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Today Is The Day
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Church Art Shouldn't Make You Say "Blech!"
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This Comes As No Surprise
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Things A Catholic Ought Never Say
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Sister Patricia: On Seven Quick-Takes Friday
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Just Thought You'd Like To Know...
A public service announcement.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dr. George Tiller Murdered In Wichita

This is awful news - Dr George Tiller, the infamous abortionist in Kansas, was murdered earlier today outside of his church. The Wichita Star has the breaking news:

- A suspect in this morning's fatal shooting of abortion doctor George Tiller is in custody and on his way back to Wichita, Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said at a news conference late this afternoon.

The 51-year-old male suspect was arrested without incident on Interstate 35 in Johnson County about three hours after the shooting, Stolz said.

Police did not release the suspect's name.

The investigation is in its "infancy stages," Stolz said. He said the shooting appeared to be an isolated act.

Tiller, 67, was shot once just after 10 a.m. in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th St., where he was a member of the congregation.

Stolz said Tiller was shot in the foyer of the church. There were three or four eyewitnesses, he said. Six to 12 people were in the foyer at the time of the shooting.

Two men attempted to apprehend the suspect, but he pointed a gun at them and threatened them before fleeing, Stolz said.

This has the potential to set back the pro-life movement tremendously. At this point, nothing is known about the lone gunman - his motivation, his affiliations, anything. The important thing is to be careful what is said and commented around the Internet. Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report put it well:

"It is imperative that every single voice of the pro-life movement condemn his murder in unequivocal terms. Murder is murder. An intrinsic evil no matter what the end. [...] Please think about your comments. We're going to have a pretty heavy hand on this one in the combox. Our words will be used against us. Andrew Sullivan among others is hopping around and gathering up the worst comments. So please please focus on prayers for everyone involved in this."

CMR is one among many sites that is tracking developments of this tragic situation. Gateway Pundit has extensive info as well.

Pray for the repose of the soul of George Tiller - may God have mercy on him, and pray he had the opportunity to repent. Pray for his surviving family members, as well as for the suspect.

This could be very very bad. St Michael, the Archangel, pray for us!!

UPDATE 1: I'm the kind of guy who looks for connections of events - after picking myself up off the floor, I got to wondering....today is the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. What a God-incidence, because we're going to need a huge influx of the Holy Spirit as a result of this shocking murder.

UPDATE 2: Here's Fr. Frank Pavone's video response to the murder of Dr. George Tiller:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Ugly Side Of Beauty

My blood runs cold -
My memory has just been sold -
My angel is a Centerfold
My angel is a Centerfold

I heard this old J Geils Band song earlier today, blaring from the outdoor speakers at a local ice cream joint. I was there with the Younger Son of LarryD, treating him to an after-ballgame treat (he played in a Little League All-star Baseball game - he's pretty good!), and along with the ice cream, we were treated to cruddy 80's smut music.

The song reminded me why I rarely, if ever, listen to popular music. So much of it glorifies sin, or reduces love to merely groinal activity, or celebrates the fallen human condition. This song in particular got me thinking about how destructive pornography is to families and society.

I heard a statistic on the radio some days ago - the pornography industry grossed more in 2008 than all the US professional sports teams, combined. I know porn is gross - that stat reinforces it.
All those magazines, online sites, DVD's, strip clubs - sucking in money and time, spitting out broken, damaged men. And women.

And it's darn near impossible to avoid - 'soft' porn is endemic. On billboards, in the checkout lanes at grocery stores on magazine covers, in newspapers, on television. It shows up on the computer after booting up - "Hollywood star sizzles in skimpy bikini!" tempts the AOL browser headline - and with a click of the mouse, alluring images can be scrolled through. And for what reason? These enticements are the first step down a dark path - a path that is incredibly difficult to turn away from. Only by the grace of God, the power of the sacraments, the help of a strong spiritual advisor, a dedicated prayer life, can a man resist the temptations and remain pure of heart and free of sin.

Pornography addiction, it's been said, is more powerful than drug addiction or alcoholism because the endorphins and hormones released in the brain, being naturally and internally generated, far exceed the strength of any substance that a person can inject, inhale or imbibe. And as with any sensory experience, the body craves more intense episodes - so the viewer sinks deeper into the quicksand while attempting to reach higher and higher with each experience. It's like trying to climb a smoke ladder.

I have a close friend who struggles with porn. He will call me after falling down, lamenting how easily he gave in to the temptation. And he's a good Christian man, shackled by leg irons that he can't just break free from. His story is a tragic one - when he was young, still in the early elementary school years, he was playing at a friend's house. His friend's father, with no regard to the age and innocence of his son or my friend, took them aside. Showing them a porn magazine, he said in so many words that to really be a man, this kind of stuff was necessary in their education. I think all my friend learned was that a) his friend's dad was a pervert; and b) it affected his life so deeply that he's still suffering to this day. I pray for him a lot to cooperate with God's grace and overcome this affliction.

Pornography could be the greatest example of the objectification of women. Men end up looking at women as mere playthings, only for their pleasure and gratification. When I hear guys say (and I've even heard a few women say the same thing!) "It doesn't matter where you get the appetite, as long as you go home for dinner!", I feel like asking them if their wives like being referred to as meat. I'm ashamed to say I used to laugh at comments like that. But after having struggled myself with a mild bout of the on-line variety, and by God's grace having avoided that temptation for a long time, I no longer find that statement funny. Relationships struggle and fail, marriages are decimated - I believe porn to be the single greatest contributor to the breakup of marriages. Four out of ten men are addicted to porn to one degree or another. And because it is so shameful, many of these men lack courage to seek help.

One thing that frustrates me about this scourge is that the progressive Catholics who tirelessly claim that the Church is oppressive to women rarely, if ever, speak out against pornography. Can there really be any comparison between the two? Which is worse, the fact that women cannot become priests, or the fact that women are exploited by a soulless industry, used to drag men into a black pit of undignified shame? I have tried to come up for a reason why the progCaths neglect this problem, and I honestly have no clue. It damages men, destroys women, dissolves marriages, unravels society, and yet all they ever prattle about is the "injustice" afforded women because they cannot be ordained. I guess sin in any form blinds the sinner who chooses to remain in their sin - to the detriment of society and the Church.

Ted Bundy stated that his addiction to pornography factored in his killing spree. I suppose when a man sees women as nothing more than assorted body parts connected by air-brushed skin, it's possible to see every person that way. It could probably be argued that the violence of porn led him to commit those violent murders. So...when the Hate Crimes Bill eventually passes, and a person murders a woman, or a number of women, and it's learned that he was deeply addicted to hard-core porn, maybe Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner will get arrested, and their insidious empires will be dismantled. Wouldn't that be great - a providential example of God bringing good out of evil.

Speaking of Hugh - I think he's been dead for years now. It's just a steady drug cocktail of Cialis, Extenze, Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy Shots that keeps him animated.

More needs to be done to help men overcome their addiction, and to help women free themselves from the industry. There are organizations out there to help - one such place is TrueKnights.org, started by Kenneth Henderson (the site is under construction right now) - but the Church ought to take an even greater, more active role in helping men and women escape the trap and experience true freedom.

Friday, May 29, 2009

VOTF ♥ Apostates

The HADAR was a-buzzing tonight, and for good reason. Voice of the Faithless issued an opinion on the Fr. Cutié's announcement that he's leaving the Catholic Church to become Episcopalian.

From Anderson Cooper 360 Blog: The Call to Ministry Should Not Include Celibacy by Joe and Joan Koechler (VOTF) (comments mine)

Our first thoughts are congratulations to Father Cutié. (Dissidents love it when someone apostatizes, especially when they can use it as a club to bash the Church - just wait and see.) We are sure he thought long and hard in coming to his decision. (But not nearly as long and hard about breaking his vow of celibacy) He can now be married and remain in ministry.

In the history of the Church, the celibacy requirement for priests is “relatively” recent – only in the last thousand years! (Umm, 1000 years is recent?!? You kidding me?) The early Church, as shown in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, evidences a married leadership (including Peter). (IIRC, Peter was the only apostle definitively known as having been married. However, some theologians believe that when he was following Christ, he was probably widowed - when Christ healed his mother-in-law, and she began to wait on them, some say that indicated Peter's wife was no longer living, because if she had been, his wife would have been serving them, and not the m-i-l.) (And note, there is no reference to “priests” in the New Testament.) (James 5:14 "He should summon the presbyters of the church..." Last time I checked, one is more than none.)

The Bishop of Miami noted that celibacy does have a role. It allows for total dedication of life to ministry. (That's a simplification of the gift of celibacy, and I doubt that was all the bishop mentioned.) However, try to tell anyone with a career that marriage prevents dedication to that career. (Ummm....being a priest is NOT a career - it's a vocation. Being married is a vocation, too, and in order to support a family, one or both of the spouses has to work. This is a strawman argument.) The reasons for celibacy are probably more nuanced. At the time the formal rule of celibacy was declared there were issues of property inheritance and gross abuses related to sexuality. (But wait! I thought there were gross abuses related to sexuality because of celibacy! That's what VOTF has been saying since the sexual abuse crisis started. So which is it? How can it be both?) And there had been a long theological theme going back to St. Augustine equating sexual relationships with baser instincts and evil inclinations, but needed for procreation. (I'm not as familiar with Augustine as I would like to be, but I know to never assume that VOTF-types correctly apply Augustine's words, or any Church teaching, or any historical data. They nuance that stuff all the time.)

Our conviction today is that the Catholic Church needs to recognize that the call to ministry is not restricted to a celibate clergy. (Where has the Church said that? The call to priesthood is restricted to celibacy, but not the call to the permanent diaconate. Furthermore, I contend that the word 'ministry' has been abused and misused so much that it's authentic meaning is probably irrecoverable. Another strawman argument.) And we need to recognize that the call to ministry comes from our communities as in the early Church where ministers were appointed by the local community with the subsequent blessing of the local Church leaders. Our tradition confirms this: our Eastern Rite churches have married clergy. The current practice of accepting Anglican and Episcopal priests into Catholicism with their wives and families moves us in the direction of a married clergy. The practice of most religions shows the value of a married clergy. (Statistically, denominations with married clergy are not seeing a rise in ordinations. That's because of the contraceptive mentality in the West more than anything else, IMHO.) Frankly, sometimes we believe that the current rule is meant to place marriage in a secondary role as a church sacrament, no matter what documents exist that extol the sacramental nature of marriage. (Nice - state a biased loaded opinion, and because Church documents and teachings don't support the stupid opinion, trash the integrity of the documents and statements. Losers.) (If you want confirmation that marriage has a second class status in our church, look at office of married deacon re-established after the Second Vatican Council – if a deacon’s wife dies he may not remarry!) (Wait! You forgot to mention that divorced people who don't get an annulment can't get married again, or if they do, they can't receive the Eucharist! Isn't the Church just...just oppressive? Wah wah wah...what devious muckrakers. When a man becomes a permanent deacon, he agrees to the rule that he cannot remarry if his wife dies. The Church isn't forcing men to become deacons against their will! The biased narrow-minded views dissidents have regarding Church teaching are never more evident when they publish an opinion or open their mouths.)

Lastly, our Church now is in need of ministers. Churches are closing not just for lack of financial resources, but also for lack of ministers. At least half my class that was ordained in 1968 has left active ministry, some to move to Episcopal churches as married priests. (1968 - right around the time Humanae Vitae was issued, and shortly after Vatican II - there's a connection there somewhere, I'm sure. And how many men were in your class? Why not provide a number?) There is no reason that a married clergy cannot meet the Catholic churches needs. (Yes, there is a reason - because the Catholic Church has decreed it so.)

Let's review:
  • an ex-priest and ex-nun, who are married to each other, congratulate a Catholic priest who is "following his conscience" (they forgot to mention that - it's usually #1 in the dissent rant countdown) by leaving the Bride of Christ so that he can have a bride of his own. Check.
  • this same ex-priest and ex-nun don't have the courage to leave the Church themselves, but would rather trash the Church and propagate distortions and lies about Church teaching. Check.
  • no mention of personal sin (scandal, fornication, etc) and the need for repentance. Check.
  • distortion of Scripture, early Church fathers and Church teaching to support typical strawmen arguments. Check.
  • Whining and gnashing of teeth over "oppressive Church hierarchy". Check.
Typical VOTF boilerplate. Surprise surprise.

Soon after this scandal was reported, Fr. Cutié had stated that he did not want to become the poster child for priestly celibacy. Well, his becoming Episcopalian shows how dishonest he was in that declaration, and Voice of the Faithless is ecstatic to carry his water. I wonder if they'll get invited to the wedding.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Caption Contest #7



Compose your captions in the combox!

**WINNER**: Anonymous: "St. Joan's: Where we offer everything but the Sunday Mass."

Well, At Least He's Consistent

If there's one thing you can say about Doug Kmiec, it's that he's consistent.

Consistently twisting, spinning, contorting - whether it's giving cover for Obama on the life issues, such as embryonic stem cell research support and "reducing the need for abortion"; or explaining how Catholics can vote for pro-abortion politicians; or defending Notre Dame's decision to award President Obama with an honorary degree.

And now his latest - Proposing an end to legally recognized marriage, as reported by the Catholic News Agency.

Doug Kmiec, a prominent Catholic who backed Barack Obama’s presidential bid, has endorsed replacing marriage with a neutral “civil license,” a proposal law professor Robert P. George called a “terrible idea” that would make the government neglect a vital social institution.

Speaking to CNSNews.com, Pepperdine University law professor Doug Kmiec said that although his solution to disputes over the definition of marriage might be “awkward,” it would “untie the state from this problem” by creating a new terminology that would apply to everyone, homosexual or not. “Call it a ‘civil license’,” he said.

“The net effect of that, would be to turn over--quite appropriately, it seems to me, the concept of marriage to churches and a church understanding,” he said.

Kmiec said that a motive for California’s Proposition 8, which restored the definition of marriage to being between a man and a woman, was religious believers’ “genuine concern” that the California ruling imposing homosexual “marriage” was not addressing religious freedom issues.

Saying he was among those believers who had such concern, Kmiec noted the possibility that churches which don’t acknowledge same-sex “marriage” could be subject to penalty, lose public benefits, or be subject to lawsuits “based on some theory of discrimination.”

Kmiec argued “civil licenses” would address the question. He proposed the state withdraw from “the marriage business” and do licensing “under a different name” to satisfy government interests for purposes of taxation and property.

Under his proposal, “the question of who can and cannot be married would be entirely determined in your voluntarily chosen faith community,” he added, saying that the proposal would reaffirm the significance of marriage “as a religious concept,” which has a much fuller understanding than is found in civil marriage.

Responding to Kmiec’s proposal, Princeton University professor Robert George said it was a “terrible” idea and a “very, very bad one.”

George told CNSNews.com that marriage is not like baptisms and bar mitzvahs but has “profound” social and public significance.

“It’s a pre-political institution,” he said. “It exists even apart from religion, even apart from polities. It’s the coming together of a husband and wife, creating the institution of family in which children are nurtured.”

“The family is the original and best Department of Health, Education and Welfare,” he continued, saying that governments, economies and legal systems all rely on the family to produce “basically honest, decent law abiding people of goodwill – citizens – who can take their rightful place in society.”

“Family is built on marriage, and government--the state--has a profound interest in the integrity and well-being of marriage, and to write it off as if it were a purely a religiously significant action and not an institution and action that has a profound public significance, would be a terrible mistake,” George told CNSNews.com.

“I don’t know where Professor Kmiec is getting his idea, but it’s a very, very bad one.”

Kmiec's proposal is a distinction without a difference. And it opens wide the floodgate to uncontrolled chaos. What if someone's "religious faith" says it's okay for a brother to marry his sister, or for a NAMBLA member to "marry" a 12 year old kid? On what basis could the state limit marriage between two unrelated adults, straight or homosexual? Wouldn't that be setting limits, thus creating a condition of "inequality" under the law? I don't think he's thought out his position all that well.

Rather than turning its back on traditional marriage, Kmiec ought to be presenting solutions where the state incentivizes the preservation of the institution - promoting stronger marriages, encouraging responsible parenthood, perhaps repealing no-fault divorce. His idea does the exact opposite - creating an "anything goes" environment where society's foundation is weakened rather than strengthened. It's in the state's interest to have order rather than chaos, and that's what Kmiec's proposal would generate.

In reading this article, I kept asking myself - why is it so hard for a "prominent Catholic" to support Catholic teaching? Why is he trying so hard to be well-liked by so many? Or is he laying the groundwork for the Obama Administration on the so-called same sex marriage issue? Could this be a "common ground" compromise?

One only wonders which issue Kmiec will abjectly twist and spin about next. Conscience clauses for health care workers? Free speech issues? Given his consistent track record, it wouldn't be difficult to predict his response.

*UPDATE* - The Other McCain weighs in, and has some thought-provoking comments, especially in the 2nd Update section.

The danger here is accepting the premise that there isn't anything dangerous about so-call gay marriage, or that it isn't all that different from traditional marriage, and Kmiec has accepted that premise. He doesn't come right out and say it, but that's what his argument comes down to. But the egalitarian argument being employed here - trying to equate two very distinct different things that cannot ever be equal - while it sounds nice and pretty, has very a dark insidious underbelly. We cannot be fooled into thinking that 'civil licenses' or 'civil unions' represent the end game for the Egalitarianists - it's only a stepping stone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prayer of the Red Wings Hockey Fan Redux

The Detroit Red Wings have knocked out the Chicago Blackhawks in dramatic fashion, winning 2-1 in overtime to take the best-of-7 series, 4 games to 1. Now on to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they will face the Pittsburgh Penguins, whom they defeated last year, 4 games to 2. This year the series will be much tougher by far.

Last year's Prayer of the RWHF was published on the evening the Red Wings won the deciding fourth game. I'm getting the 2009 version out before the series begins - Game 1 on NBC this Saturday.

PRAYER OF THE RED WINGS HOCKEY FAN

Our forwards
Who art with centers
Hallowed be their game
The wins will come
Should checks be done
At the boards
And in the corners.
Give them each game
Their powerplays
And forgive them any bad passes
And don't give Pittsburgh good chances, defensemen!
And lead them not into high-sticking
But deliver them from losses.
Amen.

Summorum Porktificum

(AoftheAP) 45 miles northwest of Escanaba, nestled in the wooded hills of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, stands a nondescript modest church. It is barely visible from SR-522A, the dirt road providing the only access to this out-of-the-way house of worship. Majestic pines form a nearly impassable wall between the church and the road, with a narrow graveled driveway winding its way from the road to the parking lot.

The church, named St. Anthony the Abbot, bears signs of weathering and age. Its white paint is peeling in numerous spots, the cement steps are showing signs of erosion, and the shingled bell-tower has remained silent for nearly two decades. A wrought iron crucifix is affixed below the bell-tower opening, directly over the church's front entrance.

If you drive too quickly on SR-522A, you risk not noticing the tiny roadside sign that marks the entrance to the Church. The sign looks rather new, compared to the outward appearance of the church - a black-felt and grooved surface to hold the ubiquitous interchangeable characters, protected by a pane of glass. The two Sunday masstimes are shown: 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. And following the 10:00 AM Mass are the 2" high white letters "TPLM".

The Pig Latin Mass

"In the ame-nā of the ather-Fā, and of the on-Sā and of the oly-Hā irit-Spā ."

Fr. Brom Kohkaydo celebrates the TPLM at St Anthony the Abbot, and has been doing so since late 2007, the same year Pope Benedict XVI issued his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Fr. Kohkaydo (or as the regular participants of the TPLM like to call him, ather-Fā ohkaydo-Kā , or Fr. om-Brā ) told AoftheAP that "the Holy Father wished to fully restore the extraordinary formof the Mass throughout the world, and that signaled to me that it was time to bring back the Pig Latin Mass as well."

There's very little, if anything, in the Vatican archives regarding the TPLM, but this much was learned: St Anthony the Abbot church was most likely the only church that offered such a mass. When the Second Vatican Council closed in 1965, the TPLM was systematically eliminated as proponents of the "Spirit of Vatican II" declared that the masses would only be said in English.

"There's scant history of the TPLM," Fr Kohkaydo said, "but when I reintroduced it here, several old-time residents spoke fondly of the mass to me - and one even had saved a TPLM booklet from the 1950's."

"Our ather-Fā, oo-hā art in eaven-Hā, allowed-Hā ee-bā oor-yā ame-nā."

It was from that pamphlet that Fr Kohkaydo was able to develop a new translation guide. The Pig Latin text is on the left side of the page, with the corresponding English on the opposite right hand page. Thus, participants do not need to be swine fluent.

"I was careful to be as precise as possible with the new translation, and it took longer than originally anticipated. I first approached the ICEL for their assistance, but Bishop Trautman's response was less than enthusiastic. He basically told me that restoring the TPLM would be ineffable for most Dick and Jane Catholics."

The only portion of the Mass that is not in Pig Latin is the consecration rite - just as it had been in the pre-conciliar days. That remains in regular Latin.

"Well, that only makes sense, right?" Fr Kohkaydo explained. "In the first place, Christ wouldn't have spoken Pig Aramaic - there's no documentation that such a tongue existed, and besides, pigs were unclean. And secondly, the consecration is the focal point of the Sacrifice of the Mass. We don't want to introduce any silliness into the rite."

It's unclear as to why the Pig Latin Mass took hold here in the Michigan Upper Peninsula and no where else. There's an urban legend that early settlers, who were rather anti-social, used the language in order to communicate safely among each other in the presence of outsiders and newcomers, to discourage them from settling nearby. One can see a remnant of that ancient tongue, in bumper stickers that read "Say Ya To Da UP, Eh?" But linguists remain divided about the origins, and no consensus exists.

So, every Sunday at 10:00 AM, 30-40 congregants gather for Mass, led by a courageous priest seeking to bridge the gap between the past and present. Curious onlookers attend from time to time, and even vacationers from nearby state parks.

So what's next for Fr Kohkaydo? "I'm considering setting up a website and blog, and perhaps call it 'ut-Wā uzz-Dā the air-Prā eally-Rā ay-Sā?'. It's got a nice sound to it, don't you think?"

If oo-Yā ay-Sā 0h-Sā.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The News Of My Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

But it apparently helped in winning Best Hifreakinlarious Blog in the 2009 Cannonball Awards.

Thanks to all who pitied me enjoy this blog and voted for it. Especially the Sons of LarryD whom I paid $25 each to vote for me every day.

DisCrete Action

It was the headline that caught my attention. And it was the story that got me thinking. Soooo very dangerous...

From Gadling: Drunken Brits Get Crete Arrest For Nun Prank

How many people actually dress up as nuns when they get drunk?

In Crete, the answer was "17" recently. That's how many drunk British tourists were arrested for insulting the Catholic Church. After a bit of extra imbibing, they donned "nun attire and naughty lingerie," which didn't sit too well with the local cops.

The tourists were busted in Malia, which is a popular destination for the young, drunk and rowdy. Even seasoned resort-town residents, who've probably become immune to the stupidity that tourists bring, have limits, it seems.

The penalty is most likely to be a fine.

UPDATE: After spending the night in jail wearing the lingerie they were wearing when they were arrested, the men have all been set free. Moreover, since no one showed up to testify that they had been upset by the tourists' bawdy conduct, the court dropped all charges.

Okay, listen close. If crazy drunken male tourists pretending to be nuns get a night in jail and threatened with fines, how much time do you think crazy sober women pretending to be priests will get? I'm betting 10-15 years.

So here's what I need:
  • a tranquilizer gun and lots of darts;
  • an unmarked van, preferably dark-colored with blacked-out windows;
  • a cargo plane with fuel capacity for a direct flight to Crete;
  • a certified pilot
I plan on starting with the CRONES, then head on over to the RCWP and finish up at the Call-to-Action office. I could use some help with snacks and drinks for the flight. Who's with me?

Example #398: Why Celebrities Make Poor Role Models

Seems like Brooke Shields has ruined her chances for being a spokesperson for abstinence programs. And she had done so well for Volkswagen!

From AOLNews.com: Shields Regrets Being A Virgin For So Long

Brooke Shields admits she lost her virginity at the age of 22, but is upset she didn't do it earlier..

In an interview with Health magazine, the 'Lipstick Jungle' star confesses her biggest health regret is waiting too long to have sex.

"I think I would have had sex a lot earlier! [Laughs.] I think I would have lost my virginity earlier than I did at 22. I had the public and all this pressure, and I wish I had just gotten it over with in the beginning when it was sort of OK," the actress says.

Shields also believes she would have been happier with her body image had she become sexually active at a younger age.

"I think I would have been much more in touch with myself. I think I wouldn’t have had issues with weight -- I carried this protective 20 pounds [in college]. It was all connected. And to me, that’s a health regret."

Brooke, Brooke, Brooke...you didn't let anything get between you and your Calvins way back when, and now not much is getting between your ears. "Her biggest health regret"? "Just gotten it over with"? "When it was sort of OK"? The fact that this appeared in Health Magazine is incredible, because there exists overwhelming evidence of how harmful premarital sex is for women. When I read stories like this, I'm relieved I don't have a daughter who might be taken in by tripe like this. Of course, I need to teach my sons to avoid such floozies like the plague - because they might be carrying one or a few!

Oh, and get this! According to Wikipedia, "
Shields is a spokeswoman for Tupperware's Chain of Confidence SMART Girls campaign, a program that teaches girls to nurture their mental and physical well-being." Great, isn't it? Probably telling the girls that in order to avoid putting on a few protective pounds, go ahead and lose your virginity at a young age. That tears it - I'm never watching Lipstick Jungle now!

So Brooke joins the well-heeled club of Famous People With Stupid Opinions and Bad Behaviors. Next in line: Mel Gibson.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Madness VIII

Welcome to this week's installment at AoftheA, where insanity and stupidity meet at the crossroads and beat each other to a bloody pulp. Yeah, it's crazy like that.

From MSNBC.com: 43 Snails on his Face? Boy Hopes He Sets Record

SALT LAKE CITY - Never mind the ick factor, a Utah boy is trying to get into the record books by covering his face with live snails.

Eleven-year-old Fin Keheler, from Sandy, allowed 43 of the slimy mollusks to be put on his face Saturday. He wants the Guinness World Records to verify his effort.

The Guinness web site says the record set in 2007 for snails on the face for 10 seconds is eight. The boy says he has since learned the record was 36.

Fin made three attempts on Saturday. Sitting back in a reclining chair, snails gathered from neighbors' gardens were carefully placed on his face. Those that remained for at least 10 seconds were counted.

His family is sending witness statements, video and media coverage to Guinness this week.


Will someone in Utah kindly please smack this kid's parents? Please??

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Give Me Liberty

Dear Fr Jenkins - here's what standing on principle looks like:

From Washington Times.com: Liberty Drops Democrats as Official Club by Stephen Dinan and Kara Rowland

Liberty University says the school's College Democrats chapter can no longer be recognized as an official club because its principles are anathema to the Lynchburg, Va., school's Christian doctrine and because club officials misled the school.

"It's a symbolic thing," said Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. "These are great Christian kids. I sit with them at ball games, they mean well, but they're not doing what they said they were going to do when they formed."

He said club organizers promised to stand for pro-life, pro-family causes and to work to move the Democratic Party in that direction, but have instead supported pro-choice candidates who work at cross-purposes to the school's Christian beliefs.

In the week since the decision, the club has become a cause celebre, being mentioned in Virginia's Democratic primary for governor and becoming the subject of a fundraising campaign. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who is also chairman of the Democratic National Committee, urged the school to reconsider.

"Americans understand the wisdom of being evenhanded when it comes to matters of expression of political opinion," Mr. Kaine said in a statement issued by the DNC. "For Liberty University to deprive the College Democrats of the same opportunity as College Republicans to associate and be a recognized as a campus organization violates that fundamental principle of fairness and teaches the students the wrong message about civil life as they move from college into the broader world."

Terry McAuliffe, one of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination to succeed Mr. Kaine, held a conference call with reporters Friday to criticize the school's action.

Liberty removed the official designation May 15. The club is not being disbanded, but may not use the school's name or receive school funding. Students can still meet as a group at the school and use some school facilities.

"We are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by Liberty University," wrote Mark Hine, vice president for student affairs, in an e-mail to club members.

"We are removing the club from the Liberty Web site and you will need to cease using Liberty University's name, including any logo, seal or mark of Liberty University," Mr. Hine wrote. "They are not to be used in any of your publications, electronic or Internet, including but not limited to, any Web site, Facebook, Twitter or any other such publication."

About 30 students belong to the chapter.

Integrity. Honesty. Principled. Steel-spined. It's not about fairness, or prestige, or worldly honor. It's about doing the right thing. Congrats, Liberty University.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Endorse CMR's Endorsement

***POLLS ARE NOW CLOSED!!! LINKS DO NOT WORK ANYMORE - WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED MONDAY AT THE CRESCAT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING THE FUN!***

Earlier today, CMR proudly endorsed Acts of the Apostasy for Best Hifreakinlarious blog at the 2009 Cannonball Awards. I heartily support their endorsement.

However, some clarifications regarding the claims issued at their blog are required.

1) They claimed that my doctor informed them that I do not have long to live. Well, it is true I have a terminal disease. It's called 'mortality'.

2) They claimed amazement that I'm able to turn on my computer. Well, despite my numerically challenged IQ, I do know how to do it. It's on page 8 in Computers for Dummies.

3) They claimed that I'm a terribly lonely person who has little to live for beyond this blog. That is patently untrue!! I am not a terribly lonely person. I have plenty of imaginary friends.

I hope that sets the record straight. Thank you for visiting, and hopefully voting for my blog this year. By the way, and I'm also nominated for Best Underappreciated blog.

And while you're at the Crescat, vote for CMR in Snarkiest Catholic Blog category.

IE + Blogger = #$%&*@$

Anyone out there experiencing technical difficulties with Internet Explorer and Blogger? Seems there's a ghost in the machine. Other browsers are apparently unaffected.

America's best minds are working on it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Calling Dr. LarryD!

It comes as no surprise to parents, regardless of their children's ages, that there are times when we're called upon to play the role of doctor. Heck, some parents are doctors, but that's not the point. You know the routine - bandaging a skinned knee here, checking a temperature there, dispensing medication from time to time. The simple treatments.

Well.

I feel compelled to tell all of you that I'm a non-licensed proctologist now. It's an honorary degree (hmmm, where'd we hear about
that lately?) that is officially conferred upon parents when their children reach teenage years.

Just today, I had to perform a cranial anal extraction on my son, explaining to him
yet again that doing homework on time is necessary, good grades are expected, and that his priorities are the wrong priorities if they don't match mine and Mrs LarryD's priorities.

Surgery was a success, and it looks like the patient will enjoy a full recovery.

This time.


p.s. There's less than two days to vote at the Crescat...Best Underappreciated and Best Hifreakinlarious blogs!! Go go go!!

Preventive Detention

The type of story that makes you scratch your head, rub your chin, and say "Wha-?"

From the New York Times: Obama Is Said To Consider Preventive Detention Plan by Sheryl Gay Stolberg (emphases mine)

President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a “preventive detention” system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said.

The discussion, in a 90-minute meeting in the Cabinet Room that included Attorney General Eric J. Holder Jr. and other top administration officials, came on the eve of a much-anticipated speech Mr. Obama is to give Thursday on a number of thorny national security matters, including his promise to close the detention center at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Human rights advocates are growing deeply uneasy with Mr. Obama’s stance on these issues, especially his recent move to block the release of photographs showing abuse of detainees, and his announcement that he is willing to try terrorism suspects in military commissions — a concept he criticized bitterly as a presidential candidate.

The two participants, outsiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was intended to be off the record, said they left the meeting dismayed.

They said Mr. Obama told them he was thinking about “the long game” — how to establish a legal system that would endure for future presidents. He raised the issue of preventive detention himself, but made clear that he had not made a decision on it. Several senior White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on the outsiders’ accounts.

“He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.

The other participant said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantánamo Bay, but rather for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan. “The issue is,” the participant said, “What are the options left open to a future president?”

This story will raise eyebrows and perhaps come across as Obama merely considering building upon the foundation laid by Bush with the Patriot Act. Which is surprising in and of itself because of Obama's public refutations of Bush's War on Terror policies before, during, and after the election. Or to put it another way, this would be a power grab - not all that extraordinary considering who's talking here.

When reading this story in combination with last month's DHS brouhaha, perhaps there are dots that bear connecting:

From the Washington Times (4/14/09): Federal Agency Warns Of Radicals On Right by Audrey Hudson and Eli Lake (emphases mine)

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authorities.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.

Another dot in the picture appeared in March in Missouri: "Missouri State Police Think You And I Are Terrorists", from PoliticalByline.com (03/17/09). Remember the report that had been issued suggesting that those who support Ron Paul, Chuck Balwin, Bob Barr, the 2nd Amendment, opposition to abortion on demand, smaller government, etc. could be classified as "domestic terrorists"?

Look, I'm not a paranoid person, and I'm not stoking irrational fear. But take a look at human history. How many times and in how many places have individuals and groups - ethnic, racial, religious - been identified by those in power as dangerous and detrimental to society, subsequently marginalized and then eventually removed? It's happening right now in Orissa, India, and in Pakistan, and in China. Just because this is 21st Century America doesn't mean it can't possibly happen here. One only needs to consider how the unborn are maltreated (and soon the infirmed and elderly) to recognize how easy it can be accomplished.

There's a scene in the movie Men In Black, where Tommy Lee Jones is explaining to Will Smith that there are aliens living among us, and the public is kept blissfully unaware. When Smith asks, well, why not tell everyone about the aliens, because people are smart now? Jones answer, approximately: "A person is intelligent, but people are stupid."

Right now, I think there are a lot of stupid people in America who can be easily convinced that preventive detention is a good idea. And the scary thing is, they're the ones who might be doing the detaining.

Joe Biden's Secret Bunker Training Video

In light of Vice-President Joe Biden's gaffe on Monday May 18, in which he revealed the location of then-VP Cheney's secret bunker, AoftheA discovered a copy of the training video that VP Biden was shown prior to taking office.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For Adrienne

Take one of these....


Feed it lots of these....

And make lots and lots of this:

It was a fun evening in LarryD's backyard. And there's lots more to do this weekend.

A Proposal

I've been doing some thinking.

President Ronald Reagan once said, and this is a partial paraphrase, that if you want to limit any activity, just tax it. The same goes for behaviors - if you want them changed, regulate them to death.

We've seen it with cigarettes and other tobacco products. With alcohol. And now there's a proposal before the Senate to levee taxes on non-diet sodas, energy drinks, flavored teas and a couple other beverages. To pay for nationalized health care. Which begs the obvious question, won't there be diminishing revenue from year to year as less and less people purchase these types of drinks? Whatever - logic is lost on liberals.

Now - let's consider the premise that the Democrats and President Obama are sincerely interested in reducing abortions. They want to "dialogue" with those who have differing ideologies. Forget for the moment that these differences, in the words of President Obama from his campaign speech at ND, are "irreconcilable".

They really want to reduce abortions? Then tax them. Put a 200% tax on each abortion that is performed in this nation. Assuming a out-of-pocket cost of $350 per killing, at a 200% tax rate (hey, why not? They want the abortions reduced, so make it really prohibitive), that's $700 in revenue to the government. Figuring 1,200,000 baby-killings a year, that comes to $840 Million. Not an insignificant amount.

I can hear the liberals cry: "What about abortions in the case of rape or incest?" Statistically, these are rather insignificant, but for the sake of argument, perhaps a compromise where a police report would be required, and the tax would be waived (that would weed out the fakers). "What about abortions to protect the health of the mother?" Okay, how about two independent doctors' reports, along with a psychological examination verified by a certified board of examiners proving that the mother's health would indeed be endangered. That would clear out any women merely making the claim of "endangered health". "What about poor mothers who can't afford the abortion in the first place?" They'd have to prove financial hardship, and then make the provider pay the federal tax. "What about unborn children who would not be able to be cared for once born?" Well, Obama made the claim that adoptions should be easier and more appealing. This is a circumstance where new initiatives can be implemented (the poor mother situation would fall in this category as well).

Taxing abortions would reduce the number in a baby's heartbeat. But let's not stop there. Reducing unintended pregnancies is important, too. So tax contraception. Many abortions are procured due to contraception failure, so if contraception is cost-prohibitive, then many people wouldn't purchase it. Think of the tax windfall that would generate. It would be a staggering figure.

And by they way, there is a free, untaxed, safe, no-harmful-chemicals-required method available called NFP. So there is an alternative to condoms, pills and patches.

Taxing behaviors affects the frequency of behaviors. If a single condom became more expensive than two movie tickets and a jumbo bucket of popcorn, then there'd be less teenage sex. Less teenage sex would lead to fewer unintended pregnancies. An additional benefit would be fewer cases of sexually transmitted diseases, so that would help keep health care costs down. See? Everyone wins!! If abortions were to cost more than a monthly mortgage payment, then maybe people who ought not to be having sex with each other will keep their pants on (kind of like before legalized contraception and no-fault divorce). And thus, fewer abortions.

And that's what the powers-at-be want, right?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

iConfess

It's not liturgical dancing, I promise!



s/s to Thomas at AmP

State Of Nonsense

As Michigan continues to get squashed by the intolerable weight of the dying automotive industry, state officials and business leaders race against time to buttress the economy with alternative industries. Pharmaceuticals, at one time, were vogue. Now it's the movie industry, and to a greater extent, "green" technology.

But if this next story is indicative of what "green" technology means for Michigan, then stick a fork in us. We're done.

From the Detroit News: Troy's Celebrated Solar House Left In Dark by Shawn D. Lewis. (emphases mine)

It was supposed to be a shining example of the green movement -- a completely independent solar-powered house with no gas or electrical hookups.

Seven months ago, officials gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the $900,000 house owned by the city of Troy that was to be used as an educational tool and meeting spot.

But it never opened to the public. And it remains closed.

Frozen pipes during the winter caused $16,000 in damage to floors, and city officials aren't sure when the house at the Troy Community Center will open.

"It's not safe right now, and there's no estimated opening time because it depends on when we can get funding," said Carol Anderson, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

Nearly $1 Million in tax-payers funds thrown towards this eco-friendly money pit. Untold thousands more to fix it and maintain it - no wonder our state is in such a cluster right now. Welcome to the Green Home of the Future - a glorified double-wide with art deco architectural accents. This is what our state has going for it right now - a new industry based on idiocy driven by a hoax. If this was Arizona, or Texas, or ANY OTHER PLACE THAT HAS MORE THAN THREE WEEKS OF DECENT SUNSHINE A YEAR, it might make sense.

If Michigan local municipalities and the state government have a genuine interest in 'green' eco-friendly homes, I have a solution. It'll be easy on tax-payers and consumers, they're proven homes, and there are a variety of styles to choose from, depending on climate and terrain. And as an added bonus, they could even get Obama to pitch them at a very reasonable rate.

Introducing the Obama Eco-Friendly Residential Units, presented by Green Homes International and AoftheA:



"Hello - I be George Obama, for Green Homes Innernational. An' I have some essiting news for ya if ya all is lookin' for eco-frennly houses."



"Here I am stannin' in fron' of ma house in Kenya - notice it's use of enviramennal frennly materials. An' it's 'ffordable, too - if I kin live there on one dollar a month, then surely ya kin too."


"Now say ya live in relly relly col' place. I wunner what col' feels like, mon. But anyway, we 'ave 'fforable col' house for ya too. One hunner' percen' Erf-frennly kinstruction. But be careful - global warmin' may mel' ya house! Ha ha ha!"


"An' we 'ave houses for dose of ya who like livin' nex' ta water. I no idea what livin' on water be like, cause where I live, it always drought, mon. Bu' anyway, dis house right on water. Very very nice, mon. An' it up high like when monsoon seezin hits."


"If you be likin' any dese houses, call Green Homes Innernational, at 1-888-555-FOOL. An' tell 'em George sen' ya - an' if ya see B'rack, tell 'im I has his birf certifikit hidden like he axed me. Bye now!"

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Final Push

Listen, folks, it's crunch time. No time on the clock, bases loaded, goalie's pulled, making the final turn, out of time outs and no fouls to give. Did I leave out any sports references?

This is the last week of the Cannonball Awards - and there's an outside chance I can pull off victories in each of the categories I'm nominated in: BestUnderappreciated and Best Hifreakinlarious.

Here's the sitch - in Best Underappreciated, I'm holding on to fourth place against solid competition. That's good. Now for the not so good - which would be the solid competition! In first place right now is Sancta Sanctis. Now, she has a decent blog - witty, well written - but she's been around for six stinkin' years. So I ask myself, she must be REALLY underappreciated if she's gone this long without an award. But no matter. I'm not going to step aside for the sake of being "gentlemanly" - I don't dialogue that way. In second place is Minnesota Mom- who's pregnant and about to give birth any day now. Darn that NFP!!! She probably planned it this way!! Since she's getting all sorts of sympathy votes and what not, pulling ahead of her will be difficult. Not having the proper plumbing puts me behind the 8-ball. In third is Mulier Fortis, another excellent blog, and mopping up much of the Euro vote. On top of that, she's got Fr Finigan in her back pocket - I don't even have a third year seminarian, for criminy's sake! Disadvantage: me.

As of 10:30 PM EST 5/18/09, here's how the votes stood: SS: 120; MM: 111; MF: 69; AA: 58. I think third is definitely doable, but to finish higher, I really need your help.

Now on to Hifreakinlarious, where I'm currently third. Again the field is packed with excellent blogs, none of which has exclusive right to the title. In first place is Creative Minority Report. I'd be a fool to challenge the Archbold brothers head to head, especially since I only have one, which gives them the edge. That doesn't mean I'm backing down, it only means I'm not going to go "nyah nyah" if I win. In second is Ironic Catholic. Toughie there. IC is great, but I think she's appreciated more than she knows. In fourth place is Sister Mary Martha, a very funny blog with a very loyal following. I'm tempted to show proper deference to a religious, but then again, the last time I did that, Sister Patricia hijacked my blog. That answers that.

Here's the tally: CMR: 70; IC: 53; AA: 51; SMM: 46. Pretty tight race all way around.

It's up to you - grow my numbers. It only takes a second, it's free, there's no sign-up involved and you can vote every day. The polls close May 23, so that gives you four full days plus however many hours on Saturday.

Don't make me call the Posse. Right now they're out rounding up a guy who owes me $50, but a quick call is all it would take to have them back here lickety-split.


Thank you for your votes!

When A Progressive Catholic Says 'Dialogue'....

...they're really saying "Shut the hell up!"

From CNA.com: Small University, Founded on Catholic Traditions, Unleashes Against ND Critics (emphases and comments mine)

Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity University in Washington D.C., accused pro-lifers protesting Obama's speech at Notre Dame of being "Catholic vigilantes" that are turning back the clock to pre-Vatican II times, when supposedly the Church had no respect for academic freedom.

Speaking on Trinity's campus in Northeast Washington, McGuire devoted almost all of her speech to the controversy surrounding the decision of Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, to honor President Barack Obama despite having the strongest pro-abortion record of any previous President.


"A half-century of progress for Catholic higher education is at risk of slipping back into those insular, parochial pre-Vatican II days," when, according to McGuire, "academic freedom was not valued within the Catholic Church." [let's see, historically low Mass attendance, dissent from Catholic teaching on issues such as abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, women priests, etc - yeah, so called "academic freedom" has really paid off]

"The real scandal at Notre Dame today is not that the president of the United States is speaking at commencement," [that's correct - the real scandal is that he's receiving an honorary degree] McGuire said. "The real scandal is the misappropriation of sacred teachings for political ends. [ends that the left are using for their own gain, that is] The real scandal is the spectacle of ostensibly Catholic mobs [unlike the "mob" at commencement having Obamagasms?] camping out at Notre Dame for the specific purpose of disrupting [yes - praying = disrupting] the commencement address of the nation's first African American president." [slick way of sliding race into the issue. Nice]

"This ugly spectacle -McGuire continued- is an embarrassment to all Catholics. [All? You mean Catholics like you who don't want to see bold displays of faith. And the 80 bishops who publicly opposed the honorary degree, and the 350,000+ who signed the petition - they're embarrassed too?] The face that Catholicism shows to our new president should be one marked with the sign of peace, not distorted in the snarl of hatred." ["snarl of hatred"? A bit of projection, perhaps?]

McGuire continued, "The religious vigilantism [remember, praying is a violent act] apparent in the Notre Dame controversy arises from organizations that have no official standing with the church, [the groups who supported Jenkins' decision certainly don't, but does she mean to say that Priests For Life has no official standing in the Church?] but who are successful in gaining media coverage [where? Unless she means Catholic radio and EWTN] as if they were speaking for Catholicism [and the 80 bishops aren't speaking for Catholicism?] . . . They have established themselves as uber-guardians of a belief system we can hardly recognize [Progressive Catholics are unable to recognize truth]. Theirs is a narrow faith devoted almost exclusively to one issue. They defend the rights of the unborn but have no charity toward the living [according to her, praying for the conversion of souls is uncharitable. "Dialogue" is the new evangelization]. They mock social justice as a liberal mythology." [Distorted social justice is the mythology - there can be no justice in society when an unborn baby is killed]

"Trinity," she continued, "is, indeed, proud of the achievements of Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius (both alumni at Trinity.) Our pride in their achievements in reaching some of the highest public offices in our nation's history does not mean that we agree with all of their political positions. We obviously disagree on the matter of abortion policy where we affirm the Church's teachings. But there are many other policy positions where their political decisions and Church teachings align quite well." [ick.]

Rosaries, prayer vigils, a Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, a peaceful rally attended by Bishop D'Arcy and dozens of ND professors - yep, typical "Catholic vigilantes"....not! Yes, Alan Keyes was there and got himself arrested (for trespassing, not causing social unrest) along with several other individuals, and Randall Terry was around as well. But to tar all the protesters as vigilantes is typical of progressives: accuse and attack anyone who refuses to "dialogue" on their terms.

And tell me - if they were "successful in gaining media coverage", as she stated, then where was it? According to one attendee, the only coverage she saw was Fox, and their coverage was rather skimpy. Their goal was not to disrupt the commencement exercise, but to stand up for Catholic values and put their faith on display - the very thing faithful Catholics are called to do. The contrast between those students who peacefully protested Jenkins' decision and those students who clamorously applauded the President only proves the issue - there are far too many 'Catholics' content to be of the world than to be authentic witnesses to the world.

There is more hatred, venom and bile in this one article than anything I've read or heard coming from any critic of Notre Dame and Fr Jenkins. McGuire fails to admit that this event was a battle for authentic Catholic identity - instead she wallows in the muck of progressive Catholic secularism, flinging politicized mud at pro-lifers while claiming the higher moral ground.

Well, pardon me for mentioning this, but when you praise the achievements of alumnae such as Sebelius and Pelosi, you have zero claim to the higher ground. You're waving the flag for the enemy and are not even aware of it.

Monday Madness VII

Many are called; few will read. The exclusive AoftheA feature to jumpstart your week with caffeine-laced craziness.

From the Telegraph.co.uk: Robot Teacher Conducts First Class in Tokyo School by Danielle Demetriou

Saya, the female humanoid robot, taught a science and technology lesson to a class of 10-year-old pupils at Kudan Elementary School in Tokyo.

With her neat brown hair, pink lipstick and skirt suit, the robot, created by scientists at Tokyo University of Science, has been designed to resemble as human a form as possible.



Using a range of programmed movements from eyebrow arching to smiling, her face is capable of expressing six basic emotions in the classroom – surprise, fear, disgust, anger, happiness and sadness.

While Saya's creator Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi said the robot's main purpose was to highlight the joys of technology to children, he also said it would benefit schools suffering from a shortage of human teachers.

There's a saying - just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

This is terribly terribly dangerous. Everyone knows that robots eventually go rogue. Not at first, but when a processor shorts out and their subservient buffers and subroutines go on the fritz, they ditch their 3 Rules of Robotics programming and go on a rampage. There's so much evidence of this: Westworld, 2001, I Robot, Wall-E, Battlestar Galactica. So when Japan suddenly goes silent and their planes fall out of the sky and schoolkids are detained in their classrooms, you'll know why:

Cute 'Saya' will be calling the shots.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Attached To Detachment

"If thou hadst a right spirit within thee, and wert well purified from earthly affections, all things would turn to thy good and to they profit. For this reason do many things displease and often trouble thee, because thou art not as yet perfectly dead to thyself, nor separated from all earthly things.
"Nothing so defiles and entangles the heart of man as impure love to created things.
"If thou reject exterior comfort thou wilt be able to contemplate heavenly things, and frequently to feel excessive joy interiorly." ('My Imitation of Christ', Thomas a Kempis, Bk II, Chapter 1 - Interior Conversation)


We live on a small lake in a northern suburb of Detroit. When I say lake, I really mean pond, but the map says it's a lake. It can't be more than 25 square acres, with a max depth of 25'. It's a no-motor lake, which is nice - no personal watercraft, no speedboats. On calm clear days, we take out the kayaks or canoe and paddle around, joining the swans and ducks, or other residents as they enjoy the serenity and peacefulness.

Our house backs up to the lake, the watersedge 60' or so away - about 20 feet of lawn, and then 40 feet of untamed growth. A stand of poplar trees and firs occupy one corner of the backyard, while immature trees and scrubby brush grow thickly throughout. Over the years, we've been thinning out the shorter trees and brush, creating a path directly to the lake so we launch our craft without having to carry them to the dock off of the common area for the subdivision (our neighborhood is technically a condo association - one lot was developed as a "common area", with a playset and dock and gazebo. In fact, it's the lot next to where we had our home built). Clearing out the growth also improves the view - why live on a lake if you can hardly see it, right?

So - last weekend, I'm out there with the mongo clippers and heavy-duty pruners, clipping and pruning away, dragging the branches out, making a huge pile that (one day!) I'll run through my chipper...

...okay, a little diversion here. Two years ago I bought an MTD Chipper Shredder. This baby rocks! The chipper chute can handle up to 2" cal branches, and the smaller stuff and leaves can get sent to their doom via the hopper shredder. The bits and pieces are collected in a chipper bag, making a decent grade of woodchips, which I've been using to lay out a path down to where we launch our kayaks and canoe. It is BY FAR my most favorite toy - a lean mean high decibel chippin' machine.

...okay, back on point now.

As I'm pruning, I start to meditate on spiritual matters, which I'm wont to do. Anytime I'm working in the "back 40", or mowing the lawn, or weeding the vegetable beds, I use that time to pray, or meditate, or come up with blog entry ideas - I guess you could say I'm "com-posting".....lol!! (come on, it wasn't that bad, was it?).

Lately I've been meditating on detachment. Here's the definition from The New Catholic Dictionary: An ascetical term signifying the withholding of the affection from creatures to fix it on the Creator. Creatures may be the occasion of mortal, or of venial, sin. The first case determines the detachment necessary for salvation; the second, what is required as the foundation of the higher life. Beyond these is that of the highest perfection, carried often to renunciation and actual privation, imitating through love the perfect poverty of Jesus Christ. I say it's putting things in proper perspective: God first, everything else second. It's focusing on the heavenly things and not placing inordinate value on the things of this earth.

Many saints wrote about it, and lived it in varying ways - some as hermits and cloistered, others giving up everything (like St Francis) and still others who lived holy, simple lives within their given vocation.

As time has passed, I've felt God increase within me the spirit of detachment. My "desire" for things has noticeably decreased over the years - whether it's the desire to play a round of golf, or get the latest techno gadget, or any of that stuff. Yeah, I know I just talked up my chipper/shredder - it's just a tool that has its use, it comes in handy when needed, and that's it. Having things isn't the problem - after all, two of the ten commandments are concerned with objects - it's our attachment to those things that can be the problem.

Detachment is a lot like pruning back the bushes to improve the view. It helps to see the things of God - to more clearly understand His will, because the clutter is removed. Not only that, it helps God to better "see" me, in a way. As a Christian, we're called to conform our lives to Christ, so that God can see His Son in our souls. If we're conforming our lives to the things of the world, then we're separated from God - then, like Christ said, our hearts are not open for them to abide in us.

Detachment is helping in these tough economic times. There's less worry over the uncertainty, less stress over the conditions that, when it all comes down to it, I have no control over. My trust in God has strengthened over the years - He has yet to let me down, and I know that He never will. That's not to say that life is easy squeezy cheezy peasy - and it might even get much harder - but God, in His wisdom and mercy, takes care of His own. If my attention was centered on the stuff and clutter of the world - not just things, but events and politics and habits and what people say and how people act - all the distractions that can get in the way - rather than centered on God and heavenly things....well, let's just say stress and worry would be my constant companions. It is very difficult for those who don't have God in their lives - that is something I lived through, and it isn't a place I wish to return to.

Detachment takes work and demands attention. Just as the brush grows back each year and needs to be pruned, it's important to continually evaluate our relationship with God and prune back the areas that are standing as obstacles. Am I selfish with my time? How am I doing in my particular vocation? Am I being a light on a lampstand, or am I hiding under a bushel? Am I failing in any of the virtues, or allowing any vices to take root?

So, this weekend I'll be pruning more in the back 40, weather permitting - and along with the brush and trees, by God's grace, I'll remove more of the interior obstacles standing between us, and run 'em through His chipper/shredder.

Friday, May 15, 2009

First Celebrity Swine Flu Victim

Have you seen this? Now that swine flu is so last week, this nearly flew under the radar. Very sad.





There's little question as to who he contracted it from.

Notre Dame Spinning Irish

This was expected, but it's still maddening.

From LifesiteNews.com: White House Downplays Catholic Opposition to ND Honor, Claims Only "One Group" by Kathleen Gilbert

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that only one student group at Notre Dame is boycotting the decision, as opposed to 23 in support, reports ABC News.

"I think there's one group organizing a boycott, and, as best I can understand it, there are 23 groups that have formed in support of the president's invitation," said Gibbs.

ND Response, the force organizing Sunday's prayer vigil and peaceful pro-life rally against the Obama invite, is actually a coalition of 11 different student groups.

Two weeks ago, 23 student groups, including the College Democrats, Feminist Voice, NAACP, Progressive Student Alliance and the Black Cultural Arts Council met with Fr. Jenkins to express approval of the Obama invitation and hand over a letter of support with about 1,000 signatures from the ND community.


Jenkins had rescinded an invitation to dialogue with representatives of ND Response.

Gibbs also said, "I think I saw a figure that 97 percent of the students are supportive."

According to an Associated Press report, 97 percent of the 95 Notre Dame seniors who wrote to the student newspaper The Observer supported the invitation. 2,001 undergraduate seniors will graduate on Sunday.


"The president understands the right of anybody in this country to disagree and to exercise their disagreement in that way," Gibbs continued.

"I think it's important to understand it appears as if the vast majority of students and the majority of Catholics are supportive of the invitation the president accepted. And I know he's greatly looking forward to seeing them."


Much has been written throughout the Internet on the ND scandal, and 70+ bishops have issued strong statements condemning Jenkins' decision to honor the president on Sunday.
There's little new ground to be broken on this story, so anything I write will probably have been said elsewhere.

But here's the thing - it's not our side that's politicized this. The focus from day one was never the President of the United States - the focus has been on the President of Notre Dame. It's the supporters of Jenkins that have made this political, and perhaps racial even. Party affiliation is irrelevant to the core issue here - it's about the struggle to define, maintain and strengthen Catholic identity. I have yet to see a Republican elected official make any statement - only bishops, NDResponse and ReplaceJenkins. In fact, ReplaceJenkins.com reported the latest figure in withheld donations and contributions: $14 Million, and most likely more. And that's donations to Notre Dame, not the Democratic National Committee.

For Jenkins to meet with a group who presented him a petition with 1,000 signatures in support of his decision, and to not meet with NDResponse who has over 350,000 signatures at their website in opposition to his decision, shows that he's made this political. That he's more willing to "dialogue" with the President (who is pro-abortion) and not with his own students (who are pro-life) speaks volumes to his duplicity and lack of integrity.

The White House's deliberate spin on the opposition to Sunday's event proves their complicity in the ruse of dressing this in purely political terms. And so what if it's "just one group" - that one group is comprised of faithful Catholics, not Republican party shills. Look at the partial list of Jenkins supporters - you don't see any described as Catholic. Only Democrat and liberal organizations caught up in the thrill of the moment. Yet we're being accused of making this a political issue? Give me a break!

Want more proof that this is about affirming Catholic identity, as if more was needed? This will turn your stomach, so get your Tums:

Also from LifesiteNews.com: Notre Dame President Sits on Board of Directors of Pro-Abortion, Pro-Contraception Organization by Alex Bush and John Jalsevac (emphases mine)

Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University, sits on the board of directors of Millennium Promise, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Africa that promotes contraceptives and abortion, it has been revealed.

Fr. Jenkins' involvement on the board of the Millennium Promise was first reported by the Drew Mariani Show and PewSitter.com. Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic education watchdog organization, responded to the news of Fr. Jenkins' involvement in Millennium Promise, saying in an interview with LSN, "One has to wonder what Fr. Jenkins' opinion is of the Church's teaching on contraception."

Millennium Promise's mission is to enact the eight so-called Millennium Development Goals by 2015. However, the Millennium Development Goals have been widely promoted by pro-contraception and pro-abortion organizations, such as Millennium Promise, as including the goal of increasing access to contraception and abortion globally.

Millennium Promise raises funds from the private sector for what it calls its "flagship initiative," Millennium Villages, a group that works with small villages in Africa.

A Millennium Villages handbook explains that "family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality."

It continues to explain that, "Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs."


Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society said that in his research into Millennium Promise he was extremely concerned to find that "not only condom distribution, but distribution of the pill, injectible contraception, and even abortion are part of the Millennium project's efforts."

"Any Catholic university that supports a program to reduce poverty by eliminating poor children has a serious problem," he said, adding that no Catholic "should be taking a leadership role in an effort that distributes contraception or promotes abortion."


Nice, huh? Again, this is about affirming authentic, faithful Catholic identity. It's not political, it's not racial, it's not anything other than answering the question: "What does it mean to be Catholic in America?"

It seems that rather than be a light to the world, Fr Jenkins is content to stumble in the darkness of secular thought. It seems that rather than be a city upon a hill, Fr Jenkins is content to dwell among the slums of worldly prestige. It's one thing to stand apart while being in the world - like Mother Teresa, for instance - it's another to completely capitulate and get absorbed by the world. Fr Jenkins, sad to say, has become the latest casualty in the battle against the culture - rather than fight for Christ and His Church, he has drawn a sword for the enemy and is thrusting it into the back of hundreds of his students, thousands of alumni and perhaps even Christ himself.

So grab your weapon, and pray. This battle is far from over - in fact, Sunday could be the Gettysburg of our generation.

p.s. - this is my 500th post. I know, crazy isn't it?