It seems a rather superficial way, one consonant with consumerism -- dressing up and enjoying the food. "But I also have Chinese friends!"

On FB I have now seen photos of two weddings in which the bride or members of her bridal party dressed up in saris. The brides were "white," while the grooms were Indian. The weddings took place in Catholic churches, and I suspect the brides and grooms were Catholic. In such instances, wearing clothing from another culture is usually intended as a way to show respect to the culture of the other person. In a way it might even be appropriate in certain cultures and situations that the bride do so, since she is leaving her family and entering a new household.* But, they are all living in the United States. (I note that the grooms did not wear Indian dress, but tuxedos. A compromise? Or were they not as interested in doing the ethnic thing as their brides?) Someone could say that clothing is insignificant with respect to representing a culture--one can wear the clothing or eat the food without embracing the culture's beliefs, values, and customs. The donning of foreign garb can thus be an acknowledgement of another's cultural and ethnic heritage and at the same time be a rather superficial action. The wearer may look different on the outside, but he is still the same on the inside. Similarly, for a member of that cultural or ethnic group, the act of wearing his native clothing can just be a symbol of ethnic pride or a matter of "remembering one's roots."

Maybe homogeneity with respect to clothing and food and other things (for the sake of preserving identity) should not be taken to an extreme -- it's the spirit of being assimilated that matters. Still, I had second thoughts about whether or not I would ask my bride to wear Chinese clothing for the wedding, if she were not Chinese. Would this phenomena of cross-cultural dressing be diminished once the cheap energy that enables consumerism is gone? Probably, except in multicultural communities with local clothing makers.  As the wearing of another culture's fashion happens only for special occasions, it does not seem to be a serious problem, if it is a problem at all. But if it becomes established as daily wear by members of that culture, it can be a means of upholding a different identity. Family lineage, association with others of that ethnicity, beliefs and customs are more important with respect to developing and reinforcing identity, but clothing is a symbol of a culture and represents a group. (That sort of association exists because we are not angelic beings, nor do we live by pure reason alone; we make use of the senses in our knowing.)

The observance of Catholicized ancestral rites during the Liturgy -- is this something that is done in China or Taiwan? When Pope Pius XII said the ancestral rites could be observed, was this immediately put into effect in China? Or have the Chinese and Taiwanese been slower to re-adopt such practices than Chinese-Americans? Do Vietnamese or Korean Catholics, either here or in Vietnam or Korea, do something similar? (I can't remember if the local Chinese Catholic community celebrates New Year in this way, with a special liturgy. It may just be something that was developed by the pastor of the local parish when he was an associate.) Was there a special liturgy dedicated especially to the new year in China? Members of the Roman-rite do not have a special liturgy for the New Year on the Gregorian calendar--that day is the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (or the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord).

In addition to the three customary bows (and the ringing of the Chinese bell), at Mass several of the faithful came up to place items in front of the ancestral tablet. The offering of food and other items to one's ancestors: I was again reminded of what St. Augustine said about the North African practice in the Confessions. Why shouldn't the reasoning also apply to the Chinese custom? (I don't think the medievals talk about the practice of making sacrifices/offerings to human beings.) Even if a sacrifice is not intended by Catholics (as it might be by Chinese who believe that the offerings do have an impact on the well-being of the deceased), does their observance lend credence to the superstition? And is there something wrong with the act itself? What if it is a gesture of gratitude instead? But the meaning of a gesture is determined by convention -- it cannot be changed arbitrarily by one person or even a group.

It seems that one can remember those who have passed during the Divine Liturgy. But the celebration of such rites within the Divine Liturgy? It may be better to do that outside of the Liturgy (before or after?). If we should have intentions for the New Year--should we be our secular peers who talk about New Year's resolutions and such? Conversion should always be on our mind--this is not something to be postponed to the new year. If we have something to prepare for Spring (as the Chinese seem to do), we can pray, as we do on Rogation Days in the EF, for good weather and growing season, adequate rainfall, and so on.

The priests were wearing red, as red is the color for celebrations/happy occasions in Chinese culture.

The Chinese Rites Controversy:
A piece by Richard McBrien (!) on Fr. Matteo Ricci and the Chinese rites controversy: Matteo Ricci after 400 Years.
CULTURE AND LITURGY: ANCESTOR VENERATION AS A TEST CASE by Peter C. Phan, The Catholic University of America

*A wedding is not a "bare biological fact"--since individuals are "dependent rational animals" who are formed through tradition, there is more to marriage (and the determining of compatibility) than an individual male encountering an individual female. It may be that both parties of an interethnic marriage are culturally Americans (or Uhmericans). Other times there may actually be differences in cultures (and ways of thinking) which become obvious only later, when the spouses are living together. In such cases, cultural conflicts may be resolved through compromise on both sides. Or one spouse may begin to adopt the other's culture. Now some feminists may demand that the husband accomodate the wife in all instances, but it seems to be more natural for the woman to do so.

Into Eternity trailer


Apple synopsis: "INTO ETERNITY is a mind-bending film that explores the utter impossibility of storing nuclear waste for 100,000 years, the time estimated by scientists to render it safe. It is, on the one hand, a documentary about the Onkalo storage facility presently under construction in Finland, and on the other hand, a startlingly beautiful work of art and an urgent provocation that ponders the question of who - or what - will remain on this earth when that time frame has elapsed."


Jeffrey Mirus on Subsidiarity and Solidarity

Jeffrey Mirus, Subsidiarity and Solidarity are Inseparable (via Insight Scoop)

"The Best of Eric Taylor"


The best of Coach Taylor, when he's acting as Coach at least. His family life is a different story--and the series finale (which I haven't seen) seems to confirm my judgment of him as a character and the story of FNL as a whole--Coach is a beta when it comes to dealing with his wife and worse with respect to his children, and the show, despite being set in Texas, advances Hollywood's values, not the conservative values of middle America. Only in the minds of those working in Hollywood can a woman "have it all." While I have enjoyed watching the interaction between coach and his players, I disagree with those critics who believe the show to be so great -- they're wrong, because they agree with the show's values. (They also love the drama, which is all right, but must be subordinate to the moral framework of the story.)

Time blog post about the series finale (contains spoilers).

The Era of Cheap Energy

Today at lunch the friend of a HS friend showed us some notes of Israeli currency. He called it "plastic money" and "Monopoly money" because the notes are made of plastic, not paper. (He showed us some older notes, which were made from paper, and we compared the texture of the two.) He told us that it was cheaper to make plastic money than paper money -- a good illustration of how cheap oil still is? For how much longer will this era last? $90/barrel isn't that bad, even if we think we are being bitten at the gas pump.

Fabius Maximus: Excessive optimism is our enemy, with Coal-to-liquids as a case study
The week of the game changer in oil, or was it? by Kurt Cobb (EB)

Don't Mess With Texas

The anti-littering campaign: Celebrity Face-Off. George Strait's ad.

That VW Commercial

Regardless of what you might think about cars (or VWs in particular), Star Wars, or George Lucas, one can praise the commercial for not showing dads as idiots, right? Although you might say he is being a bad dad because he is wrong in letting his son think that he has the power of the Force to start cars... (and he doesn't know how to raise his kid to be respectful and greet him when he comes home--is that the accepted norm now in Uhmerican suburbia?)
Discussion initiated by Jeff Culbreath of Donald Livingston's article on Hume and Human Scale at WWWTW.

Cape Breton Music On-line


via SF Celtic Music: Cape Breton Music Resources

Kimberly Fraser