Saturday, December 10, 2011

A long day, spent mostly at KK's house. There was the nephew's party, and my cousin and her husband and son are in town.
Thursday's class, a 1/2 combo was very quiet - a "good" class by certain standards. How much training did it take to get them that way? How strict were the standards?

Friday, December 09, 2011

Comparative history question

How did the British settling of America differ from that of Canada and Australia (and New Zealand), with respect to the ethnic and cultural background of the colonists?
Man! Missed Sierra Hull last night at F&S.

Video of another performance:

Another connection between Harry Potter and Uhmericans...

The resonance of a decadent, "homeless" group of people with their hero, despite all of his purported virtues; a hero for the modern welfare-bureaucratic industrialized and atomized nation-state.

A comment at The Thinking Housewife:

KB writes:

Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be.

In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down inside him lived still his plain unconquered hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command. – The Return of the King. (pg 880 – 881)

“His own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.” Contrast that with JK Rowling’s vision of a Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter that would combat everything from racism to homophobia. The only difference between the Harry Potter bureaucrats & the Lord Voldemort bureaucrats is that of policy, not ideology. They both want big government to do big things for them.

The beauty of Sam’s wisdom and experience in The Lord of the Rings is that he returns to his people to share it, like other classical heroes (Odysseus, Beowulf, Aeneas). Most fantasy stories usually include Nostos, homecoming. It is part of a heroes journey. It’s also another reason I dislike Harry Potter. He hates his boring suburban adoptive parents, who are nothing but abusive to him. It’s as if the Odyssey ended with Odysseus marrying Calypso or Nausica because you know..Penelope is a non-intellectual redneck who shops for mayonnaise at Costco in a minivan. It’s a seductive message to check out of society, keep playing video games and keep partying.

JK Rowling as a welfare mom married to the state?

Sic transit gloria mundi.

On Friday morning a new BevMo! store opened in San Jose near Westgate. As part of the celebration of the grand opening, management was giving $25 gift cards to the first 500 customers, and some $100 gift cards to a lucky few. I didn't think that many people would show up, since it was a weekday and the gift card could not be used for alcohol, but I was wrong. I did snag a gift card though, but I think I must have been at the end of the 500.

The check-out line was too long so I decided not to get anything today.

I couldn't wait to leave that place. The Uhmerican sheeple was a depressing sight. "I see dead people." (The Sixth Sense) or "All I see are dead people." (Twelve Monkeys) There is a memorable line of dialogue in J.J. Abrams's Star Trek, spoken by Karl Urban's Leonard McCoy: "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence."
For some reason that line comes to my mind frequently - probably because it was used in the trailer to introduce us to McCoy. We need something comparable that describes this "society" in which we find ourselves, something fitting for Uhmerica, a swirling tempest of ignorance, pride, narcissism, entitlement, impiety, propelled by the pursuit of self-interest and pleasure. A veritable catalog of the vices of the megapolis. Society is a word that is used loosely with respect to the Uhmerican megapolis. We may live among more people but have we less friendships in comparison with other and earlier polities. The people in line - all strangers. How many of them will I encounter again in the future? I would not be surprised if the number is 0.

I, too, was waiting in line for a freebie, and more than a few of them would probably agree that there is more to life than shopping and consuming. How many of them are Tea Partiers? True conservatives? Do they not know how dire our situation is? How problematic our political system and economy are? How ignorant are we of its complexity, or of the various exchanges and productions that are not obvious to us because they take place somewhere far away! What of our faith that this will all continue definitely? Our political economy is morally insane, but we act like this is all normal because we were born into and raised in it.

How can we take a magister seriously when he, too, is ignorant of first principles and has bad habits into which he has been trained in order to live and function in this society? Does he not become a mere "expert" with no moral witness?

In such a society a man who is naturally inclined to work for the good of the whole and "social altruism" is not sufficiently appreciated. He is not rewarded for his loyalty and affection; he's just another nameless individual, except to a few. Many do not believe in reciprocity or even simple gratitude; they pass over the chance to develop the requisite social virtues because "it's all about me."

Is it so "rational" to be so generous rather than acting like everyone else? How can this culture not turn men who should be virtuous into self-interested men? It's what everyone else is doing, and they are not looking out for him and his own. We may not live in Hobbes's dog-eats-dog state of nature, but aren't we close. Relentless competition for wealth, comfort and pleasure, promotion of one's own, living with narrowly defined associations instead of fuller civic friendships.

In such a fragmented "society" what can he do but live according to the order of charity as best as he can, fulfilling his obligations and duties to his family and his friends and work to consolidate wealth, power, and influence in whatever group he finds himself? Isn't that the rational thing to do, since he cannot expect anything from the strangers who live nearby and probably have different priorities and moral attitudes? Wouldn't a simple cost-benefit analysis show this to most people who understand the world they actually inhabit?

I expect that the number of disaffected men will grow, and after a certain point the elites may feel threatened by them. When vets begin to feel underappreciated or discarded, what then?

On Thursday, I was in the staff lounge for lunch and I heard an one of the teachers, a man in his 50s or 60s, asking a woman teacher (in her late 20s?) when her wedding date was, and when she would "no longer be living in sin." They were openly joking about it, and then another teacher, a woman in her 50s, added that she was cohabitating with her fiance, and his father refused to step foot in their residence until after the wedding. The first teacher proclaimed that he couldn't understand why people were like that. Really?

Not only is there no shame because they do not think cohabitating is wrong, but they are not aware or do not care about the opinions of others who might overhear their conversation. They are "proud" of living in such a manner. They may mock traditional mores but they are the ones who are lost but do not know it. They may think they are fine, upstanding individuals, but such attitudes and behavior is indicative of vice.

Vice is not necessarily knowingly doing something that is wrong (that might be incontinence), but doing something that is counter to reason, being dominated by one's appetite so that one believes that the good one wants is the true or complete good.

Such moral blindness may be more the effect of vice than the cause of vice for those who were raised with true opinion or with Christian faith. Those who sin knowingly because they love the apparent good too much eventually reject the truth in favor of their own moral truth? However, those who are raised with very little or no moral guidance become vicious if their appetites are not disciplined; living in accordance with [disordered] appetite is becoming vicious. Even though they may be so ignorant that they are excused with respect to sin.

One of the teachers mentioned the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. I've never been there.

An end of an era in the Bay Area?

Something relatively minor, but meaningful for me, since I grew up watching Japanese television shows. As far as I can tell, KTSF no longer has any weekend evening Japanese programming. I haven't checked to see if it still has weekday morning news and other programming. Does this reflect local demographic changes? I have heard that a lot of Japanese have moved back to Japan because of the bad economy. Many weer here temporarily because of corporate assignments? I have also heard that more Koreans are moving here. There will probably be plenty of Japanese programming in Hawaii. How about L.A.? San Jose Japantown will be a relic, if it isn't already. It's no longer a "living neighborhood." SF Japantown is mostly a tourist attraction, though it is frequented by Japanese people. There are a lot of Korean businesses in Japantown. I don't think there is a section of SF that could be considered Koreatown. (Our local Koreatown in Santa Clara is labelled on Google Maps.)

"Tell Me a Story"

"Helping Hand"

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Items of Interest, 8 December 2011

Jack Donovan, Violence is Golden

Pearl Harbor:
Thomas Fleming, Pearl Harbor: Someone Had Blundered
Wilfred Owen was quite wrong. Though it is a hard thing for young men to die, it can be dulce et decorum pro patria mori, so long as the war is just and the leaders something better than the cynical butchers that lead their countries unnecessarily into war.
It is natural for a man to value the polity above himself. But what if the polity itself is an illusion and just an aggregate of individuals and their families, nothing more?

Mere Comments: Pearl Harbor, the Dust of Time
FDR, Pearl Harbor and the U.N. by John V. Denson

Reading Cicero's "On Old Age" At Any and Every Age by Robert M. Woods
Iran War Already Begun
Justin Raimondo, The Untouchables

Washington’s Secret Wars by Philip Giraldi (The Changing Face of War)

The Remoteness of 1% Wars by William J. Astore
Why our wars of choice may prove fatal

Freedom Means War by Leon Hadar
Why libertarians can’t do foreign policy.

Fast and Furious:
Confirmed: ATF Plotted to Use Fast and Furious to Demonize Second Amendment

Paul Gottfried:
Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement
Cambridge University Press
How the GOP Swallowed the Conservative Movement
His review of The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes The Moral Life by Kenneth Minogue.
Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Towards a Secular Theocracy

States' Rights:
One sheriff stands up for the people he serves

ECONOMY: Ecological Economics (EB)
Gene Logsdon, Old Tractors Never Die
A Course to Keep You From Crashing (Chris Martenson)

John Michael Greer, What Peak Oil Looks Like
A review of his The Wealth of Nature.

John Robb, Technology Shifts and Economic Depression and US Economy Breaks Bad

System, not consumers, are the big green problem by Simon Butler (EB)
Old Tractors Never Die by Gene Logsdon (EB)

Durban Dollars: Tck Tck Tck Money by Albert Bates (EB)
The Beautiful, the Local, the Slow by Marta Madigan
How Transition initiatives shone in the Energyshare vote: a podcast

Farmers Come to Wall Street
Shannon Hayes, From the Farm to the Occupation (EB)
Ralph Nader, Not made in America (same article posted at Counterpunch last week)

‘Net Energy’ ignorance reigns on Capitol Hill by Megan Quinn Bachman (EB)

Diet and Health:
Karen De Coster, The Industrial Food Machine Addiction

Food Matters from LuMeL on Vimeo.
official site

Whole30 Paleo: How I Failed But Succeeded
The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness 2011

When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Yesterday I collected some rough data on the digit ratios of the girls in the classroom. 14 had a digit ratio of 1 or greater, while 8 had a ratio less than 1. Only a couple of the girls in the latter group might seem tomboyish. What are the implications of this for the claim that digit ratio is a sign for prenatal androgen exposure? Maybe the sample needs to be analyzed carefully before any meaningful conclusions can be drawn.

Last week in the K class there was a mom volunteering for the morning class - she reminded me of someone who went to that school 15 years ago? Was it the same girl? She had a daughter in K.

The Future of Food

There was a Korean girl in today's class- she was wearing a Miraculous Medal so I was trying to find out if she was Catholic and a member of the local Korean Catholic community. She wasn't exactly ESL but she didn't know Christian terms in English, but I found out that the head of her church is a minister (I won't attempt to transliterate the Korean). Her grandmother is the one who gave her the medal. I wonder if one of her parents became Protestant or if her grandmother was in a mixed marriage. And do they know who is depicted on the medal? The girl thought it was Jesus; I told her it was His mom.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Was at Stanfurd tonight for the concert. Anyway, I may be cutting back on blogging for the short term. Even the round-up posts might have to be eliminated. (Those take more time than one might think.)

Brittany Haas

At F&S with Crooked Still:

A Wendell Berry poem set to music:

Jordi Savall, Festival de Lanvellec

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Controlling Our Food: The World According To Monsanto

The consequences of social atomism

Does liberalism promote an absolute levelling of loves, so that a moral agent is not to give preference to a family member over a stranger, all other things being equal?

Just as there is no real common good to be aimed at if there is no real community, can there be true solidarity (understood as not only encompassing legal justice but civic friendship as well) either? What regard can one have for one's fellows, if they are strangers, unproven and untested, and do not really regard him as one of their own? Sympathy as a motive for rendering assistance to another can only go so far. One's fellow citizens may not be fellows, after all - no shared living, no familiarity, no trust. Is it reasonable then to expect the exercise of solidarity from people living in such a collective of individuals and families?

Items of Interest, 6 December 2011

Playing With Fire
Obama's risky oil threat to China
Daniel Larison, Obama Must Be a High Hamiltonian Now
Robert Stark interview with Dylan Hales

Distributist Review: Journey into a Libertarian Future

4 Reasons Why The Future Of Capitalism Is Homegrown, Small Scale, And Independent (via BALLE)

Policies for a shareable city #11: Urban agriculture (EB)

DEAN BAKER, Wrecking the World Economy
JULES LOBEL, The Future of the Occupy Movement
DOUG DOWD, The Decline of Imperial America
JOHN V. WALSH, Washington Post Boosts Obama’s Declaration of War on China
THOMAS H. NAYLOR, Is America’s Health Care Crisis Fixable?

Diet and Health:
Jimmy Moore, Jessica Biel Personifies Carbohydrate Addiction Better Than Anything I’ve Ever Seen

Higher Education:
James Schall, SJ, Why Bother Going to College?
Thomas C. Reeves, Are American Colleges Cheating Students?
John Zmirak, Where Theology Keeps Her Crown: Thomas More College

Jackie Evancho:

"I'll Be Home for Christmas"

Quebe Sisters Band "Fiddle Medley"

Team Blue

Wal Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price- Full Length Documentary

Stanford Early Music Singers performing tomorrow night

Wednesday, December 7 - Memorial Church, 8 P.M.

Early Music Singers
William Mahrt directs the Early Music Singers’ program, 1611 - Psalms, Songs, and Sonnets: William Byrd and His Contemporaries, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Byrd’s last publication.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Items of Interest, 5 November 2011

Obama: Regrettable Attack on Pakistan Not Deliberate
Fast and Furious Lies
Patrick Buchanan, Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?
Jerry Salyer, Immigration, Loyalty, and Economy
New Wendell Berry Book - The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry
Paul Gottfried, The GOP is Useless
Anthony DiMaggio, A Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street Alliance?

Steve Keen: How He Saw "It" Coming, and Others Did Not

The Local Food Shift Meets Occupy Boulder by Michael Brownlee (EB)

Farming:Organic Can Feed the World

The primal/paleo diet frowns upon grains, but I am not at the point at which I would condemn the work of Wes Jackson. Wes Jackson: A Perennial Revolution in Agriculture

The Parching of the West

Peak Oil and Energy:
How Saudi oil could start World War III
Excerpt: Lethal Trajectories
A Reality Check on U.S. Oil Imports and the Shale Revolution for Mortimer Zuckerman

Diet and Health:
200 Health Holiday Gift Guide Paleo Edition
Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites
A short bit on the Gokhale Method - Focus on Posture May Ease Nagging Injuries
New Balance Minimus Shoe Initial Review

O Felix Roma - Ambrosian, Gregorian and Norbertine Chant (Schola Sainte Cecile)

Identity Crisis for the Neo-Catechumenal Way

Timeo Danaos Et Dona Ferentes*: Why teaching the Classics is still relevant in today's world
Notes on Liberal Education and Eastern Christianity

It was him or me, says the first female soldier to kill in combat who shot Taliban SEVEN times

Daniel McInerny on David Mamet: The Film Director and The Noble Savage

Shelby Lynne at Tavis Smiley Show

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Items of Interest, 4 December 2011

Dr. Fleming, Democracy Comes to Egypt
James Howard Kunstler, Suspended Civilization
Fabius Maximus: RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic died this week. Of course, we don’t care (that’s why it died).
Craig Holland Dixon, Will Due Process Cease to Exist for Americans?
Paul Craig Roberts, The Obama Regime Has No Constitutional Scruples
Karen De Coster, Public Education, Meet the Newest Bullies on the Block and Federal Bully Pulpit

The Restoration of Property
Distributism and the Supremes

Britta Riley: A Garden in My Apartment

100 Best Permaculture & Homesteading Books: The Ultimate Reading List for Sustainable Living

LOCAL - A Short Documentary

LOCAL - A Short Documentary from Christian Remde on Vimeo.

The myth of renewable energy - Dawn Stover, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (via EB)

Peak Engineering

Diet and Health:
Vox Populi: Exposing Injectors

Free the Animal: Unifying Nutrition: Osteoporosis and Atherosclerosis May be Linked: Vitamin K2 and The 21 Convention: My Presentation to 20-Somethings

Who says the whole world can’t eat paleo?

Toadally Primal Smoothies: The eBook

Kurt Harris: Jimmy Moore inquires about "safe starches"

Western iconography

This liturgical year's edition of Breaking Bread from OCP features on its cover an modern icon, "Christ the Teacher" by Ade Bethune, which is in the St. Catherine University Library.

The artist was associated with Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, but I don't know what to make of the icon. It definitely is not like any of the Byzantine or Byzantine-influenced styles. That's the problem with not having an established tradition with standards that have been in observance for some time -- should I regard this as an original contribution to Western liturgical art or as a unique product that does not really serve tradition? iirc Matthew Alderman mentioned the Western iconographic tradition and how it was different from those of the East, and how we should turn to that instead of adopting a foreign tradition. But did that develop its own set of rules and standards, or was it "freer" (or "less developed")? And why shouldn't we be influenced by other traditions, especially the Greek?

How the Form of the Iconographic Tradition Relates to the Catholic Worldview
The Unread Vision: The Liturgical Movement in the United States of America: 1926-1955

St. Nicholas of Myra


His feast was celebrated today at St. Basil's.
I was reading the fasting guidelines for the eparchy that includes St. Basil's. Abstinence from meat on Fridays; abstinence from meat is encouraged on Wednesdays. Vigils (Eves) of Christ and Theophany are traditionally days of strict fast, highly commendable but not required.

This got me thinking about the impact of diet upon appetite. Should we mess up our body and its regulation of appetite by eating too many carbs, so that our bodies can be more unruly and we can have a greater need for infused temperance? (Shades of Kant.) Or should we working on restoring the regulation of appetite by going paleo/primal (which may actually make [intermittent] fasting easier)? Abstaining from meat may not be too much to demand, if we are allowed to eat animal fats. But if those are banned, or if they are not readily available in an isolated form, would that prohibition on meat still be sensible? Probably - it would be just for one day...

Acts of temperance would be required for the body to adopt a paleo/primal diet and to avoid sugar most of the time, until the craving for sugar has subsided as the body adjusts to fat being the energy source. If the paleo/primal diet makes the body healthy and appetite itself is healthy and no long unruly, then is the virtue of temperance actually necessary? Is it present only as a habit though not regularly exercised?

Still this brings up the question of the infused virtues - why does it not seem that they are present when the desire for x is present? Is it the nature of the temptation and our subjective perception?

Frequenting buffet restaurants would seem to reinforce a certain departure from the mean of reason, but not gluttony -- eating excessively for the sake of "getting my money's worth."

*I think meat is used in the body of this question regarding temperance with its older meaning (food in general) rather than its modern meaning. I'd have to look at the Latin original.