Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kindle 2.0 on February 9???


"Rumors of a next-generation Kindle, Amazon's e-book reader, started appearing on the Internet almost as soon as the initial version hit the market. Now, it appears that the company is finally ready to show the world what it's had up its sleeve. The company invited the press to an event it will host on February 9th at a location--the Morgan Library and Museum--that suggests it may have books on its mind."

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I ran across this photo a few days ago and it keeps eating at me. Isn't this a horrible photo? I'm not talking about the disturbing photo of the decapitated aborted baby, I'm talking about the denial, and maybe even hatred, in the face of the "clergyperson" on the right. It seems to me that Evangelical Christianity, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, traditional Judaism, Islam -- we are the ones who are obligated, in the words of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, to become "counter-cultural once more".

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama Inauguration

In spite of myself, I too am feeling the excitement of the upcoming Obama inauguration. It is history and it is so nice to feel the nation united again. We haven't felt that since the first few days after 9/11 and the current times are much more positive. So I will think about FOCA and card check and socialist political appointments and eat-the-rich, and an insane spending plan AFTER Tuesday. Thank goodness for loyal opposition...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Neuhaus Memorial on EWTN Tonight

I just finished watching a moving memorial for Fr. Richard John Neuhaus on Raymond Arroyo's EWTN show, The World Over. Guests included Michael Novak and George Weigel, close friends of Fr. Neuhaus. By telephone, Joseph Bottum, the current editor of First Things, also contributed. The program reinforced my own realization of the magnitude of the loss and it gave a glimpse of the camaraderie of the intellectual circle in New York and Washington, DC in which Neuhaus, Novak and Weigel move. What an amazing experience it must be to be part of that. George Weigel spoke to the apparently widespread concern about the future of First Things magazine. He said that Fr. Neuhaus had two great projects that he wanted to see continue after he was gone. The first was the Evangelical and Catholics Together project and the second was First Things magazine. Weigel, along with Joseph Bottum, the current editor, assured the audience that First Things will go on "for years and years". Parenthetically, the latest issue of First Things arrived in my mail box yesterday, containing what is will be one of the last installments of "The Public Square".

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Father Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus died this morning. He was great man, a good Catholic priest, loyal to the Pope and to the Magisterium, as all good Catholics are. He fought the mediocrities running the Catholic Church in America over the years with a style that I simply enjoyed reading and hearing. Beginning his public life as a Lutheran minister, he was a close advisor to Martin Luther King, converted to Catholicism in 1990, and was ordained a Catholic Priest in 1991. He founded First Things magazine, an ecumenical publication, one of my favorites and one which to which I have subscribed for the past few years. He wielded his "The Public Square" section each issue as a rapier and as a cudgel. The feckless among the USCCB were often ridiculed simply by exposure in Father Neuhaus' writing. He repeatedly called the NAB translation of The Bible for what it is: banal. (Isn't it amazing that the best Catholic Bible translation is the RSV, one that was originally produced by the Protestants?) Father Neuhaus was one of the good guys in the long, tough culture war ongoing in the Catholic Church. From Wikipedia,
He was active in liberal politics until Roe v. Wade was handed down. He is the originator of "Neuhaus' Law", which states that "Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed".

He expressed my own grief when Pope John Paul the Great died in 2005 so effectively as a commentator on EWTN that I still remember just sitting there in front of the television and letting his powerful and sorrowful words wash over me: "What HE said..." was what I thought. I sincerely hope that other, younger, orthodox Catholics rise to take his place. Rest in Peace.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Music Recommendation: "The Priests"

Just bought an album download from Amazon.com (MP3, no DRM, and 256 Kbps) called "The Priests". Very beautiful and moving. From what I can tell from their web site, they're three Catholic priests from Ireland who are also tenors.

Being a geek, I keep the MP3 files in iTunes and stream them to the powered speakers in another room using AirTunes. 802.11g appears to be have plenty of bandwidth because the result is truly stop-in-the-middle-of-what-you're-doing-to-listen beautiful!

Friday, January 02, 2009

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

The quote is by George Orwell and is cited in an interesting post by Michael Novak on the FirstThings magazine web site.
Because if there is no truth, no argument is possible in the light of evidence. Under a regime that spouts lies, there is no way to protest in the name of truth. Where truth doesn’t count, conversation is empty. Where truth doesn’t count, persuasion can be no more than seduction or intimidation. Power rules. Put another way, when power, wealth, and position threaten to tyrannize, people must be able to appeal to truth. Only when truth is cherished as an imperative does civilization becomes possible. Only then can human beings enter into rational conversation with one another. For civilization is constituted by conversation. Barbarians bully; civilized people persuade.

January 22 is coming...