Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The best of both worlds?

I know that there are people out there who are going to skeptical over this.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How did they get so liberal?

I often think about how things got to be what they currently are now. The origins and evolutionary period of institutions, cultures, phrases, and methodologies can be fascinating to study and understand. Because this is an election year and celebrity presidential endorsements are a cause célèbre, my curiosity has turned to Hollywood and how it became so leftist in its political lineaments.

Are Hollywood celebrities, writers, designers and creators liberal because they simply have a "rebellious" or counter-cultural streak to their artistic character, or is an up-and-coming actor merely trying to "do as the Romans" do by observing the status quo that is projected by his peers?

This is indeed something worth pondering considerably.

I ask again, are the majority of Hollywood celebrities liberal as a result of their natural way of thinking, or is it a "culture of thought" an outsider working his way in assimilates in order to blend in and get ahead in the film industry?

This brings me to my next question: did you know that Senator Joseph McCarthy - the leading figure in blacklisting and destroying the careers of many Americans over the mere suspicion of communist party affiliation - was a Roman Catholic? This is the same right-wing Joseph McCarthy who, in the 1950's, held hearings and made paranoid accusations of communist and Soviet spies infiltrating American government agencies, military branches, and film industry for the purposes of overthrowing the government of the United States. He is the same individual whose techniques gave rise to the derogatory term "McCarthyism", which can be described as a process that utilizes investigatory methods analogous to those used in the Salem Witch Trials. McCarthy was unable to substantiate his many sensational accusations, and on December 2, 1954 he was condemned by his Senate colleagues for serious misdeeds during his political witch hunt for threats that did not exist.

Either Hollywood has always been as liberal as it is today, but closeted such tendencies because of the overwhelming conservative mindset of most Americans in the 1950's, or it liberalized as a backlash to McCarthyism and other societal taboos that are identified as bearing some likeness to McCarthyism.

If Joseph McCarthy's demagoguery was instrumental in shaping the American film industry into what it is today, then we can attribute, in part, two of Hollywood's cultural conditions to him. Number one is the celebrity commitment to liberal social issues and to the equally left-of-center politicians who advance them; and, number two, the inherent, and widely accepted anti-Catholic vitriol gushing from the mouths (and fingers) of some of Hollywood's leading residents.

Here's one ironic fact you might not know about. The Kennedy clan (Democrats)befriended Joseph McCarthy (Republican) and were even intimidated by the political influence he exercised over John F. Kennedy's constituency in Massachusetts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I have received a very kind award from three of my fellow blogger-pals: Auntie A at Adrienne's Catholic Corner, Tracy at A Catholic Mom in Minnesota, and Kimberly at Our God is an Awesome God. Auntie A, Tracy, and Kimberly- I thank you very much! With this award also comes the One Word Answer Meme.

1. Where is your cell phone? Shelf
2. Where is your significant other? Past ;0)
3. Your hair color? Black
4. Your mother? Store
5. Your father? Home
6. Your favorite thing? Music
7. Your dream last night? Rapidograph
8. Your dream/goal? Architecture
9. The room you're in? Office
10. Your hobby? Computers
11. Your fear? Claustrophobia
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Architect
13. Where were you last night? School
14. What you're not? Patient :0(
15. One of your wish-list items? New England
16. Where you grew up? Las Vegas
17. The last thing you did? Drive
18. What are you wearing? Clothes :0)
19. Your TV? Replacing
20. Your pet? Grumpy
21. Your computer? Replacing
22. Your mood? Great!
23. Missing someone? Ex
24. Your car? Truck
25. Something you're not wearing? Skirt :0)
26. Favorite store? Blick's
27. Your summer? Hot!
28. Love someone? Family
29. Your favorite color? "Parrish blue"
30. When is the last time you laughed? Question#25
31. Last time you cried? ????

I know, I cheated on a couple of these by including two words instead of one.

I've been slow to respond to comments as well as to catching up on the reading of those favorite blogs I frequently visit. I've been busy with school, work, and host of miscellaneous chores. I have not forgotten, nor will I forget you. Just busy, that's all.

Now, here's the deal. If you have read this post all the way down to here, you can consider yourself awarded and tagged, and now you must play along with the rest of us. Failure to comply will bring your presidential candidate great scandal and will cost him the elections. LOL.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Much Could You Get Away With?

Whether you are a supporter or not, we are currently fighting a war in Iraq that is tremendously unpopular with the American people. The biggest inequity for some individuals is not just the war itself, but the justifications that were used to rationalize the invasion. The allegations of WMD's and secret meetings involving Iraqi agents and Al qaeda elements - which have been thoroughly discredited - have resulted in vast expenditures of American resources, the most important of which are the lives of our servicemen and women. Those are irreplaceable. Now we face the difficult task of stabilizing Iraq and fortifying its government, military and infrastructure - amid waves of insurgent assaults - before withdrawing our forces. Has there been any serious consequences for those individuals who ill-advised President Bush?

Then, in 2005 came Katrina - one of the deadliest and most expensive hurricanes in the history of the United States. After the levees failed in New Orleans, the bodies floated, and the size and magnitude of this disaster materialized in every television set for everyone around the world to see. After the incomprehensible aftermath of Katrina, came the investigations and the finger pointing between federal, state and local authorities over culpability. The subsequent investigations revealed that the levee system in New Orleans was in decrepit condition, and poised for inevitable collapse. It is estimated that over 1800 people died when Katrina slammed into the U.S., causing damage that topped $100 billion dollars, with New Orleans suffering the bulk of the damage. Out of all the parties that can take responsibility for this catastrophe, how many were actually held accountable? Just the FEMA director?

Do you recall this from January 26, 1998:

He was lying then and also lied under oath when asked that same question. His deceptiveness initiated an impeachment process that consumed and distracted both the House of Representatives and the Senate for nearly two months, not to mention his own Executive office. In the end, President Clinton admitted to having a "relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate" but was nonetheless acquitted of all charges - perjury, obstruction of justice, etc. - along party lines.

On the last day of his administration, President Clinton pardoned Roger Clinton, Jr., his own half-brother, who had been convicted of selling cocaine in Arkansas in 1984. Within a month of his presidential pardon, Clinton Junior was back in jail for driving under the influence.

Now we face the possible collapse of global financial markets unless the United States Congress authorizes a $700 billion dollar bailout plan. This because some very greedy individuals - salivating over the prospect of making a quick buck - initiated transactions that were wholly unstable and reckless. You, the taxpayer, the moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas living on a fixed incomes, who are already feeling the sting of higher food prices and energy bills, are going to flip the bill for this whopper of a blunder, the likes of which have not been seen in history. And despite the fact that the FBI is investigating the major institutions whose collapse lead to this meltdown, there is no way of either incarcerating or in some way punishing all the parties that contributed to this mess. We'll be lucky to see these companies pay back the majority of this bailout.

Hundreds of billions of dollars lost and thousands of lives destroyed because key personnel - in both the public and private sectors - were too wrapped up in their own political agendas, or were blinded by limitless greed, or were completely derelict with responsibilities that fell well within their province. How many of our government leaders will ever be held accountable for involving our country in a quagmire over baseless and fabricated accusations? Nine times out of ten the most any of these individuals will face is some kind of public castigation or forced resignation over failures of unimaginable proportions. And, get this: there is probably some poor schmuck in jail right now, somewhere in the U.S., for unpaid parking tickets.

No, I'm not arguing that people who break the law should continue living their lives unpunished if someone guilty of something worse escapes justice. But I'm asking, how can so many people in our country commit offenses of extraordinary severity and operate with impunity, while other individuals guilty of much, much lesser offenses face their consequences?

How many of us could go on to spend seven full terms in the senate after a Chappaquiddick?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Today is the first day of fall and you know what that means...

Christmas is just a mere 94 days away!! Oh stop your whining you grumpy headed, beetle-browed, bellyaching, love muffin. You know you like Christmas, so why be grouchy about it? If anyone here wants to complain, let it be me. I'm the one who has to spend his Christmas in a desert with ubiquitous road construction, fake lakes, and palm tress that were shipped from other parts of the country. In the end, I have neither the splendour of a big cosmopolitan city, nor the natural winter habitat of a frosty, Christmastime desert. Boo-hoo.

Take me to New England, I say! Where the hills are adorned with color-shifting trees; where the streets are narrow and cobble-stoned; where cottages and houses with English motifs make a fireplace all the more cozy and enticing. Yes, I'll take the snow, too.

Maybe someday.

For now, I'll have to settle for a city that - despite having lost much of its small town intimacy - is still my home.

I wrote this post a few weeks ago anticipating the autumn season. However, despite the fact that I had scheduled it to post automatically for today, Blogger made sure it got posted on September 7th, so some of you with "Reader" or RSS feed might have gotten an unauthorized look ahead of schedule. Is there something wrong with Blogger that I don't know about? Do they need a loan or bailout to get them to function properly?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Minor Muse Out Of Season

"Simon Peter said to him, 'Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.' "

No matter what part of the year we're in liturgically, I come back those words of St. Peter. I find his surrender to Christ so poignant and so telling of a man who, in his heart, wants to inherit the kingdom Jesus often preached to his followers about. Peter does not want a destiny that will separate him from his Master, despite the fact that he will have denied Jesus three times at a crucial moment in his life.

Jesus braved Peter's denial just as he did the subsequent events that would begin to unfold later that same night - with the Resurrection. What captures my attention is, once again, Peter's albeit imperfect love for Jesus. Peter's love falters when confronted by people who accuse him of associating with the "Nazarene, Jesus." He repudiates Jesus a total of three times, and after the third denial, the cock crowed a second time and he recalled the sequence his Master prophesied before breaking down to "cry profusely." Peter loved Jesus. He just happened to be, like most of us, a man of little faith.

Also, have you noticed that after the Resurrection Jesus does not come after his wrongdoers for vengeance or violence? None of them faced immediate retribution from God ("Forgive them, for they know not what they do") nor did they suddenly drop dead at the second Jesus was Resurrected. There is a great moral lesson to be learned here. Instead of applying the eye for an eye tradition, or seeking retaliation against those who do us harm and injustice, it might be better to patiently bear those moments to the end and let God have the final say, just as he did with the Resurrection.

I know. Easier said than done.

Love those Canadians!

We all have that song or songs that when listened to make us nostalgic for either our childhood or for some period in our lives we wish we could go back and revisit. Even if you are not prone to bouts of sentimentality you can still find yourself reflecting on the chronicles of your life, revisiting the memories of a distant friend, departed loved-one, or scenes from your childhood with bittersweetness. It could be a slow tune or a fast tune - it's how we make the connection between the sound and the recollection.

Although debuted before I was born, these are two of my favorite early 1970's hits by their Canadian artists.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I LOVED this movie when I was a kid, despite the fact I had to sneak behind my parent's back to see it. There are so many funny parts to this film that I know I'm omitting a few you feel should be here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Inhaling and No One Cares

How much should we be willing to forgive in terms of politics? How much of questionable practices on behalf of a public figure or elected official that may have taken place many years ago is relevant and worth mentioning in present-day political campaigns? During the Reagan administration Judge Douglas H.Ginsburg's nomination to the Supreme Court was shot down by a Democratic-controlled senate after it was revealed that he had used marijuana as a student in the 1960's. In a resent interview Senator Obama shamelessly admitted to "I inhaled...frequently" when he was a kid. Has the recreational marijuana use that stigmatized Judge Douglas H.Ginsburg and undermined his nomination to the Supreme Court become just one of those things crazy kids do?

Currently, many regular folks as well as famous celebrities unabashedly confess, with impunity, that they are regular marijuana users. If the current societal reaction is to let this type of thing go by without an uproar, does this not mean we are that much closer to legalizing pot here in America? In the political circuit, it has almost become politically incorrect to say you've never smoked marijuana.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


For the events that transpired on September 11, 2001. I think this one - which I posted a few days ago - unites our anguish with Him who also suffered.

Wojciech Kilar: Agnus Dei - Choir of Versija

Paramedicgirl, Kilar's Agnus Dei is the one I wrote to you about in a previous email.

An Error in Pro-life Tactics

Perhaps the single biggest folly the pro-life side of the abortion debate has committed is to religionize the abortion issue. Yes, a great many of us are motivated and influenced by our Catholic teaching - that's actually something wonderful. But can you be a committed atheist and maintain a pro-life perspective? Absolutely. The problem is that we have alienated people who are not religious or who hold religion in contempt by attaching words and customs that are inherently religious in nature. Subsequently, those individuals who dislike religion are catapulted to the pro-abortion side not because of a shared ideology, but because they instinctively follow the "befriend my enemy's enemy" doctrine. Like I commented on another blog with a post of similar subject matter, it's like voting for Obama not because you like Obama, but because you hate George Bush (or McCain).

This is why I think it's foolish for anyone in the pro-choice camp to claim they've won over a majority of Americans through more appealing and robust philosophical presentations. That just simply isn't true. A substantial number of those who camp at the "choice" side of the argument are not actually there because of homogeneous ideologies, but rather because of significant and wedging differences between themselves and religious institutions over issues that have nothing to do with abortion.

The irreligious have never even had a chance to consider the pro-life argument as logically humane without the distraction of religious symbols and comportment. Until we change that strategy, we will inadvertently be working to increase the number of followers of the culture of death .

Sadly, even if we were to completely secularize the pro-life argument, it would still be "above the pay grade" of certain individuals to understand.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Medjugorje Deception?

Are the Medjugorje apparitions a complete fabrication? Sources at close proximity to the manifestations - as well as to the visionaries - seem to think so. Allegations that the Medjugorje apparitions are a hoax have circulated for quite sometime, but now there seems a to be Vatican crackdown on the unsanctioned shrine of Medjugorje, beginning with the suspension of two of the priests who acted as spiritual advisers to the recipients of the Marian messages. Father Jozo Zovko was suspended by Bishop Peric in 2004, and Father Tomislav Vlasic, who is facing a host of accusations based on misconduct that also include the fathering of a child, has been removed to a Franciscan monastery under the pains of excommunication. (source)

Outside the sphere of clerical misconduct, the apparitions themselves have been under scrutiny for quite a while. You can find both laity and clergy supporting and attempting to debunk the statements made by the seers who claim they have experienced Marian visitations since 1981. Some of the reported messages by the six visionaries have simply been too outlandish to win over any of their detractors. (source)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Difference in Sound

Most of us who are avid listeners of sacred music can distinguish audibly between music that stimulates transcendence and music that is wholly in appropriate for a liturgical setting. In this post I share with you two distinctly different compositions that will engage some of you one way and some of you another way. Listen to both pieces if you can, folks. They're definitely worth it (Especially the second. It gets better towards the middle and the end).

The first one is the "Agnus Dei" from Karl Jenkins work The Armed Man-A Mass for Peace.

Agnus Dei - Karl Jenkins

Beautiful isn't? But wouldn't you also agree that there is something missing? Something that fails to take you beyond the sublunary and into a closer union to the Christian Mystery?

Here's the second piece by Wojciech Kilar. It is also an Agnus Dei and, I might add, the most anguished Agnus Dei I have ever heard in my life.

Wojciech Kilar: Agnus Dei - Choir of Versija

Can you tell the difference? With Kilar you can actually envision Christ on the cross drawing his last few breaths, and with the somber and repetitive "Agnus Dei" arrangement you can also gain a sense of the excruciating physical brutality that a human being endures during a crucifixion. I also have a strong dislike for Agnus Dei's with music that doesn't emotionally match a crucifixion. Something terribly incongruous about a "happy" Agnus Dei.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Trooper from Troopergate Speaks

Unflattering details are emerging about Michael Wooten - the former brother-in-law of Sarah Palin - and his conduct as both an Alaskan State Trooper and as a father who tasered his eleven year old son. Wooten, who has repeatedly been admonished throughout his career as a state trooper, confirms he did in fact taser his own son in some kind of demonstration incident, as well as to the illegal killing of a moose.

Sarah Palin is under investigation for allegedly pressuring Alaska's Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan to terminate trooper Michael Wooten. When Monegan refused to comply, he says he was fired from his position. The Alaska legislature is now conducting an inquiry into the situation to see if Governor Palin used her office illegally and unethically.

Folks, this guy makes me very, very suspicious. It's hard for me to believe anyone in Alaska would want to save his hide.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fanatical Atheism

He's angry, very angry. You can tell by his disgruntled disposition. Where and when Christopher Hitchen's deep-seated rancor began might be a question not even he can answer. But this is clearly evident to anyone who examines his character: his bitterness and ill-temperament have turned him into a dogmatic fundamentalist atheist, or vice-versa. As a matter of fact, Hitchens' misanthropy is so entrenched that he describes himself as an "anti-theist", which, coincidentally, is what I've always perceived him (and Dawkins) to be. An "anti-theist" - according to Hitchens - is someone who not only denies the existence of God, but who also views that non-existence as a good thing because of the evil nature of religion. Hitchens and many of his dogmatic cohorts like to lump all religions together and assign them unequivocal blame for the September 11th attacks, the spread of aids, and just about every calamity you can think of.

Hitchens may have some good points when he rebukes some of the pernicious religious behavior of some societies, and their anachronistic understanding of the universe we live in. But what he doesn't understand is that that same segment of religion is harshly criticized by more peaceful and loving religious communities. He also has a tendency of focusing on the mangled understanding of scripture by religious fundamentalists then painting all religions with that same blank-minded brush.

Chris, get some therapy.

Caution: Potty Mouth Ahead
Below is a video that I think displays Richard Dawkin's militant and irrational animosity towards religion. Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is pointing out to Dawkins how incendiary his methodology is, to which Dawkins responds as offensively as he can under the guise of tongue-in-cheek. The video is just under three minutes.

On a lighter and more pleasant note, I would like to thank my Auntie A for this ward:0)