Saturday, March 31, 2007

When good dialogue gets naughty.

Rufus Sewell as Septimus Hodge. (Photo Source)
From Tom Stoppard's Arcadia:

Septimus: Now, sir, what is the business that cannot wait?

Chater: I think you know it, sir. You have insulted my wife.

Septimus: Insulted her? That would deny my nature, my conduct, and the admiration in which I hold Mrs Chater.

Chater: I have heard of your admiration, sir! You insulted my wife in the gazebo yesterday evening!

Septimus: You are mistaken, I made love to your wife in the gazebo. She asked me to meet her there, I have her note somewhere, I dare say I could find it for you, and if someone is putting it about that I did not turn up, by God, sir, it is a slander!


Chater:... I demand satisfaction!

Septimus: Mrs Chater demanded satisfaction and now you are demanding satisfaction. I cannot spend my time day and night satisfying the demands of the Chater family.

"The Dehydration Death of a Nation"

Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother reflects on his sister's death and what it means for our nation at large:

Saturday, March 31, will mark the two-year anniversary of my sister Terri Schiavo's death by dehydration. Not a day passes that my family does not think of my sister and relive the horrific images of her needless and brutal death at the hands of those who deliberately set out to kill her.

As hideous as it was, the truth is, long before Terri's case made headlines, the removal of basic care – food and water – was becoming commonplace. It continues to happen every day across our country oftentimes in cases, like Terri's, where the patient does not suffer from any life-threatening condition.

Much of the problem that exists stems from a blind acceptance of misinformation that has moved us from a firm belief in the sanctity of life to a "quality of life" mindset, which says that some lives are not worth living.

Read the rest here.


Fr. Frank Pavone discusses the ethical and theological implications of the Schiavo case.

Doctors who fight backdoor euthanasia can risk jail, under new UK laws.

It's better to be sick in some states than in others. Know your state's laws regarding advance directives and discontinuation of treatment.

The "Exit protocol" for the termination of Terri's life. (Posted in 2005) This does not sound like a dignified death to me. Even death row inmates get more humane treatment than this.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wedding and Baptism Bloopers

It's terribly irreverent, and equally funny.

Via Tito

Star Trek XI??

Just when the Star Trek movie inertia just starts to seem like it is slowing down, my brother sent me this little piece of news. Apparently, the Star Trek folks are looking to jump on the prequel bandwagon.

I'm all for decent Trek, but I'm not sure that this will be it. Get a load of the (unofficial) casting ideas:

Captain Kirk to be played by Matt Damon.

Mr. Spock will be rendered by Adrien Brody,

Gary Sinise will be the inimitable Dr. McCoy.

Brody's face is far to expressive to be convincing as a Vulcan, in my opinion, especially with those large, mournful eyes of his.

I just can't picture Matt Damon bringing the boyish, mischievous charm to the role of Kirk that Willliam Shatner contributed to the role in the original series (which transitioned rather appropriately to crotchety wit in the more chronologically advanced film versions of the character).

I do think Gary Sinise could pull off McCoy, though. He has the ability to render that sort of character admirably, and his facial features are reasonably close to Deforest Kelley, who originally played the character.

Add to that the fact that prequels can be perilous territory anyway, and it becomes clear that this film will have to be made VERY carefully if it is going to do anything but cause riots. (Watch out for some of those really obsessed Trekkers/Trekkies. They'll come after you with their phasers drawn)

Related Links, for those who may want to keep up to date on this:
Official Movie Website

Thursday, March 29, 2007

On the Condition of our Nation

"Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants."

--Mother Theresa

Attention Rose Lovers! John Paul II Rose.

Beautiful! Makes me wish Hybrid Tea roses weren't so high-maintenance in my local climate.

Read all about it at Holy Whapping.

It's 6 pm. Do you know where your cell phone is?

Always be ready to communicate with your spouse over the phone. It may save you some---trouble.

Oh, yes, and choose your marriage partner wisely.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Paper or .... anything but plastic.

In its ongoing effort to improve living conditions for all humynkind (not humankind, that's sexist and patriarchal), San Francisco has banned grocery bags made of petroleum-based plastics. At this point, many grocery stores (at least in California) provide for such bags to be recycled. San Franciscans want to go the extra mile and eliminate them altogether. Unfortunately, we do not yet have an equally economical or (necessarily) more environmentally friendly alternative yet.

There is a corn-based plastic bag, which is expensive to produce, and potentially takes corn away from the supply that would otherwise be eaten (thereby making the price of corn go up, harming poor people in third world countries for whom corn is often a staple) but it is at least biodegradable. Then there are paper bags, which are the cheapest option, but as is noted in the article:

Craig Noble, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said it would be disappointing if grocers rejected the biodegradable plastic bag option, since more trees would have to be cut down if paper bag use increases.

The final option is the reusable canvas grocery bag, which are already sold to customers of stores like Sprouts and Trader Joe's for about $2 each. While these can be convenient when used one or two at a time to supplement paper and/or plastic bags, single people who prefer monthly grocery runs and non-singles who have families to feed will probably not be too keen on hauling a dozen or more of these with them on every shopping trip.

It looks as though we have a choice here between convenience and the environment. San Francisco, for the most part, consistently expresses a preference for the environment, even in the smallest matters.

Which reminds me, I recently posted on the environmental hazards of synthetic female hormones being excreted into aquatic habitats, and the attending environmental hazards from all of the extra garbage that comes from other forms of artificial birth control. This California-bred girl would love to see what the folks in 'Frisco think of that environmental hazard.

A nod to Bill.
For more commentary on San Francisco and the government thereof, read Michelle's blog.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Guard your Card, Nobody Else Will.

I hear about credit card fraud all the time, which I why I get a little annoyed when I make credit card purchases and they don't check my ID.

It's a good idea to keep a close eye on your credit card and check your statements. One person decided he wanted to find out how far the credit card insecurity goes. Specifically, he wanted to know whether or not a person's signature gets checked for authenticity (we have all signed that little slip that says we will abide by the cardholder agreement). He found out, and he posted his findings on the web. Call it a prank with a purpose.

Protecting women: Frightening steps backward.

This is disgusting.

A British court did rapists a favor when it ruled drunk women can consent to sex, at least if they get drunk voluntarily. In the court case that led to this outrageous ruling, voluntary drinking did indeed play a part. The judges stated,

"...where the complainant has voluntarily consumed even substantial quantities of alcohol, but nevertheless remains capable of choosing whether or not to have intercourse, and in drink agrees to do so, this would not be rape."

The 19-year old victim in this case had consumed enough alcohol to lead to vomiting and partial memory loss. To my knowledge, these are obvious physical signs she'd be too impaired at that point to make rational decisions about much of anything except sleeping it off. How far does the intoxication have to go before she is no longer "capable" of choosing to have sex, your honors? Complete loss of consciousness?

I don't know what those judges were thinking. Wait, never mind, I can guess...

In related news, a UK study finds that alcohol is the real date rape drug, and voluntary drunkenness does play a part in allowing women to be easier victims of sexual assault.

Just in case you aren't sick enough yet:

A German court has allowed a man to continue to beat his wife and threaten to kill her because of his religion, and denied her request for an immediate divorce, which she requested to protect her own safety.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Know-Nothing History Lesson


The Know-Nothing Party originated in 1849. Its members strongly opposed immigrants and followers of the Catholic Church. The majority of white Americans followed Protestant faiths. Many of these people feared Catholics because members of this faith followed the teachings of the Pope. The Know-Nothings feared that the Catholics were more loyal to the Pope than to the United States. More radical members of the Know-Nothing Party believed that the Catholics intended to take over the United States of America. The Catholics would then place the nation under the Pope's rule. The Know-Nothing Party intended to prevent Catholics and immigrants from being elected to political offices. Its members also hoped to deny these people jobs in the private sector, arguing that the nation's business owners needed to employ true Americans. The majority of Know-Nothings came from middle and working-class backgrounds. These people feared competition for jobs from immigrants coming to the United States. Critics of this party named it the Know-Nothing Party because it was a secret organization. Its members would not reveal the party's doctrines to non-members. Know-Nothings were to respond to questions about their beliefs with, "I know nothing." The Know-Nothing Party adopted the American Party as its official name in 1854. More...

An infamous Anti-Catholic cartoon by Thomas Nast (1871):
Via Extreme Catholic.Click on the picture for a larger version.

Note that the invading bishops are drawn to resemble alligators, coming to prey on innocent children being shielded by a protestant minister.

Another Nast Masterpiece (also 1871):

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Latin Word of the Day from your English Teacher

Understanding the origins of English words often helps us to understand their deeper semantic undertones and their proper usage.

Many English words are derived or directly borrowed from Latin. This is especially true of medical terminology.

Today's word:

fetus: (noun, masculine): birth, offspring, produce, bearing of young, young brood, that which is brought forth

Non-technical Modern English translation, with reference to homo!

Sources: Cassell's Latin Dictionary (1968), Teach Yourself : Latin Dictionary (1992), Pocket Oxford Latin Dictionary (1995).

Morning Sickness... A good thing?

So so says a University of Liverpool study, for what it's worth:

According to scientists, morning sickness may have evolved out of necessity.

Reports show it may be the body's way of preventing women from consuming unhealthy food.

There is proof that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is related to high intake of sugar, alcohol, oils and meat.

Munching on cereal is least likely to trigger the sickness.

The work of The University of Liverpool's 56 studies in 21 countries can be read in the Royal Society's Biological Journal.

Morning sickness had been thought to be simply a symptom of hormonal changes during pregnancy. However, new research suggests morning sickness can have positive consequences and even reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Researchers theorize the child-bearing human body may have carried the dislike for high levels of toxins.

Read the entire article here.

Update: If you have ever had severe morning sickness that endangers your own health or that of your unborn child, you might want to know about this.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Never mind carbon. Estrogen footprints?

A lot of people take female hormones. Some for menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Some to treat health problems. Others for birth control.

The synthetic hormones used in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy ultimately end up in our sewage systems. Sewage goes to sewage treatment plants. Treated water then goes back into the environment.

But the water treatment doesn't filter out the estrogens.

Which begs the question, what about the fish?

According to the Canadian Freshwater Institute Fisheries and Oceans, it doesn't look good. Their report Effects of a Synthetic Estrogen on Aquatic Populations: a Whole Ecosystem Study suggests that this is an environmental concern worth watching.

This is from their executive summary:
Municipal wastewater treatment plants (MWTP) discharge numerous contaminants into aquatic systems, and some of these chemicals are known or believed to act like hormones and interfere with the growth, reproduction and development of aquatic organisms. It is becoming increasingly apparent that male fish exposed to these effluents are becoming feminized due to the presence of natural and synthetic estrogens in the water. The potent synthetic estrogens excreted by women taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills are not completely broken down in the sewage treatment process and are discharged into waterways. The male fish exposed to these estrogens produce egg proteins, have smaller gonads and, in the more severe cases, develop eggs...

During the summer of 2001, the synthetic estrogen used in birth control pills, ethynylestradiol, was added continuously to one lake to maintain low and environmentally-relevant concentrations in the water. Laboratory and field studies had previously demonstrated that this estrogen does not persist in the water, and can be degraded by bacteria naturally present in the sediments of the lake. The additions were done from the end of May until the end of October, and mean concentrations of the estrogen were 6.1 ng/L in the surface waters of the lake. We monitored the lake for responses of the individual fish (lake trout, sucker and minnows) and their populations, as well as changes in the tadpoles, bacteria, algae, leeches, zooplankton and benthic invertebrates as a result of the estrogen additions.

This study was successful at reproducing some of the impacts seen in fish downstream of MWTPs. Male fish from the estrogen-addition lake produced high concentrations of egg protein precursors, had developmental delays in their gonads and, in one species of minnow, produced eggs. Female fish exposed to the estrogen also showed delays in reproductive development and changes in the amount and timing of the egg protein production. The kidneys and livers were also impacted likely due to the atypical and high production of egg proteins in these fish. In the fall of 2001, we did not see any changes in the sizes of the fish populations, fish growth rates, the numbers of males versus females, and the survival of the offspring. It is likely that population- level responses of long-lived organisms will take longer to appear, and for this reason we are continuing to monitor the fish populations in this lake for 3 years following the estrogen additions.

The short version? We've got some freaky fish out there now.

Which means we need some solutions here. Obviously we will need to alter our water treatment methods. Who knows what else might be geting through. Of course, it will take time and more research to figure out how to do that, so what do we do in the meantime to minimize the environmental impact of our excess artificial estrogen?

There will always be a few people who need their medical hormone treatments for their health, and they should be able to recieve them, but the rest of us have some thinking to do.

Personally, I'm still a fan of Natural Family Planning. No excess hormones. No trash to throw away. (Don't forget the used condoms, sponges, diaphragms, cervical caps, patches, nuva-rings, injection needles, pill packages, etc. have to go somewhere) And, as I have pointed out before, emerging German research indicates that NFP has the same success rates as the pill, when used properly.

But what about people who just don't want to give up their birth control pills? What are they going to do?

Maybe Al Gore could start an estrogen offset program. :)

Hat tip: Alan
Update May 2, 2007: Wondering if I could be the first to use the term "estrogen footprint" I did a Google search and found out that one other person (a commenter on another blog) has thought up the term besides myself and used it online, a mere 3 weeks before I originally composed this post. :) The two of us should get together and write a Wikipedia entry. It's kind of fun to be one of the first ones to use a new term in writing. (Yes, I'm a language nerd.)

Polar bear needs to die.

That's according to certain animal rights activists.

Story at,
and at the Daily Mail,
and ABC News.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Uh-huh. Good luck with that.

I know for a fact that there are teachers out there who have a myspace, so I find this little story rather amusing. Our friend Bill blogs about it here. Apparently we have a school (a private Catholic school in this particular case, though this could have happened just about anywhere) that is trying to keep its students from using MySpace on pain of suspension, or worse. The idea is that this will protect them from online predators.

I understand wanting to protect students, but this is absolutely unenforceable. People can post a MySpace account without publicly declaring their real names, where they live or where they work, or go to school. Granted, not many do this, and many people post too much information about themselves, but if these kids want to get around the school enforcers, they'll probably be able to, and I'm sure they already know it. The trouble with unenforceable rules is that they only serve to undermine the authority of the school administration in the eyes of the student body, and possibly even among parents, by making administrators appear impotent. Such policies do no favors for the teaching staff either, as it usually falls to them to communicate and justify these things to the students, who often ask very straightforward questions, and expect clear, logical answers.

Then, consider there's still Livejournal, Orkut, and Friendster, plus AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and the like. The news story about this makes no mention of those. So, theoretically, a student could just move her MySpace stuff over to another online community and *technically* still be in line with school policy while still being in just as much danger.

It would be reasonable for the school to block access to such sites and services from its own computers. Even public schools do this sometimes, to limit computer use to more academically oriented endeavors.

Furthermore, private religious schools have a right to demand that their students follow a code of conduct both in and out of school. If they discover that students are participating in immoral/illegal activities through MySpace, by all means, they may discipline those students as school policy dictates. But, it makes little sense for a school to ban something that has no inherent conflicts with its religious teachings.

In short, though well intentioned, this is a silly move which demonstrates an unfortunate lack of forethought on the part of the school staff, who have failed to realize that the evils of MySpace are not in the site itself, but in the intentions of a few people who use it, and the carelessness of many others.


Edit (March 25, 9:00 pm): Bill has posted an update, including the policy direct from the school website. My opinion remains unchanged.

The writings of Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft was a revolutionary feminist writer of 18th century England. Her most famous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Women is now standard reading for most English majors, especially those whose studies emphasize 18th century British writers or feminist literature. Wollstonecraft's writings were particularly admired by 19th century American feminist Susan B. Anthony.

Her daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, wife of poet Percy Shelley, is the author of Frankenstein, also a worthwhile read for anyone who enjoys literature that examines the relationship between man, science, nature, and God.

The central premise of Vindication is that women should be allowed equal educational opportunities, so that they might be able to use their own unique abilities to make intelligent contributions to society. It is also her contention that the high moral standards to which women were held should apply equally to men, especially where propriety, modesty, and chastity were considered. She believed it to be the equal duty of both men and women to make a conscious effort to ennoble each other. Also notable is her clear opposition to abortion and infanticide, despite the high maternal mortality rates of the time (about 1 in every 200 births, according to this article.) She argues that separating fertility and its possibilities from the sexual act makes in all the easier for women to become dehumanized as sex objects. Given the era in which she wrote, it is not surprising that she makes frequent appeals to natural law to support her argument.

The excerpt below is taken from Chapter V.

...For I will venture to assert, that all the causes of female weakness, as well as depravity, which I have already enlarged on, branch out of one grand cause--want of chastity in men.

This intemperance, so prevalent, depraves the appetite to such a degree, that a wanton stimulus is necessary to rouse it; but the parental design of Nature is forgotten, and the mere person, and that for a moment, alone engrosses the thoughts. So voluptuous, indeed, often grows the lustful prowler, that he refines on female softness. Something more soft than women is then sought for; till, in Italy and Portugal, men attend the levees of equivocal beings, to sigh for more than female languor.

To satisfy this genus of men, women are made systematically voluptuous, and though they may not all carry their libertinism to the same height, yet this heartless intercourse with the sex, which they allow themselves, depraves both sexes, because the taste of men is vitiated; and women, of all classes, naturally square their behaviour to gratify the taste by which they obtain pleasure and power. Women becoming, consequently, weaker, in mind and body, than they ought to be, were one of the grand ends of their being taken into the account, that of bearing and nursing children, have not sufficient strength to discharge the first duty of a mother; and sacrificing to lasciviousness the parental affection, that ennobles instinct, either destroy the embryo in the womb, or cast it off when born. Nature in everything demands respect, and those who violate her laws seldom violate them with impunity. The weak enervated women who particularly catch the attention of libertines, are unfit to be mothers, though they may conceive; so that the rich sensualist, who has rioted among women, spreading depravity and misery, when he wishes to perpetuate his name, receives from his wife only an half-formed being that inherits both its father's and mother's weakness.

Contrasting the humanity of the present age with the barbarism of antiquity, great stress has been laid on the savage custom of exposing the children whom their parents could not maintain; whilst the man of sensibility, who thus, perhaps, complains, by his promiscuous amours produces a most destructive barrenness and contagious flagitiousness of manners. Surely nature never intended that women, by satisfying an appetite, should frustrate the very purpose for which it was implanted?


For literary examples of why Wollstonecraft's standards were (and are) worth serious consideration, I can think of no better references than the novels of Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey contain particularly good examples of what can occur when a woman is systematically discouraged from pursuing serious education, and pushed toward "catching" a man, or at the very least fulfilling no other purpose than making herself physically attractive. Austen's works offer a fairly lighthearted satirical take on society as she knew it. For a more bitter critique from the same time period as Austen's later works, try Thackeray's Vanity Fair.

A Vindication of the Rights of Women is widely available in its entirety both online and in print.

Be careful where you leave your credit card.

Today's offbeat news comes from Reuters, where we have yet another story about a criminal who needs to find a new profession. He may also want to consider watching less television.

Burglar pays dearly for credit card trick

Thursday, March 22, 2007

An Apology...

A calm and rational person drew my attention today to the user profile for the Abortioninfo community mentioned previously, in which Pro-lifers are specifically discouraged from posting on community threads. In my haste to be of help to both the OP and her unborn child earlier this week, I did not read this, and was therefore unaware of exactly how unwelcome my offer of information would be, despite my intent (sincere, though possibly flawed in its expression), to maintain respectful distance.

I therefore humbly apologize for my unwelcome presence in said community.

Tolkien on Wisdom and Folly

It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of this malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it.

--Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More Mark Twain

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
- Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

URGENT: Pro-Life Prayer Warriors needed!

I read subject lines like this one and I think, What else is new?

Anyway, I ran across a post on livejournal from a young college student who has an appointment for an abortion on March 29.

That's just enough time for us to say a novena.
(A novena is nine consecutive days of prayer for a special intention, for Catholics it often involves the Rosary)

If you start tonight, March 20, you'll finish on the evening of March 28th, the day before her appointment.

If you start tomorrow morning, you'll finish the day of.

If you see this sometime between now and then, half a novena is better than none. :)

Break out the beads (or whatever), everyone! Maybe we can save two people here.

Here is her post:

Pray for her conversion and the protection of her unborn child.

Update (March 21):

Because I made the mistake of suggesting that the young woman in question examine fetal development information, The moderator at the LiveJournal community has banned me from posting. If you want to see what I said and what she has to say about me, you can click here. Here is my response to the responses to my post, which I would have happily posted there had the ban not been in force:

The Brilliant Baby website I linked to describes week 1 as follows, and I quote:

"Week one begins with the first day of your menstrual period.

• Conception hasn't yet occurred, but because your expected due date is calculated from the first day of your last period, this week counts as part of your 40-week pregnancy.

• As the uterus sheds it's lining, the hormones are preparing another egg for release.

• The heart begins to separate into four chambers.

The mention of heart valves, taken in context, is clearly an error, and inconsistent with the other accurate information presented. As is the case with the site you referred her to for morning sickness information, Brilliant Baby is geared toward women who are experiencing a planned pregnancy, and has no reason to present false information in order to forward any kind of agenda with regard to reproductive choice. In fact, the website to which you already referred her also contains information and images with respect to fetal development, and the OP can easily go there if she wants another source of information.

I openly stated that both websites I presented contain information on fetal development. If the OP does not wish to see such information (and she has now stated that she does not) she does not have to click on the links. (And she has already exercised her freedom in this regard, and I respect her right to do so. However, considering the physical facts of 5 weeks gestation, the images relevant to the OP's situation are unlikely to create any undue emotional pressure.

Those who have already convinced themselves that I am dishonest may not believe this, but I openly stated the content of the two websites in question out of respect for her freedom not to look at them. I believe in presenting information, and leaving the decision to her.

As to reminding her that she has a right to see her own ultrasounds, I base my suggestion on personal experience. There have been instances in my own medical history where medical professionals have refused to allow me to see my own ultrasound results, for non-controversial issues in which no pregnancy or possibility thereof was even involved. I find this unethical.

I have tried to keep a fairly respectful distance here, while acting in accordance with the demands of my own conscience. I am of course open to suggestions as to how to do this better. I know you understand the demands of conscience, since yours demands that you "protect" the OP from people like myself, and you have had the integrity to act upon your own sincerely held convictions.

I suppose my post could be interpreted as subtle dishonesty. Some find it difficult to believe that Pro-Lifers are capable of honesty at all. Had I truly been interested in concealing my opinions, it would have been profoundly stupid of me to post under a handle that would allow your astute readers to find my blog with a quick Google search. However that may be, people are welcome to their opinions. I know my own mind, and that is enough for me.

Further Developments

Darkwave meets Duran Duran & Social Justice

Who would have thought a goth band with freakish hairdos would create a song with such empowering sentiments. Other than a slightly ungrammatical use of the preposition 'to', the lyrics are pretty good. (Yes, I know, you can take the English teacher out of the classroom, but...)

Listen here. It's catchy. (It will automatically play another song. just hit the stop button and then click on Sophia)

by The Cruxshadows

When life is left behind this isolation
Cruelty and hatred have become
The cause of those whose eyes are full of wanting
The truth will still abandon none

So you must carry this light into the darkness
You shall be a star unto the night
You will find hope alive among the hopeless
That is your purpose to this life

The lips draw words and hands find actions
Still there is more within one heart
Into the silence will you answer
Before the chaos will you come

Do not injustice to another
Defend the weak and innocent
Let truth and honor always guide you
Let courage find the light within

Stand up when no one else is willing
Act not in hatred or in spite
Be to this world as a perfect knight
Even if it means your life

Here I am
Alive among the injured and the dead
Here I am
Thy will be done
Santa Sophia (Here I am)
Pieces borne to your victory
Athena Sophia (Here I am)
Thy will be done (How can I hope to live)
What I cannot dream

You cannot map the ways of divinity
This much is known only unto God

And through these doubts and through your confusion
Know that you are chosen to this fight
Look to find a soul filled with compassion
Look to see a living source of light

Do not injustice to another
Defend the weak and innocent
Let truth and honor always guide you
Let courage find the light within

Stand up when no one else is willing
Act not in hatred or in spite
Be to this world as a perfect knight
Even if it means your life

Here I am
Alive among the injured and the dead
Here I am
Thy will be done
Santa Sophia (Here I am)
Pieces borne to your victory
Athena Sophia (Here I am)
Thy will be done (How can I hope to be)
What I can't believe

Do not injustice to another
Defend the weak and innocent
Let truth and honor always guide you
Let courage find the light within

Stand up when no one else is willing
Act not in hatred or in spite
Be to this world as a perfect knight
Even if it means your life

Here I am
Alive among the injured and the dead
Here I am
Thy will be done
Santa Sophia (Here I am)
Pieces borne to your victory
Athena Sophia (Here I am)
Thy will be done (How can I hope to find)
What I cannot see

Here I am
Alive among the injured and the dead
Here I am
Thy will be done
Santa Sophia (Here I am)
Pieces borne to your victory
Athena Sophia (Here I am)
Thy will be done (How can I hope to be)
What's inside of me.

Unplanned but not Unloved: Birth and Self-esteem

When I was conceived under less than ideal circumstances, my mother was pro-life. My father was pro-choice.

My mother chose what she knew to be right. Despite any trepidation about their circumstances, my father supported her decision. A few months later he felt me kick in my mother's womb.

He has been pro-life ever since.

And he has told me this himself.

Wow. How cool is that? Think about it. If your parents were to tell you that by your very existence you had taught them something profound about the nature and value of human life, how good would that be for your self esteem?

Now imagine the opposite. Imagine your parents didn't want you. Imagine they tried to have you killed, and it didn't work. Imagine they were still angry about this two years later, after you had been born and were perfectly healthy. Imagine they were so upset that they sued the people they hired to have you killed for the cost of raising you. Imagine growing up knowing that instead.

That will be the case for this little girl, born as a result of a failed abortion.

I suppose it never occurred to Jennifer Raper that she could avoid the expense by placing the child for adoption, so she could be raised by someone who actually loves her, a plan that would benefit all concerned.

But if she did that, she wouldn't have any leverage justify her legal temper-tantrum, or to get money out of the doctors.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time someone has filed a lawsuit like this one. Others have been filed in the past, often because parents would have preferred to abort a disabled child. (Advocates for persons with disabilities ought to be infuriated here) This is what is called a wrongful birth or sometimes a wrongful life suit. Wrongful life? Suing because a child exists?

Dont' get me wrong, I'd love to see Planned Parenthood become as financially bankrupt as it already is morally.

But not at the expense of a child.


Hat tip:
Catholic Pillow Fight

Related Links:
Boston Herald
Boston Globe

Monday, March 19, 2007

"The Culture of Me" IS a culture of death.

Joe over at Evangelical Outpost posts about people who understand what abortion is and what it does, and participate in it anyway. The suggestion here is that many of us in the pro-life movement are naive, because many of us assume that nobody can do this sort of thing and know what it is.

There are many people who have been saved from the horror of abortion because they have been given information that helped them see what abortion destroys.

But how can there be people who know, but don't care enough to let it stop an abortion from happening?

Joe puts his finger on a cultural trend toward unbridled selfishness, and self-indulgence, even at the expense of other people. A culture where we throw away ex-spouses like worn-out furniture if they don't satisfy every single one of our selfish needs. It is a culture where pregnancy is treated like a disease, where birth control gives us meaningless sex on demand, without responsibility or (we like to tell ourselves, anyway) without consequences. Where having children is ok, as long as you don't change your life around them or have more than the average two. A culture where you can get pornography on your cell phone, where toys for young girls encourage them to be boy crazy before they even start puberty, where certain young teachers think it is OK to sleep with their students, because they feel like it, and where students will sleep with each other in public because they think it is cool.

We have created for ourselves a culture in which our consciences are so warped, many of us have come to sincerely believe that the greatest sin is against the Self: not doing what I feel like doing, when I feel like doing it, and with whom, no matter who may get in the way. Joe calls it a "Culture of Me. But I think Culture of Death is still the most accurate term.

Sin is by definition a choice of a the temporary over the Eternal and the law of God. The Natural Law, being a part of God's creation, is God's law. The gravest sins are those wherein the sinner knows he is violating God's law, and does it anyway. Many of the people Joe mentions in his article excuse themselves like this: "I know this is wrong, but I'll do it anyway, and then I'll repent." This does not mitigate the gravity of the offense. It deepens it. God only forgives us if we are genuinely repentant. Why take chances, when you can avoid the sin in the first place, and save yourself the trouble of repenting later? "For the wages of sin is death."

In the case of abortion, this is quite literal. It leads to the physical death of an innocent human being, and the spiritual death of other human beings.

Those who have experienced the horrors of abortion, and who have come to regret it--truly and fully regret it know better than anyone that this is true.

Many of them have reached out to God already, and been forgiven.

There are others who know, but prefer their denial to the discomfort of facing the truth. There's another problem. The "Culture of Me" denies that suffering could possibly, in the long run, lead to better things.

We are swimming against the current of our own society, in which many of the basest and ugliest parts of mankind's sinful tendencies are glorified. If sin leads to death, and the culture celebrates sin, it is a Culture of Death.

And a people in desperate need of repentance, forgiveness, and healing.

Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

In The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien creates ornate mythologies, and beautiful songs and poems to match.

This is not one of them.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What does an unborn child look like?

Here are some pictures of human fetal development from six weeks all the way up through the end of the first trimester. This stuff is pretty fascinating. It's amazing how much is there so early. A baby hits so many milestones while it is in the womb. For a more details on each stage of development, click on each picture.

Eight Weeks: Fingers, all vital organs present

Ten Weeks: Red blood cells present. Can make a fist with hands.

Twelve Weeks: Organs, face more developed. Pain receptors developed. Heartbeat stronger.

Fourteen Weeks: 3-4 inches long. Liver and Pancreas functioning. Sucking movements.

For weeks 16-38, click here.

The Mayo Clinic website has a fetal ultrasound slideshow that uses real ultrasound images beginning at eleven weeks of pregnancy. Though not as clear as the photographs above, ultrasound images still allow pregnant women and their doctors to see the baby pretty well. In one of the Mayo Clinic images, the baby's heart is visible. Other slides show the baby's limbs, bones, brain, and, of course, his/her profile.

This Mayo Clinic page gives brief week-by-week  descriptions of each stage of fetal development, with illustrations.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and need assistance, I have posted a list of resources here. You can also scroll through the lists at the left to find additional links.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The documentary mainstream American media doesn't want you to see. Why? Because it takes all the hot air out of Al Gore's swelling sails.

Thankfully, YouTube has the video in full.

And a related article.

Tell your children they can sleep well. The Polar Bears are going to be fine.

Hat tip: Alan, via Bill.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Reporter gets lesson in body language from cat.

I'm sorry, I know she says she's not a cat person, but she's kind of asking for it here.

Kathleen Cochrane of Fox8 News doing your basic local fuzzy animal story.

I'd love to see the workman's comp paperwork for this one...

Since when do yowls like that indicate that an animal is having "fun"? Just because it's cute and fuzzy doesn't mean it likes you. They could have placed the cat up on a table or something, but nooooooo the ditsy reporter had to hold it, and in a very uncomfortable position.

Respect the cats, people. They are miniature predators with minds of their own. That's why we love them.

She's lucky the cat only boxed her ears and didn't go for her eyes.

Early American Feminists were Pro-Life.

This includes Susan B. Anthony and Sarah F. Norton.

Old news, but worth reiterating once in awhile.

To read more, click here.

And here are some folks who are carrying that legacy forward.

Wedding Vows!

Catholic wedding vows are just gorgeous. I know, because I took them myself along with my husband. *blissful sigh*

They take up a lot of space on paper, but boy do they go fast when you take them.

Here's a sample.I've inserted our own names because "name 1" and "name 2" just do not sound terribly romantic, do they?

Invitation to the Rite of Marriage

Celebrant introduces the rite of marriage with these or similar words:
My dear friends, you have come together in this church so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church's minister and this community. Christ abundantly blesses this love. He has already consecrated you in baptism and now he enriches and strengthens you by a special sacrament so that you may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity. And so, in the presence of the Church, I ask you to state your intentions.

Stating Intentions

Alan and Christina, have you come here freely and without reservation
to give yourselves to each other in marriage?
Alan: I have.
Christina: I have.

Will you love and honor each other as man and wife
for the rest of your lives?
Alan: I will.
Christina: I will.

Will you accept children lovingly form God
and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?
Alan: I will.
Christina: I will.

Exchange of Consent (Marriage Vows)

Groom :
I, Alan, take you, Christina, to be my wife.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

Bride or :
I, Christina, take you, Alan, to be my husband.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

You have declared your consent before the church.
May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent
and fill your both with his blessings.
What God has joined, no one must divide.
All: Amen.

Blessing of Rings {Options available}

Celebrant: May the Lord bless + these rings
which you give to each other as the sign of your love and fidelity.
All: Amen.

Exchange Of Rings

Christina, take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Alan, take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"I choose not to cooperate"--Spiritual Mr. Spock?

Yes, I watch Star Trek. I'm not the kind of Trekkie/Trekker, who runs around wearing a Starfleet uniform to the supermarket or anything, but I have a healthy enjoyment of the show..

So, back to Mr. Spock. Naturally, such a beloved character had to make a guest appearance on Star Trek the Next Generation. During that particular episode, he found himself being held hostage by hostile aliens, who demanded that he do as they said, or be killed. His response, in his cool, dispassionate, Vulcan manner was as follows:

"Since it is logical to conclude that you will kill us in any event, I choose not to cooperate."

Probably one of my favorite Spock lines of all time. It's so applicable to everyday life.

Take for example, people who get annoyed (or belligerent) when they see acts of personal piety. Catholic Mom recently blogged on the subject. She writes

Rich Leonardi writes of his transition to receiving Communion on the tongue. This is not a required transition. Rich in no way suggests it makes him more Catholic than those who receive in the hand .... But predictably, someone objects to this practice with the words “I don't understand why people like you think that your way is always better. And that you are in someway a better Catholic.” I cringe at that comment because it is such sentiments that keep me from wearing a veil. Personally I find the idea of wearing a veil appealing. ... It is a desire to mark my unique womanly vocation within the Church. At the same time it is a personal reminder of the necessary humility with which I should approach Our Lord. ...We have a dozen or so women in our parish who regularly wear a veil. I have heard others murmuring, “I don’t know why she has to act so holy. There is just no reason to fall back to the old ways. It is just too showy!” I don’t want to be “showy”. I don’t want to be a distraction to those around me. So I am still bareheaded. Maybe someday.

I understand her trepidation. Coming from a region of the US where veils were considered not only too old fashioned, but anachronistic and anti-feminist, I probably would have been excoriated (at least behind my back) for wearing one in many parishes. It's too bad. People shouldn't feel threatened by someone else's act of personal devotion, and the rest of us shouldn't feel cowed by their displeasure. But, there it is.

Despite my own uneasiness about veils, as my wedding approached, I became increasingly aware of how profound my vocation as a wife would be, and I began to want to let it be visible. More visible than any ring I'd ever want to wear. At least, anyway, while I go to mass. I suppose I was inspired by the veil I wore when I took my wedding vows, and some of the nuns I have seen, who wear their vocations so humbly in both their dress and their demeanor. So a day or two before my wedding, I went out and bought a little chapel veil. I started wearing it about a month after I married. It took me a little while, even then, to get over myself and not be so self-conscious about it.

It's been good for me. I like having something to wear that reminds me it's time to quiet down and really be there for mass. In some ways it works like blinders do on a horse, helping me avoid unnecessary distractions. I'm less likely to spend time before mass chitchatting. I dress in a more subdued way than I used to. I generally feel more prayerful.

Having moved away from where I used to live, to a place where personal piety isn't quite so controversial, I haven't had much opportunity to be insulted to my face over it. I'm one of only two women I regularly see at the same mass wearing one, but on those rare occasions when anyone says something, it's been positive so far. It's possible my ethnic background helps, though. Some people probably just assume it's a Hispanic thing. It should be interesting to see what happens when I start making visits back to my natal territories, though.

Anyway, when I made the choice to wear the veil, I also made the choice to take any criticism that might come from it. If another person feels that threatened by a little piece of lace, there's a good chance I won't be able to avoid annoying them anyway. And, since it's logical to conclude that they'll dislike me in any event, I choose not to cooperate. :)

Migraines: Another reason to consider NFP...

Those of us who have migraine headaches already know we hate them.

The British Medical Journal says they also double our risk of stroke.


And if your migraines come with an aura it gets even better:

Those with migraine with aura were at even greater risk than those with migraine without aura. Finally, migraineurs who used oral contraceptives were eight times more likely to have a stroke than those not using these agents.

Oh, and if you smoke while on the pill, the risk is even higher.

Now I know some of you think you just can't live without your birth control pills. But is it really worth that kind of risk?

Something to think about.

Symptothermal Natural Family Planning is one of the few methods whose success rates compare to the Pill.

Just a thought.


Ladies, if you think your migraines may be connected to PMS, charting methods associated with natural family planning can help you determine if this is true. With the help of a doctor familiar with your method, you might even be able to do something about it without the use of synthetic hormones.  This is especially the case for those of you using the Creighton Model Fertility Care System, especially if you have access to a doctor familiar with NaProTechnology.  See the "Natural Family Planning" and "Infertility Support" tabs for links to more information.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fascinating and fishy: Sushi manners.

This is cool:

Hat tip: Bill.

Which states plan to mandate Gardasil?

Here is a list of states with links to the related legislation.

Some are only requiring insurance coverage of the vaccine, others mandating that the vaccine go to certain age groups of girls before they enter school. Others are doing different things.

At this point, the states in which Gardasil-Related legislation has been introduced are as follows:

Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, California, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

That's 36 states, and The District of Columbia.

The website also tracks the status of various bills and executive orders.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

2008 Presidential Rat Race: Tancredo & Catholics

A rumor reached me through a commenter that Tom Tancredo may be anti-Catholic. I thought this worth investigation. My conclusion? He is minimally guilty of stupidity and carelessness. I don't have enough evidence at this point to say for sure that he is anti-Catholic. This would require a pattern, and there's not enough data here for that.

The heart of this controversy, at least according to some of the other blogs out there is a brief conversation on the July 19 edition of "Today's Issues", a conservative Christian talk show on American Family Radio. Tancredo has been critical of statements from the American Catholic Bishops on immigration policy. The bishops have expressed disappointment with several of the proposed solutions to the question of illegal immigration. A caller suggested that their perspective is part of a sinister conspiracy for the Church to take over the country. Here's the section of the conversation that is generating discussions:

CALLER, "LORETTA FROM TENNESSEE": First off, there's a church that says to its judges, if you have to choose between the church and the Constitution, choose the church. Secondly, there is a document, it must be available because I got it. I think was written by Pope Leo the Twelfth, the Fifteenth. I can never get those roman numerals right. And the document is entitled 'Making America Catholic.' There is another thing, this is the first time in US history that we have had a majority of Catholics on the Supreme Court. And I think the immigration issue may be more of getting immigrants into this country to present a bloc of voters that are voting one way from that standpoint. It's just a thought. (...)

TANCREDO: The caller does bring up an interesting point in terms of the enormous power and prestige of the Catholic Church in this debate. They are very, very heavily involved in the open borders movement.


TANCREDO: Oh, yes m'am. The National Council of Bishops have written extensively on this. They have certainly attacked me and a lot of others who want to secure the borders. A lot of motives have been ascribed to them. I can't speak to it. I was raised a Catholic, spent 12 years in Catholic schools. I'm an evangelical Presbyterian today. So i can't really speak to the motivation of the church. But the lady does have a point about the church's involvement. Also, the Mormon Church is heavily involved in the issue. Heavily, heavily supportive of open borders.

The transcript doesn't show it, but before Tancredo responds, the provide an almost musical chorus of hmming and ooing and ahhing over the caller's interesting statements. (You can listen to the whole show by opening this link in windows media player, or another program that handles .wma files. The interview begins about 12 minutes into the show. Listener calls begin about 41 minutes into the show.)

Now, the idea that the Church uses immigration to take over the country is an old one, going back a long way the US's relatively short history. It is clear that the caller subscribes to this. Tancredo, in saying that she has a point is at the very least making a rather dangerous political error.

But, is he Anti-Catholic? I'm not ready to make up my mind yet. I'd certainly say he put his foot in it though.

I will say this though: If the Catholic Church is as powerful as the conspiracy theorists think, and if it is really determined to do an organized takeover of the U.S, it would have happened already.

Here is what the Bishops have said recently about immigration issues.

As to any documents by Pope Leo the THIRTEENTH, under the title the caller gives, I can find none. At least, not with google anyway. My search did reveal a lot of websites pointing to anti-catholic conspiracy theories such as that which the caller mentions. The Archives at the University of Notre Dame lists the title "Making America Catholic by Order of Pope Pius X - Roman Catholic Principles as defined by Popes, Prelates and Priests" in a list of anti-Catholic publications. Ironically, the caller also comments that this show has some of the most astute listeners she has ever heard, and then presents the existence of this supposed papal documents as FACT. Which means, Miss Loretta from Tennessee, you need to check the authenticity of your sources and facts before you make statements on national radio.

Hat Tips:
Max Blumenthal

Monday, March 12, 2007

2008 Presidential Rat Race: Starting Positions

Some candidates have issues. Others stand on issues. A few avoid issues altogether.

I've been doing a little homework. Here's what I've learned about some of these candidates and their positions with regard to three current hotbutton issues that should matter to every conscientious Catholic voter.



Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Same-Sex Marriage


Pro-abortion; 100% Planned Parenthood score in most recent ratings. Source




Pro-Life."Abortion ends a human life...I believe we should strive to fully embrace a culture of life through our national politics. I will continue to fight to protect life at every stage." Source

Has support of Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

Opposes. Source

"Marriage is the union of one man and one woman." Source



Supports. Source.

Supports gay domestic partnership benefits. Source.




Voted against constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. Supports gay domestic partnership benefits.


Pro-Abortion. Supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 100% in 2006. Source

Supports Source

Opposes constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.


Pro-Abortion. Supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent in 2003


Supports civil unions, but not same sex marriages


Moderately pro-life. Favors abortion only for cases of incest, rape, or when the life of the mother is endangered. Source

Supports domestic partner benefits, "unsure" about same-sex mariage.


Pro-Choice. Supports public funding of abortion as a "constitutional right"


Supports Domestic Partnerships


Moderately Pro-Life: Supports abortion when the life of the mother is endangered

Opposes Federal support. Source

Voted for an amendment to the Constitution to define a marriage as a union between only a man and a woman


Moderately pro-life. Supports abortion when the life of the mother is endangered. Opposes public funding for abortions organizations that advocate or perform abortions Source

Opposes same-sex marriage. Says we should “support gay couples”


Pro-life. National Right to Life Committee gives Hunter a 100% score.


Opposes civil unions




Supports gay marriage (Opposes marriage amendment.)


Moderately Pro Choice. 75% rating from NRLC.

Supports on existing lines, opposes on new.

Supports civil unions, opposes gay marriage.


Pro-choice. Opposes restrictions. Opposes federal funding of abortion.

Opposes federal funding. Supports private.

Supports gay marriage


Pro-Choice. 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL


Opposes gay marriage, supports civil unions.



Opposes expansion

Supports Civil Unions


Pro-Abortion. Opposed Partial Birth Abortion ban.


Opposes same sex marriage, suppots civil unions


Pro-abortion as Mass. Governor. Flipped to Pro-life when running for President.

Vetoed a Mass. Stem cell research bill.

Supports domestic partnerships, opposes marriage and civil unions. Supports homosexual adoption.



Opposes funding.

Opposes same-sex marriage

The information here was taken from
Their source references are duplicated here, where possible. Such sources include public statements by candidates, satisfaction ratings from organizations, and public voting records. They also link to candidate websites.

It's better to be sick in some states than others

According to the National Right to Life Committee, you are more likely to share the tragic and outrageous fate of Terri Schiavo in some states than in others. In the worst states, even your own advance directives requesting fluids and nutrition can be overruled by doctors.

Scary? Definitely.

Read more.
See a Map.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Phobias, anxieties, and Lent.

Very often, phobias diminish one's ability to participate fully in the life experience one is supposed to have.

At other times, they can teach valuable lessons.

Like this one.

Hat Tip: Happy Catholic.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Monkey Muffins!

I love watching M*A*S*H. It's a perfect balance of goofy humor and serious social commentary.

Colonel Potter is one of my favorite characters. He is the kind of authority figure I think anyone can respect. He takes his role seriously, but has good horse sense when it comes to dealing with people. Ideal characteristics for a commander and a doctor, or any kind of leader, for that matter.

One other aspect of Potter's character that I like is his old-fashioned politeness, even in his most gruff moments. This forces him to use the kind of verbal creativity sorely lacking among most of the rest of us when we are frustrated. Where most people would utter a tired string of hackneyed expletives, often referring to bovine excrement, Potter expresses anger forcefully, uniquely, and without compromising his character.

TV Acres lists some of his catchphrases:

"Horse Hockey!" - When the veteran military career officer Colonel Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan) got angry at his troops on the military comedy M*A*S*H/CBS/1972-83 he shouted phrases like "Horse Hockey!" But the power of his putdowns came mostly from his "bark" rather than his bite. The following is a select list of some of his best blusters and bravado: Buffalo Bagels!, Buffalo Chips!, Beaver Biscuits!, Bull Cookies!, Cow Cookies!, Geeze Louise!, Great Ceasar's Ghost!, Great Horse Hockey!, Mother McCree!, Mule Fritters!, Pigeon Pellets!, Pony Pucks!, Road Apples!, Sufferin' Sheepdip!, Sweet Limburger!, and What in the Name of Sam Hill!

You have to give the show's writers some creativity points here, I think.

But, you may not know that Monkey Muffins, another exclamation of Potter's are not only something certain zoo animals throw around. They are also a food.

A google search for the words "monkey muffins" yields some rather interesting recipes, including one called "Cheeky Monkey Muffins". 'Nuff said.

El Salvador

For those who speak even less Spanish than I, that's "The Savior"

The country named after Him needs Him very especially.

Bill describes what he learned in a visit. It needs no commentary. The situation speaks for itself.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Real June bugs--In March!

One of the great things about living in a place with great biodiversity is that my inner child always has something to look at.

The downside is, my inner gardener always has something to be annoyed about.

Like weeds that grow visibly in only a few hours.

Or massive numbers of June bugs invading my yard, and leaving their ravenous spawn behind to kill my garden over the summer.

Maybe we should bring the fire ants back. Those would take care of part of the problem, anyway.

Or we could just let them kill the grass. Mowing and weeding a lawn is a pain, anyway.

Time for some comic relief!

So the news lately has been such that it would raise the blood pressure of even the calmest, most rational human being to dangerous levels.

It has, however been scientifically proven that cute fuzzy animals help us to stay calm, and keep the old blood pressure within reasonable levels.

This is why God made cats. And why He inspired people to video tape them.

"The Pornification of the Culture"

That was the topic of Laura Ingraham's radio show today. She covered several relevant issues, including the distribution of porn on the internet, and on cell phones (where teens and young adults often have easy access to it), pole dancing and strip teasing classes being offered to women who want "exercise" and a way to spice up their marriages (as if sexual objectification is a valid reason for marriage), "hookups" and drunken orgies among high school and college students, immodest clothing in stores for girls as young as four or five (to which I briefly alluded in my last post.)

Young girls are learning from the culture, and sometimes even from the behavior of their parents, that boys don't want girls who don't look good, and as a Washington Post article points out, "looking good" and "looking sexy" have become synonymous for girls and women in the present culture.

Which means married people are buying into the lie that marriage means a lifelong entitlement to sexually objectify one's spouse, and not a mutual relationship of love and self-giving.

It means some mothers are starting to think it's cute to dress their little girls in sexualized clothing, so they can look like mommy (and some dads are either nowhere to be found, or otherwise unwilling or unable to do anything about it.)

It means little girls who want to look pretty are starting to go for the low-cut tops, the short skirts, the tiny bikinis, and the thong underwear.

It means their friends and their older brothers and sisters in high school and college are talking to them about parties and hookups, and their parents may or may not be.

It means websites and magazines directed at teens and twenty somethings (which middle school kids are often allowed to read) contain more tips on attracting male attention and making oneself as sexually desirable both in and out of bed as possible.

It means people publicly talking about places (some of which are fairly public) in which they like to have sex, to make things more exciting.

And then we discover that 12 year olds (who often have an exaggerated impression of their own maturity and want to act like high school and college-age people) had a 30 second sexual encounter openly in a classroom while other students watch, and keep a lookout for the teacher.

This cultural excrement was bound to have an effect sooner or later. Looks like it's happening sooner.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

On the Raymond Park Middle School sex scandal:

Update: 10/21/07: Speaking of Moral Outrage...

I am both astonished and enraged to find that my words from this post have been taken out of context and posted on a site that seeks to loosen statutory rape laws to make it easier for adults to have "consensual" sex with minors. I would voice my opinions on their site, but I simply will not sign up for a membership to a website whose purpose and content I find morally reprehensible. At least they had the decency to link over here. Maybe one or two of those readers will find out how I define moral outrage.

I am in no way in favor of their agenda. It is my opinion that teens should not be having sex at all, hence my disgust with the Maine school district preparing to distribute birth control pills to students as young as 11 years old--yet another idiotic strategy that will make young girls easier for adults to exploit. In fact, I'm completely against any sex outside of marriage.

The "Moral Outrage" site seeks to change laws so that people can claim that they did not know the age of the minor with whom they had sex, after they get in trouble with the law for doing so.

Don't give me that "I didn't know she wasn't 18" crap. If you kept it in your pants until you were properly married, you wouldn't even have the problem.

In the post below, my purpose is to clarify nature of the ongoing degradation of our culture's moral fiber. I consider increases in teen sex to be a symptom of this disease. This post is meant to be a call to adults to exercise their authority over their culture and their children, so that we can fix the problem. I note that teenagers, especially middle school age do a lot of stupid, destructive things, whether or not we want them to. Careless sex is one of them. On the other hand, so is drunk driving, but that doesn't mean I have to hand them the keys.

'nuff said. Enjoy my original post below.


I have been a middle school student. I have (briefly) spent time as teaching at a middle school. I have even been a substitute at that level. Such experiences have laid quite bare to me the numerous ways in which we as a culture (and thus our media and our schools along with us) have failed my own generation, and the ones that have come after it.

This is why I am rarely surprised anymore when I hear about twelve-year-olds having sex. Say what you like about how unbelievable it is, or about how they are too young. It should be unbelievable. They are far beyond too young. That doesn't keep it from happening. That's why some middle school bathrooms are closely monitored by school staff members.

I am, however, astonished to hear about this happening in a classroom, with other students watching, and acting as lookouts to keep the teacher from being aware of the situation. In light of such things, I'd say the controversial surveys of sexual behavior in kids that age are not as off base as some people think they are. If this can happen in a classroom, think of what is happening in private. It's easier to combat the worsening trends if we have data.

There are a number of issues I could comment upon here. Class size in a lab setting, for instance. Or classroom management. But, one of the reasons many in my profession prefer to teach high school kids is that middle school ones are, despite their shorter stature, much harder to manage, especially in large groups.

Middle school kids will say things to each other that most adults, and even many teens would be embarrassed to say in public. (I could give examples of one or two things that were said to my face when I was that age, but, as I said, such things are usually not the stuff of polite conversation.)

Kids in early adolescence have the impulse control of two-year-olds, and the hormones of, well, teenagers.

Couple that with extreme desire to either gain attention, or conform to the group, you can get some pretty evil little conspiracies.

Now, granted, the worst I have personally come across is a class full of kids conspiring to make the day a misery for their substitute teacher. (Being a substitute teacher in junior high ought to be worthy of a congressional medal for bravery.)

But that they would conspire to do worse is not as far a stretch as one might think.

So when I hear that two sixth graders were able to have sex in shop class, with the aid of their peers, and under the very nose of an experienced teacher (And believe me, anyone who is able to stay in middle school long enough to be "experienced" either knows and enjoys what he is doing, or can't find another job.) I am shocked at first, but as the shock wears off, it begins to make sense to me.

We live in an increasingly permissive and fractured society. Families are falling apart at higher rates, and more children are seeking disordered sources of comfort. Children are exposed to sexualized imagery and behavior at younger and younger ages. I often see 12 year old kids watching R-rated movies, frequently with their parents present. Last summer I saw what appeared to be a four year old girl toddling around at the zoo in a mini skirt, bare midriff top, and knee-high boots (Her mother was even worse). When I was in sixth grade, people were already starting to have boy/girlfriends. Ten years later when I began my student teaching, kids that age were reported to be performing sex acts in bathrooms, or while they are home alone after school waiting for their parents to get home from work. It gets a little more out of control every year.

Classrooms are the next logical step.

This is a wake up call for us. We adults have a responsibility to be careful what we expose our kids to, to know what they are hearing about from the culture, their schools, and their friends, and a duty to counteract negative messages unequivocally, no matter when our kids receive them. We can't avoid the discussion by sticking our heads in the ground and saying they're too young to hear about this at age 11 or 12, when they already have heard. We can't dress our young daughters up like Paris Hilton or Christina Aguilera, but expect them to grow up to be sexually well-adjusted. Sex is not supposed to be a spectator sport. But pop stars, Bratz dolls, reality TV, and other such rubbish are teaching our kids otherwise from a very young age, even without our permission.

Wake up, everyone. Believe it or not, it can still go further downhill from here.

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