02 November 2010

Daily Quotation

Do you know what bothers me?  Is that every election year as well, you get the voter registration drives aimed at the young people.  'Rock the vote!  The vote's crack-a-lackin'!  Think the vote!  You'll music the vote!  Mmm-doo-doo-duh-doo-doot!  Here:  the vote! the vote! the vote! the vote! the vote! the vote! the vote!'  Are we so lost we have to be sold our own democratic right?  What the Hell is wrong with--what is going on?  We have to sexy up the vote for young people?  Remember four years ago Puff 'Diddley' had that group, 'Vote or Die!'?  Then it turns out he didn't even vote himself?  Maybe he forgot which name he registered under.

Listen, here's what I'm saying to you, here's what I would say, here's what I would say:  if you don't vote, you're a moron.  Right?  Just something else:  I know what you're saying 'Well, not voting is a vote.'  No it isn't.  Not voting is just being stupid.  Voting is not sexy.  Voting is not hip.  It is not fashionable.  It's not a movie.  It's not a video game.  All the kids ain't doing it.  Frankly, voting is a pain in the ass.  But here's a word, look it up:  it is your 'duty' to vote.  Duty!  The foundation, the foundation in this democracy is based on free people making free choices.  So:  young people, if you can't take your hand out of your bag of Cheetos long enough to fill out a form, then you can't complain when we wind up with 'President Sanjaya'.

Listen, I'm an American.  This country as it is, at war, right now; Americans in foreign lands, wearing uniforms, representing this country, are losing their lives.  Americans here in this country are losing their homes.  We have two patriotic candidates, right?  They both love this country.  They have different ideas about what to do with it.  Learn about them.  Read about them.  Question them.  Listen to them.  Then, on election day, exercise your sacred right as an American, and listen to yourself.
~ Craig Ferguson - The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson ~

06 July 2010

Daily Quotation

You watch, the next story is going to be millions of conversions.  That was his last gift to all of us. 
~ Laura Ingraham after the death of Pope John Paul II, as quoted by Peggy Noonan - John Paul the Great:  Remembering a Spiritual Father ~

03 July 2010

Daily Quotation

The dialogue now switched to French, for one of scientists in that country had developed a radically new drug which the French ambassador's wife was explaining, and I thought:  this must be the only capital in the world where a sophisticated international audience can discuss with all seriousness the control of the upper and lower bowel.  Yet no aspect of Afghan life was more significant than this, for when the virulent Asiatic diarrhea, known locally as the Kabul Trots, struck, it was not a like a stomach ache back home.  It was a sickness which nauseated, embarrassed, debilitated and outraged the human body.  In a land where toilet facilities were not excessive, diarrhea was a scourge, and I was willing to gamble that not a single person in that softly lit room, lined with books, was without his or her secret vial of pills and even more secret roll of personal toilet paper.

"What do you do for the disease?" the French ambassador's wife asked Moheb Khan in French.

"It's very simple," Moheb replied in lilting English.  "You Europeans are always shocked at our open water supply into which little boys urinate.  Or worse.  But what happens?  From drinking such water most of our children die, and that's neither a curse nor a blessing.  They die and that's that.  So the life expectancy in Afghanistan is about twenty-three years.  But that figure doesn't mean what it says, not really.  For if by chance you are one of the babies who does not die, you are one of the babies who does not die, you are inoculated against positively everything.  Look about you.  See the large number of our men who live to an extreme old age.  With the women, I can assure you, it is the same.  If you drink our water till you are seven, nothing can kill you but a bullet."  He thumped his chest and laughed.

A rotund English doctor, on temporary duty in Kabul, said quietly, "You know of course, he's not teasing.  Take poliomyelitis, which strikes so many children in an antiseptic country like America..."

"Here no child gets polio,"  Moheb Khan insisted.  "But you Europeans who come to us later in life, when you've not had the inoculations our water imparts...  How many cases have we had of polio among the Europeans?"

"Many, even in my time," the fat doctor concurred.

~ James Michener - Caravans: A Novel of Afghanistan ~

02 July 2010

Daily Quotation

Bon vivant, wit, and tireless author, Chesterton lost the debate about the future direction of society to his contemporaries H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and George Bernard Shaw.  Chesterton saw the implications of their vision of twentieth-century society, and he predicted exactly what would come of it.  Chesterton is not a congenial stylist to the modern reader; his witticisms are formal, his references to contemporaries, lost in time.  But his essential points are chillingly clear.

Originally published in 1922, this astonishingly prescient text [Eugenics and Other Evils:  An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized Society] has much to say about our understanding of genetics then (and now), and about the mass seduction of pseudoscience. Chesterton's was one of the few voices to oppose eugenics in the early twentieth century.  He saw right through it as fraudulent on every level, and he predicted where it would lead, with great accuracy.  His critics were legion; they reviled him as reactionary, ridiculous, ignorant, hysterical, incoherent, and blindly prejudiced, noting with dismay that "his influence in leading people in the wrong direction is considerable."  Yet Chesterton was right, and the consensus of scientists, political leaders and the intelligentsia was wrong.  Chesterton lived to see the horrors of Nazi Germany.  This book is worth reading because, in retrospect, it is clear that Chesterton's arguments were perfectly sensible and deserving of an answer, and yet he was simply shouted down.  And because the most repellent ideas of eugenics are being promoted again in the twenty-first century, under various guises.  The editor of this edition has included many quotations form eugenicists of the 1920s, which read astonishingly like the words of contemporary prophets of doom.  Some things never change--including, unfortunately, the gullibility of press and public.  We human beings don't like to look back at our past mistakes.  But we should. 
~ Michael Crichton - Next ~

01 July 2010

Daily Quotation

The only way to learn how to pray is to pray.  If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy.
~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta ~

16 April 2010

Daily Quotation

You trust your eyes too much, Asimov.  You're not a chameleon, you know.  You can't see everywhere at once.
~ Spike Spiegel - Cowboy Bebop Session # 1:  Asteroid Blues ~

14 April 2010

Daily Quotation

I'm not a very gadgety man in my life, I don't have gadgets.  I'm not good with--I don't even have a microwave in my house.  I'm not kidding, I don't.  I won't have 'em.  I didn't even get rid of it, I just never had one.  Don't like 'em.  The oven is fast enough for me, thank you.  There's people [who] say, 'You need a microwave to cook quickly.'  I don't think food should cook that quickly.  I think that's witchcraft, there's something wrong with that.  You know, 'Ding!', it's ready.  That's not right!  That's not right!  And people always--you say, 'I don't want a microwave'--and people say, 'hey, you can do a baked potato in three minutes!'  I can get through life without a three minute baked potato, all right?  I can plan ahead an hour in my own life.  'No, I need a potato right now!  Three minutes, that's all I've got!  Then I need a baked potato!'
~ Craig Ferguson - The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson ~

16 February 2010

Bloody 'ell yeah!

Since I had the day off and all that, I got up late this morning and had tea and toast.  Took me all the way back to London a year ago.  The only unfortunate part about it all is I'm not sure where my pot of Marmite is so I had to settle for spreading rasberry preserves on my toast instead.  C'est la vie.  That and I need to get my hands on a decent teapot and loose tea.  One more thing to add to my list of things to do.

15 February 2010

Daily Quotation

If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will!  I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace!  I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have.  O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget:  yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day:  then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
~ William Shakespeare - Henry V ~

14 February 2010

Daily Quotation

Hear me, and I will show you who they are, over whom the devil can prevail.  For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil has power.
~ Saint Raphael the Archangel - Tobit 6.16 & 17 ~

13 February 2010

Daily Quotation

Home in the valley,  
Home in the city,  
Home isn't pretty. 
Ain't no home for me.  

Home in the darkness,  
Home on the highway,  
Home isn't my way. 
Home, I'll never be.

~ Blue Öyster Cult - Burnin' For You ~

12 February 2010

Daily Quotation

Now, if you can master a slap like that, there's no need for your clients to hold back.  They will open up like a fountain, full of words.  No need for strong violence, no, no.  They're transported back to their childhood, putty in your hands.  Ask Bandy--look, thinks he's back at school...  Now, if a slap don't work you cut him or you pay him but you keep the receipts 'cause this ain't the Mafia. 
~ Mark Strong as Archy - RocknRolla ~

11 February 2010

Daily Quotation

Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced.  Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks....

Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth.  I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone had had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom.  I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.
~ Albert Einstein as quoted in TIME - Religion:  German Martyrs ~

10 February 2010

Daily Quotation

What is envy?  Unfortunately most people use the word wrongly as a synonym for jealously [sic].  But jealously [sic] is not the same as envy.  When I am jealous of you, you have something I want and I wish to possess it inordinately.  But the key point is that there is somehting good about you or something good you have and I want to have it for myself.  When jealousy is sinful I want it inordinately or unreasonably.  But envy is very different.  Envy is sorrow, sadness or anger at the goodness or excellence of someone else because I take it to lessen my own excellence.  But the key difference with envy is that (unlike jealousy) I do not want to posses the good or excellence you have.  I want to destroy it


[T]here is an odd form of envy out there that is particularly annoying because it masquerades as sensitivity and kindness.  Go with me to a typical neighbordood soccer game or baseball game.  The children are on the field and playing their hearts out.  But on the sidelines a decision has been made not to keep score.  Why?  Because the kids [sic] little egos might be damaged by losing.  Frankly, it isn't the egos of the children we're protecting here, it is the parents.  The fact it [sic] that the kids know the score in most cases.  But God forbid that on the sports field there should be winners or losers!  The losers might "feel bad."  The solution is to destroy or to refuse to acknowledge goodness and excellence in some children because it is taken to lessen the goodness or excellence of the "losers."  This is envy and it teaches terrible things by omission.  First of all it fails to teach that there are winners and losers in life.  This is a fact.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose.  Either way I should be gracious.  Secondly, it fails to reward excellence and this is unjust for excellence should be rewarded and the reward should motivate others to be excellent.  Much is lost when we fail to praise what is good.  Another example of this envious practice is at school award ceremonies where sometimes (literally) hundred [sic] of awards are given out.  There are the traditional Honor Roll awards but then a plethora of made up awards so that everyone gets something.  I've even witnessed awards given for the nicest smile.  But the problem is that when every on is awarded no one is awarded.  Once again envy rears it [sic] ugly head but this time it's wearing a smiley face.  God forbid that some kids [sic] little ego might be bruised it [sic] he doesn't get something.  God forbid that someone else's excellence might make me look less excellent by comparison.  The bottom line is that it is envy:  sorrow at someone else's excellence because I take it to lessen my own.  And frankly this isn't the kids [sic] issue, it's usually parents and teachers projecting their own struggle with envy on the kids.  But the fact is, there are simply some people who are better than I am a [sic] certain things.  But that's OK.  I don't have all the gifts, you don't have all the gifts.  But together we have all the gifts. 

Envy is ugly, even when it masquerades as kindness.  It diminishes and often seeks to destroy goodness and excellence.  The proper response to excellence and goodness is and should always be joy and zeal. 
~ Monsignor Charles Pope - The Evil of Envy ~

09 February 2010

Daily Quotation

So too it is often implied that all discrimination is unjust.  But everyone discriminates regularly and discrimination is essential to every society and especially societies which cherish freedom.

We all choose our friends and society imprisons criminals.  The best students are chosen for demanding university courses and only our best athletes represent Australia.

The practice of groups, including churches employing staff who support their aims does not need "and exemption" in law, but the protection of the basic right to freedom of choice and association, and to religious freedom.

Much discrimination is just.  No one claims the Labor Party must employ Liberal Party staffers.
~ Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney - Capturing the Language ~

08 February 2010

Daily Quotation

Esquire magazine, if you don't know, it's like Maxim, but for an older, classier bunch of creepy guys.
~ Craig Ferguson - The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson ~

07 February 2010

Daily Quotation

Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place.  And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses:  "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth."  As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy when he says:  "The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation:  'I wish,' he says, 'young girls to marry.'  And, as if someone said to him, 'Why?,' he immediately adds:  'To bear children, to be mothers of families'."
~ Pope Pius XI - Casti Connubii ~

06 February 2010

Daily Quotation

He's old fashioned, very old fashioned.  The kind of guy who doesn't belong in this day and age.
~ Jet Black - Cowboy Bebop Session # 16:  Black Dog Serenade ~

05 February 2010

Daily Quotation

Avoid corporate buzzwords such as "paradigm" and "synergy."  Simply use "bullshit."
~ Fake AP Stylebook ~

04 February 2010

Daily Quotation

If, indeed, we all have a kind of appetite for eternity, we have allowed ourselves to be caught up in a society that frustrates our longing at every turn.  Half our inventions are advertised to save time--the washing machine, the fast car, the jet flight--but for what?  Never were people more harried by time:  by watches, by buzzers, by time clocks, by precise schedules, by the beginning of the programme.  There is, in fact, some truth in 'the good old days':  no other civilisation of the past was ever so harried by time.

And yet, why not?  Time is our natural environment.  We live in time as we live in the air we breathe.  And we love the air--who has not taken deep breaths of pure, fresh country air, just for the pleasure of it?  How strange that we cannot love time.  It spoils our loveliest moments.  Nothing quite comes up to expectations because of it.  We alone:  animals, so far as we can see, are unaware of time, untroubled.  Time is their natural environment.  Why do we sense that it is not ours?

C. S. Lewis, in his second letter to me at Oxford, asked how it was that I, as a product of a materialistic universe, was not at home there.  'Do fish complain of the sea being wet?  Or if they did, would that fact itself not strongly suggest that they had not always been, or wd. not always be, purely aquatic creatures?'  Then, if we complain of time and take such joy in seemingly timeless moments, what does that suggest?

It suggests that we have not always been or will not always be purely temporal creatures.  It suggests that we were created for eternity.  Not only are we harried by time, we seem unable, despite a thousand generations, even to get used to it.  We are always amazed at it--how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone.  Where, we cry, has the time gone?  We aren't adapted to it, not at home in it.  If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home.
~ Sheldon Vanauken - A Severe Mercy ~

03 February 2010

Daily Quotation

I studied the Koran a great deal, mainly because of our position vis-à-vis the Muslim populations of Algeria and throughout the Near East.  I must tell you that I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Mohammed.  As far as I can see, it is the principle cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though it is less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.
~ Alexis de Tocqueville as quoted by André Jardin - Tocqueville:  A Biography ~

02 February 2010

Daily Quotation

But there were still irritants to plague him, and one of the most grating was seated across from him in the coach.  Commander Scott, head of the garrison of Fort Charles and self-appointed guardian of courtly good manners, brushed an invisible speck of dust from his uniform and said, "I trust Your Excellency enjoyed an excellent evening, and is even now in good spirits for the morning's exercises."

"I slept well enough," Sir James said abruptly.  For the hundredth time, he thought to himself how much more hazardous life was in Jamaica when the commander of the garrison was a dandy and a fool, instead of a serious military man.
~ Michael Crichton - Pirate Latitudes ~

01 February 2010

Daily Quotation

What Appreciative pleasure foreshadows is not so quickly described.

First of all, it is the starting point for our whole experience of beauty.  It is impossible to draw a line below which such pleasures are 'sensual' and above which they are 'aesthetic.'  The experiences of the expert in claret already contain elements of concentration, judgement, and disciplined perceptiveness, which are not sensual; those of the musician still contain elements which are.  There is no frontier--there is seamless continuity--between the sensuous pleasure of garden smells and an enjoyment of the countryside (or 'beauty') as a whole, or even our enjoyment of the painters and poets who treat it.

And, as we have seen, there is in these pleasures from the very beginning a shadow or a dawn of, or an invitation to, disinterestedness.  Of course in one way we can be disinterested or unselfish, and far more heroically so, about the Need-pleasures:  it is a cup of water that the wounded Sidney sacrifices to the dying soldier.  But that is not the sort of disinterestedness I now mean.  Sidney loves his neighbour.  But in Appreciative pleasures, even at their lowest, and more and more as they grow up into the appreciation of all beauty, we get something that we can hardly help calling love and hardly help calling disinterested, towards the object itself.  It is the feeling which would make a man unwilling to deface a great picture even if he were the last man left alive and himself about to die; which makes us glad of unspoiled forests that we shall never see; which makes us anxious that the garden or bean-field should continue to exist.  We do not merely like the things; we pronounce them, in a momentarily God-like sense, 'very good.'

And now our principle of starting at the lowest--without which 'the highest does not stand'--begins to pay a dividend.  It has revealed to me a deficiency in our previous classification of the loves into those of Need and those of Gift.  There is a third element in love, no less important than these, which is foreshadowed by our Appreciative pleasures.  This judgement that the object is very good, this attention (almost homage) offered to it as a kind of debt, this wish that it should be and should continue what it is even if we were never to enjoy it, can go out not only to things but to persons.  When it is offered to a woman we call it admiration; when to a man, hero-worship; when to God, worship simply.

Need-love cries to God from our poverty; Gift-love longs to serve, or even to suffer for, God; Appreciative love says:  'We give thanks to thee for thy great glory.'  Need-love says of a woman 'I cannot live without her'; Gift-love longs to give her happiness, comfort, protection--if possible, wealth; Appreciative love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him, will not be wholly dejected by losing her, would rather have it so than never to have seen her at all.
~ C. S. Lewis - The Four Loves ~

31 January 2010

Daily Quotation

It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another.  They are to be avoided not only as "profane novelties of words," out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics.  Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected:  "This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved" (Athanasian Creed).  There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism:  it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.
~ Pope Benedict XV - Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum ~

30 January 2010

Daily Quotation

Since you've been dating Beth, you're a tool. And not even one of those useful ones.  You're like a hammer.  A hammer without the hammery part.  You're a stick.
~ Rayne Summers, - Least I Could Do ~

29 January 2010

Daily Quotation

On a Puritan

He served his God so faithfully and well
That now he sees him face to face, in Hell.

~ Hilaire Belloc - The Complete Verse of Hilaire Belloc ~

28 January 2010

Daily Quotation

Warfare is the greatest affair of state, basis of life and death, the Tao (Dao) for survival and extinction.  It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed.  Therefore, structure it according to the following five factors, comparatively evaluate it through estimation, and seek out its true nature.  The first is termed the Tao, the second Heaven, the third Earth, the fourth generals, and the fifth the laws for military organization and discipline.

The Tao causes the people to be fully in accord with the ruler.  Thus they will die with him, they will live with him and not fear danger.

Heaven encompasses yin and yang, cold and heat, the constraints of the seasons, according with and going contrary to, the basis of victory in warfare.

Earth encompasses high or low, far or near, difficult or easy, expansive or confined ground, fatal or tenable terrain.

The general encompasses wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage, and strictness.

The laws for military organization and discipline encompass organization and regulations, the Tao of command, and the management of logistics.

There are no generals who have not heard of these five.  Those who understand them will be victorious, those who do not understand them will not be victorious.
~ Sun-tzu - The Art of War ~

27 January 2010

Daily Quotation

The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers.  I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant.  Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits.  It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach--if not the kingdom of Heaven--the moment in which their document is printed.  It is catechistic:  The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons.  Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic.  It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can achieve salvation.  To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself:  Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counter-reformist tolerance of the Macintosh.  It's true:  Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions:  When it comes down to it, you can decide to ordain women and gays if you want to.
~ Umberto Eco - The Holy War:  Mac vs DOS ~

26 January 2010

Daily Quotation

When I became Catholic, I did so knowing that I came from a world that was radically impoverished liturgically, and so I did not take it upon myself to waltz into the Church and start holding forth on How She Could Improve the Mass to Suit Me.  What did I know?  Some wet-behind-the-ears convert from a non-denominational storefront church presuming to hold forth on the Divine Mysteries?  Who needs it?  Best for me to keep my trap shut and say "thanks" for the Awesome Gift.  I've held to that policy ever since.  I don't know from nothing about the fine details of liturgy, but I do know it's my business to be grateful for the Mass, not bitter and hyper-critical about it.  I have this weird notion that "Eucharist" means I should be thankful.  And this policy was only reinforced by the spectacle of watching not a few converts of the Matatics variety sashay into the Church, look around, find that it's not perfect enough for them, and proceed to walk out the opposite door because She doesn't suit their discriminating tastes or theological theories.


Like many other Catholics, I have this funny notion that when the Church teaches something in council, my task as a Catholic is to listen and obey, not repeat it in the same tone of voice as I would use when saying, "You left your soiled underwear on my coffee table."  I dislike Reactionary Dissent as much as Progressive Dissent, not least because despite the contempt for the Decree on Ecumenism with which the Reactionary Dissent crowd is redolent, the fact remains that Vatican II's demand that Catholics engage, rather than avoid and heap contempt upon, Protestants is in no small part one of the reasons I could eventually become Catholic.  The post-Vatican II Church's attempt to live out ecumenism, despite some of its loonier excesses, also produced a crop of Catholics who took the time to actually explain the Faith to Protestants like me in terms we could understand.  I'm oddly grateful about having a crack at eternal life and the fullness of the Faith, so I'm grateful to the Church's teaching on Ecumenism at the Council.
~ Mark Shea - The Paradox of the Neo-Catholic Traditionalist ~

25 January 2010

Daily Quotation

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftan o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner ,
Looks down wi' sneering scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

~ Rabbie Burns ~

24 January 2010

Daily Quotation

In order to avoid the domination of one sex or the other, their differences tend to be denied, viewed as mere effects of historical and cultural conditioning.  In this perspective, physical difference, termed sex, is minimized, while the purely cultural element, termed gender, is emphasized to the maximum and held to be primary.  The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels.  This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.
~ Pope Benedict XVI - Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World ~

Does this mean that encyclicals will now be limited to 140 characters?

While I don't personally use Twitter, I do think it's pretty badass that the Vatican now has a Twitter feed.  When one considers that I hate Twitter, I think this has more to do with the fact that I think the Vatican in general is just pretty badass.  Yes I did just say that.  Suck it, Arius (and check out the main Vatican Twitter feed and the Vatican Twitter feed in English).  If you do happen to be one of those people that actually uses Twitter and might actually follow these feeds, then check out these tips for following the Vatican on Twitter.

23 January 2010

Daily Quotation

But I guess when one is young, it seems very easy to distinguish between right and wrong.  But as one gets older, it becomes more difficult.  The villains and the heroes get all mixed up.
~ Giancarlo Giannini as René Mathis - Quantum of Solace ~

22 January 2010

Daily Quotation

The trouble with poets is they talk too much.
They tell us it hurts them a little more.
We cannot tell if they make this up,
We've never stood in their shoes, in their skins, in their heads, on their shores.

The trouble with you is you drive me nuts!
I cannot tell what's behind your smile.
What can we find just to lift us up,
Just for tonight, for a time, for the sake of us all, for a while?

The trouble with shoes is they come untied
And you might take a fall down the stairs.
And a poet might come along and say, 'That's just like life.'
I think the trouble with poets is they'll see poetry everywhere.
~ Peter Mulvey - The Trouble With Poets ~

21 January 2010

Daily Quotation

I missed not having a Bible at hand.  Oh, no doubt there were Catholic Bibles at the basilica three blocks away... in Latin or in Spanish.  I wanted the King James version.  Again no doubt there were copies of it somewhere in this city--but I did not know where.  For the first time in my life I envied the perfect memory of Preachin' Paul (Rev Paul Balonius) who tramped up and down the central states the middle of last century, preaching the Word without carrying the Book with him.  Brother Paul was reputed to be able to quote from memory any verse cited by book, chapter, and number of verse, or, conversely, correctly place by book, chapter, and number any verse read to him.

I was born too late to meet Preachin' Paul, so I never saw him do this--but perfect memory is a special gift God bestows not too infrequently; I have no reason to doubt Brother Paul had it.  Paul died suddenly, somewhat mysteriously, and possibly sinfully--in the words of my mission studies professor, one should exercise great prudence in praying alone with a married woman.
~ Robert A. Heinlein - Job:  A Comedy of Justice ~

20 January 2010

Daily Quotation

He who defends everything defends nothing.
~ Frederick the Great ~

19 January 2010

Daily Quotation

God made man in his own image.  Ever since we seem intent on returning the favor.
~ Anonymous, as quoted by Monsignor Charles Pope - The Problem of a Designer God ~