01 May 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing (in breve)

It's like going on a drunken spending spree with all your credit cards, then giving the bills to your children and telling them that they have to live in poverty in order to pay for your partying.

Citizen journalism is not new. . .before the advent of Professional Journalism we managed to chronicle the human story of adventure and invention w/o too many problems.

Heh, I was wrong.  The NYT violates its pro-B.O. narrative and criticizes The Won for his sloppy response to the oil spill disaster. 

Ten of the dumbest (and false) things said about the new AZ anti-illegal immigrant law

Americans are smart enough to properly distinguish between legal and illegal immigration.  By large majorities we support the former not the latter. 

Follow HancAquam ------------>

30 April 2010

A new HancAquam sponsor

HancAquam is pleased to announce that Rocky the Squirrel and Starbucks 
have teamed up to sponsor Coffee Bowl Browsing!

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Holy Father urges careful catechesis with the introduction of the new English translation of the missal.   Yea, let's not repeat the huge mistake made with the 1970 translation and drop it on regular Catholics like a millstone.

Two part interview with Dutch Catholic psychologist on the role of his profession in sex abuse scandals.  Good stuff.  Part one and part two.

The Anchoress explores the possibility of suspending the statute of limitations on ALL sex abuse allegations in NY.  Predictably, howls of lamentation and preemptive excuse-making emanate from all the usual suspects.  Apparently, only the Catholic Church should be forced to confront its history of abuse, cover-up, and neglect. 

New non-narcotic pain-killer developed using chili peppers.  This is good news for me as someone who suffers from cluster headaches!  Narcotic pain meds like hydrocodone and morphine really don't work for me.  OTC's are OK, but they cause G-I upset. 

The Closing of the Muslim Mind:  looks like an interesting book.  One of the persistent questions in the history of science is why the modern scientific method/technology happen so successfully in the Christian West but not in the Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist East.  One answer:  the philosophical traditions of the religious east are all anti-materialist, or hostile to the body.  If you think that the material world is evil, you are less likely to study it systematically.  For the Christian West (esp., the Catholic West), God reveals Himself in His creation. . .so, science is the natural companion to theology in discerning God's presence in creation.

On the use of citizen journalists in combating the media narrative that Tea Partiers are violent and racist.  The easy availability of video cameras and the accessibility of the internet have all but rendered our Media Betters useless.  

Will the Gulf of Mexico oil spill be B.O. Katrina?  No.  CNN/NYT/etc. would never allow that to happen.   

Gordon Brown's re-election looks doomed.  I was recently asked by a cheeky friar, "What does 'bigot' stand for?"  Brown is gone on Thursday.  Ha.

Euro Zone under serious threat of collapse.  Note that all of the so-called PIGS nations (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) are big government nanny states with massive entitlement budgets. 

Ummmmmmmmm. . .make a wish?

Poster boy for beating adulthood eating disorders.

Exploring your creative side. . .art, design, sculpture, video, etc.  After the philosophy Ph.D. I want to get a M.F.A. in creative writing and then another one in painting.  I'll be 75 by then and ready to retire!  :-)

Follow HancAquam ------------>

I dunno why. . .

I don't know why I think this is funny. . .but I crack up every time I see it.

29 April 2010

Two quick updates

Liguori recently informed me that the Beatitude Rosary I wrote for my second prayer book will not only be published as a separate pamphlet but it will also be translated into Spanish! 

Also, many thanks for the recent activity on the WISH LIST.  My father emailed me yesterday to report that one book has already safely arrived in Mississippi. 

Follow HancAquam ------------>

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Without a word of opposition from our Feminist-in-Chief, the U.N. gives Iran a seat on its Commission on the Status of Women.  Next on the U.N. agenda:  giving Mexican drug cartels seats in the AZ, CA, NM, and TX legislatures.  

Jeff Jacoby asks, "Why aren't democratic dissidents as well-known in the free world today as the dissidents who challenged the Soviet empire were in the 1970s and 1980s?"  He wants to make them famous:  CyberDissidents.

Roger Simon notes, "The real reason liberals accuse Tea Partiers of racism is that contemporary American-style liberalism is in rigor mortis. Liberals have nothing else to say or do.  Accusations of racism are their last resort."  Unfortunately for the Libs and the victims of real racism, the left's constant siren call of racism has reduced the accusation to little more than a vigorous sneeze.

Law professor who helped write AZ's new anti-illegal immigration law debunks most of the hysterical nonsense of the opposition.  A hint when discussing the new law with an opponent:  ask him if he has read the law.  I've yet to talk to anyone who has.

NYT is most like the Roman Catholic Church"The Times, of course, does not claim to speak infallibly in its judgments on current events. (Neither does the pope.) But to the truly orthodox believers in the Times, its editorials carry the burden of liberal holy writ."

The authors of the vile anti-Catholic memo published by the UK's foreign service are suspended and sent "diversity training."  Oh, the irony.

NJ Court says that bloggers aren't journalists. . .I take that as a compliment.  Thank you.

On the existential beauty of Godzilla. . .in haiku.

Aight. . .here's your Cute Pic for the day

Follow HancAquam ------------>

Insomnia report

My insomnia is starting to make me crazy.  I slept about three hours last night and none of those hours were good.  

I've tried everything short of massive doses of horse tranquilizers.  You name it, I've done it:  herbal, pharmaceutical, behavioral, dietary, psychological/spiritual, mechanical, and mystical.  I wake up around 3.00am and cannot go back to sleep. 

I blame philosophy.

Follow HancAquam ------------>

28 April 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Another courageous bishop ousts CCHD from his diocesan coffers.  Why they haven't all done this is beyond me.

Final Vatican approval for the new English translation of the Roman Missal has been given.  Now, we wait for a year or so for the bishops' conferences to publish it for general use.  Of course, the new missal will cause much garment rending and teeth gnashing among our Liturgical Betters.  Expect lots of "creative editing" from Fr. Hollywood.

Bizarre claim of the day by Aussie bishop:  priests who molested boys and teens didn't know that they were violating their vows.  OK.  Then why did they keep their molestation a secret?  Do I need to say how beyond stupid this is?

The destructive power of narcissism at work in politicians:  Charlie Crist to run as an independent in FL senate race.  Basically, Crist will lose the GOP nomination b/c he endorsed B.O. porkulus scheme.

A video on how seminarians are screened.  This piece focuses on psychological testing.  It's important to keep in mind that testing is not predictive; it is basically a way of detecting serious personality disorders.  Anyone who has survived a novitiate can tell you that testing does nothing to screen out everyday weirdnesses, ordinary and annoying social quirks.

Using pics of sacred persons to deter public urination. . .we need these in Rome!

Anti-Christian pagan Memorial Day celebration. . .note the carnival events. 

Follow HancAquam ------------>

Let's disobey God!

4th Week of Easter (W)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
SS. Domenico e Sisto, Roma


Jesus puts to rest any question about the source and summit of our salvation, any question about the only means available for achieving a face-to-face audience with God the Father: “Whoever believes in me…whoever sees me…everyone who believes in me…anyone who hears my words…whoever rejects me…does not accept my words…I did not speak on my own…the Father who sent me commanded me…what I say, I say as the Father told me.” There can be no question that Jesus himself is the exclusive path to our redemption; he is the only salvific show in town. If we want to spend a little more time unpacking this teaching, we can note the passion with which Jesus teaches. John writes that Jesus “cried out and said.” We can note that Jesus explicitly says that he and the Father are one; that believing in him is the same as believing in the Father; that as the Word sent by the Father, accepting or rejecting his words determines one's place in the light or one's condemnation to the darkness. We can note that Jesus says he is teaching nothing more or less than what his Father has told him to teach; and we can note that he makes this startling claim: “I know that [the Father's] commandment is eternal life.” If the Father's commandment is eternal life, why must we believe in Jesus? Isn't it enough that God has commanded us to live with Him in eternity? It would seem that God's commandment can be thwarted by our refusal to believe.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that we want to refuse to obey God's commandment of eternal life. How would we go about about doing this? Jesus points out two ways to be disobedient: 1). we can hear his words, accept them, but fail to observe them, or 2). we can hear his words and reject them. When we hear his word but fail to live them, we are not condemned because, as Jesus says, “. . .I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.” When we hear his words and reject them, we condemn ourselves according to his word; that is, his words stand as our judge and we are condemned to darkness because the Father, Jesus, and his words are all one. Lest we think that we can hear his words, accept them, fail to obey, and then escape the consequences, we must remember that God commands us to enjoy eternal life. Jesus says that he will not judge our disobedience. Why? Because our refusal to live out the words we have heard and accepted is itself a judgment, and we remain in darkness despite having glimpsed the light. There is nothing more he needs to do than to allow us to live in the eternal night we have chosen for ourselves.

Why would anyone, having heard and accepted his words and knowing that God has commanded us to live eternal lives, why would anyone see the light of Christ and choose the darkness of disobedience? Well, there's the false sense of freedom that comes with making such a choice. There's the inordinate love of the transient things of this world. There's the desire to indulge our destructive passions—anger, revenge, hatred, greed. And then there's the obstinate refusal to believe, the persistence of voluntary doubt—willful disbelief. Like the child who closes her eyes and believes she is invisible because she cannot see, we choose darkness because we believe it hides us, protects us from judgment, nurtures our liberty. In fact, we are never more in danger than when we walk after dark.

Jesus speaks these words of hope: “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” Though we may foolishly choose eternal night, we do not have to remain there. His coming among us is the dawn of salvation, our eternal healing from all the wounds that would drive us into hiding. All we need do is accept the medicine of his words and follow behind him, doing right now everything he did back then.

27 April 2010

A few updates. . .

Scuba Becky has been back at work now for two weeks.  No problems so far. . .Deo gratis!  Your prayers have been much appreciated by mom, me, and our whole family.

Still no word on how my summer plans can be salvaged.  I will have to make a decision soon.  It looks like my Religion & Science course will have enough students to make.  The American literature course will not.

The WISH LIST has been update.  I changed my shipping address to my parents' place in Mississippi, so shipping will be domestic rather than international.

My thanks for all the emails of concern about my family in Mississippi. . .no one from our neck of the woods was hurt by the recent tornadoes in the delta. 

Update on the Apple Cider Vinegar cure:  I continue to get an energy boost, but the help it gave me with my insomnia has dissipated.  One caution if you try this. . .wait at least three hours after a meal before drinking.  It can cause G-I upset.

I am working on a few posts from the Suggestions List I solicited recently.  Be patient and keep checking back.

Podcast download numbers have been good. . .good enough to encourage me to continue recording and posting links to my preached homilies.  Thanks for the business!

Follow HancAquam ------------>

Coffee Bowl Browsing

"Many feel the sting of racism in new law". . .OK, but remember:  "feeling racism" is not evidence of actual racism any more than "feeling rich" is evidence of actual wealth.

And yes, there is a danger that the new anti-illegal immigration law in AZ will be used to racially profile individuals.  No fair-minded person can support this kind of abuse.  But it is an abuse.  If we stop enforcing any law that might be abused, we will descend into anarchy.

B.O. appoints another big DNC donor to the bench.  

Ross Douthat spanks Cartoon Network over their easy surrender to Islamo-fascism.

B.O.'s own actuary outlines nine serious problems with ObamaCare.  No, you can't keep your doctor; and yes, premiums will rise.

Yet again our Government Nannies are trying to legislate the basic lessons of good manners.  Tell me they aren't trying to find a substitute for the family structures they have worked so hard to destroy.

Good news in Hungary:  the socialists were outed from power in recent elections.  Let's pray that the center-party that won isn't a nationalist monster.

Ruth Gledhill on the vile anti-Catholic memo circulated in the U.K.'s Foreign Service office:  "What this document illustrates is that repulsive sense of entitlement we sometimes see in the over-educated young and privileged, combined with a taken-for-granted anti-Catholic prejudice that does still persist in our nation, more than a century and a half after the restoration of the hierarchy." You have to wonder if this memo would have caused a stir at all if it hadn't been released to the bishops' conference.

Militant atheist convicted of "anti-social behavior" for leaving offensive tracts in an airport chapel.  I'm surprised he was convicted given the general anti-Christian culture of the U.K. elites.  However, I don't think Christians should be cheering this conviction.  Laws like this one are always double-edged.

Funny announcements from airline captains and flight attendants.   I once heard on a Southwest flight:  "Federal law requires all passengers to obey the instructions of uniformed flight personnel.  Don't pay any attention to the naked ones.  They tend to lie."

Follow HancAquam ------------>

26 April 2010

On not resolving the mystery

4th Week of Easter (T)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
SS. Domenico e Sisto, Roma


If you are a fan of mystery novels, you know all too well the temptation to start the latest who-dun-it by reading the last chapter first. By sneaking a peek at how the author resolves the mystery, you then feel free to start at the beginning. Literary purists disparage this habit as a sin against the genre; it's cheating; it's a crime worthy of having your library card revoked! The whole point of reading a mystery novel is to enjoy the tension of not knowing who-dun-it, living with the suspense that the clues produce along the way. If you are not willing to put in the work of trying to figure out the mystery, you should probably stick to romance novels, or science fiction and leave the perils of solving puzzles to braver, stronger souls. Among the souls who gather before Jesus at the Portico of Solomon are those who would skip to the end of the mystery and cheat themselves of an adventure. They plead with him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus, the author and main character of creation's greatest mystery, replies, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. . .The Father and I are one.” So, if Jesus has revealed the mystery, if he has already shown them how the story ends, why are they in suspense? Why do these weak souls continue to demand that he end their suspense? Simply put, they know who he is, but they do not believe in him. They have knowledge of his identity, but they do not trust in his ministry.

Here's the thing we need to know about mystery: mystery is not about not knowing; it's not about being ignorant of the relevant facts. You can have all the facts, the critical skills to interpret these facts, and the will to put them all together to form a reasonable conclusion. But even with a reasonable conclusion in mind, with all the facts neatly lined up to support you, you can still have a mystery to contemplate. So, if mystery is not about being ignorant of the facts, then what is it about? Note again what Jesus says to the crowd, “I told you [who I am] and you do not believe.” Knowledge is not enough, knowing is not sufficient to relieve the tension we experience when confronted by the unknown. To understand the mystery of who Christ really is, we must first believe; we must transcend facts, logic, experiment, and evidence, and submit ourselves to the dangerous adventures to be found in trusting Jesus at his word, trusting his work among us: “The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. . .The Father and I are one.”

It would be too easy at this point to dismiss the art of believing without evidence as a fool's game, a trick to trick the gullible. But dismissing belief as irrational misses the point of what it means to experience mystery. William Blake, the great British Romantic poet, wrote: “Rational truth is not the truth of Christ, but the truth of Pilate.” While Pilate pretends to want a reasonable answer to his question about the nature of truth, all the while hiding his disbelief behind self-righteous suspicion, Christ, the Truth made flesh, stands right in front of him. Pilate has the facts, but he doesn't believe the truth that the facts report. And, like Pilate, those in crowd gathered before Jesus, those tortured by suspense, they know the facts, but they do not believe. And because they do not believe, they cannot hear the voice of their shepherd. They are both blind and deaf to mystery. Their suspense will be eternal.

For those who know the facts about who Christ is and put their trust in the revelation of his words and deeds, the mystery he presents produces joy rather than suspense, hope rather than anxiety. There is no temptation to skip to the end of the story because his word is enough, “I told you [who I am]. . .The Father and I are one.” We don't resolve this mystery, we live it.

Follow HancAquam ------------>

25 April 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

From Reason.com:  "For lefties not versed in the ways of the world, Republicans are standing up for Goldman because they support laissez-faire capitalism and unfettered free markets. Inconveniently for that thesis, Goldman has given more than twice as much money to Democrats as to Republicans in this election cycle."

The fearless irreverence of Comedy Central. . .yea, not so much.  If Catholics declared fatwahs and carried out jihads, we wouldn't be having all these media infidels dissing the Holy Father.  Also, I think the "Let's All Draw Muhammed Day" is a very bad idea. 

Legit ethical questions about medical research, informed consent, and the cultural differences btw scientists and test subjects.  Informed consent is The Bedbug of human-trials research. 

Instapundit gets it exactly right:  "Worry about carbon footprint is for the little people: BBC lectures us incessantly on climate change. So why did their bosses make 68,000 domestic flights in two years? I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis." 

Damien Thompson comments on the sick Labour gov't memo that proposes that the Holy Father launch his own condom brand while visiting the U.K. in September.

The "N-word" is spotted at a Tea Party rally. . .well, sort of.  Also, a great video.

Fr. Z. notes that the Holy Father is planning to issue an apology for the clerical sexual abuse scandals.  He rightly claims that the media will yawn and demand more.  There will be resignations, etc.  However, personnel and policy changes will not eliminate sexual abuse in the Church.  Why?  Because human beings are sinful creatures.

I gotta have one of these:  an antique vampire-killing kit!  Once you are kitted with the Zombie-killing chainsaw machine gun, you need to think about the Other Undead Meat, right?

Various analytical takes on the Legend of the Super Pigeon.  NB.  none of these flying rats live in Rome, but we do host millions of their dumber cousins.

B.O.'s porkulus money is being used for one good public works project at least.

36 Rules of Life: "My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance."

Follow HancAquam ------------>

Tornado in Dixie

Poor ole Mississippi catches hell from tornadoes this time of year.

Pray for these folks, please. 

My parents live well north of the damage area. . .closer to TN.  Our extended family lives in Sunflower Co., which is in the northern part of the delta.

The Impeccable Logic of the Superhero/Circus Non Sequitur