Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Two events

Only a little over three weeks away is the first Wash for Life! So far, 33 states will be taking part in it, with 98 car washes scheduled on Sept. 16, according to the Wash for Life website (people are still signing up, though, so be sure to check in regularly for updates). Some details about the event are in a previous post. By the way, I got that photo of three cute kids from their site...

Besides Sept. 16, another date to keep in mind is Aug. 26, which is this Saturday. The current Face the Truth tour will be in Indianapolis, Indiana on that day. Here's the schedule.

Still doubt as to how much public education about this matter can do to move hearts? Check this out:

At the Abortion Clinic they told Dave and his girlfriend that their unborn child was "like a little ball." They lied. Dave and his girlfriend scheduled an abortion, and Dave agreed to pay for it.

Then he saw one of our signs in downtown Chicago, at Jackson Street and Lake Shore Drive. Dave saw the truth about abortion. And he couldn't go through with it—another baby saved by Face the Truth.

Golden girls

Here are interesting perspectives on living to be 100 years old. A group of five centenarian ladies shares some secrets...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

When the body is healthy, the soul dances

Two days ago I ran into a friend and since it was shortly after lunch and neither of us had eaten yet, we decided to take our meal together. We ended up at Pancake House. By the way, that photo of the blueberry waffle isn't from Pancake House but from a website called Delicious Days.

So as I perused the menu and picked out a sandwich, I made a mental note to drop by the place again soon and have one of those delectable pancakes featured on the menu. While waiting for our orders (my companion ordered a taco salad), I suddenly remembered the half a dozen food blogs I had bookmarked for future posting. Now is the future.

That bookmarking happened over a week ago, when I felt like looking through brilliant photography and ended up at food blogs and sites that featured remarkable photos of -- what else? Food, food, food. Of course there were recipes but for someone who doesn't cook (such as myself) yet appreciates the pains that other people take in order to prepare sumptuous gastronomic delights, the pictures were the center of attention. Also, since I recently had experienced a boost to my appetite, setting my eyes on wonderful culinary creations took on new significance.

While going from one food blog to another, I felt tugs of envy toward these bloggers -- some of whom apparently got the chance to travel quite a lot. One was a Swede living in Tuscany; another was a Danish lady who wrote about her delightful vacation in France. A lot of these food bloggers are French and I've mixed up the different profiles already, but the fact that they live in France (Paris, Cote d'Azur...and other places that, to me, spell "getaway destination") makes me wistful. And their photos aren't bad! In fact, "not bad" is an understatement; never had I appreciated the porous beauty of bread until I came upon photos like theirs.

Then there's the Spanish illustrator from Madrid who just recently came back from a vacation "driving on Baltic roads for fifteen days." Her blog, Lobstersquad, features some recipes, too, as well as her artwork.

I think it was The Traveler's Lunchbox that I stumbled on first, and then from there it was one food trip after another (he's got a lot of links of other food blogs -- by country -- not to mention a cool photo gallery). That picture of the fig and prosciutto pizza you see on the left up there is from the photo gallery just mentioned.

(At this point, I would like to mention that I have grown famished from all this dwelling on food.)

I wonder if a lot of other people in the Philippines watch "Boy Meets Grill" which has chef Bobby Flay cooking up various dishes al fresco. I find the show remarkably engaging. I don't know if it's Bobby's way of talking about the ingredients, if it's the outdoorsy appeal of the set, or the choice of recipes. It could be the camera shots. But the chef sure makes whipping up those ingredients look easy -- and fun! But last night I chanced upon "Iron Chef America" where Bobby, I learned, is the defending champion, and he didn't look like he was having fun at all. Who would enjoy preparing meals under all that pressure anyway -- and with cameras documenting your every move?

I think this is enough talk about food! After hitting the "publish post" tab, I'm going to make myself a sandwich. But someday I'm going to learn how to much something with an exotic name like "seafood socca," which is this:

Saturday, August 19, 2006

All about women

The future of female altruism
By Carolyn Moynihan


Women do, of course, have the right to work for pay and to compete in the job market without facing unfair discrimination. They have the right to a career in the professions. The defining of these principles was inevitable and good. But it is clear from today's anguished discussions about "work-life balance" that home life and, in particular, the care of children has suffered.

What is also becoming obvious is that the social work women once did as an extension of raising children is in crisis too. School teachers complain about the devaluing of their profession, and nurses must be recruited from developing countries to do the more menial tasks of theirs. The average amount of time spent on volunteer activities, according to a British survey, is four minutes a day.[1]

Are these problems the inevitable result of the expansion of careers for women, or are they only the consequence of the way those careers have been pursued?

Full article at MercatorNet

To be a burden is to be truly human

One of the things that's been on my mind more often lately is that when I'm old and grey, I really hope that I'll be humble and secure enough to accept assistance from others -- an arm to lean on as I step down a curb, hands to help me up from a chair, or even offers to change the light bulb of a ceiling fan when my joints are too unreliable to make the step-up-step-down routine. Being around the elderly helps provide me with foresight to consider such things these days.

That being said, here are excerpts from a London Times commentary that touches on the "I'll die when I want to" credo that some people seem to be developing:

I DISLIKE THE description “deeply offensive”: in a free society, open debate is bound to “deeply offend” someone, but we must still affirm our commitment to such open discourse. Yet the nationwide adverts for Jenni Murray’s recent TV polemic on assisted suicide came pretty near to the deplorable, if not the offensive. “I’ll die when I want to,” the words proclaimed, in giant letters.

A lacerating insult, in my view, to those who have lost family members or close friends through the grief of suicide. And a dreadful signal to the young, who we know are the most responsive to suggestions of suicide — the suicide rate among young men in Britain and Ireland has risen almost fivefold over the past two decades. God forfend that that catchphrase “I’ll die when I want to” should enter into the common language and aspirations of the culture.

But Murray’s “suicide pact” with two other friends — they pledge to assist each other to die if the circumstances arise — also involves another agenda. It is the mentality of a feminist generation who, “having fought so hard to become liberated and independent . . . are now being trapped into caring for dependent parents”, we are told. I’ll-die-when-I-want-to isn’t just about being spared terminal pain. It is also about being independent, “autonomous”, “liberated”, free from ever being a “burden” on anyone else: it is about being in control of one’s destiny at all times and in all ways.

Dear me. How pitiful to have lived for over half a century on this planet and not to have observed that the very core of being human is admitting of dependence upon others. There is such a thing as society, and we are all part of it. Our interdependence is part of our humanity, and indeed, our civilisation. Only an automaton is autonomous. We are all burdens upon each other at various cycles of our lives; but we grow in bearing one another’s burdens and draw enlightenment and wisdom from the experience.

Read To be a burden is to be truly human
By Mary Kenny

Sibling revelry

Ain't that cute?

I had posted this photo in my other blog last year to accompany a story about kids with special needs, then saved the photo in my computer -- only to be wiped out by a virus.

Then last week I came across the same picture via Google. I think now is a good time to post it again, if only to serve as a reminder of the joys of childhood and of having siblings -- whether the child is considered one with "special needs" or "regular" needs.


Luana Stoltenberg (right, during the Human Chain for Life in front of St. Peter Parish in Quezon City) was in the Philippines in February of this year to celebrate Pro-Life Month with us. While here, she and three other post-abortive women who have been -- since their change of heart -- devoting their life to helping other women who have had abortions find their way on the road to recovery. These women also travel to speak about the truth regarding abortion, specifically how it hurts women.

From Spero News:

The following is a slightly edited version of recent correspondence between Luana Stoltenberg, Iowa state leader of Operation Outcry, and the editor(s) of the virulently pro-abortion Ms. magazine.


Dear Editor,

I was informed that you are asking for people to write in about their abortion experiences. I am attaching an article I have written about my own personal experience. I am also attaching a second article that is a shorter version, but it has a short bio of me on it. I have had many interviews that have been published. Some articles that have been printed are with USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The New York Times, Today's Christian Woman, and several others. Please consider printing this. My hope is that other women will read it and find hope.

Thank you very much,

Luana Stoltenberg

The editor(s) of Ms. magazine responded as follows:

Dear Ms. Stoltenberg —

It's too bad you didn't feel you had any choice but to have three abortions. You should have been informed by friends or family or medical personnel that you had the option to carry your fetuses to term and then give up your babies for adoption. You should have received comprehensive education about birth control, or even been informed of the option to be abstinent, so that you didn't become pregnant in the first place. But just because you had a negative experience and post-abortion regrets does not mean that the choice to have an abortion should be made illegal — or extremely difficult — for the millions of women who still would make that choice. I know you believe otherwise, but I just want you to know where the pro-choice side is coming from.


The Editors
Ms. Magazine

Stoltenberg's response to Ms. magazine senior editor Michele Kort:

Dear Michele (and editors of Ms. magazine),

I wrote to you about my experience to let you know that I wasn't informed. I was only 17 years old when I had my first abortion. No one at the abortion facility told me about the risks, the procedure, fetal development, or any other options like adoption. I was the teenager they were the supposed medical professionals. I thought I could trust them because they were the adults. That first abortion led me down a path of self destruction, attempts of suicide, and infertility.

I would think someone who claims to care about women and women's issues would truly look into the facts about what abortion is doing, and has done to the women and the men of our society over the last 34 years since it has been legal.

Your response shows no compassion whatsoever. Why am I being told to be tolerant and know your side but you refuse to listen to my side? You have forgotten I was on your side most of my life until I tried it your (pro-choice) way. It destroyed my life. Now all I want to do is speak out and educate women on what abortion could do to them, and you are refusing to give me that voice in your magazine. How is it that you can profess to care about all women and refuse them the information to truly be educated and informed about the 'choice' they could make? That doesn't seem caring at all to me. It seems that you are driven by your agenda and not by your concern for women.

I am so sorry for all the women who will be harmed and devastated by this choice as you call it because you refused to print information for them to have the facts. That is the very reason why I made the choice I did because others refused to give me the information so I could make MY OWN CHOICE based on the facts.

Thank you,

Luana Stoltenberg

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sending out a mobile message

A man named Randy Harris first thought of the idea of a 'choose life' specialty license plate while driving in 1996.

In 1997 he began forming his team, Choose Life, Inc.

The Florida specialty license plate was signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush in 1999, then went on sale in 2000. It's available in several other states, too (check if yours is on the list).

Besides being eye-catching, the Choose Life license plate helps raise funds to support adoption efforts of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, maternity homes and not-for-profit adoption agencies. Know more at the Choose Life website.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Willpower and 'Hilton-itis'

"Life is what we make it."

I have no idea who first uttered those words, but I've heard the saying quoted many times. It sums up whatever lessons one may draw from two articles I've bookmarked. Excerpts:

From Willpower is best used with careBy Cordelia Fine

The children were also given a real-life test of their ability to delay gratification. Each was handed a dollar bill in an envelope. They could choose either to keep it or hand it back and get $2 a week later. Their decision was carefully recorded.
The researchers returned in spring. They took note of each child's grades and then looked back to see both how clever, and how self-controlled, that student had been in autumn. What, they wanted to know, was the most important factor in school grades?
The psychologists discovered it was self-control, by a long shot. A child's capacity for self-discipline was about twice as important as his or her IQ when it came to predicting academic success.

From Hilton-itis infecting college students, says profProfessor claims that the disease consists of symptoms related to an overwhelming sense of laziness and entitlement, along with excessive behavior in the form of long nights of partying and drinking.By Spero News
“We need to stop allowing young people to believe that drinking till you puke every weekend is simply normal campus behavior. It’s not.”

After teaching at five major universities and witnessing many campus tragedies, Dr. Watkins argues that parents can be enablers of this form of behavior. He states that parents don’t expect their children to get jobs on campus, don’t enforce academic excellence and protect their children from their own mistakes.
“If you give someone a wheelchair before they learn to walk, then they will never bother to learn to use their legs,” says Watkins, who is now a visiting Scholar with the Center for European Economic Research. “Parents sometimes feel that every little thing must be provided for, and that an energetic 19-year-old is going to use that extra free time to study. Nope, many are going to study 15 hours per week and spend the rest of their time memorizing the local bars, gambling, or having sex with everything that moves. The idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

Teen Creed

Don't let your parents down,
They brought you up.
Be humble enough to obey,
You may give orders someday.
Choose companions with care,
You become what they are.
Guard your thoughts,
What you think, you are.
Choose only a date
who would make a good mate.
Be master of your habits,
or they will master you.
Don't be a show off when you drive.
Drive with safety and arrive.
Don't let the crowd pressure you,
Stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

- Human Life International

Raunchy music and teen listeners

One thing I know by experience is how heavily music can influence one's moods. Have you tried listening to hard rock and heavy metal the whole time you're driving? And around Metro Manila at that? I think it was the closest I had gotten to experiencing the Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation (with the monstrous persona more dominant). There was also a time when I shifted to a classical-station listening fare whenever I was out on the road, and the change was remarkable. Mozart's pieces filled the car with a very contagious serenity; Strauss and his waltzes, of course, conjured images of ballrooms and dancing couples in Victorian-era garb. Pachelbel's "Canon in D major" (the only classical piece whose title I could remember, besides "Ode to Joy" and "Four Seasons") always worked like a glimpse of the seashore: it put me on instant tranquility mode.

Now what do you think it would do to an adolescent if he were constantly exposed to today's songs with lyrics that don't exactly convey messages of pure love and wholesome affections for the opposite sex? Here's what science has discovered (though it's not really surprising):

TEENAGERS whose music players are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study has found.

Whether it's hip-hop, rap, pop or rock, much of popular music aimed at teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behaviour appears to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found.

And here's more...

Songs depicting men as "sex-driven studs," women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behaviour than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed, the US-based Rand Corporation study found.

I had never heard it put that way ("sex-driven studs") but then come to think of it, a glimpse of MTV and a sample of songs' lyrics -- especially of today's hip-hop music -- would indicate that kind of portrayal of men.

From another feature:

Natasha Ramsey, a 17-year-old from New Brunswick, N.J., said she and other teens sometimes listen to sexually explicit songs because they like the beat.

"I won't really realize that the person is talking about having sex or raping a girl," she said. Even so, the message "is being beaten into the teens' heads," she said. "We don't even really realize how much."

"A lot of teens think that's the way they're supposed to be, they think that's the cool thing to do. Because it's so common, it's accepted," said Ramsey, a teen editor for, a teen sexual health Web site produced at Rutgers University.

"Teens will try to deny it, they'll say 'No, it's not the music,' but it IS the music. That has one of the biggest impacts on our lives," Ramsey said.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the U.S. recording industry, declined to comment on the findings.

Full article at The Age

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Here's a related article that shows a sign of hope -- because someone's calling for action to be taken. It's about perception. It's about image. And it's about cleaning up what actually gives off that degrading image of black women to viewers and listeners.

Read Take the debate over degrading rap videos off mute
By Michele Goodwin

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

For him and her

This one I have got to share with you.

On the ModestyZone blog, we usually discuss modesty among women (of course, with all of us being women!) but we all know that modesty is an issue both for women and for men. I’d like to discuss one particular aspect of the immodesty among men that I’ve noticed recently. And I’m sure many women in the Modesty Zone community can relate. Let’s say you’re walking along the street and up ahead you see a group of guys or just one guy who seems to be paying an inordinate amount of attention to you. So you try to ignore him and keep walking but just as you’re passing, a guy yells out (quite rudely), “Ay, girl!” or some other remark to express how much they want to “get” with you. Or, instead of saying anything to you, they might just give you “the once over”- that quick look from a guy whose obviously checking out the shape of your body.

Some women might be flattered by this type of reaction- maybe as an affirmation that they really are attractive- but I find it to be obnoxious, unwanted, and really immodest and ungentlemanly on the guys’ part. When I’m walking on the street, going to work or to lunch or even to Mass, I’d rather not be bothered by such comments. Instead of being a compliment, it’s more like an insult as if the guys don’t know how to approach a woman properly. I refuse to hearken back to the “good ol’ days” when guys were chivalrous and respectful because in every age, you can find incidences of disrespectful behavior toward women. But, is it too much to ask for these guys to be more modest in their comments toward women?

The comments are something else (comments from readers and/or other bloggers, that is) and certainly worth checking out. Go see for yourself; you'll know what I mean.

This piece, titled "Immodest Men," is from Modestly Yours and written by Nene Kalu.


Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes happiness.
It is not attained through self-gratification,
but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

- Helen Keller (1880-1968), deaf-blind author, activist and lecturer

Monday, August 07, 2006

When love for the truth is forgotten

For months now I've been on the lookout for a copy of Shattered Glass, a movie about a newspaper reporter who had been reporting events that were eventually discovered to have never happened at all. Now I can't recall if the film is actually based on a true story involving some big, East Coast broadsheet (I think it is, but don't quote me on that). The movie starring Hayden Christensen was shown in the Philippines a few years ago; I wasn't able to catch it though.

Another reminder of how much we rely on the media for information -- and how we ought to strike a balance between taking everything we consume from the media with a grain of salt, and having faith in media practitioners -- is the recent incident involving a news photographer and a digitally manipulated photo of Beirut's destruction. Really, without a firm foundation of virtues such as honesty and integrity -- and an intensive orientation in media ethics -- to guide a person through his/her choices, the power of technology is bound to be misused and abused.


A Reuters employee was suspended after using the company's internet access to issue a threat saying "I look forward to the day when you pigs get your throats cut."

The e-mail was sent to Charles Johnson, who maintains the of Little Green Footballs blog.

Relatedly, Reuters said it has retracted a photograph of Beirut, Lebanon, and credited to Adnan Hajj, after discovering that it was altered - and as reported at the Little Green Footballs blog. The photograph had shown two plumes of black smoke rising out of buildings in Beirut.

The retracted photograph was titled "Smoke billows from burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's suburbs August 5, 2006. Many buildings were flattened during the attack. REUTERS/Adnan Hajj"

The LGF blog had noted that photograph "shows blatant evidence of manipulation. Notice the repeating patterns in the smoke; this is almost certainly caused by using the Photoshop 'clone' tool to add more smoke to the image .... Smoke simply does not contain repeating symmetrical patterns like this, and you can see the repetition in both plumes of smoke. There's really no question about it."

Full story at Spero News

What does the devil wear?

I've read such remarkably mixed reviews about this movie, I don't know whether to look forward to it or completely ignore its showing in Manila theaters while putting up with the expected "toast of the town" status that fashionistas, fashion victims and fashion designers will most likely stamp it with.

* * * * * * * * * *

Although I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this film, I would be a hypocrite if I did not admit to enjoying it. Unlike the computer-generated, special effects nonsense that reigns at the box office today, this is a real movie. It has characters, superb acting, a plot with a beginning, middle, and end, and from start to finish it looks good. It is the first feature film from David Frankel, who previously worked in television.

It tells the story of a young girl from the provinces (a recent journalism grad from Northwestern University) who attempts to make her way in the great city, New York. Its heroine, Anne Hathaway, the heroine, enters a sea of sharks, barely knowing how to swim, but she’s smart and resourceful, as well as talented, and soon begins to make headway. Or to switch the metaphor, she’s an innocent who must become as wise as a serpent. Structurally, this is the basic comic plot in which a protagonist starts out in a “mad” world dominated by an oppressive, life-denying blocking figure only to escape to a “green” world of a more fulfilling life. Generically, it belongs to the working girl category and to those films featuring fashion shows such as Roberta (1935) and Vogues of 1938 (1937).

But my reservations about the film arise not from its approving satire of the “world,” an accepting mockery whose lineage goes back to the Roman poet Horace, as opposed to the savage indignation of a Juvenal or a Swift. It results from the film’s sexual morality. Hathaway has a boyfriend. Though he appears to be more authentic, that is, more run down and beat looking than she, and less corrupted by the world, he too wants to advance his career as a chef. The trouble is that they live together. If the film depicted them as having a chaste courtship, it would appear unreal to the majority of audiences. Such is the nature of romantic love according to the conventions of our time. A 20s-something virginal woman, as in one of the Seinfeld episodes, can only elicit curiosity and ridicule.

Dr. Johnson criticised the novel Tom Jones because its hero, before he reformed, engaged in illicit amours. But such sin followed by repentance was the time-honoured way of showing the world “as it is” and the world “as it ought to be.” The Devil Wears Prada makes no such distinction. Its ambivalence about the way of the world leaves me with a mixed response. Much of what I saw I liked, but in the end I wanted to see art wed to morality, not just engaged in a flirtation.

Full review at MercatorNet

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Behind the (TV) scenes w/ a guinea pig

Did I ever mention that I grew up watching hours and hours of television, day after day? To give credit to whom credit is due, I owe much of my correct phonics and knowledge of concepts like "cooperation" and "the people in your neighborhood" to Sesame Street (not to mention, openness to imaginary friends). And Little House on the Prairie was a subtle testament (at least in my mind) that family togetherness and not abundance in material comforts played a key factor in attaining personal happiness.

Here's a fascinating peek into what goes on behind the scenes before TV show makes it to a regular time slot:

The testing process begins in one of the two 48-seat theaters at ASI. Members of the Television Critics Association, invited to ASI for a demonstration, gather in the black screening room, no food or drinks in hand. "The equipment is very sensitive," says Neal LaVine, the theater director. Two large tinted glass panes stare back at us from the front of the room. In a normal test, clients who have paid some $20,000 for two-hours worth of testing watch the proceedings from plush, black-leather chairs behind those windows. Two average-sized TV screens blink down at us from high on the wall. No high-def or giant screens here, because that's not what the average viewer owns, says CEO David Castler. "We're not going to go with plasma to enhance the program," he adds.

The seats have fold-up tabletops. Velcroed to the side is a pencil and the wired dial pad with five degrees of "like" to "dislike" on its face. We also have a phone pad of buttons on which I find the red button telling ASI that if I were home, I'd hit the remote.

But that's only two minutes or so into the show, which turns out to be an unaired (gee, really?) UPN pilot called "I Spike," from the 2000 season. The show speeds on, full of silly car chases, scantily clad young women, and lots of serious posing and pouting reminiscent of early Aaron Spelling fare. By the time the show finishes, the room has dissolved into banks of hoots and snickers. A graph with falling stock-market-type spider lines shows up on the screen. Mr. Castler explains that the red line represents the women's responses while the blue line shows the men's. When this graph is superimposed in real time over the show itself, the clients can actually see, second by second, exactly which bits the audience liked/disliked.

Read Before TV shows air, they have to survive...The Lab | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

I like what she said

From Independent Women's Forum:

Women’s Mag Watch

If you needed a reason to like Kate Hudson, the August issue of Allure is happy to provide one (from page 212):

(This is in response to Kate’s controversial statement in a men’s magazine that “men have to feel like men”)

‘“I actually had some woman come up to me while I was getting a coffee, and I guess she was kind of upset that I’d said it. I was really shocked by her forwardness, but I appreciated her honesty. She said, ‘I’d think, given the generation your mother comes from, that you’d be way more feminist.’ So I said, ‘There’s nothing more feminine than knowing how to allow a man to feel like a man.’”

This sure reminds me of the commencement address titled "New Feminism" by Dr. Harvey Mansfield, professor of government at Harvard University, part of which I posted here not long ago.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Battling the bottle, stone-throwing

Where is the passion for compassion?

Mel has apologized and I believe him. Listen to how his apology differs from so many other celebrities when those people, instead of claiming responsibility, blame the recipient of their actions.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
by Jonathan Flora

There is this scene in a movie you may have heard of. In it, a man stoops down and places his finger in the dirt to write. As he does, the dust from the ground explodes with the power of the words being drawn. We then see several defeated men toss their stones to the ground and walk away.

Why is it certainly no surprise that many of these same men (and women) are back and hurling their stones at another man with all their might? Shame on any of us, if we do not step in front of this man to deflect the rocks that are thrown with no other intent other than to cause pain and destroy his life.

There is no excuse for Mel Gibson’s actions this past weekend. But, where is the compassion to understand how this man got to the place in his battle with the ugly disease of alcoholism that a situation like this can occur? Where did we lose the knowledge that ALL men are not without sin, even those prideful and self declared "sinless" stone-throwers that have so quickly stepped out from the dark shadows to once again attack. As angry as they make me, their colors have been known and known for years.

One of the first to throw a stone that has been in his arsenal bag locked and loaded since The Passion of the Christ is Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League. Foxman claims, "His tirade finally reveals his true self and shows that his protestations during the debate over his film The Passion of the Christ, that he is such a tolerant, loving person, were a sham." What happened to the ADL’s claim a few years earlier that they, "do not know what is in his [Mel’s] heart?"

At the same time, the ADL announced they are launching a website to monitor "hate" groups, of which they include pro-life organizations. This is the same ADL that in a 2000 press release cheered the Nebraska judicial decision barring the partial-birth abortion ban signed by the President of the United States. This of course proves they can hurl rocks with both hands.

The stones are coming from all directions. In today’s USA Today, it was written that the View’s Barbara Walters told viewers she would not see another Gibson film and agent Ari Emanuel posted the public call for studios to boycott Gibson.

As Catholic League President Bill Donahue points out, "Mel’s enemies will never cut him a break. Their real goal is to discredit The Passion of the Christ. How ironic it is to note that the core message of his film – forgiveness – is sorely lacking in his critics." Yet, "In 2003, Roman Polanski, the convicted child rapist, received a standing ovation when he won an Oscar for The Pianist."

Full commentary at Spero News

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


How I felt at around 4:50 pm today

Modest contributions

Found the following news feature -- from the archives of The Arizona Daily Star -- via Modestly Yours. Excerpts from that Modestly Yours blog entry which contains a link to the first feature, comes next.

Local teens score one for modesty
By Scott Simonson

arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.18.2004

Unable to find stores where girls' clothes weren't too tight, too short or too trashy, a group of Tucson-area teenagers decided to do something about it. The youths challenged retail giants to change their ways. And, in one case, they won. The students collected more than 4,000 signatures on petitions asking stores to carry more clothes for girls who didn't want short skirts or shorter shorts, low-rise jeans, low-cut tops or bare-midriff T-shirts.

As a result, Dillard's is holding a fashion show in Tucson today to spotlight more modest styles, and said it can adjust its inventory here to carry some more conservative clothing. In the battle between barely-there styles of big-box juniors departments and teens who want to flaunt less flesh, score one for the underdogs.

"I'm really proud of what we managed to accomplish," said Wallis Rothlisberger, a 15-year-old sophomore at Sahuaro High School who helped with the petition drive. "I'm really grateful that there are stores out there who listen to what we have to say. I'm really surprised."

Full story here

** Photo from LifeSite

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Whatever happened to "dressing your Sunday best"? Although many Black churchgoers still dress in their best for Sunday services, most White churchgoers have dispensed with that. "Sunday best" has been replaced with "Sunday casual." It's a controversial topic at many churches. Some believe that God doesn't care what you wear to church, and other (myself included) are disturbed by the skimpy clothes people are wearing to God's house. (I saw tube tops last week at Church, and the organist was wearing a halter top. Sigh.) Last week, a Catholic bishop from Amarillo, Texas issued a letter to his diocese about modesty in dress. In his letter, entitled "Modesty starts with purification of the heart," Bishop Yanta spoke frankly about why it's important to dress modestly, especially at church.

“When the community of believers comes together for the Eucharist (Mass) let no one be a distraction from Jesus or provide temptation (an occasion of sin) to another because of our manner of dress.....How many Catholics this Summer will attend Sunday Mass in tank tops, shorts, flip flops... in dress unbecoming of the Holy Sacrifice… Anyone who dresses like this at Sunday Mass does not know where they are..."

He also quotes from the Catholic Catechism, which addresses modesty several times:

“Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden (CCC 2521)."

“Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person (CCC 2524). "

Full post at Modestly Yours

The way we wear

A few months ago, Mexico was the site of the International Congress on the Emotional and Sexual Education of Adolescents. Among the participants was Maria del Carmen Bernal, a professor of Education at the Panamerican University in Mexico, who was also interviewed by MercatorNet about the need for teenagers to get to know themselves and to find their own authentic style. An excerpt:

MercatorNet: Fashion itself reflects broader cultural trends. How would you describe this wider environment today?

Dr Bernal: We are living in an environment that entices us all the time with external things. It stops people getting in touch with their own feelings and thinking about things deeply. People are looking for a playful approach to life, to make fun and pleasure a way of life.

MercatorNet: How does this show up in the world of fashion?

Dr Bernal: The constant search for new sensations leads to an unrealistic look. The way people appear has less and less to do with their personal identity, and this is a very worrying issue. Anxiety among young people to achieve the "right look" while suppressing their natural inclinations leads to loss of self-esteem, dissatisfaction and permanent frustration.

At the same time as they are losing touch with their inner selves, they develop an obsession with the physical self -- with their health, diet and exercise, which is all part of this obsession with appearance as a medium to connect with others and feel part of the group.

MercatorNet: How can you get teenagers to see through the manipulation?

Dr Bernal: We have to educate children in aesthetics, or taste. This means facilitating contact with nature and the arts. Developing their powers of observation and the capacity for amazement. Feeding the imagination and memory by means of literature and good movies. Encouraging self-knowledge. And helping young people to be original, not letting them fall into the uniformity that exists today.

Along with this we have to show children how to achieve self-control, so that they are not carried along by a situation but are able to assert their personality and their values. Self-control is the art of conquering and governing yourself -- not forgetting the fact that we are vulnerable to crashes and will probably need to bounce back countless times.

Full interview at MercatorNet

Has it Dawned on you?

You've probably come across The Dawn Patrol by now if you've been roaming the blogosphere for quite a while. Dawn Eden is one blog queen to visit regularly, and now she's got a book worth checking out. She's no neophyte to the publishing world, though, having been a rock journalist for years even before "surfing" began to refer to the Web. Now she's an editor at a New York daily.

Her book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding fullfillment while keeping your clothes on, will be released in a few months. From its editorial review:

Among inspirational books for single women, The Thrill of the Chaste is a pair of hip Ray-Bans in a field of rose-colored glasses. This isn't a book for dainty damsels in lacy white dresses patiently awaiting their handsome prince. This is for real women who need strong, motivational, and deeply moral messages to counter the ones they receive from a superficial, sex-obsessed world.
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