Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 5 February 2016

The Enemy of My Enemy's Enemy's Enemy Is My... SQUIRREL!!!! And what in the world is "Sutdugoo"?

I imagine we have all been embarrassed by finding ourselves in agreement with someone whom we find loathsome - or lest you think I am attacking anyone ad hominem, whose ideas, words, opinions, attitudes, or actions we find loathsome.

And of course, the interwebs are just that, a web, a tangle, a great time-sucking morass of claims, counter-claims, self-contradictions - after a bit, of trying to understand the scorecard, I just get distracted.

I'm weak minded that way.
Image result for vicious dog distracted by squirrel

What brought on my present crisis of faith in my own judgement and "alliances" is two-fold. Or maybe three?

First there is the absurd vortex of militant feminism, militant islam, militant atheism  or anti-christian sentiment, (never can quite make up my mind,) and militant misogyny.
I'm not going to link to any of these loonies, suffice to say I offered sympathy to someone whose attacker seemed either evil or unhinged, (mocking, laughing and singing jovially about the death by suicide of a sibling,) as caught on video.
Supporters of that attacker claim that attacker was attacked via tweet by an attacker linking a satirical attack on the first attacker who is therefore now an attackee and also another attackee, both of which attackees are apparently frequent attackers themselves, and both actual persons identifiable in the satire but only one of whom the supporters of the initial attacker feels should be spared attack, as they don't like the other attackee in the satire, so tough beans for him.
Got that?
"Does [attacker via tweet] have any conception of just how much abuse [persons] like [attacker who mocked suicide of relative of soon-to-be-an-attacker-himself] get?"
Imagine that.
People who behave badly experience retaliation.
Because it's all a matter of the new hobby that's sweeping the globe! It's  SUTDUGOO, ("Selective Umbrage-Taking Dependant Upon Gored Ox's Ownership.)

Oh, I said two- or three-fold, didn't I?
Well, I've gone on long enough for now.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Equal Rights, Equal Healthcare, and a Modest Proposal

I admit, I'd never read this before, (h/t to Lifesite CORRECTION, h/t to Catholic World Report,) - the Affordable Healthcare Act? Life is not that long!!!!
Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities Proposed Rule
Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act
[seriously, 1557 sections?]
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule to advance health equity and reduce disparities in health care. The proposed rule, Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities, will assist some of the populations that have been most vulnerable to discrimination and will help provide those populations equal access to health care and health coverage....individuals cannot be subject to discrimination based on their race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability....
Image result for baldrick
I have a cunning plan!
The proposed rule requires that women have equal access to the health care they receive and the insurance they obtain. Moreover, the rule makes clear that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. For example -
  • Individuals cannot be denied health care or health coverage based on their sex, including their gender identity.
  • Individuals must be treated consistent with their gender identity, including in access to facilities.
  • Sex-specific health care cannot be denied or limited just because the person seeking such services identifies as belonging to another gender. For example, a provider may not deny an individual treatment for ovarian cancer, based on the individual’s identification as a transgender man, where the treatment is medically indicated.
Don't you think every pro-life guy you know should trot on over to the nearest Planned Parenthood and ask for a pregnancy test? Demand one! And maybe insist on being given an abortion? after all, it's zir* body. Ze* should say that ze's been doing the backstroke in the gender fluidity pool and today woke up feeling all womanish.
Com'on, it'll be fun.
I should make plain, unlike many who are pro-life, I was in favor of healthcare reform. But I thought it should have gone much further than it did, I think socialized medicine is the only civilized set-up. The trouble is, we didn't get healthcare reform, we got health INSURANCE reform, it still costs a bloody fortune and it's still making the medical establishment, the insurance establishment and the pharmaceutical establishment filthy rich with the scams they have set up amongst themselves.
And the way the whole thing fell out, it made clear, it made it undeniable, the fetishization of abortion and contraception that sends tingles up the spine in certain quarters of what used to be called with some justification, the liberal movement.
Let's be honest, there are plenty of common and necessary heathcare services and drugs that are not required to be covered under ALL plans, (adult eye exams? foot care? weightloss surgery?) but contraceptives, some of which are abortefacient, was a hill the Obama administration was willing to die on - despite the knowledge that compromising on that would have allowed them to form a coalition with the USCCB which would have guaranteed success. But nope, they were going to punish those whose very refusal to embrace skankdom themselves feels, even without a word being spoken**, like such a reproach to those who revel in it  - they were going to insist that those puritanical types pay for it. Because make no mistake, this was never about healthcare, it was about silencing, driving from the public square those who don't espouse the notion that the only wrong or unhealthy sexual activity or attitude is continence.
Your body's working as it was intended? Great, you can get drugs that will stop that!
Oh, your body's NOT working as intended, you're infertile? Nope, probably not gonna give you any help with that...
* Not making this up. Anyone else worried that irony and satire are becoming redundnat?
** I, of course, am not such a one - I'm always ready to speak, or type a word. And "skankdom" is a pejorative that applies at least as much to men (whatever their "gender," she added sarcastically,) as to women. What can I say, I think sluts should be ashamed...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Closing Out the Season...

Yes, I know it's only a sort of "folk" liturgical calendar that Makes Candlemas the end of Christmass.
But there sits my lighted tree, and m creche.
And who know, I may even mail my Christmass letter tomorrow.

I had intended to listen to some Yuletide music, or watch a final entry in Scroggeapalooza, but even better!!!!

Stunning episcopal ordination for the Ordinariate on EWTN.

Catholicism is a joyful cult, no?

Famous Persons Not From the Realm of Filmdom Appearing in Movies?

Methinks Bolingbroke Henry IV would be ag'n' it. (as is the Holy Father):
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men
So stale and cheap to vulgar company,
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had still kept loyal to possession
And left me in reputeless banishment,
A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.
By being seldom seen, I could not stir
But like a comet I was wonder'd at;
That men would tell their children 'This is he;'
Others would say 'Where, which is Bolingbroke?'
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dress'd myself in such humility
That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Thus did I keep my person fresh and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
Ne'er seen but wonder'd at: and so my state,
Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast
And won by rareness such solemnity.

Monday, 1 February 2016

"“Anyone who has ever seen a sonogram or spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows that... in order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain, and, whatever the method, break some bones and rupture some organs.”

From that right wing Christian bigot.... oh, wait, sorry.
From Christopher Hitchens.

"The Danish Girl"

Thanks to "For Your Consideration" dvds, I have watched a number of newish movies with Himself, of late, movies which I would have probably seen later when they were free, or never. (I don't think I'm violating an terms of their possession if I watch them with him.)
Generally, after I view or read a piece of work like this, I go back to see what reviews, "experts," etc., had to say about it.

I've read that it is a piece of transgender activist "propaganda," that some involved in its creation see themselves now as adding their voices to the acceptance of transgenderism....

Frankly, I was surprised by the refreshingly un-PC pov of The Danish Girl.

To me, it seems to present, in very sympathetic terms, the life of a delusional man, and they way his life was constricted, and ultimately ended by the mental illness from whihc he suffered.

What the intentions of its creators' were, I can not say, but that is what I "got" from it.

Eddie Redmayne gave a very detailed, but more technically proficient than moving portrait of Einar Wegener. (I should say up front that I go in to this with a bit of hostility to Redmayne, because I think he has an Oscar that belonged to Michael Keaton. Not his fault, so I'm sure I'll forgive him eventually, as I will Tom Hanks for having the Oscar that by all rights was Anthony Hopkins' for Remains of the Day.)

On the other hand, that may have been intentional, and appropriate, because except in rare cases of congenital sexual ambiguity, men suffering from such delusions can, at best, aspire to a kind of "technical proficiency" in their pretense, rather than anything real. Overacting is always easier than being, hence, the caricatures of femininity presented by so many drag queens and trans-gender "women."

Alicia Vikander is the soul of the movie.
It is a love story, and her character is the one who provides actual love, (though even she fails at the real test of the lover - wishing, and acting for, the good of the beloved. Much harder than enabling, perhaps?)
Regardless of the truth of the story, in this film of an apparently highly fictionalized novelization of a truish story of an attractive madman, her portrayal of the wife who loved him through and despite his descant into insanity was wonderful.
Her husband's delusion, his betrayal, his pitiful learning to play a part, (as if ones gender is a matter of gesture and posture!) his lies, his truly insulting - to an actual woman - notion of womanhood, and finally, his absurd attempt to have organs implanted in order to bear children at an age when pregnancy and childbirth would have been improbably for an actual woman - the clear-eyed love she exuded was tragic, beautiful and riveting. (I understand that actual Gerda, for all that gender idealogues want her to be a lesbian icon, finally gave up and married another man while her damaged husband was still alive.)

Saturday, 30 January 2016

"Big Lots" Dry Skin Relief Find

Silkience SPA Haus Moisturing Lotion with Oatmeal & Shea Butter 12 Fl Oz.

I usually buy large tubes of, (what I think is a copy of Aveeno,) called "Bath-scriptions" or something like that, at Big Lots, but they haven't had any the last few times I looked. I was able to stock up when I found some in  Big Lots while driving cross-country last year, but now it seems a lost cause.
Well, it's winter in the US, and even in the humid sub-tropics or equatorial rainforests the Dread Curse of Dry Skin has struck with a vengeance, and add that to my dermatitis, and I NEED SOMETHING!

Big Lots has this "Spa-Haus" product, made by Silkience, with colloidal oatmeal and shea, and, (da-dada-DAH!) virtually no scent, AND (add full brass to that fanfare,) it cost a buck.
For 12 ounces.
In a pump bottle.

Serious bargain.

Not as heavy a weight as I sometimes need, but perfect for putting on throughout the day (I put a bottle in the kitchen, and one on my desk at school, and one near the piano, and one where I surf and watch TV of an evening, and one on by night-stand, and....
Anyway, if you are similarly afflicted, hie thee to Big Lots.

Big Lots, my eczema is ever so grateful to you!

"God Loves a Cheerful Giver," and If the Giver Can Get a Little Somethin' Somethin' Out Of It For Himself....

Hey, it's a win/win, right?

One of the presidential candidates made a big deal about not taking part in a scheduled debate, and holding an alternative event to raise money for our wounded and needy veterans.

But any donations made on the "Trump for Veterans" page actually went to something called "The Donald J Trump Foundation."

What exactly is that?

The page on the Trump organization's website dealing with charities speaks of the Eric Trump Foundation which raises money for St Jude's Children's Hospital, Girl Up which works with the UN, the New York City Police Foundation, and the Police Athletic League.

Four charitable endeavors, none of which are "the Donald J Trump Foundation.

This non-profits website indicates it does exist, but  it is odd that the Trump organization itself has no mention of it, or what it does.

It may be all perfectly above board, but I think its fishy enough that it would be better to donate to something a little more stable for the time being, don't you?

Friday, 29 January 2016

Wondering How the Atheist Minister Fared, So I'm Entering the Wayback Machine,...

...with Mr Peabody and Sherman?

Not exactly.

I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, I "get" the amorphous democracy of the definition of "information" on the Information Superhighway, I understand the voracious appetite for click-bait, and the concept of the slow news day, and the absence in most "news" outlets with nothing even remotely resembling a news gathering organization, so I have steeled myself to the existence of  absurdly out-of-date "news," with titles and ledes designed to provoke curiosity or outrage.

But every once in a blue moon I stumble across something from a while back and I am genuinely eager to know - how did it all turn out??!?!???
Sadly, it's often not really news so I am destined to live with disappointment.
An ordained United Church of Canada minister who believes in neither God nor Bible said Wednesday she is prepared to fight an unprecedented attempt to boot her from the pulpit for her beliefs.
In an interview at her West Hill church, Rev. Gretta Vosper said ...
“I don’t believe in...the god called God,” ...
Vosper, 57, who was ordained in 1993 and joined her east-end church in 1997, said the idea of an interventionist, supernatural being on which so much church doctrine is based belongs to an outdated world view....
“It’s mythology. We build a faith tradition upon it which shifted to find belief more important than how we lived.”
Vosper made her views clear as far back as a Sunday sermon in 2001 but her congregation stood behind her until a decision to do away with the Lord’s Prayer in 2008 prompted about 100 of the 150 members to leave. 
This was last August. So, how'd it all play out?

Well, a few weeks ago, it still hadn't.

Another denomination imploding?

Doctrinal Congregation?

Who needs'em?

Yes, I am being facetious.

Alas, I am not being irrelevant.
Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation devoted to the family will be published by the end of March....
[It] will be “a hymn to love, a love that wants to take care of the welfare of the young, to be close to wounded families to give them strength, a love that wants to be close to children as well as to all mankind in need. "...
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has studied the draft and sent a long note with several doctrinal remarks, rumored to be 40 pages in length. 
A senior Vatican source told the Register last week that the CDF has offered “all kinds of observations” on other documents as well during this pontificate, “but none of them are ever taken." The dicastery, like much of the Roman Curia, is largely left out of such processes.
Because what difference does doctrine make? as long as you're a nice person God doesn't care what you do. It's not as if we can't all come up with the Truth on our own, who needs to be taught? And it's not as if teachings are supposed to affect how we live our lives, right?

St Joseph, Guardian of the Family, Patron of the Universal Church, Terror of Demons.... pray for us.

On the other hand. what do I know about what's really taking place? (Although I have great trust in Edward Pentin.)
Be not askeered!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Planned Pandahood?

Imagine if an organization were trafficking in baby panda body parts.

Would anyone promise to "have their backs"?

"You, Me and the Apocalypse"

"A blast of fresh air"?
"An unpredictably enjoyable ride"?
"Wild but thoughtful"?

Really, Neil Genzlinger? Really?

What drek.

Let Me Get This Straight, AP, I Can Call Myself a Man, If I Want To....

Even though I have a uterus and the XX chromosomes with which I was born, and the breasts I, uh... grew along the way, I can call myself a "man" if I want to, and the Associated Press will respect that, and use male pronouns for me.

You know, if I said that was how I "self-identify."

But it doesn't matter that I self-identify as such, the AP won't call me "pro-life"?
I asked if they considered themselves “pro-life,” even though Associated Press style didn’t approve! AP’s preferred language is “anti-abortion,” which we’re using in this article.
Aside from that fascinating fact, this is a very interesting, and very honest casual survey of pro-life demonstrators, from the point of view of a journalist who... what, is pro choice? Probably, since she treats pro-lifers as an exotic, hitherto unknown bunch.
But her position is irrelevant, because it's just fair, honest reporting.
And it's nice to see acknowledged, for a change, that the Pro-Life movement is no more monolithic than the Pro-Choicers.
I was cracking ice off of the tips of my touch-screen gloves and surveying protesters, trying to learn who had come to the march and what kind of post-post-Roe v. Wade world they wanted to build....
The majority of the marchers weren’t protesting abortion simply as an abstract, political problem. Seventy-two percent of the people I surveyed told me that they knew someone personally who had had an abortion....
The crowd I surveyed matched some expectations of the anti-abortion movement (83 percent of people I spoke to were Catholic), but the crowd was younger (36 percent under 25) than I expected and, for a movement often lumped into a war on women, included more women than men (60 percent female).

5 Things Pro-Lifers Wish Their Anti-Life Friends Understood

That title make strike some readers as a touch dishonest, they may object to the tone of my post - really? that's the way you talk to your friends?
All I can say is, it's in answer to a post from someone on the other side of the question, and the phrases and words most likely to raise hackles are taken directly from her, (if paraphrased slightly,) in turn-about it fair play mode.
I am fully aware, and admit upfront that not every abortion supporter is guilty of everything of which I speak in this - would that the other writer had been as honest about pro-lifers..
5 Things Pro-Lifers Wish Their Anti-Life Friends Understood
Abortion is one of the single most divisive issues between friends and family members. Everyone has an opinion on it, and everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one. One of the unfortunate results of this is that we rarely get to engage in a meaningful and germane discussion about abortion. Each “side” gets so entrenched in their own rhetoric that we usually don’t make any strides toward developing greater understanding and empathy.

So here is my discussion opener. I think this is an important topic that deserves an open mind and some time spent in contemplation.

1. We want women to lead happy, fulfilling lives too.

Some say women who make the choice to have an abortion are struggling, as if having struggled with something makes any decision you make okay.
Someone might say, "The popular right-wing slogan is, 'Abortion Hurts Women.' I would posit that, in many cases, the women are already hurting."
I would posit that killing the life inside them is not going to stop their hurting, but will add to the pain.

2. We Are Pro-LIFE, Not Anti-ABORTION

Or, to put it another way: we are trying to stop a life from being destroyed, not stop a medical procedure.
We believe that the pressures put on many women and girls relieves them of culpability in the death of the child.
But saving the family embarrassment, the man his financial responsibility, the medical facility or insurers from spending time, effort and money?

People who say "just getting rid of it" is an easy answer are deluding themselves.

3. Banning Abortions Doesn’t Prevent Them (Oh, look! something on which we agree!)

Which is why making the killing of the unborn unthinkable is more important than making it illegal.
Prattling on about "access to safe abortions" is disingenuous since it's not safer for the baby whose life is being taken (obviously!)

4. We Think You Shouldn’t Call Yourself ‘Pro-Choice’ If the Person Whose Life You Are Okay With Taking Has No Say In It

This is one I’d really love to hash out with a so-called “Pro-Choicer.” There are children aborted who are perfectly healthy. Do you consider that your “pro-choice” effort is best spent making rom-coms with an abortion as the comedic centerpiece of the movie? or would it be better spent fighting for pre- and post-natal healthcare for mothers AND babies?

5. We Wish You Would Stop Being So Damn Glib

Can we cut it out with the personal attacks already? It doesn’t make you morally superior; it just makes you a jerk.

Here’s an idea: instead of printing a slogan demeaning someone elses devotional or religious practices, make up a sign that says, “I Respect Your Position.”
Try taking that one to your counter-demonstrations.

Oh, wait, you don’t want to do that? You want to pour water over some elderly bishop and show your naked breasts with slogans smeared on them and shout down speakers with whom you disagree?

Because that's empowering women?
Get over yourself.

Obscenity and blasphemy don't add anything to a complicated discussion. And treating the issue of abortion as if there is moral equivalence between the deliberate killing of an unborn human being and having your educational, financial and career horizons limited is insulting to everyone’s intelligence. We’re better than that.

Speaking of Heresy...

It seems to me that if one is accused of heresy by those who have the authority to make such a call, one should be obedient and wait for the test of time, not claim that those the Holy Spirit or dumb luck has placed in authority have no authority.

Just sayin'...

New Primer from Minister of Education in Alberta

(I should 'fess up, up front - I DETEST the phrase, "best practices." I can see the pursed lips of a facilitator pretending her orders are merely advice before we break up into small discussion groups, every time I hear it.)
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water,
Jill decided she's a boy,
Jack claims to be your daughter.
No, I kid...
What the M of E actually issued was a set of protocols? suggestions?
Best practices.
Mandatory guidelines for enabling the mental illness that is currently most fashionable.

Image result for "time to make the donuts" in dress 
 "Time to make the donuts peace with the insanity"
The Catholic bishop of Calgary's having none of it.
 Bully for him.

Speaking of Dutifuls and Prodigals....

I'm not the nicest person in the world.
I like to make jokes, and I do it too often at other people's expense.
I'm trying not to snark too much at political figures at the moment, (not because they don't deserve it, but because politics is actually making me a little sick so I'm trying not to think about it,) and I fear that the excess snark not so utilized is being deployed in other directions.

So I don't want to make this too snarky, and I REALLY don't want to indulge in noting that some kettles share the same coloration as myself.

That said--

There seems to be a kind of dionysian glee, (a paradox, yes) taken in lamenting that certain persons who should not have received the Blessed Sacrament have partaken of the Eucharist throughout the Catholic blogosphere.

The commentary, (this is generally in com-boxes, not the work of writers with any reputation or standing,) almost wishes perdition on separated brethren and sistren rather than praying that they might be saved, that all might be one.

I do not condone the sacrilegious, (even if unintended, it is sacrilege,) reception of Communion at Mass, nor the fuzzy thinking and preaching that may have encouraged it, but come on - people must be presumed to be of good will, and people of good will need to be catechized, not have anathemas hurled at them.

There was an excellent reflection in Magnificat this past week, can't recall the writer, that essentially told of the truth of a Word being attested to in any of three way: the speaker can be trusted, the word itself is self-evidently true, or those who already hold it to be true inspire confidence in it.

Orthodox Catholics Are Obliged To Behave In A Manner Worthy Of The Vocation In Which The Are Called.

You cannot draw people to the Truth if you make that Truth seem ugly.

Time for the Monthly Tribal Council of Dutiful Sons of Either Sex and Other Righteous Persons

Over at Catholic Exchange:
Coming onto Those Interwebs one Thursday, I read a woman on Catholic Exchange complain to her readers about the conversation of some women who had been in church with her. I cringed for those women who had no idea that someone was talking negatively about them. Gossip and detraction are not from God. How sad that this writer had just emerged from the place where heaven meets earth—the Holy Eucharist—and rather than praising God, she was judging the people in the pews.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have read such a display: not only about the things people say, but the clothes people wear, the way they pray, the way they sing, the way they parent their children, and more. The Enemy wants to distract us from the true purpose of Mass, and here is one way he succeeds.
Except, of course that's not really what she wrote.

As for me, I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast not made me like other bloggers....

Here's the thing - this seems to be the season for, I dunno... running out of spiritual matters to write about? Christmas almost over*, Lent not yet here, lousy weather, Pope's not travelling.

I know! I'll write a column/blog judging people who are too judgey!

Is it my imagination?
As an acknowledged member of the Tribe of the Dutiful Son, (that snotty Prodigal's better behaved elder brother,) I think I recognize a fellow Righteous Person when I see her.
*Yeah. You heard me.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

So Much For "Both/And"

A number of Catholics....
Wait, I realize I should define terms - by "Catholics" I mean people who actually believe and profess and practice what the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church instituted by Jesus Christ teaches.

Anyway, a number of Catholics are het up over a kind of silly facebook post.
And he copyrighted this! Honest.
The poor guy being attacked, despite seeming to have made a living by, er... writing words?... just doesn't have much of a way with them.
He's not necessarily wrong in what he wants to say, merely in how he says it, e.g., "the assembly should be the focus of the Liturgy," (from a laughable, long ago article that was actually trying to make a reasonable point.)
Well, what can you expect from someone who has no interest in clarity, but in "celebrating ambiguity."

No, SERIOUSLY, you can't make this stuff up.
My answer? he might as well have typed,
Ministry is not making sense.
     It is making poetry.
Ministry is not getting things done,
      It is getting attention

Thus saith the Lord: Shalt THOU build ME a house to dwell in?

I'm always tickled at today's first reading, in my mind I kind of hear the Lord's voice booming out and interrupting the national anthem of the Kingdom of Pelagia:
Let us build a house where love can dwell...
Nice tune, at least.

Like the news, only important...