Last updated 6/18/09

Monday, July 27, 2009


I don't know if you've been following the Crowley-Gates affair, but this is an excellent and I think somewhat touching clip:

Racial issues can be tough, and it is nice to see the officer's coworkers/friends standing by him.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Please check out my new blog:


Friday, July 10, 2009


Jeff, I will try to have a new video up by Monday. Also, it will be featured on my new blog.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

North Korea keeps pushing

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our Allies

Yeah, I love France.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Think think

As motivation has become an issue both for me and anyone who used to read this blog, I'm considering ending this one but perhaps making a spinoff focusing on Japan.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Man, you work and you work and you work, and some people still call you m'am.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Unspecified Crimes

Damn. Are we going to let it go at that - imprisoning American citizens for something as vague as "grave crimes"?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cowed by Communists

There is a lot of talk in the news and political blogs these days about how Reaganism is dead. No kidding. Do you think Reagan would have been apologizing for America and trying to court favor with Islamic nations (at all, true, but especially) while North Korea, a crazy communist despotism, were spitting in our faces?

What has (or will) become of us and our American way? We used to believe we were right. We used to be a beacon of freedom and justice. Now North Korea thumbs its nose at us, testing nukes and threatening war if we try to interfere, likewise threatening our allies, and meanwhile holding American journalists as prisoners. They will be tried in a North Korean court and could be sentences to up to 10 years in a labor camp. What are we doing about it? Hoping that negotiations go well. Seems change has come to this country. We've really lost our nerve. We are speaking softly and it seems we've put down the stick. 

Anyone remember why Hitler was able to start s*#t in Europe? There are many textbook reasons, but bottom line - no one wanted to step up and stop him. Mr. Obama really is moving us closer to European-style democracy. Here comes the appeasement.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Ok, ok - name these speakers:

1. "How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?"


2. "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence."

Give up? Well, number one is President Obama at Notre Dame. Number two is President Obama just the other day. So, we're not supposed to be demonizing each other, but...that doesn't mean we can't make broad brushstrokes about the other side, right? Some nutjob murdered Dr. Tiller (the notorious abortionist), so of course that means pro-lifers are prone to heinous acts of violence. 

First off, I'd like to point out that there is a subtle yet very important difference between "pro-life" and "anti-abortion," which is quite visible in Tiller's murderer. Second, this is too subtle for many people to notice, but Mr. Obama is a master of words. That doesn't mean that he is sincere.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wasting Time

Adding this website to my links bar:
My friend Patrick brought it to my attention, and while most of the, uh...puzzles? Activities? I'm not sure what to call them...Anyway, while most of them are geared more towards relieving boredom, several have scholarly value, if you use them as study tools. Patrick can now name all the countries of the world. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mental Yawn

Trying to get my act back together and make some posts, but a lot of interesting news combined with my general lack of motivation recently has made it difficult to pin down anything to write about.

Yesterday I bought plane tickets for my trip home in August. I tell you now, those twelve days will see much Mexican food. It'll be good to see family and friends and pick up some supplies.

I guess the most newsworthy of recent events, in my mind, is the Notre Dame commencement address by President Obama and the delivery of the honorary law degree. I am completely disgusted with the whole thing, yet I can't stop reading about it. Train-wreck syndrome, I suppose. Obama and Fr. Jenkin's talk of "dialogue" is empty rhetoric. If you haven't read their speeches, I would consider it worthwhile to do so. Fr. Z gives some excellent critique at his website

Here's a nice motivational poster-style graphic from Curt Jester that nicely displays Notre Dame's commitment to "dialogue." 

It's hard for me and others to understand why so many people, especially on the left, are so enthralled by what Obama says. When most politicians speak (especially conservatives), they are, of course, liars and thieves - undeserving of our trust. But when Obama opens his mouth, honey flows from his silver tongue, and all that is forgotten. Why is it that none of his followers seem to notice that his words only mask his actions? It's all a political game. He is a brilliant player, and he has gotten away with much so far. It remains to be seen how long he will enchant the majority of Catholics...

Here is an interesting analogy. I do love Lord of the Rings. Obama as Saruman? Doesn't seem that far-fetched to me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pig Flu II

This is going to be a long week...
I walk in the door, and a bunch of teachers ask me if I'm ok. Of course - I'm a foreigner, so I must be more prone to swine flu, or something. I dunno, maybe it's because I fly home to America on weekends.

Pig Flu

Well, now that swine flu has spread to Japan, and more specifically the Kobe/Osaka region, many schools have inevitably closed. My schools have canceled classes for the week, although, surprise surprise, we teachers must still go in. I guess I shouldn't be bitter, as I'm being paid for it, right?
I suppose authorities are worried because no one has antibodies for this thing and thus many people could get sick, but I wish the clamor over it would drop a's not any more severe than normal, seasonal flu.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I live

It's been a while since my last post, but I've been busy. Last week was Golden Week over here - several holidays that fall in a row, making for a meaty holiday - and my friend Jeff visited. Perhaps more on that another time. 

For now, just wanted to let you know my status and add another link to the sidebar, to the Creative Minority Report, a witty and well-written Catholic blog I've been reading lately.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fun with pennies

Yay math!

Monday, April 27, 2009

ND Scandal Escalates

I knew the controversy would continue to rage until after the ceremony, but I didn't expect this. Mary Ann Gledon, the former US Ambasssador to the Vatican was to receive Notre Dame's Laetare Medal on May 17th in recognition of her outstanding service to the Catholic Church and society. She has just announced, however, that she has declined the award in light of the Obama invitation scandal, and particularly the fact that it was argued by ND's administration that she would balance out Obama's presence (her being strongly pro-life).

Fr. Jenkins and the White House have both expressed their "regret," and ND intends to quickly find a new recipient. I can't wait to see who they choose. No doubt this time they will choose someone less deserving who won't make a fuss about Obama's invitation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An American Catholic

Over at American Catholic: a telling of a Civil War atrocity and of the loving example of Fr. Peter Whelan.

I find Donald McClarey's posts about inspirational American Catholics very interesting and often moving. Worth a read.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Japan and Foreigners

This article provides an interesting look at the Japanese government's take on foreign labor, and how short-sighted its priorities are. Mind you, this has nothing to do with my personal experience here, but I find it quite relevant to the future of Japan and the global community. Countries like the US, Japan, and the EU member states really need to get their acts together and start looking at long-term policies that will foster growth and stability in their respective economies in the decades to come. The way things are going now - policy-wise, demographics-wise, ideology-wise - many countries are heading for colossal problems that are easily foreseeable. 

In Japan's case, eventually its going to be forced to dillute its largely homogeneous culture with immigrants. Why? Because Japanese people aren't having babies. When you can't sustain your population, you either import people or your economy suffocates and then your country collapses.


Read this one, as well. Thanks for the link, Ben.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Just this:

Happy Easter!
It's a beautiful day out, so I'm going to go take advantage of it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Klavan On The Culture: Shut up

I don't know if there's any way to determine if the "Shut up" effort is as coordinated and organized as he implies. I'm somewhat skeptical, but I wouldn't rule it out. Regardless, I do agree with the trends and strategies he points out.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Take that, pirates!

No +1 for pirates on this one. I think the Merchant Marines get one this time. Yay Americans!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

View of Japan: Flower Viewing

Ah, spring is in the air! Things are starting to warm up, the cherry and plum blossoms are in bloom, and the sounds of beer can tabs popping can be heard at parks across Japan. 

Japan is a country of people who work hard and play hard. As such, the Japanese find many occassions to party. End of the semester in college? Class drinking party! New staff member(s) at work? Welcome drinking party! Staff members retiring/transferring? Farewell drinking party! New Year's? Party. Fireworks tonight at the beach? Beach party. Flowers in bloom? Let's go drink! And so on.

While I don't always feel like participating, this is one thing that I've come to appreciate about Japanese culture. Sure, plenty of people get wasted at all these events, but plenty of people
 don't. It's not about the drinking - it's about enjoying each others' company and usually about appreciating something else (often some kind of beauty). Take what's going on right now: "hanami," or "flower viewing" in English. For a two or three week period every spring (the length is dependant upon the weather), the cherry and plum blossoms are in bloom. If the weather is nice, friends and families visit their local park or some other such flowery area and set up little picnics. At larger parks, such as Ikebukuro in Tokyo, vendors will set up stands, selling stuff like fried noodles, grilled sweet potatoes, ices, and all kinds of Japanese folk foods; and if you want to picnic at these larger venues, you have to get up early and claim a spot, because by noon they'll be completely overrun with tarps, blankets, coolers, and flower viewers. 

I've never actually sat down for a "proper" flower viewing, but I've walked around several, viewing people viewing the flowers, and while they are usually plesant, sometimes people can get a little rowdy and the atmosphere a little inappropriate for children (but according to my observations, parents unfortunately aren't very discerning about that kind of thing here). 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Inexcusable! No, wait...

According to the Onion a New Yorker recently misquoted The Princess Bride.  Inconceivable!


Today marks four years since the passing of John Paul the Great. I remember being in college and hearing the news. It was a cruddy day.
Here is a nice post about him over at Catholic Fire.

This is post-partisan

Good for Bishop Gettelfinger - story at the American Catholic. GOP Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has done some public floundering on the abortion issue, disappointing me and I'm sure many other pro-life conservatives. Steele will be speaking at an April right-to-life dinner, and Bishop Gettelfinger has decided not to attend, in objection to some of Steele's statements.

The pro-life cause crosses party lines.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Father Barron on Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope"

I saw this linked on another Catholic blog, but I can't remember which - apologies!

Fr. Barron is very articulate and gives some intelligent and well-thought-out observations about Mr. Obama's most recent book. I'll have to watch more of his videos.

Sex and Candy

And interesting observation. I haven't been able to read the article yet, as I always have trouble loading Catholic Exchange from Japan for some reason...but I will keep trying.

Look how far we've come

A very well-written piece by Darwin Catholic over at the American Catholic. It's a good read.

Sleeping saves lives

Your own, perhaps, according to this study.

 Doctors are being warned to be vigilant if a patient reports disturbed sleep - even if they have no history of mental health problems.
 The more types of sleep disturbances people had, the more likely they were to have thoughts of killing  themselves, or actually try to do so.

We've known that sleep is important for a long time now, but it appears we're still discovering exactly how important it is. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


So right now it's in between school years over here. At high schools, every year there are personnel changes. Most teachers don't stay at a single school for more than a few years, so there are constant moves and transfers. Anyway, one of my favorite teachers to work with just left, so I'm a feeling a little down. She is an older, motherly woman, always very patient and quick to laugh. I learned a lot from her and she made my transition here a lot easier. 
When confronted with a sense of loss, I think it's important to recognize the fact that you had something good and to be grateful for it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Dialoguing" with Mr. Obama

My respect for Professor Hadley Arkes continues to grow. Over at the Catholic Thing, Dr. Arkes proposes that Fr. Jenkins and Mr. Obama live up to their words and concede to a debate. The gauntlet is thrown, but the real question is whether or not anyone will take notice. It would probably be too inconvenient for them to.

Have a read here.

More appeasement and selling out our own?

I don't know if this has been getting much coverage at home in the States, but apparently two US reporters arrested in North Korea are about to stand trial for illegal entry and "hostile acts." Have we heard the US State Department issue any statements or contest the fact that US citizens are being tried in a crazy country for vague crimes? I guess this is another example of our wish to let North Korea be. I guess being a US citizen doesn't carry the implications it once did.

De-baptization or something

The anti-theist movement strikes again. 

From the group that brought you bus signs proclaiming that there's no God come: Certificates of Debaptism. What better way to apostacize than with an obnoxious campaign and a piece of paper (to really prove that you're no longer one of those brainless religion-lovers; too bad it's not wallet-sized)?

Oh well, it's their eternity.

The decline of academia

A school in England is now offering a Masters program in Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

"For $6,275 Birmingham City University in the U.K. will teach students how to blog, set up podcasts and make the most of the social media websites for marketing."

Wow - seems like a slap in the face to people who invest the time and money in a real subject of study. I could understand a class or two on such internet websites and applications, but a Masters program? I would say this kind of "expertise" should warrant a certificate at best.

Latest ND Coverage

Over at your local AmP, as usual.

Bishops Lynch and Morlino have added their voices to the chorus of protests over Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to deliver this year's commencement speech and receive an honorary law degree. Bishop Lynch's statement isn't as strong as som of the others have been, speaking of "uncivil" and "venomous" rhetoric from our side. I'm quite sure what he's referring to in that regard - I haven't seen much that I'd consider disrespectful, although perhaps there have been some uncharitable characterizations of Fr. Jenkins. Then again, what do you expect when someone is perceived to be a sellout?


Condoms sometimes ok, says bishop

Coverage over at American Papist.

He doesn't exactly contradict the Pope, but this doesn't exactly seem like he's falling in step, either. Seems kind of akin to a child asking one parent for something and getting a "no," then going to the other and getting a "we'll see." Although in this the two "parents" aren't exactly of equal authority.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Head to head about ND

Dueling editorials, with commentary from Fr. Z. I sincerely wonder whether Dr. Kmiec actually believes all these things he says about Obama (I mean, it's ridiculous to what extent he defends the man); I guess I can't imagine him being such an ardent Obama-supporter otherwise, but it's also difficult for me to understand how such an intelligent man can distort logic so.

Hmmm...back to appeasement?

It appears the story has changed with the N. Korean rocket launch.
The US now says it's not going to do anything. Awesome. Japan is only going to shoot it down if it looks like debris will fall into Japan. So apparently no one is going to call N. Korea on this, even though they're in violation of a UN resolution and Iran is aiding them in this endeavor. Appeasement is such an easy policy, isn't it? It's a great message to send, that these countries we fear so much to upset can do as they like, as long as it doesn't directly affect us at the moment. I bet this will be one of those moments we look back on with 20/20 vision in the future, when North Korea has long-range missile capabilities.

More ND Coverage

Get it at American Papist.

Archbishop Dolan of NY and Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston have released statements on the Notre Dame scandal.

And hat tip to American Catholic, which has coverage Bishop Aymond of Austin's response.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What, told you so?

You know, I think this is a sign that I've really come a true skeptic. So Senator McCain was right on spending - big deal. I mean, you know how I feel about the job Mr. Obama is doing, but I just can't help thinking McCain would have broken his campaign promises, also. Maybe not on this issue, but it's purely speculative to say he would be doing a better job than Obama right now. So yes, McCain was right on spending and the deficit. He still lost, though, so what does it matter?

Bravo Mr. Hannan

Watch as Daniel Hannan, a member of the European Parliment, blasts British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I wish someone would give a similar speech to Mr. Obama. However, he's new in office and it's going to take the American public some time, I'm afraid, to realize what's going on. Pay attention to Mr. Hannan as he speaks of squeezing the productive bit of the economy to fund the unproductive, and the foolishness of trying to "spend your way our of recession or borrow your way out of debt." Sounds a lot like what we're doing, doesn't it?

More attacks on the Pope

He's been under fire a lot recently, but I guess that's what happens in this world when you stand up for truth. Here's some coverage from BBC on the latest. The Lancet medical journal is accusing the pope of distorting science in his remarks on condom use as a deterant of HIV/Aids. The objectionable statement:

The Pope had said the "cruel epidemic" should be tackled through abstinence and fidelity rather than condom use.

The counterclaim:

It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.

"Whether the Pope's error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear," said the journal.

What? Catholic doctrine aside, how can condoms be more effective than abstinence? If you don't have sex, you have a near 0% chance to contract HIV. If you and your partner are HIV-free and you stay faithful to one another, you also also reduce your risk almost 100%. Condoms promote promiscuity and increased sexual activity, which in turn raises the risk of getting or spreading an STD. What is so absurd about that?

Sounds to me like Lancet has an agenda to push.

You may fire when ready

And it's on. Japan and the US are preparing to shoot down anything fired from N. Korea that violates Japanese airspace.  I agree wholeheartedly with the plan; I just hope the Korean leaders don't spaz out and start shooting salvos of missiles at Japan in retaliation for this "act of war."

Not just Japan

Apparrently humorous signs can be found in other corners of the world, as well. Saw this gem in Stonehaven, Scotland. My friend Vic, the young lady in the picture, found it insulting to old people. I just found it funny.

The real meaning of separation of Church and State

Over at the Catholic Thing, Austin Ruse writes about a move by the Obama administration to put pressure on Bishop Burke in the hopes of shutting him up about Kathleen Sebelius, the rabidly pro-abortion 'Catholic' governor of Kansas who has been nominated to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Ruse provides a good analysis of the situation, especially in pointing out that 

"More than anything else, the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution was intended precisely to protect religious bodies from meddling by the state, even covert meddling by the White House like this. Obama and his pet Catholics should back off – and fast."

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right  of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The whole "separation of Church and State" provision, which has become a mantra for the progressive movement, does not exist in and of itself - it is based upon a popular interpretation of this amendment. As you can see, it is nowhere stated that religion cannot be involved in public life or in government. What this amendment intended was that there should be no established state religion, nor would anyone be denied the freedom to practice his or her own faith. In other words, the government shall not interfere with religion; not vice versa. I think the paranoia afflicting the secularists and "religion should be practiced behind closed doors" crowd is needless. If religion did infiltrate the government, it would do so only in its moral tendencies, as a state religion can never be established. Plus we're living in a democratic republic. If those religious views were not upheld by popular opinion, they would be ousted. Ah, but I'm forgetting - boo morals, right?  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tidying up

Just messing around with the look of the blog a bit. I felt it could be a little easier on the eyes. 

Jenkins' act of public disobedience

The latest at AmP.

Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix has weighed in on the Notre Dame scandal with a fair and strongly-worded letter to the university's president. The highlights include the statement:

"It is an act of public disobedience to the Bishops of the United States."

And a quotation of John Paul II:

"John Paul II said, 'Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights - for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture - is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination.'"

(The above quotation is from Christifidelis Laici, see section 38).

I don't know what the future holds, but it seems the bishops are beginning to unite, with the exception of a few stragglers. In my mind, the bishops are much like ents - a comparison drawn by a friend of mine. They are powerful and slow-moving. I only hope that half the forest isn't burned down by the time they decide to take decisive action. Moves like this are positive, and I'm really looking forward to Bishop Burke's visit to D.C. in May. He may be able to rally our American bishops. In any case, let's continue to pray for courage and wisdom for all of our Church leaders. +1 to bishops for Bishop Olmsted's letter, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Notre Dame scandal heating up

Many alumni are taking action, as are several student groups. But the administration seems to be standing firm. I don't expect this will amount to much more than a hullabaloo in the long-run. It's another strike for ND's Catholic affiliation status, but how many strikes they need before they're out of there is anyone's guess.
I suppose that's not completely fair, though. It would be more justified for the reprecussions to fall on Fr. Jenkins and the administraton, not the school itself. After all, there are plenty of alumni, factulty, and students who oppose this; just not enough, it would seem.

Oh boy..

I'm not too worried, because (1) North Korean leaders may be crazy, but they're not suicidal (yet) and (2) there's nothing I can do about it, but:

North Korea is getting ready to launch a "communications satellite" over Japan, and apparently any interception of it is going to be taken as an act of war. Regardless, Japan and the US are preparing to bring it down. I'd be doing the same thing. I don't think North Korea has the stones to declare war against the US and Japan, at least right now, over a stupid launch test. Then again, they are crazy.

Notice the UN hasn't become involved. Big surprise.

Food for thought: I wonder where China stands on this. I'm sure they want to keep the region stable, but if push comes to shove, will they be willing to lay the smack down on N. Korea?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No more game consoles, proposes OnLive

Via BBC.
Quite interesting, although I'm not quite sure how this would work. Obviously if you're going to play games online through your TV, you're going to need some kind of interface hardware - controls and somewhere to connect to the internet. It seems to be working, but I wonder if having hundreds of thousands or millions of players online at the same time would complicate things.
And then there are those, like myself, who still like off-line games. True, at home in the States our Wii and XBox 360 are hooked up to the internet, but we rarely use it, as we don't want to pay extra for online content.
Still, an intestesting development.

Depopulation on the horizon

According to USA Today's Philip Longman, childlessness is becoming a trend, and it seems as early as 2040 the global population will begin to decrease.  Good news for all those who think overpopulation is a problem, I guess.

I'm not really too concerned.  Those who promote and believe in a culture of life will keep reproducing and (hopefully) passing on their values.

The Bishop on ND and the overall problem

Via CNA, Bishop D'Arcy has released a statement about the Notre Dame scandal.

This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith "in season and out of season," and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.
While I'm not sure that the bishop's absence will make much of a difference in th overall scheme of things, I respect his decision, and I suppose it's doubtful that he had the authority to do much more (bishops +1).  What remains to be seen, and what will perhaps have a bigger impact, is what action the students of Notre Dame take, as noted by Emily at the Shrine of Holy Whapping

This situation seems to be part of a much bigger problem that is spreading quite rapidly.  For a long time now, Catholic politicians have been thumbing their noses at Church teachings, ignoring central tenants of our faith, and presenting a deaf ear to their bishops.  Madame Pelosi's visit with the pope did not even change her heart.  It's even worse when this sort of conduct is coming from a priest like Fr. Jenkins (the president of the University of Notre Dame).  
There are probably several underlying problems at the root of this dilemma.  For some, like many politicians, it is a lust for power and a vanity that convinces them they can do no wrong. Their Catholic status is just that - a status, enabling them to win votes.  For many others (and perhaps partly for these politicians, as well), it may very well be a matter of poor catechesis, as my friend Ben, a theology graduate student, has pointed out to me.  I'm no expert, but this could very well be the main source of the American Church's problems. 
I've noticed an interesting link between religion and politics here.  I think one of the main culprits for this situation is "progressivism."  I don't know whether it is a root cause or a symptom.  If you've been keeping abreast of political developments over the past several months, you'll note that many of the more moderate or progressive Republicans have been calling for an expanding of the tent, so to speak.  They use such terms as "litmus test" and assert that core conservative tenants cannot be so strictly adhered to if the party is to survive. 
Likewise, there are some "Catholics" who try to pull the same nonsense.  Observe this interview with Phil Donahue regarding the Notre Dame scandal.  There are many pro-choice Catholics, huh?  Well, perhaps they shouldn't be Catholics, then.  Religion and truth do not change to suit the needs of the masses.  God does not change to assuage the consciences of those who want to have things both ways.  This progressive ideaology of all-inclusiveness is flawed and base.  Accepting practices that one believes to be evil and sinful is akin to supporting them.  

Yes, as Catholics we value charity and consider it a virtue.  But it seems these days that charity is being used as a shield by the unjust.  Where is the charity for the unborn?  

The Giver is a short novel that I suggest you read if you've not already, for I think it is one case of a disutopian society that is not too far off.  The ideas of The Sameness and "releasing" those who are of no use to the community...they seem to me to be the ultimate progressive ideals.


I'll tell you one thing that was kind of a strange feeling while in Europe, especially France: the sense that I am a lot more comfortable in and familiar with Japan.  I guess it's been a while since I felt completely out of place or lost here.  I'm not fluent, but I can communicate enough to get around or work things out if I'm ever lost.  Just a weird feeling, that America wasn't the first place to jump into my head as being a safer and more comfortable environs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Well, I'm back from my trip.  It was good to travel and to see my sister and friends.  It's also nice to not be traveling anymore.  I'm kind of out of it at the moment, but there is much of be done before I go back to work tomorrow. 

Disappointing, but predictable - things continue to spire downward in various arenas...I returned to news of further economic woes and moral decay.  For now I'll just point out that Obama is being honored by Notre Dame University and giving their upcoming commencement speech.  Even putting his radical pro-abortion agenda aside for a moment, what gives?  He hasn't done anything commendable thus far aside from being elected...and that could just mean he was a better liar than the other guy.
AmP and American Catholic coverage.

Update: More at Curt Jester and the Catholic Thing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Tomorrow I'm setting off to Europe to visit my sister and some friends, so there will be no new entries for a couple weeks unless Gobbler feels ambitious.

Apologies for putting off the toilet episode of Jukin' Japan.  I didn't want to rush it out at the cost of quality.  Only the best toilets for my viewers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Amazing that we've come so far: girl survives multiple organ auto-transplant.

One thing that struck me, though, was that one of the compromised organs that could not be re-implanted was her stomach.  I guess it makes sense that a stomach isn't a "vital" organ, but it never occurred to me that you could live without one.

More pirate troubles...

Some countries are having trouble prosecuting pirates, due to lack of evidence or jurisdiction...
Hang'em from the gallows, says I. Yarr..
But seriously, not even country out there has habeus'd think they could at least lock these guys up.

But I guess this impunity gives pirates another +1...

"Doing a good job"

Apparently the stimulus package is "doing a good job" stimulating the US economy, according to Mr.  Obama.  I'm not surprised at his claim, but I don't see that he's right.  I don't see that the value of the dollar has changed much, and the stock market is still plummeting.  

As someone pointed out, in the past 50 days of "stimulus" and bailout spending, not even taking the ridiculous new government budgets into account, we're spending about $1 billion an hour, and this is money we don't have.  I know we elected these people to spend (by "we" I mean the majority of the country, not everyone), but come on.  Someone's gotta see reason soon or we're going to sink.

And now we're paying for ESCR

Here's the Catholic Thing's take on it, but you can find articles on many of the major Catholic blogs.
Although Obama apparently respects those of us who disagree with him and find the practice to be unethical, he passed the order anyway. Now we're going to be paying for embryonic stem cell research.

Glad he has time to focus on these divisive social issues, now that the economy is rebounding. Oh, wait...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yay our system!

I know the little things like pipeline safety fees are aggregately important, but still...

It's sad and funny, simultaneously,  how close this is to reality.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Progressive Catholics

Up until now I've been calling them liberal Catholics, but I know now what they call themselves (thanks, Katherine) - "progressive" Catholics.  "Progressive" as in "progress."  Our out-dated ways - men as priests, marriages between men and women, the sanctity of life and of sex - these things must be stripped away and the Church refurbished with practices and an ideology that is more...with the times.  After all, Church scholars and theologians don't know what they're talking about - they're out of touch with what God wants, with what is proper.  But we know what's best.  We, the progressive lay Catholics of America.  Screw the bishops!  Progress!

I keep coming back to C.S. Lewis, but he really does provide a lot of valuable insights and wisdom, especially on these terms.  In one point in The Problem of Pain, he points out that one of the more dangerous attitudes of Christians of our time is our preoccupation with the virtue of mercy (charity).  Indeed, this can be applied to progressive Catholics.  He points out that there have been other points in history where mercy was not so highly valued, yet at each time, that people believes their own highly-raised virtue(s) to be superior and more pleasing to God than any other - be it courage or temperance or chastity.  Do you remember when chastitity was an important virtue?  Yet today, for our progressives, mercy is the be-all and end-all.  

Furthermore, this, in speaking of how revenge and retribution are not inherently wrong:

Some enlightened people would like to banish all concepts of retribution or desert from their theory of punishment and place its value wholly in the detterence of others or the reform of the criminal himself.  They do not see that by so doing they render all punishment unjust.  What can be more immoral than to inflict suffering on me for the sake of dettering others if I do not deserve it?  And if I do deserve it, you are admitting the claims of 'retribution'.  And what can be more outrageous than to catch me and submit me to a disagreeable process of moral improvement without my consent, unless (once more), I deserve it?  
(The Problem of Pain, 91-92)

Lastly, of forgiveness - and I think this is especially important.  To put this in context, Lewis is asking if a horrible man who has lived a base life and delights in nothing but the suffering of others is deserving of forgiveness (after all, we have a compassionate God):

The demand that God should forgive such a man while he remains what he is, is based on a confusion between condoning and forgiving.  To condone an evil is simply to ignore it, to treat it as if it were good.  But forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered if it is to be complete: and a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness.
(The Problem of Pain, 124)

In my mind, and in the minds of many of my fellows, progressive Catholics are guilty of condoning evil.  You cannot forgive a pro-choice politician for his or her actions if he or she is not sorry, for example.  And none of them are sorry, or they would change their ways.  Thus their actions are condoned by many of "our own."  Didn't Jesus dine with sinners?  Didn't he forgive them?  Yes, but they sought forgiveness, and he always told them to go and sin no more.  He didn't say "No problem - see you the next time you cheat your neighbor or go whoring yourself!"

Traditionnnn! Tradition!

I just watched Fiddler on the Roof for the first time - good movie.  I hadn't realized that Topol was in anything aside major from Flash Gordon.  Anyway, it is a compelling story that some probably find very one-sided and easy to judge, while others may have a more conflicted opinion.

Tradition is an important thing, especially in religion.  In the Catholic faith, revelation comes to us through holy scripture and tradition, so its importance cannot be denied.  While it is nothing new, there are many Catholics who wish to disregard or redefine doctrine or teachings that have been passed down for centuries, simply because they happen to disagree.  
It is true that sometimes traditions must change.  Sometimes the new ways are better ways.  However, just as some would argue that just because something is old and accepted, that does not make it right, it is equally true that just because something is new and fashionable, that does not make it right either. 
I was able to relate to Tevye's predicaments.  Tradition is important.  But then, none of the traditions broken (or changed) by Tevye had significant moral implications.  This is a fact we must consider in our own circumstances. 

The truth in comedy

I love the Onion, but it's a shame they have so much material for satire...

I like the part at the end, about having a president identified with a logo. Like an O, perhaps?
But seriously, I don't think corporations need to worry about our politicians...they seem to be getting plenty of money from the government now.

Don't need to comment on that, really. Our society, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Obamedia starting to waver..

I'm sure there are those people who will never admit that Obama can do any wrong, or those who will be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until his term runs out, then assert that although he wasn't perfect, it was mostly due to problems inheritted from Bush.  However, it is starting to dawn on at least some in the media that Mr. Obama isn't exactly the bringer of hope and change that he claimed to be.  In fact, he looks awefully like another run-of-the-mill lying, special-interest-pandering politician.  And he is a radical, not a moderate.

Here's Chris Matthews, of all people, chewing him out for not controlling earmarks as he said he would.  Who's next, Olbermann?  I'm not holding my breath, but it's possible.

And here's Jim Cramer of CNBC's Mad Money.  Cramer is not a conservative guy, and he is calling this "the greatest wealth destruction I've ever seen by a president."

Obama had better get his act together.  Our country got into this mess because people were spending money that they didn't have and borrowing what they couldn't pay back.  So Obama wants to correct the problem by...spending tax money that the government doesn't have?  Oi.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not enough madness in our schools

I'm not so sure about that, but I do like me a good Onion article.  Man, I gotta read some Lovecraft.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bishop Martino continues to lay down the law

Senator Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania is not to receive Holy Communion, according to the bishop. Senator Casey claims to be pro-life, but his voting record doesn't back him up.
You can read his letter to the senator and more about this story at Te Deum Laudamus.

I'm giving the bishops another +1 for his fortitude in defense of the unborn.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama to revoke conscience laws

Via Lifenews.

Basically, all hospitals and personnel would be required to provide abortions, regardless of their personal beliefs. I seem to remember some bishops saying that they would rather close down Catholic hospitals than submit to such a law. I wonder how this will play out.
God help us...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

US and the Muslim world

I don't think it would be wise for us to completely withdraw, but we must be aware of and prepared for the fact that we will most likely never have any real allies in the Middle East.

The most pro-American, unradical country seems to be Azerbaijan. Don't honestly know much about that one, but I think I'll do a little research.

We get what we vote for


We elected a spender, so that's what he's doing. He's spending, and spending, and will spend some more. Bush pushed through the first stimulus, so the Democrats are not solely to blame, although now they're the ones at the helm, using their momentum to push through inadequate Republican blockades.

And how are we going to pay for all this? Higher taxes, naturally. Wait for it and see. Maybe the middle class voters who supported Obama will rethink their positions in 2012, when their taxes are up 2 or 3%. Funny how people who don't want to be single-issue voters will vote on one issue when it affects them personally.

40 Days for Life

Lent is upon us, and so are the 40 Days for Life. I encourage you to check this out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our man Martino

Coverage at AmP,, and CNA

Bishop Martino of Scranton, P.A. has released a statement through a letter penned by Auxiliary Bishop Dougherty to three Irish-American organizations, asserting that if any pro-abortion politicians are honored at the upcoming St. Patrick's Day celebration, that he will close St. Peter's Cathedral and any other Dioscesan churches if necessary.

While there is some debate over the necessity and relevance of his statement (there were no prior reports that any of the groups were considering honoring such politicians), I think this was a brave and commendable move. Even if none of the groups were going to to invite pro-abortion politicians, this publicity is good. Bishop Martino realizes that the battle to end abortion is not only a passive, reactive endeavor, but one that must be actively fought. By making this statement, he is keeping the issue at the forefront and reminding Catholics that pro-abortion politicians should not be honored or supported, but brought to task.

I pray that God may grant Bishop Martino and all of our bishops continued and increased courage and wisdom in this fight to defend life. 

And yes, this is the same Bishop Martino who has said he doesn't want Joe Biden coming to Scranton to talk about his "Catholic" values. Like Bishop Burke and Archbishop Chaput, he has asserted that pro-abortion politicians should not present themselves for Holy Communion.

It would get to complicated if I gave each bishop his own score, so I'm going to aggregate them. Bishops +1.


Another grammar +1. That brings it up to the level of ninjas, surpassing common sense and sea lords. For now.

It greatly satisfies me (not I) to see grammar-related articles being written from time to time. I guess it's the writing tutor in me.

The Times is at least good for something.

Say Cheese

It's that time again.  Yes, it's cheese-rolling time. Not to be confused with cheese-chasing time.
I'll have to look up this "Shrove Tuesday pancake race." Sounds tasty. 

Bishop Williamson...

Shameful behavior for anyone, especially a clergyman to exhibit...

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bishop Williamson, he was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in 1988.  This was because the bishop who ordained him and three other bishops did so without papal approval and mandate.  The excommunications were very recently lifted - an act which has caused quite a bit of stir and controversy, mostly because Williamson is a holocaust denier. He obviously has some issues...I just hope he get some help (divine and otherwise) and that this whole issue will blow over sooner than later.

Pirate Patrol

An interesting insight into the British Royal Navy's pirate patrolling procedure (excuse the alliteration): here.

It is interesting to note that once a ship is captured by pirates, it is more desirable to pay ransom than to try and take it back. Yo ho.

Jukin' Time

Mini special.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The usual suspects?

I think this is worth a chuckle.

New Feature

Just added a little scoreboard below the archived entries. Now we can all keep track of the various +1's that I grant (but never lightly).


I'm going to reserve judgement on whether or not Mr. Varney was 100% right in this interview - it is true that her responses were kind of nonsequitor...but then again, so are many of the responses we hear from politicians and political spokesmen. But perhaps she does deserve this kind of treatment considering the action she is advocating. And you know her organization, ACORN (yeah, familiar, huh?) received money from the stimulus? I think it was an eleven digit figure.

Although I think Mr. Varney has a point and does have reason on his side, I do think we need to be careful not to dehumanize these people. Yes, their situations are in many cases their own fault, but it's not very Christian (or very American, in my mind) to just offer them a "tough luck, kid" as they're kicked out on the street. I'm not sure the stimulus was an appropriate vessel for such aid, however, and I also think this woman and ACORN are overstepping their bounds. If they care so much about these people, they should be donating and raising money to help pay off their debts. Or is ACORN suggesting that taxpayer money should be spent to help these people, and that it will gladly protest, yet stop just short of opening its own coffers?


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Japanese kids are comedic geniuses

Whether they know it or not, they are.  This most recent "make your own skit" activity was framed around a telephone conversation theme. There were many amusing ones, but too many for me to record without being adequately lazy. So here are a few, with very minor spelling/grammatical editing:

A: Hi, this is Nakanishi. Can I talk to Tashiro, please?
B: No. This is Haru. Nakanishi, nice to meet you.
A: Haru? Who are you?
B: I'm Haru. Are you free.
A: Oh, yes. Why?
B: Because. It was love at first sight.
A: You didn't see me.
B: I saw you by sixth sense.
A: Oh, by sixth sense.

A: Hello?
B: Hi, this is Risa. Can I speak to Mitsuki, please?
A: Speaking.
B: Would you like to buy something to drink?
A: No. Would you like to buy something to drink?
B: ...Ok.

--3 (Entitled "One Day...")
A: Hello?
B: Hi, this is Margret. Can I speak to Bob, please?
A: I'm sorry, he can't come to the phone right now. Because Bob is working in the park.
B: Really?
A: Yes, yes, yes.
B: I see.
A: Bye.
B: Liar!

A: Hi, this is Jona. May I speak to Cully?
B: Speaking. What's up?
A: To tell the truth, I love you.
B: Oh, my God. I love you, too.
A: But. My heart is stronger than your heart.
B: No!! My heart's stronger.
A: No!!
B: No!!
A: Sorry. I lose...
B: Thank you.
A: I love you... I love you...
B: I love you too...
A: Good bye.
B: See ya.

A: Hello? This is Cow.
B: Hi, this is Pony.
A: Would you like to buy some milk?
B: No, thanks. I have milk. Goodbye.

A: Hello?
B: Hi, this is your son.
A: What?
B: This is your son!
A: Oh! John?
B: Yes! This is John!!
A: I have no son. Goodbye.

A: Hello?
B: Hi, I am your son.
A: Is your name Taro?
B: Yes. Yes! I am Taro! Now I don't have a job. I lost my job.
A: Please give me money?
B: Um...sure. How much?
A: About a million yen. Ok?
B: Sure. I'll give you money.
A: Thank you. I respect you.
B: You're welcome.

--My Thoughts--

I know they were just using phrases we taught them, but the usage in some of these cases is great. Take #4: a passionate conversation about the depths of their love, ended with "see ya."
Although there is something slightly sinister about #3 (obviously Margaret knows something that leads her to believe Bob is not at the park after all) and I also enjoy a good skit about a mother either disowning her son or earning his respect by giving him money, I think my favorite is #2. I like how Mitsuki turns the sales deal around on Risa (why is she selling a drink over the phone in the first place?).

Anyway, this is my reward for a lesson well-taught.

Friday, February 20, 2009

North Dakota, Abortion, and C.S. Lewis on Liberal Christianity

I'd like to share some thoughts on related issues.

First of all, here is an exciting bit of news(Hot Air).  Reported here (Life News) and here (AmP), too.  Although I don't expect it will get passed the state senate, North Dakota's house just recently passed a piece of legislation, one "Personhood of Children Act."  Its aim is to obtain "personhood" status (the right to exist and be recognized as a person) for each individual from his or her conception.  If it does pass, it will serve as a challenge to Roe and should cause quite a stir.  Pray for a favorable outcome (or cross your fingers if that is your preference).

As those of you who know me are aware, abortion is a real hot-button issue for me.  I haven't done as much throughout the years as I should have, but when I return to the States I will make an honest effort to become more active in the Pro-Life movement.  That said, I have been debating (or arguing) and following Pro-Life news for quite some time.  Recently, with the election of Mr. Obama and the scandal surrounding Mrs. Pelosi, a lot of liberal Catholics have been coming out of the woodwork both in the public forum and on internet ones.  I've been reading a lot of "abortion is just one issue" and "politicians should not legislate morality."  What I struggle with is that fact that there seem to be just as many "Pro-Life" Democratic Catholics that agree with these arguments as Pro-Abortion "Catholics."  I've presented the comparison of abortion to slavery (despite abortion actually being murder), but I have found time and time again that there are those who close their minds to reason. 

 To those who believe that legislators should not dictate morality: In America, we live in a republic.  We elect officials to represent our best interests, and we trust that they will do what they feel is right.  We know that they obviously cannot represent the interests of every single voter who cast a ballot for them.  Thus, if they are convinced that society needs to be protected from something, it is their duty to act according to those beliefs.  If a politician believes abortion to be murder, they must fight tooth and nail to protect those lives rather than let them be quashed.

To those who believe Catholic politicians should promote welfare and charity: I agree.  However, what is the message when they are Pro-Abortion?  That it is ok for the government to decide that I should give my money to those less fortunate and in need of help, but that even when a politician believes an unborn child is a human being, it is not ok for the government to tell the mother they cannot kill their child?  On one hand, the government can tell me how to spend my money, but on the other hand, the government cannot protect a dependent and helpless life?  The "abortion is only one issue; my candidate helps the poor and promotes welfare" argument fails here.

To those who believe that people should have the right to sin or make the wrong choice (see Fray): Your argument falls apart unless you are willing to concede that we should all have the right right to kill, steal, and rape at will.  If your sin or wrong choice affects someone else, it is not something that should be left up to you.  Society has a duty to intercede.

I think one of the major problems with liberal Catholics who place more import on charity than justice and life is that they have a misconception of God.  Recently I've been reading C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain.  Lewis is a brilliant writer and theologian, and I love his works.  I think he should be required reading for all sincere Christians.  But I digress.  Here are a couple of passages that I found enlightening and relevant to this subject:

"By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right.  And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness--the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy.  What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, 'What does it matter so long as they are contented?'  We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven--a senile benevolence who, as they say 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of the day, 'a good time was had by all.'[...]I do not claim to be an exception: I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines.  But since it is abundantly clear that I don't, and since I have no reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is Love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction (31-32)."

"There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous, and when kindness (in the sense given above) is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it.  Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object -- we have all met people whose kindess to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer.  Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.  As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished.  It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes.  If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness.  And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt.  He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense (32-33)."

Something to think about, perhaps.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pope reminds Nancy what the Church says on abortion...

Good coverage over at AmP.

Nancy goes to Rome..

Many (Catholic and conservative) sources have been covering story recently - Nancy Pelosi will soon meet with Pope Benedict XVI.  There're a lot of strong feelings flying around. A friend of mine hinted that he wouldn't be disappointed if she were impaled by a Swiss guard's pike. 

As I'm sure you all know, Madame Speaker has made many incorrect and ridiculous statements about the Catholic Church and abortion - such as claiming that the Church only determined in recent years that life begins at contraception. Several months ago, her bishop invited her for a talk...she accepted the invitation, but has yet to visit him. No time for that, but time to fly to Rome. While many Catholics seem to want her excomminicated, or at least denied communicion or publically rebuked, I don't think that's going to happen here. I predict a private audience, the content of which will not be made public. The pope will talk to her about the error of her ways. She will thank him, be on her way, and continue down the path to eternal damnation. Unless he does something to surprise me, this one will be a victory for Pelosi (in this life, anyway), and the liberal press.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lord of the Rings - Voiceover

Heh heh...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nuclear Subs Crash

What are the odds, given how few subs there are floating around in so many miles of our vast oceans?  But really I wanted to post this article because of this:

Britain's most senior sailor, First Sea Lord, Adm. Jonathon Band, said the underwater crash posed no risk to the safety of the submarines' nuclear reactors and nuclear missiles. But he offered no explanation of how the rare incident might have occurred.

The guy's title is "First Sea Lord." Holy crap, that is cool. I wish I were a Sea Lord.

Edit: I'm giving all Sea Lords a +1 for being BA.

DRUGS ARE AWESOME!! Socialized Healthcare Sucks.


Status Update

Jeff expressed his concern to me recently because I haven't updated for a while. Rest-assured, everything is fine with me; it's just that I struggle every once in a while to maintain motivation for this blog (and for my vlog, as well). My low readership/viewership sometimes make me think I have better uses for my time.

I will resume again soon, though. And Jeff, thank you for being a loyal reader and friend.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The People's Stimulus: Get Your Money Back

I like the way that woman puts it near the end -"We need to help ourselves."


Friday, January 30, 2009

New RNC Chair

Michael Steele, an actual pro-life Catholic politician, has been named chair of the Republican National Committee.  You can read more about him at these links:


A very (I think) powerful argument on the pro-Israel and anti-destruction-of-the-world side of the fence:

And some of the stories are really fishy. Remember the claims from certain sources, including the UN, that Israeli mortar fire had destroyed a school and killed civilians? Apparently not.

Guest Opinion: Youngsters Today

Sorry if the title is inadequate - I had to pen it on the fly.
I'd just like to share a post made by Jeff.  It's well-written, and it has the word "boobs."
Thanks much, Jeff. If you have any more writings you'd like to share, please let me know.


First of all, yearning for some kind of sexual freedom is nothing new -- look at the flappers of the 1920's (rowr, check out her ankles!), and the drug-happy hippie generation of the 60's. At least the roaring 20's had a depression (I hear it was great) to knock some sense back into people, and tell them "Hey, stop screwing around and go work in a coal mine for 18 hours a day." We hit a lull in the 70's, as well. I was born in '79, so I don't remember much of it. What we need to remember is, their behavior back then was just as shocking at the time, compared to all the crap these kids are doing now. Back in the 20's, women were going to bars, smoking cigars, prostitution was everywhere and they were starting to bare more skin. In the 60's, people were having unprotected orgy sex in the mud, high as hell off LSD.

A big part of the problem now is that hippie generation went and had itself a whole bunch of kids (we fall close to this category), and as parents, they're afraid of being hypocritical. How does a generation that was defined by free love and experimentation now turn around and have to play the role they were rebelling against? And so, maybe they're a bit more lax in their parenting. This isn't the case EVERY time, but it's pretty common, at least based on what I've seen. And now those children, who had more lenient parents, are becoming parents themselves -- parents who were never truly disciplined, and therefore, won't be nearly as hard on their children.

Take all that, and combine it with the fact that we now live in a society of instant gratification. When I was a young, curious lad, I stumbled upon an old Playboy in one of my dad's old shoeboxes (his storage system of choice), and THAT was my source of sexual material. A few years beyond that, once cable TV was a part of our household, I'd have to sneak out into the living room at 4 in the morning to see boobs. Volume on mute, of course, lest I wake the folks. Today, any 12 year old boy with a computer and an internet connection (which nearly every house now has) knows what "Yahoo" or "Google" is, and can find pictures or videos of hardcore sex acts with a few clicks of the mouse. And most kids today have computers in their room, or know a friend who does; it's TOO easy to obtain porn.

Along with instant gratification, we're also escalating. Paul, you may be a bit too young to remember, but when Madonna came out with a new video in the 80's, it was cause for alarm. Compared with the music videos of today, she's almost tame. Same for TV shows and movies. Shock value keeps increasing while attention spans keep decreasing; I think the internet (again) is to blame.

Humans have always tried to top one another. It's what we do. With the internet, there are now millions (billions?) of people all trying to top one another at once. Remember when you were a kid -- if you were the best at Street Fighter II in the local arcade, you were THE best. Now, everyone's hooked up to the internet, out to top one another. Same with sexuality and shock value. Except before, when only "artists" - singers, actors, painters, and what have you - could join in, today, ANYONE can. Hell, a good 3/4 of YouTube is all one big pissing contest. "Oh yeah? I can top that."

With the exception of "Jukin' Japan," of course. I find that guy delightful.

So...we live in a world where sex is at our fingertips, and almost everyone in America is broadcasting their lives on the internet, trying to be the most popular...and we're SURPRISED morals have hit a steep decline? If anything, I'm surprised things aren't much worse right now. I hear some of the people around me at work talking, and I just don't "get" it. Bragging to one another about their drunken, meaningless sex with "what's-her-name," as if sexual conquests were medals of honor. But then, the braggarts will keep bragging, and those of us with a bit more moral fiber will keep silent. And in our silence, society will keep shining the spotlight on the voices it CAN hear, in the name of entertainment. Nobody's going to pay a $10 movie ticket to watch a bunch of high school seniors NOT try to have sex with the hot cheerleaders.

And for all the young kids growing up today, looking at that spotlight...well, you know the old saying. "Monkey see, monkey do."