Month: August 2005

Cathedral of Salisbury, England

Gorgeous:

Salisbury is one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Britain. It is the mother church of the Salisbury Diocese, an area which covers most of the counties of Wiltshire and Dorset.

Started in 1220 it was completed by 1258, with the Spire, the tallest in England (123m/404ft) added a generation later. Built to reflect the glory of God in stone and glass, it has always been a setting for great occasions, for huge colourful processions, a majestic and awe-inspiring church – as it has done for over 775 years.

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The Simple Life

Don’t throw out those dusty 5″ floppy discs with your beta tapes and eight-tracks just when they’ve acquired real collector clout. Instead, follow Anthony Georgis’s example and use the sturdy black covers to protect updated technology. Slice the edge off with a paper cutter, and slip in your hot-off-the-burner CD.

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Science at the Polls

Americans are divided over whether humans and other living things evolved over time or have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, according to a new poll.

People on both sides of that argument think students should hear about various theories, however.

Nearly two-thirds of those in a Pew Research Center poll, 64 percent, say they believe “creationism” should be taught alongside “evolution” — a finding likely to spark more controversy about what is taught in the schools.

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Hawaii

An economist takes a detailed look at Hawaii’s gasoline price-fixing plan. Link. Excerpt:

Like the federal government’s disastrous central planning of 30 years ago, the Hawaiian government has attempted to build in some alleged market mechanisms into its scheme. As noted earlier, wholesalers will be permitted to charge administered “prices” based upon average prices elsewhere. Of course, with this scheme, prices no longer serve their function, but are just data points. Any adjustments that wholesalers would naturally make when the market so dictates are verboten. Instead, they must wait for the government’s permission, or be guilty of committing “economic crimes.”

As long as the market remains relatively calm, Hawaii won’t have any real glitches, just as during most of the 1970s, there were no long gas lines. However, as soon as there is a disturbance in the market, whether it be a crude oil price shock, wars, rumor of wars, bad weather, or trouble at the refineries, the government “pricing” scheme quickly will fall apart.

If gasoline shortages develop at the wholesale level, then it is almost certain that pump prices will shoot up quickly. Thus, it is very possible that Hawaii’s wholesale pricing policies will cause retail prices to be higher than they would be in a free market. When this happens — and it almost certainly will — then we surely can expect the Hawaiian government to come down hard on retailers and blame them for the troubles. At that point, the legislature will slap price controls at the pump, and the shortages will continue, accompanied by gas lines and angry motorists demanding that the government “do something.”

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Orbison Crooning on the Volga

Russian women have long been known for their beauty. Edvard Radzinsky at the Wall Street Journal talks about the new wave of pretties that are coming out of Rus. Interesting stuff. And it makes Eric look forward to seeing his parents’ vacation pictures. As he types this, they are cruising the Volga. Link. Excerpts:

All across the country, a plethora of beautiful girls has sprung up.

With bared midriffs and piercings, they are outwardly very like one another. In fact, there is an immense gulf dividing this throng of beauties. One group is astoundingly uneducated; their lives consist of nightclubs, concerts and narcotics. The other (and these are many) is just the opposite. They are highly educated, and have plunged rapturously into the ocean of literature now being published in Russia–those famous books by which the world lived in the 20th century and which have only now come to us. These women study with merciless obstinacy, hours and hours every day. Each knows several languages. In spite of their youth, they have already visited the great capitals of Europe, as if realizing the dream (so recently unattainable) of their grandmothers and grandfathers. . .

“A chicken’s hardly a bird, a woman’s hardly a person.” This is a common Russian saying and it reflects the Russian way of thinking. In spite of the complete absence of women’s rights in 18th-century Russia, there were five empresses of Russia who presided over the lives and deaths of their subjects. This historical paradox would recur in an inverted form–with the attainment of equal rights in the 20th century, Russian women vanished from political power and from political life in general. The Bolshevik radicals who established holidays in honor of women’s rights made their absence from politics a fixed tradition. There was not a

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Far Out! We’ll Never Have to Bowl . . .

. . . join a club, have spousal relations, or talk to anyone again!

The multiple-channel screen, known in the television industry as a “mosaic,” is about to show up on millions of TVs throughout the country. It’s another sign that satellite and cable systems are beginning to embrace interactive television after years of hype about the concept.

Link.

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NCAA Redux

Eric Scheske used his Wednesday column at Catholic Exchange to poke jabs at the NCAA’s Indian name policy. Link. Excerpt:

It’s also worth noting that the NCAA’s actions aren’t charitable in any way. Charity must be voluntary and self-giving. If it lacks either of those components, it’s not charity. If it’s self-giving on your part but not voluntary, it’s a type of taxation against you. If it’s voluntary on your part but not self-giving, it means someone else must do your good works. Either way, there is force or coercion involved, which is the antithesis of charity.

That’s one of the reasons that the Catholic Church has always opposed socialism. Socialism’s idea of everyone sharing everything drips of charity, but if not done voluntarily, such sharing is not charitable at all. Indeed, because such sharing always requires coercion, it will result in tyranny, as we witnessed firsthand from 1917 to 1991.

And this brings us back to the NCAA, a governing body that has been acting with increasing arbitrariness and caprice. It would be gross melodramatics to refer to the NCAA as a Communist dictatorship, but in its arbitrary and capricious actions, it is displaying tyrannical pretensions.

And good Christians always oppose tyranny and pretension.

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