30 September 2008
29 September 2008
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 420 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (Reasons: anti-ethnic, sexism, homosexuality, anti-family, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group)
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, violence)
- Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes (Reasons: sexually explicit and offensive language)
- The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman (Reasons: religious viewpoint)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Reasons: racism)
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language)
- TTYL by Lauren Myracle (Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group)
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Reasons: sexually explicit)
- It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris (Reasons: sex education, sexually explicit)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group)
- Fight censorship by reporting banned and challenged books.
- Educate yourself about book banning and challenging. The ALA is a great place to start searching for information, but branch out from there. (Be sure to read both sides of the issue so you can make informed decisions about how you feel.)
- Wear a free speech button or t-shirt.
27 September 2008
Intellectual arrogance, in the utmost degree, is being displayed by those who dismiss out of hand the considerate opinion of someone who has studied a field for 25 years only because they cherish a particular religious worldview that has no independent foundation in reality.The catcallers stood for a moment, stunned, and left the port.
Day One: Embarkation
Pull the string and out tumbles another ridiculous talking point she neither understands, nor can deliver with anything approaching sense.
If you repeat a rumor with enough sarcasm and a warning of the "Politics of Fear" sort, people learn that you think that they're drooling idiots if they believe it.
Palin makes the vital mistake of imagining that, despite our differences, we don’t need each other, and the equally dangerous mistake of pigeonholing our towns & cities into pre-determined antagonistic roles. If we’re stuck in a culture war, it’s because people like Palin insist on re-digging our trenches when it’s beneficial to their political career.
It used to be my custom to order a nice blue/saignant petit filet about twice a year, but due to the current subprime perfect storm of red meat in battleground states between enemy combatants on the ground, at the end of the day I think it will likely be some few years before I have the stomach for another one.
H.L. Mencken once observed, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Last time I checked, Republicans weren't going broke in excessive numbers.
Day Four: George Town, Grand Cayman
Our first port of call was George Town, Grand Cayman, a beautiful town for shopping. Many of the passengers disembarked for the day, and as they wandered from store to store, the elite atmosphere was not left on the ship, this time taking the form of science.
[R]esearch like this sends a tingle down my spine. I see this as a light……… no a beacon, that may one day help people avoid going through what My family had to go through with me, If this research helps one person recover faster, if it stops someone from becoming a complete barstard towards his family then I am 100% behind it.Avi picked up the thread of conversation at the restaurant where the passengers stopped for lunch. He opened his discussion by informing the others:
The amount of attention this little problem has attracted on the intertubes proves two things:
- People have far too much time on their hands (myself included), and
- People generally don't know shit about even reasonably simple physics.
Lately, I've been wondering whether physics in fact has it worse than other subjects. I don't have the data to answer that question, but I can at least sketch what I suspect to be a contributing factor which other sciences might encounter to a lesser extent or in a different way.
[B]eyond academics, beyond the talent of the students and teachers, what made my high school and others like it successful was a sense of elitism. We were told nearly every day that, “Excellence is our standard, not the exception.” We were told that we should thank our parents for sending us there. We were told that we represented our school wherever we were and we were to carry ourselves accordingly in the local community (we could receive disciplinary actions for a speeding ticket or a fight on the other side of town). We were fortunate enough to be a powerhouse in local athletics and that also contributed to a general sense that we were special.
Those who don't take the past seriously, who treat history as a trivial handful of facts, interesting stories, and events that have no bearing on today, won't have the wisdom to create a better future.
It's true that cluster bombs, attack submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, military space platforms, and nuclear weapons could not be made without science and technology. But, then again, neither could communication and weather satellites, cell phones, computers, automobiles, airplanes, diagnostic medical scanners, radiation therapy for disease, electric lighting and the myriad other results of that selfsame scientific and industrial revolution that have saved millions of lives and reduced poverty, death and disease. That's not even counting the additional benefit of further knowledge those technologies have made possible in the form of electron microscopes, space probes, atom smashers, space telescopes and the like.
26 September 2008
25 September 2008
24 September 2008
23 September 2008
22 September 2008
20 September 2008
18 September 2008
17 September 2008
...was instituted by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. The Catechism explains, 'This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord' (CCC 1511; Mark 6:13; Jas. 5:14-15).
Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was previously most commonly administered to the dying, for the remission of sins and the provision of spiritual strength and health. In modern times, however, its use has been expanded to all who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, and the Church stresses a secondary effect of the sacrament: to help a person recover his health. Like Confession and Holy Communion, to which it is closely linked, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick can be repeated as often as is necessary.
The Roman Rite Anointing of the Sick, as revised in 1972, puts greater stress than in the immediately preceding centuries on the sacrament's aspect of healing, and points to the place sickness holds in the normal life of Christians and its part in the redemptive work of the Church.
Received in faith and in a state of grace, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick provides the recipient with a number of graces, including the fortitude to resist temptation in the face of death, when he is weakest; a union with the passion of Christ, which makes his suffering holy; and the grace to prepare for death, so that he may meet God in hope rather than in fear. If the recipient was not able to receive the Sacrament of Confession, Anointing also provides forgiveness of sins. And, if it will aid in the salvation of his soul, Anointing may restore the recipient's health.
As the sacrament of Marriage gives grace for the married state, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick gives grace for the state into which people enter through sickness. Through the sacrament is given a gift of the Holy Spirit that renews confidence and faith in God and strengthens against temptations to discouragement, despair and anguish at the thought of death and the struggle of death; it prevents from losing Christian hope in God's justice, truth and salvation.
16 September 2008
15 September 2008
- The Prophecy of Simon over the Infant Jesus (Luke 2:34)
- The Flight into Egypt of the Holy Family (Matthew 2:13)
- The Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:43)
- The Meeting of Jesus and Mary along the Way of the Cross (Luke 23:26)
- The Crucifixion where Mary stands at the foot of the cross (John 19:25)
- The Descent from the Cross where Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms (Matthew 27:57)
- The Burial of Jesus (John 19:40)
14 September 2008
CLAREMONT, Calif. - David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel " ," was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46.Wallace's wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the .
Wallace taughtand English at nearby .
"He cared deeply for his students and transformed the lives of many young people," said Dean Gary Kates. "It's a great loss to our teaching faculty."
Wallace's first novel, "The Broom of the System," gained national attention in 1987 for its ambition and offbeat humor. The New York Times said the 24-year-old author "attempts to give us a portrait, through a combination of Joycean word games, literary parody and zany picaresque adventure, of a contemporary America run amok."
Published in 1996, "Infinite Jest" cemented Wallace's reputation as a major American literary figure. The 1,000-plus-page tome, praised for its complexity and dark wit, topped many best-of lists. Time Magazine named "Infinite Jest" in its issue of the "100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005."
Wallace received a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation in 1997.
In 2002, Wallace was hired to teach at Pomona in a tenured English Department position endowed by Roy E. Disney. Kates said when the school began searching for the ideal candidate, Wallace was the first person considered.
"The committee said, 'we need a person like David Foster Wallace.' They said that in the abstract," Kates said. "When he was approached and accepted, they were heads over heels. He was really the ideal person for the position."
Wallace's short fiction was published in Esquire, GQ, Harper's, The New Yorker and the Paris Review. Collections of his short stories were published as "Girl With Curious Hair" and "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men."
He wrote nonfiction for several publications, including an essay on the U.S. Open for Tennis magazine and a profile of the for Premiere.
Born in Ithaca, N.Y., Wallace attended University of Arizona.and the
(Corrects school he attended to Arizona, not Illinois.)
Though the ship's guest list is still being finalized, NP declined to comment on the upcoming maiden voyage of the Caribbean Elite, and it is unclear whether or not any of the ship's guests were at the event.
The Caribbean Elite will be sailing out of Port Canaveral on September 27th.
12 September 2008
- The scenes between the Grand Opening and the Grand Re-Opening need to find a balance between significant and slice-of-life.
- The religiosity of the piece needs to be carefully threaded throughout the story--those that know about it see and appreciate it, and those that don't just don't see it--the religiosity just adds a little depth to the story, ties the events together, but doesn't overwhelm the story arc.
- Maybe hint at one of the baristas writing for pleasure to hint that maybe s/he wrote the piece?
- Don't make the landlord a totally unloveable character, just heavy-handed in his handling of his tenants--he wants to be (overly) involved.
- Ben should be more of a background owner; he lets Moira do the managerial stuff and he does the books and ordering what she says he needs to order based on her inventory reports. Sometimes when things get super busy he helps, but mostly he chats and does paperwork.
- Don't make Moira too idealistic--she should have flaws, too! But not the kind of flaws that make her more loveable. All the characters should be equally loveable and hatable--the reader can choose the main character.
- There needs to be some acknowledgement that a lot of the customers are "farm folk" and the only coffee they drink is the "coffee" they get from the gas stations--they're not used to gourmet coffee, or a place that doesn't serve meals.
11 September 2008
10 September 2008
09 September 2008
08 September 2008
Exercise #1Describe the view from a window--bedroom, barroom, bus, wherever--as seen by a character who has just received some very good or some very bad news. Have some specific news in mind but don't even hint at it in the exercise. The reader should be able to deduce if not the exact nature of the news, the tenor of it, whether it's good or bad, simply by the way you describe the view. The object is to give the reader a sense of a character's internal life by relying on meaningful imagery alone.Exercise #2Write a scene, lots of dialogue, lots of body language, lots of concrete detail, and so on, in which one of te characters is keeping a big-time secret. She's pregnant. He's got cancer. Like that. Don't mention the secret in the scene. Instead, focus on how keeping such a secret affects your character's behavior, how he or she reacts to the environment and the other characters. No, this is not an exercise in withholding information. The point is that the secret itself is less important than your character's reaction to it. Even if the reader isn't privy to the secret, we should be able to sense the tension it causes, its emotional effect.
07 September 2008
Captain NP, unavailable for comment, is creating the guest list for the first voyage. She has been meeting with various elitists to discuss the cruise, as well as their qualifications for being admitted to the ship. It has been rumored the guest list will need to be finalized by September 26th for the voyage the next day.
The elitists who have met with NP declined to comment on the impending maiden voyage of the controversial luxury liner.
06 September 2008
Blogger, though, has come out with a really great tool that has streamlined my blog-reading, and allows me to see updates on blogs I read regularly from my Dashboard. Not only that, I can feature followers on my blogs by adding the Following Gadget to my blog layout. (See right.)
I like Followers. Though no one is officially following my blog yet, it will help me see my audience so I can make sure the needs of that audience are being met.
05 September 2008
One is running, an angry look on his face, his arms up and ready to attack. The other is walking, a calm look on his face, his arms open and ready to embrace.
Which do you think you'd go to?
Those that have read my blog at all have probably figured out by now that I am a practicing Catholic. I don't hide it. Most of you also probably know I keep a more personal blog that also shows my faith.
I moderate the comments on my personal blog (because it's personal), and today I received an email about a comment awaiting moderation. When I read the comment, I was shocked. It was quite long, and I won't post any of it here (or the source), but the post essentially accused me of being "of the world" instead of being of Christ, and the comment explicitly said that woman is the root of the evils in the world and that I am commanded to be silent, according to the Scriptures.
I deleted the comment and asked the blogger (nicely) not to post comments like that on my blog again. He emailed me and continued his rant, accusing me of being a member of a pagan religion and informing me he'll pray that I "see the light."
I was surprised that, in today's society, people can still be so closed minded that their attempts to bring people to their cause ends up sounding like hate-speak.
I was angry that people think comments like that actually work. Instead of trying to reason with me and share his faith, he attacked my faith and called me evil (not only me, but all women).
When people are attacked like that, they stop listening. And instead of me being interested in what he has to say, I have blocked his email address on my email account, and am completely turned off to his faith. Instead of "winning my soul," he drove me away.
I will pray that he'll realize that instead of sharing a faith of love and forgiveness, he's fostering hate and exclusion.
And I hope you will be the person with arms open for discussion, not raised to attack.
04 September 2008
When I sat down to write this memoir, I think I underestimated how difficult it can be to be sparse. I thought I would write six words, post my memoir, and move on with my life. Unfortunately, it took a while for me to figure out a way to encapsulate myself in just six words.
After writing my memoir as per the meme, I added those six words to the white board in my office space to remind me of who I am and forgot about the meme. Then I was pointed to an article by Jeremy Caplan that made me reconsider my memoir as just one of those things we do online every once in a while.
The guidelines for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) call for a minimum of 50,000 words, but NPR's On the Media hosted a twelve-word-novel contest. Attention spans are shortening. Caplan says:
Short is in. Online Americans, fed up with e-mail overload and blogorrhea, are retreating into micro-writing. Six-word memoirs. Four-word film reviews. Twelve-word novels. Mini-lit is thriving.I was aware of the six-word memoir prior to reading Caplan's article, but the twelve-word novel was a new one to me. I participated in (and won) NaNo last year with a novel that was a bit over 50,000 words. I'll be participating again this year, but this whole twelve-word-novel thing intrigues me. I think I'll write one (or more). Maybe my publishing career is in twelve-word-novels.
For your entertainment, I'd like to share NPR's top twelve twelve-word-novels (available at the above link) in the order they're found in the transcript.
- "She hated Ohio. She ran away. She loved the dead jazz musician." By Rudy Jaimes.
- "Living Abroad," by Marcia Veach. "This is China! This is China? This - is China."
- "I see now that I have taken lighthouses for granted." By April Kuiper, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- "My sister had written Father's obituary. He is survived by one daughter." By Brenda J. Wolfe.
- "His enormous lottery winnings enabled him to create his own private hell." By Pamela Roeller, Litchfield Park, Arizona.
- "Louise's love of poodles was overshadowed only by her love of barbecue." By Mark Weaver, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
- "Obituary. First five words free, she thought. Charles dead. Yacht for sale." Angela Stucker, Brooklyn, New York.
- "In the end, they barely reached Buffalo before finding themselves devastatingly incompatible." By Carol Braun, Garfield Heights, Ohio.
- "'There are no atheists in foxholes,' said the chaplain, 'so get out.'" Jonathan Swiller, Highland Mills, New York.
- "Well, I warned her. Chickens do not like to ride in cars." By Jeanine Farrell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- "Got Grandpa's FBI file. Curiosity sated, Pop's backstory regains renewed luster." By Michael Ravnitzky, Silver Spring, Maryland.
- "Twelve-word novel win changes life. Fame, drugs, adultery, sorrow, tears, blood." By David Hill, New York, New York.
03 September 2008
Many times, when we think of marriage, we think of weddings and dresses and cakes and rings. Those who have been married may think of all the planning that goes into the ceremony and reception. Families may think of saying goodbye to a child or welcoming a new child into the family.
But marriage is not just the physical elements of the union. In the Church, it is more than that. Scott P. Richert says:
[...M]arriage is more than a natural institution; it was elevated by Christ Himself, in His participation in the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), to be one of the seven sacraments. A marriage between two Christians, therefore, has a supernatural element as well as a natural one. While few Christians outside of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches regard marriage as a sacrament, the Catholic Church insists that marriage between any two baptized Christians, as long as it is entered into with the intention to contract a true marriage, is a sacrament.Just as any sacrament in the Church, there are changes that occur for the faithful that bring us closer to the Church and stronger in our relationships with the Lord. About the effect of marriage, Richert says:
The effect of the sacrament is an increase in sanctifying grace for the spouses, a participation in the divine life of God Himself...This sanctifying grace helps each spouse to help the other advance in holiness, and it helps them together to cooperate in God's plan of redemption by raising up children in the Faith. In this way, sacramental marriage is more than a union of a man and a woman; it is, in fact, a type and symbol of the divine union between Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride. As married Christians, open to the creation of new life and committed to our mutual salvation, we participate not only in God's creative act but in the redemptive act of Christ.While the immediacy of marriage is the union of two people who love each other, marriage goes beyond those two people, and beyond the love and support they receive from each other.
Because the sacrament of marriage involves more than one person, and it's a sacrament that changes the lives of those two people (as well as their children), it should not be taken lightly. In premarital counseling, for example, you are asked to think deeply about what you're doing to make sure you're both entering into the sacrament with willing, open hearts.
Marriage is a beautiful sacrament, and one that is unlike any of the others. Marriage brings two people together in love and faith, and they are bound to each other for the rest of their lives. No matter what happens to them, they can turn to each other for love and support. Even if family and friends turn their backs, spouses are there to stand strong.
What other sacrament can boast mutual love and support from another person for life?
02 September 2008
I have always felt a bit conflicted about missions. I have always been a "show, don't tell" type of person when it comes to my faith, and the idea of going to foreign countries to evangelize seemed to me to be a little more aggressive than I prefer.
On the other hand, Christ told his disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." As Christians, we are disciples, or followers, of Jesus, and so just as Christ charged the twelve disciples during his ministry on earth to evangelize, we too are charged with the same task.
As with all things in the Scriptures, though, there is latitude for interpretation.
Missionaries take Mark 16:15 literally and go all over the world to share the Scriptures with people, urging them to accept Christ as their Savior. They are "fishers of men," bringing people to the Church and building people's relationships with the Lord. They take extra schooling to prepare themselves to be deposited into different cultures, and to help them make connections with strangers in order to develop enough trust to preach to them about their faith and build churches in their communities. They dedicate their lives to building the Kingdom of God because of their interpretation of that verse.
There are others, though, that interpret Mark 16:15 less literally. These disciples see the verse more as a guide for living a Christian life. These are the Christians that share their faith and are happy to discuss it with people, but take a less aggressive approach and let people ask them, or let people see their faith in how they live their lives. These are those that say, "Your walk talks louder than your talk talks." They believe that how they live their lives will impact people's hearts and lives.
I have had heated discussions with friends and family about the interpretation of Mark 16:15. Those that interpret it literally do whatever they can to share the Gospel with anyone and everyone. I was a member of a church for a while that even did monthly "knocking" events with the youth group during which the teens would take their Bibles and knock on the doors of homes in the community to share the Gospel and encourage the residents to attend that particular church that Sunday.
I did not participate in these events not because I was embarrassed to share my faith, but because I felt it was intrusive, and it was not who I am as a Christian. Some people are not comfortable being aggressive in sharing the Gospel with people. And to be honest, I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
Your relationship with the Lord is a personal thing. You are an individual, and ultimately, you are the one that will face God after your death. So don't you think it's important to do what is in your heart to do when it comes to missions and sharing the Gospel?
So "[g]o into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation," but do it the way the Lord leads you to do it.
And peace be with you.