Saturday, February 6, 2010

Too Dumb to Thrive - That's Us

Charles Krauthammer tells about the Last Self-Help Administration and the left's attitude regarding the electorate:
(A)fter stunning Democratic setbacks in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Obama gave a stay-the-course State of the Union address (a) pledging not to walk away from health care reform, (b) seeking to turn college education increasingly into a federal entitlement, and (c) asking again for cap-and-trade energy legislation. Plus, of course, another stimulus package, this time renamed a "jobs bill."

This being a democracy, don't the Democrats see that clinging to this agenda will march them over a cliff? Don't they understand Massachusetts?

Well, they understand it through a prism of two cherished axioms: (1) The people are stupid and (2) Republicans are bad. Result? The dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly.

Liberal expressions of disdain for the intelligence and emotional maturity of the electorate have been, post-Massachusetts, remarkably unguarded. New York Times columnist Charles Blow chided Obama for not understanding the necessity of speaking "in the plain words of plain folks," because the people are "suspicious of complexity." Counseled Blow: "The next time he gives a speech, someone should tap him on the ankle and say, 'Mr. President, we're down here.'"

A Time magazine blogger was even more blunt about the ankle-dwelling mob, explaining that we are "a nation of dodos" that is "too dumb to thrive."
Real all …

Athos Digs Out

Yeoman's Work

Renoir's Glasses

'A Virus has attacked the world'

Who said these "inflammatory" words:
"England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence. And yet England allows it. Remember, that country was the breeding ground for communism, too. Karl Marx did all his work in libraries there."
(a) Bill O'Reilly (b) Geert Wilders (c) Glenn Beck (d) Robert Spencer (e) None of the above

The answer is here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Last Shuttle Night Lift-Off

Did you know that there are only five more space shuttle missions slated? The last night lift-off of shuttle Endeavor is scheduled for two days from now, February 7. You can follow its progress here and at NASA TV.

Condell - No Time for Fear Any Longer

Wherein Pat Condell, the oldish yet proverbial little boy who is trying to stick his finger in the dike to keep out the flood of multiculturalist dhimmitude, tells the crooked judges of Amsterdam where they can stick it.

There Was a Time

A beautiful, if wistful, look back at London filmed in color in the 1920s. (ht: Baron Bodissey)

Trudge Home or Stay with the Pigs?

It's wonderful when one finds that one's thoughts on a subject - say, that touchy subject of the wrath of God - aren't too far out in left field, theologically speaking. Monsignor Charles Pope, whose funeral homily (here) should be required listening as a memento mori, gives us the straight scoop in What is the Wrath of God?

Like the Loving Father in Our Lord's parable of the Lost Son (Lk 15), God allows us, made in His image, imago dei, the free will to journey with our ontological inheritance into a "far country" of sin. When and if we come to our senses and realize that we are at the end of our substance and below our human dignity - not because God is "punishing" us for breaking His laws, but because we have broken ourselves on His laws in consequential judgment - then we can begin our miserable trudge back toward Him and the "farm" we should never have left.

This goes for individuals, families, communities, and even civilizations. The question is: will we?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Study in Contrasts

Tim Tebow and I Won will both attend the National Prayer Breakfast. Note in the article the reality checks regarding the pro-abortion agenda of the latter.

Zmirak - Generosity of Tolkien

John Zmirak on discovering Tolkien as a boy, dis-enchantment by a Catholic sophisticate teacher, and rescue to re-enchantment. A must-read:
Tolkien spent his scant free hours constructing the parallel world found in his books, "Middle-Earth." He acted as its loving father, peopling it with a vast array of species. Instead of doing what most writers (trust me) settle for, the minimum needed to move the story forward, Tolkien showed all the Liberality of those medieval craftsmen who would carve even the backs of pillars that no man would ever see -- since they worked for the glory of God, Who would. Tolkien crafted for his creatures' use entire languages with alphabets and whole continents with maps. He limned out their history for thousands of years, from the mists of our own faded legends (such as Beowulf and the Brothers Grimm) all the way back to Creation. The opening of The Silmarillion describes the fall of a mighty angel and his expulsion from heaven. It begins:

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad.

Tolkien didn't see his work as a piece of Catholic apologetics, but as something more ambitious. Tolkien hoped to create for the English-speaking peoples a literary myth -- as the Germans had in the grail legends, and the French in chivalric romances. The stories of King Arthur, Tolkien sniffed over his pipe, were actually Celtic, and too mixed up with French infusions for his Anglo-Saxon tastes. So he spent his life creating a replacement -- which, to his cackling delight, took root. Let's test that assertion: If you're reading this in English, write down the names of as many knights of the Round Table as you can think of. Now name all the hobbits you can. Case closed.
Read all of The Generosity of Tolkien

Spot the Trend

Hey, kids! Want to see if you can spot what grown-ups call a "trend"? Go here and have some fun! Maybe.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chivalry in Our Dark Ages

"Servants of the Enemy look fairer and feel fouler"

Lest any fall under the illusion that the goal of chivalry is a nostalgic backward sigh or, worse, a peripheral movement unworthy of true Christian vocational aspirations, Rodney Stark reminds us that no less a figure than St. Bernard of Clairvaux - theologian, head of the Cistercian order, and one-time most powerful man in Europe - helped to found the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon: the Knights Templars.

So much slander slops in politically correct circles regarding the Crusades that even well-meaning Catholic souls spout the poppycock spun by the likes of Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, Fuller, von Mosheim, Barraclough, Gibbon, and, more recently, Mayer and K. Armstrong.

So it is well to read Stark's excellent introduction, God’s Battalions. And, as one who peruses the titles of books on sale at the bookshop of a near-by Cistercian abbey, Bernard of Clairvoux is still the object of great study and admiration even today. Stark writes:
Bernard was born into the nobility and raised to be a knight, but at age twenty he entered the Church. His knightly background was clearly reflected in the military structure he created for the Cistercians. Bernard also was an early and compelling advocate of chivalry, and many have suggested that he served as the model for the legendary Sir Galahad.
The Christian faith in general and the Catholic Church in particular is if nothing else (and it is a great deal More) historical. Legend in this case grew from fact. So, in the spirit of St. Bernard, let us not gainsay, gentle reader, the noble and ennobling vocation of Marian chivalry. Even in these present dark ages of neo-paganism, worship of Mammon, and shoddy thinking.

Leeke - Percival

Parsifal in Quest of the Holy Grail(1912) - Ferdinand Leeke

Negative Imitator-in-Chief

I am beginning to think that President I Won isn't merely an African colonel, or merely narcissistic, but that he is more simply an example of René Girard's "negative imitation" in the flesh ... and in the most powerful office in the human cosmos.

It requires him to cast away ostensibly at least any regard for, for example, the presidency of his predecessor, and any thinking that the ancestral voice of the father would consider mere common sense. And most telling of all, it requires that he not pay reverence for or bow in humility to a source of transcendence greater than his own source of worldly power, namely the Judeo-Christian tradition that sired all that is true, good, and beautiful in the remnants of western civilization otherwise known as Christendom.

A puer in negative imitation; the world is full of them. But one leading the Last Self-Help Administration in reforming America?

One down, three to go.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Scott Brown - Pro-choice

Told you so.

Arkes - McInerny

For the record: Hadley Arkes' Sketches of Ralph. Which reminds me, I must get aholt of McInerny's Relic of Time.

Sally Jenkins - Attack of the DOLLS

Sally Jenkins is a sports columnist for the WaPo and not a pro-life advocate herself, yet she sees the shoddy flim-flam of the seething intolerance toward the Tim Tebow pro-life Super Bowl ad:
I'll spit this out quick, before the armies of feminism try to gag me and strap electrodes to my forehead: Tim Tebow is one of the better things to happen to young women in some time. I realize this stance won't endear me to the "Dwindling Organizations of Ladies in Lockstep," otherwise known as DOLL, but I'll try to pick up the shards of my shattered feminist credentials and go on...

I'm pro-choice, and Tebow clearly is not. But based on what I've heard in the past week, I'll take his side against the group-think, elitism and condescension of the "National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time." For one thing, Tebow seems smarter than they do.

Tebow's 30-second ad hasn't even run yet, but it already has provoked "The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us" to reveal something important about themselves: They aren't actually "pro-choice" so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell..

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dyce - Grail Quest

Knights of the Round Table Departing on the Quest for the Holy Grail - William Dyce

Messer Techniques from Talhoffer

Why you should wear pads and dull blades doing this, unless, of course, you are fencing against your (inner) temptations aided by sacramental grace. Then skewer them.

Abortion and Coming to Ourselves

Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman's op/ed runs in today's Washington Post, What Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement.

It is a curious piece, extremely soft-handed for the "pro-choice" folk. Perhaps they beginning to realize the way the wind is blowing. They and their MSM, progressivist ilk successfully ignored and downplayed the recent March for Life in D. C. (that's easy: be disingenuous about numbers and the intent of March attenders in their rags and mags). But they know they cannot do anything about the airwaves during Super Bowl XLIV.

The seething nature of their worship of human individualism is made clear time and time again. The attempt to "normalize" it is, therefore, understandable.

But the realization - the coming to ourselves that Our Lord referred to in His parable of the Lost Son (L
k 15,17) - of what we do when we murder our unborn children is beginning to overtake and overwhelm our shoddy thinking about living only unto ourselves in hubris and selfishness. And I say, Thank God.

Feast of Saint John Bosco

(Wiki commons)
John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play.

Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.

After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.

By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.

John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854 he and his followers informally banded together under Francis de Sales.

With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.


John Bosco educated the whole person—body and soul united. He believed that Christ’s love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do—work, study, play. For John Bosco, being a Christian was a full-time effort, not a once-a-week, Mass-on-Sunday experience. It is searching and finding God and Jesus in everything we do, letting their love lead us. Yet, John realized the importance of job-training and the self-worth and pride that comes with talent and ability so he trained his students in the trade crafts, too.


“Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. Every part of that education has a connection with every other part. If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not education at all” (G.K. Chesterton, The Common Man).