Month: March 2008

Monday Moanin’

Well, you’re going to see this all over the web today, so I might as well chime in: Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday. Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican’s newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world’s population and Catholics 17.4 percent.

The reasons? A few possibilities: Neutered Europeans, half-neutered Americans, prolific Muslims, murderous Muslims (how many Catholics have been murdered by Muslims in Africa; it ain’t a baker’s dozen), Americans leaving the Church in wake of The Scandal. Please feel free to offer other reasons in the combox.

Is marijuana addictive? I’m inclined to say “no,” and the folks at Lew Rockwell agree (and want it legalized; I’m not in their camp on that one, but I’m not sure I’m opposed, either).

But can someone answer this: Is marijuana a “drug” in the sense the Catechism uses it (2291: “use of drugs . . . is a grave offense”). My first thought was, “Of course marijuana is a drug,” but I’ve had at least one Catholic disagree with me (and no, it wasn’t a surfer dude with a rosary in one hand and a joint in another). I’m also reminded of a story my father tells about visiting Jamaica in the 1970s. He was on the beach drinking a Red Stripe. A Jamaican asked if he wanted to buy some ganja. My Dad said, “No, I already have my drug” and gestured to his beer. The Jamaican got wide eyed and said, “You got drugs, mon?” My Dad said, “Yeah, ganja, … Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of invisible and visible winged seeds, so the stream of time brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men.”

Thomas Merton, Seeds of ContemplationRead the rest

Saturday Stuff

Company weekend. Marie’s brother is taking his sons (7 and 9) to Kalamazoo’s Air Zoo for a cub/tiger scout outing. He dropped off his wife and daughter at our place last night. He’s coming back today. I mention it because Andy read the itinerary to me, which is accurately summarized: “Museum tour and rocket making from 7:30 to midnight, movie from midnight to 2:00, sleep, up at 6:30 for breakfast and rocket launch.”

Four-and-a-half hours of sleep for a pack of young boys. I was laughing (knowing I’d get a solid eight hours last night). Andy said, “Yeah, the pack leader’s a great guy, but he’s a little gung-ho.” Hitler was gung-ho, too. Maybe these are the Scout Nazis.

If you’re interested in the race issue, check out John McWhorter’s review of Larry Elder’s Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card—and Lose. It has interesting facts and good insight. First, some facts:

Elder quotes James Q. Wilson’s 38 most important words for black Americans: “Finish high school, marry before having a child, and produce the child after the age of twenty. Only 8 percent of families who do this are poor; 79 percent of those who fail to do this are poor.” Few could deny the wisdom of that counsel, but many fail to see that it logically requires letting go of the racism fetish. As Elder puts it: “Racists do not prevent kids from studying, racists do not demand that men father children outside of wedlock.” And further: “Complete and total eradication of racism cannot instill the necessary moral values that create healthy, prosperous communities.”

Besides, Elder observes, “if racists

Read the rest

Brews You Can Use

Nasty bar fight last night. I was having a nice dinner with my wife, when this troglidytic group of thugs came in and started picking a fight with me. I ignored them, until one of them winked at my wife (he may have had something in his eye; hard to say). I couldn’t tolerate that, so I stood up and faced the thug nearest me. I swung on him with all of my 185 pounds. My fist went up to my wrist in his stomach. He flopped to the floor vomiting his lungs out, his face turning gradually purple.

Another thug (called “Rainey,” from what I could gather) came to help him, so I palmed my short nosed .32 and laid it across his cheek with a crack that split the flesh open. He dropped back into a chair with his mouth hanging, drooling blood and saliva over his chin. I stood there smiling, but nothing was funny. I said, “Rainey, I’ve had some punks tougher than you’ll ever be on the end of a gun and I pulled the trigger just to watch their expressions change.” He was scared, but he tried to bluff it out anyway. He said, “Why don’tcha try it now? Go ahead, why don’tcha try it?” He started to laugh at me when I pulled the trigger of the .32 and shot him in the thigh. He said, “Damn!” under his breath and grabbed his leg. I raised the muzzle of the gun until he was looking right into the little round hole that was his ticket to hell. “Dare me some more, Rainey.”

After that the rest of the … Read the rest

Thursday Miscellany

Relaxing time. I’m experiencing my first breather at the office in over three months. I plan on meeting my wife and another couple for dinner after work, drink a few big mugs, get up tomorrow morning and knock out a piece with a looming deadline, go to Mass, then relax. It’s a good feeling. Now, if only the weather would get nice.

Aside: Brew You Can Use should be pretty good tomorrow. I already have some script, plus I should have some extra time to work on it. We’ll see.

Hey, but at least you’ll no longer care about your waist line: Having a big belly in your 40s can boost your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia decades later.

Mining company plans to dig up Nietzsche’s remains so it can bulldoze. Citizens of Rocken object, even the Catholics who, you’d think, have little love for the “God is Dead” philosopher: “The parish is unanimously against this,” said the local priest, Joachim Salomon.

I harbor no grudge against the great thinker, incidentally. Sure, he relished the death of God, but he was an honest writer and he saw the bankruptcy of modernity before everyone else. His pitiful life, acrid thought, and insanity at a relatively young age were mere omen symbols of what the modern world promised. We owe him some measure of thanks for his candor.

(Others might disagree with my blurb assessment. Nietzsche wrote widely and madly. His works are subject to various interpretations, and I’m no Nietzsche expert. By all means, feel free to use the comments box to offer different opinions. I’d love to seem them.)… Read the rest

The Wednesday Eudemon

18 things a man doesn’t have. It’s a pretty good list, but I don’t agree with all of them (what’s wrong a cheap case of beer (#11), especially if you have to share?).

Where two or more are gathered in His name, you might still need interpretive guidance: An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes . . . The family does not attend an organized church or participate in an organized religion. “They have a little Bible study of a few people.”

Theater chain to charge $35 per ticket: Each complex will sport theaters featuring 40 reclining armchair seats with footrests, digital projection and the capability to screen 2-D and 3-D movies, as well as a lounge and bar serving cocktails and appetizers, a concierge service and valet parking. No word on whether you get a price discount if it’s a Jessica Alba film.

Pictures from an elephant trunk cam. Pretty cool. They could probably make a mint if they strapped a camera on the head of prison inmates.

Speaking of which: Company Sells Greeting Cards for Inmates. “Ho, ho, ho. You’re Bubba’s ho. Happy Holidays.”

A French culinary snob? Say it ain’t so. What? He also has body odor? No way! Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly ruffled royal feathers by demanding to see the Queen’s wine list ahead of a state banquet.

John Adams hated Catholics. So did many founding fathers. The Washington Times has a blurb entitled, “The First Prejudice.” “In fact, one of the causes of the revolution was … Read the rest

Tuesday Trifles

Why do men cheat? Here are the Top Five reasons. I like number three:

I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m not saying it’s fair, but some men can feel like they’re last in the family pecking order once the gaggle of children dominates schedules, time, and his wife’s attention. That doesn’t mean that kids drive their fathers to cheat, nor does it mean that families are to blame. It just means that the situation can make some men more vulnerable to be influenced by…

That’s me, man, that’s me. With seven kids and non-stop activities, I’m highly vulnerable right now. Give me the strength to resist. Barring that, pass the Viagra.

Judge orders man to post signs on his house, warning others that he is a sex offender. The man is appealing. He says “It’s been pure hell.” The 9-year-old and 11-year-old he molested, of course, thought it was a lot of fun.

Whenever I hear a criminal complain about such penalties (e.g., the whining about being posted on the Internet sex offender list), it becomes obvious the person isn’t really sorry. I realize that’s no great revelation to most of my readers, but I wish the criminal justice system would take note of a fundamental tenet of sin: Those who are aware of it and truly repent of it realize no punishment is too great, especially when the sin is severe.

People who send excessive texts and emails may have a mental illness, according to an article in a leading psychiatric journal.” People who do anything to excess have a mental illness. The question is whether they … Read the rest

Easter Monday (Moanin’)

Long weekend, short blog post. For some reason, I was dragging all Saturday and Sunday. I slept in this morning, leaving me with little time for blogging.

Easter went well. It was also Tess’ (3) birthday. A three-year-old in the house, and Marie is not pregnant. Is the parade of children over, stifled at a mere seven? Don’t ask the fat lady (the metaphor, not my wife) to sing yet. (Save me the hate mail. Marie isn’t remotely fat, and she knows it, hence I can joke like that.)

For Tess’ birthday, we celebrated by going to my parents’s and holding Easter egg hunts. She seemed to understand that it was Easter and that it was her birthday and that the two were somehow melded together. Meanwhile, Marie and I got off easy on the celebration end.

I’m looking for Catholic bloggers that blog about literature. Amy Welborn has been duly noted. What others are out there?

I’m surprised billable-hour conscious lawyers didn’t start doing this years ago: Workers told to use urine bags in order to reduce number of bathroom breaks.

It’s not often that I print out a blog post so I can sit down and read it leisurely and save it for later reference, but I did it last Saturday. For this series of posts on José Ortega y Gasset. The total print job, with pictures and comments, came to 14 pages, but I think it’ll be worth it. What I’ve read so far is good.

I think I’ve seen this site before, but not sure: Adherents. It lists famous people’s religious affiliation. Pretty neat. I have … Read the rest