Saturday, January 28, 2006

On Rivalries

The school at which I teach has been on the lower end of the athletic totem pole for many years. We have been in the same league for just about our entire existence, and within the league there are two other private schools; a fellow Catholic school (jokingly called "The Factory" because they have been athletically dominant for generations) and a Protestant Christian school which also has been very strong in basketball. Naturally, the rivalries between these two schools and mine is rather intense; yet the intensities of the rivalry with regards to the fellow Catholic school and us and the protestant school and us are of very different characters.

Let me explain.

Last year in basketball, we finally acheived a certain amount of success in the gym. The Protestants (their mascot is the Patriot) beat us at their own home, but when they came to visit us, despite amazing woofing on the part of the parents and strutting on the part of their players, we finally beat them on our home floor. They thanked us by overturning our picnic tables and grousing on their way out.

We then proceeded to beat them -twice- in the playoffs, and the unpleasant character of the rivalry only increased.

This year has been little different. While the cheering is intense, its character is verging on hostile. The Protestants do not like us, at all.

Naturally, I am biased, but it is my belief that the animus is mostly one-sided. We would be more than happy to get along with our Protestant brethren, but the level of animosity they generate towards us makes this amity difficult to achieve.


Let us compare this intensity to that we share with the Factory.

The Factory last year pretty much crushed us on their home court. When they then visited us in the most anticipated game of the year, an unbelievably raucous crowd saw the Factory beat us in overtime.

Then we met in the playoffs, with great anticipation.

The game started with a cheer from the Factory side of the floor; "Go CATHOLICS!!!!" Remember, we are both Catholic schools.

The Factory crushed us again. It wasn't even close. And we then proceeded to cheer for them throughout the rest of the playoffs, as they finished 5th in the state. You surely did not see us overturn their picnic tables on the way out.

This year, the Factory is down while we returned 4 of our five starters from last year's playoff team. We went to their place and beat them for the first time in a tightly fought contest. We proceeded to win all of our other games (save one, where the rather rude Patriot crowd saw their team beat us in OT on our own floor. Since they won this one, they left our picnic tables alone).

And then the Factory came to our place last night.

My school's team put together four full quarters, never let up and beat the Factory easily. A very intense game on the floor, lots of cheering in the stands, but we prevailed.

But that's not why I am writing this post.

Afterward, one of our school's families hosted a get together of families from both our school. . .and the Factory.

I'd estimate about 80 people showed up. Most of our players were there, as were a good many Factory players and their families. And we had a great time. Lots of pizza, chips, beer, pop, great conversations. I spoke at length with the parents of the Factory's pre-season all-star choice, and the owner of the radio station that broadcasts Factory games. They were happy for our success and were rooting for us to go far in the state tourney. They still hope to beat us in the playoffs, but wish us well. . .just as we have with them for years. They are playing the Patriots on Tuesday. For the Factory to beat the Patriots only helps us. . .it doesn't significantly assist the Factory given the state of records in the league right now.

Yet they are out for bear on the Patriots, and wish us to beat them as well. See, they have been on the receiving end of Patriot animosity as well.

We also discussed fan behavior. While we both cheer our respective home teams, we also cheer the efforts of the opposing team, giving a good hand to starters who are done for the night, regardless of which team he belongs to.

And keep in mind all of this occurs not only while our boys are getting the upper hand over the Factory for the first time ever, but our girls team -much maligned- ALSO beat the Factory against everyone's expectations -including mine- for the first time ever last night. And yet the Factory parents and players were remarkably poised, elegant and fair in taking their loss, enjoying fellowship with us as much as we enjoyed it with them.

We would invite the Patriot parents over, but they would not accept the invite. Or perhaps they would, and burn down the house.

The Factory people are class acts, and while we do share the fraternity of common faith, it gives one hope that at least at the high school level, it is possible to have those intense rivalries while simultaneously forming and cementing friendships between the groups. Now if we could get the same relationship going with our Protestant brethren. . .

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Meatheads from Massachusetts remind us why Mark Shea calls if the "Evil Party"

Though one can argue that it is stupid as well.


John Kerry, the Amazing Flopster, is calling for a filibuster on the elevation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

One has to feel for the guy. Since his confusing brand of evil progessivism failed in '04, he still has to meet the expectations of the Cluebats that continue to vote for him in the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts.

And of course, Senator Ted is supporting this moonbat notion. Ted even has the gall to call this upcoming vote a "test of conscience."

Don't you just love it when degenerate, sanctimonious hypocrites such as Kennedy use the word "conscience"?

Bring it on, Evil Party. Then you can give the Stupid Party the excuse they are aching for to use the "Nuclear Option."

CNN link on this foolishness here.

The "New" Terri Schiavo

Nothing for me to say that hasn't already been said here.

Go read it now, as it is Absolutely.

Right.

On.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Inquisition and Modern liberalism; mirror images of one another

Why, you say?

Simple. In the Inquisition, the perpetrators quite rightly hated heresies, but went overboard and also hated the heretics.

Whereas modern liberals, not wanting to be labeled Torquemadas, simply LOVE heretics. Which would be fine, except that they then also go overboard -the other way- and start loving the heresies, thinking that you can't love one without also loving the other.

Same errors, simply mirror images of one another.

Hat tip to Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Rare sports commentary

A fellow named Davis who plays for the New York Knicks saw his wife being intimidated by what appeared to be an intoxicated fan. He then went into the stands to "evaluate" the situation.

Now, we might be conditioned to think that yet another idiot, spoiled athlete went in the stands to get violent and "teach the fans a lesson" as happened in Detroit a little over a year ago.

No such thing happened.

Davis went into the stands, security came in, removed Davis, his family, and the offending patron. Problem solved. Davis has since been suspended for five games.

And when I first read this, I thought; "Man, he did exactly the right thing. Exactly what I would have done."

Scoop Jackson, a writer for ESPN.com synopsized this little incident perfectly.

I don't often agree with Jackson. He tends to play the race card too often in his articles. But boy, did he nail it correctly in this one.

Go read it right now.

UPDATE:

On the other hand, it is not easy to sympathize when the alleged "victim" in this non-incident is now suing Davis for slander, among other things.

I note with head-shaking bemusement that the victim is a son of a major Democratic operative in Chicago. This fact lends credence to the idea that the Evil Party continues to advocate for the Cult of Victimhood.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

*snickers*

Much earlier in this blog, I suggested that Richard Dawkins, the notorious natural scientist might be open to the idea of the existence of God in an interview he gave some years ago.

Well, I was quite thoroughly raked over the coals by some resident MRTs. . .for daring to suggest that Dawkins had even the hint of monotheism in him.


Then I came across this little tidbit in the Times (UK):
Scientists all over the nation must hold their heads and groan whenever Richard Dawkins appears on television, as he did in The Root of All Evil? (Monday, C4). He is such a terrible advertisement, such an awful embarrassment, the Billy Graham of the senior common room. His splenetic, small-minded, viciously vindictive falsetto rant at all belief that isn’t completely rooted in the natural sciences is laughable. Dawkins is a born-again Darwinist, an atheist, so why is he devoting so much blood pressure and time to arguing with something he knows doesn’t exist? If it’s not there, Richard, why do you keep shouting at it? He looks like a scientific bag lady screaming at the traffic, and watching him argue with a fundamentalist Christian, you realise they were cut from identical cloth, separated at birth. Dawkins is, of course, the archetype of a man who protests too much, and I’d say he’s well on his way to, if not a Pauline, then at least a Muggeridgian conversion. Any day now, he’ll be back on telly quoting CS Lewis.


The author raises a point: Why is Dawkins so curmedgeonly on the topic? Remember, the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. Dawkins is not apathetic on the subject of the existence of God.


On another note, can you IMAGINE the NYTimes running such an article? Never, not even down to Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell. I find it delicious that the UK Times can tweak the materialist/atheistic establishment, but no paper in the US to the left of the Washingon Times would ever dare challenge the regnant cultural mouthpieces.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Just a couple of odds and ends

1) EXTREMELY tired today. I have GOT to start getting more than 5 hours of sleep per night.
2) ClustrMaps, that interesting map on the right bar that shows visits from other places, reveals that I get my primary hits from the following areas:

a)Two spots in Washington State. I know who those are.
b)One from what appears to be Texas. I am pretty sure I know who that is.
c)One spot from Scandinavia; apparently Norway, in the lower, more urban section (which could also be Sweden, I am sure). I have not the first clue who that might be.

Yoo-hoo!!! Any subjects (however nominal) of Harald V or Carl XVI Gustav!! Make a comment or drop me an e-mail identifying yourself(ves)! Always curious to make contact with folks from beyond the borders.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sociological Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a common concept in psychology. It is typically defined thus:
Leon Festinger called cognitive dissonance ". . .the distressing mental state in which people feel they 'find themselves doing things that don’t fit with what they know'".
Examples are common enough to find; a recovering alcoholic taking a drink, a husband cheating on his wife, a consciously honest student cheats on a test. In all cases, the person committing the act then suffers from anxiety stemming from the disconnect between the action taken and the previous mindset.

Dissonance is then resolved by either altering the action, or altering the thought process that predated the action. For example, the philandering spouse might rationalize that his wife was a nagging, frigid ice queen and he had to have some release. Truth is not quite so much the issue here as resolving the mental conflict.

Catholics refer to cognitive dissonance as "guilt." Perhaps some of us have heard of this concept before.

Sociological dissonance is the phenomenon where an entire culture engages in an action that is antithetical to its morals, and either radically alters its thinking to lessen the dissonance, or it manufactures alternative moral issues as a means of avoiding the guilt associated with the primary violation.


Example of primary violation: (see this link for illustration):
1: Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps.
2:The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
3:The abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head.
4:The abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole.
5:The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed."


Any reasonable culture would consider this action to be murder. Worse, infanticide. Yet through the wonders of sociological dissonance, culturally we ignore the horror of the mutilated child and instead focus on the sad story of birds who are "tortured" in the making of foie gras.

Associated Press
OLYMPIA-For bird sympathizers concerned with the practice of force feeding, a trip to a swanky French restaurant may soon become easier to swallow.
Rep. Brendan Williams (D-Olympia), has proposed a meaure that would ban the process of harvesting bloated livers -known as foie gras, or "fatty liver"- and would remove the delicacy from state restaurants.
It can be difficult to stomach the methods used to make this delicacy. A few times each day, waterfowl are force-fed high-energy food-usually corn- via long tube attached to a pressurized pump.
The process can balloon a liver to 10 times the normal size-a swelling that can often be deadly.
"Torturing an animal to make it tastier is not a proposition I support," Williams said. "There has(sic) to be some limitations on decadence when it comes to what we eat or what we do to animals.
No farms in Washington currently produce foie gras, although most French restaurants provide the indulgence on the menu.
"Banning the production immediately is proactive and won't disrupt the practices of farmers," Williams said. Restaurants would have until 2012 to remove the item from the menu.


Representative Williams (Evil Party, Olympia) I am sure at some point, has wrestled with the horror that is abortion. Yet, to stay in office in this putridly liberal state, he must bow to the wishes of the abortion lobby, so he supports the infanticide. Perhaps he soothes his dissonance by claiming that he personally is against abortion, but supports the woman's right to choose. (How similar this sounds to those German Protestants who secretly abhorred Kristallnacht and other examples of Nazi persecution of the Jews, but felt that the State did have the right, after all, to choose how it dealt with the Jews).

However, Mr. Williams apparently felt the need to go farther still, and is further reducing his dissonance by protecting the helpless waterfowl whose livers go to soothe upscale palates in uppity French restaurants. After all, as he said: "There has(sic) to be some limitations on decadence when it comes to what we eat or what we do with animals."

Indeed, Mr. Williams. While you address the minor problem of subject/verb agreement, ask yourself this: What of the decadence we as a society bless when we torture and kill our own children for the sake of decadent convenience? Perhaps once you answer this, then I might join you on your anti-foie gras campaign.

First things first, anyone? Or are birds more worthy of saving than humans?



For more on the general societal decay that leads to this insane contradiction, visit Suicide of the West.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What 20th century Pope are you?

Heh.
John Paul II
I am Pope John Paul II. I am a force to be
reckoned with.


Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I wonder what the others were like? "You are Benedict XV, somewhat historically removed. . ."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Secular religionists once again seek to establish their own state-based faith

Link:


Once again, secular humanism attempts to stifle any dissent to its insistent belief that we came about from nothing.


What kills me about this is they are trying to quash a philosophy class. Now, not only have they reduced scienctific inquiry to its most base form (radical empiricism), but now they are trying to reduce philosophy to the same barren standard.

With the final irony, of course, being their acceptance of any number of questions and outright errors of evolution based on their own faith.

Funny how THEY can believe, and have the state sanction it, but no one else can have elements of faith.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Fame

Oh my goodness.

Preamble to the gush:

I have been for parts of 30 years a drama geek. Simply love acting. Did a lot of it in middle school, some in high school, and went berserk with it in college. I even met my wife on the set of a college play.

I then stepped out of it for close to 15 years; grad school, establishing a career, marriage and young children put my little drama avocation on hold for awhile.

Then, when my kids got older, they asked what I liked to do as a kid, I mentioned acting, and they of course wanted to get into it themselves.

I returned to acting on the understanding that it would then become a family affair. I act in plays that my kids are also in. I even turned down a role offered to me in one local production when it became clear that my kids would have no part in it.

So, for the most part, I have been involved in some way or other with almost every show my kids have been in these past 4 years.

Now, as some of the links below describe, I spent the early part of this fall playing Maurice in Beauty and the Beast, with two of my children, and my wife playing violin. A great time for all, yet exhausting for me as I was ill for most of the run, and we had child care problems with our younger kids.


The same theater troupe then auditioned Fame. A movie I hate. A script I like even less. And I was tired. AND my wife was asked to play violin for it as well. They would like me to play one of the teachers, but I demurred.

"Listen," I said. "You can find a person to play the teacher a lot easier than you can find another violinist. So, I'll sit this one out, thanks."

And I did.

And the cast in general has had problems -some serious- with rehearsals. So, I looked forward to opening night tonight as an obligation; I really wasn't expecting good theater this time around.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the theater. . .

GUSH/

So, for the first time tonight, I got to see a play my kids were in (two of the principals, no less) that I had had nothing to do with; so I got to see their performances with fresh, new eyes, so to speak.


My God, they blew me away!!!

My oldest son played a smartass Puerto Rican, always there with the smart answer, and he was hilarious. Now, I've already gushed about him here, so I'll leave off of him.

Then my older daughter played the lead, Carmen; the tortured girl who sings the title song, leaves for Los Angeles for fame and fortune, and returns a broken drug addict and eventually ODs.

And she NAILED it, especially a song in the second act where she laments LA and the damage it can do to a person as they pursue their dreams without recourse to caution and discipline. The broken heart she displayed in singing that piece. . . .

I've always smirked at parents who cried at the graduations or big games of their kids. No more. My own daughter brought tears to my eyes as she sang the utter heartbreak and misery Carmen had brought upon herself. I wept because she so thoroughly communicated the tragedy that was Carmen, but moreso because it was my daughter, and she was using her talents so completely and so well.

She is a determined young girl. She WANTS to be a good actress, and as my father told me when she was not even two years old, "Watch out for her. She is stubborn, and will fight for what she wants."

She works and fights -damned hard- at her craft. And it paid off tonight.

And forgive me if I take just a moment to beam with pride at my daughter.

Because of her, AND my son, AND their now-excellent fellow cast. . .I need to see this show again.

/GUSH


Crime of the Scene
Audition Update
Theater Teaching Parenting
Beauty Opens Tomorrow
How Rex Harrison Saved My Bacon
The Real OpeningCrime of the Scene
Audition Update
Theater Teaching Parenting
Beauty Opens Tomorrow
How Rex Harrison Saved My Bacon
The Real OpeningCrime of the Scene
Audition Update
Theater Teaching Parenting
Beauty Opens Tomorrow
How Rex Harrison Saved My Bacon
The Real Opening
Rex Redux

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Praying for a person in need

Long-time readers may recognize the name GodofBiscuits.

It seems Biscuits lost an argument with a set of train tracks while on his Vespa, resulting in an accident, broken ribs, and an extended hospital stay. He is still in the hospital as of his last post. You might send some prayers his way, as he appears to be in some very serious pain.

For those readers who do NOT know of him, the rest of his blog outside of his descriptions of the accident and hospital experience likely may be (make that WILL be) more than a little angering. Despite that, he certainly needs prayers for a quick recovery.

Robertson, SHUT UP!!!!!!

SERIOUSLY!!

Pat Robertson gives Christians a bad name. He needs to be put out to pasture.


LINK

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Garrison Keillor to the woodshed, please.

It seems that our sometimes curmedgeonly host of A Prairie Home Companion did a piece spoofing the Pope some time ago, and it sent a loyal Catholic listener into a fit of rage. Read the exchange here, right now, before you go any further. (Quickly, too. I am unsure how long this link will be up).

Now, we can probably agree that the reader went a bit overboard in his response. Way overboard. Let's just say that if this reader had been a Titanic passenger, he would have drowned long before the ship struck the iceberg.

Keillor is correct in that people need to get used to their religions being poked fun at. We simply need to live with it. As if this reader/listener wasn't aware of Keillor's ongoing spoof in his Tales from Lake Woebegone. I mean really. The Catholic church in this fictional community is "Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility." That is a SPOOF!!!


However. . . .




Keillor says something at the end of his response that demands attention.

If the Democratic party is out of step with the Church, it's because the two are separate and independent, and because the church believes that its teachings on abortion and gays and contraception are more important than its teachings on social justice. Christ said a great deal about the poor, so one would think that's important in Christian theology, but you can make up your own mind about that. If you're outraged at a piece of comedy about the Pope and you accept with equanimity the people in your party cutting Medicaid, then you're a very interesting Christian indeed


He went down the tubes with this statement, and he ended up saying much more about the Church than he is qualified to comment upon, thereby showing that the listener -to a point- is correct. That Keillor is in fact an anti-Catholic bigot.

because the church believes that its teachings on abortion and gays and contraception are more important than its teachings on social justice.
Um. yeah, it does, and for damned good reason, Garrison. You may note, Garrison, that when issues of social justice were of paramount concern at the end of the 19th century, the Pope (Leo XIII) issued Rerum Novarum, THE seminal document on the rights of the worker, demanding fair wages, an end to child exploitation and the right of collective bargaining. All of which then came about in the industrialized West. You had better believe that this fight is still going on in developed countries, Mr. Keillor; you simply can't see it because it doesn't happen in St. Paul, New York or Denmark. None of those places need to hear the teaching. They have already learned from it.

To equate the cutting of Medicaid as on par with the teachings of Rerum Novarum, or to suggest that the Church has abrogated its responsibilities to these teachings is a bigoted smear; and normally, I would think you are above it, save for what Mark Shea has accurately labled your "reflexive Protestantism."

You also suggest that the Church places issues of abortion, gays and contraception above social justice. Take the teachings on homosexuality out of the discussion, as that is a different topic. Abortion and contraception are the same argument. And here is your error.


Do you know the difference between a conservative and an environmentalist, Mr. Keillor? A conservative wants to build a cabin in the woods. An environmentalist HAS his cabin in the woods and wants to prevent anyone else from building theirs.

You are like the environmentalist, only in a much more sinister and deadly fashion.

The Church now puts abortion on the front burner for a simple reason: They want to give people the CHANCE to complain about their Medicaid being cut, rather than killing them before they are old enough to worry about it.


It's that simple. Once the Evil Party (Democrats) safeguards the rights of those MOST HELPLESS in our society (the unborn), THEN I will join them in their fight against the Stupid Party (Republicans) in getting more Medicaid. (HT to Mark Shea for the Evil/Stupid party labels).


You are like that environmentalist, only worse: Since you already have your life, you now wish to prevent others from getting theirs.

The Church now addresses issues of life because the issue is THERE. It wasn't so in the 1890s.

Shame on you for your heartlessness.
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