Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Novena for St. Dominic's Intercession

Today is the day to begin the traditional novena to St. Dominic. This year, please join me in praying for the Canonization of Blessed Fra Angelico, my Dominican patron. (The traditional Dominican Novena starts on July 30, ending August 7, the eve of the feast of St. Dominic. CLICK HERE for the novena text, or if you're short on time, just say 'St. Dominic, Pray for us' 9 days in a row)

FRA ANGELICO, was beatified October 3, 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and in 1984 the Holy Father declared him patron of Catholic artists. Our times are in dire need of his intercession. Ubiquitous is the ugly church/gymnasium/dentist's office; housing hideous, craftless and uninspired painting and sculpture, if any sacred art can be found at all in these iconoclastic blunderlands.

It is fitting that we pray to Fra Angelico, himself a Dominican, in reparation for the crimes committed against art and architecture by another Dominican, Fr. Marie-Alain Couturier. In fact, I like to think Fra Angelico is to Fr. Couturier as the Blessed Virgin Mary is to Eve. You see, art is all about proportion, and we're in need of a miracle ratio.

Why the Eve/New Eve comparison? Because it was through the twisted views of sacred art held by Fr. Couturier that our Church began to throw away the value of Her artistic patrimony. Fr. Couturier was one of the most active patrons of modernist art and architecture in the early 2oth century. An untalented yet trained artist, he sat as editor of 'Art Sacre', which was the propaganda vehicle for reformist opinions in the realm of Church art. Without hesitation, Fr. Couturier stubbornly held the opinion that
"It would of course be ideal if Christian art could be revived by men who are both geniuses and saints. However, if such men do not exist, we believe that it would be much safer in the present circumstances to commission geniuses with no faith to bring about this renaissance, this resurrection, rather than believers with no talent"
It takes neither genius nor talent to look back on the artistic output of the last 100 years and see that this ideology was a complete disaster, however so universally disseminated. Nevertheless, Fr. Couturier supported the most radical of artists and architects, most of whom were atheists. This support patronized Catholic art while patronizing Modernist artists. If you doubt the impact this had on the world of ecclesiastical art and architecture, take a look at who the major commissions have gone to over the last 80 years. While you'd be hard pressed to find a quality architect (save California's Arnold Constable), the reality is that nowadays you pretty much have to be an atheist to be considered for a big Catholic job. And it helps if you're an ex-Catholic. RAFAEL MONEO, SANTIAGO CALATRAVA, CRAIG HARTMAN, STEVEN HOLL,etc.

Moreover, in a supreme twist of history, Fr. Couturier's greatest feat, and Lady Architecture's greatest defeat, was the promotion of those who were aggressive and actively seeking the downfall of Christianity, such as my own arch-nemesis, Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier prospered greatly from both the direct and indirect patronage of Fr. Couturier. Notre Dame du Haut in RONCHAMP, and Sainte Marie de LA TOURETTE stand out as his 'masterpieces'. La Tourette, seen at right, had an iconoclastic chapel, and was a functionally disastrous cloister with cells whose prison-like qualities created high levels of severe depression. Eventually, the compound became a retreat center for Modernist architects. (seriously, I'm not making that up.)

Le Corbusier's vitriol for the Roman Catholic Church was deep rooted: ancestral in both figural and literal senses. Le Corbusier was well aware of his ancestry. He was a Cathar, and vocally enjoyed promoting Manicheist ideas, such as in his book "Le poème de l'angle droit". According to his biographer,
"the monastery of La Tourette can be said to portray a combined symbol of Catharism and Manicheism, as does all of Le Corbusier's work."
What's worse, Le Corbusier, a Manichean, was asked by a Dominican to clarify and represent faith via sacred art to members of the Church, turning on its head the history of the Dominican Order, whose previous 700 years had been dedicated, if to nothing else, to preaching against the Manichean heresy in all of its manifestations. Here a Dominican was asking an atheistic Manichean to use stone to preach of 'True Art'. This is like a Jewish leader asking an active Nazi to design a holocaust memorial.

Le Corbusier's impact can be felt the world over. Inner city slums, single-use zoning and suburbs, iconoclasm in religious structures, tubular steel furniture--they are all so rooted in our lives in large part because of Le Corbusier. And Le Corbusier was in large part because of a Dominican.

So please, please pray for the canonization of Fra Angelico, and perhaps the redemption of Art can come through the Dominicans, just as sin came through Eve, and redemption came through the New Eve.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Folly Dodgers

You know, it really bothers me that it's a generally held truism that every year must produce many hall of fame inductees. Halls of fame have for some time been halls of notoriety, but now they're becoming halls of we-couldn't-think-of-actual-athletes-to-induct-so-we-had-to-whip-something-up. This goes for all sports, but is most egregious in baseball. You know...the privation of the best is the worst.

Anyway, Walter O'Malley was INDUCTED last week in to the hall of fame. Why? Because he moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to L.A. So now he has his own plaque. A plaque that says O'Malley was an:
"influential and visionary owner who inspired baseball's move west" and someone who "maintained affordable ticket prices while generating record attendance."
And this warrants him to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Bull. Maybe the Adam Smith Hall of Fame, but not baseball's.

Is MLB that hard up for heroes? Oh. Right. We can't actually trust that baseball players are not using body-altering drugs to excel the the level of superstar, so we wanna be careful to select them.

Then again, I think a pretty good case can be made that O'Malley was on mind-altering drugs when he made his own mental athletics.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thank You, Pope Paul VI!

Today is an interesting day. As Catholics around the world are celebrating the 40th anniversary of HUMANAE VITAE the rest of the secular world is celebrating the wonders of modern scientific fertility, as the world's first test tube baby TURNS 30 TODAY.

The irony of this connection is just too much for me. Humanae Vitae, one of the greatest works on the dignity of the human person, is altogether overlooked even by Catholics, while polls show the majority of Catholics in America are 'for artificial insemination as well as contraception'.

I'm reminded of a woman I once met who was a 'serious Catholic' and yet worked in a fertility clinic promoting un-natural fertility and yet denying the natural. She had never read Humanae Vitae. Sure, she personally hated abortion. Sure, she would never advocate euthanasia. She herself didn't see the harm in promoting life through In Vitro Fertilization, but wouldn't do it herself. She personally got nearly everything right, but like most who pass the big stuff and miss the minor points, missed what Humanae Vitae didn't: personhood and its consequent relationship to contraception.

As soon as contraception is introduced into society, SO IT GOES, so does human dignity. Allow the Pill and soon you'll be aborting the young and killing the elderly. They are invalid. Invalid in the sense of GATTACA. Make the control over fertility commonplace, and then people become a commodity. That is where we're at today. We weren't in 1968, at least not quite.

And the Church knows that DISSENT FROM THE TEACHINGS of Humanae Vitae is at the root of many of our problems today. According to Cardinal James F. Stafford:
"The deadliest thing to hit the Catholic in the last 40 years, he says, was not the encyclical which reiterated the Church's stand against contraception - but the dissent from it."
Catholics the world over would do themselves a great favor by reading and internalizing Humanae Vitae. And then maybe we'd be back in the driver's seat when it comes to directing the world in human dignity issues, rather than being those freaks who listen to pedophiles on the weekend and get artificially inseminated during the week. And then we might have fewer pedophiles and women infertile because of long term contraceptive use.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hurricane Tally

Easily among my top ten favorite XKCD comics:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

lesbians 1, Lesbians 0

I thought that you would like an update on THIS post a couple of months ago. (and when I say 'you' I'd like to mean it in the plural, but I fear the truth) It seems that those Cretans who call themselves judges in Greece's court system DECIDED AGAINST the residents of the island of Lesbos who were trying to reserve the adjective 'lesbian' to those people who are actually residents of Lesbos.

Interesting note to remind us to act charitably: 'cretin', or stupid person, deformed of the mind or body, is from the Swiss French 'crestin', which in turn is from the Latin 'Christianus'. This was to remind people that those unfortunately deformed or dumb were nevertheless human and not beasts.

So I mean it in all charity that those stupid, psychotic and socially undermining lesbian cretins are ruining my language. But yes, they're as human as the judges aren't. Same thing goes for the FOOLS MISLEADING South Carolina. "So Gay?"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Papa Ben's

So. [Bleep]ing. Funny.

Original HERE. It's well worth visiting.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Looking For A Little Perspective?

This is really cool. Or Wiierd. It takes a while to get to the cool stuff, but don't be dismayed by 2 minutes of some guy geeking out on your screen. It's worth it.

H/T SalvoBlog

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Memories to Rattle You With

Yesterday's POST and Ray Gunner's comment reminded me of another animal experience I had while a kid growing up in Wyoming.

We were fly fishing the North Platte River, which as hunting and fishing guides, we were compelled to do frequently, at the expense of going to school. It was a tough life we had... Anyway, the typical strategy was to cast upstream and dead drift the fly down, and then strip it back in slowly. This means that a lot of time is spent facing downstream. Now, my dad had always warned me to keep an eye upstream, because there were lots of sitings of prairie rattlers floating on down the river, and they seek out stumps and rock outcroppings to take a break. Very much like rattlesnakes tubing on a hot day with a beer in hand. It was a tough life they had... The worry here was that a snake is not so good at distinguishing a tree stump from a guy in waders, and it would be very likely that it would swim over to you to climb up and catch some rays.

As a typical teenager, I thought my dad was full of it, because I had never seen this before, therefore it must not be true. So it was to my surprise when my dad, some 100 yards upstream, started screaming at me. Not just because to make a noise while someone was fishing was tantamount to genocide, but because my father was never, ever, afraid of a damn thing.

Consequently, I turned around to see him waving his arms and yelling at me to get out of the water. Something about a snake. So I thought, being the 14 year old genius I was, that it'd be cool to toy with a snake, and pretty soon, I saw it coming. But what I didn't see was that that snake was just the leader.

Thankfully, and by the grace of God, I did finally notice the others--about 200 of them.

Those of you familiar with the difficulty in locomotion amidst a belly-high strong current on gravelly river beds with waders on will appreciate exactly how lucky I was to reach the shore--only 15 yards away--before a couple hundred tired and cranky rattlers made the last 75 yards to me.

We told our story around, but like most fishing stories, it fell on deaf ears. That is, until a BLM manager caught wind of it, who just happened to be a rattlesnake buff. He said that they don't know why it happens, or how often, but it's certainly rare. The only other documented case he knew of was a woman who was water skiing and fell into a group of rattlers when she was spooked by them. Imagine water skiing and all of a sudden you're skipping over a boatload (hah! didn't even catch that till it was out) of snakes. She was bitten multiple times and didn't survive.

Thankfully I didn't suffer the same fate, which means that I was around to spawn my own offspring, with enormous cheeks and long black eyelashes over beautiful blue eyes (blue eyes? I hope they stay!).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Eerie. Weird. Cool. Reminiscent.

THIS is just plain beautiful--although one could almost say 'eeray'. The patterns are quite striking, and make me wonder if there's a ideal packing density solution descriptive of the pattern they form en masse. Perhaps it's just conjecture, but maybe there's a dodecahedral KISSING PATTERN if you treat each ray as swimming in a spherical 'bubble' of space? Yeah, at least a Kepler conjecture.

My wife and I had an experience like this when on a trip out to the Channel Islands 12 years ago. Our boat was swarmed by a pod of Dolphins, estimated by our whale watching guide to be around 10,000 strong: easily the largest pod he'd ever seen. Whatever the true number, as far as you could see they were leaping out of the water. 100s were in front of and to each side of the boat, with 30 in the air at any one moment. It was breathtaking.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Global Informing

Among the many reasons why I don't like the fetish of global warming is the insistence that its proponents make about acknowledging current figures in the movement: those pseudo-heroes whose self-promotion is usually at the foundation of the praise and public recognition.

I don't mind the debate, mind you; I think we'd be careless to not examine the theory with all rigor due, especially given the import of the consequences. But we should be questioning our answers, not assuming our questions are answers.

However, I do mind the maniacal fixation on the subject regardless of its truth or fiction. It leads to poor and unjust decisions to recognize the unworthy and ignore the venerable. Kinda like this:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Oh Boy, Here We Go.

There is a prophet out there with both authority and a national voice, and his name is John Talbott. Talbott's BOOKS completely nailed what was then to come, and has since come to be. And I mean everything. Failure of the sub-prime market, catastrophic drop in capital available to lenders due to over-extended leveraging, etc. etc. But nobody listened.

I tend to be a pessimist when it comes to economics. Unlike when I play cards, I don't like to gamble and I like to look at all the facts in a calculated way. When others were screaming 'Buy!', I was saying 'Um, the ratio of median home value to head of household income is surpassing 10:1, and the last time that happened was 1928--I don't think we should be buying right now.' Still, I almost got into the act in 2006. I had been weakened by everyone's blind optimism, and was seriously thinking about getting into the housing market lest I were stuck as a California renter all my life. Thank God a good friend gave me some advice: read Talbott.

Of all Talbott's prophetic opinions, the scariest and most potentially damaging was the failure of Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The three together are holding roughly $6 trillion in mortgages. Yes. That's right--with a T.

Moreover, they are leveraged between 70 and 120 times their total equity. The Basel Accord of 1988 states that international banks need to cap residential mortgage portfolio leverage at 24:1. So, how do the FMs have such high leverage? Because they don't have to comply to the Basel Accord...they're privatized, but are still under an unwritten governmental umbrella. So they could do what they wanted without oversight. And they did.

Now that INDY MAC (unrelated to the FMs) has failed and Uncle Sam has stepped in, the question isn't 'will the government come through on its unwritten policy to back Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae if they go too', but rather: 'where does the money to do it come from when it does happen'? The national debt is $9 Trillion. And we'd add another $6T? Take a look at FREDDY MAC'S and FANNIE MAE'S share values. They skyrocketed in the 90's, and yet have lost everything in the last 9 months. This is going to be much, much worse than the S&L issues of the late 80's. Sure, the bonds are safe and only getting better, but that won't save everything. Applying a little bit of basic Adam Smith, I see there are two scenarios (but I'd like to hear what you all think):

Scenario 1. Goverment pumps a boatload of money into the Mae/Mac Machine. They buy a bunch of shares and prop up the two lenders. This would in the short term keep them solvent. But this is an internal fixing a system. For all non-biological creatures, the only way for a system to change is for an external force to be applied. The government taking tax dollars to prop up Mae/Mac is robbing Peter to pay Paul. And Peter will soon find out. Taxes will go up to compensate, (and when Obama is elected, they'll skyrocket), and the wealthy will stop developing economic interests, which will dry up the market, companies will lose money, and people will get laid off in huge numbers. You lose, thanks for playing.

Scenario 2. Government does not pump a boatload of money into the Machine. Thus Mae/Mac freezes. They are unable to borrow money to guarantee new mortgages. Bear in mind they have their hands in 70% of mortgages. That means a huge number of mortgages simply won't happen. This will absolutely crush worker mobility, and capitalism is built on the principle of worker mobility. If workers can't move, then jobs can't be filled, then products can't be produced, then profits can't be made and then more jobs will be cut, thrusting the system into extremely high unemployment. You lose, thanks for playing.

So, in 9-18 months, when you're out of a job and looking for something to fill up your days, I highly suggest reading Talbott's stuff, especially "The Coming Crash in the Housing Market" (2003), but by then you might find his books in the History section rather than under 'Economics'.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

If I Were Obama's Child...

...I'd have to question why he had me, whether he still wants me, and whether or not he views me as a punishment due to a mistake. I'd also have to wonder why my mom lives in this country, if she's almost never proud of it, but that's another story.

Hat Tip to Dragoo for the pic. It would have gone well with THIS EARLIER POST.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Some Niggardly Comments

Being offended at coarse language is one thing, but when you call for someone's resignation, public apology, and overt humiliation when you are blatantly disregarding the conventional meaning of words is ignorant and rude. So, at the grave risk of causing offense and being asked to resign from my personal blog, I'm going to offer comments to niggle you with.

I've mentioned BEFORE that it's intellectually dangerous to put too much weight on the etymological derivations of a word. But to ignore such study altogether leads to nightmares in the practical world of social relationships. This ignorance is plunging us into a dark age of linguistics, while blind acceptance of Ebonics is promoted as enlightened.

Ok. I can almost see a reason to get upset about NIGGARDLY. Niggardly does sound like niggerly, especially when spoken with an inner-city accent. But BLACK HOLE? That's just plain stupid. There is just too much gravity involved to close our eyes to such a blunder. Do you realize what the world would be like if there were any validity in complaining that 'black hole' were a racial epithet?
If people were really that concerned, why make a big deal out of nigritude? Ok, so Don Imus was rightly reprimanded for his remarks. But just imagine if he called Rutgers girls 'nappy headed black holes'. Mr. Inner-city accent would certainly freak about that.

Would I be in the wrong for ordering blackened chicken at a restaurant? Would it be a blunder if my company was in the black this quarter? I could go on and on.

This is all reminiscent of something that happened in our office a few months back. One of my co-workers, who daily heralded the delivery of UPS packages by exclaiming 'Hey! The brown Santa came!', was accosted by the UPS delivery guy. It turns out that being called the brown Santa was offensive to his Mexican self. Never did the guy think that my co-worker was celebrating him, but only insulting.

This whole denuding of language bullshit is quickly becoming a black mark in our nation's histology.

Hat tip to FR. BARRY for the links and aggravating subject matter.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Not So Pope-ular in the Land of Oz

Seems that things are getting PRETTY HEATED in Australia as World Youth Day approaches. The difference between the Holy Father and other Religious leaders? Other religious leaders would react by demanding a formal apology after belittling anyone who openly mocked his faith, or incite riots and ask for a holy war. Benedict XVI will quietly dismiss such vitriol and then spend hours before the crucifix praying for his enemies.

But THE RAELIAN RELIGION OF ALIEN CREATING LESBIANS takes the cake when it comes to protesting the Pope's presence in Australia. The most hilarious part about all of it is the opening line:
A group of glamour lesbians who believe the world was created by an alien civilisation 25,000 years ago have criticised the Catholic Church for being out of touch.
Yeah. We Catholics are out of touch. And you've demonstrably prove that you are...what?
Well balanced and sane?

The good news is that these poor women show the potential for faith-they'll obviously believe anything, and want so badly to believe in something.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just a Back-handed Thought

'Awkward' is an awkward word. As was that sentence. And that one.

Too Sexy for my Metro Shirt

It's official. Or, at least with the unmarried portion of my profession, which currently holds an 87% majority. At any rate, architects are officially THE SEXIEST PROFESSIONALS. Now, if we could only get paid what we deserve.

If you like the cartoons (click to enlarge them), and want to see more of the incredibly self-concerned sense of humor architects have, see HERE. Warning: you may find pro-modernist lingo. Be prepared for it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Love Pixar

PIXAR makes me happy.

As a traditional architect, as an artist that is disgusted at the thought of future generations comparing my century's art with those of other eras, I often become very depressed at the thought that I was born when I was. (Theological problems with that aside...) I would be happy if I was born anytime during the height of Athens. I truly share in the mindframe of the Renaissance. I would have excelled in the Baroque age. But today, I struggle just to find art that doesn't make me want to puke, and my own progress is held up merely because there's very little to learn from, and it's so disdained by the rest of society.

But Pixar makes me happy to be alive when I am.

If I had the chance, I'd drop everything in my career, move the family up to the bay, and start over with Pixar. I love what they do that much. It's not just that they make entertaining movies for kids. It's not just that their kid movies are just as enjoyable for adults. It's because they make great art, and they are upholding and re-presenting the Truth when they do it.

There are many things about Wall-E that I could go on about. Unfortunately, I've only seen it once, and budgets dictate that I'm going to have to wait for the DVD to see it again. and Again. and Again.

But one of the greatest gems about Wall-E was missed by most audience members eager to beat the parking lot jam-the outro during the end credits.

During a sequence of developing images of art, the short story takes us through the history of art itself, beginning with the two-dimensional bas relief of the Egyptians, to Roman mosaics, to representative frescoes, ultimately ending not with the modernist movements of cubism, surrealism or dadaism, but with impressionism. The 20th century's contribution to the history of art is entirely missing.

Well, not really.

What follows is a series of Atari-level pixelated graphics of the film's characters weaving in and out of the end credits, curiously reminiscent of the artistic quality of hieroglyphics-which is where the sequence began. Why is this important? Because pixelated, non-figural representative art is the culmination of Modernist abstraction art. But the beauty of this little outro is not just that it cutely gives an art history course, but that the message is mimicking the developing human history as the feature film Wall-E presents it.

As art developed from 2D to 3D (as mankind moved from wall hieroglyphs and mosaics to realistic figural work and then landscapes), a heightened sense of realism was attained, but the subject of the pieces were gradually reduced in 'obviousness'. The subject of Egyptian art is obvious. The subject of Impressionist work is by definition, not obvious. There is a removal from reality here, just like the removal from reality that the extraterrestrial earthlings suffer from in the feature. Overall, the outro challenges us to wonder if we, the human race, are in fact progressing. Our art is representative of our ideas, so what does the lack of clarity, the lack of subject in our art say about where we are and where we are headed?

There is more meaning, story, representation and truth in that little outro than in any regular 'ideology flick' from mainline Hollywood.

And it was done without words.

So to those complainers out there who thought the first 45 minutes of Wall-E was too boring or could have been edited: Open your eyes. There is a lot there. You just have to be willing to accept silence for a minute to learn to use your eyes again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gettin' It All Out

I think this is old news, but I just found out about complaint choirs. I hate to sing, but this is somehow right up my alley. I done gots to find me one of 'dem der singing ensembleys.

There are apparently complaint choirs all over the world. The music's not that great, but it's very interesting to see the kind of things that people complain about in different lands.

It's not surprising that there's 5 times as many women than men.

oops. Did I say that? I bet someone complains that I did.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Vociferously Vocalizing Vocatives Evoking Vocational Vocabulary

It's not really my M.O. to just list off a bunch of puns, because I'd rather sprinkle them into my commentary. These, however, are so good, I have to let them fly as is. Enjoy. Hat tip to my brother.

Sign over a Gynecologist's Office:
'Dr. Jones, at your cervix.'

In a Podiatrist's office:
'Time wounds all heels.'

On a Septic Tank Truck:
Yesterday's Meals on Wheels

At a Proctologist's door:
'To expedite your visit, please back in.'

On a Plumber's truck:
'We repair what your husband fixed.'

On another Plumber's truck:
'Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.'

On a Church's Bill board:
'7 days without God makes one weak.'

At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee :
'Invite us to your next blowout.'

At a Towing company:
'We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.'

On an Electrician's truck:
'Let us remove your shorts.'

In a Nonsmoking Area:
'If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.'

On a Maternity Room door:
'Push. Push. Push.'

At an Optometrist's Office:
'If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.'

On a Taxidermist's window:
'We really know our stuff.'

On a Fence:
'Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!'

At a Car Dealership:
'The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment.'

Outside a Muffler Shop:
'No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.'

In a Veterinarian's waiting room:
'Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!'

At the Electric Company
'We would be delighted if you send in your payment.
However, if you don't, you will be.'

In a Restaurant window:
'Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.'

In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
'Drive carefully. We'll wait.'

At a Propane Filling Station:
'Thank heaven for little grills.'

And don't forget the sign at a
'Best place in town to take a leak.'

Sign on the back of another Septic Tank Truck:

'Caution - This Truck is full of Political Promises'

Friday, July 4, 2008

Big Mac Attack

I was watching TV last night and noticed that EVERY single laptop that I saw in either shows or commercials was a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, yet they all had the apple light taped over or had a modified case. Now, that's called free product placement, and it happens because advertisers of lesser products want to attach their product to an image of a successful product, a cool product. Now, Apple goes to great extents to advertise new products in an exciting way, but to get boatloads of free adverts is ridiculously awesome.

Remember, apple products are unmistakably 'mac'. When was the last time you saw a black rectangle from distance and said 'now that's an HP, and I love the new design!'. I'd bet never.

Add to all this Pixar's very 'subtle' product placement of apple imagery or actual products, and you have magic potential given that kids love Pixar movies and characters.

Take for example Pixar's most recent gem of a film: Wall-E. Who among us can deny that Eve, that adorably cute and yet extremely powerful robot that Wall-E falls in love with, is actually a futuristic iMac? Word on the street is that Johnny Ive, the Apple VP of design responsible for the iMac and iPod, was a consultant to Disney/Pixar for the film, specifically on Eve's design. I wonder if he added that halo glow always surrounding Eve.

But there are many more references there...Wall-E watches 'Hello Dolly' on a magnified iPod. He chases around a group of one-button mice. When he starts up, he sounds off the start-up sound all Mac users hear daily. My 7 year old turned to me in the middle of the movie and said 'Hey Dad, Wall-E sounds like your computer'.

With that kind of product placement in front of current and future consumers, we have an explosive potential for breaking down the near monopoly of Microsuck and maintaining it for a generation at least.

This reminded me that I have a $100 bet with a friend that Apple will have achieved a 30% market share of personal computers by September 2012. Given RECENT DATA, I'll be collecting that Franklin far in advance of 2012. In fact, he has already bought an iMac himself.

My advice to you investors: ignore recent trends. Buy APPL now. Apple shares will hit $300 by the end of 2009.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Abstaining from Abstinence

Many states are now starting to REFUSE TAX DOLLARS intended for abstinence education. Citing rising pregnancy rates in many parts of the country, they are maintaining the argument that abstinence is just not working to curb teen pregnancies. I have two opinions on this.

As I've mentioned here before, I agree that abstinence education does not work. We need chastity education. God knows I'd be much better if it were explained to me in high school that chastity of mind and body would lead to a greater happiness than the gratification of sex. To have parents tell me to just not do it, when everywhere else I was hearing to Just Do It, was of no help in combating my high school health teacher (almost always the football coach, as it was in my high school) telling me to just use a condom and by the way here's a pocketful. That caveat aside, I do believe that abstinence education is better use of tax dollars than GIVING AN 11 YEAR OLD a morning-after pill for free. (Article from the U.K., but the trend is here anyway)

Secondly, while an increased pregnancy rate amongst teen is a bad thing generally, when viewed from the point of view that the abortion rate has dropped amongst the same age group over the same timeframe in the same demographic range, I'd say this is a positive. It's not that there are more pregnancies. It's only that fewer of those teens who are pregnant are choosing to kill their babies.

These two opinions, when taken together, lead me to a third. I am willing to bet x amount of dollars that the pregnancy rate will go up in those states eliminating abstinence education, at least for a while. Why? Teens are only going to be more active, and yet they won't be getting as many abortions. That is, until schools are once again allowed to teach that abortion is the best way out of that mess you've put yourself in.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some Grammatical Pet Peeves

I really shouldn't post this, especially because there have been so many typological errors in this blog lately, but yet I can't help myself. I'm more bothered when I fall prey to these errors than when I find them elsewhere, which is very often. are just a few of my orthographical, grammatical and syntactical pet peeves; randomly numbered. How could I DESCRIBE DISORDER in any particular order?

1. Emoticons :-(
Punctuation marks should be treated with respect. Do not disrespect them in front of me. They are not matter for art, and our society is stupid enough without promoting the linguistic devolution to hieroglyphs for idea conveyance. And don't give me that bullshit line about how 'it's convenient to use them for expediency in emails or IM'. It's convenient to pick my nose, but such convenience does not make it acceptable simply because I'm too lazy to reach for a Kleenex. If you can't convey sarcasm with the written word, then you're just going to look like a bigger jerk for using one of those winking debacles, and still come across as an idiot 13 year old.

2. Try and get away with this one
At issue here is the misuse of an infinitive. It should be try to get away... What if you didn't get away with it? You'd try and get away and then not get a way? Stupid.

3. Irregardless, you're still an idiot
I don't know what bothers me more...people who use 'irregardless' when they mean 'regardless', or the asshole who put 'irregardless' in the dictionary and then wrote: see regardless.

4. Seriously. I really could care less for you.
Take a peek at the illustration to the right. Very few people actually get this one correct, implying a sardonic inner meanness of spirit AND an inability to understand what their flapper is really saying. Please don't say 'I could care less' when you mean to say that you don't mind if this or that happens. Hint: if in conversation, I say to you: 'I could care less for you', take it as a huge, however so quantitatively ambiguous, compliment, and a rare but pure display of true Christian Charity.

5. The George W. Nuclear
I have a gadget on my google homepage that is constantly feeding me great gaffes from Dubya. I want to name the mistake of saying 'noo-kyoo-ler' instead of 'noo-klee-er' after His Gaffeness.

6. Lend me you ear or I'll lay waste upon you.
Don't use loan for lend. 'Loan' is a noun. 'Lend' is a verb. Again, don't misuse 'lie' when you mean 'lay'. 'To lay' means to set, or put. 'To lie' means to recline. Chickens lay eggs. People lie down.

7. This is just between you and I...
No. I'll try to keep it between you and me that you're a moron who should go back to redo grammar school. And don't say 'responsibility was shared between John and myself' just because you know 'I' isn't right but you don't know what else to say, or are unsure of the correctness of 'me' because of unfamiliarity. You'll just sound like a more refined fool.

8. Apostrophe pimping
The poor apostrophe is already an overtaxed mark. Please don't thrust responsibilities upon it that are not becoming. If you are unsure of basic apostrophe use, please visit THE APOSTROPHE PROTECTION SOCIETY, they have 1000s of examples. (not 1000's)

9. Homophones
As an addicted punster, you'd think that I wouldn't mind the sprinkling in of misused homophones, right? WRONG. If you use 'its' for 'it's', confuse 'their' for 'they're', misuse 'your' when you mean 'you're', then you better pray I don't know where you live. While I'm on the topic, don't ever, ever excuse yourself from a witty remark by 'no pun intended'. If you let it fly, take pride in it, even if it was a stroke of accidental genius. If you insist on not punning, it's still better to let it out and bear the shame, than keep it in and bear the pain.

10. Going to the Libary in Febuary
I'll forgive my toddler, but not by friends for leaving out an 'r' in Library or February. You should practice saying these while driving. It relieves the tension of life.

And because my lists GO TO ELEVEN:

11. Basically, this is infinitely worse than anything else: literally
So many people--young people usually, but often crappy writers--overuse 'basically' that it's just sickening. The only basic truth we hear out of their yapping mouths is that they have a very basic vocabulary. 'Basically' used this way is a kind of adverbial overstatement, similar to LITERALLY, but not quite as bad as 'infinitely'. I recall C.S. Lewis' remarks about the presumptive comparison to the 'infinite':
"Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."
"Because really, where could you go from there? Where? Nowhere. But what we do, if we need that little push over the cliff, we go to eleven. One louder."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

God Is Dead Because We Euthanized Him

I mean, c'mon, God. Have some self-respect and die with dignity.

Modern science often forgets that it is not fitting, nay, is not possible, for any science or art to prove it's own principles.

Now, this also means that a science or art should not validate it's own worth by reducing all other possible views to obsolescence by means of repeated validation of it's own truth value. "I am the right idea. Therefore all others are incorrect. And because I say that there can be only one idea, all others are obsolete." Afterall, only children and idiots turn BITTER, clinging "to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them".

Even EINSTEIN thought that the idea of God was childish. Well no duh, Einstein. That's THE IDEA!

But perhaps the most striking statistic that I've read recently is in THIS article: 60% percent of Jews doubt God's existence. 60%? Are you kidding me?

But is it that surprising? If I weren't Catholic, I'd be either Jewish or an Atheist. And if I were Jewish, I'd quickly become an Atheist. I just wouldn't be able to handle, as the majority of Jews apparently cannot, the absence of the Messiah, or even the signals of God's continued presence in the world. I need the Eucharist. I am naturally a doubting Thomas, my fingers itching to prod and poke for belief. Can it be that Jews question the existence of a Messiah who still hasn't shown up? Are they getting impatient? Isn't that their habit as shown in Scripture? It's that, and they are being mislead by a scientific community that is repeating Satan's whisper: 'Because He is not obvious, He is not.'

At a lecture this past weekend, the claim was made that all of modern science's problems stem from a lack of understanding of 'substance' in the Aristotelian categorical sense. I think this is right. Modern science actually has a religion of its own, and it's called Materialism. They speak of quantity, quality, position, time, as if they are essential things, beings in their own right, and it is these things they worship. If they understand substance at all, it is in a primary sense-this particular particle. Secondary substances, universals, do not exist to physicists because they cannot be measured, no matter how large of an electron collider we build.

This is why, starting with FIDES ET RATIO, both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been so concerned with the relationship between science and religion. We should listen to their philosophically mature ideas instead of assuming their wisdom is childish merely because their faith is.