Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Best Commercial Evah!!

I love Honda. I love Honda CRVs. I love Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I love this commercial.

Almost eight years later, I still drive the 2001 Honda CRV I received at age 16 (to get to school and wherever my siblings were/ needed to go), which I now own, thanks to the stars aligning my gracious parents and my college graduation. A new CRV, though? I'm sure I'll need a new car eventually...

Seriously: WAY TO GO HONDA. And Matthew Broderick? You are still awesome.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bring Sexy Back? Never!

"I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me - dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt. It’s nothing to do with protecting the Hermione image. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy. What’s sexy about saying, ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder."

-- Emma Watson

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You Say That’s Exactly How This Grace Thing Works

Few things make me happier than people finding joy in their vocation.  I heard vocation aptly described a few days ago at my parish's "Ask a Priest!" night.

Vocation is
1. A call from God for a specific purpose
2. An answering of that call
3. The Church's acceptance of that call

Obviously there can be bigger and smaller vocation, which are both important, but Church acceptance is key. For example, one may feel called to be a prostitute, but that goes against Church teaching of honoring one's body and sex as an expression of a sacramental love between a man and a woman. Therefore, prostitution is not a vocation because God would never call a person to something that degrades their humanity. Furthermore, this is a good time to remind the studio audience that the Church does not exist for her own existence, but rather to evangelize the world for Christ and to bring all people into communion with him.

Here are some awesome Dominican novices from a nearby parish playing and singing Mumford & Son's "Roll Away Your Stone" for their Parents' Weekend last October:

I've been a busy bee (hence the Bright Maidens post delay... forgive me!) and am at the airport now, waiting for my plane to Georgia. Please pray for my safe travels!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ron Paul or Rick Santorum: Whom Should Catholics Choose?

If you're a Catholic and seriously interested/ concerned about this election, please listen to what Tom Woods has to say, as a faithful Catholic and brilliant scholar:

See his website and the original post here.

Fellow Catholics, I know Santorum has a great pro-life record and strong personal morals, but that is not a reason to endorse him as President. We are shooting ourselves in the feet (both) if we remain so inconsistent in our choice of politicians and the issues at hand.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Three Little Pigs in Ye Olde English

We all need to vamp up our vocabularies, and not just for the GRE!

Say what?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Government Says, How About No Day In Court?

While everyone is rightly worried about SOPA, let's also remember there are more very dangerous laws currently jumping through hoops in D.C. Take, for instance, the un-Constitutional and ironically titled National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Congratulations, America has joined the rest of the un-free world:

This is a video of Rep. Ron Paul speaking on NDAA two days ago. Paul gets 1,000,000,000 points for mentioning Solzhenitsyn, and a gold star for being the only U.S. Representative to continually give a damn about freedom for all people*, respecting the life and livelihood of all people*, and calling attention to our country's Constitution being overridden by executive decisions of people who "know better."**

Procedure matters, people, not just intention.

Update: SOPA is dead!! For now, at least. Bill pulled by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

*This includes people we dislike or disagree with, on principle or otherwise.
**Example of people I dislike and disagree with most times.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

"The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. The reason is to be found in the difference between knowing and loving. When we know something, we bring it down to the level of our intelligence. Examples of abstract subjects must be given to children to suit the level of their minds. But when we love something, we always have to go up to meet it. For example, if we want to master music, we must obey its laws and meet its demands. Since a woman is loved, it follows that the nobler a woman is, the nobler man will have to be to be deserving of that love. That is why the level of any civilization is always the level of its womanhood."

--Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Bestie boos at March For Life 2009

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Excitement Personified

The new Wes Anderson film looks amazing:

In theaters May 25, 2012! So now you know where I'll be that day...

Win a Dinner with Steve Masty!

Okay, that title is malarkey. I have no ability to secure dinner, candlelit or otherwise, with Mr. Masty. I am, nonetheless, intrigued by his Monday post and the question posed of whom I would invite to dinner given the chance to invite anyone in history. I thus submit my list to the general audience, with the caveat that I have a soft spot for nonsense, slicing wit and apologetics.

Continue Reading at The Imaginative Conservative >>>>>>>

Friday, January 13, 2012

Not Even Wrong

Wolfgang Pauli, a physicist who pioneered the field of quantum physics, is famous for the critique, "Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!" Or, "Not only is it not right, it's not even wrong!"

Pauli reserved this most severe criticism for papers whose theories or theses were so unstable and not within the realm of evaluable science that they could not even be proved wrong. This, of course, coming from a man who created the Pauli principle, in which no two electrons in an atom can have the same quantum numbers. (Obviously.)

Stacy Trasancos wrote a beautiful piece today entitled "The Unity of Charity" and it prompted me to think beyond Catholic to Catholic relations, or even Catholic to Anti-Catholic relations, and into Catholic to Protestant relationships.

The "I Hate Religion But I Love Jesus" sentiment is beyond the video that went viral. Are you religious or are you redeemed?, asked a college friend of mine in seminary on Facebook. I listened to Pastor Mark Driscoll speak and I did not recognize such a religion as my own. My friend said he was speaking to Evangelicals; but such words translate into a disdain for all organized religion, especially the Roman Catholic Church.

Moreover, that kind of rhetoric has no substantial place in Christendom. It does not advance the conversation. It does not lead to unity between Christians.

Read More at IGNITUM TODAY >>>>>>>

Psalm 14

For the leader. Of David.

Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." Their deeds are loathsome and corrupt; not one does what is right.

The Lord looks down from heaven upon the human race, To see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God.

All have gone astray; all alike are perverse. Not one does what is right, not even one.

Will these evildoers never learn? They devour my people as they devour bread; they do not call upon the Lord.

They have good reason, then, to fear; God is with the company of the just.

They would crush the hopes of the poor, but the poor have the Lord as their refuge.

Oh, that from Zion might come the deliverance of Israel, That Jacob may rejoice, and Israel be glad when the Lord restores his people!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baptism In Your Bones

"When I write a novel in which the central action is a baptism, I am very well aware that for a majority of my readers, baptism is a meaningless rite, and so in my novel I have to see that this baptism carries enough awe and mystery to jar the reader into some kind of emotional recognition of its significance. To this end I have to bend the whole novel--its language, its structure, its action. I have to make the reader feel, in his bones if nowhere else, that something is going on here that counts."

--Flannery O'Connor, from "Novelist & Believer"

Sitting on O'Connor's porch

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homeless Boy Showcases at Korea's Got Talent


h/t my sisters

Modernism Got You Down?

A former professor of mine, Nathan Schlueter, is currently on sabbatical at Princeton University, where he is working on his upcoming book, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry.

For those whom may not know much about Berry, Schlueter says this:
Wendell Berry is a novelist-poet-essayist-critic-farmer from Henry County, Kentucky. Now in his late 70’s, Berry has been writing for over fifty years. He has been married to his wife Tanya even longer. (How many contemporary writers can say that?) And although he has not received the same attention as some of his contemporaries, his influence will likely outlast them. 
His writings, which treat a wide range of subjects, always move to and from a fixed center of human concern. Why are fidelity and public vows central to the meaning of marriage? Can time and labor saving technologies make our lives worse? Is there a way that work can dignify human beings, rather than degrade them? Do human beings require communities of mutual affection and care for their flourishing, and does the free market promote or prevent such communities? Do government and corporations often abuse their power to promote efficiency and economic growth at the expense of families and small communities? Is modern culture based upon a latent dualism and hostility to the body and its limits? What are the limits and dangers of modern science? Can poetry be a source of wisdom and practical knowledge? 
If you are interested in these kinds of questions, then you will be interested in Berry’s writings, and in our book.
At CatholicVote, another former professor of mine (and current friend!), Brad Birzer, interviews Schlueter and their conversation is just lovely.

For example,
BB: What message would you like a reader to take away from this collection? 
NS: The short answer is this: It’s not enough to be counter-cultural; you must become a culture-builder: How you live, eat, love, work, play, and pray are all moral decisions bearing upon your own happiness and the common good. 
The longer answer is this: Ideas have consequences. It is important for Americans to recognize clearly the nature and causes of the perverse utopianism that lies near the heart of liberal society, with its mad Machiavellian quest to gain complete control over a hostile nature for the relief of man’s estate; its destructive romance with autonomous individualism; its Gnostic divisions between person and body, faith and reality; and its steadfast refusal to acknowledge any goodness in the limits of the created order. Berry stands firmly against all the isms that would reduce the whole to one of its parts or dissolve all of the parts into one universal whole. But he also stands for the things that must be defended: piety against pietism, intellect against intellectualism, individuality against individualism, community against communitarianism, liberty against libertarianism.
Read the whole thing here.

For another of example of the great Nathan Schlueter, read his piece "The Romance of Domesticity" in Touchstone Magazine, based off his "Last Lecture" talk he gave my senior year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Don't Feed the Angels

TBM Topic 23: Angels

"Don't Feed the Angels" by Julie Robison
Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We're here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!

An important thing to remember about angels is that they are terrifying. I am not sure when angels started to be domesticated, but nearly every time one appears in the Bible, the humans are frightened. So much so that angels had to start saying phrases like, "Fear not!" and "Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God."

Angels are celestial beings, created as beings between God and Man. They are warriors, messengers, servants and worshipers of God.

Hebrews 1:5-14 reads:
For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”? Or again: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me”? And again, when he leads the first-born into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”  
Of the angels he says: “He makes his angels winds and his ministers a fiery flame”; but of the Son: “Your throne, O God, stands forever and ever; and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. You loved justice and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions”; and: “At the beginning, O Lord, you established the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; and they will all grow old like a garment. You will roll them up like a cloak, and like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”  
But to which of the angels has he ever said: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
With a modern twist, does not that last sentence remind you of Clarence in It's A Wonderful Life? Clarence, an angel who had yet to get his wings, was sent to help George Bailey see all the good in his life and how his life changed other people's lives for the better.

Clarence looked like a kindly old man, but still he put shock and awe into the bridge attendant and George himself, who could hardly believe it. Yet, Clarence was an angel. He was a warrior for George's life, saving him before he attempted suicide; he was a messenger, showing the eternal truth that each man plays his role in this world and thus matters; he was a servant for God, sent from above to talk to George; and he was a worshiper of God, receiving his wings when the bell rang for a job well done as God's good and faithful servant.

The world is a battlefield between Good and Evil; we must never forget that. Thus, angels move among us humans- be it our Guardians Angels, the one who sits on our shoulder, the ones singing above us during Mass, or the one protecting you in dark times. Angels are not our friends; they are our protectors. They have loyalties to God alone and approach us in His name.

The Bible is filled with stories involving angels; so is your life. How can you tell? Perhaps never, if you're not inclined towards the mystical. Nevertheless, the one thing a person should never do with angels is to lessen the reverence for them by seeing them purely as shiny halos and fluffy wings. Angels are not so docile. They say, "Hark!"-- not "hello" or "hey" when greeting or proclaiming. They demand attention. They demand reverence and respect, because they come directly from God.

So don't feed the angels; they already share in the Heavenly banquet!

Is Mitt Romney right? Do people still have kitchen tables?

As you eagerly await my Bright Maidens post on angels with bated breath, I encourage you to read and laugh over McSweeny's take on the CNN's coverage of the Republican primary.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Is Democracy Viable?

"A recent poll showed that nearly half the American public believes that the government should redistribute wealth. That so many people are so willing to blithely put such an enormous and dangerous arbitrary power in the hands of politicians--risking their own freedom, in hopes of getting what someone else has--is a painful sign of how far many citizens and voters fall short of what is needed to preserve a democratic republic."

-- Thomas Sowell, "Is Democracy Viable?"

Friday, January 6, 2012

Paul's Predictions and Santorum's no Savior

"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy." --Ron Paul

This is so much more than politics, people, or any kind of culture war.

Oh, and if you're interested, I'm against Rick Santorum. He's a big government fool who happens to be Catholic:

I'll be writing later on my immense displeasure of CatholicVote endorsing Santorum. A good man is hard to find? Naw. Just one who isn't going to disrespect our country's laws and documents for his own personal belief system. It's just as wrong for conservatives as it is for liberals to do so.
“The Constitution is a great document,” [Paul] has said. “I have personal beliefs. I believe that individuals should have the right to their life, the right to their liberty, and also the right to keep what they earn. Fortunately for me, the Constitution and my personal beliefs come together. Because the oath of office doesn’t say, ‘Well, I’m going to go to Washington and I’m going to fulfill my personal beliefs.’ It says that we go to office and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” -- Ron Paul, as quoted in The NYT
Stop the Nanny State 2012!

Addendum: The Rick Santorum Says Horrible Things tumblr is pretty hilarious. (h/t @klfredrich)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Latex and Landfills

Paige at S'aint Easy wrote a post defending the Duggar family and giving some excellent side comparisons too:
So what is so selfish about the Duggars having all these darned babies? First of all, let me say, I’m not one of those people who think the Duggars are nuts. I think they are Baptist and a little weird, and definitely fashion-challenged, but I did watch their TV show admittedly more than I should have while I was unemployed and one thing I can say for them is that you can tell that family loves each other.  
Frankly, as much as the 7 Billion and Counting people would like me to believe that the Brazilian hooded tree frog (or whatever) is going to suffer as a direct result of the Duggars having another child, the notion is just preposterous! They are practically self-sufficient, and come on, since there are 7 billion people in the world, 20 Duggars really aren’t going to make that much impact. I think the secular “liberals” are the ones that are more likely using all the resources, what with their SUVs for themselves, their spouse and their golden retriever. It’s a lot easier to carpool when you literally lug 7 people with you everywhere you go.  
The Duggars make all their own clothes or buy them at thrift stores. They have 20 kids! They can’t afford to buy stuff just to throw it away, or drink Starbucks daily and chuck the paper cups or buy new clothes/shoes/cell phones whenever they feel like it. So your argument is a bit thin there, tree frog! If you want to blame anyone for your imminent demise, blame the guy in the Jetta over there with the Free Tibet and Coexist sticker on it. Let’s not forget the couple who want to "save the planet" by not having kids and are therefore throwing latex into landfills and chemicals into the water source because of the hormones leaked out (pun intended) when a woman on the Pill urinates.
Read the whole thing here! She is very witty and spot-on; she also is a lot more culturally literate than I'll ever be. See her latest on condom commercials here. Or the post about Glee (aptly titled "Performance Anxiety") that I wanted to write, but I never watch the show so I could only shake my head and sigh when my sisters told me about it.

You can follow her on Twitter too. Do it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resolutions, Schmesolutions

Has anyone else noticed the word "solution" in the word "resolution" before? That's how people tend to see New Years resolutions. I peeked back into the blogosphere, only realize that I stuck with one of my four 2011 resolutions (#1! A hard one!).

This year, I'm being practical, diligent and need-based. For that reason, my first resolution is: go to bed by 10 p.m. (lights out by 10:30 p.m.) on days before I have to go to work.

I'm a night owl. I like to stay up, and do so easily. Getting up every morning, as one can imagine is, ehm, a bit tricky. I've also decided, as further incentive to go to bed on time, to try to attend 6:30 a.m. Mass at least twice a week before work. I know I can definitely use the additional grace!

Second resolution: Clean my room every week.

In my busy bee-ness, I push aside my room's organization, which only makes me more scatterbrained. No more!

Look! I'm running down a hill!
Third resolution: regular exercise and stretching.

I know, everyone and their grandmother puts this one down. But this exercising isn't about my pending wedding; it's about being fit. I played lacrosse in high school and soccer in college, and there is nothing like exercise to put the mind and body at peace.

Unfortunately, I've struggled with shin splints and Achilles' tendinitis, which comes about with poor stretching and pushing myself too hard.

So, when I say regular, I mean, I have a doable plan. None of this: I'M GOING TO RUN A MARATHON TOMORROW. I got out my old Runner's World bible and I am taking it slooow. Walking/ running till I get my endurance back, plus integrating in lots of stretching (yoga, Pilates) and other activities.

Anything is possible, people! Here's to an injury-free year!

Fourth resolution: stay (mostly) stress-free about wedding planning.

I am *officially* getting married in December 2012. We have a date, we have a church, we almost have a reception place (need to sign contract), we have a bridesmaid dress, we've asked our people to stand up in our wedding, I have an idea/ people in mind about photography, and my mom's wedding dress is ready for the seamstress to alter into my wedding dress.

It's January, Julie!, you're thinking. What in the heck are you stressed about?

Good point. But I thrive on stress. I compared wedding planning to writing my thesis to my cousin and she poo-poo'd that. But there's so much organization needed! (Just like my thesis!) There's so much preparation needed! (Just like my thesis!) There are people to contact and decisions to be made and the list goes on; I have a list of lists. It's great.

It is the little stuff we're not to supposed sweat and to pray over instead, and the calmly and reasonably approach this whole shindig. That's what I'm trying to do; my wedding isn't about the day- it's about the life I'm starting with another person as wholly committed to me as I to him. I want to spiritually prepare for marriage as well as the physical preparations of moving to another city, keeping up with thank you cards, and staying sane with all my "other" work and writing.

I'd appreciate any prayers y'all send my way, and B.'s too as he continues studying and working hard into his third year, researching and applying for residencies, and preparing for the aftermath of the wedding: providing for a family!

Dad giving a surprisingly short engagement toast at Christmas

[I know, I know: engagement story to come! Stay tuned!]

Fifth resolution: Be grateful for all the blessings in my life, visible and invisible.

What are your resolutions for 2012?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Good Thoughts on Ron Paul

I read this in the comment section of Fr. Z.'s GOP nominee poll, and I like it:
Neither a libertarian nor a classical liberal. I do not believe that individual sovereignty is the principle of all governance. I do not have an undying faith in the free market. I think that government has a positive role to promote the common good and virtue among its citizenry. 
Yet I have supported Ron Paul since 2007. I trust him significantly more than any other candidate. I trust his judgment. I think he is a reasonable man and an honest man. I like his pro-life credentials. I also like that he permit the liberty of the Church and of Catholics by promoting the American vision of freedom of religion. I like that he will return the non-ennumerated powers to the states and help individuals and families regain their rights and duties. I like that he intends to help us stop policing the world and desires us to have an humble foreign policy. I approve of attempts to restore real currency. I like the elimination of executive departments and the limiting of presidential power. 
I am a subsidiarist philosophically. I hold that different levels of society have their proper duties, and that it is always wrong for a higher level of society to unjustly take over the duties and prerogatives of lower levels of society. The role of higher levels is to help the lower levels more efficiently and fruitfully achieve their ends. 
I think Dr. Paul, as a practical matter, will be very good for promoting subsidiarity in the United States. I am not afraid of him going to far, because the power of the executive branch is and should be limited by the congress and that the 50 sovereign states that form the Union. 
I’m voting for Ron Paul. I think he’s good for America. I think he’s good for Catholics.
Well said!