Saturday, August 30, 2008

The NOBAMA shirt

And here's a shirt using my NOBAMA logo...

McCain/Palin shirts

Here are some McCain/Palin shirts I made up last night:

The text under McCain/Palin says: "America First - Pro-Life"


Friday, August 29, 2008

Are we psyched about McCain's VP pick?

Oh yeah!

Here's a CafePress store I just set up to help promote the ticket. Click here to get some McCain/Palin swag to help promote the most pro-life Republican ticket in history:

You can also get some of my NOBAMA stuff on there as well, to help defeat them most pro-abortion Democrat ticket in history.

McCain/Palin in 2008

Love him or hate him, John McCain has run an outstanding campaign for president. His winning streak continued today when he picked Sarah Palin to be his VP nominee. Based on the little I know about Governor Palin, she seems like an outstanding selection. She's a former athlete, mayor, and the governor of Alaska for the past two years. She's also the mother of five kids, the youngest of whom, four-month old Trig, is a Downs baby. Considering that it is estimated that 90% of Downs babies are killed in utero by their mothers, Palin's decision to carry Trig to term is a flesh-and-blood testimony to her pro-life credentials.

Thank God! Apparently the life issue isn't above Sarah Palin's pay grade. Contrast that with the attitude of Mr. Obama on the value of children:

The contrast is indeed shocking.

God bless Senator McCain and Governor Palin! On to victory!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Please sign this petition -- 4,000 signatures needed

The University of San Diego recently awarded the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair of Roman Catholic Theology to one Rosemary Radford Ruether, Ph.D. The trouble is, the good Dr. Reuther holds the following positions:

-> Supports the heresy of Catholic priestesses.

-> Supports the heresy of "marriage" between members of the same sex.

-> Is a board member of Catholics for Free Choice, the odious pro-abortion group, which promotes the lie that Catholics may view abortion as anything other than an abomination.

Fortunately, the University decided to pull the chair out from under Dr. Ruether, thanks be to God!

But not surprisingly, the usual suspects who hold that "the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic", are taking up for Ruether. A group of sadly misguided pseudo-Catholics from The Women’s Ordination Conference, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, and Call to Action San Diego, has submitted a petition to have the chair reinstated to Dr. Ruether. They collected 2,000 signatures in support of their effort.

Over at the Ora et Labora blog, they've upped the ante--they're trying to collect 4,000 signatures in support of the University's decision by the start of class on September 4.

I just put my signature on there.

Go ye and do likewise!

Support the University of San Diego’s Stance Against Rosemary Radford Ruether

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book Review: Hero of Byzantium

This book has been dancing around in my peripheral vision for a couple years now. knows my reading habits frightfully well based on my past purchases and they've been prodding me about this book in their "you might also like" way for some time. Well, I finally put the book on my wish list and, voilĂ ! received it as a gift from my adorable wife.

I must admit, though, for a book that seemed tailor made for me, it left me a bit cold. First off, let me say that the author should be commended for his attempt. Belisarius is a fascinating historical figure who lived during a fraught and intriguing period in history and I applaud anyone who tries to tackle the subject. Also, given all that we know about Belisarius, attempting to fit his entire eventful life into one 176 page book is a daunting task.

The author should also be congratulated for working aspects of Christianity into his tale--and not in the sneering, patronizing way the Faith of the 6th century is often treated by modern writers.

Sadly, though, this book is a good example of what happens when an author with a great idea goes the self-publishing route. First off, the interior layout of the book is clumsily done. There are no paragraph indents throughout the entire book and the text is littered with really basic typos. The dialogue is stilted and has an artificial feeling to it--like watching one of those dubbed Italian gladiator movies from the 1950s. No real insight is provided into why the characters, other than Belisarius, do what they do. The descriptions of the many battles are cursory and the peeks into the private life of Belisarius and Antonina were awkwardly handled.

The history is also shaky. Of course, the author should be given some leeway considering that this is a novel and not a proper biography. But for heaven's sake, there are three errors in the book's first sentence!
"In the year 529 C.E., the Persian Emperor Khosrow the first, having recently ascended to his father's throne, sent a great army to the west to conquer the walled city of Dhara in northern Syria."
1. Khosrow was not the King of Persia in AD 529.
2. It was not he, but his father Khavad who sent an army to conquer Daras.
3. Daras was located in Roman Mesopotamia, not Syria.

The errors go on from there, but admittedly, they are fairly inconspicuous and don't hamper the story too much. More annoying was that the author continuously uses the anachronistic C.E. (Common Era) for dating, even when he is directly emulating the writing of Procopius. Although A.D. would have been anachronistic as well, it would at least have been more in keeping with the Christian theme of the work than the post-Christian "C.E." More amusing than annoying are the uncaptioned photographs of miscellaneous Greco-Roman ruins in the middle of the book. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what these have to do with Belisarius.

I think the author's biggest problem with regard to the history is that he only did surface research before setting out to write this book. The sources he cites at the end are scanty and of the works of Procopius, the most indispensable historian of all for the period, he only cites the scandal-mongering libel known as the Secret History. How an author can write a tale about Belisarius and not consult the extensive public histories of Procopius is beyond me. It's also clear that the author never dipped into either Agathias or the Chronicle of John Malalas--two other near contemporaries of Belisarius that contain a wealth of information on the great general and the 6th century Roman Empire.

So Hero of Byzantium gets only two stars from me, I'm sad to say. It was a noble attempt but riddled with too many problems to be a satisfying read.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Stand with Georgia

I post this graphic as a show of support for the heroic people of Georgia who are suffering under Russian agression right now.

May almighty God protect them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pro-Georgia Rally in Philadelphia

Here are some photos I took of a pro-Georgia rally on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

I was really heartened to see these folks out there. I pray that God will defend and protect the Georgian people and all those who live on the doorstep of the barbarian nation known as Russia.

Ironically (or not), the usual "Peace in Iraq -- US get out" people were out there the day before--with nary a word about the Russian aggression against Georgia. How anyone can take those people seriously is beyond me.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

How's that for turn-around?

Yesterday, I sent my observation about Random House's cowardice to the Catholic League. In typical form, they cranked out a press release about it today--


Gotta love Bill Donohue! The Catholic League is really on the ball with this stuff.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Profiles in Cowardice -- Random House

Check this out. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, publishing giant Random House has pulled the plug on novel it had under contract (The Jewel of Medina by journalist Sherry Jones) because the company received "from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."

It is to laugh.

Keep in mind, Random House is the parent company of Anchor Books, the publisher of--you guessed it--The Da Vinci Code.

So what have we learned today, children? Simple--big publishing will spinelessly change its business practices if threatened with actual physical harm. There's a word for people who surrender their supposed priciples under threat--cowards.

Professor in Minnesota needs an exorcist

As some of you know, a pathetic individual posing as a university professor, Paul Zachary Myers, had nothing better to do with his time that to engage in a public act of profound bigotry against Catholics and their dearly held beliefs. As a matter of principle, I will not link to this individual's blog. It does no good to express your outrage on his message board--to call him invincibly ignorant is an insult to the simply ignorant. I'm convinced this man is possessed--literally.

What did Myers do, exactly? Well, he encouraged people to steal consecrated Hosts from Catholic Churches and send them to him. Why? So he could desecrate them. He wrote (as taken from The Catholic Herald): "Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?...I'll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare....I won't be tempted to hold it hostage, but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart."

Of course, someone was able to supply Myers with a consecrated Host, apparently stolen from the London Oratory, and he "thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail. And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffee grounds and a banana peel."

Thus confirming my suspicion that the man is indeed possessed. Satan thought he could get rid of Christ in exactly the same way.

Yet, Satan always overplays his hand. Out of this act of desecration, the priests at the London Oratory "are urging worshipers to be vigilant at Mass and to receive Communion on the tongue. Communion plates have started being used at certain Masses again."

Furthermore, on several discussion threads, including this one on Free Republic, many non-Catholics are expressing their contempt for Myers's action and their support of Catholics to believe as they please without harassment from bigots.

And lastly, Myers's hypocrisy for attacking Catholicism exclusively led his critics to point out that he was too afraid to attack Islam in the same way. To prove that he was an equal opportunity bigot, Myers ripped pages out of the Koran and threw them in the trash as well. Talk about overplaying your hand. Catholics will only hand you your head in a figurative sense for messing with their Faith. Muslims tend to be much more literal about these things.

Of course, the university where this bigot molds young minds has taken no action against him to date. According to the Catholic League website, the university recognizes that Myers's actions violate the code of conduct, but apparently, in this case, that's ok.

Catholics are encouraged to write a letter to University of Minnesota Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson ( to demand Myers be fired. They won't do it, but they need to know how many of us are out there and that we're very angry about this.

And finally, it's clear to me that Myers needs one thing above all else: prayer. Please pray for the salvation of his soul. I will be.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

And another in the same vein

There's just something about really juvenile humor that instantly takes even the biggest egos down a few pegs.

Here's another one:

And now from the juvenile humor department...

A Connecticut Bigot in King Arthur's Court

I have always loved Mark Twain since reading Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as a kid. At one point I had even memorized "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" as a seventh-grader in Catholic school. Twain has always held a sentimental place close to my heart, so when our book club chose to read and discuss A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, I was all for it.

I had heard vaguely of Twain's atheist mindset and his antagonism toward religion in general. But until I read Connecticut Yankee, I had no idea how much irrational and unfounded antipathy Twain had for the Catholic Church in particular. The pervasive theme in Connecticut Yankee is that our modern enlightened world is far superior to that which went before and that the "bad old days" of slavery and oppression were almost completely the fault of the Catholic Church. This anti-Catholic sentiment can hardly be denied as Twain himself urged reviewers not to mention it when the book first came out. "Please don't let on that there are any slurs at the Church," he told a sympathetic reviewer in the Boston Herald. "I want to catch the reader unawares, and modify his views if I can." This quote may be found at a wonderful website devoted to Twain at the University of Virginia's site. Also at that site are some of the anti-Catholic illustrations that accompanied the original publication of the work.

So Twain engaged in what we know today as the "last acceptable prejudice." By way of a simple comparison, let us imagine that, instead of Catholics, Twain had chosen Jews, Mormons, or Evangelicals as the villains of Connecticut Yankee. Would it still occupy the exalted position it does as an American classic? Or would it be relegated to those dusty shelves where reside other scurrilous works or racist manifestos to be studied as a historical curiosity of a meaner age?

For me, the most annoying aspect of Connecticut Yankee was Twain's almost total ignorance of history--or, perhaps more accurately, his decision to turn history on its head to better fit his polemical aims of blaming all the ills of society on the Catholic Church. This is a classic example of what happens, I suppose, when a journalist with a wide breadth of knowledge but no depth attempts to novelize about a historical subject. To address some of Twain's errors:

1.) Slavery in antiquity was in no way the fault of the Church. That pernicious institution long predated Christianity and was endemic to classical pagan societies. Indeed, the Church has a long history of making the lot of slaves more tolerable and being among the premier abolitionist institutions in the world.

2.) The idea that the Church suppresses intellectual freedom is a fable made up during the Protestant rebellion, though it is heartily embraced by Twain. Far more erudite scholars than I have examined this fallacy, so rather than address this topic in detail here, I would point the reader to Tom Woods's excellent book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.

3.) Twain writes glowingly and naively of democracy, putting in Hank Morgan's mouth the notion that "Where every man in a state has a vote, brutal laws are impossible." One wonders what Twain would have made of our modern America, where not only every man, but every woman has a vote, and yet the ghastly practice of abortion is not only legal, but enshrined as a human right. Democracy of itself does not ensure enlightened government. Without the temper of religion, democracy is as likely to produce brutal and repulsive laws as the worst monarchy. De Tocqueville understood this. It's a wonder that Twain did not.

There are many more, but this review is already more prolix that I had intended.

As always, Twain's writing sparkles in Connecticut Yankee and his lampooning of the style of Mallory is very funny. His characters, however, viewed 120 years later, are crudely drawn. Hank Morgan is an Alger-esque self-made man whose compendious knowledge of all subjects is just a little too convenient. The legendary Arthurians are all soulless pawns that Twain moves around to further his polemic. No insight is offered into their characters at all. They are all cruel and completely self-serving--as they must be in Twain's mind because they belong to the aristocracy. The story ends on a bizarrely depressing note for a tale that was predominantly a humorous satire for the first seven-eighths of its length.

In short, this is not a book I will be reading to my kids as a bedtime story. For me, it is to be considered a shameful period piece, written at a time when it was acceptable and even laudatory to be a Know-Nothing and make up slanders about the Catholic Church. That it is a cleverly-written slander is only another mark against it. Amusing slanders are pleasing to read but have the potential to do real harm both to the target and the reader.

Friday, August 01, 2008