Friday, October 28, 2005

The Four Final Things

I’ve been quiet lately. Partly it’s the effect of multiple twelve-hour shifts on an old(er) mans mind and body. There have been some issues on my mind during this silence, however:

Judges, Death, Life and Beer, not necessarily in that order.

The whole Miers thing down south has been of interest. But as a Canadian I haven’t felt qualified to comment on this peculiarly American sport of selecting a Supreme (Court Justice). But it did stimulate me to think about how Ottawa selects our Supremes. But perhaps we’ll discuss that another time.

Then a co-worker died after a long struggle with cancer. A wonderful, upbeat fellow (and just three weeks older than me). The memorial service was lovely. And his passing got me reflecting on how we deal with the unfairness and fragility of life. There are some people who inspire me with their determination to live fully, Ed and the late Pope among them. May they rest in peace.

And now Lorna’s brother-in-law passed away suddenly on Wednesday. Another good man who was told he had a bad heart in 1990 and forced to retire. He had lived with this threat of death for so long we forgot how close it was. So he laid down for a nap the other day and woke up facing Jesus.

After some agonizing we decided to go as a family to the funeral. So I’ll be in Ohio with the family for a week: celebrating Joe’s life and contemplating his drink of choice : Bud. If they don’t have that in heaven, what will he drink? In any case, I’m confident that in the new earth (Rev. 21:1; cf. Is. 65:17) something very like Spaten Optimator will be flowing copiously.

It’s not a bad thing to think about death. It’s actually sort of important. Avoiding thinking about it certainly isn’t a good strategy. Death is a door. But first you have to live to be able to open it. That’s what I take from these wonderful people. So lift your beverage of choice and say “L’Haim!” (To Life!)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Someday My Prince Will Come...

Oops, wrong Disney movie. Anyway just be aware that there are rewards besides the spiritual ones when you give blood. Alas, Lorna and i are going to win the weekend for two to Banff, but you still have a chance to get the collector’s edition of the Cinderella DVD. I think the draw is open until Oct. 22.

So go and give: it’s in you. Actually, you’re looking a little flushed. A nice bleeding would do you good. (Gee, I don’t think that will work for their next campaign.)


Ok, if that doesn’t mean anything to you, you can move on. With today’s draw, he is certain to win the FIDE World Championship. There is another World Champion out there. So now I wonder if a re-unification match is in order?

Update: Rats! What I would have given to have this title instead: Habemas Topam!

I Love Beer

but maybe this is going a little too far:

Thanks to Eric at Christifidelis for the link to ProfessorBainbridge.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Equal Access for the Globe and Mail

Heather Mallick is a regular columnist for the G&M or so I gather. Someone is making a regular project of fisking her. Since I just got finished criticizing the Star about a column this only seems fair.

Thanks to Kathy of Relapsed Catholic for the link.

Peter Kreeft

is one of my favourite writers. Dr. Philip Blosser at The Pertinacious Papist has a nice selection of quotes from him here.

How Canadian Can You Be?

Some groups and people can be excoriated, verbally abused and threatened with no (social) consequences amongst the Canadian ruling elite. The Catholic Church and the Pope are particularly obvious examples.

So why would Catholics read the Toronto Star after this screed (free registration required)? It’s an interesting business decision. 43.2% of Canadians described themselves as Catholics in the 2001 Census. That’s down 2% from 1991, which might suggest a religion in decline.

So maybe Catholics are perceived to be fading away. Or maybe Catholics don’t read the Star. Or the ones that do agree that the Catholic Church shouldn’t try to impose Jesus’, uh, it’s teachings on people who like to call themselves Catholic in public. That one seems plausible.

There must be a powerful psychological effect in calling oneself Catholic. It was an issue even in the time of the Fathers of the Church. People want to call themselves and be called Catholic, they just want to be free of some of the baggage; Jesus-lite, if you will. Though, no doubt, they will insist that the Real Jesus agrees with them and the Church is just a power-hungry bunch of liars. No, they’re more Canadian than that, they’ll convey that same meaning in much nicer language. But I still don’t quite get why they still want to be Catholic after all that.

The idea that Paul Martin’s membership status in the Catholic Church should be a matter of public law is fascinating all by itself. Is the idea that any religious organization would presume the right to discipline any Canadian the problem? Are MP’s to be protected by Act of Parliament if their religious community of choice decides to discipline them for some reason? Or is it that the Prime Minister must be exempt from any public chastisement to protect the office from undue influence? Is anyone imagining the horror of Paul Martin’s suddenly conforming his policies and statements to Catholic Social and Moral Teachings? The Liberal’s world would come to an end.

Anyway, Lifesite News has a write-up and thanks to Domenico Bettinelli at Bettnet for the link.

Another Link

T.S. O’Rama of Video Meliora has a good collection of blog citations here.

Sophia Institute Press Bleg

What is a bleg? Asking for help on a blog. Aren’t you glad you asked?

This is a very moving testimony by the publisher, so get your hankies ready before you read it. I have a couple of books from them. They specialize in re-publishing old classics that have gone out of print.

But they also publish original material. I have all of the Surprised by Truth series (only 2 and 3 are still in print, I think). Patrick Madrid has brought together some beautiful conversion stories in these books.

Thanks to Amy Welborn at Open Book for the link.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m Canadian, eh? We actually had our feast on Saturday with friends and family. I’ll be working that gluttonous act off for weeks. I think I heard the scale grown that last time I stepped on it. Oh, but it was good. And Sunday’s epistle has Paul talking about how he knows when to feast and when to fast (Phil 4:12-14, 19-20). May that be said of of us all.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Reading Notes

Phantom of the Opera is done. A wonderful tour of Nineteenth Century French fantasy. The idea of the strange Parisian underworld populated by nameless strange denizens is fascinating. A rather romantic ending though, Raoul and Christine flee away and the Phantom, well, read it yourself.

Now I’m working on The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adam. It’s on my Palm so it’s convenient to read when there’s free time. It’s actually a re-read, since I read it long ago, in the sixties or seventies. A little more toothy than Phantom.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bulgaria Rules!

Topalov looks unstoppable at this point. He’s 6.5/7. All he has to do is draw the remaining games and it’s his in a walk. He doesn’t look like he’s much inclined to draw though. Svidler is closest with 4.5/7.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Living in Sin

doesn’t promote anyone’s happiness. Yet this is increasingly what people are doing. I blame Hollywood (a term that I use for all the media that promote morally bankrupt ideas). It’s passing strange that the sociological data continues to mount showing the negative effects of the erosion of stable, life-long marriage on all concerned. Yet how much of this data leaks into the MSM?

Thanks to Kevin Miller at Heart Mind & Strength.

Round 4

was another blood bath. Second round in a row with no draws. Considering the experts with their fancy statistical analysis were predicting 60% of the games would end in draws (not unusual at that level), this result is all the more amazing.

Anyway, after the dust settled the standings are now:

1. Topalov 3.5
2. Svidler 3 (the stealth candidate?)
3. Anand 2.5 (yes, he lost)
4. Kasimdzhanov 2
5-6. Leko, Polgar 1.5
7-8. Adams, Morozevich 1

Seminary Memories

No, not mine. I slept a couple of nights at the seminary in Washington, D.C. many years ago. But that is for another day. Rather, I’m referring to Clayton’s project of reviewing his seminary experiences in light of the seminary visitation going on now.

The Seminary Visitation program is all the talk these days. It would be interesting to have an inside look at seminary life from a veteran (if that’s the right term).

Progress Report

The cold has settled in my head and chest. Oh! you weren’t interested in that were you?

Well, I managed to finish Ten Days to Destiny I’m glad my nephew loaned it to me. I hope he doesn’t mind me loaning it a nurse I work with. She’s half-Greek and interested in learning more about Greek History (in this case the battle for Crete, 1941). It could use a couple of more maps to help visualize the action of the various battles. But an engaging read nonetheless.

My next read should come from one of these:

• Books that are in progress:
  1. Greek for the Rest of Us, Mounce

  2. How to Reassess Your Chess, Silman

  3. I Believe in God, Claudel

  4. Inside Islam, Ali & Spencer

  5. Asking the Right Questions, Browne & Keeley

• books I possess but haven’t yet started reading:
  1. The Christian and Anxiety, von Balthasar

  2. Salvation is From the Jews, Schoeman

  3. The Phantom of the Opera, Leroux (a loan from my daughter)

There are others, I’m sure, including those I’ve already read but mean to read again. But let’s focus on a shorter set of lists for now and try to make progress. Given how heavy my head is right now maybe I’ll do The Phantom.


Father Dowd of Waiting in Joyful Hope hits the big time. His blog is the “Link of the Week” in The B.C. Catholic, the Archdiocesan newspaper for Vancouver. Congratulations!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

ID #2

Being or Nothingness has two entries of interest. It’s particularly nice to see high school students being encouraged to investigate controversies in science at this level. Do you remember what ID is?

Darwin on Trial

Lane Core has posted another Blogworthies. I particularly enjoyed the entry about the “Darwinism versus Intelligent Design” case. The ACLU has filed suit in a Pennsylvania court to stop a school district from referring to Darwinism as a theory and mentioning a book in the school library that argues for ID.

I’ve read a couple of books on this controversy: Michael Behe’s Darwin's Black Box and Philip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial. The idea that classical Darwinism (if there is such a thing) has failed to reasonably answer all objections is compelling. I’m less convinced of the scientific validity of the implied argument to a Creator; philosophically, yes (see St. Thomas Aquinas and the “Proofs” of God’s existence).

But then, maybe that is Darwinism’s ultimate failing as well: it crosses over from scientific hypothesis to philosophical argument. I still think Chesterton had it right: survival of the fittest boils down to survival of those who survived.