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Archives for November 2011

Men lose their MINDS, people. LOSE THEIR MINDS

Psychologists at Radboud University in The Netherlands carried out the study after one of them was so struck on impressing an attractive woman he had never met before, that he could not remember his address when she asked him where he lived.

Men lose their minds speaking to pretty women.

Is Siri Pro Life? Apparently Yes (Updated)

I wonder how soon this will be “fixed”:
From Gizmodo:

The evidence seems pretty damning.

• If you ask Siri for an abortion clinic in New York City, it will tell you “Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.” A simple Google web search—which Siri itself uses to find results—gives you seven to start with, some within walking distance of where I’m located.

• If you ask the same question in the city of Washington DC, Siri won’t direct you to a nearby clinic, but to one 26 miles away.

• A reader reported that when he asked “find a pregnancy termination clinic” Siri responded: “I found a number of medical centers fairly close to you.” Then “it showed me seven results and four of them were chiropractors, two were acupuncture specialists, and one was an emergency room.” Update: Indeed, after we tested this, it’s true.

I would assume this is because most abortion providers call themselves “Comprehensive Women’s Health Services” or something along those lines.


To Kathleen Wilson, for the novena

The tepid sea detained our staggered fleet
As empty nets adorned the running gunwales
The way a village woman’s temple veils
Would dry on stone in summer’s wrinkling heat.
My brother’s bark felt hollow, incomplete,
Its luckless holds reduced to hungry holes;
So casting eyes ashore I watched the gulls
Harangue a man. Sharp-eyed as an egret
He saw me look. I knew him once, and yet –
As I bobbed like bait fish on gentle swells
And Galilee embraced our rotting hulls –
If asked, is it really something I’d admit?
He turned to catch me watching once before
And hooked me good: “What are you looking for?”


From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of Irish author C.S. [Clive Staples] Lewis (books by this author), born in Belfast in 1898. When he was four, his dog Jacksie was hit by a car and killed; the boy declared he was changing his name to “Jacksie,” and for a while he wouldn’t answer to anything else. For the rest of his life, he was known as “Jack” to his family and close friends.

Raised in the Church of Ireland, he became an atheist in his teens and eventually returned to the church after a series of long theological arguments with his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien. “I gave up Christianity at about 14,” he said. “Came back to it when getting on for 30. Not an emotional conversion; almost purely philosophical. I didn’t want to. I’m not in the least a religious type. I want to be let alone, to feel I’m my own master; but since the facts seemed to be just the opposite, I had to give in.” He wrote Mere Christianity (1952), a classic of Christian apologetics; and The Screwtape Letters (1942), an epistolary novel that consists of letters from a demon to his apprentice nephew, giving him pointers on leading a man astray. He’s also the author of the seven-book allegorical fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, which he wrote for children. He thought it would be a good way to introduce Christian themes to children without beating them over the head, something that had turned him off as a young man. “An obligation to feel can freeze feelings,” he once said.

One of his books, Miracles (1947), had a profound effect on a writer from New York. Joy Davidman Gresham had been raised Jewish, but, like Lewis, had become an atheist. She was separated from her husband, who was an alcoholic, and she was raising their two sons by herself when she came upon Lewis’s book. After she read it, she began praying, and started attending services at a Presbyterian church. She also began a correspondence with Lewis that eventually led to their marriage in 1957. Joy was diagnosed with bone cancer, and she married Lewis from her hospital bed; the doctors sent her home to die, but she went into remission instead, and they had almost four wonderful years together. After her death in 1960, Lewis was devastated. He wrote a book, A Grief Observed (1961), which contained his thoughts, questions, and observations. It was so raw and personal that he published it under a pseudonym. Friends actually recommended the book to him, to help with his grief, unaware that he’d written it. His authorship wasn’t made known until after his death in 1963. In the book, he writes that he doesn’t believe people are reunited with their loved ones in the next life. “Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.”

Today in Casanova.

Just everything about this article.  But maybe especially this, from a fellow recalling his being presented with the manuscript:

“I was completely ignorant of the existence of this manuscript,” Mr. Racine said in an interview. “It had never been put on display. But there was no doubt it was authentic. It was an unforgettable moment. It was almost as if we were in front of a religious relic.”

Stalin’s Daughter Lived and Died Just 30 Miles from the Numerous Hiking and Camping Opportunities Offered By JOB’s Compound in Darkest Wisconsin

Well, hello there, Lana Peters.

Marion Montgomery, RIP

“For the poet, the mystery of esse [being] lies in his percpetion of ens [a being] and the challenge to his art is to embody his vision of being.” – Marion Montgomery, 1925-2011.

His most famous work is the trilogy The Prophetic Poet and the Spirt of the Age, which includes “Why Flannery O’Connor Stayed Home,” “Why Poe Drank Liquor,” and “Why Hawthorne Was Melancholy.” These and others can be found for the having here.


Art and Politics (and Religion, too).

The recently deceased Ken Russell’s savage 1970 satire of Richard Strauss. Amazing to think that this was made for television. It’s an hour long – give yourself some time.

Sonnet to a Shoelace


The education of an earthling as
A young pedestrian: history spoke
Its first footprint with leather tongue, and eyes
Of glinting grommet’s brass fulfilled the look.

A second stepping slings our walking fall
In gnarly thongs – the ties that bind us down
To earth and help us keep our heads in thrall
Until the golden aglets fray to bone…

Sequential steps, my own, would cross this path
With fumbling fingers. The child comprehends
The prehistoric soul. Each takes a breath.
Each tries to learn the laces, knot for knot.
Each shares one end in two – by pounding feet
Against the ground until the sole ascends.

Percy v. Hemingway

“Though science taught that good environments were better than bad environments, it appeared to him that the opposite was the case.  Take hurricanes for example, certainly a bad environment if ever there was one.  It was his impression that not just he but other people too felt better in hurricanes…”

– Walker Percy, The Last Gentleman

“Thomas Hudson had studied tropical storms for many years and he could tell form the sky when their was a tropical disturbance  long before his barometer showed its presence.  He knew how to plot storms and the precautions that should be taken against them.  He knew too what it was to live through a hurricane with the other people of the island and the bond that the hurricane made between all people who had been through it.  He also knew that hurricanes could be so bad that nothing could live through them.  He always thought, though, that if there was ever one that bad he would like to be there for it and go with the house if she went.”

Ernest Hemingway, Islands in the Stream