Friday, August 25, 2006

Remember: Vanity Causes Snakebites.

Other vices (lust, intemperance, irascibility) also get you killed in any disaster movie worth watching. You may survive, though, if your character defects are amusing/redeemable.

Yes, I've just seen "Snakes on a Plane" and I had a great time. Say what you will about the weird B-movie hype, it put us all in exactly the right mood to react to the movie. (Everybody cheered and hollered when Samuel L. Jackson delivered The Line. You'll know which one.) But, um, this film is definitely not for everyone, and arguably its value as entertainment didn't excuse its gratuitous nature, for me or for anyone. So I suppose I can't quite recommend it.

Speaking of Things I Can't Recommend:

I've been wanting to connect with more Catholics here at Berkeley, so I finally braved the bad architecture and went to the Newman Center for daily Mass (usually the best barometer of a Catholic center). It was practically empty before Mass, the ladies at the front desk (the secretary and a nun in sweats) didn't bother to acknowledge my presence, and I was one of only three or four attendees under the age of 50. You'd think a campus ministry that prides itself on being 'welcoming' would try to be more welcoming. That, and Father was fond of 'customizing' the words and gestures of the Mass (valid, fortunately; but I can't pray the Mass very well when I've got to vet the consecration for validity). Grrr.

So I think I'll be trying other ways to find the Catholic community at Cal. Newman Center seems kind of a hopeless case.

Nuns Should Have Habits And Trebuchets

This provides the segue to my minor reorganization of links. "On The Good", "On The Beautiful" and "On The True" have been joined by "Humorous", containing the webcomics that have drawn me into their orbits, and "Dormant", containing the sleeping blogs for which I still carry a torch. (Is that the wrong expression? Maybe something about tying a ribbon?) Anyway, their archives are still worth perusing. And no, I don't plan to make a pun about letting sleeping blogs lie. Oh. I'm sorry.

Also, I've removed a few links (it's not you, really; it's me) and added some new ones. I started reading dotCommonweal out of respect for Peter Nixon (whose dormant blog, Sursum Corda, is a template for any writer who wishes to address faith, spirituality and politics without abandoning humility, civility or fidelity). But I've also been impressed by the writing of Cathleen Kavenny and others, who bear out my point that there are intelligent and faithful Catholics across the political spectrum.

This isn't to deny that there are truths of the faith which do have clear political consequences; there is no liberty to believe that abortion is a human right, nor that a war of aggression is licit. In my experience, there are many Catholic progressives who have sold their birthright (love of God, faith in the Church, and all that flows from those) for a mess of pottage (a bunch of policies without reference to man as more than an economic being). And they have their counterparts on the Right, who place allegiance to a particular nation (a laudatory thing in its place) above the allegiance to moral truth. But fools and boors on both sides do not prove anything about the proper political decisions.

Uh, I'm out of ramble for the night. Time for lighter fare!

Quote Meme:

I've seen this one on Darwin Catholic and elsewhere. Go to the Random Quote Generator and go through the quotes until you've collected five that you identify with (the criterion is sort of vague).
I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.
Dave Barry (1947 - )

Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.
Iris Murdoch (1919 - 1999)

When a man's knowledge is sufficient to attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold, whatever he may have gained, he will lose again.
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
Johann von Neumann (1903 - 1957)

Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - )

P.S. Wikipedia ruins everything.
P.P.S. Physical exercise is only tolerable if there's a competitive element to it. Doesn't matter if I'm the worst player on the field (and I often am); I love Ultimate Frisbee.

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