Archive for General Interest

Of Wine, Windmills and . . . Nuclear Power?

Recently, on a lovely Saturday afternoon, during a business trip to France, I had the opportunity to wind through the French country side and join in the annual Beaujolais Wine Festival. The festival starts on the third Thursday in November, where by law, the wine is released at 12:01 am, and just weeks after the grapes have been harvested. The celebration is marked with fireworks, music, and, of course, plenty of wine tasting. The Beaujolais region is about 34 miles long from north to south and about 9 miles wide and home to nearly 4,000 vineyards. What I found most

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The Lost Fine Art of Discourse

I am nearly finished reading the late Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Published in 1985, Postman, an educator and media theorist, lays out a postulation that television had created the latest (at that time) step change mode of public discourse and therefore initiated a resulting negative effect in the culture. As described by Postman, verbal public discourse was superseded by the written word, then subsequently superseded by radio, finally by television. For each of these new communication mediums to take hold and gain popularity, they were required to do two things:

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Generation Snowflake

The reaction shown by our younger citizens is somewhat puzzling.  To be upset and disappointed about their candidate losing in a surprising and unprecedented upset is understandable, but the response has gone far beyond that.  Never has a group ever lived up so completely to their generational moniker – Generation Snowflake. Below is a short video that has an interesting take on how this generation thinks and what has lead to their madness. Notice:  There are a few coarse words used – but hey, come on, he’s Irish.  View at your own discretion.  

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Ambushed by Family Movies

“The original stone tablets that Moses brought down out of Mt. Horeb…and smashed, if you believe in that sort of thing” (Raiders of the Lost Ark). Most of us would accept that the description of a movie as “good” is highly ambiguous.  However, we seem to accept the phrase “good family movie” with less circumspection.  Yet might that outward family-friendliness sometimes be cloaking a wolf in sheep’s clothing?  Our junto has discussed the idea of creating opportunities for families to see older movies that will not only entertain but also illuminate – perhaps a moral principle, a historical perspective, or

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Terrifying Tales of the Late Jack Chick

I grew up in the 1980s loving Halloween: carving fantastic faces in pumpkins and toasting the seeds, dressing up in homemade costumes, prowling the neighborhood scaring my friends and collecting candy and treats from our moms and assorted little old ladies. The only hint of Hell was on the news the night before: the annual bout of arson and mayhem in Detroit that had been dubbed Devil’s Night. Beyond that Halloween was, for me, good clean fun. But we kids had heard hints of another side to the sugar-fueled frivolity — of tampered candy and razor-infested apples, of pagan rites and

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War is Hell, but is it Just?

Law and order may at times have need of the strong arm of force. Some enemies of justice can be brought to terms only by force. But force should be held always in check by law and order and be exercised only in their defense. Nor is any man law into himself. Pope Pius XII, October the 8th, 1947 Often, the first sign of a shifting stance on a position is marked by holder’s acknowledgement of the position’s possible theoretical validity, accompanied by an explicit or implicit rejection of any practical validity of the position.  This process is neither right or wrong,

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Living in a World of Delusion, Part II

While writing my last blog entry, Living in a World of Delusion, I recalled an iconic scene from the classic 1999 science fiction film The Matrix. In the scene Morpheus holds a little capsule in each of his palms and proposes a choice to Neo. “This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill-the story ends, you wake up in bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill-you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the

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Living in a World of Delusion

“You are here because you have failed in humility, in self disciple. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. .. You believe that reality is something objective, external existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and

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The Whole and the Parts – Teaching the Faith

When I refer to the “faith” in this post, I am speaking of fides quae or the faith which we believe (objective) and not fides qua or the faith by which we believe (subjective).  It’s the content of the faith and not our response to it that is the focus. Growing up, my religious education included both the curriculum used by my parish’s Catechesis program, and the Baltimore Catechism required by my mother.  I don’t remember which curriculum the parish used, but I recognize the content and approach in those used by my children’s school.  The Baltimore Catechism I used, and

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A Good Confession

I have fallen in love with the sacrament of Confession.As I have more eagerly embraced this sacrament, I have started expecting certain bonuses, like a good confessor, inspiring counsel, and the like. When it comes time for my penance, I find myself anticipating a penance that is novel and that challenges me to address some specific need my confessor has seen during my confession. If I get ‘three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys’ I confess to feeling just a little let down. I’ve learned enough to know that somehow the problem in this must be with me and not

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