There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one's hand and say, “Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy.” And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord help!” God knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy.
Abba Macarius

«— You Really Can’t Take It With You
—» 500 WMDs and Counting

Vigil

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One Last Night

Update: Well, after receiving word that the original page was accessible by registration only (see the first comment), I did some searching and found the original article from Rocky Mountain News: “Final Salute” by Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler. (Google Images rocks.) And boy am I glad I did. Sheeler and Heisler did an in-depth article on the return of fallen Marine Second Lieutenant James Cathey from overseas, and it turned into a story about servicemembers Stateside who attend to the families of fallen soldiers such as Casualty Assistance Call Officers (CACOs). The entire article is well-done (except for being on twelve separate web pages). For the short version, I linked the photo to the right to the page about Katherine Cathey’s last night beside her husband. I highly recommend reading the article in in its entirety, though.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:33 pm

«— Get A Woman HOW-TO
—» Vigil

You Really Can’t Take It With You

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This is for Brother Bourbon:

But why are so many stories about sports and religion so shallow? The fact is that sports have superseded religion in most areas as the dominant means for communal interaction. Athletes are much more popular than saints or religious figures. Team colors are donned much more fervently than liturgical colors. Sports arenas are viewed by many as places for worship and devotion — and, sometimes, as sanctuaries — more than cathedrals are. Fans may spend more time tracking their fantasy stats than they do studying religious texts. And there’s little question that religious feast days are being displaced by more important days (Superbowl Sunday comes to mind).

These are all aspects of an interesting sociological phenomenon. So when Major League Baseball contracts with a company to use team logos on urns and caskets, I wonder if Reuters’ reporter might get a comment or two from folks who could provide perspective.

Read more: GetReligion: Kicking the bucket through those great goal posts in the sky

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:42 am

«— Superman Returns Trailer
—» You Really Can’t Take It With You

Get A Woman HOW-TO

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Partially in response to my somewhat arrogant and supercilious post “Jerks and Marriage,” Theodora writes her thoughts: “Whispers on Earth: How To Get A Woman.”

Also, to clarify, I wasn’t talking about husbands who act like jerks sometimes, which is everyone born of woman save one. I was talking, mostly, about some guys I work with as well as random, married jerks I see on the street.

Update: A second post, “Meeting Women, Meeting Their Needs,” has been filed by the helpful Theodora.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:45 am

«— Firefly Available from iTunes Music Store
—» Get A Woman HOW-TO

Superman Returns Trailer

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Apple – Trailers – Superman Returns – Large

This is probably old to some of you, but I just saw this, and my heart is pounding.

When I first saw pub photos of the new Superman and his new outfit, I was nonplussed, to say the least. However, the more I’ve learned about this film, the more excited I’ve gotten.

First, I saw the teaser trailer several months back. It did exactly what it was supposed to: tease and capture my attention. Then, just before going underway about a month and a half ago, I read an article in the Sci-Fi Channel’s monthly print mag on Brian Singer, the director. It talked up the new movie a lot, but the thing that really fascinated me was this: Brian Singer is the director of the first two X-Men films, and left the third X-Men project to direct Superman Returns. I loved both X-films, and I was thrilled, to say the least. (I highly recommend the article; check your local library.)

This trailer tops it. The character driven story lines, Kevin Spacey as Luthor: I’m tingly. I haven’t felt this way about a new film in a very long time.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 4:04 pm

«— Jerks and Marriage
—» Superman Returns Trailer

Firefly Available from iTunes Music Store

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Stop the presses! iTunes Music Store: Firefly, Season 1. Why are you still reading this?

Firefly aired on Fox for an aborted season of 12 (out of 14) episodes. Creator Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and spin-offs) crafted a series about realistic characters and freedom that just happened to be set after a galactic civil war had been won in favor of an empire that looks suspiciously like a mix between post-bellum federalist America, the current United States, and the Galactic Empire of George Lucas’ imagination. (The losers — that is, the protagonists of the story — are Rebels. Go figure.)

But, let me reiterate, the story is about people — believable characters. As such, it appeals to far more than just the nerd who wears Darth Vader outfits to Comicons. For proof, see the critical reviews of the film that resulted from this series last year, Serenity (such as the one by Orson Scott Card that I mentioned just after its release).

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Filed under: — Basil @ 4:17 pm

«— Judge halts certain practices of car dealer
—» Firefly Available from iTunes Music Store

Jerks and Marriage

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On James’ blog, a recurrence of a common theme:

I remember someone commenting on my blog, who is Orthodox, telling me once that it should be the more old fashioned way. Well, whether it should or shouldn’t be it is the old fashioned way for my generation anyway. I say, if a girl calls a guy it’s not the end of the world.

To which Paige predictably responds with the so-called “Orthodox” response:

Girls are very forward in my hometown. …[this] sets the guys up for a rude awakening when (if) they ever leave hometown and realize that elsewhere in the world girls expect guys to ask them out….

I think if you found yourself in a situation like my hometown, you might find yourself in agreement with Dr. Dobson–to an extent.

It’s like that in most places, I find. Except women are only forward with men they find attractive. And not all women, of course; many if not most still prefer the old-fashioned way.

Be that as it may, I can’t for the life of me figure out why some moral conservatives (like myself) get doctrinaire over this point (unlike myself). With one exception: Some women in my experience don’t realize that a jerk is not the person to marry until after they are married to a jerk. This seems to me common sense; after all: he’s a jerk. Yet, I keep seeing women marry jerks because they are or appear to be self-confident. Subsequently, they are or are tempted to be unfaithful with someone who treats them nicely.

But I suppose that would be solved if those guys would just stop being jerks. Or stop existing altogether.

More: Life After 30: Dr. James “Mighty Man” Dobson

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:33 am

«— Bishop Basil and the Legacy of Metropolitan Anthony
—» Jerks and Marriage

Judge halts certain practices of car dealer

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I know at least one person who had a bad experience with this company, World Class Auto Superstore.


In some cases, the consumer was not informed of the financing problem for weeks or even months after delivery, the motion said.

The consumer was then forced to agree to much less favorable terms, such as a higher interest rate, higher monthly payment, longer payment term or the purchase of a different vehicle of lesser value.

To force the consumer to agree to the new terms, the motion said, World Class Auto would refuse to return the consumer’s down payment; refused to return the consumer’s trade-in vehicle; and charged the consumer an “unconscionable” rental fee of $75 per day and 35 cents per mile for the vehicle the consumer had accepted under the original financing terms.

The standard practice in the industry for such “spot deliveries” is to not charge the consumer any additional amount beyond a reasonable mileage fee of 20 cents per mile, said Ron Jackson, president of the Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association, in an affidavit.

Read more: Judge halts certain practices of car dealer

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:22 pm

«— Diet Coke and Mentos
—» Judge halts certain practices of car dealer

Bishop Basil and the Legacy of Metropolitan Anthony

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How has it taken so long for news of this to find me? Coincidentally, a comment by a long-time reader yesterday on an unrelated post led me to a website which brings the crisis in Great Britain into relief.

Dioceseinfo.org

This story truly brings me to tears.

Marguerite, Luz en Invierno

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Filed under: — Basil @ 9:55 pm

«— Another Sign for a Council
—» Bishop Basil and the Legacy of Metropolitan Anthony

Diet Coke and Mentos

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The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments:

What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints? It’s amazing and completely insane.

See it at EepyBird.com – Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment.

Hat tip: Clifton Healy at “This is Life! Revolutions around the cruciform axis”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:46 pm

«— It Already Has a Name
—» Diet Coke and Mentos

Another Sign for a Council

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More evidence that the mythical great and holy Council is desperately needed in the Church:

Today’s Orthodox consciousness tends to be held captive by the needs and requirements of the Orthodox diasporas. Let it be clearly understood that the large and often growing Orthodox national and cultural diasporas of today are worthy of pastoral care and missionary work. This is not only a legitimate concern of the Orthodox Church – it is an inescapable responsibility. Yet it must also be well-understood and accepted that the Orthodox Christians of Western culture and Western languages are equally worthy of pastoral care. And if the “universality” or “catholicity” of the Orthodox Church is to be evident today, the ability of Orthodoxy to be more than an “immigrant” Church is critically important.

Sadly, when faced with serious questions and challenges of contemporary life and mission the Orthodox Church is either in a state of paralysis and immobility, or in a state of crisis and confrontation. Questions are not answered and solutions are not found at either one of these extremes, but in the middle ground of reflection and thoughtful common action. Will the answers to the current painful questions found within the very small Diocese of Sourozh and within the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow offer signs of impasse and stagnation, or signs of hope?

Read more: Orthodox Church in America News: UK diocesan crisis tests Church’s mission to all

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:41 am

«— Works
—» Another Sign for a Council

It Already Has a Name

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identity: Definition and Much More From Answers.com

It is impossible for someone to steal identity. If, hypothetically, someone made themselves the exactly the same as you in every way, they would be identical to you. You and that person would have identity. Luckily, that horrific case is not within the realm of possibility (outside of science fiction thrillers).

What is called “identity theft” actually already had a name; it’s fraud. People who use your name and identifying information (date of birth, social security number) for clandestine purposes are fraudulently pretending to be you. They haven’t stolen your identity. You are still you. There’s no need for new laws or renamed task forces. Just prosecute them for fraud.

So, I’m a little disgruntled that the administration that came up with silly names like “Department of Homeland Security” has created a “President’s Identity Theft Task Force.”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 11:14 pm

«— Congress Bars Funeral Protesters
—» It Already Has a Name

Works

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Today’s epistle (according to the Greek lectionary) is one of my favorites.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I love the way our works isare related here to God’s workmanship. The Greek is ποίημα/poema, ancestor of the English word “poem.” This verse also subtly brings home the point that our actions are fashioning an enduring reality — our works. Some translators of English prayerbooks want to downplay the references to works, using “actions” or “deeds.” “Works” is simply a more satisfying reference to this verse, which gives a proper framework for understanding their importance.

This verse also completes a passage often misquoted by Christians of other confessions:

BRETHREN, God who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God: not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [emphasis added]

We are not saved by good works; we are saved for good works.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:23 am

«— Surface! Surface! Surface!
—» Works

Congress Bars Funeral Protesters

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“It’s a sad but necessary measure to protect what should be recognized by all reasonable people as a solemn, private and deeply sacred occasion,” [Senate majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.] said.

Under the Senate bill, approved without objection by the House with no recorded vote, the “Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act” would bar protests within 300 feet of the entrance of a cemetery and within 150 feet of a road into the cemetery from 60 minutes before to 60 minutes after a funeral. Those violating the act would face up to a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

The sponsor of the House bill, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said he took up the issue after attending a military funeral in his home state, where mourners were greeted by “chants and taunting and some of the most vile things I have ever heard.”

“Families deserve the time to bury their American heroes with dignity and in peace,” Rogers said Wednesday before the Hosue vote.

The demonstrators are led by the Rev. Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kan., who has previously organized protests against those who died of AIDS and gay murder victim Matthew Shepard.

In passing, I would like to note that most Christians, including those with orthodox views of homosexual activity and same-sex attraction, are appalled and disgusted by Phelps and his disciples. (Just in case you were unclear on that.)

Read more: Congress Bars Funeral Protesters
See also: Louisville Courier-Journal article on ACLU vs. KY

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:47 pm