Friday, February 25, 2011

Careless drinking

"... For in so far as drinking is really a sin it is not because drinking is wild, but because drinking is tame; not in so far as it is anarchy, but in so far as it is slavery. Probably the worst way to drink is to drink medicinally. Certainly the safest way to drink is to drink carelessly; that is, without caring much for anything, and especially not caring for the drink. "-gkc



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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Apology

In my recent post on helping your Wednesday I mistakenly attributed the quote to Chesterton, it rightfully belongs to Maryanne Williams. I have no excuse.

Indefensible

Attorney General Eric Holder says the United States will continue to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, but will not defend it in court because he and President Obama have decided it is unconstitutional.

I don't know about you, but I find it alarming when the President and the Attorney General get together and decide that a law is unconstitutional. Last I checked that was not their job. If this stands a precedent will be set that the President can now over turn any Supreme Court decision or just decide which laws are worth obeying. Can you say cafeteria constitutionalism?

In a bizarre letter, to John Boehner, the Attorney General opines that the DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment. You will recall that the Fifth Amendment protects people from having to testify against themselves in court, assures people accused of crimes of due process of law, and keeps private property from being taken without just compensation.

How this could have any bearing on DOMA boggles the mind, but that's why lawyers are paid the big bucks. CNS News explains it far more cogently than the Associated Press. In a nutshell, the Attorney General argues that there is no legal basis for government not recognizing a "marriage" between two men or two women. The only reason he can see is irrational and therefore discriminatory and discriminating irrationally against someone violates his or her implicit right to equal treatment under the law.

Got it?

It's a stretch, but that's the gist of it. According to the Hon. Mr. Holder, Congress can defend the law if it wants to, seeing as how he has washed his hands of doing his job.

“…Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types—the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins.” GKC

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This should help your Wednesday

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -GKC

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

At Last a Game for Liberal Arts Majors


Today's Game: The Great Gatsby for NES.

Gameplay: If the literary classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald were interpreted by Japanese developers in the 1980s, it presumably would result in something like this runaway Internet hit.

It's actually a decently entertaining platform, featuring the novel's Nick Carraway as the hopping, boomerang death-hat tossing protagonist. Collect coins for extra lives. Down martinis for health. Upgrade your weaponry with snazzier and apparently more aerodynamic hats.

This adaptation ends up being surprisingly faithful to the book, including elements from the bespectacled admirer of Gatsby's library to Daisy Buchanan's fateful automotive accident, to Nick's epic battle against Dr. T.J. Eckleburg's giant floating laser eyes atop a train speeding through the desolate Valley of Ashes.

If you don't remember that last part, clearly you haven't revisited the book since high school. To your local library!

Monday, February 21, 2011

There has been allot of discussion on the blogger sphere about the work of Live Action and their undercover video’s that expose Planned Parenthood for what they are.

The question is “Can you sin (lie) to bring out a greater good”? Every parent has taught us that ‘two wrongs do not make a right’ and the Church teaches us that ‘the ends do not justify the means’

Many respected Catholic bloggers have come out against the tactics of LiveAction (and here) and yet all of Catholic radio is in favor of it. This type of sting operation has always bothered me. Even on shows like 60 Minutes whenever they did a sting I was always confused for whom to cheer for. When Police do it I always felt it was the quick and lazy way. Whatever good comes out of Live Action’s “undercover work” I think it will be short lived because it is a house built on sand.

That said The House has defunded Planned Parenthood whether the Senate passes it as well looks doubtful and we know Obama will veto it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Very Cool Stuff

For those of you unaware of Fr Spitzer please take the time to check out his work - Faith and Reason in action. And of course he can be held up as a role model that the Church is NOT anti-Science. The mission of his Magis Center is: To explore and share the close connection between reason and faith as revealed by new discoveries in astrophysics and philosophy.

The Videos are worth checking out. View them in order (12 of them 10 mins each) yea it will take some time but worth it. Great for Home School lessons.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A GOOD FRIDAY NIGHT TUNE


We have all heard of the “Death Panels”in our new health care bill and this begs the question: will we get a Court of Protection?

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"A New Theory of Biology" was the title of the paper which Mustapha Mond had just finished reading. He sat for some time, meditatively frowning, then picked up his pen and wrote across the title-page: "The author's mathematical treatment of the conception of purpose is novel and highly ingenious, but heretical and, so far as the present social order is concerned, dangerous and potentially subversive. Not to be published." He underlined the words. "The author will be kept under supervision. His transference to the Marine Biological Station of St. Helena may become necessary." A pity, he thought, as he signed his name. It was a masterly piece of work. But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose – well, you didn't know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes – make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere, that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstance, admissible. He picked up his pen again, and under the words "Not to be published" drew a second line, thicker and blacker than the first; then sighed, "What fun it would be," he thought, "if one didn't have to think about happiness!" Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

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Yes, G. K. Chesterton thought Huxley’s book sadly laughable, observing that, “However grimly he may enjoy the present, he already definitely hates the future. And I only differ from him in not believing that there is any such future to hate.” Maybe this could be the only place where Gilbert got it wrong, that future is here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Dear Watson


IBM supercomputer Watson made history this week when it defeated former Jepordy! Champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on the popular quiz show. Watson finished the three-day tournament with $77,147.00.

“It was no sweat,” Watson told reporters. “I could have beat those clowns with 80 gigs of RAM tied behind my back.” Watson was later spotted in Hollywood with fellow supercomputers Deep Blue and HAL9000. Huffing aerosol keyboard cleaners and flirting with several shapely iPads.


Chesterton spotting

In The New York Times of all places Ross Douthat writes:

"Chesterton is rather a publicist and a polemicist on behalf of those ideals. He is not joining some great conversation with Don Scotus, Aristotle, and Nietszche. Rather he is in a constant scrum with Bertrand Russell, Benjamin Kidd, Cecil Rhodes, H.G. Wells, Sidney Webb, Edward Carpenter, W.T. Stead, etc… Notably, only half those names live on and most are dimmer than Chesterton’s. Judged in that company he is sterling. When was the last time you saw an H.G. Wells insight applied to anything? If Chesterton were alive today a similar list would be something like, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Karen Armstrong … Marty Peretz, Stephen Hawking, and Jonathan Chait. If I were going to produce a polemic against Karen Armstrong’s book The History of God – and I dearly would like to – you might be satisfied with a clever review. You wouldn’t chastise me for failing to produce the Summa Theologica. To criticize Chesterton in this regard seems unfair. Besides The Everlasting Man, his books are mostly recycled newspaper material. Next to a considered book of philosophy, Chesterton seems a little smug. Next to a cartoon and letters to the editor and in response to his actual opponents, he’s not only a genius, but a delightful one."

article here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I have recently completed a series of short stories all fiction and all from a Catholic point of view. I am now in search of a Catholic publisher that might pick up this sort of thing. After an exhaustive search there is no such animal. I have heard and read that there is no audience (outside of magazines) for this type of work. I have found some that will do Christian Poetry and one that specializes in Catholic fiction: Sophia Institute Press. They have some excellent guidelines for success; the most I’ve seen from any publisher Catholic or not. Their main point is to hide the faith or rather make it very subtle. Here are a couple of their tips for Writing About Faith and Faithful or Holy Fictional Characters: Some Recommendations

"...3.) The secular rule, which still holds true for us is: you can get away with any amount of preaching if the character doing it is sufficiently insane, off kilter, evil, or unexpected.

I'm not talking about using a colorful old Irish priest to present your rules on marriage: I'm talking about having a homosexual debaucher pointing out to the main character that he's losing his soul. (Evelyn Waugh brilliantly does this in Brideshead Revisited: "I warned you at great length and in great detail about Charm. It kills art. It kills love. And I fear, Charles, that it has killed you." Charm here is the socially-acceptable compromise with morality that Charles has embraced to escape his boring marriage: no one in the entire book points this out to Charles except for Anthony Blanche, the sinister homosexual character). Readers expect priests and nuns to stand for and speak of morality. They don't expect your villain or your loser or your sappy wallflower to do it. So, for maximum impact, use them, not your openly religious characters!

Don't show normality. Be wary of showing consolations in prayer.

Characters can pray if:

a) they are sufficiently under stress, or better yet, there is a situation causing stress - there is a fire, shooting going on, etc. Anyone, including atheists, can pray then! Having characters getting worked up and crying in prayer really only should be used when circumstances demand it: someone shedding tears mainly over their own sinfulness or someone else's is generally going to read as false.

b) the prayers aren't answered, apparently. This is almost always acceptable. A) works best, actually, if the prayers don't seem to help.

c) the character is sufficiently strange or unexpected

d) the characters are priests, monks, or nuns, whom the reader will expect to see praying and acting in a holy, upright manner. (In fact, if such characters are not seen praying, it might weird the reader out, especially if the nuns or priests are engaged in too many other "normal" activities like playing cards, riding bikes, etc. The reader might think, "If they're just like me, why are they wearing those funny clothes?") For better or worse, prayer is expected from religious, but lay people who are devout are still seen as abnormal.

e) prayer is used for irony: someone prays for chastity and then goes out and starts lusting. The juxtaposition has to be sharp in order to work. This isn't me being nasty: think of how many times we Catholic parents can go from praying devoutly for patience to screaming at our kids!

f) the framework is humorous. Think of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof chastising God, or the Mouse character in LadyHawke bargaining with the Almighty. If someone has a unique or offbeat relationship with God, constant prayer can be fine."

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Seriously, they have laid out some excellent points for any writer and probably should be used in any creative writing class.

I will continue my search for a publisher but my hopes are not as high as when I started. Or as my Dad used to say, “Now the real work begins.”