Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral

It’s Christmas Eve, and my mind’s eye looks back on my many Midnight Masses of years long past.  One church I’ve never seen on Christmas Eve is Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, home base of the Roman Catholic Archbishop. 

It’s a beauty inside and out, described by Fr. George A. Lane, in his Chicago Churches and Synagogues, as a Victorian Gothic containing the official chair of a bishop, the cathedra.  The building was completed in 1875 of Lemont limestone and has undergone a number of alterations and renovations since.  Most striking to me is the unusual wood ceiling, described by Fr. Lane as “an elegant water-pegged black walnut ceiling, probably unique in the Chicago area.”  The cathedral features five bronze panels celebrating the Holy Name of Jesus by sculptor Attilio Selva, Stations of the Cross in bronze and red marble by Goffredo Verginelli, stained glass windows from Milan, and massive bronze doors designed by Albert Friscia.  Fr. Lane tells us that the wide-brimmed red hats hanging from the ceiling high above the sanctuary area are the galeros belonging to the previous cardinal-archbishops of Chicago, a custom dating to the thirteenth century; old traditions can live on in new places. 

Although this is one more Christmas Eve I’ll miss Midnight Mass at the Cathedral, I hope to once again at least catch it remotely via the annual local TV broadcast.    

From the Cathedral's website:

Holy Name Cathedral's website
Holy Name Cathedral at Wikipedia

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Romney Looks To Be the Last Man Standing

Mark Steyn writes (link) of his concern about the political conservative bona fides of Mitt Romney, and suggests Republican primary voters persist in looking to other more reliably conservative candidates.  He has in the past expressed some enthusiasm for Michele Bachmann.  I have better hopes for Romney, but cannot gainsay Steyn's worries or speculations about him, or about Newt Gingrich for that matter. 

However, however, however, although I would vote for a diseased camel before the incumbent, my conversations with and sense of so-called independents convinces me that a social conservative cannot win.  For some inexplicable reason, in a president many "independents" seem to fear social conservatism more than one who has brought, inter alia, a crushing debt load, accommodation and sympathy towards radical Islam, and a general hostility to Western culture.        

That leaves out Bachmann and Santorum, who aren't strong candidates otherwise in my opinion.  Gingrich is really a big government program guy, too impulsive, inconsistent, and flaky, and carries way too much baggage; moreover, he has massive negatives among those independents and Democrats who could be tempted to vote for Obama's opponent.  Perry's bumblings disqualify him, and he as well appears to be a social conservative unclear about the proper role of government -- note his utter confusion in attempting to explain mandating the HPV vaccine viz-a-viz individual liberty issues.  Paul is a small government guy, yes, but seriously unstable -- just the other day he appeared on the Tonight Show and said to a national audience that Bachmann "hates Muslims"; he's now the John McCain of 2011-2012 -- the Republican who seems to hate Republicans and is always good for a negative quote that liberals love and can use in political ads, playing right into the Democrat media strategy of encouraging lethal internecine fighting among duped and dopey Republican candidates. 

Romney isn't my first choice by a long shot, but at this time there's simply no other electable candidate in this very disappointingly and surprisingly weak field.

John M Greco 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Heisenberg Humor & Football Cheer at the University of Chicago

Today is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Werner Heisenberg (link), the German physicist perhaps best known for his Uncertainty Principle (link), which boiled down to a quark says that we can’t be sure where anything exactly is. 
This brings to mind a graffito not-uncommon in science building washrooms at the University of Chicago in the 1970s, slightly bowdlerized here for public consumption:   

“Newton:  Screw You / Heisenberg: Screw Your Vicinity

It’s pretty clever, and such is popular stuff at the U of C, even whose unofficial football cheer, also from the 1970s, is, after all, a bit on the academic side:

Cosign, secant, tangent, sine,
Three point one four one five nine
Square root, cube root, BTU,
Sequence, series, limits too.  Rah.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Detestable Wages of Liberalism – A 7 Year Old Alleged “Sex Offender” Reported to the State by Boston School Officials; Steyn: Sometimes Societies Become Too Stupid To Survive

From the Boston Globe (link):

A Boston elementary school is investigating a 7-year-old first-grader for sexual harassment after he struck another boy his age in the groin.  But the mother of the accused said her son was fending off the other child, who had choked him in an altercation on a school bus….

Matthew Wilder, spokesman for the Boston public schools, declined to comment on the incident or why it has been classified as a possible case of sexual harassment….  “Any kind of inappropriate touching would fall under that category,’’ Wilder said….   

The interim school principal, Leslie Gant, did not return a phone call seeking comment….  [The accused boy’s mother] spoke with Gant, who told her the school had called the state Department of Children and Families to report the incident.   [The mother] said her older son came home from school with a letter from Gant, telling her that [her son] had been accused of violating codes of discipline related to sexual harassment and endangering the physical safety of another student.   

[The mother] said she does not want her son to ride the bus until school officials assign an adult monitor. She said officials have told her to come in … for a hearing regarding the incident.

Mark Steyn (link):
“… a seven-year old boy is about to have his life destroyed for kicking a schoolmate in the groin – as boys have done to each other throughout human history.  One can understand that a school board might wish to discourage such activity, but not that it is so irredeemably, obtusely perverse as to categorize such an act as “sexual harassment”. The response of the official school board spokesmoron, one Matthew Wilder, is not encouraging….  The mother said she spoke with the principal, Leslie Gant, who supposedly told her: “It doesn’t matter who hit who first… He said he hit him in the testicles. That’s assault. That’s sexual assault.”
If officials of the Boston public schools system genuinely believe that when a seven-year old kicks another seven-year old in the crotch that that is an act of “sexual harassment”, then they are too stupid to be entrusted with the care of the city’s children. If, on the other hand, they retain enough residual humanity to understand that a seven-year-old groin-kick is not a sexual assault but have concluded that regulatory compliance obliges them to investigate it as such, then they are colluding in an act of great evil.
Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive. If you’re wondering how a candidate’s presidential campaign can be derailed by allegations of “gestures” of “a non-sexual nature” that made women “uncomfortable” two decades ago rather than by his total ignorance of foreign policy and national security, well, this stuff starts in kindergarten.  
Such moronic adults are pouring acid on our culture, one no doubt they wish to corrode and reshape toward some utopian vision.  Such behavior must be fought by all means possible, ridicule being one of them.  Steyn offers "spokesmoron  Matthew Wilder" and I raise him "interim idiot Leslie Gant".

Where do such people come from, and specifically who put them in charge of children?

John M Greco

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Obama Lawyers Flesh Out the The Obama Doctrine on Overseas Assassinations & Waterboarding

The Obama Doctrine:  Killing American citizens in the field on the order of the President without any warning and without any due process is perfectly fine, but waterboarding an Islamist suspected-terrorist fighter captured in the field in order to obtain information about an impending terrorist attack is morally reprehensible and a war crime.  We're in the best of hands.

From the Associated Press today (link):
Top national security lawyers in the Obama administration say U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida.  The lawyers were asked … about the CIA killing of Anwar al-Alwaki, a U.S. citizen and leading al-Qaida figure. He died in a Sept. 30 U.S. drone strike in the mountains of Yemen.  The government lawyers … said U.S. citizens don't have immunity when they're at war with the United States.  [One of the lawyers] said only the executive branch, not the courts, are equipped to make decisions about who qualifies as an enemy.

John M Greco

Related Posts:
Obama’s Chief Lawyer: Obama Can Kill an Unarmed Terrorist Just Fine, But Waterboarding Under Bush Is Morally Reprehensible