Month: January 2008

Pot to Playgrounds

What could possibly go wrong? The first marijuana vending machines have opened in Los Angeles allowing those with legal medical prescriptions easy access to the drug. The machines can only be used by patients who are prescribed marijuana for health reason. The machine offers six types: Red Bud, Jamaican, Hawaiian Gold, Ditch Weed, Cheech and Chong Royal, and Spicoli Bong Fodder.
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Perfect website for bathroom reading: Random History. All sorts of interesting histories on little subjects.
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More young men are opting to stay single, and they’re creating their own pig culture. This article explores it in great detail, though I admittedly didn’t read the whole thing (it’s monstrously long for screen reading). It makes the important point: It’s part of men rebelling against feminized culture. Society forces men and women together, from the workplace to the watering holes, and the men are expected to act like women, even through women are the newcomers (people who disdain accommodating the Muslims, take note). Guys are better off getting a close group of friends and acting like pigs. It’s also chock full of facts, websites, and interesting side lines. Excerpt:

We can argue endlessly about whether “masculinity” is natural or constructed—whether men are innately promiscuous, restless, and slobby, or socialized to be that way—but there’s no denying the lesson of today’s media marketplace: give young men a choice between serious drama on the one hand, and Victoria’s Secret models, battling cyborgs, exploding toilets, and the NFL on the other, and it’s the models, cyborgs, toilets, and football by a mile. For whatever reason, adolescence appears to be the young man’s default state, proving

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Short Eudemon

Jerusalem is blanketed in snow, and we’re sitting on ice and -1 (-21 wind chill). School is cancelled, which disappoints my K-8 children. It’s Catholic Schools Week, and today was supposed to be movie day. They were supposed to go downtown to the movie theater for a show. Oh well, maybe they’ll get to re-schedule.
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I ran across this: The Patron Saint of Computers. Interesting, though I’m not sure what he thinks when computers crash, trailed by a string of profanities. Maybe we (okay, I) can yell “St. Isidore” next time.
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That’s it for today. The work crunch has returned, and I’m pressed for time. … Read the rest

The Tuesday Eudemon

Saturday night was a perfect snapshot of potential good night life in a small town. Our local Council for the Arts brought in America (“Horse with No Name,” “Sister Golden Hair,” etc.) as part of its 2007-2008 Performing Arts series. My parents are season ticket-holders but were out of town, so I got ’em.

Marie and I first went to a new brewpub (“Fantail”) and had a leisurely dinner with beers, then walked four blocks to the auditorium. America put on a great show: Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell were humorous and mildly self-deprecating (“These are classics, not oldies. They’re oldies once we’re dead”), they played their four monster hits plus their lesser-known hits (including this song which proved somewhat apt for me the next day) and a few new songs. The show lasted an appropriate 90 minutes, then we went back to Fantail for a night-cap, where another couple joined us. We were home by 11:15, which is generally too late for me, but it was such an enjoyable evening–an evening of people thoroughly enjoying life’s offerings without rambunctious excess, the kind of evening adults enjoyed in the old movies–the time flew by.
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I’ve never heard of cyber bounty hunters: A Chicago lawyer who is being criticized, along with his law firm, in an anonymous Internet blog supposedly authored by a fellow attorney has offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide him with the identity of “Troll Tracker.” Nerds across America are salivating at this one.
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My current blogging column is at The Register (subscription required). It’s about leisure in the blogosphere. Excerpt:

Back in the early

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Monday Moanin’

A great day: The Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas.

As a non-Catholic, I became intrigued with St. Thomas through Chesterton’s The Dumb Ox, and became an admirer when I read Josef Pieper’s Guide to Thomas Aquinas. A Lutheran with no inclination to become Catholic, I remember I was stunned and even offended when I read that Martin Luther called Aquinas a “chatterbox.” I understood Luther’s dislike of philosophy, but an ad hominem directed at STA? From someone blessed with Luther’s ample intellectual gifts? It unsettled me. Whether it played a role in my eventual conversion, I’ll never know.

Of all the Aquinas books I’ve read, I think I’d recommend this one the most: The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas. Deep and practical philosophy distilled into hundreds of bite-size passages. Great for those spare three minute periods we find during the day.
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When you hear “chaperone,” what do you think?

The question became important to me over the weekend. I had volunteered to chaperone a high school trip to Steubenville, Ohio this coming summer. It turns out they probably neither need me nor have room for me, but when I was talking to the trip coordinator, I was taken back. He described the weekend for me: “When we get there, you’ll have an initiation session. It’ll talk about what the weekend is about, how to deal with the children’s experiences, and things like that. Later on, you’ll be the group leader of a small group session. Then later . . . “.

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Initiation session? About what? How to prevent kids from sneaking out of their rooms at night? Group leader? I … Read the rest

Saturday Stuff

I watched Longford with Marie and the older kids last night. Highly recommended, but I wouldn’t let anybody under 14 watch it (disturbing theme). It’s about a devout and sincere Catholic’s efforts to get the notorious Myra Hindley paroled. The movie did a good job of presenting the problem–did Myra really repent? was her conversion to Catholicism sincere?–without trying to slant the answer.

As for me, I found Longford’s efforts on Myra’s behalf inappropriate. He had the right mental and spiritual framework: Hate the sin, love the sinner; no one is beyond redemption; judge not. But then he combined it with pride in himself and concluded that Myra’s conversion and repentance were sincere. He seemed to acknowledge that he didn’t really know for sure, but then he actively and publicly lobbied for her parole as if he were sure. In this, he was violating his own principle about judging others: he didn’t want others to judge her as the proper subject of continuing incarceration, but he was pretty comfortable judging her reformed. In this, I think he held his powers of persuasion and perception in terribly high regard, which distorted his approach to the monster Myra.

Much of his efforts to parole her centered around the fact that Britain on average paroled other murderers after only a few years (15 or so, but I can’t remember exactly). That could be, but Britain’s refusal to mete out justice to some murderers doesn’t mean it needs to ignore justice in the case of a serial murderer that molested and killed five youths. Based on the movie, that concept completely escaped Lord Longford. … Read the rest

Looking for a Site

Does anybody know of a Catholic site that acts as a “clearinghouse” of sorts for Catholic charities, a site that says “This charity is good” and/or “This charity is bad”? I thought maybe the USCCB would provide a list of endorsed charities, but it doesn’t (not that I could find, anyway).

Also: There are sites out there that rate charities based on the charities’ percentage of giving (___% of each dollar donated goes to charity). I can’t seem to locate them now. Any links are appreciated. … Read the rest

Brews You Can Use and Other

Beer stimulus package: $1,200 per couple, plus $300 per kid. My rebate: $3,300.00.

Earlier versions of the bill capped the number of child rebates at three (which makes no sense; if they’re giving child credits because people with kids have more expenses, why cap it at three?). This version doesn’t cap it at three. I couldn’t find anything in conventional sources, so I went to a tax service my firm subscribes to (Tax Notes Today) and found this statement: “The bill would also provide $ 300 per child for every family eligible for the rebate, with no limit on the number of children per family.”
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The Gay Eudemon:

Chalk one up for the homosexual pranksters: You see that guy on the right, Marcus Simeone? I’m pretty sure he’s a flaming homosexual. The person who sponsors the ad (Gregory Kennell) posted a mildly pro-gay comment to my post yesterday. I clicked on the link he provided, and the evidence “came out.” I had earlier told Mr. Kennell that the ad would stay up until February 15, and I’ll keep my word. Heck, I’ve gotten accustomed to the gay guy in the right sidebar, so I’ll be a little sad to see him go.

Pretty funny: The ad sponsor invited me to New York to see Simeone’s show (see combox), which I’ve concluded is a homosexual cabaret. Man, that’d be unsettling, especially if I showed up after hitting NYC bars all afternoon and my gaydar was impaired: I settle in with a beer, start looking around, it starts to hit me. . .

Incidentally: If you’re wondering about my diligence before I accepted the … Read the rest