Friday, November 27, 2009

A reminder, to her and to him

Nature says to a woman: 'Be beautiful if you can, wise if you want to,
but be respected, that is essential.'

- Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-1799)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Be afraid... be very afraid

Source: Cute Overload

Signs of hope

Though numbers are not everything, they can be of enormous significance especially when working to effect change in society. The support for or rejection of a culture of life is a crucial issue of our time, and there are indications that no matter how much some people, institutions and media distort the facts and try to influence public perception, truth and goodness are more attractive to those who sincerely open their hearts and minds.

The annual March for Life, which began in 1974 with the participation of around 2,000 people, has grown to be the biggest pro-life event in the world, bringing together folks from different parts of the US to Washington D.C., and spawning satellite activities in other parts of the world to demonstrate the same support for a culture of life. The peace protest in January 2009, incidentally held on the same day as the new American president's inauguration, brought together an estimated 300,000 people to the nation's capital (for the March and the related activities, not the inauguration). Here's a video someone made of the 2009 March which I find to be indicative of much hope.

(Lyrics of "So small" by Carrie Underwood here)

The warmth, vitality and joy of the people are apparent in these photos of March for Life 2007 taken by Barbara Curtis. Check them out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Communicating beauty

Pope in landmark meeting with artists in Sistine Chapel

Welcoming the artists including architects, filmmakers and musicians in the "sanctuary of faith and human creativity," the pope urged them to be "fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty."

He asked: "What is capable of restoring enthusiasm and confidence, what can encourage the human spirit to rediscover its path, to raise its eyes to the horizon, to dream of a life worthy of its vocation -- if not beauty?"

Full article at Yahoo! News

Photo by L'Osservatore Romano

Read Pope tells artists beauty can be a path to God at Reuters

In pursuit of freedom

More good news about courageous people speaking up and remaining faithful to their oath as healers! This time, it is a Korean group of obstetricians declaring its decision to enforce the law on abortion. Though some of the group's members had previously performed abortions, they apparently have had a change of heart and have launched a movement against the procedure -- even if it means imprisonment for previously violating the law by performing abortions. Read all about it here:

South Korean obstetricians demand enforcement of abortion law

And, if you missed the news in September, doctors in Spain -- led by Derecho A Vivir (Right to Life) spokesperson Dr. Esteban Rodriguez -- also put their foot down, putting the safety of their patients first and protesting a proposed law that strips doctors of the right to refuse to commit abortions. "We will not kill our patients, nor will we commit a crime against the public health deliberately harming the health of women, no matter how much the Minister of Justice threatens us and abuses his power," the doctor said. Details here:

Spanish doctors will choose jail over committing abortion

And less than a week ago, a coalition of religious leaders in the US came up with the Manhattan Declaration, a declaration addressing the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom, and which has been signed by over 125 Catholic, Evangelical Christian and Orthodox leaders. Part of the document reads: "We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriage or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.” Read about it here:

Unprecedented coalition of religious leaders call Americans to stand for sanctity, marriage and religious freedom

Illustration: The "Freedom of Speech" panel in Four Freedoms (1943), by Norman Rockwell

Monday, November 23, 2009


H/T: Barbara Curtis


People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Swiss-American psychiatrist and author

True to their vocation

I wonder if it's accurate to say that there is a lack of doctors and other practitioners supposedly trained to help people remain healthy (and to treat their bodies of illness when illness occurs), who remain true to their vocation. But I sure am very happy whenever I hear of news of doctors standing up for the sanctity of every human life in any way, and exerting efforts to enable even the poorest people to be given quality health care, when they need it.

As there has come to be a wide discrepancy between marketing of consumer goods, and principles of proper nutrition, society could really use more guidance from the experts and from those who have the people's interest at heart. Food and drink that lack nutritional value (soda, MSG-laden and sugary snacks, and the like) are being marketed aggressively, so the way some doctors are remaining firm on what's important is very welcome (and very much needed).

A family physician near San Francisco is encouraging members of the American Academy of Family Physicians to resign in protest of the organization’s alliance with The Coca-Cola Co. to educate consumers about how Coca-Cola’s products fit into a healthful lifestyle.

Dr. William Walker, director of Contra Costa Health Services in Martinez, said in an interview Friday that he had resigned from the AAFP “with great sorrow.” He said 10 to 20 other physicians, all affiliated with Contra Costa Health, also have quit the association.


“I am appalled and ashamed of the partnership between Coca-Cola and the American Academy of Family Physicians,” Walker said in a release. “How can any organization that claims to promote public health join forces with a company that promotes products that sicken our children?”

Full article at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

* Illustration: Doctor and doll (1929), by Norman Rockwell

Monday, November 16, 2009

I secretly call this...

... the "medical issue." Upon seeing the copies at the office a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the topics shown on the cover seemed to conjure images of illness ("medicine," "health alert," "vaccination," "bacteria"). I almost began to feel a bit ill moments after perusing the cover!

But then, it's merely coincidental, as this November issue of Baby magazine offers more than that. Several articles dwell on budgeting, from different angles. So do check out the issue.

More about it here

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Laws and freedom

No law can give me the right to do what is wrong.

- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Now THAT is standing up for your faith

Reposting in full from MommyLife:

Italy defies European Union school crucifix ban

ppcruzitalia111109.jpgThe issue here is: Does the European Union have the right to impose its will on an individual country? These are critical times as these international, globalist bodies are trying to usurp the self-governance of individual nations. And a warning to Americans to resist UN treaties that would take away American rights.

Italian mayors respond to Strasbourg ruling by hanging more crucifixes in schools

Rome, Italy, Nov 12, 2009 / 01:49 pm (CNA).- A number of Italian officials have responded to the ruling by the European Human Rights Court that ordered schools in Italy to remove crucifixes from the classrooms by taking unprecedented measures to preserve the Christian symbol.

According to the Italian daily "Avvenire," the mayor of Sezzadio, Pier Luigi Arnera, has leveled a fine of 500 euros against anyone who removes a crucifix from a public place.

Arnera explained that the displaying of the crucifix in "places other than churches does not affect the dignity of anyone, because it is one of our cultural references."

Likewise in the cities of Sassuolo and Trapani, officials have acquired dozens more crucifixes to display them in public schools.

In Montegrotto Terme, digital billboards that normally are used to inform the public are now displaying the crucifix with the phrase, "We will not take it down." The mayor of Assisi has ordered that Nativity scenes be displayed in addition to the crucifix in public offices.

In Varesotto a local contractor placed a 16-foot cross on his farm in order to express his indignation over the EU court ruling.

Monday, November 09, 2009

40 years of sweeping the clouds away!

Sesame Street turns 40

Los Angeles (dpa) — It has won over 100 Emmys, been shown in more than 125 countries and on Tuesday it will celebrate a rare achievement in an age of ever-shifting tastes: Sesame Street will be 40 years old Tuesday.

''Sesame Street is one of the five most influential television shows of all time,'' says popular culture professor Bob Thompson of Syracuse University. ''It had an enormous social influence as well as artistic. In fact there's nothing like it on the air to this day.''

The format of the show may have changed somewhat since that first historic broadcast on November 10, 1969, which itself was the result of extensive research that aimed to find the way of blending entertainment with education.

The goal was to give children and their parents an alternative to the fun but mindless fare of children's television back then, shows that were often filled with violent episodes and were primarily designed not to teach kids, but to sell them things.

Funded by grants from the Carnegie Institute and the federal government, the Children's Television Workshop used the latest knowledge of child development, psychology and preschool education to stimulate young viewers' minds, improve their letter recognition, math and problem-solving skills, and just as importantly teach them essential life skills needed to thrive in modern America.

Full article here

More about the show and its cast here

One of the most memorable segments from Sesame Street, featuring Grover and John John:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

You've come a long way, baby?

Social theorist and media critic Jean Kilbourne has said that when it comes to portrayals of women in advertising, sex sells.

Whether or not this is true is -- at the moment -- beside the point as far as I'm concerned. What I've been thinking about is the degree to which even 'tween girls nowadays are heavily influenced by the sexualized content of media (advertising included). Then a while ago I read that Kilbourne said something along those lines:

"We’ve been conditioned from birth to think our sex appeal and physical attractiveness is the most important thing about us."

Judging from the material and the underlying messages the ad industry has been coming out with the past decade or so, that statement above seems to be fairly accurate (I just don't know about the "from birth" part). Whether or not that kind of conditioning reached you by way of excessive exposure to media during your childhood till the teen years, what ultimately matters is your acceptance or rejection of such kind of conditioning.

I wonder -- how would the proponents of the original Women's Liberation Movement regard all this if they were still around to witness the transformation? And, is the current manner of portraying women in media what the first feminists had in mind when they relentlessly fought for "women's rights"?

Do women who go about with an attitude of "I have the right to do anything I want" feel truly free?

In relinquishing a lady's natural power to turn even fools into gentlemen, does a woman who puts her "anatomical sexuality" on display really feel empowered? And confident?

Do women actually fall for the message put forth by advertising that sex appeal and physical attractiveness should be among those on top on the list of priorities?

Interesting questions to ponder. And I found a previous blog entry I posted some four years ago which I still find interesting. An excerpt:

And here I go again, attributing much of the societal damage to mass media. First of all, it's true -- media in this day and age is largely responsible for the perpetuation of ideas (both constructive and destructive) especially when the idea is deftly presented as something that will make you feel happy, free, strong, fabulously independent and/or desirable. The result: girls imitating what they see, whether it's a baby tee with "Porn star" flashed across the chest, the monthly boyfriend roulette, the spirit of abandon guiding underwear ads, or the whole attitude behind the "Sex Bomb Dancers" trend. An example:

Mothers who come into my office frequently express doubt about their own judgment, not knowing where to draw the line when their daughters dress provocatively. Girls, meanwhile, freely admit that they are only aping what they see in the media. One young woman told me, "I love 'Sex and the City,' but I know it's contributed" to the problem. " Desperate Housewives" does, too.

Believe me, people behind magazines, ads and TV programming know how to make practically anything -- even the trashiest, most indecent fashion styles and intrinsically wicked ideas -- look good and spend tons of money to do research to get better at it!

Read the whole thing, which includes links to two insightful reads from The Washington Post and Modestly Zone, here

* First photo is from a Benson & Hedges ad.
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