Month: December 2013

Humorous

H.I.F.

A few fun facts from the, um, “Interesting Facts” Twitter account:

At Andrew Jackson’’s funeral in 1845, his pet parrot had to be removed because it was swearing.

70% of murders in Detroit go unsolved.

In 2012, the Smithsonian officially recognized video games as an art form.

A flight from LA to NYC made a stop in Kansas City to offload a passenger who wouldn’t stop singing ““I Will Always Love You.””

The Nazi party tried to turn Christmas into a holiday celebrating the coming of Hitler, with swastikas on top of Christmas trees.… Read the rest

BYCU Special Edition

It’s New Years Eve, the beginning of the official end of the secular holiday season. For serious Catholics and traditional Protestants, the holiday season continues through Epiphany, but for the other 99% of the population, the holidays start to end tonight.

And the 99% typically do a pretty good job of ending it. Exhibit A: Times Square. NYE in NYC’s Times Square has long fascinated me, probably because I remember watching the ball drop every year growing up. Now at middle age, the TV experience is indelibly etched on my psyche and conjures up vague, yet warm, feelings, for reasons I don’t understand.

My niece is going to be there this year, and I’m a bit envious. This blogger has a great (well-written, short) summary of the event’s history and the current NYC itinerary. I haven’t verified any of the information, but it all seems believable enough.

I’ve never been a big fan of New Years Eve parties. I’ve thrown two such parties my entire adult life: one was lame and one was very good. I’ve also attended a few, none of which I much enjoyed.

I now don’t drink much during the evening, but I do drink during the afternoon while watching football at the local drinking club. By the time evening comes, I’m usually ready to settle down with my family and watch the ball drop, nursed with a little caffeine and ibuprofen. It’s not a bad way to ring in the new year, and it leaves me reasonably fresh for the following morning’s Mass and those last days before the real end of the holiday season on January 6th. … Read the rest

Frustrating

H.I.F.

All lies, all the time:

“The ACA was not designed to reduce costs or, the law’s name notwithstanding, to make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of Americans,” says health care consultant Kip Piper, a former government and insurance industry official. “The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the low-income uninsured but it also increases costs overall and shifts costs within the marketplace.”

This has happened repeatedly–consistently–my entire adult life. I have rarely heard a Republican or Democrat federal politician tell the truth. Their lies are merely growing more brazen, as they realize they’re increasingly untouchable.

To vote every four years is to admit you’re gullible and further confirm them in their non-accountability.

(I don’t necessarily believe that, but part of me strongly does.)… Read the rest

The Wolf

Did you go see The Wolf of Wall Street? I thought about going to it, but after reading this open letter from the daughter of one of the protagonist’s partners in crime, I won’t.

But let me admit something: I’m a sucker for good writing, and either this letter was ghostwritten or this woman could polish the rusty prose off a 1920s legal brief. It’s always possible I’ve been smitten by the letter and its argument a little too much. Read it yourself.

I’m also assuming the accuracy of her allegation that the movie glamorizes securities fraud. I’ve seen the trailers a few dozen times, so her allegation isn’t hard to believe. I don’t think I’ve seen such a sex-charged, glam-filled trailer since . . . frick, I don’t know. I could barely sit through the trailers without feeling like I had to go to confession.

Her letter basically boils down to this: The Wolf’s and his accomplice’s actions immensely harmed many people, including their family members. How could Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio celebrate it, thereby allowing the Wolf to profit from his wrongdoing further? She also asks people not to support the effort.

Although part of me says Scorsese et al are merely giving the public what they want, overall, her argument is persuasive, and I won’t go see the movie. The two or three tickets I would’ve bought aren’t going to make a dent in the movie’s success, but as St. Therese reminds us, we can only act in small ways (which is, incidentally, the only cogent justification I can find for voting every four years, but that assumes the candidates’ … Read the rest

Interesting but Old News

H.I.F.

I remember reading (5? 10?) years ago that 10% of Americans are ex-Catholics, so this is no surprise: “According to recent demographic surveys, it seems there are presently 30 million people in the U.S. who identify themselves as ‘former Catholics.'” Link.

How could this be happening, fifty years after Vatican II reforms?

Yes, of course I write that with a large measure of sarcasm.

The Church needs to be true to its roots, uncompromisingly holding to its supernatural foundation. There is no other option. Metaphysically, its hands are tied, so it might as well admit it and behave consistently with it.

If people leave, let them go. Perhaps the Church some day shrinks to its original size: twelve. What of it? It’s more important that the nucleus stands firm than that the circle widens to the point of bloat and disease, which, part of me, says is where we are today. Attrition is good, if the proper parts are falling off.

Lose the fat, keep the muscle. … Read the rest

Interesting

H.I.F.

“The halo effect discussed earlier contributes to coherence, because it inclines us to match our view of all the qualities of a person to our judgment of one attribute that is particularly significant. If we think a baseball pitcher is handsome and athletic, for example, we are likely to rate him better at throwing the ball, too. Halos can also be negative: if we think a player is ugly, we will probably underrate his athletic ability.”

Read the rest