Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An interesting article from Wired -- Don't Try This at Home. The dumbing-down continues apace -- no wonder America is getting beat in the sciences.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My former bishop, Bishop Kicanas, is opposing a multi-tiered Internet in his role as chair of the US CCB communications committee. Way to go Bishop!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

BBC reports that a sleeping pill may have a positive effect on patients diagnosed with PVS. If this tells us anything, it's that we have very little understanding of how the brain really works.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A friend sent me a link to the New Yorker's review of Da Vinci Code. It's pretty hilarious. Here's a taste:

Our hero, needing somebody to trust, does the same dumb thing that every fleeing innocent has done since Robert Donat in “The Thirty-nine Steps.” He and Sophie visit a cheery old duffer in the countryside and spill every possible bean. In this case, the duffer is Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen), who lectures them on the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea, in 325 A.D. We get a flashback to the council in question, and I must say that, though I have recited the Nicene Creed throughout my adult life, I never realized that it was originally formulated in the middle of a Beastie Boys concert.

Monday, May 22, 2006

So Da Vinci Code opened Friday night. I've not seen it and don't intend to. Check out Steve Greydanus's review here. A great quote:
Is The Da Vinci Code anti-Catholic? Well, if it isn’t, then we must simply conclude that no such thing as anti-Catholicism exists, or at least that no anti-Catholic movie has ever been made. I can think of religiously themed films more profoundly oppressive to Catholic sensibilities (e.g., The Last Temptation of Christ), and more searing indictments of corruption and abuse within the Church (e.g., The Magdalene Sisters). But The Da Vinci Code may be the most systematic and sustained cinematic debunking on the institutions of Catholic Christianity and the Catholic Church that I’ve ever seen. That it is risible and dim-witted doesn’t make it less disgusting.
I also heard Steve interviewed and he is, as usual, right on. I love this anecdote (the 2nd young man is Mark Shea's son, apparently):

Catholic writer Mark Shea tells an anecdote about a college bull session among students at Central Washington University over The Da Vinci Code. “Even if it’s just fiction,” a student opined, “it’s still interesting to think about.”

To which another student replied: “Your mother’s a whore.” And then, to the first student’s stunned incredulity, he added, “And even if that’s just fiction, it’s still interesting to think about.”

Another one comes home. Apparently Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, became a Catholic this Easter.

Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.

Friday, May 19, 2006

This is sad on so many levels -- the CDF has asked Fr. Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, to withdraw from public ministry due to allegations of abuse against him. Here's the NCR article, and also commentary from canon lawyer Ed Peters.

Thanks to Catholic Light for the links.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Word from home is that the RTA initiative passed. This is really good news for Tucson, as the RTA will be able to raise and spend $2.1 billion for transportation and transit in Tucson and Pima county. The money was sorely needed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I finally, finally got around to getting an Oregon driver's license today (it's about time!). Unlike my AZ license, which would have expired in 2023, this one will expire on my birthday in 2014.

I got a 93% on the test (missed 2 out of 30). The picture is... acceptable.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A friend sent me a link to this interesting article on the implications of same-sex marriage on religious freedom -- Banned in Boston.

The second page, especially, addresses a number of interesting questions. Check out this quote:

Sexual harassment law as an instrument for suppressing religious speech? A few days after I interviewed Stern, an Alliance Defense Fund press release dropped into my mail box: "OSU Librarian Slapped with 'Sexual Harassment' Charge for Recommending Conservative Books for Freshmen." One of the books the Ohio State librarian (a pacifist Quaker who drives a horse and buggy to work) recommended was It Takes a Family by Senator Rick Santorum. Three professors alleged that the mere appearance of such a book on a freshman reading list made them feel "unsafe." The faculty voted to pursue the sexual harassment allegation, and the process quickly resulted in the charge being dropped.

In the end the investigation of the librarian was more of a nuisance--you might call it harassment--than anything else. But the imbalance in terms of free speech remains clear: People who favor gay rights face no penalty for speaking their views, but can inflict a risk of litigation, investigation, and formal and informal career penalties on others whose views they dislike. Meanwhile, people who think gay marriage is wrong cannot know for sure where the line is now or where it will be redrawn in the near future. "Soft" coercion produces no martyrs to disturb anyone's conscience, yet it is highly effective in chilling the speech of ordinary people.

The US is in a strange place right now; in many ways conservatives and conservatism are ascendant, but the Left still controls the courts, which is why (for example) Planned Parenthood gets so excited about the Supreme Court -- they know they aren't likely to win in 50 state legislatures and the US Congress.

It's hard to know how it will all come out. Roe v. Wade is a precedent -- but so was Plessy v. Ferguson, and Dred Scott. Why is it in 1986 SCOTUS could rule that the state could outlaw sodomy, but in 2003 reverse itself? The culture wars show no sign of abating any time soon.

Yesterday when I left work I found out that Marie had gotten stuck with the car; the clutch went out on her. We wound up having to call a tow truck and get the car towed to the dealer to be looked at. Eeep! I've already sunk $ into the car last month, now more $. Sheesh.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Unfortunately here in Portland 5/5 doesn't seem to be a big deal, at least, no one has said anything to me all day... quite different from Tucson!

I don't know where this week went to... yesterday was Marie's birthday so I gave her flowers, a DVD of "Rent", some earrings, and took her shopping for a pair of pants. Tonight we are supposed to go out for sushi (her favorite meal, she's not had any in quite some time) and then maybe a movie.