Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tear-Drinkers

This is really neat and disturbing at the same time!

Sorta-Funny end-of-business-type-phone conversation:

Lady: ...and we will confirm this information with you. So you have a good week and happy holidays.
Me: ... Merry Christmas!
Lady: AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT!!!!!!

We giggled at each other for about thirty seconds like co-conspirators and then hung up.

All the hype about keeping the "Christ" in "Christmas" struck me as being rather silly - who would really say "happy holidays"? I mean - really? But I overestimated people. Everyone says it.

School is over and I done well - thank guidness - now onto The Wedding, Walk For Life, Celebrate Life Week (put on by the Berkeley Students for Life), Tax Season, and the Chesterton Event (which YOU are going to, right? Of course right!). Wheeeeeeee!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Can you tell what a person is like by looking at the gifts they receive?

Today I am 21 (yay!). I have received as gifts:
  • A Hat
  • A Book By Thackeray
  • Two Economy Sized Jars of Capers
  • One Normal Jar of Capers
  • Money
Mmm. Capers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It has recently surfaced that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (an extremely vile and blasphemous group), have been using (or will use)... the hall of a Catholic Church to host their events.

The Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco has an address of 100 Diamond Street - the same address as that posted on the Craigslist posting. A call was placed to the Church to verify that the hall was being rented to this group. The secretary confirmed that such is the case.

Essentially, the Church is sponsoring this scandalous group that flagrantly mocks the Church and her servants.

I would strongly recommend you call the Archdiocese of San Francisco to let them know what you think about this (in a decent and moderate manner): 415 614 5500

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Go Wavelet!

Stephen Heiner is having problems with the term "asshat." In the spirit of charity, I would like to inform him that "asshat" is equivalent to "shit for brains." Good folks, a note: if you have shit for brains then it is simple. Exchange shit for godliness.

But. Seriously. When I read Stephen's post on dowries I almost had a heart attack. The essence of his post seemed to be "either marry or (you fool!) get an education - and don't work." For, people who get an education typically incur $15,000-$20,000 in debt. That's an average. In prestigious colleges, anything up to $70,000 (or more) in debt isn't uncommon. This definitively rules out marriage for the woman who wants to be well-formed because - well - it's over (negative) $5,000 (the 'anti-dowry').

I derno. I like knowing things. I like the idea of being able to converse with a future husband (if such is my call) on the hypostatic union rather than saying 'Oh yes, dear. You are SO manly. Romance me now by going to Mass with me. I'll just. Cook. Here. While you. Blog about. the Co-Redemp---whass.' The knowledge of Christ is greatly enhanced by...knowledge. No. We don't have to go to college to become educated. We can read. We can write. But it certainly helps to learn in a structured environment. Are colleges a hotbed of vice? Sure. I've overheard any number of vile conversations at UC Berkeley. But I've also observed a longing for truth, an inclination towards truth, and so on - I guess. If all Catholics were good Catholics... We'd never even associate with these miscreants. Hah! That'll teach them. We're sure preaching the Gospel now - booyah!

And who cares about God's will? Sure, we want this anti-dowry to be an exception on both sides - debt is never a pretty thing - but the reality is that...it just doesn't work that way and will not, in the foreseeable future, work that way. If this is the context, then I'd think it safe to say that God does indeed will that His subjects marry other subjects who have debt.

It is practically impossible for a couple with a big family to subsist on a single income. It's not an ideal situation, but it's the situation we're in. As such, it would be imprudent if a young woman did not pursue a degree which is increasingly necessary in getting a good job. And if the woman's husband were to die? If she did not marry? When her parents died? Presumably, such a woman would live off her parents for all her life. So. When her parents died. Um. There wouldn't be anything left because it had already been given? She would, in any of these scenarios, be forced to get a job. She could get a job that does not grind against human nature if only she had received that degree. But no. She will flip burgers for the rest of her life - quite fitting for the dignity of a woman, ne? Yes. There's nothing like flipping burgers in a corporate environment to express our femininity.

It is not the fault of the father. If anyone said that my father was at fault for 'sending his daughters out to work,' I would likely kick them where it counts. I'm an accountant. I work for the family business. I know how much my father makes. I know how much it costs to have a big family because I also pay the bills (in the guise of an accountant, so only secondarily). I know the cost of food, of clothes, of rent. Asking my father to take 'drastic' measures and work day and night to support my leisure is one of the most selfish tenants I have ever encountered. How is he to be a father if he's never home? How is he to be a husband if he never sees his wife? How is he to be a Catholic if he never has time for God? Is it better that he'd never married? This question contains another question: is it better that I'd never been born? Am I an exception? No - this is common. Will I ever be an exception? Not likely. So if it holds that the father should always provide for the family and never be in a position where his daughters must work, and that one should marry if one does not have the money, then it appears as if my father should never have married (because he is not an exception), that my mother should not have had me, that I should not (in Stephen's ideal world) be.

In addition, I'd like to point out that it is very difficult to make enough money to support a big family without being morally compromised. (Eye of the needle and all that.)

Now, anyone who holds the above ideology (and it is entirely possible that in the heat of passion I have misinterpreted Stephen's arguments), which results in the belief that I should not exist, is an asshat.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Aw...Crap. There seems to be an epidemic of raw sewage going about.

I walked into work today and detected one of THE worst smells ever. Looking into the bathroom, I noticed that the shower contained...dark brown...stuff. Stepping closer to examine, the carpet under my foot went "SQUISH!"

Raw sewage...

Ewwwwwww. And it looks as if I'm cleaning it up.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blog Title?

While the theft of this icon is definitely not laudable (no theft is, come to think of't), it did bring forth this most awesome quote:

"It is very difficult to climb down from there. But they clung to the rock like Satans."

I don't think the thieves read their Gregory of Tours closely enough. Otherwise, they'd know that they really oughtn't mess with God. 'cept, these people are in schism - so I'm not quite sure how that would all figure in.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Secrets don't make friends, they make babies."

I've been tag-ed!

1. One book that changed your life: Sir Gibbie. This is by George MacDonald. It isn't particularly good, but contains a hero who is totally selfless. When I read this, as a small child, it created the deep impression that doing good was...good. Not that I took it to heart, or anything.

2. One book that you've read more than once: The Brothers Karamazov... Hasn't everyone?

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Finnegan's Wake! I could have so much fun deciphering it, spending hours pouring over the particular words and finding intricate patterns!

4. One book that made you laugh: The Story of the Stone by Barry Hughart.

5. One book that made you cry: That is a very personal question. I'm affronted!

6. One book that you wish had been written: Listen to Benny by M. Madeline Montgomery.
"When a Brother is Ordered to Do Impossible Things
If anything hard or impossible is enjoined upon a brother, let him receive the injunctions of him who orders him in all mildness and obedience. If he shall see that the burden altogether exceeds the measure of his strength, let him patiently and at the proper time state, without show of pride, resistance, or contradiction, the reason for this impossibility. If, after his suggestions, the will of the superior shall still remain unchanged, let the subordinate monk know that this is best for him and, trusting in God's help, through love of Him, let him obey." -Rule of St. Benedict

7. One book that you wish had never been written: How about the genre of contemporary feminist philosophy (gender is a construct, etc.)? I had to read that drivel for a philosophy course and the stuff was so outrageously wrong and not-at-all-thought-provoking. In a gesture of supreme contempt, and to leave my beloved bookcase entirely uncontaminated, I uh. permanently removed the works of feminist philosophy. Not because I'm against feminism, but because those writings were anti-feminist...ic...

8. One book you're currently reading: The Eustace Diamonds, by Trollope.

9. One book you've been meaning to read: Everything. Twice.

Now. I invite anyone who is interested to Do This Meme.

Friday, August 04, 2006

In which our heroine makes a funny.

Today is the feast of St. John Vianney. So...who do reformed pirates go to for confession? The Cure d'ARRRRRRRs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Memento

This fellow's feast day is today. I've only read snippets of his work, which really didn't pique my interest, but other people are absolutely wild about them. This makes me disinclined to read Liguori. But I am languishingly looking about for some Boethius, now that I've read A Confederacy of Dunces.

Wait! This Cool Thing Happened Too!

Monday, July 31, 2006

It was a dark, stormy night.

Our Church used to have small, dark confessionals - so dark that there was a moment of absurdity when the sins were forgiven and the fumbling for the door-knob, in order to get out, commenced. "Ha!," cries God "You can't escape My mercy!" True, there was something imposing about the thick blackness inside, with the faint golden glow peeping through the perforated grill. It was mysterious. Who knew what lay beyond the grill? But when the priest's voice penetrated that darkness to offer absolution or advice, you instinctively felt that it was not the voice of man speaking.

Men don't generally haul people into little dark boxes to tell them they are forgiven. Sending someone to a closet is considered punishment. Running to a closet? You'd have to be insane! Unless there is something there. Mmm. Confession. I think that I will go this morning [Addendum: yesterday] - for it is so good. [Addendum: I did go to Confession - woot!]

The old confessionals have since been replaced - they are now bigger, to allow access for the disabled. They are lighter, which is a pity. They have a little window on the priest's side, to allow people to make sure that everything is ship-shape (think of abuses). They are, to my thinking, not as inclined to inspire Pious Thoughts. It isn't that I have an immense amount of pride, that I am ashamed to have face-to-face Confession with a priest, but that I don't want to become distracted and think about someone or something (such as "Oh! What an ugly carpet/room!" - which, unfortunately, is often my reaction) other than God. But if face-to-face is the reasonable thing to do, given the time, place, priest, etc., then I won't abstain from God's mercy. Gosh.

So. Those Bay Area women who ordained themselves? Pray for them. And all women who wish to emulate them. We're not all like that. Pft. I could sing you under the table with my Vexilla Regis...and bad...singing...in Latin.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Quote

Master Li told me to head for the Eye of Tranquility, which is not my favorite place. It's a small round lake set aside for old sinners who are grabbing for salvation at the last moment, and the conversation is not exactly inspiring. For some reason, the codgers confuse sanctity with senility, and the dialogue consists of "goo-goo-goo," accompanied by drooling and coy little glances toward Heaven. I think they're trying to prove how harmless they are. They also follow the example of saintly Chiang Taikung and sit on the banks with fishing poles, carefully keeping the hooks three feet above water. (Chiang Taikung loved to fish but refused to take life, and he said that if a fish wanted to leap up and commit suicide, it was the fish's business.) Vendors do a brisk business with worms. The old rogues buy bucketfuls and cast more coy glances toward Heaven as they ostentatiously set them free. Frankly, the place gives me goosbumps.
-Shi tou chi, Barry Hughart

Sunday, July 16, 2006

St. Flora of Cordoba, Virgin & Marytr



Bigger version here.

St. Flora of Cordoba should be prayed to for the conversion of Muslims - hoooyeah!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I should be Sleeping

My employer ordered me (the company, rawther, but really - me) InDesign! It is only t'eh coolest program that has my attention right now. An 'adult class' is supplementing the software, so's I can use it. The classroom is easily the cleanest I've ever set foot in - gentle blue and white hues are used throughout, the Macs are brand new, slick, and functional (but no right-mouse click! grar! And the ctrl-z button is all upgafunked), the chair is soft, the teacher drones on at a slow pace: it's rather like a nursery as pictured in children's tales, minus fluffy animals, clouds on the ceiling, a meddling nurse, and toys that make noises-and-are-cute-once-but-then- you-want-to-get-at-them-with-a-hammer.

Read this. It isn't simply that John is my future brother-in-law, but is a worthy entry of itself. Many Traditionalists do tend to be bitter and angry, making unsubstantiated claims, cutting off all dialogue by saying "Oh. ah. You person of the Novus Disorder, you!" (Only with more vehemence and 'YE FOOLS!' implied).

Not all Traditionalists are like this - oho goodness no.

I never noticed that Justinian had earrings. At least, strange looking white tile in earring-places.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

& quote.

"To my father's wake...There was a little house there, with a table, so they dug a grave right out front, broke out the liquor, and laid the corpse out on the table. But he was a hunchback, as I've said, and he wouldn't lie flat. It wouldn't do to celebrate the wake with him face down, either-bad luck or something-so they found a rope somewhere, ran it over Dad's chest, and tied it under the table so tightly he was pressed flat. So now that the guest of honor was properly reclining, they hit the liquor. By nightfall, a lot of other people had shown up; they were all crying and singing, and one of them was embracing the corpse...and he noticed the bowstring-taut rope."
"Uh oh."
"Right. Nobody was watching him, so he sneaked out his knife and sawed through the rope. My father's corpse, with all that spring-tension suddenly released, catapulted right out the window. It scared the devil out of the mourners until the knife-wielder explained what he'd done. They went outside to bring the body back in, and saw that it had landed just a few feet to one side of the grave they'd dug. So they dragged him back inside, tied him down again, moved the table a little, made a few bets, and cut him loose again. Boing Out he went. On the fourth shot he landed in the grave, and they filled it in and went home...I want to be burned."
"Look..."
"Burned, Duff."
-The Drawing of the Dark, Tim Powers
A Book Worth Reading, if only for that passage.

"So you were planning on studying it later, academically or something?"

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
Gen. 1:1-2
I can't quite remember the Hebrew word for "Spirit." However, it also means "wind," so the Wind of God was moving over the face of the waters." That's why I like pictures like this, or this, or this, or this.

While reading about St. Anthony (who's feast day was celebrated a scant two days ago and on which day I got to venerate first class relics of Claire, Francis, and Anthony!), I found the story (it's one of his maybe-he-did-maybe-he-didn't miracles) of the jealous husband. His wife had just had a wee baby, and was carried about by the mother, so presumably, the baby would be able to observe the mother's actions. St. Anthony commanded the baby to speak, and the baby declared its mother's innocence. My Dad, upon hearing the story, mused that perhaps the question St. Anthony asked was "Who's your daddy!?"

Dithering

I have three blog posts that are either near-finished, or complete. But I jump from topic to topic unsure of what I really want to say. The topics are as follows:

1) Pessimism within the Church
2) A parody of the Republican versus Democrat just war debate
3) An interpretation of Job

The first is rather bouncy and happy in tone (too happy. I should flagellate myself for a bit to get into the Really Proper Mood.), the second is hideously abrasive (it even contains foul words), the third is an attempt at scholarly stuff... But do these things really interest me? Or are they simply space fillers?

Honestly, sometimes I don't even know my own mind.

I'm all tired, 'cause I've been sewing like a Mad Man Who...Sews. Speaking of Men, there is a prominent banner on the UC Berkeley Campus which says 'mankind' in great, big, white letters. It remains unnoticed by the populace. But! As someone who gets papers marked up for putting 'mankind' in rather than 'humankind,' or 'man' rather than 'person,' having such a politically incorrect banner in the bastion of liberality is meet (or is it mete?) food for intellectual kicks and giggles.

Distinguo!
Socrates, in the Meno, makes a distinction between correct opinion and right opinion. The former is the sort of opinion that always hits the mark (is correct), the latter is a sort of political pleasantry hooked up to common opinion (if my memory serves me right - and I ain't relying on no poets or priestesses for this, but on the esteemed Jacob Kline commentary).

Thanks, Dre, for the link.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Patience

I've been working on a blog post for the past two days. Soon it will be up. When it is near-perfect, and after more fish has been et.

A thought occurred to me: short-haired men will never know the pain of a sunburned scalp to the degree that long-haired women do. We brush our hair. And it is most unpleasant to find you've a sunburned head after vigorously applying a stiff-bristled brush.

Now for a distraction - hiyah (thanks Dan!), yaaaar (thanks John!), yaaaaaaah!, eeee!, kapow!.

St. Anthony of Padua snippet on the Ascension:
‘Heaven’ means the height of the divinity, regarding which Lucifer said (in Isaiah 14):

I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne to the north,
and I will be like the most High. [cf. Is 14.13-14]

Since Lucifer was established in the empyrean, there was no higher heaven to which he might ascend, but he meant by heaven the height of the divinity, to which he desired to ascend so as to be like to the most High. Here, too, heaven can be understood suitably in the same sense in which it was taken there. No man, not any at all, however holy, even if he was sanctified from the womb, has gone up to the sublimity of the Godhead, so as to be God; apart from him who came down from heaven (the height of the divinity) in order to be man- that is, the Son of man, who is in heaven [cf. Jn 3.13], remaining God. He did not come down from heaven in such wise that he did not remain in heaven, because he did not become man in such wise that he ceased to be God, but he was ‘both rich and poor together’ [Ps 48.3], God and man; begotten of God before all ages, man born of man in this world...

Source

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gone

I'm off camping. Last time this happened (at this particular campground), I ended up in the emergency room with ~$700 in medical bills. So if I die, bury me under cherry trees.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Books. And Books. And books.

Trollope is an author eschewed in favor, perhaps, of Austen or Fielding. At any rate, I've never run across someone outside my family who has admitted to reading Trollope. This really ought not be, if only for the imaginative names that he gives to his characters that make them the double-butt of his wit - Mrs. Prime, the prim and proper controller of the house, Mr. Prong the minister who needles people, &c., &c.

On the eighteenth of May, I picked up a copy of "The Way We Live Now" by Trollope, which lovely edition was callously marked up by some free-thinking person who surmised in the margin that perhaps the reason that such and such a man wasn't kissed was because he was black. This person also espied Trollope's treatment of nature versus nurture. The real crime, though, is not such hideous distortions, but what it was that was subject to such decor - the book is a beaut with original illustrations and everything, and it's...marked. I love marking up books. My father, however, doesn't, so sometimes out of filial piety I promise that I won't write in it, and, on at least one occasion, my father's buying of a book for me was contingent upon such a promise. And then there are the books I can't read until I'm married. But. Point being. If the book is lovely, rare, and good, then it stays that way - if it is common then I have no qualms about doodling and scrawling and spilling things on it. I would be embarassed, otherwise, to own a book I professed to love yet looked unread.

The Way We Live Now is absolutely wonderful (thus far). The reader is introduced to the Carbury family, which consists of a widow, son, and daughter. The mother married young to a man of twice her age, and, though faithful to her husband, was quite miserable being an object of physical abuse and various other ill-treatment, from which she ran and garnered a questionable reputation. This widow is rather destitute due to the extravagance of her son, who is angelic to behold but has the character and depth of a paper doll, only twice as heartless.

The daughter, as all daughters generally are, is pure and sweet. From the indulgence that the mother proffers to her son, this daughter surmises that all men have vices which should be endured with tranquility, if not encouraged. Enter cousin twice her age, falls in love with her, and the mother (despite her bad experience with just such a marriage) does all she can to make the match. To be fair, the cousin really isn't a bad chap, but he does not exactly cut a romantic figure. The young girl unwittingly replies to his protestations of love that she is too young for marriage, and is promptly assured that, you know, when twelve months pass you'll be that much older. Feminine modesty, wot wot!

Her brother, meanwhile, is wooing a young heiress so's he can have her money. This is weary work: after a night at a ball whereat he nonchalantly whispered several small things into her ear, proclaims that this whole wooing thing is such a bore. There is passion for you. I'm now at the point where he has proposed to the poor heiress. Which heiress, was mercilessly bandied about as Quite A Good Match because her father is the richest man around, able to afford a ball rumored to cost sixty thousand £s. This girl submitted to being wooed by a couple men because her papa told her to - one match was almost made, but the father of the heiress would not trust the future son-in-law with half a million £s, to which the family lawyer retorted that if the father were content to trust his only child to such a man, would the money really matter? Well... yes.

It's such a funny mesh of people, with their little intrigues, their hypocrisies, the marriage market, the delicious descriptions and exposes of the character of the people through simple events that happen their way (the son, for example, holding on to twenty £s his mother lent him, when he has seven hundred and more at his disposal, because those twenty £s might be needed in order to secure this rich heiress). Read it, do.

There are about half a dozen books that I've started but proceed to read at a snail's pace: The Way We Live Now, Hogsfather (Pratchett), Saint Francis of Assisi (Chesterton), a Gene Wolfe book, another Graham Greene book, and no doubt much more. Someday, I will approach near-culture.

Here are some cheering lines from Saint Semonides (of Amorgos) - at least, this is what the men at my former college called him:

An Essay on Women
...and they stay with us. They won't go.
For women are the biggest single bad thing Zeus
has made for us. Even when a wife appears to help,
her husband finds out in the end that after all
she didn't. No day goes by from end to end
enjoyable, when you have spent it with your wife.
....For where
there is a woman in the house, no one can ask
a friend to come and stay with him, and still feel safe.
...For women are the biggest single bad thing Zeus
has made for us; a ball-and-chain; we can't get loose
since that time when the fight about a wife began
the Great War, and they volunteered, and went to hell.

Amen?

I think I'm allergic to joy, because whenever I become really happy and start laughing muchly, my nose begins running. Humph. Bah! Humbug!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Legionaries of Christ

Fr. Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, has been asked to live a quiet life of prayer and penitence: click here.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

It's not easy being Greene

What do you love most? If I believed in you, I suppose I'd believe in the immortal soul, but is that what you love? Can you really see it there under the skin? Even a God can't love something that doesn't exist, he can't love something he cannot see. When he looks at me, does he see something I can't see? It must be lovely if he is able to love it. That's asking me to believe too much, that there's anything lovely in me. I want men to admire me, but that's a trick you learn in school - a movement of the eyes, a tone of voice, a touch of the hand on the shoulder or the head. If they think you admire them, they will admire you because of your good taste, and when they admire you, you have an illusion for a moment that there's something to admire. All my life I've tried to live in that illusion - a soothing drug that allows me to forget that I'm a bitch and a fake. But what are you supposed to love then in the bitch and the fake? Where do you find the immortal soul they talked about? Where do you see this lovely thing in me - in me, of all people? I can understand you can find it in Henry - my Henry, I mean. He's gentle and good and patient. You can find it in Maurice who thinks he hates and loves, loves all the time. Even his enemies. But in this bitch and fake where do you find anything to love?
-The End of the Affair, Graham Greene

Like a comment that falls flat

Ehhh. Buh...!

I tried to get tickets to see Radiohead a scant two minutes after they went on sale... But... they were already sold out.

B-u-m-m-e-r!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mmmmeme

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

How the Princess could trust the latter as she persisted in doing, is beyond my comprehension; but there is no infatuation like that of a woman in love: and you will remark, my dear Monsieur de Balibari, that our sex generally fix upon a bad man.

Friday, May 12, 2006

'We made it, Thomas,' Pyle said. I remember that, but I don't remember what Pyle later described to others: that I waved my hand in the wrong direction and told them there was a man in the tower and they had to see to him. Anyway I couldn't have made the sentimental assumption that Pyle made. I know myself, and I know the depth of my selfishness. I cannot be at ease (and to be at ease is my chief wish) if someone else is in pain, visibly or audibly or tactually. Sometimes this is mistaken by the innocent for unselfishness, when all I am doing is sacrificing a small good - in this case postponement in attending to my hurt - for the sake of a far greater good, a peace of mind when I need think only of myself.
-The Quiet Man, Graham Greene

Mind your P's and Q's

There was a very telling quote in another Graham Greene novel (and in case you wonder why the Graham Greene kick, it's because the books are thin, easy to read, and contain deep insights into human nature - perfect material to read for a student, in the last dregs of a semester, who walks to school and aspires to become knowledgeable): actually, I don't have the book on hand. But bear with me.

In the quote, the main character has become wounded and hears, in the distance. the cry of another wounded man. When the stretcher bearers come to take him away, he motions them towards that other man. Everyone takes this as a heroic act, but the main character mulls on this for about a paragraph, knowing himself better than they do, thinking about how some action that looks selfless may actually be a deeply seated selfishness.

It is not because the object of some act of heroism is considered, but that, in the end, it is only for oneself, in order that the conscience will not trouble one. It is perhaps similar to giving a homeless man outside a restaurant leftover food not because one primarily recognizes someone who is in need, but because a feeling of guilt might assail one afterwards at being full, with excess food, and yet passing by someone obviously not full.

The selfishness and selflessness can be easily conflated, the act that is not even selfless turning into a point of self-congratulation. This morning I read some words of St. John of the Cross that I'd copied out - words to the effect of you must desire nothing so as to place your all in Christ. And when this is done, when nothing is desired but Christ, then the actions that flow from that love will be for Him. Um. and you won't be selfish anymore.

This semester has almost ended. And I'm glad. One class was really Rather Horrid, the class average for homework being less than 59 --- and homework counts for 40% of the grade. After playing ultimate frisbee yesterday, I studied logic for 6 hours straight (well, just about. 5 hours and forty five minutes, to be exact). Am I intense or what?

By way of dodging a substantial post, look at some faces I doodled. I will be taking an art class over the summer (sorry, Erik - your class looked like a lot of fun, but bilocation isn't my strong point) so eventually this will all get better (if you're not keen on proportions, then just copy the picture and flip them horizontally in a graphics program - the faults will be made manifestly apparent).

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"You're like a modern Kant!"

^^ Said one fellow student to me.

Two questions overwhelm me:

1. Why do my pyjamas smell like coconut?
2. Why was Hume such a frightful ass?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Badong Debating Tactics Among Other Things

Us Catholics can be particularly vicious when it comes to debating - if only because we have so many more needles we can stick at our opponents. The method I particularly abhor (and call me self-interested) is the tack that radical traditionalists take against fellow Catholics who attend the Mass of the Roman Rite. This first involves establishing the fact that the opponent regularly attends the Mass of the Roman Rite, which allows them to cast aspersions on such a person's understanding of Church teaching/understand on the grounds that they attend the Mass of the Roman Rite (afterall, what person who truly understands Church teaching/tradition would content themselves with attending such a Mass?), and from there make a shaky connection. E.G. If they have a tenuous grasp on what the Church teaches, they must therefore be verging on heresy, no? Exunt sir messenger with gunwound. This is a handy dodge, but not conducive to a pursuit of truth or charity.

Among other problems, it's but a hop and a skip from implying someone might be heretical to implying that the other's state of soul is likewise questionable (because if their understanding is weak, they may have committed all sorts of sins! and who knows what they tell their children! or friends!), and under that guise abusive things may be said because afterall: 'I'm just concerned about their soul!' (Or as Erik says: I'll pray for you!) The intent may be good, or the person might think the intent is good - but somewhere between the idea of love and the practice of love, something goes radically awry.

Frankly, I find it amusing when these tactics are used against me 'cause I know they are essentially flawed. Going to the Mass of the Roman Rite does not necessarily entail a faulty understanding of Church tradition/teaching. And any analogy that might be drawn between say, an Atheist trying to explain Catholicism and a Novus Ordinarian trying to explain Catholicism, is fundamentally flawed as well - the analogy presupposes that people who attend the Mass of the Roman Rite (and explicate on what the Church teaches) are outside the Church in a very real way - which is patently untenable. And anyway, it still ignores the message. So don't do this.

I've been reading "The Heart of the Matter" by Graham Greene, and it seems to accurately describe the lethargy into which many people fall. And quote "He [the priest] began to speak the words of absolution, but the trouble is, Scobie thought, there's nothing to absolve. The words brought no sense of relief because there was nothing to relieve. They were a formula: the Latin words hustled together - a hocus pocus. He went out of the box and knelt down again, and this too was part of a routine. It seemed to him for a moment that God was too accessible. There was no difficulty in approaching Him. Like a popular demagogue He was open to the least of His followers at any hour. Looking up at the cross he thought, He even suffers in public." Without repentance, God cannot relieve us. Scobie (the main character) suffers from a strange mixture of absolute dependence upon the mercy of God while simultaneously entertaining no great love of Him, or fellow man. Instead, all he feels is pity. Curioser and curioser.

P.S. I was so way before y'all with Johari. But I only let people on my buddy list contact me - so ha ! ha ! No Nohari, though - my siblings are like a constant Nohari...thing. They'll tell you all my faults. With glee.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Forsooth

I'm getting a distinct vibe: people think this blog is defunct. Well, it isn't. So there.

For your kicks and giggles: my Catechism students are quite lovely. After reading them a story of St. Patrick, which included his dashing the pagan priest to the ground in their duel of God versus de debil, I told my students to draw St. Patrick, and, shortly afterwards, looked at one of my student's drawing. Suspended in the air, head downward, hovering above what-were-supposed-to-be-craggy-rocks was a pagan priest ready to plunge to his death - look, Ma! We learned about Ecumenism today!

In other news, HeeHee!

I shall leave you with a quote:
"In a dream you cannot escape: the feet are leaden-weighted: you cannot stir from before the ominous door which almost imperceptibly moves. It is the same in life; sometimes it is more difficult to make a scene than to die."
~Ministry of Fear, Graham Greene

Saturday, February 25, 2006

What does it say, what does it mean, is it true?

I'm writing a paper on Wittgenstein (later) at the moment, and this quote from Chesterton's the Ball and the Cross keep popping to mind:
"Well, we won't quarrel about a word," said the other, pleasantly.

"Why on earth not?" said MacIan, with a sudden asperity. "Why shouldn't we quarrel about a word? What is the good of words if they aren't important enough to quarrel over? Why do we choose one word more than another if there isn't any difference between them? If you called a woman a chimpanzee instead of an angel, wouldn't there be a quarrel about a word? If you're not going to argue about words, what are you going to argue about? Are you going to convey your meaning to me by moving your ears? The Church and the heresies always used to fight about words, because they are the only things worth fighting about. I say that murder is a sin, and bloodshed is not, and that there is as much difference between those words as there is between the word 'yes'and the word 'no'; or rather more difference, for 'yes' and 'no', at least, belong to the same category. Murder is a spiritual incident. Bloodshed is a physical incident. A surgeon commits bloodshed."

I don't know how apt this quote is, as it is rather difficult to figure out what Wittgenstein means by what he says, but I do know that I vehemently disagree with what he says about certain things (metaphysics, for example).

Adam, Eve, Sin, God.

Yesterday seemed portentous. Perhaps it was because a bird came right up to me and ate the crumbs from my very wholesome breakfast bar, which is actually lunch, then settled a few feet away from me to soak up the sun in a rather chummy manner. Perhaps it was the little kitten that approached me from some bushes and let me pet it. Perhaps it was the question that I asked during section that made the GSI pause and say 'Ahaaaa...you know, you could have a whole class devoted to answering that question.' (the question was on existence as a property, and its relation to Descartes' view of God, which, given the examples of existence which were related to time, did not apply to God at all, God being outside of time - a very mundane observation, but one which no one else seemed to have caught whiff of.)

Or maybe it was the two separate groups from two separate pairs of evangelizer-Christian-types who singled me out as approachable and tried to engage me in debate. The first pair of people challenged me to question my belief in 'things that weren't actually in the bible,' although I explained Apostolic Succession, scripture and tradition, etc. They were very sweet, but I don't know whether my points had any affect on them.

The second pair were a great deal of fun. They were Unitarians - one was 'more experienced' in debate than the other, and seemed to want to give his friend a chance to explain things. Except, when I pressed them to explain their views to me, they were beyond hesitant. In fact, when they realized I was articulate and only agreed with them upon certain things up to a point, they tried to escape, and started walking away. I started up from my seat, ready to chase them. "Wait!," I cried "You hit a rock and then you just leave!?" (I am a master of rhetoric, in case you couldn't tell.)

Now, the Unitarians were young men, and they stopped, rather abashed at being so addressed. Then they came back and sat down, properly shamed. I extracted that they were against drinking, smoking, drugs, and "relations with a woman before marriage." I told them I smoked a pipe, and they asked 'Isn't it bad for you?' 'No.' 'Well, when you have children, will you stop?' 'No.' 'Don't you think it's bad for the children?' 'No.' My flat denials confused them, and so they left that and pressed on to their central...belief.

They were very keen on the idea that God needs us, that He ("or She," they said, until I insisted that they use 'He' and, as they were men pushing a feminist sort of idea to a woman, they were again embarrassed) created us because He was lonely, and that the worst punishment by analogy is 'solitary confinement,' ergo, God...was the most unhappy? So I started debating about God's perfection, original sin and its effects on man, how human beings need other human beings in order to image God, sin, goodness of material things, etc.

The less-experienced debater seemed to be trying the Dialectic approach, asking me questions in order to find a contradiction that I could be caught on - except, my answers were so concrete and sure that they rather intrigued and seemed to persuade or, at least, sway him so much so that his partner had to nudge him in the back and remind him: "Dude, you're supposed to be telling her why God needs man." "You aren't doing such a good job of it" I told them, and they were forced to agree that they weren't.

Unfortunately, I had to run off to section before I'd made a great deal of headway. Nonetheless, I had a great deal of fun - usually, I debate atheists or agnostics, so it was a disconcertingly abrupt and rather a refreshing switch from familiar arguments to the less known but present arguments for the Church or its beliefs.

This is kinda funny.

Don't drink, don't smoke, don't dance - what do you do?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Concerning Notre Dame

I was at South Bend, Indiana with Wavelet for the Edith Stein conference last weekend. I was quite impressed with the taxicab drivers, Mr. Ed, the coffee (so good), and the plane landing in South Bend (the landing gear malfunctioned, the plane was chased down the runway by emergency vehicles, and I was on TeeVee).

The actual conference was alright - there weren't too many deep insights (it was geared towards college students), and no one really defined this new feminism (which made for a bit of confusion as to what one was supposed to talk about and how to relate it to the whole). Everyone was very kind, and earnest, and working towards a better understanding of what it meant to be a feminist in the true sense of the word - the actual true sense still remains a mystery, but this conference served to outline ideas as to what that feminism consisted in - prolife, God-centered, etc.

I did score by way of hearing Alasdair MacIntyre speak and respond glibly to people asking questions. To one young woman asking a womanish question he replied "I am very qualified to answer this question. You see... I come from a long line of women." I think I shall use that line to gently, yet firmly, confound femi-nazi's running loose.

South Bend is very cold and Notre Dame is very lovely. There were wide open spaces, trees, and a bit of snow. The buildings were aesthetically pleasing and made of stone or brick, which gives a stately impression. Uerrrrrm.

I met Matthew and Emily from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping. They do exist, and are as nerdy as Catholics can get - extremely sweet, too. Matthew was kind enough to hang about and chat a bit during the conference, was full of interesting Catholic factoids, and managed to treat Wavelet and me to a cafeteria dinner at which much food was thrown. In my former college, we might have dabbled with Octopi in ice cream, or live chickens in the girl's rooms, but we never actually threw our food about. Waste not, want not. After which, on Friday night, the group watched the Scarlet and the Black and commented on clerical garb. It was good to see Flying Nuns in the film.

I also gave a braided replica of Jesus a high-five:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tony, Tony, he's our man, if he can't do it...

The new-er St. Anthony of Padua Institute website is up. It's not absolutely completed, and things will be added to or taken away - but that's the main gist of things. Observe, donate, and, if you live in the Bay Area, attend.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"I ate'nt dead."

School, tax-season (faulty typewriters are not your friend), and bid'ness have been occupying me.

The Annual Walk for Life was exquisite - the pro-abortion people were all dolled cunningly up with their hangers, epithets at hand and ready to hurl, &c. &c. They fueled their anger with an assembly of stereotypes: pro-life people are pro-Bush, war, and death penalty. The virulent response to the peaceful demonstration created a contrast that was...significant. Below are some pictures I took:



This is shot from the second-story of a building. Note the red-circle denoting some protestors.



Count the amount of men in this protesting group ("Keep abortion legal!").



More protestors.



And the code-pink truck.

See what fun you missed?
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I'm tagged for three "memes" by Erik, Wavelet, and Thomas. Aiya! These shall be attended to. Eventually.
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Today is Candelmas. Tomorrow is the feast of St. Blaise. Now is work. More afterwards.

Friday, January 20, 2006

My Brain Hurts.

School has started at Berkeley - the teachers all seem nice enough. My (deductive - not formal, although I've taken that, too) logic professor, in particular, is a rather interesting character. He promises a hard class, but while he lectures, he sometimes dreamily leans upon his hands and will pause now and again mid-speech. Not the short pauses where the professor is searching for the right word, but a pause that seems to say he was trying to remember what he was saying in the first place. This is only a cursory observation, though, and will likely change.

"Prof. Hwang Woo-suk and his team succeeded in establishing human cloned embryonic stem cells for the first time in the world in February 2004. This marks another step forward in liberating humankind from incurable diseases that have inflicted untold human suffering for almost eternity." Source

^^^ So now Korea is creating a stamp to commemorate this. On the stamp is pictured a man in a wheelchair, leaping high out of his chair to come down and embrace a woman from sheer delight at his recovery. That picture is a pretty picture, it is what every decent man jack of us desires: that the lame walk, the blind see, etc. But, the stamp is commemorating a fraud, whose research was falsified, and who isn't even, y'know, taking the responsibility ("I was framed!"), and that is besides the most important fact that embryonic stem cell research is a cruel and violent desecration of the bodies of aborted children. It's very interesting to note Korea's reaction to the stem-cell fiasco.

"...Tell me yourself - I challenge you: let's assume that you were called upon to build the edifice of human destiny so that men would finally be happy and would find peace and tranquility. If you knew that, in order to attain this, you would have to torture just one single creature, let's say the little girl who beat her chest so desperately in the outhouse, and that on her unavenged tears you could build that edifice, would you agree to do it? Tell me and don't lie!"

"No, I would not," Alyosha said softy.

"And do you find acceptable the idea that those for whom you are building that edifice should gratefully receive a happiness that rests on the blood of a tortured child, and, having received it, should continue to enjoy it eternally?"

"No, I do not find that acceptable."
-Brothers Karamazov

Now this quote is taken slightly out of context, but it is still a pretty powerful one. Here, in turn,is a compilation of pro-life quotes that my paternal unit concocted:

Whatever happened to the idea of non-violence? Partisans of both sides of the tangled problem of abortion insist that the problems answer lies obviously on their side. How do authentic theorists and promoters of non-violence, womens rights and the rights of African Americans address the issue? Radical non-violence is unanimous in its judgment on the problem. Each person, particularly each person of the Left must consider carefully any fundamental question of justice from the perspective of the victims, the beings who are the oppressed object of the act considered. One must take to heart the inner core of the idea of non-violence.
* * *
It seems to me clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.
--Mahatmas Ghandi

Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking.
--Dalai Lama

They are killing the baby in the womb. How cruel! In this age of unwanted population, man is losing his compassion. When you kill a living entity, even an ant, you are interfering with its spiritual evolution, its progress. That living entity must again take on that same life form to complete its designated life term in that body. And the killer must return to pay for damages
--A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!
--Susan B. Anthony

I fully support the right to life of every human being, from conception until natural death. In addition, I unequivocally endorse a total human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that would promote the value and dignity of every human life."
--Dick Gregory

"The United States government through its Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion has established a policy to outright murder unborn babies. Black women and girls are being barraged with propaganda by doctors, social workers, women liberationists and others to murder babies in their womb."
--Minister George
4X Temple No. 46, Nation of Islam

"Yesterday they snatched the babies from our arms and sold them into slavery, today they cut them out of our womb and throw them in the garbage. Abortion, Black genocide, provided free of charge by a racist society."
--Dolores Bernadette Grier
President, Black Catholics Against Abortion

I know I'm tagged for a meme. I will do that...sooner or later.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Nebraska

Mmmmback. I didn't see any corn. Or beans. The fields had been defrocked for winter. There were a few moo-cows and trees, but, other than that, not much that would particularly fascinate a person - except for the fact that college football is "like a religion," and, that when there is a game going on, the stadium becomes the "second largest city in NE." Scary.

Still, I doubt a movie will ever be made along the lines of "Nebraska stole my heart away."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Time Out

I am going to Nebraska. Where there is corn. And beans. And stuff. So, if I don't reply to your comment because I'm not obsessively checking haloscan, do not Freak Out. Instead, go play this time-wasting game. Your [dead] brain cells will thank you for it.

Or you could play this game (I run around under the name "Vera" because when I was younger [say, 14], I thought - veritas=truth: Vera is a modified form of veritas and so, truth runs around kicking monsters in the rump). Or this one. Or you could read something constructive.

Eat lots of fish and drink good water every day.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Socratic Method

This quote is for those who think Socrates is smug in his dialogues:
In scarcely one of the dialogues up to and including Book I of the Republic (if, as some scholars assert, this was originally composed separately) does Socrates answer his own original question; he always leaves the interlocutor in a fury. How are we to understand this procedure? When the Delphic oracle described Socrates as the wisest of the Athenians he concluded that he deserved this title because only he, among all, knew that he knew nothing. So it would not be surprising if Socrates envisaged his duty as a teacher as that of making his pupils wiser by making them discover their own ignorance. To this it may be objected that Socrates is too often pictured by Plato as driving his interlocutors into an exasperated fury, and that this is scarcely a convincing method of moral education. But infuriating someone may indeed be the only method of disturbing him sufficiently to force him into philosophical reflection upon moral matters. Of course, for the majority of those so assaulted there will be no admirable consequences of this kind. But there is no evidence that Socrates expected the activity of an intellectual gadfly to benefit more than a tiny minority. Moreover Socrates' method is both more intelligible and more justifiable if it is understood as aimed at securing a particular sort of change in his hearers rather than arriving at a particular conclusion. It is not just that he does not arrive at conclusions; it is rather that his arguments are ad hominem in this sense, that they derive contradictory or otherwise absurd consequences from admissions secured from his interlocutor, and induce the interlocutor to retract. This desire to secure conviction in the interlocutor is underlined in the Gorgias, where Plato makes Socrates say to Polus that he will have achieved nothing unless he can convince him. It is therefore a mistake to complain of the particularity of the Socratic method. The whole point lies in its particularity. (Alasdair MacIntyre, A Short History of Ethics)

Oh, um. Happy new year!