Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

Another really good Daily Apple from Mark (whoever he is, I like him already.)

The 88 Least Healthy Fast Foods

Now that I'm exercising 4x a week and cooking from scratch, I started looking into other ways to woman up for a healthy retirement. So I've been reading a health blog I stumbled into randomly, Mark Sisson's Daily Apple. So far, good stuff.

Russell Crowe is getting baptized in his own back yard... err, Byzantine chapel

Marriage must be good for Russell Crowe. He built his wife a Byzantine chapel in their backyard, baptized their kids there, and now is planning on taking the plunge (or pour) himself. The article doesn't say what church he is being baptized into, does Byzantine chapel mean Byzantine rite? Dunno.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We support the Writers Guild of America

Even though it breaks my heart that the WGA strike might mean the end of fledgling TV series that have not yet had a chance to find their audience, I support the writers in their strike. Everybody in the entertainment industry is trying to figure out where the money will come from in the new world of easily downloadable media. The WGA allows the lowly but indispensable writers to meet the powerful corporate entities on a somewhat evened playing field.

I hope and pray that the strike does not last too long!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Opinion piece: In Finland shooting: fall-out for YouTube?

Falling down a very ugly rabbit hole

Ugh. I just deleted a copy of one of the Finland shooter's videos that I mentioned in my last entry. I thought others might like to see the video the shooter posted this morning before he went on his rampage. As is the case on the Internet, knowledgeable folks did download or copy them before YouTube removed them.

I was fascinated at first. But then my investigation lead me into a YouTube subculture of creating videos about school killings. Fanboys gone wild. Any one of them could be the next copycat. They are egging each other on.

This global communication without regulation is very, very weird.

Racing against time to view the Finland shooter's videos

I spent about 1/2 hour this morning watching YouTube videos posted by Sturmgeist89, the YouTube name of the Finland school shooter. I was curious, had no nobler motivations. I was frankly surprised to see the videos still available, and had an idea that they might soon disappear. And so they have.

The videos were telling, and yes were like viewing a train wreck before it happens. The most chilling that I viewed was a tribute to the Columbine killers. The others I watched showed: 1) a selection of clips from Schindler's List focusing on the Nazi's shooting folks in the street; 2) an alternative ending to A View to A Kill in which the Christopher Walken villain character throws Roger Moore's 007 character off the Golden Gate Bridge and wins the day; 3) a compendium of video footage from events like 9/11, the dropping of the atomic bomb, etc.

He had a video that divided the whole world up into three types of personalities - the independent, the manipulative, and the mass man. Examples of the independent were Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (the Columbine killers) and a bunch of authors; examples of the manipulative were Jesus Christ, Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones and others who gathered tons of followers. Examples of mass man were everyone else, making up 90% of the population. The other two types made up 5% each of the world.

I had to leave for my strength training class, so I didn't get to see all of the videos. I tried to figure out a way to save them so I could gratify the curiosity of friends and family, but to no avail. Now I find myself chagrined. (I note both facts in the interest of self-disclosure, not because I am proud of it). The videos were obviously removed by YouTube, and if you try to access them now you find that " This video has been removed due to terms of use violation."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Flannery O'Connor to Mary McCarthy

I had heard this story before but never in context, only as a sort of punch line about Flannery O'Connor's toughess. Today I came across the whole of it in"The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor"from a letter dated December 16, 1955 to a correspondent identified only as "A". I was very oddly moved:
"I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater. (She just wrote that book, A Charmed Life.) She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual.

We went at eight, and at one, I hadn't opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say. The people who took me were Robert Lowell and his now wife, Elizabeth Hardwick. Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them.

Well, toward morning the conversation had turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the "most portable" person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one.

I then said, in a very shaky voice, "Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it." That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable."
That, to me, is why I am Catholic. The Church holds to the Body and the Blood of the living Christ. The reality of it shatters my soul.

Friday, November 02, 2007

No futzing around; new UD prez Patrick Harker STOPs the diversity program as implemented

All right, fledgling President Patrick Harker of the University of Delaware.

My new hero!!

A Message to the University of Delaware Community

Nov. 1, 2007

The University of Delaware strives for an environment in which all people feel welcome to learn, and which supports intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, free inquiry and respect for the views and values of an increasingly diverse population. The University is committed to the education of students as citizens, scholars and professionals and their preparation to contribute creatively and with integrity to a global society. The purpose of the residence life educational program is to support these commitments.

While I believe that recent press accounts misrepresent the purpose of the residential life program at the University of Delaware, there are questions about its practices that must be addressed and there are reasons for concern that the actual purpose is not being fulfilled. It is not feasible to evaluate these issues without a full and broad-based review.

Upon the recommendation of Vice President for Student Life Michael Gilbert and Director of Residence Life Kathleen Kerr, I have directed that the program be stopped immediately. No further activities under the current framework will be conducted.

Vice President Gilbert will work with the University Faculty Senate and others to determine the proper means by which residence life programs may support the intellectual, cultural and ethical development of our students.

Patrick Harker

I'm not saying David Roselle would not have taken such decisive action. But based on the complaints I made in recent years about the content of various programs at UD, I strongly doubt he would have done anything but kowtow (as he always seem to do) to the UD thought police. It was under his presidency that the radical leftists took over the playground.

Perhaps this presages a return to education, not indoctrination, at the University of Delaware. Maybe someone will listen next time somebody objects to students being forced to attend a showing of a pro-abortion film introduced by an abortion doctor as happened during Women's History Month a few years ago. Protesting that incident and setting up a literature table outside the film's showing is what started me on the road to my own rabble-rousing and disillusionment with UD as a place of employment and a place to send children.

Maybe the Reign of Terror is beginning to lift!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm a racist, you're a racist, we're ALL racists here at University of Delaware

University of Delaware is fielding a "sh*t has hit the fan" situation over their residence hall diversity program.

Here are the two sides in a nutshell:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) complains that UD students are undergoing thought reform and indoctrination.

Michael Gilbert, Vice President of Student Life at UD, responds.

I especially like this definition of racist. I am publishing this before I find out if indeed, it is true that this is found in the diversity documents. If I investigate and find I'm wrong and am taking this out of context, I'll say so. But... you know my blog isn't the New York Times. And this is just TOO precious:

The university's Office of Residence Life Diversity Education Training documents include this statement:

"A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination. …"

I find Michael Gilbert's response specious. It's a little like the French colonel who protests in Casablanca.

"I am shocked --- shocked, I say! --- that anyone would think our students are so vapid as to be easily indoctrinated."

DUH. There's a thin line between education and indoctrination, and UD programs like Women's Studies and Office of Diversity have been crossing it for years.

Yeah, I send two of my kids to University of Delaware so they can be told they are racist. Yup.
Looks like I should be glad that neither of my kids is involved in residence life.