"The Master" is one of the worst movies I've ever seen

I'd like my $4.99 and three hours back. A nauseatingly pretentious, vacuous movie that truly evokes the deepest kind of agony.  Who likes this trash?  Betty Duffy has something more productive to say than I do.



Lately the wife and I have started watching television.  Before we were married, we never watched television, but now it seems like the only form of entertainment for which we have any time.  The kids fall asleep around 9 and then we get our one or two hours of silence before we close up shop for the night.  Perhaps better people would spend their time to themselves reading or praying.  But we're not better people, just average people.  Also, in our defense, there are some very interesting shows on television these days, whose production values exceed those of most movies.  Not all of the shows we watch are morally sound, and some are certainly not for children of any age.  But they are entertaining and even intellectually stimulating.  The top TV shows of recent time, almost in order of excellence:

1.   Person of Interest
2.   Lost 
3.   Downton Abbey
4.   The Mentalist
5.   Mad Men
6.   Elementary
7.   Girls (HBO)
8.   Portlandia
9.   Workaholics
10.   Tosh.0
11. Breaking Bad

Basically it's a mix of the profane, (Workaholics, Mad Men, and Girls - occasionally shutting your eyes is required), the violent ( Breaking Bad, Person of Interest, the Mentalist, Elementary), and low brow comedy (Workaholics, Portlandia, Tosh.0).    But despite the gratuitous garbage they often depict, they are all very smart.  And that's the best sell I have right now!


the ivy league

this seems right:
“…It is impossible to overstate the importance of American education’s centralization, intellectual homogenization and partisanship in the formation of the ruling class’ leadership. Many have noted the increasing stratification of American society and that, unlike in decades past, entry into its top levels now depends largely on graduation from elite universities. As Charles Murray has noted, their graduates tend to marry one another, perpetuating what they like to call a “meritocracy.” But this is rule not by the meritorious, rather by the merely credentialed – because the credentials are suspect. As Ron Unz has shown, nowadays entry into the ivied gateways to power is by co-option, not merit. Moreover, the amount of study required at these universities leaves their products with more pretense than knowledge or skill.” [links available to the Unz and Murray stuff in the original]
“Thus by the turn of the twenty first century America had a bona fide ruling class that transcends government and sees itself at once as distinct from the rest of society – and as the only element thereof that may act on its behalf. It rules – to use New York Times columnist David Brooks’ characterization of Barack Obama – ‘as a visitor from a morally superior civilization.’ The civilization of the ruling class does not concede that those who resist it have any moral or intellectual right, and only reluctantly any civil right, to do so. Resistance is illegitimate because it can come only from low motives. President Obama’s statement that Republican legislators – and hence the people who elect them – don’t care whether ‘seniors have decent health care…children have enough to eat’ is typical.”
 Here's the actual source article, by the scholarly Angelo Codevilla, via First Things


comments sections

the  majority of people who write in comm boxes seem content to argue over whether the article in question is truly liberal or truly conservative.  This left/right, liberal/conservative narrative, or hermenutic - (interpretative lens) has a way of truly diminishing the meaning of a blog post, a conversation, an article or a news story.  The point, after all is said and done, is to get at something TRUE.  The truth really doesn't need to be catgeorized as liberal or conservative, because it's true, and shouldn't that be good enough?  Not to say the truth can't be categorized as such, as it can certainly be done, but must it always be done?

I think that one of the keys to recovering liberal democracy is finding a way to talk to one another again, about things that matter.  If we stop using these words, we could start to listen to one another rather than prematurely conclude our conversations upon discovering someone's ideas fit into our "liberal" or "conservative" box.


Dr. Benjamin Carlson should run for office

Our country needs people like this, who can think and speak profoundly and simply.

(reference the 2nd and 3rd presidential debates of 2012)


in the future

In a future life, I may take up bartending.

Ward Eight
This classic cocktail is a relative of the Whiskey Sour and thought to have been invented at Boston's Locke-Ober Café in 1898.

2 oz. straight rye whiskey
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. fresh orange juice
¼ oz. grenadine (or more to taste)
Splash of sparkling water

Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail, coupe or goblet

Shake ingredients with ice cubes and strain into a chilled glass. Add an ice cube and a splash of sparkling water.


in passing i note

Patheos has a "Pagan" webpage .It's pretty interesting.