Saturday, April 16, 2011

Whole Foods and Monsanto

Ronnie Cummins, Whole Foods or Whole Hypocrisy?

"Something else" - Heather Gray, Head South: the Southern Mindset, 150 Years After the Civil War
Feeding the world: it’s not about quantity by Danielle Nierenberg and Mara Schecter

Peter Hitchens on capital punishment, again

Peter Hitchens, Killing no murder? and The Civil Sword

He comments on the prohibition of veils in France: What not to wear.

But if you don't want an Islamised society, rather than messing around with clothing laws, here's another thought. May I suggest that you work out what your answer to that fierce, simple and easily-understood religion's consoling precepts is. Yes, we currently have bigger guns and better bombing planes, but so what? We are richer. But will we always be? We can get drunk (and we do). Is this a big advantage, either morally or materially? Likewise, the use of our women's freedom to dress as they like. Faced with the choice of beholding a tattooed ladette displaying a muffin top glowing with fake tan, or a Muslim woman in full niqab, most of us would at least hesitate. I put this mildly.

I have more than a suspicion that our existing society continues to survive without revolt or collapse only because it gets a little richer each year. Once that prospect is gone, and the succeeding decades instead bring shrinking pay packets, higher prices and fewer jobs, where will minds hungry for solace and comfort and hope turn to? Thanks to half a century of active secularism, most people in this country are quite clueless about Christianity and wouldn't know where to begin with it. If a religious revival comes (and we're about due for one) who is best placed to take advantage of it?

Gary Taubes on that ubiquitous ingredient in the SAD

NYT:Is Sugar Toxic?

A discussion of Robert Lustig's research on fructose.

Childhood obesity caused by "toxic environment" of Western diets, study says
Why is America fat?

His interviews on the LLVLC last year and for encore week.

UCSF Diabetes Center

Friday, April 15, 2011

Art of Manliness: Classical Rhetoric 101: The Five Canons of Rhetoric- Memory

The method of loci memory technique was first described in written form in a Roman treatise on rhetoric called ad Herennium, but it also made appearances in treatises by Cicero and Quintilian. It’s an extremely effective mnemonic device and is still used by memory champions like Joshua Foer, author of the recent book, Moonwalking With Einstein.

To use the method of loci, the speaker concentrates on the layout of a building or home that he’s familiar with. He then takes a mental walk through each room in the building and commits an engaging visual representation of a part of his speech to each room. So, for example, let’s say the first part of your speech is about the history of the Third Punic War. You can imagine Hannibal and Scipio Africanus duking it out in your living room. You could get more specific and put different parts of the battles of the Third Punic War into different rooms. The method of loci memory technique is powerful because it’s so flexible.

When you deliver your speech, you mentally walk through your “memory house” in order to retrieve the information you’re supposed to deliver. Some wordsmiths believe that the common English phrase “in the first place” came from the method of loci technique. A speaker using the technique might say, “In the first place,” in reference to the fact that the first part of his speech was in the first place or loci in his memory house. Fascinating, isn’t it?
This reminds me of what Jonathan Spence wrote on the same sort of mnemonic techniques in The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci.

The original post has links to the previous parts in the series.

Una Voce Boston


NLM post (a member links to these photos)
95.7 has changed format -- it's no longer country but is now a sports station. First we lost the 24-hr classical music station. Now one of the local country music stations is gone. That leaves just KRTY. Soon I won't be bothering with the radio but will just bring a mp3 player with me instead.

There Be Dragons from the Actors' Perspective

Iffy statements ("We're created to make mistakes...") but they're actors. And Joffe on "Child of God" is iffy too. (Too often we think of "child/son of God" as referring to everyone, regardless of their personal state (grace or sin), but a creature is not a child of God in virtue of being a creature, but in virtue of being elevated to a supernatural union with God. I don't doubt that what is taught by Opus Dei with regards to divine filiation is orthodox in this respect. If the movie is viewed with a proper understanding of grace and charity as love, then there probably won't be problems. But if love is understood as referring to natural love, then it may seem Pelagian.

Romana: Some publications about St. Josemaría and Opus Dei
Children of God

Jacques Philippe
Zenit interview from 2008

The Community of the Beatitudes (US)

David Korten, Greed is Not a Virtue

David Korten: Profit-centered market fundamentalism has become a national religion.
New Urbanism | The Case for Looking Beyond Style
Taking on the “avant-garde establishment,” Andrés Duany attempts to set the record straight. (Note to the avant-garde: feel free to respond.)
By Andres Duany

More of the CW regarding diet and exercise?

Even if the spokesperson is a bit more pleasing to the eyes (for some)...
Steven Greydanus's review of The Conspirator. Mixed reviews according to RT.

On the Road with Sierra & Highway 111, March 2011

Shannon Hayes - NOFA-VT 2011 Winter Conference

Dr. Fleming on the origins of the jerk


A classical education had its advantages. It meant that most people who had finished high school had read many of the same books, which they could use as points of reference in a general conversation. A girl who was loyal to her family was another Antigone, a loyal wife was an Alcestis, and a strong but boastful man could be described as a modern Hercules. Sometimes the examples were negative. Some of Homer’s heroes are paragons of pride and selfishness who threaten death to anyone who thwarts their will. Achilles, who wants both Greeks and Trojans to exterminate each other so that he and his friend can have all the glory and booty for themselves, is perhaps the greatest Jerk in the history of literature.

He remarks on children:

Han Hye Jin videos

KBS America just started airing The Thorn Birds (가시나무새 ) the last week of March. The love rectangle and all the other relationships are very complicated, but I am watching it because of its star, Han Hye Jin.

She may be no different in real life from narcissistic American princesses, as I was reminded during her recent appearance on Happy Together that she and her boyfriend Naul have been dating for 7 years. Such a long dating period doesn't seem appropriate for a Christian or healthy. Actresses of any country may be like modern Uhmerican womyn who want to have it all -- career, love life, and eventually marriage and children, when they're ready to take a break from their career. But onscreen and in interviews she does have a winning sweet personality, which beats that of modern shrews.

Begun on April 1.

The Third Man

Recommended by Welmer.

I'll watch it for Alida Valli.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bill Muehlenberg, Should women serve as front-line troops?

2011 SF International Film Festival coming next week

info here and here

Esotericism, Philosophical and Religious

VFR posts an interesting bit on Alexander the Great, from Plutarch's Lives.

He sent for Aristotle, the most learned and most celebrated philosopher of his time, and rewarded him with a munificence proportionable to and becoming the care he took to instruct his son. For he repeopled his native city Stagira, which he had caused to be demolished a little before, and restored all the citizens, who were in exile or slavery, to their habitations. As a place for the pursuit of their studies and exercise, he assigned the temple of the Nymphs, near Mieza, where, to this very day, they show you Aristotle's stone seats, and the shady walks which he was wont to frequent. It would appear that Alexander received from him not only his doctrines of Morals and of Politics, but also something of those more abstruse and profound theories which these philosophers, by the very names they gave them, professed to reserve for oral communication to the initiated, and did not allow many to become acquainted with. For when he was in Asia, and heard Aristotle had published some treatises of that kind, he wrote to him, using very plain language to him in behalf of philosophy, the following letter. "Alexander to Aristotle, greeting. You have not done well to publish your books of oral doctrine; for what is there now that we excel others in, if those things which we have been particularly instructed in be laid open to all? For my part, I assure you, I had rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power and dominion. Farewell."
Here we see the desire to keep some knowledge secret for the elect. Despite Plutarch's appraisal of Alexander's virtue, the vice of pride seems to be obvious in him. (Does Plutarch get the catalog of virtues wrong? It's been a while since I've flipped through his biographies.)

One more thought about that school

Due to incidents of bullying, the principal recently inaugurated a special pledge to be said by the students after the pledge of allegiance. How many students have memorized the pledge after a week or two? How many pay attention or care about what they are saying? It's a bureaucrat's solution and an autocrat's solution -- something to put on a piece of paper to show that administrative action was taken to address the problem, in addition to normal quotidian enforcement of discipline. But will the pledge really accomplish anything? I doubt it.

How did communities handle this in the good ol' days? Let the boys fight it out? (Yes, there is bullying by girls too -- what used to be done through other means - ostracization and backbiting - has now morphed into direct violence, and I suspect that psychological differences between boys and girls entail different solutions.)

I don't think education, as we members of the modern liberal nation-state understand it, is a good that is owed to children. The moral formation of citizens (and potential citizens) is the responsibility of the community (and the government), but I wouldn't trust our public schools to handle this task. If the schools were aimed primarily at the moral development of children, then maybe bullying could be better resolved. But is there a place for the old solution, at least when boys are concerned? Having adults intervene doesn't seem to be the best way to deal with it, if what a boy needs to do is stand up for himself, even if he is initially unsuccessful.

When you discard what is traditional, in the name of "scientific" reason or modern psychology), you can't compare the ideology you've absorbed with other possible answers.

Promoters of the Nanny State

Some social workers may be earnest and well-intentioned, but how many are busybodies who don't take care of their own kids, yet take it upon themselves to tell others how to parent? "Experts" who are there to undermine parental authority and weaken the family, promoting the notion that children are property of the state. And how bad are the "new parenting" methods and principles that are in vogue these days?

Another live performance by Alison Krauss and Union Station of Paper Airplane

Today Show: Krauss & Union Station finally find right songs

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

This performance sounds better than last night's Letterman appearance -- as good as the CD, in fact! An off night on Letterman?

I don't think I could watch the Today show everyday, though I came close to doing so a while back. American TV hostesses just sound so... unrefined.

Communion Des Saints

The latest cd from the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. (French)

Photos from the recent [American] priests' retreat.

A French movie for Sarge

I've posted trailers for this before, but Yahoo has the American trailer for The Princess of Montpensier.
John Médaille, Capitalism as an Unnatural System
Excerpts on education (EB)
by Guy R. McPherson
The entire system of public education in the United States was designed specifically to prevent students from thinking for themselves. That's a pretty strong assertion, so I will review the evidence that supports it.

In an earlier letter, I quoted Jules Henry's book, Culture Against Man: "School is indeed a training for later life not because it teaches the 3 Rs (more or less) but because it instills the essential cultural nightmare fear of failure, envy of success, and absurdity." Henry reached this conclusion after spending hundreds of hours in the classrooms of our public school system and reviewing a mountain of published evidence. His scathing critique of American culture strongly supports the notion that individuality and creativity are purposely eviscerated from students well before they complete high school.

The roots of the cultural crisis run much deeper than the counter-culture days of the 1960s, and well beyond the sphere of education. But education has long been fundamental to the destruction of individuality, creativity, and, for lack of a better word, soul. Consider, for example, a few words in a speech to businessmen by President Woodrow Wilson: "We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." Wilson's sentiments echoed those of William Torrey Harris in his 1906 book The Philosophy of Education: Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual." In vogue with his time, Harris extended the idea of subsumption to the land as well as the individual: "The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places .... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature." As I indicated in previous correspondence, Harris was the U.S. commissioner of education from 1889 to 1906.

Harris was not the only influential educator willing to express his desire for docile American citizens during 1906. That same year, the Rockefeller Education Board, a major advocate of compulsory public education, issued this statement: "In our dreams ... people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poet or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple ... we will organize children ... and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way."

The statement by the Rockefeller Education Board and the book by Harris were preceded a year earlier by Elwood Cubberly's dissertation at Columbia Teachers College. The future dean of education at Stanford University wrote that schools should be factories "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products ... manufactured like nails, and the specification for manufacturing will come from government and industry."

Tracing these ideas further back in time, we find the 1888 Report of the Senate Committee on Education, a summary of which is provided by a single sentence on page 1,382 of this gargantuan document: "We believe that education is one of the principal causes of discontent of late years manifesting itself among the laboring classes." According to John Taylor Gatto, award-winning educator and author of the 1992 book Dumbing Us Down, the committee was justifiably nervous about the high qualify of education provided by nonstandardized, local schools where students were actually taught to think for themselves. The Senate Report parallels the 1897 writings of famous philosopher and industrial educator John Dewey. Dewey's famous pedagogic creed, first published in The School Journal, included this thought about the role of teachers in society: "I believe that every teacher ... should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth." Cubberly provided the "proper social order" and the "right social growth" less than a decade after Dewey and the U.S. Senate supplied the rationale for herding the masses on behalf of business.

The Truth About Men & Church: On the Importance of Fathers to Churchgoing
By Robbie Low

(alt and pdf)

"The demographic characteristics of the linguistic and religious groups in Switzerland" by Werner Haug and Phillipe Warner of the Federal Statistical Office, Neuchatel. It appears in Volume 2 of Population Studies No. 31, a book titled The Demographic Characteristics of National Minorities in Certain European States, edited by Werner Haug and others, published by the Council of Europe Directorate General III, Social Cohesion, Strasbourg, January 2000.

Basic Training: The Making of a Soldier, Confidence & Camaraderie

Basic Training: The Making of a Soldier, Confidence & Camaraderie from Fort Benning Television on Vimeo.

Fort Benning Television
APRIL SWCS FACTOR-Special Forces Qualification Course

A consequence of rising good prices

No more kalbi at the Korean buffet restaurants -- this is true of Korea House, and today I found out that kalbi is served only at dinner at Palace BBQ. Oh well... I will probably go there for dinner next month.

30-Minute Music Hour, Carolina Chocolate Drops

Watch the full episode. See more 30-Minute Music Hour.


More from Gareth Porter on Pakistan

Pakistan Objects
Curb the Drones, Kick Out the Spies

The Holy Father on Holiness

Zenit: On Everyone's Call to Be a Saint
Holiness Consists in "Making Our Own His Attitudes, His Thoughts, His Conduct"

In this picture made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, right, meets Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Cyprus, at the Vatican, Monday, March 28, 2011. (AP/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI exchanges gifts with Archbishop Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus, during a private meeting at the Vatican March 28, 2011. (Reuters/Daylife)

Alison Krauss and Union Station on Letterman

I hate to say this, but her live performances have not impressed me so far... I've heard other bluegrass singers do much better live.

One "Western" I won't see...

NPR: Going West: The Making Of 'Meek's Cutoff'

New Yorker, EW, and NY Post
Telegraph review: "The longer the film goes on, the more it moves towards feminism. Meek’s toppling involves the women refusing to kowtow to his blustering invective and macho moves. It requires them to trust the voices in their heads – voices that urge scepticism, irony, but also the possibility of looking to and learning from the Indian; he does, after all, know this country better than they do."

Seems like the movie has an axe to grind against white males.
The economy: Local resilience through collapse by Joanne Poyourow (EB)

It looked good when I was asleep

Had a dream about Mel Gibson play an ex-operator/contractor, and his house was invaded by a couple of terrorists who wanted to use him for something... one left, and he took the other out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Medieval Wisdom for Modern Universities by Matthew J. Milliner

Elle interview with Alison Krauss


Mat Lalonde on Robb Wolf's podcast

The Paleo Solution - Episode 68 (via segamartinez)

Mathieu Lalonde

Orion Magazine discussion on activism

With Wendell Berry, Tim DeChristopher, and Teri Blanton (mp3)
When I first considered subbing for the 5th grade class late last year, I thought it would be ok as I had known most of the students since 2nd grade. There was a thought that I might end up regretting the decision, but I figured it couldn't be bad. At first, one problem student seemed to have grown up since I last saw him in a class (last year perhaps, but during switching -- I did have him in 3rd grade and it was enough for me to decide not to sub for that class again). But he has been behaving terribly the last couple of times I've had the class. More motivation for me to finish this batch of resumes.

If corporal punishment can't be brought back for misbehaving students, maybe it should be brought back for their parents.

Counterpunch, More on Fukushima:
Mike Whitney, Japan's Nuclear Volcano Erupts
Richard Wilcox, Earthquake and Nuke Fatigue
Helen Caldicott, Attack of the Nuclear Apologists
Russell D. Hoffman, Fukushima: a Real SNAFU
Nirmal Ghosh, In the Shadow of Fukushima
Karl Grossman, The Atomic Breeding Grounds

Dave Lindorff, Not Licensed to Kill

Winslow T. Wheeler, Sticker Shock: Canada and the F-35

On the danger of cell phones

Counterpunch: Russell Mokhiber, Cell Phones and Brain Cancer: the Risk is Real

Disconnect - book trailer

Cspan program


The Bonnie Blue Flag

Of course he has nothing good to say about the CSA

Presidential Proclamation--Civil War Sesquicentennial

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

KK's daughter was born today

I didn't have a chance to go to the hospital with the rest of the family tonight since I had to go home; I don't think I'll be able to visit tomorrow before they leave since they'll be at work...

Enough to tempt me

RHK had a booklet for the new Mini Cooper Countryman at his house. He himself drives a Mini Cooper (S). I do like the look of the dashboard; I was a bit surprised when I first learned how bad its gas mileage was. But if I were to get a new car...

2011 Mini Cooper Countryman First Look
First drive video: Mini Cooper Countryman S
Andrew Bacevich: Not Why, But How (mp3) - via AmConMag  and the Western Confucian
Posted by US CentCom: A woman's place is in combat. Who's in charge of that FB page?

segamartinez: Gary Taubes: The Complications of Cholesterol

segamartinez: Gary Taubes: The Complications of Cholesterol: "In 2005, my wife and I interviewed Gary Taubes at his apartment in New York City. We were planning on doing a documentary on diet and health..."

Mary Surratt Catholicism

Saw another commercial with children who achieve in excess of what adults are capable of doing. It goes beyond being precocious; it's rather annoying. Another example would be the movie Spy Kids - children who happen to be superspies who save the world. Sometimes, as in the movie, their abilities are explained through "genetics." But sometimes it is assumed that their abilities, identical with or greater than those of adults, are innate. We've seen instances of smart-alecky kids in the mass media and in real life. Such shows are staples for children's television on broadcast and cable networks. It can be an early manifestation of pride, one that adults can feed, perhaps unwittingly. (Those responsible for putting on such garbage on TV would seem to be guilty of pandering to the egos of children.) Such a phemenon reveals a cultural belief that children do not need the wisdom of their elders or experience in order to be educated. It's another form of radical egalitarianism. (Of course, rarely are mothers shown to be incompetent. It is the father who must bear the brunt of that mockery.)

Adam Webb's proposal for taxation

FPR: Untaxing the Virtues
Local Future 2010 Conference on Sustainability first day video is now online
Aaron Wissner, Local Future
The breakdown of economic expansion in the 21st century
Dave Cohen, Decline of the empire (EB)
My thesis is that global economic expansion has broken down, and where there are pockets of economic growth as in China or Brazil, it is unlikely that growth will continue for much longer. (I am thinking on decadal scales.) Clearly this is a subject for a book, whereas today I am going to outline why this thesis is credible in a blog post.
Dominican Liturgy: Primitive Hymn for the Feast of St. Dominic
Elusive Wapiti, Some Extracted Lessons from The Underground History of American Education

Monday, April 11, 2011

The race in the Anglophone world to the bottom continues

Oz Conservative: Australian women to be placed in combat roles

The City

Anamnesis Journal: The Soul & the City: The House of Our Realities by Wilfred McClay (via Peter Haworth)

In short, we humans are made by, through, and for relationship with one another. The forms of these relationships are various—in marriage, in family, community, nations, the Kingdom of God. Each has a unique valence. Perhaps the most powerful of all Biblical insights into relationship is in the organismic model put forward in I Corinthians 12, in which the individuals comprising the Church are compared to the specialized organs and members of the body—powerful when they operate in concert, but useless in isolation.

But what about great cities, then, such as New York, Paris, London, Rome, Los Angeles? Are they not a very particular kind of relationship, one in which anonymity, impersonality and instrumentality are often the watchwords, and tend to replace fully human face-to-face personal relations as embodied in small-town life? Aren't the great cities of our age dehumanizing and mechanistic by their very nature, tending to produce people who have lost touch with the lived realities of nature?

Such has very often been the verdict that Americans have rendered about their own great cities. Indeed, the problem of the city may be more advanced here, precisely because we Americans have, for most of our history, lacked an urban ideal.

What I mean in saying this is that Americans in general have had a hard time reconciling what they think of as characteristically American aspirations with the actual life of modern American cities. It's a certain disharmony between the way we think and the way we live. Our fierce attachment to ideals of individualism, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and closeness to nature do not always seem, for many Americans, to comport with the conditions of modern urban life. Perhaps that is because America, as historian Richard Hofstadter quipped, is a nation that “was born in the country and has moved to the city,” but has never entirely adapted the city’s mentality. Or to put it another way, altering a famous saying about the British Empire, we became an urban civilization in a fit of absence of mind, having never fully adjusted our ideas about ourselves to the conditions in which we find ourselves actually living.
I have some things to say about the United States and whether we have any true identity as a people or peoples. The main weakness of this essay is that it does not take into consideration the question of size. Even if some semblance of a human life can be found in neighborhoods, rather than in the megapolis as a whole, the megapolis is a problem because it is not sustainable without cheap energy and it cannot be governed well (much less self-governed as a republic),

Traditionalists may believe that the city is the ideal political arrangement, but they would be looking primarily not at the material culture or products or buildings, but at the associations and the differentiation of labor that makes natural human perfection possible. What then, of historical memory and permanence? Do these not presuppose that one is able to identify with places or objects as belonging to one's heritage?

Sheep presume that there is no threat of violence, and they may be too trusting of the strangers who surround them.

Last morning I had a dream about da Jimmy and his sister. I can't say it was a restful night; what prompted the dream? md.
The Thinking Housewife: The Pregnant Pagan

Just yesterday afternoon at Target I saw a cover with a pregnant Mariah Carey -- of course she was naked, with her arms covering strategic parts... does this really reflect an exaltation of motherhood? More like a focus on the obvious physical changes in a woman's body, as if that were sufficient to qualify a woman as a good mother. And there is the reduction of feminine beauty to the physical -- as if pregnant women must proclaim that their bodies are beautiful too, even if at times they do not feel beautiful because of the increase in weight.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rhonda Vincent, "I'm Not Over You"

Rhonda Vincent-Im Not Over You from Rhonda Vincent on Vimeo.

Welmer's take on Hanna

She’s an Assassin — And She’s “Special”

My preliminary judgment of the film here.

Had my first can of Blue Sky soda

Root beer -- apparently it is more expensive than Hansen's, at least at Whole Foods. (Maybe it's cheaper in bulk from Costco? I'm guessing it is available in bulk from Costco...) It's "certified organic" according to USDA standards -- organic cane sugar. I can't say that it tastes better than Hansen's. I think Hansen's might have a stronger root beer flavor.

Tsai Chin coming to Cupertino again

A charity concert on April 22 at De Anza.

Movies shown at the recent 2011 SF International Asian-American Film Festival.

A Justified fan

Xiao Jimmy. I think the show goes too far, and makes everyone in the rural areas of Kentucky to be some variant of poor white trash, but perhaps that is reality. But it is for the most part enjoyable enough to keep me watching.

The show has been renewed for a third season.

The Ordinariate Portal: Aidan Nichols: The Ordinariates, the Pope, and the Liturgy (Part II)
Kevin Gutzman, A nation divided: Scars of war still close to South's surface


Or not? We'll see how long the computer stays on this time before the BSOD.