{    Cnytr   }

{Friday, July 30, 2004  }

I am going to learn about the monastic tradition. Firsthand. Tomorrow. Forever.

Well, not forever, just through Tuesday afternoon or evening or so. I am going to go stay with the Cistercian nuns in a kind of retreat. I intend to rise for vigils at 3am at least once... penance and mortification...

But as you may well imagine, I shall be incommunicado until I return. Otherwise, it wouldn't be much of a retreat, would it? And there is that cloistered component of monasticism I intend to experience.

I feel like such a dork. I've never gone and stayed in a monastery just by myself before, usually I go with a group of girls. So in order to blend in I've packed black ... and white... someone attending mass there could mistake me for a postulant. Well, how else does one pack for a stay at a nunnery?

I shall remember everyone in my prayers, as I'll no doubt be doing a lot of praying this weekend. Ora et labora.

God bless!
posted by Lauren, 10:59 PM | link | 1 comments

{Wednesday, July 28, 2004  }

I'm sorry, I just have to do this because I hate Johnny Depp...

Who will you be stuck with at end of time? by chi_a_baidh
Your name is
Your sex is
Your favorite color is
You are stuck there becauseyou were frozen in ice/a crystal
For _____ years87
With Johnny Depp. Click for pic.
He/She will think you arestupid
You willrepopulate the earth
Quiz created with MemeGen!

*dies laughing*

Geeze, SarahMc, I wouldn't mind being stuck with George Bush, but Johnny Depp??? Ewww....
posted by Lauren, 1:43 PM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, July 27, 2004  }

Theresa Heinz Kerry is unamerican!
posted by Lauren, 2:51 PM | link | 0 comments


Bravo bravo bravo to St. Blogs... a rash of posts on modesty, prompted by Theresa MF, and continued by Old Oligarch and commented on by The Curt Jester. Yaaaay!

Some excellent quotes from Old Oligarch to pique your curiosity into reading:

"...modern swimwear's level of undress is functionally equivalent to nudity in the mind of any male except those in a persistent vegetative state. While men are called to have custody of their eyes, it is an objective sin to exhibit oneself and place all moral demands on those who share a public space with you. The masculine obligation to chastity does not translate into feminine carte blanche for immodesty."

"To be even clearer: No Christian woman should wear a bikini."

"The burqa and the bikini are polar extremes of the same fundamental error. Both styles of clothing deny the human dignity of the wearer. Virtue is a mean between the extremes."

"The bikini likewise denies her equal spiritual dignity because it places primary emphasis on her body, and in such a way that it encourages others to objectify her body as a sexual plaything, not as a temple of Holy Spirit or as a magnificent creature of goodly design. Yes, I really mean a plaything. How so? Everyone who wants to, gets to enjoy it, regardless of their number, often in public, with no more personal involvement than the private satisfaction of one's own frivolous desire. That's a plaything. Indeed, some playthings are more jealously guarded."

Disagree? Go read it and comment here.

Innocence and Modesty, Innocence and Modesty...
posted by Lauren, 1:43 PM | link | 0 comments

{Monday, July 26, 2004  }

Billy Joel and Prayer

Reflecting on Luke's gospel yesterday, Father's homily touched on the subject of prayer. Most such homilies are predictable and formulaic, and father himself confessed that often homilies on the subject are boring. However, Father took a completely different route and gave an awesome homily.

If only I could remember it all.

There was one thing that he said that stuck out to me, and I'll put that here because I don't think a lot of people think about it.

It's okay to be mad at God.

It is. Really. Father made it very clear that God is big enough to handle it, and he illustrated the point with Martha and Mary. Jesus tarried in coming to them when Lazarus was dying, and when he finally did they *both* said to him "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." An accusation, not only by the practical Martha but also by the contemplative Mary. How thoughtless of Jesus not to have come sooner, this was all his fault. And then "Jesus wept" (Jn 11:35).

He doesn't try to reason with them, doesn't tell them they're silly for accusing him such, doesn't try to explain it away... he weeps for them and for Lazarus, and then he raises them -- an anticipation of his (and our) resurrection.

It's okay, we're human, we have emotions and emotions are good, if not just okay. Notice, however, that Martha and Mary did not turn Jesus out. They received him and talked to him and spent time in his presence despite their grief and hurt. I don't want anybody to get the idea that they can up and drop everything, including prayer, if they're ever upset at God. I know that (this summer especially) I have often turned to God and said "God, WHY are you messing up my life? I can't believe you! This is all your fault! Why don't you just go away and leave me alone and let me take control, okay? It was all good when I was in control."

And this is where the Billy Joel song comes in. I heard one song in particular today that seemed to illustrate this in pieces: "It's Only a Matter of Trust". In it, he says (amont other things) "the closer you get to the fire the more you get burned." This is true... St. Theresa of Avila said, when her carriage was overturned and her leg broken, "Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!" The closer you are to any one person or thing, the easier it is to be hurt by it. Certainly Christians were never promised the easy path, but I don't think anyone ever expects God to "hurt" them. And of course, God does not sit up in the heavens, Zeus-like, wielding his thunderbolts, dealing out punishments to the mortals who displease him. Unfortunately, since we are not privy to seeing the Big Picture, it sometimes seems this way.

Trials and sufferings are sent our way to refine us, as gold and silver, until our imperfections have been burned away.

But, back to Billy Joel, it's often just "a matter of trust" that God knows what he's doing. Once we're done kicking our heels at the almighty and throwing our 2-year-old why-can't-I-get-what-I-want temper tantrum, that's what it boils down to. Somehow, God is in control (an unfortunately cliched saying), and once we kick back and let someone else bear the huge burden of taking the reigns, we can carry our light yoke which often seems a heavy cross and pick up and run the race.

(By the way, if I go *any* farther with the Billy Joel song, it's going to sound really dorky and cheesy and you have to ignore some parts of the song to get it right.)
posted by Lauren, 10:39 AM | link | 1 comments

{Friday, July 23, 2004  }

Desensitization in America or Kids and Condoms

I never thought 19-year-old girls with no history of heart problems were capable of having instant heart attacks until I read this, and my bloodpressure skyrocketed.

They wanted the kids -- 9th graders, merely babes in arms -- to do what with ... what??? Sex education is one thing, but does this even fall within that sphere? What *is* sex ed supposed to cover anyway? Are they going to start teaching our kids sexual acts that go beyond intercourse? That seems very implied.

Why?!? What on *earth* would be the point of 13 and 14-year-olds knowing such thing?

I can see why some parents would agree with sex education. Mind you I am against it 100%, but I can see their point of view. Seeing as the sexual act is not an intrinsically disordered thing (on the contrary), it is good to know about it *at an appropriate time* and *in an appropriate (respectful) manner*. I think this, done by the parents and done in the right way, can begin to guard against all sorts of prevalent evils piquing the curiosity of kids, evils like pornography. Unfortunately a lot of parents are uncomfortable with this and won't put their own discomfort aside for the good of their children, and leave it up to strangers to teach them whatever the heck they want in whatever way, or leave it up to the kids to find out from giggling friends or accidental websites.

But going into the disordered sort of sexual acts only destroys innocence, and there is *no* purpose to it. The sexual act is necessary to further the human race (if we boil it down to strict practicality/utility), and therefore some may argue (though I would not) that *the* sexual act needs to be taught (I wonder, if it wasn't taught and people had absolutely no clue about it, whether or not it would be ignored and not discovered). But why anything else?

Why do I even need to put forth an argument and go into any kind of detail? Does anybody really *want* their 13-year-old putting condoms in his or her mouth? Isn't that just nasty and shocking enough to make people balk? What are they trying to do, encourage kids to have sex from the earliest possible age? Why? So they can get pregnant and spend money on abortions? That must be it.

Furthermore I wonder if anybody has a concept of innocence in children anymore.

What, are we born lecherous? Do we speak obscenities from the time we can talk? No! We say things like "mommy" "daddy" "I want a pony" and "where's my teddy bear?" When children say awful things it's because they learn it. Lecherousness and profanity are completely outside the realm of a child's mind. And believe it or not, some non-children are still innocent, too... volitionally.

Would you belive it? I know, it's difficult nowadays.

"...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Mt 18:6
posted by Lauren, 12:10 PM | link | 0 comments

{Wednesday, July 21, 2004  }

Furthermore here's more crap from Planned Parenthood, their "Teenwire" site. (This from The Dawn Patrol) More about how PP promotes porn and sex and all sorts of things that lead to abortion -- have more sex so you can spend more money on abortions and the therapy you'll need afterwards. Yeah, that's really pro-woman and in the best interest of teenagers.

Furthermore, a concerned teen who writes in asking whether pornography would damage his school performance. Teenwire asserts that it is good and fine and fully ignores the psychological pitfalls (if we accept the fact that PP is one huge moral vacuum and doesn't give or care about morality anyway) that a concerned student astutely wonders about. Porn is not *real*, and nobody seems to tell anybody this.

This is not comparable to the case of Harry Potter where people were concerned about their kids getting into the occult, this is a real case of ignoring reality. Porn gets stuck in a person's head and eventually influences their way of thinking which further manifests itself in action. Porn *will* warp and destroy relationships.

More commentary coming later. Before the justice post and after the trig test.
posted by Lauren, 12:04 PM | link | 0 comments

John Paul II, we love you!

Searching for the former PetersNet which is now CatholicCulture.org, I temporarily forgot the .whatever, and typed in http://www.catholicculture.com/ . What I got was no less ... whatsit! (I'm doing wonderfully for vocabulary today... must be the trig test tonight)

Among the psych and theology books I've been reading lately is the Pope's Love and Responsibility (buy it *now*, either from Amazon.com, Amazon.com marketplace, or half.com ). I assert that there is nothing more beautiful than the theology of Love, and that the Pope is genius. It's heady but not difficult reading, and I recommend that and Theology of the Body, but not the Christopher West interpretation. At least, not until you have already read the actual text.

Anyway, CatholicCulture.com is actually the Love and Responsibility foundation. It looks like it hasn't been updated in a while (as they're still avidly advertising pope day from 2003), but it is still sooooolid, with great links and Love and Responsibility Discussion Groups:

The founding of the initial Love and Responsibility Discussion Group in New York was motivated by the realization that not only is Pope John Paul II a good and great man worthy of our profound admiration, but it is also possible to know what he thinks. The Holy Father, while a priest and later as Pope, has authored many books, encyclicals, poems, and plays. It is possible to read these writings.

The book Love and Responsibility is a particularly appropriate starting point for understanding the Pope’s thinking, not only because it was published earlier in his life, in 1960, nearly two decades before he ascended to the throne of St. Peter in Rome, but also because it generously gives its attention to the greatest issue of our lives...and our afterlife: love.
We Catholics are insufficiently aware of the tremendous beauty of our Church’s teaching on love and human sexuality, and we do not appreciate as we should that with us on this Earth is one of the great thinkers ever on the subject — Pope John Paul II.

Rock ON! I wonder if there is a group in my area. If not, I should start one or get one started.

Swtiching gears a little bit, one of the links I found on the site was St Michael's Institute for the Psychological Sciences whose mission statement is "Saint Michael’s Institute is a national alliance of mental health professionals who integrate the genuine discoveries of Psychology and Psychiatry with the teachings of the Catholic Church." The center is located in New York, NY but it seems there is something similar in Arlington, VA just two hours up the road. The website listed on SMI is not available. The only thing I could find was an article on it (the Catholic Institute for Psychological Sciences) from the Legion of Christ. *Further*, there is a website called CatholicTherapists.com. However none of these seem to be connected, which I think is poor organization but nonetheless cool.

I think there ought to be more Catholics in the psychology/psychiatry field. It is said that because of confession, Catholics spend less time than any others on the psychologist's couch. Further, as a Catholic psychologist (I say psychologist especially because they're the counselors and analysts as opposed to the drug-prescribers) there is a tremendous opportunity to help people reform their lives and get them to turn away from all the wretchedness that permeates mainstream society today.

Yes, psychology can be weird at times, and most Catholics are on guard against the evils of Sigmun Freud. However, there are many different approaches to psychology and to therapy and Freud is not the sum total of all of it. Many Catholic psychologists are Jungians, and this is terrible of me but I forget what Jung's defining whatchamacalits are. But, unlike in religion, it is possible to be a successful "Cafeteria Psychologist" -- take a bit of Freud, a bit of Jung, a bit of Skinner (or not -- I personally despise Skinner), etc. Such an approach, I have found, is the most productive/interesting as indeed one school of thought is not the entirety of psychology, as one person is not the entirety of humanity.

I find it all fascinating. Psychology and law are increasingly interesting fields of study to me (I say this without ever having actually studied law, though having been pretty bored in politics class). As a Catholic and a rather enthusiastic and excitable young girl (as I am at the tender age of 19), all I want to do is save the world. I am most avidly pursuing this through the military (i.e. applying to West Point), but I am not yet closed to other options. I still have no idea what I want to do and in what I want to major, except that I know my current major (classics) is not for me. But you know what? That's okay. I don't know if uptight and conscientious people like myself read this blog, but that's for you. And you won't believe it when people say it to you -- especially if you are like myself, knowing positively what the rest of my life was going to be like from the age of 16/17. When the rug gets pulled out from under you, it's highly disconcerting, and starting from square 1 stinks. But try it -- it just opens up a whole new realm of possibilities and life opportunities.

And thus ends my highly varied post. Hooah Catholics!
posted by Lauren, 10:59 AM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, July 20, 2004  }

For the millionth time, I have watched Daredevil and not only wondered why so many people didn't like it (overlooking some less-than-fabulous-to-say-the-least acting), and wondering about vigilate justice.
Once I get through this New Advent article on justice, and review my Thomas Aquinas (I've been missing that Latin) to such an extent that I can muse on "competent authority", etc, and once I've done a case study of "Boondock Saints", I'll write something intelligent, if possible.
Furthermore, I fully intend to come up with a list of movies to be seen and movies to be avoided and why. Forget ratings sometimes, I found "Man Without A Face" highly disturbing and inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18, though not for sexual content or language or something like that, but the sheer disturbing-ness of the family dynamics. Furthermore, all of Stanley Kubrick ought to be either highly edited (soas to be nonexistent) or burned. Not only is there little to no artistic value in the films of his I have seen, but they're morally vacuous, and not even interestingly so (i.e. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs).
Aaaaaand we're off in 3 ... 2.... 1....
posted by Lauren, 2:12 PM | link | 0 comments

{Monday, July 12, 2004  }

Good news for the diocese of Richmond to make all the Arlington prople SHUT UP

New bishop conforms to strict Catholic law

And here's a passage that I very much like, and that my SSPX former-RA would like:

The bishop has also dismissed a member of the diocese’s women’s commission, 68-year-old Judy Johnson of Virginia Beach.

Johnson is a lifelong Catholic who also serves as the secretary of the Women’s Ordination Conference, an international group that has publicly lobbied Rome for 25 years to open the priesthood to both genders.

Johnson’s passionate support for women’s ordination proved no handicap when Sullivan put her on the commission last summer. But her views didn’t pass muster with DiLorenzo, who expects members of diocesan panels to support all Vatican policies, Neill said.

Johnson, a grandmother with a Ph.D. in religion, said this week that she was notified of her dismissal the same week DiLorenzo was installed as bishop.

At her request, DiLorenzo met with Johnson on June 25 to discuss her removal.

According to Johnson, the bishop said her view on ordination was “not Catholic” and that she “had become a Protestant.” He also objected to her role with the Women’s Ordination Conference, a group he called “'opposed to what the church teaches,’” Johnson said.

“He said, 'If I kept you on the commission, it’d be like the Hebrew University letting in Hamas,’” Johnson said. Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, where Hebrew University is located.

Johnson said the meeting was friendly, and that she understood DiLorenzo’s reasons for not wanting her on a diocesan panel. But in a letter she sent to DiLorenzo on July 1 , Johnson said, “I am in my heart and soul a Catholic, as strong a Catholic as anyone else.”

Neill said DiLorenzo has declined to give details about his meeting with Johnson. “He said, 'A gentleman does not reveal the contents of a private conversation.’”

Ah! Ah!!! I love him!!! I love this guy. We have a rockin' bishop now, hooah! "A gentleman does not..." HA! Coupled with the flat-out, no-nonsense "YOU'RE NOT A CATHOLIC ANYMORE"-ness.

I might venture to say we have a better bishop than the diocese of Arlington. Take that, Arlingtonites, *your* bishop doesn't tell pro-abortion senators that they are no longer Catholic. Bwaha.

It has always gotten me down, in the past, when Arlingtonites would relentlessly hack at my diocese, the diocese of Richmond. No, we're not perfect. Yes, the VA tidewater area is really, uh, weird in terms of Catholicism (or the lack thereof). But we're working on it, we're getting better. Give us some credit, huh?

Well now we've gotcha. ;)
posted by Lauren, 3:07 PM | link | 0 comments

{Sunday, July 11, 2004  }

Attention residents of central VA -- **URGENT**

Planned Parenthood and abortion and Satan and all kinds of evils strike again *really* close to home.

At present, we have one abortion clinic and one doctor in town who performs abortion, and does not do them after the seond trimester of pregnancy (i.e. no partial-birth abortion). However, plans are underway for an abotion clinic *right across from Albemarle highschool*, which will hold up to 4 doctors and will open August 1st.

Right here. In our sweet little Charlottesville. My sisters went to that school. How awful. How dare they.

And so there is a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, which is happening THIS WEDNESDAY, July 14th, at 6pm. (Please everyone pray) From an email I received:

Dear Friends of the Central Virginia Family Forum,

Much has been happening behind the scenes in our fight against the new Planned Parenthood location. Things are heating up so we are writing specifically to ask you to do two things to help in this battle .

1. There is only one more Board of Supervisors meeting before the clinic's scheduled opening on August first. The meeting is Wednesday, July 14th at 6 pm. We need to have as many pro-lifers as possible come to protest the clinic's location during the public comment period. The meeting is held in board room 241at the County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road. Please plan to arrive at 5:30 so we can meet and pray together. You do not have to speak, if you do not chose to, but we need you to stand up and be counted as pro-lifers who oppose this clinic in our area. We will have buttons or stickers to identify our group members and all sit together. Please call everyone you know and ask them to come. Send us an e-mail if you need directions or a ride. (thefamilyforum@afo.net)

2. Two groups that have power to stop the clinics opening are the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Zoning Appeals. However, they have already approved the clinic and they won't reverse their decision unless they hear from a whole lot of residents. Therefore, we need people to write letters of protest. Your letter needs to contain only one sentence: "Please revoke the special use permit allowing Planned Parenthood to operate an abortion clinic in the Residential Area on Hydraulic Road." Addresses are below. Do not underestimate the importance of writing this letter. In the matter of life or death for the unborn, this may be the most important letter you write all year.

Feel free to check out our web site (centralvirginiafamilyforum.com), for more information on our case against the clinics location. Click on "Position Reports" then "What is Happening at 2964 Hydraulic?"

Finally, Praise God! Two local families have stepped forward and are willing to formally protest the clinic's location. We are grateful for their willingness to take this stand for life. Please pray with us for their protection and endurance .

Yours for the family,

Marnie Deaton
(founder CVFF)

Contact information:
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902

group e-mail
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Lindsay G. Dorrier, Jr.
278 James River Road
Scottsville, VA 24590
434-220-0500 (office)

Dennis Rooker
183 Snaptop Road Suite B-1
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Sally Thomas
889 Leigh Way
Charlottesville, VA 22901

David P. Bowerman
401 Berwick Court
Charlottesville, VA 22901

David C. Wyant
White Hall District
P.O. Box 81
White Hall, VA 22987

Kenneth C. Boyd
675 Berkmar Circle
Charlottesville, VA 22901
posted by Lauren, 11:09 PM | link | 0 comments

{Friday, July 09, 2004  }

(this blog will shortly be moving to another address)

In regards to Fr Bryce's post about the seeming "disappointment" of Peter "accepting" Mary Jane, quote:

Someone commented on a disappointment in Spiderman 2 when Peter Parker keeps talking about giving up what you want most in life in order to fulfill you mission (that is even how he changes Doc Ock) but then ends up "accepting MJ" in the end of the film. I had the same feeling at first, but the way the film ended, for me at least, on a sort of dark note with Spiderman swinging away all happy, but that last shot of MJ - it was dark, she was not smiling, and the music became very somber. I think she realizes it will never be, that she may always love him in her heart, but will never be able to be with him in the way she would like. If she ended up being with him, then it would contradict the entire message of both movies.

I would disagree.

The whole thing rather reminded me of Abraham and Isaac (of sorts). One must be willing to give up the thing one wants/loves/desires the most, or else there is no sacrifice. However, just because one is *willing* to give it up doesn't mean one will ultimately have to in the end, according to the will of God. Sometimes God will lead a person up to the mount and say "Hey, thanks, but guess what -- I was just kidding. Don't kill your only son."

I.e., all those saints who tried to give up everything, but were prevented from doing so on some occasions. St. Dominic, having forsaken his noble family for a life of poverty, he twice tried to sell himself into slavery for people being held captive by the Moors.

And as an M. Sullivan points out in the comments to said post, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Peter was willing to give up everything for Mary Jane, including Mary Jane herself, if that's what was best for her. But the bad guys kept going after her and Aunt May anyway. :P It would have been uncharitable and unloving for him to *ask* her to put herself in a place that would be more of a danger to her, to ask her to deliberately put herself in harm's way. So he didn't, and he protected her as much and as long as he could. (This rather like the great Cyrano de Bergerac, only less romantic/romanticized) However, once Mary Jane knew about Peter (miraculously by no fault of anybody's), she herself was willing (without Peter's having asked her) to, herself, sacrifice a normal marriage to astronaut-guy for a marriage to Spiderman/Peter Parker. This is certainly not easy (as the darkened ending suggests), but it is doable. It is a sacrifice that Mary Jane makes in turn for Peter.

(All this sacrificial love ... the *real* stuff!)

If MJ pulls a Kerry on us and flip-flops and says "it can never be", I'll be really mad. :P

But just looking at the perspective of *this* movie, yes, it shows the discernment of a vocation. And yes it shows that you must be willing to give up everything, father and mother, to go follow that God-given vocation (if indeed the vocation is true). However, some people, although willing, are *not* called to give up everything. But the full intention is the act of love.

I think Fr. Shane Tharp expresses this well, in turn, in *his* comment on the same post:

...I don't think it blows the whole theme of the movie, if you turn it around the other way. MJ has been inspired to sacrifice herself and give up what would be a normal marriage to John Jameson for PP. She finally sees what the sacrificial love Peter has for her entails and she, by consciously willing it, has embraced the sacrifice Peter has in being Spider-Man. It sounds to me like the sacrifice the Church is asked to accept to be the Bride of Christ. The Bride begins to resemble the one she loves.

I love the theology of Love.
posted by Lauren, 10:10 AM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, July 06, 2004  }

The big YELLOW one is the sun, the YELLOW one is the SUN!

As I was bored and waiting for food in a take-out place today, I started idly going through the things in my small purse which were very few (this is my SMALL purse). Among these things, I found my little red book, in which I would randomly write things down... including the punchline to a bunch of Brian Regan jokes when I saw him live at the DC improve last year. I don't remember half the jokes, but this is what I have written down:

"... you're not good but you're CHEAP. They're going to eat you out of BUCKETS!" [about Chicken]
"Brian, how do you make a word a plural?" ".... you'd better be a plural..."
"Oh is he from the FUTURE?"
"He zipped it open. It was filled with food, shelter, and love." (???)
"A numeral system. A system of numerals. You learn it when you're young and you apply it later in life ... like now."
"Thank you RELUCTANTLY."
"Now now, there there..." ["At the present time, at the present time ... in a distant place, in a distant place..."]
"It's Yaweh your way!" [speaking of how Hindus worship cows, and how they must be scandalized to come to the US and see Godburgers. The Western Equivalent would be weird...]
"Yeah my favorite foods are pizza and Jesus."
"How do you forget your prosthetic leg? 'Okay honey I'm going to work ....' *falls over* 'Man!...' *tries to walk again* 'Hmmm... I've got my keys...' *collapses again* 'I've got my wallet...'" [apparently there was a guy who left his prosthetic leg somewhere]
"HEY! You call yourself GRASS?" (instead of mowing your lawn, ridicule it) [... I don't know.]
"And I will conclude by pretending I am DEAD."

I still use that Yaweh joke. I used to have the whole "stupid in school" routine memorized from his CD. I was going to steal it for open mic night once on campus... then I came to my senses.

Brian Regan is a *great* comedian... there's nothing dirty about him. However it takes a certain kind of humor to appreciate him. And anyone who doesn't have this humor is a dork. Hahahahaa. (I can say this because I know Alice does, but she's still a dork beause she likes the awful Zahn duology. Pay no attention to the Alipie behind the Blogcommenting section)
posted by Lauren, 7:02 PM | link | 0 comments

Let's see what other bloggers have to say about Spiderman 2

Monkey like Spiderman.

I haven't read Catholic blogs in a while, so I'm doing some catching up this morning. I have been dying to discuss this movie with someone ever since I saw it Friday night, but either no one had seen it, or ... no one would. :P Kevin Donlon denied me his astute commentary which is usually forthcoming when I go see a movie with the Donlon bunch. And so instead I turn to the blogosphere to see what they have written, and I shall comment rather like the medievals. So this post should probably be titled "On Spiderman 2". Don't ask me how to say that in Latin.

Fr. Shane Tharp has a very good post about the movie. [Spoilers in that post and in the rest of this one] Allow me to quote fromt the most meaty paragraph:

Now, this next part, well, I think that some would say that I am making too much of the movie. So, for what it is worth, there is something muscularly Christian about a hero like Spider-Man, and the movie made a concerted effort to point this out. First, much of the imagery is sacramental imagery. So a major subplot revolves around MJ's wedding to John Jameson. Peter forsakes his love for MJ because ultimately he knows it isn't safe for MJ to be Spidey's squeeze. Villains love exploiting family relationships. But what brings MJ back to Peter's arms, is not so silly emotional kiss that produces a feeling, but her realization of the quality of Peter's love. Another image appears when Dr. Octopus finally is brought back to his senses and tries to stop the havoc he is about to unleash, he arises from water, in a left-handed reference to Baptism. Second, many of the visual images recalled Christian types. One cannot help but notice that when the smart arms that are fused to Dr. Octopus started "talking" to him, they look like serpents, perhaps a throw away comment to the Garden of Eden. In another place, Peter says to MJ, "I always imagined you getting married on a mountain top," to which she replies, "I'm getting married in a church." (I think the scene is shot at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral in NYC.) Third, at the heart of Spider-Man's conflict with himself, is a vocation. Like it or not, Peter has these powers. Now, if he stands up and uses these powers, he becomes a hero. If he ignores these powers, then the world is far worse for it, and he has wasted this precious gift. Yes, to live up to the power's responsibility is poopy at times, but what is lost by neglect of these powers is worse. Now, substitute the word "vocation" where "powers" is used and I think you see my point. Living the Christian life well is HEROIC. It requires heroes to live this kind of life, and the movie makes a point of showing how Spider-Man's overt heroism inspires others to be heroic in proper degree. (And here is where people will start to snark at me...) Spider-Man's struggles are, to me, an excellent metaphor for the struggle to discern a call to priesthood/religious life. Being a hero means taking reality for what it is, working to better what one can with the capacity one possesses, and accepting the sacrifices that comes with it. Being a priest [OR husband/father; ~LB] and using well one's time in discernment requires the same analysis. Once someone is a priest [**OR** husband/father; ~LB], he still has to be a hero because he has received great power to which is attached great responsibility.

I think this may push it a bit, but I don't know. The first thing I noticed about the first movie was that the busdriver had holy cards above where he was sitting. Furthermore, the whole movie somehow strikes me as very Catholic, though I can't nail down precisely why. I don't think it would be because of the things mentioned above (though the "I'm getting married in a church" made me wonder, and the serpentine aspect of the mechanical arms did cross my mind).

And furthermore I would vehemently argue that vocations are not *only* to the priesthood, as 99.9% of the people I talk to seem to think. It absolutely works both ways!

One thing Kevin did hand me once we were out of the theatre was the cheesiness of Mary Jane's "respect me enough to let me make my own decisions" thing.... *I* didn't think it was cheesy. And like Fr. Tharp mentions, what's striking is the quality of her love and of Peter's love (though I will say the kiss was *not* the epitome of passion, but more sucking-face nastiness which instead of inspiring an "awww" inspired an "ew"). His love was really a sacrificial love, as he was willing to give up everything for her sake -- even Mary Jane herself.

Which is why I'm glad he didn't strip off his mask and be like "I'm Spiderman. Marry me, and I will hang from the cieling and kiss you upsidown forever". From the trailers, I knew at least Harry was going to know who Spiderman was (which probably meant everybody would know eventually), but I was surprised that Mary Jane found out. I half-expected, when Peter turned around, to see Mary Jane passed out or something so that she would never know. The mask-removing was entirely necessary to reach Dr. Otto Octavius beneath the AI of the mechanical limbs ... it was an accident that Mary Jane saw.

You know what ... something my mother just mentioned, it's MORE heroic to be a husband/father than a priest... a priest doesn't have screaming children to deal with. Furthermore, he doesn't have to answer directly for their *souls*. Also, being a husband/father is way more demanding and sacrificial. Priests can get away with things because nobody knows them that well, but when you're a dad and you're living with a wife and kids, they know you very very well, and know all your faults. You have to be more accountable.

Okay okay fine, my mother admonishes me ... it is equally heroic. And that's what annoys me is when people lift one over the other.

Anyway, sorry ... short rant. And, er, sorry for the Norman Bates-esque .... thing.

And furthermore, I can't find any very long posts about Spiderman in the Catholicblogosphere. Also, I was online too late last night and want to get off the computer, and rants make me angry. And when I get angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset. And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset ... people DIE!
posted by Lauren, 9:29 AM | link | 0 comments

The story of my life...

I hate college.
posted by Lauren, 12:47 AM | link | 0 comments

{Monday, July 05, 2004  }

Dude ... I only get a "3" rating for religion on my blog and a "9" for politics according to this guy? Grrr...

I'm changing my blog description. I still don't know what my audience is, but I want my blog less political and more moral/religious. Now, am I preaching to Catholics or non-Catholics... I don't know. Kind of both? I'm too dumb to talk higher Catholicism with other smart people like my favorite bloggers. Meh, I'll figure it out.
posted by Lauren, 10:31 PM | link | 0 comments

A random post.

I have known my good friend, Fr. Paul, to be a James Bond fan since I first met him when I was 13 or 14. Until recently, I have never seen a Bond film, though I have seen various parodies of them.

There is a Bondathon on one of the t.v. channels today, and I caught the end of "The Man With The Golden Gun" and am in the middle of "The Spy Who Loved Me" (which I will not finish, as I have to go to school in about a half hour). I would just like to say ... these are the funniest things I have ever seen in my life, without them meaning to be.

In the first movie, of course there is super-suave Roger Moore as James Bond, and blonde bimbo sidekick girlfriend whatever, who is running around the headquarters of whoever the supervillain is, in a bikini.

I mean, of course. Who wouldn't? When I go on top-secret missions that's all I wear. Don't you?

So then she does something dumb (after Bond comments "perhaps there is more to you than meets the eye!" ... there's not), and starts the end of the destruction of X thing, which will self-destruct in T-10 minutes ... you know, the typical end-of-the-movie, oh-no-the-hero's-in-trouble thing (the sharks with lazer beams on their head ... or ill-tempered mutated sea bass). So Bond jumps down into this thing which has a thing behind glass that he's trying to acquire. Of course, bikini-clad idiot bends over, so we can (of course) see down her bikini top. Furthermore, she somehow manages to hit a red button (the kind of "DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON" red button) with her butt.

It was hysterical.

I changed channels.

However, out of curiosity I watched the next movie (Jaws, by the way, is an interesting idea for a villain sidekick, but badly executed... "oh, let me tear the top off this van and, instead of jumping into it to kill the hero and heroine, instead jump off the car and start to eat the bumper").

The beginning of the NEXT movie was even funnier.

Of course, James Bond the great womanizer, was curled up with a girl by a fireplace in a private ski lodge in the middle of the Alps. As they passionately kiss, James gets a watch-message that sounds like a typewriter with a megaphone (so I'm sure the girl didn't notice), and he abruptly breaks off their kiss and starts putting on this subtle, electric-yellow ski-suit. In an overly dramatized way, the girl says
"Oh, James! But I need you!"
And debonairely, Bond raises an eyebrow, does the equivalent of straightening his bow-tie, and says
"So does England."

I don't remember if the music swelled there or not, but it should have.

Then proceeded a fight/chase scene on *skis* which included backwards skiing and people shooting from skis, and doing backwards flips and still landing on their feet. *snort* I could just see the script for that scene ...

[As James emerges from the SKI HUT, suddenly a band of villains comes from OFF CAMERA behind him and begins to give CHASE. As they close in on BOND, he shoots ONE, whose fase is dramatically exposed so that we know he's the LOVE INTERST of the heroine who will eventually end up as Bond's BIMBO. Suddenly, another guy on SKIS comes to CLOSE to Bond, and he somehow finds the velocity to SLAM into him and knock him off his SKIS while somehow MIRACULOUSLY staying on his own. Suddenly, the camera zooms out and we see that BOND is coming to a BUNCH OF WEIRD ICE FORMATIONS. Bond zooms in and out and over and under when SUDDENLY, the camera zooms out again to see that Bond is coming to the edge of a CLIFF. Suddenly Bond jumps OFF The cliff and ... does NOTHING. Suddenly, Bond pulls the cord and parachutes to safety with a PARACHUTE with the BRITISH FLAG; Bond Theme Begins]


I must see more of these.

I know a priest with a weird interest in monster movies. Fr. Tom likes "It Came From Beneath The Sea" and "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman". I think I have an affinity for stupid horror flicks and comic book/spy films.

Except that the good guy isn't the all-American hooah superhero; by virtue of the fact that he is a womanizer he isn't a good guy. I wonder what the American equivalent of a Bond would be ... Jack Ryan? I haven't seen all those movies, but something just as action-packed but a little more political. Hmmm... Need more gadgets. Inspector Gadget? (*sings* Doo doo doo doo doo *Inspector Gadget* Doo doo doo doo doo *whoo-hooo!*)

Star Wars. Han Solo -- there we go, perfect rogue, gets the girl, and makes do with a piece of junk for a vehicle.

Playing off these same sorts of fantasy-ideals, I've always liked the girl-kick-butt movies, which, I think, is part of the reason I like Daredevil and everyone hates it ... I *love* to see Electra kick it. I also, oddly enough, like to see that someone dies ... because it's not like Luke Skywalker who NEVER DIES. It's annoying when no one ever dies.

Therefore, my favorite character is Mara Jade. Mara Jade is ultimate girl-kick-butt. Quasi-Jedi, not omnipotent; relies on her own smarts and smuggler-sense with a grudge against Luke Skywalker from her days as the Emperor's right-hand (wo)man. Beautiful (red hair, green eyes; was undercover as a dancer in Jaba's palace), brilliant ... booyah. "Brains, beauty, and a blazing blaster." That and leather boots. I've always had an affinity for those chic kinds of boots. Hence, my Matrix Residual Self-Image, which I drew one night instead of doing my science homeword:

Now. Just so you can see how dorky I am, a Mara Jade montage, Mara's last instructions: You Will Kill Luke Skywalker, and Mara Jade and Trinity from The Matrix side-by-side.

Note: anyone who actually knows the Mara Jade storyline, I think Timothy Zahn *destroys* her character in the duology, and she goes soft. I don't like Luke Skywalker. Too whiny.

And now I have to go to class.
posted by Lauren, 4:59 PM | link | 1 comments

Again in response to SarahMc:

Addiction is a medical term: if you are addicted to something, it means that you will suffer physical ills if you stop using it...

But pornography is not an addiction. Gambling is also not an addiction. Sex is not an addiction. They may be bad habits, but that is not the same thing. That is why addictions are so horribly pernicious: you usually have to endure great pains to break them. Bad habits are psychological. Now, pornography and sex -- like overexercise, and chocolate, and sushi, and sometimes overeating -- can cause release of certain Happy Hormones; this is a chemically positive response to the stimulus, but it is basically controllable if you have any sense of moderation whatsoever. And even after you get deeply entrenched in one of these bad habits, you still *can* get yourself out without outside help. Maybe you choose not to, but I believe one could.

And sure, other people can help when you're trying to break a bad habit. That's perfectly fine and good. One time a camp buddy of mine and I decided we needed to stop slouching, and so whenever we saw the other one slouching or caught ourselves slouching, we sat up somewhat jerkily, so as to alert the other. And hey, by the end of the week, our postures had improved! But I would hardly say I had a slouching addiction... I even believe that people can break addictions on their own, but it takes extraordinary strength of will and dedication, and it also takes a lot of planning to prevent backsliding.

*Strictly speaking*, you are right, pornography is not *solely* a chemical addiction. However. Chemicals do come in to play, as you mention the "Happy Hormones", among others. It is definitely way more than just a "bad habit", however. For all intents and purposes, a person with a pornography problem acts like he has an addiction... definitely psychologically, I suspect some physical symptoms also are present, but am not sure. In terms of treatment of a person, a pornography problem is listed as a "sexual addiction" almost anywhere you look. The habit is a very strongly positively reinforced behavior, as most people engage in self-stimulation when viewing pornographic materials. The more often this occurs, the more the behavior is reinforced. Eventually it can become so strong that it overpowers volition, and the only way to stop it is to starve the addiction one way or another (i.e. no internet), and/or to place some strong psychological blockage in the way (i.e. Covenant Eyes, though this is merely a deterrant and will not stop the problem entirely). The idea that it's "basically controllable if you have any sense of moderation whatsoever" is false. You can't stop cold turkey once you've had this behavior reinforced for a certain time, which is the case even with lesser things like merely bad habits. The acquiring is like the losing of them, it happens gradually and over time, and not once and *boom* you're "addicted", or *boom* you're cured. Many people really, really struggle with this problem, and I know there are dads out there who hate themselves for such an addiction and for the sake of their wife and kids wish they could stop. But depending on how long such a problem has been going on, they might need therapy.

This is one aspect of a pornography addiction (I will continue using this word for the sake of argument, since I say that one with this sort of problem essentially acts like an addicted person) that people (usually girls) on the other end (i.e. the wives, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, sisters) usually do not understand. You can't just *stop*, it's not that easy, and that's what destroys marriages. It happens again and again and again, and the wife can't or doesn't understand that she has to let herself be hurt in this way for a while longer before it can get better (assuming that the husband is seeking help and is remorseful). Also, the guy (or "person", there's no gender bias intentional here) may be -- and usually is -- in denial, or thinks that he can quit cold-turkey; when he can't he falls into despair and may become depressed and suicidal; possibly may develop a strong guilt and/or inferiority complex. It depends on the situation. It's all extremely difficult.

From the very very good article, the PhD psychologist says about relapses in therapy sessions:

When relapses occur, I don't "beat them up." I point out that relapses are just part of a growth experience and explain what can be learned from the relapse that will protect them in the future. I try to give them hope. I point out the progress already made and the good things done.

By the way, this is an apparently new website (new since the last time I looked this stuff up which was when I posted previously about this same topic) on the same topic. However, I have not looked at it yet, so I don't know if there's BS psychology or logical errors or anything in it yet. But it may be useful.

In short: pornographt problems are much more strongly reinforced than any other bad habit, and while chemicals are involved they are not the mind-controlling chemicals of a drug addiction. Pornography is less than a merely chemical addiction, but much, much stronger and worse than any other bad habit, and falls into its own class of "sexual addictions". The steps to overcome it are more difficult and different than those of a bad habit, and more resemble more those of a chemical addiction (i.e. requiring therapy and such groups as Sexaholics Anonymous).
posted by Lauren, 11:09 AM | link | 1 comments

{Saturday, July 03, 2004  }

A brief pause for some movie reviews...

Last night I saw "Spiderman 2". Highly, highly recommended. Go see it!

Keep in mind it's a comic book movie, and thus some of the action is not really believable. Some of the camera shots are just kind of dumb, but for the most part the story is better, the villain is DEFINITELY better (though he has less great cheesy-villain lines), it's amaaaazing. Emotional moments are more poignant, tense moments are more tense ... I was able to completely lose myself in the movie. It's a movie that will make you want to stand up and say "YEAAAAH"! And sure enough, in the last shots of the movie ... American flags! I think Spiderman is the great American hero. Nevermind Superman, Spiderman is human and it's much easier to identify with him. Also with Mary Jane (who, by the way, has an ugly engagement ring ... sheesh, if a guy gave me a ring like that, he'd be history; also, her dress was ugly too, and that brown dress, bleh). Some days you're Peter Parker, and sometimes you're Mary Jane.

Also, "Ragtime" is playing at the theatre here... I want to spend time on that review. But a brief comment is this: the music was excellent, though sometimes it seemed like it was syncopated merely for the sake of syncopation. Story was good, but a little pushed. Character development wasn't very good, lyrics were kind of dumb; on the whole it was trying a little too hard, I think. But it was good. It wants analysis. As I said, I'll go into it later.

"The Stepford Wives" -- if you haven't seen it, consider yourself lucky. I saw the movie because it looked kind of cool, and because it has Nicole Kidman in it, and I've been a bit of a fan of hers since "Moulin Rouge". It was inconsistant, floppy, transparent, and otherwise just dumb. Also it sends a very modern message, like "LOOK HOW EVIL YOU COULD BE IF YOU TRY TO BE THIS WAY", i.e. an old-fashioned wife and mom, the stay-at-home kind. Because of this, it seemed vaguely sinister. Also, Matthew Broderick was completely unconvincing. Nooo thank you.

And now ... "It's De-Lovely". No, I haven't seen it, but I want to see it. I saw "Night and Day", and I happen to be a quasi-avid fan of Cole Porter. I say "quasi" because he has a tendency to be a little risque at times, often has double-entendres in his songs. However, sometimes these are brilliant, and not too terrible. The epitome of this is "My Heart Belongs To Daddy". It can be sung completely legitimately either sweetly and innocently, or slightly more wickedly. Also he has clever and highly stylized (though I wouldn't say "dated") lyrics, i.e. from "You're The Top":

You're the Top, you're Mahatma Ghandi,
You're the top, you're Napoleon brandy,
You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain,
You're the National Gallery
You're Garbo's salary,
You're cellophane!

and others such as "you're the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire", "you're Inferno's Dante / You're the nose on the great Durante", etc. Great stuff, and classic. One of my favorite melodies of all time is his "Night and Day".

While I don't particularly care for the life of Cole Porter himself (as he was given to homosexuality and a lot of other odd but la-te-dah things), the movie is a vehicle for his music. If you go to the movie's website, there are sound clips from "Let's Misbehave", "Every Time We Say Goodbye", "Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)", and one other one. Among the singers on the soundtrack are Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow and Natalie Cole. Not to mention the movie stars Ashley Judd and, more excitingly, Kevin Kline, whom I will forever love from "The Pirates of Penzance".

And there is my plug for the day. tata!
posted by Lauren, 12:35 PM | link | 0 comments

{Friday, July 02, 2004  }

Continuing the SarahMc dialogue which is continued not on the comments section but on her blog...

SarahMc writes:

I don't think that you can get desensitized to certain things, ever. Using the idea of music, I can listen to the same tune over and over and be very moved by it each time. "O Soave Fanciulla" does that to me every time: because it's beautiful. I can see a couple thousand people die in a real-life explosion on TV, but I will never get "desensitized" to death; I still want to cry when I hear of a couple teens dying in a car crash on Whidbey Island.

And I don't believe any person can ever be entirely desensitized to
love, which is, after all, the final, ultimate goal of sex (most people agree on this point, whatever they think of marriage, homosexuality, or anything else which pertains to sexual acts). Jesus' two Big Rules were: 1) love God; 2) love your neighbor. There may be better or worse ways to do those two things, but you have to figure a lot of that out for yourself. Most artistic endeavors (paintings, stories, movies, music, poetry) are about the strengths or weaknesses of love. And these things sell, and they educate us, because there is no one who cannot be affected by the idea of love, however it may be interpreted. Sex is one -- and probably the most intense -- way to express and interpret it.

But I think that the whole idea of nudity being
so closely related to sex is wrong. People are nude when they bathe and when they change; some people like to go swimming nude; some people sleep nude; there are a whole bunch of people who like to live nude all the time. We are born nude, and spend much of our youth nude -- to change diapers, be bathed, etc. Women breast-feed children, sometimes in public. It's not arousing then, and it's not meant to be: it's natural. I don't see why things should change when we get older. I mean, where would you draw that line and why? Most of Europe has nude beaches and much less strict laws about this sort of thing.

I would disagree that nudity must
necessarily cause arousal. I'm not saying nudity should be the norm, but there's no reason it should be taboo as it is in America, either. I just don't see how it is fundamentally connected to sex, except that you have to be nude to have sex... I think that the reason it causes arousal is that it is taboo, and because sex (outside of marriage) is taboo, too, it also causes arousal. An old married couple, assuming they have a reasonably healthy and active marriage, will probably be used to seeing each other nude -- they will be "desensitized," as you say.

But I don't think you can be desensitized towards sex, which is where the real beauty -- if it is done respectfully, properly, prayerfully (I do agree that these things are all necessary) -- lies. Sex is important and beautiful because it is a sort of surrender which you can reserve for just one person and give to that person freely and entirely. (There are lots of other reasons why sex is important and beautiful. And I'm not going to get into the issue of divorce, etc., with you right now, 'cause that would make a whole big mess, on account of Catholic/Protestant doctrines...) My point, I suppose, is that you can be 97 years old, and still be open to the idea of sex, and it will still have an affect on you. (Lots of people won't be able to, but if you're 97, you probably have lots of health problems anyway.) Nudity will not
always hold such an allure, and there's no reason that it should.

To sum up: people should be sexually aroused by... well... sex. Not by nudity. Those who are aroused by nudity (I admit that I've never been nude with another actual person, but nude pictures, etc., still don't really affect me in that way) are aroused because nudity is almost like sex here in our backasswards society. And maybe this is also why our fashion sense totally sucks...

Allow me to back up some and say that your overall point -- that nudity *shouldn't* be so interconnected with sex -- is probably right. This is, after all, how we were originally made... Adam and Eve and all that. Unfortunately, due to a serpant and a bunch of long, boring speeches by Milton, it isn't that way anymore. Tracing all the way back to the garden, Adam and Eve's eyes were opened, and they saw that they were naked and were ashamed. That shame is a direct effect of the fall. It shouldn't exist, as the fall ought not have (though the idea of the felix culpa is intriguing).... but at first they weren't (Gen 2:25) and then they were (Gen 3:7). And then God himself clothed them (Gen 3:21).

But then, of course, the effects of the fall remain, and there is shame in nudity... just one of the effects of the fall.

Also, it's not nudity de facto that I'm arguing, it's basically seeing other people (implied: of the opposite sex) nude. I agree, you know, showering and changing are not a big deal by yourself.

I don't see why things should change when we get older. I mean, where would you draw that line and why?

That all depends on parenting, the drawing the line. Hopefully parents will draw the line earlyish so that little kids won't wonder why things have to change so much as they grow up. But otherwise, the very latest one would draw the line is when the child starts to hit puberty. Not only are their bodies changing in terms of growth and development, but there's also the raging hormones and whatnot. This is the time when kids *most need help*, especially young boys. Puberty is usually the age when little boys get into pornography by accident. Then it's not so "accident" anymore, and before you know it, they have a years-reinforced habit that affects their mind, thinking, and relationships with people that is so painfully hard to break (for a really in-depth article about the psychology of porn addicition, see this link; resources for those struggling with porn available here).

[And this is one of the objections I would use in a litigation against pornography, it is a violation of the rights of others because it is next to impossible to avoid... but that's off topic]

Things have to change because you hit the age of reason at some point. Then you stop thinking, acting, reasoning like a child, but like an adult (or begin to, at least).

About nudity necessarily causing arousal -- alright, maybe not for everybody everywhere. It seems to me that women, in this respect, are much less hot-blooded than men. Men are much more stimulated by sight and touch than are women. Hence, almost everywhere in Texas there were strip joints and Hooters. Male strip clubs just aren't as common. "Girl porn" also tends to be more in the form of ... romance novels. I don't know. While it exists, it's much less common than "girls girls girls" places/websites/magazines.

And this, still, is an effect of the fall. And out of courtesy and *real* love, we should not put our male counterparts in any kind of difficult position like that, which they would be in if we were to purposefully attempt to desensitize them to nudity.

And so I would argue that the fact that casual nudity is more accepted in Europe than in America doesn't make it right, rightly-ordered, or in any way okay. Certain things are taboo, but that doesn't mean we should un-taboo them (and behold... I have made "taboo" into a verb). Furthermore, does it seem that casual nudity is respectful of a person?

(I would disagree about the old married couple being "desensitized"; used to each other, maybe, but that doesn't mean desensitized.)

So you're right, people *should* be sexually aroused by sex, but this is not the case because of the fall. And because it is part of our human condition, there's no way to fix it permanently. Our human condition can be overcome (and thus we are not slaves to our passions), but in a case like this it would do more harm in the meantime than good in the outcome.

I'll have to research and get back to you on the Iraq thing.

Also, I have no idea how I, being your evil twin, am less evil than you are. Probably because I was inclined to type "I are" instead of "I am". :P

(Also, going out in the afternoon on Saturday; if you want to call, Sunday afternoon would be good).

Comments are freely welcome. Please comment!
posted by Lauren, 10:26 AM | link | 0 comments

{Thursday, July 01, 2004  }

I am 8% evil.

I am an Angel. I rarely sin which makes my life pretty boring. But [...] [G]od [...] will likely reward me in the afterlife.

Are you evil? find out at Hilowitz.com

Yaaaaay, I'm only 8% evil. I'm less evil than Sarah. hahaa.

Speaking of Sarah, a reply to her comments:

What we really need to do in this country is make the nude form (male and female) more acceptable. On British TV, they can have nudity on broadcast TV... and in general I'd say that nudity itself is neither good nor bad, just that when it is taboo, it is more likely to lead to perversion and deviation and will be associated with other taboo things which ARE bad, like promiscuity, etc.

I highly disagree.

Think of what people want when they seek out pornography ... they seek to be sexually aroused, and such images of the nude human form arouse them. Why? Because this is what the nude human form is meant to do. Why? Well ... the species has to continue somehow, to put it crudely. Arousal prepares a person to engage in the sexual act, whose proper context is marriage. And since that is its proper and natural context, then it follows that one *should* only see a nude person -- their spouse -- before engaging in the marital act with them.

If we were to purposefully desensitize people soas not to be aroused by the nude human form ... then that would really stink. Also, it would be highly unnatural, as the word "desensitization" seems to suggest. Arousal is not de facto a bad thing. Out of proper *context* it is, but the thing itself is a beautiful thing... I would philosophize and say why, but er... I fear saying something that sounds silly (I'll read "Theology of the Body" before I go into more depth in this area). To be desensitized to such a beautiful thing is just ... dumb. And a bad thing. It would be like never being able to appreciate music, seeing it merely as "noise" or as a "distraction" or "something to do". Or looking at Mt. Ranier and seeing merely a geological formation. It's like those people who say that love is only a chemical reaction.

And about the American justice system... it doesn't say "American men are created equal," it says, "All men are created equal." If we believe that really truly, then we should wish that same freedom and regard for all human beings, and not just for Americans -- which is why a lot of people (myself included) really support our actions in Iraq, and not because of the "evidence" of WMDs or terrorism or anything else. It's sort of like helping some poor woman out who is being attacked on the street -- even if the situation's not your fault, there's still a degree to which it's your responsibility to at least ATTEMPT to protect her from her assail[ant ~SMM]. And Saddam, I believe, was and is a dangerous and evil man.

I too support our actions in Iraq, but if we were to attempt to fix everyone's problems -- and I mean EVERYone's PROBlems -- we would be totally decimated. We do have to protect our own interests to some degree as well, or else we're not much good to anyone. I.e. A leader (of troops, say) has people's lives depending on him. He won't be much good to anybody dead. He has to protect himself so that he can protect his troops -- but at the same time he must lead from the front. It's a difficult balance sometimes.

In the case of America, our part is done, or almost done. We've handed over sovereignty, and Iraq is going to have to function as its own entity for a while. Not to say we won't help it out, but we can't baby them either (if one can really "baby" Iraq ... a baby with sharp fangs that bites your fingers off to short, bloody stumps...).

American citizens get the benefit of America. That's why we're Americans and not Czechs or something. Schroeder's wicked taxation in Germany doesn't affect us, and we don't give social security to Visigoths and spiders. Why? Because they're not American. If we were to give all our benefits to *every*body, we'd go bankrupt and there'd be nothing great about being American, except our history and heritage. History and heritage are great, but when you're starving, they don't do much for you.

The scenario you describe with the woman does not apply, because that is a case involving individuals. In the case of countries, there are much more than individuals -- the people of a particular country depend on that country, and that country can't just up and leave them for the sake of some other country. I am in no way advocating that countries only help each other when its to the country's own benefit, but that countries need to be *practical* in doing so.

Also: of course terrorists deserve justice. But on the other hand, do we trust their own countries to give them what we would consider justice? Their crimes were not against their own countries anyway.

This is a good point (the latter). The former is, I believe, addressed above.

I agree and disagree -- terrorists do strike us, but they also strike their own countries. The whole Taliban regime was a terrorist regime.

I don't know enough to finish addressing the question of why terrorists ought not to have the benefit of the American justice system... someone smart care to help me out? JohnE (if you still read this blog)? Tom? (in fact, any comment on this particular entry would be extremely appreciated)
posted by Lauren, 11:19 PM | link | 0 comments

The power of prayer at work...

Prayer works.

Last night, I had a most terrible and demonic nightmare. It was one of those realistic and so-vivid ones that you're not sure you're out of it once you have wakened from it. (I don't know if it was a Dream, but it was a dream and that was enough) In my dream I was so terrified, I realized there was absolutely no earthly power that was going to save me, and so I started to pray a Hail Mary... first in English, then in Latin (which was surprisingly easier than English).

I prayed so earnestly that I woke myself praying "in hora mortis nostrae". Saved both from the terror of what was going on in the dream, and saved from remaining in the dream itself.

Prayer works.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus te cum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et Benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae, Amen.
posted by Lauren, 11:59 AM | link | 0 comments