August 2007 Archives

Freedom!

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Verizon thinks they have a 1st Amendment right to violate your privacy.

"Thursday will also likely see Verizon argue that the nation's privacy laws largely forbidding phone companies from disclosing their customers' phone records are unconstitutional since they violate Verizon's First Amendment rights. No, really."

This is the kind of thing that makes me want to burn all of my technology. But then, how would I ever sell my air conditioner, get false reports accompanied by a**-covering about when Fred Thompson is going to announce his presidential campaign or find recipes for grilled spicy citrus ribs?

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Champions of Faith - a review

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It was with a bit of skepticism that I accepted a review copy of Champions of Faith earlier this summer (sorry Mr. Walsh, I have a pregnant wife and a new house, I've been busy). It's a movie produced by the good folks at Catholic Exchange that profiles the faith lives of Catholic pro baseball players. Given my love of baseball and my faith (not in that order), you might find my worries strange, but then consider that the last movie to combine baseball with spirituality was Bull Durham and you might understand1.

Though the DVD is excellent overall, as with anything, parents should watch it with their children as there are some troublesome parts. For one, there are simply too many moments in Champions of Faith where the players and coaches profiled show a Prayer of Jabez-ish mentality. Says one: "If you put God in first place, he'll put you in first place, if you put him in second place, he'll put you in second place." Really? Tell that to Job. Or, if you prefer a more contemporary example, tell that to the Devil Rays. Sorry Tampa Bay! Nobody on your team puts God in first place!

More seriously, the structure of the movie tends to promote this idea. It's great that Jack McKeon is a devout Catholic (and I'm generally inclined to appreciate an old man chomping on a cigar talking about his devotion to the Little Flower) but is that why the Marlins won the World Series in 2003?2 The movie doesn't quite say so, but it does talk about McKeon's faith in the context of that season. The same goes for the Cardinals' 2006 World Series. Jeff Suppan and David Eckstein are evidently faithful Catholics, but, but.... come on!3 Like I said, watch this with your children.

So why watch it at all if it's so problematic? Well, like I said, overall it does a good job. For the most part it gets out of the way and simply lets the players talk about their faith, which is always a good thing (except when it's not, see above). Specifically, though, there are two great parts of the movie that could be useful for teaching boys. The first is a powerful montage where a couple dozen players profess their belief in the real presence. It's powerful because they are clearly sincere. Boys sometimes just need to hear these things from somebody who's not mom or dad. You can argue all day about why that is and it's probably not a good thing, but there are many kids out there who will be moved by seeing their heros confess their faith in Jesus present in the Eucharist.

The second great part is the profile of Mike Sweeney. It's a real, well-presented example of humility. A few years ago, Sweeney took a beanball from Jeff Weaver and went after him, causing a bench clearing brawl. Now, if you know anything about Jeff Weaver, you can instantly sympathize with Sweeney, but Sweeney explains his realization that he needs to ask for forgiveness, and it's a great concrete lesson in one of the hardest parts of our faith to put into action. Most school age boys would benefit from that part.

All in all, it's a good movie. The camera work is excellent, capturing not only some of baseball's greatest shrines (shots of Wrigley Field feature prominently) but also some magnificent images of the St. Louis cathedral and a mission in California (maybe San Diego). Really, except for the few prosperity gospel moments, it succeeds in showing that real people, even people many children regard as heroes, take seriously and put into practice in their lives their Catholic faith in Jesus Christ.

Papa-Lu's rating: Three stars out of 4

Endnotes:

1 Entertaining movie if you can tolerate the constant blasphemy and Susan Sarandon. Back to post

2 Obviously, my being a Cubs fan has a lot to do with it, although Steve Bartman might favor the thesis that stealing a foul ball out from Moises Alou was divinely guided. Back to post

3 Interesting dynamic going on with this movie. It prominently features the 2003 and 2006 World Series, and the closing sequence begins with the White Sox winning in 2005. In fact, some Cubs fans may actually have their faith damaged by this film (j/k of course). Back to post

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“What happens to Israel will happen here?

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With apologies to all (!) my Christian Zionist readers, this is some freaky sh*t.

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St. Augustine

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Happy Feast Day to Me!

I have to run, so here's a link dump to celebrate Saints Monica (yesterday) and Augustine (today):

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Hitting the Ground Running

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In addition to the trip to Austria mentioned a few posts down, Pope Benedict will also visiting the shrine of Loreto this weekend. Zenit has published the agenda here.

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Things we don't need surveys to know

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"So you're between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy?"

Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey -- more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 -- conducted by the Associated Press and MTV....

Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a significant other....

Just under half of young people think they'd be happier with more money, while the same percentage, 49 percent, say they'd be just as happy....

Being sexually active leads to less happiness among 13-17-year-olds, according to the survey. If you're 18 to 24, sex might lead to more happiness in the moment, but not in general.

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You had me at hello

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"The Chicago Way" opens in classic style with former cop Michael Kelly sitting at his desk with his feet up, pondering the Cubs' 10 greatest moments.
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For your reading pleasure

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Caleb Stegall half-appreciatively reviews Bill McKibben's Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.

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Oriana

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John Allen's weekly dispatch covers a panel discussion session devoted to Italian polemicist Oriana Fallaci at this year's Communion and Liberation annual meeting in Rimini, Italy. The panel included an Italian bishop who had a close friendship with Fallaci and was with her during her dying days. He gave a moving account of that time. Check it out.

Is this a good time to admit that the first time I ever heard of Oriani Fallaci was an episode of Cheers?

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Finally!

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But that's not to say the Cubs have underperformed. They haven't. This goes right to why it's so hard to go from worst to first in one season. Stick with your guys, and they aren't likely to be suddenly good. But put together a bunch of new ones, and you have no identity, no clubhouse culture. Piniella had to sift through an awful lot, figure out who can do what.

I've been saying this to anybody who will listen for 8 months. When people would ask about this year in Spring, I would say, "Wait and see. That's a lot of change for one off-season. It's going to take time for the team to gel."

It's even worse than Couch says, because the Cubs have had no consistent leadership since Sosa left. Zambrano and Barrett (when he was with the team) are too crazy, Lee, Ramirez and Maddux (when he was with the team) are too much the quiet types, Wood and Prior are broken-and never-around types. That was the most important thing about the Soriano pick-up (note how their biggest stumble since early June came when he went down). He gave the team a defining character (which is also why it was important to put him in the lead-off spot and in left field when he faltered in the 5-slot and in center field). When he comes back, this team is not going to look back, even if he's not 100%.

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Can She be Stopped?

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Well, it looks like Hilary Clinton is getting the endorsements that matter. So far she has the horror novelist and Hollywood prostitute vote nailed down.

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Aerogel

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This stuff is pretty neat. Back in college, my aero engineering roommate showed me a video of a crayon sitting on top of a sheet of aerogel thinner than a pane of glass with a blowtorch underneath. An enormous amount of time passed, and the crayon was unmelted. It was pretty neat. Back then, the challenge for home use was the bluish tint that would make it unappealing for windows. That and the fact that people who care about home heating costs don't have bajillions of dollars for space age insulation. I wonder if either of those problems have been solved.

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Fed cuts rate half a point

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Great news unless you just signed a mortgage last month. Arg.

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That's my cuuuuzin!

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This will only be of interest to those related to me by blood, but anyone else is welcome to click below:

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Scarcity

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The Lu- clan is off to the Third Annual Northern Camping Extravaganza. See ya next week!

Until then, read everything that Fr. Mark writes and check out Sonitus Sanctus, for all the Catholic-ish* mp3s you could ever want. On a lighter note, you could check out Breakfast of the Gods - a web comic book featuring all of the cereal mascots you grew up with. Rated PG-13 for language and violence.

* - by "-ish" I don't mean to imply they're not orthodox, just that there some stuff there that, though good, is not explicitly Catholic.

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30 Days Interview with Patriarch Emmanuel

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The Italian monthly 30 Days has their latest issue online, including this interview with the patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq.

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For the wifey

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Tickle me dead

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Is it selfish/rude/horrifyingly inhuman/just plain wrong to look at this list of Fisher Price toys that were recalled due to lead paint and note with a snicker how many of them contain the word "Elmo"?

Perhaps. Perhaps.

Uh.. not so humorous update: A factory manager at one of the Chinese manufacturers involved hung himself.

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Motivational posters for your emergent church

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Hilarious. My favorite is "Relevance."

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Rest in Peace, Karen Marie

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One of the original St. Bloggers has passed away.

TSO dug up a request we all should honor.

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Pope's August Prayer Intentions

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General intention: That all those who are going through moments of inner difficulty and trial may find in Christ the light and support which leads them to discover authentic happiness.

Missionary intention: That the Church in China may bear witness to ever greater inner cohesion and may manifest her effective and visible communion with Peter's successor.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2007 is the previous archive.

September 2007 is the next archive.

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