Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween - Not Pagan.

Time for the annual "Halloween is not pagan" column.

Honoring the dead

So if it’s not from paganism, how does Halloween pick up the Day of the Dead vibe? Well, about a century and a half later, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery at Cluny (way over in southern France — not Ireland), adds a celebration of All Souls on Nov. 2. Because Cluny is the coolest place in Europe at the time, the devotion spreads everywhere, resulting in back-to-back feasts for all those in heaven and purgatory.
What about those in hell? The tenderhearted but obviously superstitious Catholic Irish fretted that the damned might not take kindly to being left out. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Eve to mollify them. This is not something the Church was thrilled with, but the irrepressible Irish did it anyway.
Things go along in this vein in Ireland (and nowhere else) until the 14th and 15th centuries. At this point, the colossal death toll of the bubonic plague (half the population died) makes a rather large impression on the European psyche, and Catholics became pretty focused on the afterlife. The result was a big uptick in Masses on All Souls Day as well as great enthusiasm for artistic representations of the danse macabre, or “dance of death,” featuring the devil leading a daisy chain of people from every walk of life into the tomb.

Costumes and treats

On All Souls Day, not Halloween, the French would dress up in costume representing everybody from the pope and the king down to the fishmonger and have a fun time dancing. But it was the French, not the Irish, who did that.
So how did costumes become part of Halloween? Most likely it begins when the French and Irish started hanging out together and marrying each other in the 17th-century American colonies. Creepy Irish folk customs about mollifying the damned and creepy French masquerades went together like peanut butter and chocolate.
And the “trick or treat” bit? Well, it wasn’t only French and Irish Catholics who were routinely treated badly by their English Protestant neighbors. English Catholics got it in the neck, too, and the great high feast of politicized English anti-Catholicism fell within days of Halloween: Guy Fawkes Night.
Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic who, whether because of a real conspiracy on his part or from being set up by a British crown requiring a patsy to focus English patriotic hatred on a Catholic bogeyman, was executed in 1605 on the charge of trying to blow up Parliament. Ever since, the Brits have had a wonderful time on Nov. 5, lighting bonfires, running around on a chilly fall night, and partying. And for extra special fun, in England and America in the 18th century, Protestants would put on masks and visit local Catholic houses in the dead of night demanding beer and cakes for their celebration — or else. When they said “trick or treat!” they meant it.
Happily, as time went on, the anti-Catholicism of the season diminished. But “trick or treat” stuck around and got amalgamated to Oct. 31, the day the Irish and French were partying anyway. So by the mid-1800s, a largely made-in-the-USA Halloween was a fixture of American culture. Meanwhile, even today, Halloween remains almost unknown in Europe, even in the countries where some of the customs originated. It’s about as ancient and pagan and mystical and druidic as “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
When it comes to the “pagan origins” of Halloween, it turns out there is nothing there. Halloween is a product of Christian culture — and mostly American Christian culture — through and through. Where it is most ancient, it is least pagan — and most deeply Catholic.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

President Obama - making the world safe for...

...Islamic nuclear terrorism since 2009.

It was easy at first to miss anything but the string of insults directed from Obama to Netanyahu, including the casual accusation of autism. (It’s arguable whether this represented a new low for the president, who has a habit of demonstrating his grade school playground vocabulary.) But once the initial shock at the further degrading of American statecraft under Obama wore off, it was easy to see the real purpose of the story. The Obama administration wanted to brag through its stenographer that the president had protected the Iranian nuclear program from Israel:

I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

If Iran goes nuclear, those words will be the perfect description of the Obama administration’s fecklessness: “Now it’s too late.” Too late, that is, for our allies like Israel and the Gulf states to protect themselves from the consequences of the Obama administration’s Mideast policies–which principally affect Israel and the Gulf states. //

Smart diplomacy.


Interesting.

Science Fiction is a genre about ideas, and it seems that Tom Hanks may have an idea about the cultural shift against interest in space travel.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Last time it was "vapulate"...

...today, the word of the day is "elisor."


Your government has a plan for you and wants you to be happy!

It knows better than you about whether you have a bad insurance, such as one that provides NO abortion coverage to a 55 year old man, than you do and whether you should pay more for that better coverage.

And policy cancellations are now "invitations to get the 'better' insurance."

We love Big Brother!

If only women dance teachers could marry...

Three makes is an epidemic!


Barack Hussein Nixon.

Welcome to the Era of Hope and Change in a Banana Republic:

//Next big moment: Attkisson gets her computer checked out by someone identified as “Number One,” who’s described as a “confidential source inside the government.” A climactic meeting takes place at a McDonald’s outlet at which Attkisson and “Number One” “look around” for possibly suspicious things. Finding nothing, they talk. “First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America.” That’s all coming from “Number One.”

The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.

So CBS News hires an independent computer analyst whom Attkisson identifies as “Jerry Patel,” also a pseudonym. He finds a massive amount of suspicious activity in the computer, including the removal of all kinds of log messages. The author describes the scene as “Patel” does his work: “Now he’s breathing heavily. It alarms me because it alarms him and he’s not easily alarmed. His voice becomes more formal and he launches into what sounds like a speech for posterity. ‘In my professional opinion, someone has accessed this box … I see evidence that shows a deliberate and skilled attempt to clean the log files of activity.’” Intrusions of this caliber, concludes “Patel,” are “far beyond the the abilities of even the best nongovernment hackers.”//


Monday, October 27, 2014

Welcome to the Desert of ...

...Hope and Change.

Vacations, savings, medical care....all things of the past.


With terror and slaughter...

...they are back!

The Gods of the Copybook Headings.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's OK because she's a Republican and doesn't count as a "woman."

Democrat opponent of Nikki Hailey argues for voters to "escort whore out the door."


Archbishop Chaput identifies himself as an Enemy of the Republic.

Wait for the vilification campaig in 3....2.....1....


So here’s the premise that grounds the rest of my comments tonight.  On October 6, the Supreme Court declined to hear a variety of state appeals on the nature of marriage.  In effect, the court has affirmed the validity of gay marriage, and I believe this creates a tipping point in American public discourse.  The dismemberment of any privileged voice that biblical belief once had in our public square is just about complete.

This trend has been building for a long time.  Gay marriage is only one of the many issues that have transformed our culture.  But given the intimate and embodied nature of the relationship in every genuine marriage, and the traditional procreative implications it has for making or closing off a nation’s future, gay marriage has a uniquely powerful sign value.

The most disturbing thing about the debate around gay marriage is the destruction of public reason that it accomplished.  Emotion and sloganeering drove the argument.  And the hatred that infected the conversation came far less from so-called “homophobes” than from many gay issue activists themselves.  People who uphold a traditional moral architecture for sexuality, marriage and family have gone in the space of just 20 years from mainstream conviction to the media equivalent of racists and bigots.

This is impressive.  It’s also profoundly dishonest and evil, but we need to acknowledge the professional excellence of the marketing that made it happen.  We also need to thank God for the gift of this difficult moment, because conflict always does two things.  It purifies the Church, and it clarifies the character of the enemies who hate her.  Conflict is good when the issues matter.  And very few issues matter as much to the course of a nation as the nature of marriage and family.

So what do we do now?  Believers don’t have the luxury of pessimism.  And the idea that we can retire to the safety of some modern equivalent of a monastery in the hills, isn’t practical or warranted.  Our job is to be the healthy cells in a society.  We need to work as long as we can, as hard as we can, to nourish the good that remains in our country – and there’s a deep well of good that does remain — and to encourage the seeds of a renewal that can only come from our young people.//
Famous!

Quoted by the Fresno Bee.

Could I be more cryptic?


This woman is dangerous...

...we do not need another four years of someone so dangerously unhinged from reality.

Hillary: "Don't let anyone tell you that corporations and businesses make jobs."


The Party of the KKK is still Anti-Catholic.

Check out this cartoon from a political blog:

Here is the story:

There’s been a lot of Loony Tunes politics in the US midterms, and I’ll be documenting the madness live from Washington DC as of Monday. But I have to start by sharing this extraordinary cartoon from a race in Washington state. It was originally posted on a website opposing the candidacy of Mark Miloscia, a Republican seeking to serve in the local senate. Miloscia is a conservative, pro-life Catholic who has worked for the Church as a lobbyist (the horror!). He also hails from the Deep South (the monster!). The cartoon, a screenshot of which you can see above, lampoons his origins and beliefs with extreme prejudice. It accuses him of being in the employ of a foreign power, in similiar terms to those used to bash the supposed "dual loyalty" of the "Israel lobby".
The website is still up but the cartoon is now missing. We don’t know the authorship but the local press says that Miloscia’s opponent posted the following on her Facebook page: "There are lots of things in my opponent’s record that are fair game to take issue with. But I respect Mark Miloscia’s religion and I certainly don’t condone ANY of my supporters making attacks on that basis. I understand one of my supporters may have crossed the line of what is appropriate in that regard, and I’ve asked them to stop. This campaign should be about the issues, not personal attacks."
That statement implies that the author of the ad is indeed a supporter of the Democrat candidate and that the Democrat campaign is in contact with them. So, yeah, the ad is probably legit.
Ironically, Mark Miloscia converted from the Democrats to the Republicans precisely because he felt that socially conservative religious people were no longer welcome in the party of Obama. He wrote: "While Democrats promote diversity, they actually demand that faithful Catholic, Christian, and other religious believers must 'evolve' and change their faith and culture, in order to be allowed into today’s 'big tent'. In an honest moment, one Party activist told me that unless I changed, they wouldn’t vote for me '…for dog catcher, let alone State Auditor.'"
But this ad expresses more than just ideological inflexibility. It taps into an ancient tradition in Britain and America that sees Catholicism as a shady conspiracy against free-born Protestants – a kind of Bolshevism with rosary beads. And I've long suspected that many on the Left (and a few on the Right) have never shaken off the deep suspicion that Catholic social teaching is part of some grand plot to hand the country over to Rome. Today’s Democrats couch opposition to orthodox Catholicism as the defence of liberal principles. But a part of it is an old fashioned distaste for bells, smells, foreign bishops and the “ignorant masses” that seem to gravitate towards the Vatican.
Yep, the line is quite straight from Cromwell to Dawkins..

Friday, October 24, 2014

 
Who links to me?