Life Begins

I just saw “baby boy Washington” enter life with a cry. He does not yet know how much he will have to cry about. His mother is unmarried and does not want him. He will be turned over to the city for a life of not being wanted. This is true for more than one third of all the hundreds of babies delivered here. I don’t think his prospects are very good for finding love, happiness, joy, purpose…. I am not depressed — only filled with wonder. Wonder at the glory and tragedy of life in this city. In a little while I will drive home and can count on being struck again by the New York skyline — a never failing object of adoration. The city and the potential of the civilization it represents — to this I am religiously committed. And to the ways of the God who brought it into being. “What is man, that you keep him in mind?” Little baby boy Washington — fear not, He has redeemed you. He has called you by the name you do not yet have, you are His! I cannot guarantee you that this is true. It may be a pious illusion. But it is better than what is called the truth by men, but just must be illusion. You are not alone.
-Richard John Neuhaus
 From his time as a chaplain via Alan Jacobs


Everyone wants to live forever

When carbohydrates are removed from your diet, will you live to 120? Do you want to live to 120?




In the Garden

Need a Gospel album from these folks, now.


Regarding my many problems

Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. To make matters worse, the prefrontal cortex has a novelty bias, meaning that its attention can be easily hijacked by something new – the proverbial shiny objects we use to entice infants, puppies, and kittens. The irony here for those of us who are trying to focus amid competing activities is clear: the very brain region we need to rely on for staying on task is easily distracted. We answer the phone, look up something on the internet, check our email, send an SMS, and each of these things tweaks the novelty- seeking, reward-seeking centres of the brain, causing a burst of endogenous opioids (no wonder it feels so good!), all to the detriment of our staying on task. It is the ultimate empty-caloried brain candy. Instead of reaping the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort, we instead reap empty rewards from completing a thousand little sugar-coated tasks.

- Courtesy of The Guardian


Tony Esolen on Human Liberty

"Freedom cannot be mere permission.  License is not simply a false version of liberty.  It is the death of liberty.

That is because man's liberty is for his perfection.  If you abuse your arms, tearing at them with hooks and crushing them under sledgehammers, you will not achieve any of the good that arms are for.  If you abuse your free judgment and turn to vice, you will have a will that is to the soul no better than the torn and crushed arms are to the body.  No better, and probably far worse."

- Anthony Esolen, pp.40, "Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching"


Greatest NFL Game Ever

Was played tonight, Patriots vs. Ravens, Foxborough Mass. 
35-31 Pats.  Never seen a more competitive or entertaining or thrilling sports contest.
 Guess I had to wait a couple days to see Flacco eliminated.



January 3, 2015

I'd really like Joe Flacco to be eliminated from the playoffs today.
Can't wait until February!


"The confining form liberates the content."

The confining form actually liberates the content.  This is a universal principle in the human arts.  The confining form of a haiku liberates and expresses satori or kensho. Within the Apollonian confines of the sacred dance, Dionysian energies can safely be released.  Only because the children play inside the playground fence can they play wildly, safe from running into cars or over cliffs. (The Commandments are God's fence to protect our play.)
- Peter Kreeft, Summa Philosphica, pp. 6


Ben Carson for President 2016

At least that's the way it looks now


My first disagreement with Father Robert Barron

Here Father Robert Barron tells us not to worry about the loud public disagreement and confusion caused by the Church's recent Extraordinary Synod on the Family.  He says essentially that this happens all the time and that we ought to be patient with the Church to wait for the true definitive teaching of this council which will be issued a long time from now. 

I would agree with him, IF the Church were debating questions that had not been settled or previously expounded.  However, in this case, the Church is simply giving voice to a seemingly large percentage of the clergy that outright disagrees with the Church's (settled) teaching on any basically any issue involving sexual morality (pick your favorite!)

It's not like this council can end with anything but a simple restatement of moral truths, perhaps cast in a different tone.  The substance of the Church's moral teaching on sexuality will not change, because it cannot, and because it if does, She is not who She says She is.


things the media says

the UK's daily mail  says the Pope "... is about to overhaul a number of social dogmas that the Church has held for many years"

we'll see.



In America I saw the freest and most enlightened men placed in the happiest circumstances that the world affords, it seemed to me as if a cloud habitually hung upon their brow, and I thought them serious and almost sad, even in their pleasures.
The chief reason for this contrast is that the former do not think of the ills they endure, while the latter are forever brooding over advantages they do not possess. It is strange to see with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue their own welfare, and to watch the vague dread that constantly torments them lest they should not have chosen the shortest path which may lead to it.
- AT


common wisdom

that said, smoking is seriously bad for you, no joke.


Why Battlestar Galactica is an awesome show

The doctor on the show smokes cigarettes.


on aging

Throughout the course of "my twenties", I was psychologically (not rationally) convinced I was invincible, and  I more or less behaved like my body could not fail me in any serious way, regardless of the extremes to which I pushed it. I'm aware this disposition was unwise.

So I recently entered the fourth decade of my life and went to the doctors and found that I am not, in fact, invincible.  This is a hard truth that I don't like.  Reason let me know it when I was younger; time made it real, and reality has impinged upon my delusions and upset me.


good decision from the supreme court today

in the United States, religious freedom survives for another day, just barely


a ridiculous freak-out session at abc news is captured in a video at the above link


i could never be a part of a religion that derives its moral teachings from the spirit of the times

it just doesnt make sense

it's what people want, though



It's all going according to plan...

Survey: US sees sharpest health insurance premium increases in years
The investment bank’s April survey of 148 brokers found that this quarter, the average premium increase for customers renewing an insurance plan is 12 percent in the small group market and 11 percent in the individual market, according to Forbes’ Scott Gottlieb.
The hikes — the largest in the past three years, according to Morgan Stanley’s quarterly reports — are “largely due to changes under the [Affordable Care Act],” analysts concluded. Rates have been growing increasingly fast throughout all of 2013, after a period of drops in 2012
 Affordable indeed!