Sunday, June 28, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

My heroes Frankl and Wojtyla

I thought I would list this quote from an article I read called "Logotherapy and the Challenge of Suffering" by Viktor Frankl. (It was published in the Journal of Existential Psychiatry from 1961 I found at work!)

"...I dare say, man never, or at least not normally and primarily, sees in the partners whom he encounters and in the causes to which he commits himself merely a means to an end; for then he actually would have destroyed any authentic relationship to them." [italics his own.]

It sounds very Wojtyla-esque. I love the authentic ring of truth that has a certain radiance when psychology and theology harmonize.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

political leanings quiz

My Political Views
I am a center-left social authoritarian
Left: 1.94, Authoritarian: 4.01

Political Spectrum Quiz


Thank you to e2 for showing me this quiz.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to our Church!


How wonderful it would be to be in Rome on this day! Loved these red rose petals for Pentecost!!

On the killing of George Tiller


I'm pretty sad about the whole deal. I'm sad for the person who wrongly thought it was his or her duty or right to kill another person, in a crowded area no less, (the news article I read said that he was killed while ushering at church-- did this person open fire in a church??) I'm sad for George Tiller; as far as I'm concerned, and it seems by objective standards, he was a monster. I remember reading about his Wichita clinic years ago and learning about how, after the abortion procedure, they'll let the parents hold the baby and have a lock of his or her hair, have foot and hand prints done, and I think even photographs if applicable. And they'll even have a funeral. Completely sickening; not because the baby doesn't deserve the funeral, (because surely that person deserves a proper burial,) but just because of the warped understanding of what's taking place. The babies aren't dying from natural causes but from the desire of the parents. Tiller was not an OB who happened to also perform abortions from time to time, but he was the most famous abortionist since he encouraged these procedures at any gestational age. He was famous for partial-birth abortions... That is so horrifying. I'm sad for his soul--that he most likely died unrepentant with all those gruesome killings on his hands. I'm sad for the pro-life movement, because surely many will use this condemnable act as a way to ignore the real arguments of this issue, and we don't need this unassociated diversion.
Thank you, Fr. Pavone, for all of your hard work.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ambassador?

Senyor Diaz, how could you support Sibelius? (Someone teach me how to type a tilda!!!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Well said.

Georgetown Jesuit on ND
POSTED BY TOM HOOPES
Saturday, May 09, 2009 9:14 AM

By William Blazek, SJ, M.D., FACP

“Is all this bluster over Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony honors for President Obama simply in-house spring cleaning for the American Catholic Church? Not by a long shot.

“The deeper question is whether it is ever suitable, in Catholic environments or elsewhere, to acclaim a man as an icon of accomplishment in the arena of civil rights when he has proposed, instituted and funded policies which deny the fundamental dignity of an entire category of disenfranchised human beings.”

Thus begins an article by William Blazek, a Jesuit scholastic, an assistant professor of medicine and medical ethicist in the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington. He continues:

The debate over the University of Notre Dame’s plan to bestow an honorary doctorate upon Obama this month is much more than a local tempest in a purely Catholic teapot. The question is crucial to the interests of all Americans. At its heart, it is a battle for the very soul of our nation, a battle over whom we include at the table of life and how far our society is willing to go to exclude those who are not welcome at it.

As has been widely discussed these past weeks, some prominent educators have supported Father Jenkins’ invitation as part of a process of open academic engagement, one that recognizes Obama’s significance as the first African-American chief executive and that touches upon a broad spectrum of social and political issues. Others, Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon most notable among them, have cited the bishops’ 2004 guidance “Catholics in Political Life” in questioning whether a premier Catholic university can honor with a degree a man who has acted “in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”

The president’s public record makes clear that he is no moderate on the moral permissibility of abortion and embryonic destruction. Any suggestion otherwise is a distortion of reality and insults the intelligence of the American people. In his first 100 days in office, he approved federal funding for research that destroys human embryos and repealed restrictions on the use of tax dollars to support abortions conducted overseas. At the same time, he appointed hard-line abortion rights supporters such as Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius and Rahm Emanuel to the most prominent positions in his cabinet and staff.

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act, which would make it illegal for any physician or hospital to conscientiously refrain from committing abortions. While an Illinois legislator, he opposed a ban on partial-birth abortion, the macabre procedure in which a near-term abortee’s brains are suctioned from the skull while arms, legs and torso dangle outside the mother’s birth canal. Critics of water boarding step aside; we are in the big time.

President Obama’s general defense of a woman’s control over her body rests on rock-solid foundations, but his ethic and the policies built upon it err in failing to recognize that there is always a “second patient” in any pregnancy. In this administration’s worldview, the mother holds all the cards, the embryo or fetus none. Sound medical practice recognizes that, just as the president’s position on life does not exist in a vacuum, neither does a patient’s autonomy. Both the mother’s freedom of action and her unborn child’s humanity are factors at play in every decision during any pregnancy or delivery.

Barack Obama’s election was indeed a historic event, especially as a great sign of the more complete and substantive incorporation of a long-excluded minority in the American political and social experiment.

That accomplishment notwithstanding, the president’s policies and publicly stated philosophy push a profoundly marginalized group further into the cold — his actions afford them no moral status and moreover directly harm them. This is a grave abrogation of the civil rights of the unborn, and our social institutions, Catholic or otherwise, cannot blithely ignore Mr. Obama’s full cooperation in this injustice while handing out lauds for his other achievements.

William Blazek, a Jesuit scholastic, is an assistant professor of medicine and medical ethicist in the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I have to watch this again soon...


One of the funniest scenes ever. (You may have to view the movie if you don't agree with me...)
Rushmore -- Offbeat comedy about a hyperactive 15-year-old (Jason Schwartzman) whose crush on a widowed schoolteacher (Olivia Williams) leads him to extremes in trying to stop his closest friend, a married millionaire (Bill Murray), from romancing her. Directed by Wes Anderson, the bittersweet tale of teenage angst is helped by performances which aptly blend humor with pathos as the youth learns about rejection and forgiveness. Brief violence, an implied affair, a few crass sexual references and a flash of nude pin-ups, a scene of underage drinking, occasional rough language and minimal profanity. (A-III) (R) ( 1998 )

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fortenberry v Clinton :)


Thank you, e2.
Had I been there and had time, I would have addressed this with Clinton.
1. The Thomas Jefferson example doesn't work in this situation because we are talking about an organization (PP) that was founded on just those quotations that Fortenberry lists. If Thomas Jefferson had instituted a company that bought and sold people, (given his interest in slavery,) we would not be supporting that organization or giving it stimulus money.
2. She sounds pretty condescending.
3. I've forgotten. I've played pirate and helped Sophia cut and paste since I wrote number 1.
:)
Please excuse me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Via Crucis AND Via Lucis

I just found out merely minutes ago that there is a devotion called Via Lucis, translated the Way of Light. Not to confuse you with Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) which is a devotion that commemorates the significant events of Christ's passion from the condemnation to being placed in the tomb. Here are the "stations" of Light if you are interested, along with their corresponding gospel texts---

Via Lucis

1. Jesus Rises From the Dead (Matthew 28:1-7)

2. The Disciples Find the Tomb Empty (John 20:1-9)

3. The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)

4. The Risen Lord Appears to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27)

5. The Risen Lord Is Recognized at the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:28-35)

6. The Risen Lord Appears to His Disciples (Luke 24:36-43)

7. The Lord Gives the Power to Forgive Sins (John 20:19-23)

8. The Lord Confirms the Faith of Thomas (John 20:24-29)

9. The Risen Lord Meets His Disciples on the Shore of Lake Tiberias (John 21:1-13)

10. The Risen Lord Confers the Primacy on Peter (John 21:15-17)

11. The Risen Lord Entrusts to His Disciples the Mission to the World (Matthew 28:16-20)

12. The Risen Lord Ascends to the Father (Acts 1:6-11)

13. Waiting for the Holy Spirit With Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Acts 1:12-14)

14. The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit Promised to the Disciples (Acts 2:1-13)

Gianna Jessen in Australia


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

from my new favorite movie...


So Slumdog won Best Picture and this Best Song; they should have won Best Closing Credits, too...

This is for Billy...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WooHoo-- a shout out to PTC! (Oh, brother...)

Monday, March 9, 2009

From Papa Benny

“How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking? The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true.

“Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires.

"We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An "adult" faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ. It is this friendship that opens us up to all that is good and gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth.

"We must develop this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - that creates unity and is fulfilled in love.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stay tuned for...

my next blog on the development and formation of children as it corresponds to ethical theories.... I feel like a genius when I ponder this; surely someone has matched these up before... I promise it won't be long...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thank you, Fr. Frank

This past weekend, Regina Caeli Academy held 2 performances of The Fabulous Fathers Priest Talent Show. Fr. Frank Richardson performed at the matinee, and along with some jokes, he sang a beautiful Irish tune. God graced him with a great voice.
But here, for your enjoyment, I thought I'd post some of his simpler jokes. Your kids may get a kick out of these:

1. Who is the patron saint of travel agents?
2. Who is the patron saint of department stores?
3. Who is the patron saint of cosmetics?

Answers:
1. St. Martin of Tours (FYI-- actually the patron saint of horses and soldiers)
2. St. Francis de Sales (FYI-- actually the patron saint of writers and deafness)
3. St. Peter Chanel (FYI-- actually the patron saint of Oceania)


I love Catholic Cheese!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ and the Persecution of Civil Society

BY JENNIFER ROBACK MORSE
June 8-14, 2008 Issue | Posted 6/3/08 at 11:48 AM on ncregister.com

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” present the idea as a step forward for tolerance and respect. But recent developments place that interpretation very much in doubt.

Legalizing same-sex “marriage” is not a stand-alone policy, independent of all the other activities of the state. Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes.

Unfortunately, these government-enforced changes conflict with a wide array of ordinary liberties, including religious freedom and ordinary private property rights.

It began with the persecution of Catholic Charities in Boston. The archdiocese eventually closed down its adoption program, because the state of Massachusetts insisted that every adoption agency in the state must allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Recently, a Methodist organization in New Jersey lost part of its tax-exempt status because it refused to allow two lesbian couples to use their facility for a civil union ceremony. In Quebec, a Mennonite school was informed that it must conform to the official provincial curriculum, which includes teaching homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.

At last report, the Mennonites were considering leaving the province rather than permit the imposition of the state-sponsored curriculum on their children.

And recently, a wedding photographer in New Mexico faces a hearing with the state’s Human Rights Commission because she declined the business of a lesbian couple. She didn’t want to take photos of their commitment ceremony.

The underlying pattern is unmistakable. Legalizing same-sex “marriage” has brought in its wake state regulation of other parts of society. The problem is sometimes presented as an issue of religious freedom, and so, in part, it is. But the issue runs deeper than religious freedom.

McGill University professor Douglas Farrow argues in his book A Nation of Bastards that redefining marriage allows the government to colonize all of civil society.

If same-sex couples can marry each other, they should be allowed to adopt. Anyone who says otherwise is acting against the policy of the state. If same-sex couples can have civil unions, then denying them the use of any facility they want for their ceremony amounts to unlawful discrimination. When the state says that same sex couples are equivalent to opposite-sex couples, school curriculum will inevitably have to support this claim.

Marriage between men and women is a pre-political, naturally emerging social institution. Men and women come together to create children, independently of any government. The duty of caring for those children exists even without a government or any political order.

Marriage protects children as well as the interests of each parent in their common project of raising those children.

Because marriage is an organic part of civil society, it is robust enough to sustain itself, with minimal assistance from the state.

By contrast, same-sex “marriage” is completely a creation of the state.

Same-sex couples cannot have children. Someone must give them a child or at least half the genetic material to create a child. The state must detach the parental rights of the opposite-sex parent and then attach those rights to the second parent of the same-sex couple.

The state must create parentage for the same-sex couple. For the opposite-sex couple, the state merely recognizes parentage.

In her essay in The Meaning of Marriage, Seana Sugrue argues that the state must coddle and protect same-sex “marriage” in ways that opposite-sex marriage does not require.

Precisely because same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex marriage, the state must intervene to make people believe (or at least make them act as if they believe) that the two types of unions are equivalent.

Public schools in California are soon going to be required to be “gay friendly.” A doctor has been sued because she didn’t want to perform an artificial insemination on a lesbian couple. A private school is in trouble for disciplining two female students for kissing. All in the name of supporting the rights of same-sex couples to “equality” with straight couples.

The fact that opposite- and same-sex couples are different in significant ways means that there will always be scope for the state to expand its reach into more and more private areas of more and more people’s lives.

Perhaps some people think it is okay to shut down Catholic adoption agencies, because the Catholics have it coming to them: The Church’s enemies are many. Perhaps some people don’t care for Methodists, and don’t care whether they lose their tax-exempt status.

But the Mennonites? These are the most inoffensive people on the planet. They have been pacifists for centuries. Their continued existence here in North America is a testimony to the strength of our ideals of religious tolerance and pluralism, in all the best senses of those terms. But now, in the name of equality of same-sex couples, the Mennonites are being driven out of Quebec.

Perhaps you think people have a natural civil right to marry the person of their choosing. But can you really force yourself to believe that wedding photography is a civil right?

Maybe you believe that same-sex couples are entitled to have children, somehow. But is any doctor they might encounter required to inseminate them?

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” insist that theirs is a modest reform: a mere expansion of marriage to include people currently excluded. But the price of same-sex “marriage” is a reduction in tolerance for everyone else, and an expansion of the power of the state.

Jennifer Roback Morse is the senior fellow in economics at the Acton Institute and the author of Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village, newly reissued in paperback.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blood Diamond

Compelling action-adventure set in Africa's Sierra Leone as a mercenary (a superb Leonardo DiCaprio), a crusading U.S. reporter (Jennifer Connelly) and a frantic African fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) who's been separated from his family join forces against a backdrop of bloody civil war and plundering of the country's natural resources. Director Edward Zwick masterfully balances the action sequences with the more intimate ones. The film, though overly long, delivers on entertainment value, while imparting a worthy message about the immoral origin of conflict diamonds and the exploitation of child soldiers, and delivers a strong affirmation of family, while the DiCaprio-Connelly romance is refreshingly devoid of overt sexual elements. Much violence and bloodshed though admirably restrained in its presentation, murder, rough language and profanity, crude expressions, threat of rape, underage drinking and smoking. A-III -- adults. (R) 2006

(While I turned my head instinctively from the violence, it was very well done. I dropped many tears. Maybe you will, too.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

dyspeptic

|disĖˆpeptik|
adjective
of or having indigestion or consequent irritability or depression.
noun
a person who suffers from indigestion or irritability.

Hancock

Ultimately muddled action film in which a dyspeptic, alcoholic Los Angeles superhero (Will Smith), whose good deeds often lead to mayhem, finds the road to reform laid out for him by an idealistic PR executive (Jason Bateman) made bumpy by his deep attraction to his new friend's wife (Charlize Theron). With its clever premise and dizzying special effects, the first part of director Peter Berg's film works well enough, but after one snappy plot twist bogs down in the murky mythology of its back story. Moderately intense fantasy action, partial rear nudity, some vulgar humor, occasional rough and much crude language, a profanity and an obscene gesture. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) 2008

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Psalm 43


Defend me, O God, and plead my cause
against a godless nation.
From deceitful and cunning men
rescue me, O God.

Since you, O God, are my stronghold,
why have you rejected me?
Why do I go mourning
oppressed by the foe?

O send forth your light and your truth;
let these be my guide.
Let them bring me to your holy mountain
to the place where you dwell.

And I will come to the altar of God,
the God of my joy.
My redeemer, I will thank you on the harp,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, my soul,
why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him still,
my savior and my God.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Speaking Italian

Quote of the Day

From Thomas Reynolds's Vulnerable Communion:

"Neediness, vulnerability, or lack of ability is not a flaw detracting from an otherwise pure and complete human nature. Rather, it is testimony to the fact that our nature involves receiving our existence from each other."

Christianity as superstition?

Lately, more and more, I've heard those not partial to religious belief describe it as "superstition" or as a "hobby." Mind you, this is done with complete compassion and condescension. One professor, quoted in the film Expelled, referred to religious belief as "knitting" and that he wouldn't want to take that away from anybody, but at the same time God does not exist and so, while you may keep that hobby of yours that is comforting and recreational, know that it has no bearing on reality.
Hmph!
I think that it is a common trait of "humanness" to have superstitious thought or contrive pieces of a belief system to attain some comfort, regardless of the worldview; however! Magisterial Christian theology and morality is absolutely NOT based on being comforted, at least not in the "knitting" sort of way. There is great paradoxical comfort. In giving of your self, you receive. In dying to self, you gain eternal life. Looking to the stars to determine your future is completely different than acknowledging and behaving in a way that underscores the reality that your decisions have an impact in your life and the life of others and given that, we have some ultimate responsibilities. Fulfilling these responsibilities is in no way a recreational activity. It seems to me that the 'godless' view is the cop-out. What did atheism ever do for anybody?

Awesome New Catholicvote.com Video!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Are we continuing the 'Will to Disbelieve?'

I am completely amazed by the continual 'finding out' of pioneers in the birth control or abortion platform that have done a 180 in light of empirical evidence, personal experience, or spiritual conversion (or all of the above) and have left these horrid, inhumane ideas by the wayside.
Yet another brave soul steps up and takes responsibility for his role in this frightening plague on the meaning of personhood.
Click here for the article.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wafa Sultan's Famous Interview

According to a "quiz" on FB:

What Action Hero Am I?

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars)
You are smart and kind. You aren't mean to anyone and always think ahead. You don't like war but you aren't a hippie. You only use violence in defence and only rarely hurt people. You are worried about your friends and you are very honorable and obey your master.

(I can't believe how accurate it is!!)

DEO GRATIAS!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last printed words of Fr. Neuhaus

As of this writing, I am contending with a cancer, presently of an unknown origin. I am, I am given to believe, under the expert medical care of the Sloan-Kettering clinic here in New York. I am grateful beyond measure for your prayers storming the gates of heaven.
Be assured that I neither fear to die nor refuse to live. If it is to die, all that has been is but a slight intimation of what is to be. If it is to live, there is much that I hope to do in the interim. After the last round with cancer fifteen years ago, I wrote a little book, As I Lay Dying (titled after William Faulkner after John Donne), in which I said much of what I had to say about the package deal that is mortality.
I did not know that I had much more to learn. And yes, the question has occurred to me that, if I have but a little time to live, should I be spending it writing this column. I have heard it attributed to figures as various as Brother Lawrence and Martin Luther--when asked what they would do if they knew they were going to die tomorrow, they answered that they would plant a tree and say their prayers. (Luther is supposed to have added that he would quaff his favored beer.) Maybe I have, at least metaphorically, planted a few trees, and certainly I am saying my prayers.
Who knew that at this point in life I would be understanding, as if for the first time, the words of Paul, "When I am weak, then I am strong"? This is not a farewell. Please God, we will be pondering together the follies and splendors of the Church and the world for years to come. But maybe not. In any event, when there is an unidentified agent in your body aggressively attacking the good things your body is intended to do, it does concentrate the mind.
The entirety of our prayer is "Your will be done"--not as a note of resignation but of desire beyond expression. To that end, I commend myself to your intercession, and that of all the saints and angels who accompany us each through time toward home.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rest In Peace, Fr. Neuhaus


We will miss you so much! No one could ever take your place. May you be taken swiftly into the arms of our Loving Father and may you be an even stronger advocate for us in Heaven.

Fr. Neuhaus on death:
"We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already underway. The work of dying well is, in largest part, the work of living well. Most of us are at ease in discussing what makes for a good life, but we typically become tongue-tied and nervous when the discussion turns to a good death. As children of a culture radically, even religiously, devoted to youth and health, many find it incomprehensible, indeed offensive, that the word “good” should in any way be associated with death. Death, it is thought, is an unmitigated evil, the very antithesis of all that is good.
Death is to be warded off by exercise, by healthy habits, by medical advances. What cannot be halted can be delayed, and what cannot forever be delayed can be denied. But all our progress and all our protest notwithstanding, the mortality rate holds steady at 100 percent.

Death is the most everyday of everyday things. It is not simply that thousands of people die every day, that thousands will die this day, although that too is true. Death is the warp and woof of existence in the ordinary, the quotidian, the way things are. It is the horizon against which we get up in the morning and go to bed at night, and the next morning we awake to find the horizon has drawn closer. From the twelfth-century Enchiridion Leonis comes the nighttime prayer of children of all ages: 'Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take.' Every going to sleep is a little death, a rehearsal for the real thing."

from Wiki:
Richard John Neuhaus (May 14, 1936 – January 8, 2009) was a prominent Catholic priest and writer born in Canada and living in the United States, where he had become a naturalized United States citizen. He was the founder and editor of the monthly journal First Things and the author of several books, including The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America (1984), The Catholic Moment: The Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World (1987), and Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth (2006).

One could only dream to write like you do... so grateful you've left us so much!

Please see the First Things website for more information.

answering the call...


He's going to the same seminary Fr. Kevin went to!! :) Our prayers are with you, Chase!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Role of Conscience in Medicine


Speakers Farr Curlin, (Catholic physician pictured above,) an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and Martha Swartz, an attorney and adjunct professor of law at Rutgers School of Law-Camden, present the topic The Role of Conscience in Medicine at the Center for Law, Health, and Society at Georgia State University.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Legally Blonde

Determined to dazzle the boyfriend (Matthew Davis) who dumped her for a smarter girl, a flighty sorority co-ed (Reese Witherspoon) ends up attending Harvard Law School alongside him. As directed by Robert Luketic, Witherspoon makes the predictable, frivolous film stand out even when the light-hearted ``dumb blonde'' jokes fade. Some mild sexual references with a smattering of crass language and an instance of profanity. A-II (PG-13) 2001

Rocky Balboa

Sixth and ostensibly final round in the "Rocky" saga, in which former heavyweight champ Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), now a widower, estranged from his son (Milo Ventimiglia) and running a restaurant, comes out of retirement, stepping into the ring against the current champ (Antonio Tarver) to prove he has plenty of heart left in his aging body. Written and directed by Stallone, this new chapter is arguably the best in the series since the 1976 original, emphasizing character and emotional drama over fight action, while imparting an inspirational message about perseverance and giving it your all, win or lose. Some bloody boxing violence and a few mildly crude expressions. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) 2006

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Provocative documentary intended to show that academics and research scientists are penalized for merely suggesting that there might be flaws in the prevailing theory of Neo-Darwinian evolution and that purported scientific evidence for the alternate theory of intelligent design is being systematically ignored. Director Nathan Frankowski's unabashedly partisan film -- using old movie clips to humorously underscore the film's themes of suppression and duplicity, and with at least some of the interviewees seemingly caught off guard by the line of questioning -- is impishly hosted and co-written by former presidential speechwriter, economist and sometime actor Ben Stein. Holocaust imagery and mature philosophical issues. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) 2008

Friday, January 2, 2009

Great minds think alike... :)

Spirit Of The Season
More Virgin Mary, Less Virgin Islands
by the Rev. James Martin
All Things Considered, NPR
December 17, 2008 ·



It's the middle of the day, and I'm opening my Christmas cards. And what do I see when I tear open the envelope? Not Baby Jesus in his manger. Not the Virgin Mary. Not even the Wise Men. No, chances are the card will be a photo of a family on some beach in the Caribbean. Or a picture of somebody's house. Or someone's dog wearing reindeer horns.

These are the new favorite Christmas cards, for even the most pious Christians: the family cards.

Family cards display — on the front — a photo of a happy family, typically wearing red-and-green scarves or red-and-green sweaters. Sometimes the family dog is included, wearing a scarf covered with slobber. Just as often, family cards show the clan on their summer vacation, posing jauntily in bathing suits in the Caribbean. These cards don't say "Merry Christmas" as much as "Look where you didn't go!"

Look, I love family photos during the holidays. Plus, I actually read those annual holiday letters, all of which start with "What a busy year it's been!" Seeing photos of my friends and their families and even enjoying a few sunny beach scenes when it's cold and dark outside is a highlight of December.

But I enjoy the photos more when they're inside the card, not the card itself. Because more and more, even devout Christians have been replacing Jesus, Mary and Joseph with themselves. Doesn't it strike you as weird to set aside the Holy Family in favor of your family? Does a photo of Cabo San Lucas trump the story told by the original San Lucas? Is Christmas really about you?

Still unconvinced? Try a thought experiment. For your next birthday, how would you feel about getting a birthday card with my photo on it? "Happy Birthday! It's a photo of me!" My modest campaign against family cards has less chance of success than another Ralph Nader presidential bid. People will accuse me of being anti-family. But I'm not: I'm more pro-Holy Family. Plus, I'm battling Snapfish, Shutterfly, Kodak and a lot of online card stores that have been promoting this idea with more resources than a poor Jesuit can muster.

So I'll leave you with a simple plea. Place those great photos inside the card. Or how about this: When choosing your Christmas cards this year, think more Jesus and less you. Or, more Virgin Mary, and less Virgin Islands.

The Rev. James Martin is a Jesuit priest and author of My Life with the Saints.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Brett Dennen 30 Jan 09 at Variety Playhouse

Ray and I are going to our first non-classical concert since... well, actually, I think since Soul Miner's Daughter in 1999.
I'll let you know how it goes... :)