Monthly Archives: October 2010
The fifth in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.
We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose. I like to refer to these as The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity. Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post. We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin, here the Pierced Vermin , here the F-Bomb Vermin and here the Texting Vermin. The fifth of the Hamsters is the Trashy Vermin.
I grew up in a blue collar family in which money was never plentiful. ( I loved the old Jackie Gleason show The Honeymooners. It was a howlingly funny show and they were more broke than we were.) However, my parents always found money in our budget to make sure that all of us had good clothes to wear for Church and special occasions. “Good clothes” meant a suit and tie for Dad, a nice dress for Mom, and sports jackets and ties for myself and my brother. Now I know those of you born after 1980 will find this hard to credit, but we were not uncommon in that regard. At Mass virtually every one was dressed that way. (I still dress that way, and it is uncommon enough today that a visiting priest brought how I was dressed to my attention as I entered Church with my family a few weeks ago.) Evidence of this is clear in the movies from the period. For example, we have the film Blackboard Jungle (1955), which at the time was thought to be a shocking look at juvenile delinquency. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Conquest theme from the 1947 film Captain From Castile. As all University of Southern California alums know, the work was composed by Alfred Newman who bequeathed all rights in the work to the University to play at football games.
The movie Captain From Castile, based on the novel of the same name by Samuel Shellenbarger, is quite worth watching. Tyrone Power plays Pedro de Vargas, a nobleman on the run from the inquisition who becomes one of Hernan Cortez’ captains. Cortez is portrayed by Caesar Romero who steals every scene he is in. He captures Cortez perfectly: larger than life, endlessly innovative, always optimistic no matter the challenge, and overflowing with raw charisma. The film ends before the campaign to conquer Tenochtitlan which is a disappointment. Continue reading
Well it looks like Cynthia Tucker has been beaten out for the most obtuse observation of the past 24 hours. Let’s hear from Chris Mathews, who decided to turn a great story about survival into a partisan political point.
Down 2,000 feet in the ground, a group of 33 men not only survived for 69 days but prevailed. What a story of human faith, hope, charity and yes, community. I know that last word drives people on the right crazy: community.
Theirs is the popular notion that it`s every man for himself. Grab what you can, screw the masses, cash out of the government, go it alone — the whole cowboy catechism.
But how would those miners have survived, the 33 of them, and their loved ones living above if they`d behave like that with the attitude of every man for himself. This is above all, and deep down they`re in the mine about being in all there together. It`s about mutual reliance and relying on others. Not just to do their jobs, but to come through in the clutch.
Not only is this a sophomoric and shameful bit of analysis, but it further proves the point that great swathes of the left fundamentally do not understand what is meant by “community.” Continue reading
It’s good to know that the term “Beltway Bubble” applies beyond just the circular roadway a mile from my house out in the suburbs of Washington DC. It looks like there is another cocoon in another old dwelling of mine in the city of Atlanta, as evidenced by this bit of insanity from Cynthia Tucker. Ms. Tucker’s thesis is that President Obama’s political problems stem from trying too hard to cooperate with Republicans. Buckle yourselves in for a ride aboard the crazy train.
It’s Friday, so it’s our normally scheduled time for pro football rankings! Ok, this is a few days late, but I had a monstrous week.
That’s something almost all NFL teams have dealt with. Everyone know has a loss, and most of those losses weren’t pretty. A few teams are really plagued with injuries (Packers & Saints), a few teams look really overrated (Vikes & Cowgirls), and a few teams puzzle (Pats & Colts). Where this end up is anyone’s guess, as this is a year for parity. Continue reading
My credentials as Chief Geek of this blog need refreshing. The smartest, and best written, science fiction show currently on the air is The Fringe. The show relates the adventures of a team working for the FBI that explore fringe events involving advanced science, extra-terrestrial aliens and other paranormal events. It is a much better written and funnier X-files. The team consists of two FBI agents, a mad scientist, the mad scientist’s son and a cow. John Noble does a superb job as mad scientist Walter Bishop as indicated in the above video where he engages in an inflora experiment on the friendliest of fruits. Go here for some of the best of Walter clips. Continue reading
In the Early and Medieval Church future saints seemed to often cross paths. However in our day and age this is a rarity. On a sunny Detroit afternoon in the summer of 1935 two potential saints did just that. If they lived today they would stand out like sore thumbs, two men belittled by some of their superiors who took no umbrage and continued on with their duties. In today’s world someone who chose the same path would be looked at as if they had written kick me on their backsides. After all this is the age, when our popular culture demands that any slight be met with a meltdown or protest, the louder the better. However, (Venerable) Father Solanus Casey OFM and (Blessed) Brother Andre Bessette CSC were holy men. Brother Andre will be made a saint October 17 (or is already a saint depending upon what day you read this.) Perhaps in his humble way Father Solanus Casey will be gently nipping at his heels.
Alfred Bessette (he would take the name Andre when he was ordained) was born in 1845 to a large Quebec family. Sadly for young Alfred, he would lose both parents by age 11 and would spend the rest of his childhood raised by an older sister. Twenty five years later, and several hundred miles west, Barney Casey (he took the name Solanus when he was ordained) was also born to a large family, in rural Wisconsin. He was the eldest of 16 children. His childhood was filled with hard family farm work, while at the same time that work was done under the umbrella of a faith filled home, where the Church was the glue that held the family together through tough times.
Both the young Casey and Bessette toiled at many jobs, ranging from farm labor to lumberjacks. While many were not surprised at their eventual vocation, both men carefully discerned their calling and concluded they were called to Holy Orders. Their lives wouldn’t be any easier once they were seminarians, or even after they were ordained. Ironically both men for many years worked as door men and porters, helping those who were visitors at their respective religious orders’ seminaries and monasteries. Continue reading
A roundup of recent political news.
1. O’Donnell-Coons race- Christine O’Donnell takes aim in the above video at the major weakness of Chris Coons in the Delaware Senate race: he does have a history of being in favor of tax increases. Saturday Night Live mocks O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch” ad here. Polls show O’Donnell some 16-20 points behind Coons. In a normal election year I would assume that she had no chance, but this is far from a normal election year. Additionally Mike Castle had a substantial lead over O’Donnell in the polls until a few days before she beat him in the Delaware primary.
My co-blogger Paul Zummo’s post here on When God Says No caused me to think again of a theme that has alway intrigued me: the problem of God allowing terrible things to happen to innocent people. Endless words have been written on this subject, but I have always found moving the thought process of Abraham Lincoln as he addressed this complex subject.
The American Civil War has become such a part of American folk-lore, and so romanticized by reenactments, films, movies, etc, that we sometimes risk losing sight of just how dreadful it was. The death toll in the war would be the equivalent of us losing some six million killed in a war today and some ten million wounded, many of those maimed for life. One quarter of the nation was devastated, a huge war debt had to be repaid and regional hatreds created that only time would heal. Americans tend to be optimists and to view themselves as blessed by God. How had this dreadful calamity come upon the nation was the cry from millions of Americans at the time. Continue reading
Regardless if they’re Communists or not… China is the place to be. Should we be teaching our kids Chinese?
The Real Challenge from China: Its People, Not Its Currency by Fareed Zakaria
Q&A WITH WEN JIABAO – ‘The Wish and Will of the People Are Not Stoppable’
Related books on interest
Msgr. Charles Pope is a Priest in the Archdiocese of Washington. In addition to his duties as pastor at a parish in southeastern DC, he regularly celebrates High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Mary’s in Chinatown once a month. He is perhaps the finest homilist I have ever had the privilege of hearing on a regular basis, and he demonstrates why in this blog post from the Archdiocese’s website. He tackles what may be one of the most difficult subjects that Catholics and indeed people of all faith struggle with: why does God seemingly say no to some of our prayer requests? He provides a fantastic answer, and in the process gives some guidance on he proper disposition we should have when praying.
1. Sometimes, “No” is the Best Answer – We often think we know what is best for us. We want to have this job, or we want that person to fall in love and marry us. We want to be delivered from a certain illness or receive a financial blessing. We see these as good outcomes and are sure that God must also see them this way. But God may not, in fact agree with our assessment as to what is best for us. And thus his “No” is really the best answer to our prayers.
For example we may always prefer that God answer our prayer that none of our children be born with any disabilities. But God may see that the experience of disability may be just the thing that we or the child may need in order to be saved ultimately. St. Paul prayed for deliverance from some sort of physical affliction: Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:7-10).
QUARTO ABEUNTE SAECULO
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON
THE COLUMBUS QUADRICENTENNIAL
To Our Venerable Brethren, the Archbishops and
Bishops of Spain, Italy, and the two Americas.
Now that four centuries have sped since a Ligurian first, under God’s guidance, touched shores unknown beyond the Atlantic, the whole world is eager to celebrate the memory of the event, and glorify its author. Nor could a worthier reason be found where through zeal should be kindled. For the exploit is in itself the highest and grandest which any age has ever seen accomplished by man; and he who achieved it, for the greatness of his mind and heart, can be compared to but few in the history of humanity. By his toil another world emerged from the unsearched bosom of the ocean: hundreds of thousands of mortals have, from a state of blindness, been raised to the common level of the human race, reclaimed from savagery to gentleness and humanity; and, greatest of all, by the acquisition of those blessings of which Jesus Christ is the author, they have been recalled from destruction to eternal life. Europe, indeed, overpowered at the time by the novelty and strangeness of the discovery, presently came to recognize what was due to Columbus, when, through the numerous colonies shipped to America, through the constant intercourse and interchange of business and the ocean-trade, an incredible addition was made to our knowledge of nature, and to the commonwealth; whilst at the same time the prestige of the European name was marvellously increased. Therefore, amidst so lavish a display of honour, so unanimous a tribute of congratulations, it is fitting that the Church should not be altogether silent; since she, by custom and precedent, willingly approves and endeavours to forward whatsoever she see, and wherever she see it, that is honourable and praiseworthy. It is true she reserves her special and greatest honours for virtues that most signally proclaim a high morality, for these are directly associated with the salvation of souls; but she does not, therefore, despise or lightly estimate virtues of other kinds. On the contrary, she has ever highly favoured and held in honour those who have deserved well of men in civil society, and have thus attained a lasting name among posterity. For God, indeed, is especially wonderful in his Saints – mirabilis in Sanctis suis; but the impress of His Divine virtue also appears in those who shine with excellent power of mind and spirit, since high intellect and greatness of spirit can be the property of men only through their parent and creator, God.