Monday, November 28, 2005

Wax On . . . Wax Off

I know that Maggie would be cross with me if I didn't mourn the passing of Pat Morita, the man who was Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid and Arnold in Happy Days. He appeared in over 200 film and television productions, and appears in three films yet to be released. He was 73.

Check out his bio at IMDB.

And a tribute from the New York Times:

Goodbye to Pat Morita, Best Supporting Asian

Pat Morita, the Japanese-American actor, died on Thanksgiving Day in Las Vegas. He was 73. News reports over the weekend were not specific about the cause of death or funeral details. Also not clear was what Hollywood would do now that Mr. Morita is gone.

The movie and TV industry has never had many roles for Asian-American men, and it seemed for a while that they all went to Mr. Morita. He made his debut as "Oriental No. 2" in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" in 1967 and never stopped working. He hit two peaks - as Arnold the diner owner on TV's "Happy Days" and the wise old Mr. Miyagi in the "Karate Kid" movies - and spent the rest of nearly 40 years roaming an endless forest of bit parts.

He was Mahi Mahi, the pidgin-talking cabby in "Honeymoon in Vegas," Lamont Sanford's friend Ah Chew in "Sanford and Son," Brian the waiter in "Spy Hard," Chin Li the Chinese herbalist in "The Karate Dog."

read the rest

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Researching the Research on Young Catholics

Steve Bogner has a recent post about a recent CARA article about young Catholics, which I think was actually speaking about the work on the spiritual lives of American teenagers recently released by Smith and Denton. Since this is something I've been doing a little bit of work on lately, I wrote a lengthy comment in response, which I thought I might as well share here. These are impressions I've been putting together based on about 20 years of work in youth and young adult ministry, and in reading much of the literature that has been coming out lately. I'm not finished, but these are some of my initial thoughts. I'd welcome your comments. Here it is:

I've been doing a little research on the "research" lately. There are at least three different kinds of studies purporting to know something of what young people today are about and what there relationship is to Christianity/Catholicism. The first are the psychological/sociological studies of individuals and groups like CARA. Then there are the generational studies of people like Howe and Strauss. Finally, there are the anecdotal "studies" of people like Colleen Carroll and Tom Beaudoin. Put them each side by side and they don't really agree. But I think that each of them gets at a part of the whole picture. I have also been reading stuff from the Protestant community. Guess what they are saying kids want?: Tradition! So, I'm becoming convinced, as the experience I describe in the article suggests, that this is a significant part of the reality of what young Christian people are looking for today. But the Protestant literature is also quick to point out that there is not just one youth culture, but rather a number of "sub-cultures." They promote what they call a "missional" approach to youth and young adult ministry which recognize and speaks to these various sub-cultures. It's an interesting and, I think, important insight.
I've been involved in youth and young adult ministry in one way or another most of my adult life. And while we've gotten better about taking these ministries more seriously in the Catholic Church in the past 20 years, the commitment is still sporadic and intermittent, especially when it becomes a battleground for the ideology wars, which it too often does these days. We also have a tendency toward trying to come up with a "one-size-fits-all" approach to ministry to young people, which only ever reaches a portion of the young people in our communities. Retreat programs, which have been shown to be one of the most effective means of reaching young people often start off good, but then go on unchanged for 20-30 years, becoming increasingly irrelevant, as they don't take into account the changing needs and interests of young people.
So, unfortunately, I don't find the results of recent studies all that surprising, even if most likely incomplete and unrepresentative of many young people.
Yet, I think there is hope if we can do at least two things:
1) Encourage the interest of many young people in things traditional. To do this well, "liberals" will have to stop being threatened by this (most young people are NOT interested in turning back the clock to some experience they never knew, they want to incorporate the traditional into their reality) and "conservatives" need to stop seeing this as an opportunity to use young people to push their agenda.
2) We have to work on finding effective ways to reach young people who are typically not reached by the types of parish and campus ministry programs we have been offering for the last thirty years. One way I have discovered to reach those who aren't the typical campus ministry types (who participate in most of our programs) is through third-world immersion programs with a theological reflection component. I also think, though you might call me biased, that the potential for using The Spiritual Exercises and other tried and tested spiritual tools has yet to be sufficiently explored. After all, the Spiritual Exercises grew out of an experience of young adult conversion.

New Places to Visit

I've added a whole bunch of new links on the blogroll, including several more of those Filipino Jesuit blogs which seem to multiplying like rabbits! There's a good variety there, all with a Jesuit flavor.

I've also added a number of blogs which I've come across in recent months that I've been meaning to add. Including some interesting ones down the bottom there that aren't so explicitly Catholic (or Catholic at all) as the rest.

One fascinating one is this ongoing project called PostSecret, and there's something irreverently charming about the Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns.

I've also added several connected with my favorite hobbies-vices: books, movies and writing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Break

Giving my thanks for all of you, and offering my hopes that you have a blessed Thanksgiving day, I have decided to take a break from blogging until Monday. I have to catch up on what I missed last week, and get some work done on my book (oh yeah, that!).




Updated Quiz Scores

Rank Name Score
1 Jenica 100 see below
2 Mom 90 yes, my Mom
3 andrea 80 "blog-aid" from CAL
4 sister christer 70 OP sister
5 Amy 70 RC Mommy
6 Gashwin 70 SC Gamecock
7 angelmeg 70 Transcendental Muser
8 Michele 70 My old friend Mish
9 drea 70 The Andrea of the photo
10 omis 70 Higher Flier
11 susan rose 50 Groovy Discerning Woman
12 Bill 40 Acadiana Man
13 lisa 40 Where She Writes
14 Mark 30 Peeping Thomist?
15 Jean 30 X-Woman?
16 penni 20 Martha, Martha
17 mac 20 Mac Attack

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tax Evasion

Should those dioceses whose Bishops more or less endorsed George Bush in the last presidential election lose their tax exempt status? If you follow the logic of the recent IRS investigation, which I spoke of in a previous post, maybe so (look out Denver). Today's New York Times editorial on the matter is right on the money, so to speak.

Taxing an Unfriendly Church

Shortly before the last election, a former rector at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., gave a fiery antipoverty and antiwar sermon. He did not endorse a presidential candidate, but he criticized President Bush's policies in Iraq and at home. Now the Internal Revenue Service has challenged the church's tax-exempt status . . .

I.R.S. officials have said about 20 churches are being investigated for activities across the political spectrum that could jeopardize their tax status . . .

That should mean that the 2004 presidential campaign would be an extremely fertile field. While some churches allowed Democrats to speak from the pulpit, the conservative Christians last year mounted an especially intense - and successful - drive to keep President Bush in office. Some issued voter guides that pointedly showed how their own religion was allied with Mr. Bush's views. Several Roman Catholic bishops even suggested that a vote for John Kerry would be a mortal sin . . .

Read the whole thing here.

Quiz Leaders

This is a report on how things stand on the quiz, which I'm also taking as an opportunity to introduce you to two of my favorite people, friends and both also former students at Loyola, New Orleans. Jenica, left, graduated last year and is teaching at one of the current outposts of Jesuit High School in New Orleans, and Andrea, right, who I presume will be returning to campus when Loyola reopens in January to finish her degree. Andrea is also a very gifted ballet dancer (I'm not sure if that's the same Andrea in the quiz results).

Jenica is also the first to answer all the quiz questions correctly. So she gets a gold star.

1 Jenica 100
2 andrea 80
3 sister christer 70
4 Amy 70
5 Gashwin 70
6 angelmeg 70
7 Michele 70
8 susan rose 50
9 Mark 30
10 penni 20

Thanks for playing :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Those Darn Jesuits . . . Father Chanh Nguyen, S.J.

Read the remarkable story of Father Chanh Nguyen's precarious escape from Vietnam and his journey to becoming a Jesuit priest in the United States. It's in the latest California province magazine. The article was penned by my good friend and fellow scholastic Tim Manatt, S.J.

"On day 18, Chanh's cousin died from the effects of extreme heat and cold they suffered on the open seas . . . "

The story begins on page 6 of the magazine.

Do you know me?

Inspired by Sister Christer, I have made up a short ten question quiz about yours truly.

All the questions have been answered at one time or another on my blog. So let's see how well you've been paying attention!

Take my Quiz on!

Those Darn Jesuits . . . St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor and Ninja?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Greatest Movie Lines . . . What's Missing?

You might have guessed that I kinda like movies. Recently, the American Film Institute published their list of the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of all time, shown below.

My question for the comments box: What Great Quotes Were Overlooked?

1 Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. GONE WITH THE WIND 1939
2 I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse. THE GODFATHER 1972
3 You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. ON THE WATERFRONT 1954
4 Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939
5 Here's looking at you, kid. CASABLANCA 1942
6 Go ahead, make my day. SUDDEN IMPACT 1983
7 All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up. SUNSET BLVD. 1950
8 May the Force be with you. STAR WARS 1977
9 Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night. ALL ABOUT EVE 1950
10 You talking to me? TAXI DRIVER 1976
11 What we've got here is failure to communicate. COOL HAND LUKE 1967
12 I love the smell of napalm in the morning. APOCALYPSE NOW 1979
13 Love means never having to say you're sorry. LOVE STORY 1970
14 The stuff that dreams are made of. THE MALTESE FALCON 1941
15 E.T. phone home. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982
16 They call me Mister Tibbs! IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT 1967
17 Rosebud. CITIZEN KANE 1941
18 Made it, Ma! Top of the world! WHITE HEAT 1949
19 I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore! NETWORK 1976
20 Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. CASABLANCA 1942
21 A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS 1991
22 Bond. James Bond. DR. NO 1962
23 There's no place like home. THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939
24 I am big! It's the pictures that got small. SUNSET BLVD. 1950
25 Show me the money! JERRY MAGUIRE 1996
26 Why don't you come up sometime and see me? SHE DONE HIM WRONG 1933
27 I'm walking here! I'm walking here! MIDNIGHT COWBOY 1969
28 Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.' CASABLANCA 1942
29 You can't handle the truth! A FEW GOOD MEN 1992
30 I want to be alone. GRAND HOTEL 1932
31 After all, tomorrow is another day! GONE WITH THE WIND 1939
32 Round up the usual suspects. CASABLANCA 1942
33 I'll have what she's having. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY 1989
34 You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow. TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT 1944
35 You're gonna need a bigger boat. JAWS 1975
36 Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges! THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE 1948
37 I'll be back. THE TERMINATOR 1984
38 Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES 1942
39 If you build it, he will come. FIELD OF DREAMS 1989
40 Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. FORREST GUMP 1994
41 We rob banks. BONNIE AND CLYDE 1967
42 Plastics. THE GRADUATE 1967
43 We'll always have Paris. CASABLANCA 1942
44 I see dead people. THE SIXTH SENSE 1999
45 Stella! Hey, Stella! A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE 1951
46 Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars. NOW, VOYAGER 1942
47 Shane. Shane. Come back! SHANE 1953
48 Well, nobody's perfect. SOME LIKE IT HOT 1959
49 It's alive! It's alive! FRANKENSTEIN 1931
50 Houston, we have a problem. APOLLO 13 1995
51 You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk? DIRTY HARRY 1971
52 You had me at "hello." JERRY MAGUIRE 1996
53 One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know. ANIMAL CRACKERS 1930
54 There's no crying in baseball! A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN 1992
55 La-dee-da, la-dee-da. ANNIE HALL 1977
56 A boy's best friend is his mother. PSYCHO 1960
57 Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. WALL STREET 1987
58 Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. THE GODFATHER II 1974
59 As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again. GONE WITH THE WIND 1939
60 Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into! SONS OF THE DESERT 1933
61 Say "hello" to my little friend! SCARFACE 1983
62 What a dump. BEYOND THE FOREST 1949
63 Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you? THE GRADUATE 1967
64 Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room! DR. STRANGELOVE 1964
65 Elementary, my dear Watson. THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 1939
66 Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape. PLANET OF THE APES 1968
67 Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine. CASABLANCA 1942
68 Here's Johnny! THE SHINING 1980
69 They're here! POLTERGEIST 1982
70 Is it safe? MARATHON MAN 1976
71 Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet! THE JAZZ SINGER 1927
72 No wire hangers, ever! MOMMIE DEAREST 1981
73 Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico? LITTLE CAESAR 1930
74 Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown. CHINATOWN 1974
75 I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE 1951
76 Hasta la vista, baby. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY 1991
77 Soylent Green is people! SOYLENT GREEN 1973
78 Open the pod bay doors, HAL. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY 1968
79 Striker: Surely you can't be serious. Rumack: I am serious…and don't call me Shirley. AIRPLANE! 1980
80 Yo, Adrian! ROCKY 1976
81 Hello, gorgeous. FUNNY GIRL 1968
83 Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make. DRACULA 1931
84 Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast. KING KONG 1933
85 My precious. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: TWO TOWERS 2002
86 Attica! Attica! DOG DAY AFTERNOON 1975
87 Sawyer, you're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star! 42ND STREET 1933
88 Listen to me, mister. You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it. You're going to get back on that horse, and I'm going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we're gonna go, go, go! ON GOLDEN POND 1981
89 Tell 'em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper. KNUTE ROCKNE ALL AMERICAN 1940
90 A martini. Shaken, not stirred. GOLDFINGER 1964
91 Who's on first. THE NAUGHTY NINETIES 1945
92 Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac...It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole! CADDYSHACK 1980
93 Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! AUNTIE MAME 1958
94 I feel the need - the need for speed! TOP GUN 1986
95 Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary. DEAD POETS SOCIETY 1989
96 Snap out of it! MOONSTRUCK 1987
97 My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY 1942
98 Nobody puts Baby in a corner. DIRTY DANCING 1987
99 I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too! THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939
100 I'm king of the world! TITANIC 1997

Here are a few to start off:

"I am your father" THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK 1980

"My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die." THE PRINCESS BRIDE 1987

"It's going to be a long night . . . And I don't particularly like the book I've started." NORTH BY NORTHWEST 1959

Attention International Visitors!

Lately I've been getting more and more visitors from outside the U.S., which is exciting.

Today, 40% of my visitors were from outside the U.S.!

While I LOVE all my U.S. visitors, I'd also like to know who's visiting from outside the U.S. So far, only Kalanna (CAN), Jeff (CAN) & Steve (Australia) have added themselves. Won't the rest of you join them?

And that goes for those in the U.S. that are holding out as well!

Add yourself to You Duped Me Lord's Frappr Map

"Coca Leaf is not a Drug"

A few years ago I spent the summer in Bolivia. It is beautiful and rich country and culture that, frankly, we don't hear enough about in the U.S. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in LatinAmerica. It also has the largest indigineous population of any country there. The people there are welcoming and, among the things I most appreciated, they speak slow, clear Spanish, making it a great place to learn Spanish. The Maryknoll Fathers and Sisters have a great language school there in Cochabamba, which I attended.

But one of the most eye-opening things to me was to learn the extent to which Coca, which is manufactured into tea, or simply kept in raw leaf form and chewed on, is a central part of their culture. Coca is something of a cure-all in that culture, having a place comparable to that in the United States of chicken soup. Thus to demand that Bolivians stop growing Coca because it is an ingredient in Cocaine, as the US has to a certain extent in its war on drugs, is somewhat naive and threatens to have a huge impact not only economically, but culturally. In the US media, we rarely if ever see this side of the story. Thus, I recommend checking out the recent lengthy article in the New York Times as it offers a glimpse into the complex reality in Bolivia, one you're unlikely to see again for a while.

Che's Second Coming?

Published: November 20, 2005

The Bolivian Congress is an ornate building in the Spanish Colonial style. It is also a study in cognitive dissonance. Located on the Plaza Murillo, one of the central squares of Bolivia's main city, La Paz, it is flanked by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral and the mausoleum of Bolivia's second president, Andrés Santa Cruz, who fought alongside Simón Bolívar. Around these decorous buildings, soldiers in red pseudo-19th-century uniforms stand at attention or march ceremoniously from point to point. Were it not for the fact that most of these young recruits have the broad Indian faces of the Andean altiplano, or high plains, and that those gawking at them in the square are also themselves mostly indigenous, it would be easy to become confused and believe you were in some remote corner of Europe, albeit the Europe of a century ago.

Inside the Congress, this effect is, if anything, even stronger: marble floors, waiters wearing white shirts and black bow ties, photos on the walls in the office wing of the building, many now yellowing with age, that show previous generations of congressmen among whom there is barely an Indian face to be seen. The burden of this faux-Europeanness seems overwhelming, until, that is, you walk down one of the main corridors and, at its end, find yourself confronted with an enormous, colorized, Madonna-like image of Ernesto (Che) Guevara, Fidel Castro's comrade in arms, the archrevolutionary who died 38 years ago in the foothills of the Bolivian Andes trying to bring a Marxist revolution to Bolivia, then as now the poorest and most racially polarized country in South America.

"This is a sanctuary to El Che," says Gustavo Torrico, an influential congressman from the radical MAS party, gesturing around his office. (Though mas literally means "more," the Spanish acronym stands for "Movement Toward Socialism.") There are not just a few pictures of Che; there are literally dozens of them, big, small and in between: Che with Castro, Che in the field, Che with his daughter in his arms, smiling, smoking, exhorting. The effect is overwhelming.
And yet, in Bolivia these days, Che's image is hardly restricted to the office of a few leftist politicians. To the contrary, it is everywhere. It stares down at you from offices and murals on city walls of La Paz and of Bolivia's second-largest city, Cochabamba, in working-class districts and slum communities and university precincts. In Bolivia, Che's image is not a fashion statement, as it is in Western Europe. When you see people wearing Che T-shirts, or sporting buttons with the martyred revolutionary's face, they are in deadly earnest. In Bolivia, only images of the Virgin Mary are more ubiquitous, and even then it's a close-run thing.

Read the rest here.

Those Darn Jesuits . . . Fr. Willie Garcia-Tunon, SJ

I was so pleased to see this article this week. I got to know Willie a bit during my year working in Florida. He's a great guy, great Jesuit and priest.

Miami sees strong witness to Jesus in young Jesuit

Miami, Nov. 14, 2005 (CNA) -

One of the most well-known and admired people in Miami has not gained popularity due to wealth or celebrity but from his commitment to witness to Jesus as the city’s youngest Jesuit.

Fr. Willie Garcia-Tuñon, 35, teaches philosophy and spiritually guides the students at his alma mater, Miami’s boys-only Belén Jesuit Preparatory School.

Read the rest here.

The 23:5 Meme

Angelmeg tagged me back in September, and somebody else did along the way. I'm afraid the result isn't terribly exciting. Here are the rules:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to it).
3. Find the 5th sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

Here it is:

If you had the opportunity to speak to priests about this topic, what would you say to them?

Note to Angelmeg:
I have to confess that mourning my fallen pop culture icons was much more interesting than this (sorry!)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Spooky or Creepy?

Here's one of the reasons I enjoy living in a multi-ethnic community.

At table the other night, one of my brothers for whom English is not his first language asked, "What's the difference between creepy and spooky?"

This sparked the kind of discussion I just love. Yes, they are similar, but there is a difference. Where does that difference come from? Some things are spooky, but not creepy. Some things are creepy, but not spooky. And some things are both creepy and spooky!

I don't know how far we got in answering his question, but it was a great conversation!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Map Yourself

I decided to start my own Frappr Map, in hopes that some of you lurkers might reveal yourselves, just a little. I also need to know where to go when I do the "bloggy friend" reality tour.

So, add yourself here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mary is my Homegirl

I've seen a couple of references to the "Mary is my Homegirl" shirt lately, and thought this would be a good opportunity to mention that my article that appeared in America, which mentioned the shirt, is now available even to non-subscribers, here's an excerpt:

Laura, though devout, is far from the stereotypical prude. She is petite, her language peppered (more like sauced) with the word “like.” In appearance, she is hardly distinguishable from other young women her age, except that her form-fitting baby-T’s frequently carry announcements like, “Mary is my homegirl.”

Christopher was this year’s homecoming king, and he is trying to bring back the 80’s “popped collar” fashion.

Jessica, who struggles with her relationships in a dysfunctional family, wants certainty for herself and everybody else. She got married this year and speaks enthusiastically about her N.F.P. classes. Without the confidence of her faith, her personal struggles might have kept her from getting this far. On her wedding day, just after graduation, she lit up the church with her smile and raised her arms in triumph.

This is not the homogeneous group one might expect (their names, by the way, have been changed to protect their privacy), and you’d be surprised that, while sharing certain affinities, they are as different in their individual opinions and beliefs as they are in character. This becomes apparent during our meetings, which consist of reflection and conversation about the coming Sunday’s Gospel, as well as a discussion focused on some aspect of the church’s teaching. The latter is usually presented by the students. Some limit themselves to material right out of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but others explore their topic in more creative ways. Despite their seriousness, a few manage to make the presentation comical (albeit in a kind of nerdy way) with “Saturday Night Live”-style dialogues and puns using religious terminology, funny more for being deliberately bad than for their cleverness.

You can read the entire article here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lying in Wait

Sorry for lack of posts these days. I managed to mess up my back on Sunday, which has laid me up for a few days. There is some consolation in having an excuse not to go to class, but I think I'd rather be going to class then lying around all day--it's boring, and I'm not really able to get any school work done without falling asleep. One thing that is nice about such times, however, is the generosity of my community members in checking up on me, and doing what they can to help (when I let them, I'm not so good at being helpless). It's also nice to have some company, rather than being home alone all day. This has happened a couple of times before, and it's usually a good three days before I can get back on my feet. So, please pray for me, that I will be up and about in a couple of days, that I won't fall too far behind and that I can still get all the writing done that I was planning to do next week during the Thanksgiving break.

One other benefit of such times: It's a chance to catch a few movies. I've seen a few these days that I'd missed before:

Dummy, a cute romantic comedy about a guy who decides to follow his dream of becoming a ventriloquist, starring Adrien Brody-his follow up to The Pianist.

After the Sunset, a clever and diverting heist movie starring Pierce Brosnan, Woody Harrelson and Salma Hayek.

A Life Less Ordinary, a weird and dark romantic comedy starring Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz.

I'd probably rank them 1-3 in the order I wrote them.

Well, hope there's something else interesting on tonight.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Gamecocks Over Gators

It hasn't happened in my lifetime, but it happened today!
The Gamecocks of South Carolina beat the Florida Gators, 30-22.

The bowl-bound Gamecocks also beat Tennessee this season for the first time in 12 years! Note to Clemson: Be afraid, be very afraid.
(This sure makes me feel better about the Patriots' 4-4 record

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Conservatives and Liberals Working Together?

Omis reports on a happy consequence of the case of the IRS threatening to revoke a Church's tax exempt status (see story below) for an anti-Iraq war sermon: Conservative and liberal groups are teaming up to protest the action!

Gashwin ("It will be interesting to see if conservative bloggers go nuts on this, as they should") will be pleased with this news, as I am.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Goblet of Fire, but No S.P.E.W.

As a certified sci-fi/fantasy geek, I have to admit that I'm excited for the upcoming release of the new Harry Potter film (rated PG-13, they're getting darker folks!). However, in a defeat for social justice, Entertainment Weekly reports that not even Hermione will be championing elvish welfare in the film, as she does in the book. I'm kind of bummed because ethically this is one of the most interesting subplots in the Harry Potter books--the house elves, Hermione discovers, are being oppressed and enslaved, even at Hogwarts. Yet, she can't get Harry, Ron, or even the house elves themselves to care. Nevertheless, she carries on with her grass roots organization, the Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare, a.k.a. S.P.E.W. Since this also is connected with a significant event in The Order of the Phoenix, the next installment, this is an unfortunate omission which robs the series of one aspect of its growing complexity and maturity. Given the thickness of the book, I understand they had to cut things out, but for me this will be a glaring omission.

This Guy Knows Some Stuff!

Monday, November 07, 2005

If These Are the Headlines . . .

At the risk of being accused of being overdramatic, I just want to ask one question:

Where are we?

Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning

• All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena risks losing its tax-exempt status because of a former rector's remarks in 2004.

By Patricia Ward Biederman and Jason Felch, Times Staff Writers

The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.

Rector J. Edwin Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena told many congregants during morning services Sunday that a guest sermon by the church's former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas, on Oct. 31, 2004, had prompted a letter from the IRS.
In his sermon, Regas, who from the pulpit opposed both the Vietnam War and 1991's Gulf War, imagined Jesus participating in a political debate with then-candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry. Regas said that "good people of profound faith" could vote for either man, and did not tell parishioners whom to support.

But he criticized the war in Iraq, saying that Jesus would have told Bush, "Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster."

On June 9, the church received a letter from the IRS stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church … " The federal tax code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns and elections.

read the rest

Cheney Pushes Senate for CIA Exemption

By DAVID ESPO and LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writers Fri Nov 4, 6:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session.

Cheney told his audience the United States doesn't engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.

read the rest

with thanks to Bill Cork

In Egg-Shellcis Deo

In the course of working on my Old Testament paper that's due this week I came across this really cool picture and thought I'd share. It's the first chapter of Genesis inscribed on an egg.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

From Liberal to Conservative to Uninvolved

Steve Bogner has a nice post on the recent America article "Dodging Traffic" by Mary Moloney Haggerty. I'm going to offer a few excerpts here as well because I think it speaks so well to the experience of many Catholics my age. She speaks of attending a "liberal" parish and becoming disenchanted with the intolerance she experienced there, and her move to a "conservative" parish, which she found at first inviting, but also ultimately incomplete and alienating. Finally, as a result, she became for a time an "uninvolved Catholic."

How many of us have been through this process? How many young Catholics are still "uninvolved" for these very reasons? I think many Catholics are too involved in defending their "territory" and adopting a "if you're not with us, you're against us" attitude that they fail to see all the frustrated, faithful Catholics who aren't involved because they don't--and don't want to--fit into some cookie cutter notion of what others think a Catholic should be. I think many of you will find that her words resonate with your own experience--I know they do mine!:

Last week, over our Wednesday morning cup of coffee, a conservative Christian friend smiled as she told me I am the most conservative liberal she has ever met! There was a time when this would have brought anything but a smile to my face. But that day, I laughed out loud . . .

On her "liberal" days:

We were forging a new path that the American church desperately needed, and it felt good.
That lasted until I began to see cracks in the sidewalk along the way. A few parishioners wanted to start a prayer group based on the Rosary. You would have thought they wanted to turn the priest around and bring back the altar rail, for all the support they got . . .

On her "conservative" turn:

So I found myself a new spiritual home—the conservative parish on the other side of town. Ah, it was like coming home to the Catholic Church of my childhood . . .

Then, slowly, I noticed some things that concerned me . . .
And the huge “God Is Pro-Life” banner displayed next to the altar left me wondering why we never heard anything from the pulpit about the death penalty or root causes of poverty. I began to feel tired watching the energy poured into “dress-up Sunday” and listening to homilies extolling the virtues of former times and the dangers of today’s corrupt world.
So I did something I had never done before: I became an uninvolved Catholic . . .

On the challenges of becoming involved again:

Few things get under my skin as much as assumptions made about my beliefs based on where I live, attend church, vote or play. I do not fit into a box based on demographics or education or income. The only box I am willing to climb into is that of my faith. Sometimes that means a vote for the right, other times a vote for the left. Always it is a response to an invitation.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Speaking of Fear . . .

Check out Steve Bogner's post on Fear and Sin, inspired by his experience of the online retreat.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's Summer in Australia

"Hey, Murphy, this sure beats Ireland, doesn't it?"
"Did you forget the sunscreen again?"

All the Things You Didn't Care to Know, and Weren't Going to Ask

from Sister Christer

copy, paste, add your own answers

1. smoked a cigar - no
2. crashed a friend's car - no
3. stolen a car - no
4. been in love - yes
5. been dumped - yes
6. dumped someone - yes
7. taken shots of alcohol - yes
8. been fired – yes
9. been in a fist fight - yes
10. snuck out of a/your house - yes
11. had feelings for someone who didn't have them back- yes
12. been arrested - no
13. made out with a stranger - yes
14. gone on a blind date - yes
15. lied to a friend - yes
16. had a crush on a teacher- yes
18. seen someone die - yes
19. been on a plane - yes
20. thrown up in a bar - no
22. miss someone right now - yes
23. laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by - yes
24. made a snow angel - yes
25. played dress up - yes
26. cheated while playing a game - yes
27. been lonely - yes
28. fallen asleep at work/school - yes
29. used a fake id - no
30. felt an earthquake - no
31. touched a snake - yes
32. run a red light - yes
33. had detention - yes
34. been in a car accident - yes
35. hated the way you look - yes
37. been lost - yes
38. been to the opposite side of the country - yes
39. felt like dying - yes
40. cried yourself to sleep - yes
41. played cops and robbers - yes
42. karaoke - yes
43. done something you told yourself you wouldn't - yes
44. laughed till some kind of beverage came out of your nose- no
45. caught a snowflake on your tongue - yes
46. kissed in the rain - yes
47. sang in the shower - yes
48. made love in a park - no
49. had a dream that you married someone - yes
50. glued your hand to something - no
51. got your tongue stuck to a flag pole - no
52. worn the opposite sex's clothes - no
53. Been a cheerleader – no
54. sat on a roof top - yes
55. talked on the phone all night - no
56. ever too scared to watch scary movies alone – yes
57. played chicken fight - yes
58. been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on - yes
59. been told you're hot by a complete stranger - no
60. broken a bone - no
62. dipped snuff? - no
63. lived overseas - yes
64. Ever passed out/fainted? - yes
65. blown bubbles in the wintertime - no
66. slept in your car? - yes
67. given money to a stranger? - yes
68. forgot your birthday? - no
69. forgot your best friend's birthday? - no
70. been in the presence of the Pope or the President? - yes
71. failed a test? - no
72. failed a class? - no
73. accurately predicted a future event? - yes
74. slept overnight in a hospital without being a patient? - no
75. realized a dream? - yes

The content of this site is the responsibility of its author and administrator, Mark Mossa, SJ, and does not necessarily represent the Society of Jesus