Last updated 6/18/09

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.